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Day 0

Mass appeal…please see our home page for Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said to protect the 8th.

Today’s Post:

The Loving Thing to Say is….

Abortion is Murder

Does anyone remember when pro-lifers used to stand outside the IFPA and Marie Stopes clinic and chant abortion is murder or the large displays on O Connell St of aborted babies. It stands in strong contrast with today when most pro-lifers cringe at the mere mention of abortion as murder. What happened? How did we get to this point? How did we go from a country that was 60-40% pro-life in spite of massive media pressure to today when we are voting on removing the 8th amendment and the polls show a consistent majority for the pro-abortion side?

What I think happened was that pro-lifers fell for the media’s line that those who said abortion is murder, were extremists. There had been a certain unease among some about tactics that were considered radical, and coupled with the strong media message that it was upsetting and offensive to women who had chosen terminations in often very distressing circumstances the liberals managed to guilt trip the pro-life side into not mentioning the ‘m’ word.

This had unfortunate repercussions. The extremists were now the messengers who were calling abortion by its proper name and not the ones promoting and committing the extreme act of abortion. In a sense the pro-lifers threw out the baby with the bath water. Even if they were uncomfortable with certain types of activity they should have still kept the word murder for that is what it is. Instead euphemisms of the pro-abortion lobby were accepted and the the horror of what an abortion is diminished in the public consciousness. The respectability around the debate gave a sort of tacit approval for the act and one could lobby and promote abortion without loosing ones respectability. One could even be a practising Catholic, a reader at mass, no less, still lobby publicly for abortion without any sanction or loss of face.

Given the propaganda power of the mainstream media and it’s almost total monopoly in the public sphere, it is not surprising that the pro-abortion view has become the mainstream view. The brainwashing has been enormous. The lying is massive and they get away with it because no one is calling it out. Monsignor Reilly a great pro-life priest said the first emotion a woman feels after her abortion is a relief, “my womb is empty.” But by the time they get home a second thought strikes them, “oh God, my womb is empty!” To cope with such a revelation most have to deny the humanity of the baby they killed. How many women would have gone through with their abortions if they knew it was murder. How many women after an abortion wished some pro-lifer had told them that abortion is murder before they travelled..

A British Labour MP once wrote an open letter to a newspaper in which she admitted that the first step to her healing after an abortion was to admit that it was a baby that was killed. To admit that it was her baby that she had killed. Admitting abortion is in fact murder is actually the first step to healing. It opens the way for repentance and receiving God’s forgiveness.

Doctors who perform abortions also commit murder. And there are probably many obstetricians who have trained abroad guilty of serial murder. Unpalatable as this may sound they need desperately to repent and beg, God for forgiveness. Their eternal soul is at risk. But who is going to tell them. Who will give them that chance at repentance.

Likewise politicians and those who work in the HSE and other departments promoting abortion need to be told the truth. The media who hide the truth about abortion must be called out. The philosophy of relativism that says its a baby if it is wanted and not a baby if it is not wanted must be challenged and exposed.

It is a cross for pro-lifers to stand up and speak the truth. And speaking the truth will bring persecution. But it is a cross we can not shirk. Already 170,000 Irish babies have been murdered. Think about it. In England it’s 9 million. Abortion is an enormous crime against humanity that very few are willing to look at in the full light of truth, though Our Lord will reveal the full extent of the horror but at that point it will be too late to repent. Given the pervasiveness of the lies about abortion the truly loving thing to do is say abortion is murder.

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Days 3 and 2 are together…..

Mass appeal…please see our home page for Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said to protect the 8th.

Today’s Post:

What’s Up With Google?

In the wake of the unprecedented interference by a foreign company in an Irish referendum, a gross attack on our democracy, let us take a look at the agenda that Google is pushing by trying to censor the pro-life vote. The multi-national conglomerate are banning all domestic ads on all their platforms that refer to the 8th Amendment.  “Google’s decision looks neutral on the surface.” says Mchael Brendan Dougherty over in the National Review, “But, the Repeal side already has overwhelming support in traditional broadcast and print media in Ireland, while the less well-funded campaigns to retain the Eighth Amendment rely on social media.”[i] It will come as no surprise that the Repeal Campaign are delighted with Google’s decision. The principle of free speech and fair play has long been jettisoned by the liberal left. Not content with almost total dominance in the main stream media they have been actively taking down thousands of NO posters and faced with dropping numbers in the polls many of the Repeal groups were warning of a Trump/Brexit like victory by conservatives on social media, one of the last bastions  of free speech., and on cue Google rides in to help.

 

 

This is not Google’s first foray into Irish referenda, indeed, they also came out in support of a Yes vote in the Gay Marriage referendum.[ii]  In August of 2017 Google employee James Damore exposed the PC leftist group-think that permeates the company after they fired him for suggesting a more nuanced approach to their ‘diversity policy’.  Eric Schmidt the founder of Google and who recently stepped down as Chief Executive of Google’s parent company ABC, was heavily involved in Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency,[iii] as the Wikileaks emails clearly reveal and this also resulted with a strong Hillary bias on the Google search engine.[iv] Clearly Google are not interested in providing a platform for free exchange of ideas but are rather interested in promoting,  along with George Soros and the mainstream media (MSM), the liberal democracy and globalist trans-nationalist government espoused by the political elites in the the United States and the EU.

 

Now the Liberal democracy that is being pushed by large corporations in tandem with the liberal left is probably not what most people understand when they see the word democracy. As Dr Steve Turley clearly explains,[v] (links to the video are in the footnotes from 7:17) is that  the aim of liberal democracy is to liberate sovereign individuals from their traditional way of life so that the individual has no obligation to any moral standard other than the one they choose for themselves.
Whatsmore, the way liberal democracy is revealed is by means of free expression and this term is also understood by globalists in a way one might not expect. For them free expression means the pluralist ideal that all belief systems are equally valid, eg. gay marriage is equal to marriage between a man and a woman, the believe that I am a man as equally valid as the believe that I am a woman and abortion is equally as valid as giving birth to a child. However no society, no free democratic society, can operate under such a tyranny of relativism, to borrow a phrase from Pope Benedict XVI so we have a third phase in the promulgation of the liberal democracy and that is the advocacy for civil rights. As I think you might suspect, the rights that the globalist are interested in promoting are the ones now seen as been discriminated against by traditional moral customs and values, namely Judaeo-Christian values.  So we can see that for Google and the globalist liberal left the essence of democracy is in eliminating opposition voices to its pluralist agenda, hence the need to censor pro-life voices.

 

The truth is liberal democracy as envisioned by the globalists and liberal left is really atheistic Marxism or communism by another name. However good news from the east, Victor Orban fresh from his landslide win on Divine Mercy Sunday is reviving Christian Democracy and it is starting to spread. Watch Dr Turley’s video on this (see link below). Please God the revival will come to Ireland.

 

 

https://youtu.be/5A-BfS6Z5bc

 

 

[i]https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/silicon-valley-deletes-the-pro-life-campaign-in-ireland/

 

[ii]https://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/columnists/victoria-white/we-should-look-the-other-way-when-companies-tell-us-how-to-vote-333209.html

 

[iii]https://www.dailywire.com/news/10068/x-new-revelations-latest-round-wikileaks-amanda-prestigiacomo

 

[iv]https://www.conservativereview.com/news/study-shows-google-was-biased-toward-clinton/

 

[v]https://youtu.be/pFJkTBMrcWE

 

 

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The UK government watchdog for clinical institutions and organisations

Days 6, 5 and 4 are together.

4 days to go…. Mass appeal….Today’s Post: From a two doctor model to Health Care Assistants: the UK slippery slope on abortion care.

4 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion and whether or not to retain or repeal our pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution.

Mass appeal….please go to our home page for information on Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said for the Irish and protection of the 8th. We propose: reparation, conversions, protection of the 8th / dissolution of the repeal movement (bless them but block them Lord).

Today’s Post:

From a two doctor model of consent to Health Care assistants: the UK slippery slope:

In previous posts, we looked at how the UK system of the two-doctor model that was proposed in the original 1967 abortion act has morphed over time. The original framers of the act from parliamentary debates of the time clearly expected two doctors to determine if grounds for an abortion were met [1]. Now, other than performance of the abortion, all that is legally and practically required of the two medics, is that they sign the abortion forms and one doctor takes overall responsibility for the clinical chain of command in abortion clinics and hospitals.

The original law that required two doctors to form an opinion in good faith that a woman meets one of the five grounds of the 1967 abortion act, still stands, but its interpretation, no longer requires that even one of the said doctors physically sees or examines the woman before an abortion. The abortion forms, which still must be completed by both doctors, has an instruction to delete as appropriate if they did or didn’t see or did or didn’t examine the woman, which is now entirely optional. [2] Following a case in 1981 between the Royal College of Nursing and the then DHSS, Department for Health and Social Studies, when it was decided nurses could administer abortion pills, it was decided that doctors were not required to oversee every step of the process and that it could be delegated to other members of the clinical team.[3] It is now recommended or acceptable practice that a nurse sees the woman before the abortion.[4] However many people did not know this in the public domain. It emerged with the scandal of pre-signing of abortion forms….

How the original intentions of the original 1967 act has been abused:

When the UK government watchdog the Care Quality Commission or C.Q.C. which inspects all healthcare facilities in the UK did inspections back in 2012, they discovered illegal pre-signing of abortion forms.[5]

In the U.K., two doctors must sign that they agree in good faith that the woman meets one of the five grounds under which abortions may be performed under the ’67 Act. The C.Q.C. first discovered an isolated case in 2012, whereby the standard abortion form, known as HSA1 forms, had been pre-signed by a doctor. As a result, the Department of Health sent out a letter reminding all clinics / hospitals performing abortions in the U.K., of their duties under the act. A month later after sending this reminder, they did a series of on the spot inspections and still found 14 out of a total of 249 locations inspected were involved in pre-signing of abortion forms, all in NHS trusts with a total of 67 doctors involved. It emerged that HSA1 abortion forms with signatures were being photocopied or had been dated ahead of the patient setting foot in the hospital. Dept of Health guidelines are that medics can rely on information obtained by nurses, counsellors or midwives, but it is Dept.’s interpretation of the law that the medics should themselves review the information before reaching an opinion, for example by considering the paperwork or speaking to members of the team. This was not happening. A cross-party group of M.P.s in the U.K. parliament called for an investigation. Earl Howe, the Health minister in the House of Lords called for prosecutions.

30% of the roughly 180,000 or so annual abortions in England and Wales, tax-payer funded, are performed in NHS hospitals and 70% in private clinics, known as ‘NHS contract’, such as BPAS / British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes, the largest and second largest abortion providers in the UK respectively.[6] Of note, only NHS trusts were implicated. Whether the warning letter stamped out more widespread practice is of course speculative but comments by the U.K. General Medical Council tasked with maintaining clinical standards in the medical profession suggests this was the case.

An article in the Telegraph in [7] 2014, reported on the results of the official investigations in the scandal. It stated that the General Medical Council / G.M.C., found no case against the medics in question and stated the police had examined two sample cases and felt there was no ground for prosecution. The G.M.C. accepted that the practice was unacceptable and broke the law but refused to identify any doctors or their roles, stating that this was because it was so widespread, also stating that no woman had been harmed in the cases identified and because clinical practice had changed so much since the 1967 UK abortion act. If only 14 out of 249 clinics / hospitals were found to have breached the law by pre-signing, it’s surprising the GMC stated the practice was so widespread as grounds for not penalising anyone. Perhaps they knew that those who got caught hadn’t heard about the warning letter or were junior doctors.

In any case, the G.M.C. warned the doctors in question not to do it again and said that the C.Q.C. watchdog had since established that the practice was no longer happening. The British public might now have supposed that a woman seeking an abortion was properly being seen by a doctor and consented in the context of a clinical history and examination in the normal way.

The Department of Health state no legal requirement for doctors to see women before abortions: 

But within a fortnight of the above article, a second article, again by the Telegraph blew open the myth that this was happening. It reported a public statement by the U.K. Dept. of Health / D.O.H.,[8] that doctors could consult with a woman seeking an abortion by phone or Skype. But most significantly of all, the D.O.H. stated that in fact under the 1967 act, there was absolutely no obligation on doctors legally to see a woman prior to an abortion. That while it was ‘good practice’, it was not mandatory.

The reactions of three women are quoted in the second Telegraph article on the current official interpretation of the 1967 law, that two doctors must form an opinion in good faith that a woman meets one of the grounds of the act, but currently there is no obligation on medics to see the woman unless one meets her when performing the abortion on her.

Ann Furedi the spokeswoman for BPAS, suggested doctors performing abortions had somehow now been exonerated even though pre-signing was and is still illegal. She further stated that while the law hadn’t changed, that it impeded practice as two doctors were not needed to sign off on abortions. Indeed. If the current interpretation of the law is a farce whereby doctors only need to sign forms at some point after someone else has seen a woman whom they do not see, then why bother at all with the two-doctor model? Of course, the current push to full decriminalisation of abortion to birth by Ann Furedi and others in the UK dispenses with this requirement.

The second woman quoted was the minister for public Health, Jane Ellison who said that: “This brings clarity to abortion care.”

The third woman quoted was Josephine Quintavalle of ‘Comment on Reproductive Ethics’. “A telephone consultation to ensure authorisation – presumably with a pro-choice doctor – completely ignores the life-taking nature of abortion, makes a complete mockery of the original Act and would surely not be tolerated in any other branch of medicine.”

At no point in the second article were the GMC findings mentioned directly even though they clearly referenced them which is odd. The GMC findings in no way clarified that the problem with pre-signing was because abortions were being signed off on by doctors prior to the woman setting foot in the clinic or a nurse seeing the woman. Post-signing of consent forms including batch signing after said nurse has seen the woman is acceptable.

Since then, the British Medical Association has clarified that pre-signing remains illegal though they suggest if one doctor is away that they can consent over the phone or some other means of communication.[9]

The Daily Mail sting: Health Care assistants do work up according to retired abortionist: 

Last year, an article appeared in the Daily Mail[10] of an interview with a retired consultant gynaecologist Dr. John Parsons who was the head of terminations in the public King’s College Hospital London. He separately worked for years in an unnamed Marie Stopes private London clinic and was also on the board of BPAS. He excoriated clinical practice in Marie Stopes. Interestingly while articulating the enormous time pressures and conveyor belt mentality at the clinic which appears to have been highly stressful for all concerned with managers harrying doctors to hurry up, he comments on how pre-operative care and work up was performed by Health Care Assistants. They had 20 minutes to do an ultrasound, bloods and take a history and he comments on how they would sometimes come into theatre to get the doctors to sign consent forms. Health Care Assistants are not nurses.

Official response of the UK health watchdog to Health Care Assistants seeing women before abortions:

The Care Quality Commission UK under Freedom of Information, on being asked if they had anything to say about Health Care Assistants doing work ups rather than nurses or doctors given that the different professional bodies including the Royal College Of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the UK Department of Health accept that a nurse only may see a woman before an abortion and consent her responded:[11]

“This would depend on what the role of the healthcare assistant and whether they are suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced to carry out that role. In the case of a staff member working in the role of a healthcare assistant and undertaking sonography (or indeed a radiographer carrying out sonography) the purpose of the ultrasound would be considered, for example is it solely to confirm a pregnancy rather than to assess gestation. CQC would seek information from the provider of how they can demonstrate that staff carrying out ultrasound are suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced to do so. This would include taking into account continuing development. It may also include taking into account professional published guidance on the subject. In every case the legal requirements of Regulation 18 and Regulation 19 (1)(b) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 Regulated Activities Regulations 2014 must be complied. These regulations state that sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced persons must be deployed in order to meet the requirements of this Part. The staff must have the qualifications, competence, skills and experience which are necessary for the work to be performed by them. that under the Health Care Act, that all clinical organisations and institutions are required to ensure that staff are adequately trained in whatever area they are functioning in.”

If Marie Stopes, trained up Health Care Assistants to do the pre-operative assessment and investigations on a woman pre-abortion, the C.Q.C. government watchdog are okay with that even if guidelines are not.

So the UK has ‘progressed’ from a situation, where in 1967 those who framed the abortion act, alleged or genuinely envisaged that two doctors would determine if a woman was eligible for an abortion under the five grounds of the Act, so as to avoid completely unrestricted on demand abortions right through to birth. To delegating pre-operative assessments to a nurse, midwife or counsellor put on a legal footing in 1981. To a situation where apparently Health Care Assistants if they get in house training on establishing gestation through ultrasound, taking bloods and filling in details on in house forms / clinical notes is acceptable to the watchdog authority responsible for maintaining the accepted clinical and legal framework. The C.Q.C. appear to have no interest whatsoever in checking out if the practice is ongoing in the unidentified London clinic.

Why Ireland will likely also slide down this slippery slope…

The Irish government proposes mid-trimester abortions from 12 to 24 weeks, if there is a serious risk or risk of serious harm to the mental or physical health of the woman to be assessed by two government nominated doctors: one, an obstetrician (at consultant or registrar level) and another a medical practitioner but not a psychiatrist.  This two-doctor model is supposed to allay fears and reassure us. However Ailbhe Smyth of the Repeal campaign complained that mid-trimester abortions would be too restrictive on the grounds of the word ‘serious’. Dr Boylan’s response?

“I don’t really have a problem with them saying ‘serious risk’ because if the woman regards it as serious then it is. It should be the woman’s assessment of the risk that counts.” [12] . 

While guidelines will be published by the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists it will be done under Boylan’s chairing.

Taoiseach  Prime Minister Leo Varadkar stated:

“After 12 weeks’ gestation, abortion will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances such as a serious risk to the life or health of the woman or in the event of a fatal foetal abnormality. Ultimately, it will be a decision based on the wishes of the woman concerned and the best available medical evidence.” There again he also borrowed Hilary Clinton’s statement about U.S. abortions that they would be “safe, legal and rare”. After 60 million of them.

Finally, we noted how in Germany, 9/10 Down’s syndrome babies diagnosed mid-trimester were aborted on the ubiquitous mental health ground. [13] This despite there being no specific ground for such abortions there. Exactly like proposals here. The absence of a specific ban has been routinely exploited there to permit abortions of Down’s babies at the same rate as the UK which has a specific ground (E) on the abortion form. The perfect storm is:

No ground + mental health risk + no ban + medics open to okaying abortions of Down’s babies = eugenics of disabled babies in Germany in the 21st century. And that’s before the fetal DNA or NIPT / Non-invasive pre-natal test is rolled out which increases screening uptake and predicts Down’s from 9 or 10 weeks with a 99% accuracy. It’s being rolled out in the NHS and is already available in a number of European countries. It’s only a question of time.

 

 

[1] 23 October 1967 original debate on two doctor model of consent

[2] HSA1-form HSA4-form

[3] http://www.e-lawresources.co.uk/Royal-College-of-Nursing-v-DHSS.php

[4]  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/abortion/what-happens/

[5] http://www.cqc.org.uk/news/releases/findings-termination-pregnancy-inspections-published

[6] Abortions_stats_England_Wales_2016

[7] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10807990/Pre-signing-abortion-forms-is-illegal-General-Medical-Council-admits.html

[8]  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10851574/Abortion-doctors-can-consult-women-on-phone-or-via-Skype-guidance.html

[9]  BMA law_and_ethics_of_abortion_nov2014 pg 7 consent issues

[10] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4284290/Marie-Stopes-abortions-signed-just-phonecall.html#ixzz5BYycYUiL (scroll down to The Abortion conveyor belt: Bullying, cost-cutting and a relentless pressure to perform terminations – a former Marie Stopes doctor reveals how women were pushed through system

[11] CQC response to FOI query on Health Care Assistants:

[12] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/repeal-campaigners-fear-implications-of-serious-risk-proviso-6df3ndsbh

[13] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/shadow-of-history-hangs-over-germany-s-abortion-debate-1.3381181

 

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7 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion May 25th on whether to retain or repeal the pro life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution.

Mass appeal….please see our home page for Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said…

Today’s post: Abortion pills….

The following is a letter from Dr. Conor Hanley School of Law UCG.

Sir, – The Taoiseach has expressed concern that a No vote would lead to the prosecution of women who have purchased abortion pills on the internet. Section 22 of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013 does indeed make it an offence to intentionally destroy unborn life. However, the DPP has discretion in deciding whether or not to bring a prosecution, and one element of that discretion is the public interest. Given the terrible pressures that an unexpected pregnancy can bring, in most cases it is likely that the public interest would not be served by a prosecution. This is as it should be, and those of us seeking a No vote would abhor a prosecution being brought in such circumstances.

The Taoiseach is also reported to have said that the penalty for taking an abortion pill is worse than the penalty for rape. This assertion is bizarre and entirely wrong. The maximum sentence under the 2013 Act is 14 years, but any sentence imposed is likely to be lenient. The maximum sentence for rape, by contrast, is life imprisonment, and sentences currently average at around 10 years.

Finally, for the record, when the 2013 legislation was before the Dáil, Leo Varadkar voted against a proposed amendment that would have exempted pregnant women from prosecution for procuring an abortion.

Yours etc. Dr. Conor Hanly,

School of Law, U.C.G.

At no point has any of the pro life groups lobbied / called or agitated for criminal sentences for women who have abortions. When the Kenny government introduced the Protection of Life during pregnancy act in 2013 and introduced the 14 year jail term for those involved in abortions, no pro life person advocated for that. In fact, it was clear that it could be used in exactly the way it is now being used: to argue for liberalisation of the law. Recently in the Dail Taoiseach / Prime Minister Leo Varadkar supported a 14 year sentence for the current proposals of breaching the unrestricted abortions to 12 weeks and on mental health grounds similar to UK abortion law to 24 weeks and to term in limited circumstances from 24 weeks.

Will the 14 year jail term now being proposed again be used at a future date to further liberalise even what they are proposing now?  Of course, if the 8th is repealed there is nothing to stop Varadkar repeating history. Our media is so biased that he can get away with supporting a 14 year jail sentence for those involved in abortions, a few years ago, then use that to denounce the law to further liberalise it!

How have we reached the numbers of abortion pills being procured if figures are true?

Which is a big if….

One way is that the trend / epidemic has been delilberately and systematically promoted by none other than the family planning clinics here. As far back as 2012, an undercover investigation done by pro-life women involving going into the Irish Family Planning Association  / I.F.P.A. or Marie Stopes clinics enquiring about abortions showed that two major breaches in the law and clinical care were occurring:

(1): Woman were being advised how to procure abortion pills illegally

(2): Women were advised after an abortion to conceal it from doctors which was denounced by the then Master of the Rotunda Sam Coulter Smith.

The following article clearly shows the counsellors advising women on how to get and take the abortion pills illegally.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/revealed-the-abortion-advice-that-could-put-lives-at-risk-28824188.html

Following the publication of the article in the Independent at HSE investigation was launched.

In 2014 it was concluded and the findings were that there was no case for prosecutions and no wrong had been done. There were no penalties or sanctions. A blind eye was turned.

http://www.thejournal.ie/ifpa-crisis-pregnancy-no-charge-1827009-Dec2014/

Even allowing for the wide variation in figures quoted by pro choice obstetricians of women taking abortion pills illegally in this country (2000 to 4000) depending on which pro choice doctor is speaking, is it any wonder that there is a trend upwards when a government refuses to clamp down on illegal activity happening under its nose all with a view to using the phenomenon to agitate for repeal….

One supposes one can start lobbying for legalisation of all sorts of other illegal drugs as in any case, people are using them…

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French imageLegalising abortion will inevitably create a general malaise in Irish society, at every level, in every family, between neighbours, in medical facilities, everywhere

My colleague is there, alone in the operating theatre. All is clean. Organised. A sanitised façade, once again. She raises her head, smiles sadly and asks : ‘Do you want to see her?’ I answer with a very weak ‘yes’ and move forward . . .”

This quote comes from a poignant testimonial on conservative website objectiondelaconscience.org. It’s by a nurse who had just accompanied a couple through the termination of their Down Syndrome child and relates a daily occurrence in French hospitals.

There is no anger, no judgment in her tone, just immense sadness at the couple’s loss, and at the baby’s death. If they’d followed their hearts, they said, they’d have kept her, but they must be reasonable . . . In 2014, 1,959 unborn babies were diagnosed with Down Syndrome, and 1552 of those were aborted by surgical abortion, which can legally be performed right up to birth.

Abortions happen relentlessly, on average 580 times a day, every day of the year, every year. In 2016, there were 211,900 abortions, for 785,000 births. Bluntly put, one in five babies are aborted. The National Institute for Demographic Studies reports that 33 per cent of women in France have recourse to abortion once in their lifetime, 9.5 per cent twice in their lifetime, and 4.1 per cent have 3 abortions. The 18-25 year olds are the most affected (90,000 in 2012). Abortion is a sad, repetitive and violent reality. It is so first of all for French women.

Psychological damage

In 2012, Prof Israël Nisand, who is now president of France’s National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, and a proponent of access to abortion, unambiguously stated that abortion caused psychological damage to women who had recourse to it. The matter became a national scandal, because the official truth is that abortion does not bear long-lasting consequences. The French government website on abortion (ivg.gouv.fr) states that the only pain is physical, during and shortly after the procedure. And yet, a simple Google or YouTube search will show hundreds of messages left by women mentally distressed after their abortions. Beyond the anecdotal evidence, the majority of serious medical studies show significant mental health issues after an abortion. One study (Coleman, 2011), sampled 877,181 women, of whom 163,831 had an abortion. The author concluded that women having had abortions had an 81 per cent increased risk of mental health troubles.

No public discourse or debate is possible in France about abortion. Since 1993, it is a criminal offence to try to dissuade a woman from having an abortion. In February 2017, the offence was extended to providing information, including online, which could have the same effect of convincing a woman to keep her baby. This applies to teachers, healthcare workers, media, to everyone. For the French government, providing online information on abortion, but also on pregnancy, on carrying a baby to term, on accessing social and financial services to support expectant mothers and after the birth, is considered misleading to women.

Conscientious objection

The Irish Government is proposing abortion on demand at least up to 12 weeks, and that is exactly what we have in France. It will not take long before the sad French reality will come to these shores. One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Teenage girls and young women will be most affected. Mothers will take their daughters, sometimes forcing them, to have abortions. Secretaries in GP practices will see women coming in at the early stages of pregnancy, and leaving the premises having taken pills for a medically induced abortion. Doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists and other hospital workers will struggle to keep their right to conscientious objection, as it is the case in France.

It is harder and harder to find doctors willing to perform surgical abortions at a later stage in the pregnancy. The enthusiasm of the early days has worn off

The debate is not about maternal healthcare in Ireland, do not be fooled. It is an ideological question: do you really want abortion on demand at least up to 12 weeks? Do you really want to give carte blanche to your Government for abortions up to 6 months’ gestation? Legalising abortion will inevitably and inexorably create a general malaise in Irish society, at every level, in every family, between neighbours, in medical facilities, everywhere.

In France, since 2016, midwives are entitled to prescribe abortive pills to women up to five weeks’ gestation. Why this move? Because it is harder and harder to find doctors willing to perform surgical abortions at a later stage in the pregnancy. The enthusiasm of the early days has worn off, the abortion militants have retired, and the younger generations of doctors would rather save lives than end them. But the fabric of French society is altered forever. We are not allowed to talk about abortion, we are told lies about abortion, and one in five pregnancies is terminated. Unlike French people, you have a voice. On May 25th, think about the harsh reality of abortion in France when you exercise your right to vote.

Dr Bénédicte Sage-Fuller lectures at the School of Law in University College Cork

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/it-will-not-take-long-before-the-sad-french-reality-of-abortion-comes-to-these-shores-1.3499179

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9 days to go to Ireland’s abortion referendum and whether or not to retain or repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution and replace it with a liberal on demand abortion regime.

Mass appeal….please go to our home page for more info on Sr Briege McKenna’s appeal for as many Masses to be said as possible…

A Failure of Love

George Orwell wrote in a an essay in 1946 “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”1 He also talked about the deliberate vagueness of certain phrases that were being used to mask the brutal reality that they referred to. Pope Saint John Paul II expressed a similar concern in his great encyclical letter on life, ‘Evangelium Vitae’, (Gospel of Life), which came out on 25 March 1995, about the language of choice and abortion.

“But today, in many people’s consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behaviour and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception.”2
And let’s just do that, let’s look at the truth behind these euphemisms. Abortion as I said earlier always involves the deliberate and direct killing of an innocent and defenseless unborn child. The term ‘termination of pregnancy’ is used even more insidiously. All pregnancies are terminated, for the vast majority when they are born, others die naturally before they are born and we call this miscarriage and others are deliberately killed. When abortion advocates use the term ‘termination of pregnancy’, what they are speaking of is a procedure which will deliberately kill the child, which morally speaking is an act of murder. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in England, the practice of early delivery of babies usually after 15 weeks is no longer widely used because of the distress surrounding the survival of a percentage of these babies which then must be left to die. Instead what happens now is a large syringe with potassium chloride (KCl), with the help of an ultra sound, is injected into the babies heart and causes a massive heart attack and the baby dies. The body of the dead baby is then delivered.3 Is this just me or does this sound to you like “cruel, inhuman torture”? Is this a “violation of human rights”?

But it is not enough that we say something is bad for society we must say it is wrong, that it is sinful. Yes I know I said the dreaded “s” word. For abortion is first of all an offence against God. How can you say this I hear you ask. Well it has to do with the nature of who we are. You have probably heard the phrase ‘life is sacred’, well, I often found it hard to articulate why it was so until I read this quotation fromDonum Vitae quoted in EV. “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves ‘the creative action of God’ and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being”4

Life is a gift from God and this needs to be proclaimed from the roof tops, instead there seems to be an embarrassing silence around mentioning God in relation to pro-life arguments. It seems we have accepted the secularist argument that faith is a private matter and there is no room for religious arguments in the market place. Secularism or I could use the word liberalism, seeks to frame the discussion of social and political issues by separating the ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’ spheres. It seeks to keep them in parallel, so to speak, so that the supernatural sphere never crosses into the natural, thus the argument remains a purely rational one. “Under such circumstances, the supernatural is no longer properly speaking another order, something unprecedented, overwhelming and transfiguring: it is no more than a “super-nature”, as we have fallen into the habit of calling it, contrary to all theological tradition; a “super nature” which reproduces, to what is called a “superior” degree, all the features which characterize nature itself.”5 In other words what Du Lubac is saying is that the resurrection is deprived of its transformative powers, its transfiguring glory, when we try to compartmentalise it by creating these dual spheres of the natural and supernatural. It effectively cuts off any supernatural reality from impacting on concrete issues so what we are left with is empirical reality or reality that can be measured, this is generally known as ‘positivism’. Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the German Bundestag in 2011 had this to say about positivism:

A positivist conception of nature as purely functional, as the natural sciences consider it to be, is incapable of producing any bridge to ethics and law, but once again yields only functional answers. The same also applies to reason, according to the positivist understanding that is widely held to be the only genuinely scientific one. Anything that is not verifiable or falsifiable, according to this understanding, does not belong to the realm of reason strictly understood. Hence ethics and religion must be assigned to the subjective field, and they remain extraneous to the realm of reason in the strict sense of the word.6
Then how do we bridge the gap, so to speak, of the supernatural and the natural, the heavenly and the earthly, faith and reason? One way that Saint John Paul II proposes is to speak of the dignity of the person and that dignity is intricately connected to the Creator. In Evangelium Vitae he speaks of the unborn child, right from the start, being made in the image and likeness of God; “In procreation therefore, through the communication of life from parents to child, God’s own image and likeness is transmitted, thanks to the creation of the immortal soul.”7 And God is not just involved at the start of the process but continues to intervene in the act of creation; “You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love; and your care has persevered my spirit” (Job 10:8-12)8 “Here the Christian truth about life becomes most sublime. The dignity of this life is linked not only to its beginning, to the fact that it comes from God, but also to its final end to its destiny of fellowship with God in knowledge and love of Him.”9 And in paragraph 34 we read; “The life which God bestows upon man is much more than mere existence in time. It is a drive towards fullness of life; it is the seed of an existence which transcends the very limits of time:“For God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of His own eternity” (Wis 2: 23).”10

I’m not saying that we must use this argument in absolutely every case, that we can’t use arguments that appeal to reason when we’re debating with non-believers or secularists. However there needs to be some group consistently putting this perspective out there in the marketplace finding creative ways to get this message to the masses. The phrase “Jesus Christ fully reveals man to himself,” is one that was often used by John Paul II throughout his pontificate, and in his very first encyclical,Redemptoris Hominis, he outlines this as the way of evangelisation for the Church leading up to the great millennium and on into the twenty first century.11

Returning to the great encyclicalEvangelium Vitae, where JP II makes an observation that is as relevant now as it was then, maybe even more so. “We are facing an immense threat to life: not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilisation itself.”12 And in light of our recent abortion legislation this sentence is particularly poignant; “(Abortion) is a most serious wound inflicted on society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society’s promoters and defenders.”13Beyond the responsibility of the parents abortion is a societal issue, we all have a part to play in healing this ‘wound’ of our society. Apart from the killing of babies that is now permitted in our own hospitals up to 4,000 women go each year to England for an abortion. That is the equivalent of killing everybody in the town of Cashel every year. In the last thirty years we have managed to kill the equivalent of a city the size of Cork. The killing has to stop. Does not their innocent blood cry out to God like that of Abel’s? How shall we give account of ourselves, as individuals and as a community, on that day of reckoning, as indeed one day we must, when God calls us to account for all this spilt innocent blood? Shall we say “are we our brothers keeper?” Saint Paul warns the Colossians to “see to it that no one deceives you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to human traditions, according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ.” (Col: 2,8) In another translation vain deceit is translated as specious arguments. A specious argument is one that appears reasonable but when one closely investigates it turns out to be contradictory and nothing. The pro-choice argument is a classic example14.

The Irish Bishops wrote a prayer for life that includes the words; “Help us to see in each child the marvellous work of our Creator. Open our hearts to welcome every child as a unique and wonderful gift,”15 and I know a priest who says it after every mass. However I have a strong feeling that, sadly, for most people, this is more a nice sentiment rather than something they actually really, really believe. I have pondered why this is so and think it might be that if one really believed that each child is a marvellous work of our Creator we might want to cry out to those contemplating abortion, as Mother Teresa did, don’t kill the children give them to me I will look after them. Or if we really believed that abortion is a terrible tragedy for both mother and baby, we might like Cardinal Winning, want to offer financial assistance to any woman aborting a child because she couldn’t afford it or found herself in difficult financial circumstances. Or if we had a heart to really welcome every child as a unique and wonderful gift of God, we might be moved to courageously pray outside centres where women are referred for abortions, in solidarity with the unborn, as a sign that they are not forgotten. Or if we really believed that life is sacred we might want to talk with the women going into said centres and try to persuade them keep their baby and offer them practical help. Or if we really believed that every child conceived is created in the image and likeness of God we might want to sponsor artists to make pro-life songs and pro-life films and documentaries. Or if we truly understood the terrible psychological and spiritual damage abortion causes to both mothers and fathers not to mention the cruel death of the baby we might feel the need to fast and pray so that this grievous wound afflicting our society would be healed or we might feel compelled to lobby unrelentingly our politicians or tell people on the street the uncompromising truth about abortion. Oh…. if only we believed…then we would act. If only we believed, then we might be drawn out of our comfort zones.

I saw a programme on the internet the other night about women from a group called Silent No More, who were talking about their experiences of abortion. A comment that one of the women made, really struck me as quite profound. She said “Abortion is always a failure of love.” And I might add, not just on the part of the parents.

“There is a way that seemeth just to a man: but the ends thereof lead to death.”

Proverbs 14:12

1: George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

2: Evangelium Vitae (EV) paragraph 58

3:https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/terminationpregnancyreport18may2010.pdf

4: Donum Vitae (22nd February 1987) Introducton paragraph 5. Quoted in EV 53

5: Henri De Lubac, Le mystère du Surnaturel (Théologie, 64), Aubier: Paris, 1965, p. 61. English Version: The Mystery of the Supernatural. With an Introduction by David L. Schindler, Crossroad/Herder: New York, 1998, p. 37.

Quoted in an article by Javier Martínez Archbishop of Granada onsecularism;http://www.secondspring.co.uk/articles/martinez.htm#14back

6: ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVII, ON HIS VISIT TO THE BUNDESTAG. (2011) The Listening Heart Reflections on the Foundations of Law:http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2011/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20110922_reichstag-berlin.html

7: Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Humani Generis, (12 August, 1950). Quoted in EV 43

8: Quoted in EV 44

9: EV 38

10: EV 34

11: cf. JOHN PAUL II, ENCYCLICAL LETTER, REDEMPTOR HOMINIS; paragraph 13

12: EV 59

13: ibid

14: Thanks to Johnnette Benkovic and her talk in Knock for this insight. Talk available from HLI.

15: http://www.mitchelstownparish.ie/ChooseLifePrayerCardFinal.pdf

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10 days to go to Ireland’s abortion referendum and whether or not to retain or repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution and replace it with a liberal on demand abortion regime.

Mass appeal….please go to our home page for more info on Sr Briege McKenna’s appeal for as many Masses to be said as possible…

SPEECH AT DAIL EIREANN: 24TH FEBRUARY 2016 ON THE OCCASION OF THIS PUBLIC PRO LIFE PRAYER-WALK IN REPARATION FOR THE SIN OF ABORTION

Hello ladies and gentlemen, I just want to thank you all for coming out tonight and at such short notice to pray for the soul of Ireland and witness to the truth about abortion and what it is doing to our country. We’ll be moving off shortly and I want to encourage everyone to try to keep together as we walk and remember that this is a prayer-walk in which we are making public reparation for the sin of abortion and the 165,000 Irish babies killed in the UK and those who are being killed here under the x case legislation.

We are also walking to highlight the fact that abortion is murder and it’s turning our nation into a ‘Murder Machine’ to borrow a phrase from Padraig Pearse. This is an uncomfortable truth that can feel like a burden to us who have been called to expose it but if we wish to be a follower of Christ we must take up our cross and follow Jesus.

 

It’s vital that we maintain an atmosphere of peace and prayer throughout this walk. Even if we get strong reactions from passers by we need to be the calm amidst the storm. Please do not react if we should encounter any negative reactions rather take a moment and respond in love. Remember the words of Our Lord; “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you and then you will be sons of your Father in heaven.” Do not be afraid. If you feel fear, make a conscious decision to love, as Jesus said: perfect love will cast out all fear.

George Orwell wrote “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” The twin evils of moral relativism and politically correct language are strangling the soul of our country. They are casting a dense fog over the conscience of our nation, blinding people to the truth about abortion. The perception of the gravity of “this abominable crime”, as the Second Vatican Council calls it, has become so obscured in most people’s consciousness, that it is in danger of being totally eclipsed. Instead of seeing murder as a crime, it is becoming a right. We are calling good evil and evil, good. We need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name. Abortion is Murder! Morally there is no difference between killing a toddler and killing a child in the womb. However many people do not believe this is the case and use neutral language to deny the dignity and humanity of the unborn.

Padraig Pearse, a hundred years ago also saw the soul of Ireland under threat. He saw it being seduced by the material success of British capitalism andCarrying Irish flag Ireland being absorbed into a secular culture. This we know is based on Masonic principles. Ireland’s soul was being swept away by the modernist enlightenment philosophies which were replacing Christianity as the new religion across formerly Protestant Northern Europe and making great in roads in many Catholic countries. It is not unreasonable, to position the men and women of 1916 the Catholic counter-revolutions in France, Germany and Austria. These sprang up in response to the nominally Christian, of the second half of the 19th century.

The men of 1916 fought to save the soul of Ireland so that she could live out her spiritual destiny. In the words of Eamon De Valera “That Ireland which we dreamed of would be the home of a people who valued material wealth only as a basis for right living, of a people who satisfied with frugal comfort and devoted their leisure to the things of the spirit.” The men of 1916 were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so the conscience of the nation would be awakened.

eamon_de_valera_2556474kDev’s constitution of 1937 in a certain way gave flesh to this dream. In its preamble the Irish people recognise “the Holy Trinity from Whom is all authority and to Whom as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred”. Through this Constitution, ratified in a referendum by the Irish people, we entered into a covenant with God Then on the 2nd October 2009, the Irish people in another referendum ratified the Lisbon Treaty, a European constitution based on Masonic secularist principles and that had no place for God. The Lisbon Treaty has supplanted the Irish Constitution as the ultimate authority in our land. In effect we have rejected God and His authority and removed ourselves from His protection. Since then things have been going downhill fast, with first the Children’s referendum passing then the abortion legislation and now gay marriage.

Throughout Europe and even throughout the world, many people looked to Ireland as a first world nation that could say NO to abortion. They looked to us as a first world nation that is pro-life in the face of overwhelming pressure from the rest of the western world. We were a light in a world that has fallen into shadow. Now that light is waning and unless some radical action is taken I fear it will be snuffed out.

This is why we must not be afraid to proclaim the truth boldly and firmly and always out of love. Though many will accuse us of being judgemental and causing unnecessary distress, this is not so. We are stating a fact; abortion is murder and denying this cripples the lives of the parents and frustrates any chance of healing which can only come through receiving the forgiveness, love and mercy offered by Jesus Christ. We walk today out of a real love for and in solidarity with those who’ve been deceived about the reality of abortion. We walk today out of a real tír ghrá or love of our country and to save our nation which is taking the broad or wide road and there are many travelling on it.

Deliver those who are being taken away to death,

Proverbs 24: 11

 

 

 

 

 

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Vote no crowd image ewtn.

11 days to go...to Ireland’s abortion referendum on whether to retain or repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution and replace it with a liberal on demand abortion regime.

Mass appeal….Please see our home page for more info. on Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal…

Today’s Post:

 Prayer and Campaigning Intensify as Ireland’s Abortion Referendum Draws Near

National Catholic Register / EWTN News

Pro-life advocates are highlighting the weakness of arguments to repeal the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which recognizes the equal right to life of the unborn child and the mother.

DUBLIN — Ireland will soon go to the polls to vote on a referendum that legal analysts say would remove all constitutional protection for unborn children, currently provided for in the country’s constitution.

The people of Ireland are being asked to repeal the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which recognizes the equal right to life of the unborn child and the mother. A “Yes” vote on the government-proposed referendum would remove the 1983 pro-life amendment from the constitution and replace it with an “enabling provision” allowing for “the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”

In the event of the repeal of the Eighth Amendment — which recognizes the “equal right to life” of the unborn child and the mother — the government also intends to enact legislation for abortion on any grounds, up to 12 weeks, and on the grounds of “a risk” of serious harm to the physical or mental health of the mother, up to approximately 24 weeks, when the unborn baby is viable outside the womb.

In contrast, the current legislation requires that the condition of a “real and substantial risk” be met. And even then, a pregnancy may only be ended in cases where the life (as distinct from the health) of the mother is considered to be in danger.

While the new wording released by the government is subject to change, it also means that, in certain circumstances — for babies deemed likely to die either before or shortly after birth and for healthy babies in cases where there is an assessment of an immediate risk of serious harm to the physical or mental health of the mother — abortion would be allowed, without any gestational limits until the “complete emergence of the fetus from the body of the woman.” This appears to raise the specter of partial-birth abortion, in Ireland, at nine months.

The wording for the new legislation, also, for the first time, defines “termination of pregnancy” as “a medical procedure which is intended to end the life of the fetus.”

Together for Yes, which describes itself as “the national civil society campaign to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution,” says that it is “campaigning for a more compassionate Ireland that allows abortion care for women who need it.”

The group has also pointed out that Ireland’s Institute of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports a “Yes” vote.

But Dr. Andrew O’Regan of Doctors for Life Ireland has said publicly that “no evidence has been produced to show that intentional destruction of the fetus is necessary to avoid risks to the life or health of a pregnant woman.”

He says the proposal the government has put forward “has nothing to do with health care.”

Some of the many other criticisms of the proposals on the “No” side have come from a group of 200 lawyers who have signed a document highlighting the “profoundly unjust” nature of the government’s plans.

One of the signatories, Benedict Ó Floinn, told the Register, “This is a relatively simple proposition that is being put to the people in Ireland. It involves the removal from the constitution of the constitutional protection of the unborn child, and the Supreme Court has confirmed, in recent weeks, that removal of this constitutional provision will leave the unborn child with no constitutional protections.”

He said that he was urging a “No” vote because of the “far-reaching nature” of the proposals. He told the Register, “If you repeal the Eighth, the unborn child has no rights.”

When asked about the prospect of the legislation being challenged subsequently in order to broaden the grounds for abortion even further, Ó Floinn said, “it is impossible for anyone to predict the outcome of any challenges to restrictions in the legislation. That is yet another unjust aspect to what the government proposes. That’s why it’s vitally important for everyone to vote ‘No’ in the coming referendum.”

 

Pro-Life Response

Many pro-life and religious leaders appeared shocked that a referendum on what they see as a basic human right is being held at all — the Eighth Amendment recognizes the equal right to life of the unborn child and the mother.

Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe said in a pastoral letter issued Sunday, “I, along with many others, find it almost beyond belief and profoundly sad that we are being asked to abolish the basic right to life of the unborn child from our constitution, a most fundamental and basic right.”

Someone for whom the voting date of May 25  — Padre Pio’s birthday — has special significance is Father John Mockler, a consecrated member of the institute of Padre Pio’s Servants of Suffering. Father Mockler recently took part in an ongoing 40 days and nights of prayer and fasting pro-life initiative supporting the Eighth Amendment on the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick — which is associated with St. Patrick — and is also organizing a novena at multiple venues around the country to pray for life.

He told the Register, “It just shows where we’ve arrived at, that there is a referendum on something like this, because there are laws to protect species of snails or crows or bats, now. …  We’re inventing laws for the protection of these creatures, and here we are: trying to remove the protection from the baby in the womb, from the only creature of God who is destined for eternity. It should not even be a topic of discussion.”

There has been a steady increase in other prayer and fasting initiatives throughout the country, as the referendum approaches. These include novenas, Eucharistic adoration and vigils.

Human Life International Ireland has called for repentance and reparation via seven nationwide events May 13, asking the nation to seek God’s face and repent of its sins. Pray-ers will be joined in prayer from Lourdes, France, by the successor of St. Patrick, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh.

A “Mass and Fast for Ireland initiative also has been gaining support inside and outside Ireland. The lay initiative, which has now spread to the U.S., is in response to an appeal by well-known Sister of St. Clare Briege McKenna for prayers, fasting and Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes, for conversions of heart, protection of the Eighth Amendment and in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God.

Last week, about 5,000 people across Ireland gathered at Knock Shrine for a day of pilgrimage organized by the Apostolate of Eucharistic AdorationPeople can also be seen praying outside the houses of the Oireachtas, Ireland’s Parliament.

Another of the many priests organizing a novena to “save the Eighth” is Father Brendan Kiely from Dublin’s Aughrim Street parish. “If every priest were to intercede,” he told the Register, “this [the government’s abortion plan] could be conquered.” He said that it’s God’s priests that he really wants to make the sacrifices.

Father Cathal Price, a priest associated strongly with the Divine Mercy devotion, is urging people, whenever they go to Mass, to “make a deal” — offer their Masses for the holy souls in purgatory and ask them in return to defeat the evil coming against the country and to save the Eighth.

 

Saved by the Amendment

As a consequence of the Eighth Amendment, tens of thousands of Irish people, of all creeds and none, are alive and able to vote May 25, who might otherwise have died through abortions that could have been carried out in maternity hospitals and doctors surgeries across Ireland.

One of those who says he “wouldn’t be here if the Eighth Amendment wasn’t here” is young atheist Gavin Boyne, who told the Register that “the manner in which a child is conceived doesn’t determine whether he or she should live or die.”

His grandparents, Boyne explained, had planned to have him aborted after his mother became pregnant at age 15 following a one-night stand. “They knew that abortion was illegal in Ireland but didn’t really know why. They found out it was because of the Eighth Amendment, so they looked into the Eighth Amendment, and they found out what it did and they recognized my humanity and they came to the conclusion that I was a human being and it would be wrong to end my life.”

Boyne, who is busy campaigning for a “No” vote,  said that he has been surprised by how enthusiastic people in the middle ground are “once you guide them through the media sound bites.”

He said, “The one thing that is probably most crucial with this referendum, that probably hasn’t happened yet, is thinking” about its purpose.

 

Pro-Life Politicians

Another of those campaigning on the “No” side is Peadar Tóibín, a self-described “left-wing politician and an Irish Republican.”

“This is the human-rights debate of our generation,” the Sinn Féin representative told the Register. “The unborn child is an individual living human being. She is the weakest and most vulnerable of all human life. She has no voice at all, but currently within our constitution, her life is protected. As a left-wing politician and an Irish Republican, I believe that we need a law that protects the life of both mother and unborn child.

“But we also need to be pro-life for the whole life,” he added. “Many low- and middle-income expectant mothers feel like they don’t have a choice. This must be reversed. We need investment in maternity services, real health services, housing, child care and a decent living wage. We need to make sure all the children of the nation are cherished equally.”

“The polls are clear: The ‘pro-choice’ vote is sliding, week after week, and the pro-life vote is gaining. It’s also interesting that the pro-life vote is stronger in Irish Republican and working-class areas.”

Independent representative Mattie McGrath says that the referendum is really about removing “the last bastion of support” from the unborn child and that people are not aware of that, and “they are not aware that they will never be asked to vote again” on this issue.

He told the Register that there were a lot of confused Catholics who want to vote “Yes,” and he hoped “the Catholic Church will become more involved here.”

Another common concern of pro-life campaigners was voiced by the Tipperary representative when he complained about “the amount of misinformation and bias in the media.” He said that you could count on one hand those who were not “on a crusade.”

He also criticized the political process that led to the referendum and described the so-called Citizens’ Assembly as a sham vehicle used to bring in abortion.

He also believes that there is an abortion industry being “pushed on us,” and “there are people waiting on the sidelines rubbing their hands in glee.”

 

‘Safe, Legal and Rare’

When Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar formally announced his government’s intention to hold a referendum in January, he expressed the hope that if the referendum and subsequent legislation were passed, then abortion would become “safe, legal and rare.”

The logic of this position has provoked particular criticism in subsequent months, and McGrath added his voice to these criticisms, pointing to the millions of abortions that had taken place in the U.S. since the term was first used there in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.

The makers of the documentary Gosnell, about the notorious abortionist convicted of murdering three infants who were born alive during abortions, Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, were in Dublin for a special sneak-peek viewing of the movie April 30.

At a question-and-answer session afterward, and later when speaking to the Register, the couple also challenged the “safe, legal and rare” concept, pointing out that practically no one uses that expression in America any more, now that 60 million children are dead.

Also, they asked the question, “If it’s really women’s health care, why should it be rare?”

On another point, Phelim McAleer said that he had studied abortion for four years in various states and countries, and “I just find it extraordinary that people are being asked to vote and no one has told them what an abortion looks like and how it’s carried out.” This is “nowhere to be found” in official sources in Ireland, he said.

Caroline Simons, who is a solicitor and legal consultant to the Pro Life Campaign, also raised concerns about the nature of the current public discourse around the referendum.

“A lot of fear has been engendered,” she said, “that women may not get adequate care for their pregnancies, but this has been challenged by experts.” And “while they keep talking about hard cases, these few make up a tiny proportion of abortions.”

John O’Reilly, a veteran of the 1983 campaign and one of the few surviving architects of the Eighth Amendment, also shared his thoughts on the current proposal before the people and on the population-control ideology that helped bring it about, through the attempted provision of illegal abortion pills and other tactics. “Once you accept abortion,” he says, “the whole culture changes.”

That latter idea was echoed by Bishop Monahan, who told the Register, “This choice will inevitably shape our society for generations to come.”

With voting now just two weeks away, and one final “Stand Up for Life Rally planned for May 12, tensions are on the rise. “No” campaigners have strongly criticized a decision this week by Google to ban all ads related to the referendum. Such ads are a way of doing an end-run around media bias, “No” campaigner David Quinn said May 9 on Twitter.

Dr. Orla Halpenny of Doctors for Life observed that the campaign has “certainly intensified over the last few days.”

It is “going to be tight,” she thinks, but “hopefully the ‘No’ side will win.”

 

http://m.ncregister.com/56810/d#.WvmwjIgvzIU

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12 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on whether to retain or repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution.

Mass appeal:

please go to our home page for more info. on Sr. Briege McKenna O.S.C. ‘s appeal……

Today’s Post: Pope St. John-Paul said it all…..Ireland must choose…..

In the video below, Pope Saint John-Paul II’s prophetic words to the Irish people during his visit in 1979, resonate powerfully to this day. In the coming decades, he prophesied, satan would tempt or deceive Ireland away from the Faith to a false understanding of freedom especially in the areas of life and family. Almost 40 years on, under immense pressure from powerful forces at home and abroad, we are now voting on May 25th on whether to retain or repeal our pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution, which acknowledges equal right to life to mother and unborn child, despite having one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, with not one single maternal death attributable to the 8th.

The 8th is the jewel in the crown / thorn in the side of pro-life / repeal movements respectively and as such is every pro-life person’s amendment, yours and mine. If repealed, the government will legislate for unrestricted abortion to 12 weeks and to 24 weeks on similar mental health grounds to the ‘social’ abortion / mental health ground of the U.K.. As Pope John Paul II said in the following video: “Ireland must choose”.

Sr. Briege McKenna O.S.C. last year in Knock Marian shrine, implored everyone to do their utmost to save the 8th. Mass and Fast for Ireland is a response to that appeal and an S.O.S. to Christians everywhere for prayer and fasting and to catholics in particular, to have as many Masses offered in atonement, for conversions of hearts and protection of the 8th. Please visit our website and download our church poster and Sr. Briege’s prayer for the unborn….

http://www.massandfastforireland.com or http://www.facebook.com/irishunborn

God Bless you all

God is not outdone in generosity…..

 

 

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13 days to go…. Mass appeal….. Today’s Post:
A Letter not printed, a question not asked….
 
13 days to Ireland’s referendum on abortion….
 
Mass appeal….please go to the home page for more info. on Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal…. http://www.massandfastforireland.com
 
Today’s post:
 
A Letter not printed, a question not asked....
 
The following is a letter which was submitted to the Irish Times, Irish Independent and Irish Examiner newspapers over a week ago, but which has not been printed.
 
It highlights a really important question that has never been asked of the pro-repeal obstetricians who are agitating for on demand abortion here while stating that the 8th amendment ties their hands clinically…..
 
Calling out pro-repeal obstetricians on on demand abortions…
 
Sir,
 
The majority of Irish obstetricians and gynaecologists have advocated for repeal of the 8th amendment. Some have given expert testimony to the Oireachtais / parliamentary health committee on abortion and the public. Many trained or worked abroad at pre-consultant or consultant level, usually in the U.S. or U.K., where abortion on demand, even in the last trimester, is permissible in certain circumstances.
 
Did these pro-repeal obstetricians, in particular, those who appeared as expert witnesses and regularly in the media, stating that the 8th amendment ties their hands clinically, perform terminations of pregnancy routinely according to the grounds and gestational limits of the jurisdictions they worked in abroad or did they invoke conscientious objection rights (which who knows, might affect career prospects)? If not, surely that would be relevant to know given they would steer us in favour of liberalisation of the law?
 
Though silence on this is understandable to avoid negative reaction, we are nonetheless being asked to trust their professional opinion on the 8th. Is it not an omission or even disingenuous to neglect to state if true, that one is pro-choice, upfront to the Oireachtais and the public? In particular one’s experience of performing abortions on demand, (ground C is the mental health risk, so called ‘social abortion’ ground, responsible for 97% of 180,794 U.K. abortions in 2016: in total there have been 9 million UK abortions to date) or ground E: abortions for severe disability, including Down’s Syndrome (or whatever the equivalent is in whatever U.S. state one worked in).
 
There are activists in all walks of life. If you are a pro-choice obstetrician, performing abortions is activism and the U.K. and U.S. colleges of Obstetrics and Gynaecology both advocate for further liberalisation. (The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, recently voted for total decriminalisation to birth).
 
Could all our obstetricians now clarify, under what circumstances, in the past they performed abortions? They rightly command enormous respect and exert great influence over the current debate, but given the enormity of what is at stake, it is only fair to enquire, as otherwise an inaccurate picture of objective impartiality while advocating for repeal because one’s beliefs in right to access abortion on demand, may have been presented to our Oireachtais and public.

 

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Day 15 and 14 are together….

Mass appeal: please see the home page for info on having Masses said to protect the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution…..

200 lawyers publicly call for a no vote in the forthcoming abortion referendum: 

Access to abortion in the “hard cases” of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities could be dealt with by amending the Constitution, a group of lawyers advocating a No vote have said.

The Eighth Amendment, which gives an equal right to life to the mother and her unborn child, could be altered, instead of the current proposal to be voted on – on whether to remove it from the Constitution.

Barrister Benedict Ó Floinn said proposed legislation was for “a wide-ranging right to abortion” and not “what’s being sought to be conveyed – that somehow this is all about hard cases”.

Venetia Taylor, another barrister in the group, said she would have voted Yes if the proposed Government legislation for abortion had only “dealt with the hard cases like rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities”. Ms Taylor said she was supporting a No vote as the legislation on the table “just goes way too far”.

Planned legislation – if the Eighth Amendment is removed from the Constitution following a Yes vote on May 25th – would provide for abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Access to abortion could be provided after this period if there is a threat to the mother’s mental or physical health, or in the case of a foetal condition that would result in the child’s death before or shortly after birth.

Currently abortion is only permitted in Ireland where there is a risk to the life of the mother, which includes the risk of suicide.

‘Sweeps away rights’

A repeal of the Eighth Amendment “sweeps away all of the rights of the unborn child”, Mr Ó Floinn said on Friday. “One side might call it constitutional space, one side might use words like ‘sweep away’, but both are agreed all of those rights are gone”, he told media at a press briefing.

The group said more than 175 colleagues in the legal profession had signed a statement outlining that the Government’s proposals “will open the door to abortion in wide-ranging circumstances”.

These included Iarfhlaith O’Neill, a former High Court judge, who was chairman of the Referendum Commission during the Lisbon Treaty, and Aindrias Ó Caoimh, a former High Court and European Court of Justice judge.

If the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment passed, there would be a knock-on effect for lawyers in the courts, Mr Ó Floinn said.

He referenced a High Court case taken by Lavinia Doyle against the Health Service Executive, for damages after her unborn child was stillborn in 2003.

Lawyers for the family had relied on the constitutional right to life of the unborn in the case, which was settled in 2007 for a financial sum, and the HSE admitted liability.

“So if the rights of the unborn are swept away, as they will be if people vote Yes, as lawyers if we were in a similar case we wouldn’t have that argument,” he said.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/anti-abortion-lawyers-say-constitution-could-be-amended-for-hard-cases-1.3491770

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to Ireland’s referendum on whether or not to retain or repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution which gives equal right to life to mother and unborn baby.

The big news today is the decision by Google to block all advertisements which were favouring the no side of the campaign from you tube etc. to the joy of the pro abortion / repeal side who publicly praised the decision and rendered all the strategic planning by the pro-life camp for targeting undecided voters of which there are many in the final fortnight of the campaign, in disarray.

Facebook had already blocked any ads from outside Ireland but Google blocked them from within. The Yes side were complaining repeatedly that the no side’s online presence was fake news and there were repeated reports that the no side were gaining traction through the social media campaign.

On a much much smaller note, two social media experts who we consulted over the blocking of our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/irishunborn one month ago without any appeal rights and with no right to reply, are unable to explain based on what we showed them, why facebook blocked us on day 41 of the campaign when we were posting Professor Frederic Amant world leader in the field of cancer treatment of pregnant women’s good news story that both treated women and their babies are no worse off than any group who terminate their pregnancies.

They cannot understand why facebook blocked us.

Below the article by the Irish Times on Google’s block today:

GOOGLE’S ABORTION VOTE DECISION PROVES ITS POWER MUST BE CURBED:

Caveat: Constitution is for Ireland and is not a multinational’s mission statement

If you are a Yes supporter in the upcoming abortion vote, you may have punched the air on Wednesday when Google, just 16 days from polling day, suddenly banned all referendum advertisements, including those from legitimate Irish campaigners.

If you are a No supporter, you may have punched the wall, at what looks like the hobbling of your side’s strategy at the 11th hour. It was well-known that No had a huge edge over Yes in online ads, and was relying on this to reach undecided voters as referendum day closed in. The Yes side were complaining about it all week.

Emotions are running high on both sides of the debate. One woman even knifed the explicit posters of an anti-abortion group outside The Irish Timesoffice this week. But, if you can, please try to set aside your bias for a moment – your Yes joy at Google’s decision or your No despair – and think of the potential ramifications of this corporate intervention in Irish constitutional politics. For that is what it is.

Does it not concern you that executives unknown, at a Californian-headquartered, New York-listed technology behemoth can take a sudden, seemingly arbitrary decision at the height of an Irish referendum campaign, potentially affecting the wording of Bunreacht na hÉireann? It terrifies me.

The Yes side, which was emphasising ground campaigning, is delighted about Google’s ban, while No, which now has little time to pivot from digital, is distraught.

The political editor of The Irish Times, Pat Leahy, has received indications from his sources that Facebook and Google “became fearful in the past week that if the referendum was defeated, they would be the subject of an avalanche of blame” because No was more effectively using their platforms to target voters.

Foreign interference

But at least, when Facebook banned only foreign ads targeting Irish voters, earlier this week, it seemed likely to purify our national debate. Google’s decision, the practical impact of which blatantly benefits one campaign side in a referendum at the expense of the other, is the very definition of foreign interference in our system. Why did it not just ban foreign ads like Facebook?

When we talk about “corporate citizens”, nobody ever intended that they would potentially have an influence in the make-up of our Constitution. Bunreacht na hÉireann is a legal bedrock written by the people, not some corporate mission statement.

Perhaps you do not care. You just want your side to win the vote and for the other shower to lose, and you’ll take any help you can get, even if it comes via a $754 billion, stock-market-listed US company. Brexiteers and Trump gained murky advantage through online. Revenge. The end justifies the means, you know?

On a human level, that thinking is understandable. But that does not make it right.

What will you do if, the next time a foreign corporate entity intervenes in a passionate Irish politic event, you are on the wrong side of the argument? If, like Sir Thomas More’s angry foresters in A Man for All Seasons, we chop down all our principles now, how could we stand upright in the winds that would then blow?

Google says it banned all abortion referendum ads, even domestic ones, to protect “election integrity”. It is not terribly reassuring to think that such fundamental action could be outsourced to a US company worth more than twice Ireland’s economy. Better to let real citizens, and not self-interested corporate ones, do that protecting.

Societal steering

There has long been an argument that Facebook and Google should be economically regulated in the same manner as public utilities. They are the gatekeepers of so much of the digital economy, or so the theory goes, and are as fundamental to everyday western living as our water or power systems.

By dint of their knowledge of our every whim and peccadillo, their power to influence and their opacity (Google has so far flatly refused to further explain its decision), we should take our societal steering wheel back from this digital duopoly.

Regulate them more effectively. Draft laws to limit their influence, their power. I cannot tell you precisely what those laws should be – that is a nut for legislators to crack. But draft laws to better limit their influence over legislators, too.

Could you imagine a regulated utility such as An Post, at a minute to midnight in an important referendum campaign, suddenly backtracking to cancel all political mail drops in a move that, practically, would favour the strategy of one side over another?

Precisely that argument was advanced on Wednesday by the No campaign, in a heated debate over Google’s decision. You don’t have to be in the No camp to see the merit of the argument. Except, of course, if you’re deliberately looking the other way.

But herein lies the rub. It will be hard for our politicians to curb the power of the digital giants when they are cuddled up beside them beneath the duvet, giggling sweetly into each other’s ears about all those lovely jobs and their voluptuous contributions to the State’s economic coffers.

 

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/google-s-abortion-vote-decision-proves-its-power-must-be-curbed-1.3490815

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/google-s-abortion-vote-decision-proves-its-power-must-be-curbed-1.3490815

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“I was bound by my conscience. The party was led by its policy.”

With two terse sentences, the Offaly TD Carol Nolan describes the gulf that has grown between her and the Sinn Féin leadership over the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Nolan and the Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín have found themselves at odds with their parliamentary party colleagues on this issue.

While divisions have emerged in all parties, the difference with Sinn Féin is it does not countenance votes of conscience. Nolan has been suspended from the party for defying the whip on the vote for the referendum.

Nolan, a former teacher, is a new TD. Elected in 2016, she was seen as one of the party’s quieter TDs.

But on this issue she has been outspoken. She has been openly canvassing for a No vote at every available opportunity. That translates as a few nights each week, and also for the whole of the weekends. She has also addressed No rallies in Galway, Tipperary and Laois.

On a blue-skied Friday night, she is one of eight people on a Love Both canvass in Ardan View, a 1970s estate across the road from the General Hospital in Tullamore.

The canvass is led by former Fianna Fáil councillor Paddy Rowland who says it is great to have Nolan along. “She is instantly recognisable. People respect her because of her views and integrity.”

Younger residents

It is no surprise that there is a big majority of Nos here. Yeses are few and far between. Some of the younger residents – men in particular – have yet to make up their minds, though.

Nolan is canvassing with schoolteacher Claire Delaney, who has already canvassed here in February. Andy Lowbridge, a father of three young children, comes to the door and says he has yet to make up his mind, that it’s 50:50 with him. “We are getting a lot of literature. I understand the circumstances,” he says.

In a long discussion, Nolan and Delaney set out the classic No arguments, the assertion that the change will usher in abortion on demand, and the trust factor with politicians.

That resonates with Lowbridge. “If a politician told me told today was Friday (which it was) I would not believe them,” he says.

Paddy Rowland and a team of No campaigners check the area map for houses to canvass. Photograph: Tom Honan
Paddy Rowland and a team of No campaigners check the area map for houses to canvass. Photograph: Tom Honan

Typical of the majority No sentiment is grandmother Marie Tyrrell. “A No vote will be mine,” she says. “I have seven (children) and am going to talk to them.”

Canvassers Siobhán Flynn and Veena Lasrado Machedo have spent a long time talking to Lynda Kavanagh on her doorstep.

Afterwards Machedo sets out the approach. “If they are undecided, we will explain and tell them the reality so they now all the facts.”

Flynn adds that “12 weeks resonates with a lot of people”.

Silent vote

While there were shoals of No supporters, one wonders from listening to the uncertainty of a minority of householders if there is a silent Yes vote, just as No campaigners claim there is a silent No vote in Dublin.

Asked if she feels herself isolated in Sinn Féin, Nolan says: “At the minute I am focused on the referendum. I am acting on my conscience and my beliefs. My beliefs are very strongly pro-life.

“I do hope there is space given to republicans like myself who would be also strongly pro-life.”

Nolan says she has been contacted by many members who support her view and she is glad at what she is doing. “The Proclamation says we must cherish all the children equally and I feel that is what I am doing, as a republican, as an Irish woman and as a mother.”

Asked if the party is not minded to give members like her a free vote in the future, she deflects a little.

“I have not come to that point yet. I have been so busy supporting the No campaign.

“I am just working in the here and now. I would be hopeful that there will be a vote of conscience. I think there is a need for a free vote. As republicans we need that space.”

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18 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion and whether or not to retain or repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution which gives equal right to life to mother and child.

Mass appeal: Everyday we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said to protect the 8th. Please go to the home page for more info.

Today’s post: How abortion in the U.S. is safeguarded by the supreme court from all legal challenges to restrict it

In a letter to this paper about the legal consequences of repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic, which prohibits abortion in almost all cases, more than 60 legal experts claimed that in the United States the controlling supreme-court precedent on abortion “permitted states to regulate abortion access” and that, as a result, “many American states now have very conservative abortion laws”.

This is not an accurate summary of how courts apply the law of abortion in the United States. To the contrary, the controlling legal precedents and their interpretation by US federal courts render American abortion law among the most permissive in the world.

It is true that in the companion legal cases of Roe v Wade and Doe v Boltonthe US supreme court in 1973 assumed near-exclusive responsibility for the regulation of abortion in the United States. The court declared the basic question of a right to abortion to be beyond the authority of the nation’s political branches, asserting that there is an unstated and undeclared fundamental right to privacy that includes the licence to terminate a pregnancy. That opinion was controversial then and remains so among commentators on all points of the political spectrum, many of whom have expressed concerns that the right invented in Roe was wholly untethered from the text, history or tradition of the constitution, laws and practices of the United States.

In 1992 a sharply divided court affirmed the core holding of Roe when it heard the case of Planned Parenthood v Casey. But it modified key features of that opinion such that now the right to abortion is grounded in a constitutionally protected “liberty” interest (instead of “privacy”)

Legal framework

Moreover, Casey established a binary pre- versus postviability legal framework such that prior to viability (the moment a child’s lung capacity is sufficiently developed to survive outside her mother’s body) the state may not impose an “undue burden” on the right to choose abortion. Postviability, the court held, the state could impose regulations so long as it provided exceptions for those cases in which preservation of a woman’s life or health required an abortion.

Again, it is not clear how such a granular legal rule follows from the text, history or tradition of the US constitution, which nowhere mentions abortion and was ratified in relevant part in 1868 (when abortion was illegal in many states).

The supreme court of the United States has never sustained a restriction on abortion as such. The only limits it has permitted are side constraints

On its face this appears to grant the states latitude in regulating postviability abortions. But due to the capacious definition of “health” provided by Doe vBolton, and left undisturbed by Casey, the “health exception” that must accompany any limit on abortion at all stages of development includes any aspect of a woman’s wellbeing (including economic or familial), as determined by the abortion provider himself. Accordingly, the law of abortion in the United States is one of the most permissive worldwide.

Although it is true that many states have passed numerous laws in attempts to protect the rights of the unborn despite the hostile legal climate, federal courts regularly strike down such restrictions as unconstitutional. In fact the supreme court of the United States has never sustained a restriction on abortion as such. The only limits it has permitted are side constraints on the manner in which an abortion is obtained, including informed consent laws, parental-involvement requirements and limits on one particularly grisly form of abortion known as partial-birth abortion.

Commonsense limits

Far more often the federal courts invalidate modest, widely popular, commonsense limits on abortion. To take but a few recent examples, US courts have struck down bans on abortion based on genetic or sex discrimination (for example, to eliminate disabled unborn children), a ban on abortions of unborn children 20 weeks or older, requirements for the humane and dignified handling of foetal remains, and bans on the dismemberment of a living unborn child.

Indeed, as a Washington Post fact checker recently confirmed (to her surprise), the United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation. The US joins China, North Korea, Singapore, the Netherlands, Canada and Vietnam in this sorry distinction.

By contrast Ireland has been a model for the world on how to extend care, concern and legal protection to both mother and unborn child. It has resisted the false narrative of “maternal/foetal conflict” that sets their interests against one another. As an outside admirer from a country whose abortion laws are among the most extreme in the world, I sincerely hope that the people of Ireland choose to retain the Eighth Amendment and thus continue as a beacon for the health and flourishing of mothers and babies, born and unborn.

O Carter Snead is the William P and Hazel B White director of the centre for ethics and culture, professor of law, and concurrent professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, in the United States

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/abortion-in-the-us-actually-its-laws-are-among-the-world-s-most-permissive-1.3459718

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Association of catholic priests

 

The Save the 8th group, which is campaigning against the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, has defended the practice of allowing referendum campaigners to speak at Mass.

It was responding to a statement from Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) which said the practice could be regarded by some Church-going Catholics as “inappropriate and insensitive” and “an abuse of the Eucharist”.

The association said it was “concerned” that in the run up to the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, some parishes were allowing their pulpits to be used by campaigners.

It said that while it fully endorses “the Catholic teaching that all human life, from beginning to end, is sacred”, it also recognises that “human life is complex, throwing up situations that are more often grey than black and white and that demand from us a sensitive, non-judgemental, pastoral approach.”

“There is undoubtedly a moral content to this referendum, but as with many other issues, there are also social, political and pastoral dimensions.”

It said that as as an association made up of unmarried, childless men, “we are not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue”.

The association said it encouraged people to find out what exactly they are being asked to vote for, and what the consequences of their vote may be.

“Having done that to the best of our ability, and following it with the, often painful and difficult, task of consulting our conscience, let us cast our vote.

“A vote cast in accordance with each person’s conscience, whatever the result, deserves the respect of all,” it said.

The ACP is a voluntary association of Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland. It was established in 2010 with the objective of having “a forum, and a voice to reflect, discuss and comment on issues affecting the Irish Church and society today.”

One of its founders, Fr Tony Flannery, was disciplined and banned from public ministry by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2012 for views he expressed on Catholic teachings in areas such as sexuality, contraception and the role of women in the church.

Save the 8th said it had been “delighted and honoured” to accept invitations to speak to congregations.

“The Association of Catholic Priests appears to be worried that Catholics may hear Catholic teaching reflected at Catholic masses,” it said.

The group said it would never decline an invitation “educate” voters about which it described as the “extremity of the Government’s proposal, which legalises abortion for healthy mothers, and healthy babies, for any reason at all”.

Save the 8th said no-one was compelled by a church or its campaign to listen to any speaker.

“If we have reached the point where speaking about the right to life in a Christian church is in some way controversial, that would be a sign that hysteria has overtaken rational discourse in this referendum campaign,” it said.

“Our campaign shares, and applauds, the deep commitment of the Christian community to the values of respect for the life and dignity of every human individual. These values and beliefs are not limited to people of faith, and are shared by people of no religion whatsoever.”

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Meath Michael Smith said in a statement released to mark the feast day of Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers, that “despite suggestions to the contrary”, the Church asks that all necessary medical treatment be given to a mother in pregnancy even if this were to result in the unintended death of the child.

He said highly respected medical and legal experts had made it clear that under the present law the best standards of care were available to mothers in a crisis pregnancy.

“Are we as a society to say to women experiencing a crisis in their pregnancy that the solution to their concern is to be found in abortion? Does this show compassion and care for women?

“The solution to a crisis pregnancy should be found in addressing the crisis, not in terminating the life of an innocent child. Abortion is a brutal act. There is no semblance of compassion involved in ending the life of the child in the womb.”

He said it was difficult to imagine how such an action could be compatible with the Catholic faith in any way.

He described abortion rates in other countries as “appalling” and said they should “fill us with the dread of similar rates becoming normalised here”.

The power to decide “who lives and who dies” should not belong to the individual, he said.

“Saving the Eighth means that we do not have to choose between two competing rights. To choose life is to choose both.”

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20 days to go to Ireland’s abortion referendum on whether to retain or repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution.

Mass appeal: please see our home page for info on having Masses said for the Irish at this critical time: polls are suggesting it could be very very close….

Today’s post:Marie Donnelly Nurses for Life.jpg

‘Intentionally ending the life of an innocent baby does not treat any illness’

Nurses say proposed abortion legislation could mean nurses giving up jobs on conscience grounds

Proposed abortion legislation could force nurses and midwives out of a job, it has been claimed.

Campaigners for a No vote in the referendum on the Eight Amendment say the conscience clause promised by the Government in legislation if the measure passes is inadequate.

“We are concerned about freedom of conscience and have seen how Scottish midwives lost their case in the UK not to be involved in abortions,” said Mary Kelly Fitzgibbon, of Nurses for Life, a nurse, midwife and a lecturer.

A conscience clause in the proposed legislation would mean passing the care to somebody who would “facilitate” the termination of the pregnancy. “So that would mean that we would be co-operating in the act of abortion,” she told a press conference on Friday.

“I know, working in London, it was quite a grey area. It’s quite clear in the general scheme of the legislation that we would be required to facilitate [abortion],” she said.

“For many of us, because that is against our core belief of upholding the right to life of both the mother and baby, we could no longer practice. So that has real implications,” she said.

In 2014, the supreme court in London decided the right to conscientious objection in abortion cases did not extend to labour ward co-ordinators.

Marie Donnelly, a nurse from Kerry, said : “When Simon Harris says late-term abortions are prohibited I ask him, ‘Show me where. Tell me where it is in the Bill. Find me the line that says that.’ Because, Simon, I have read the Bill and I cannot find it anywhere.”

Kerry psychiatric nurse Catherina Ní Shuilleabháin explained how her daughter was “living proof that the Eighth Amendment is a good thing. Had there been an abortion clinic in Kerry, had there been a doctor handing out pills in Kerry, I could have easily had an abortion and told nobody. I did not have an abortion. I had a baby.

“In Britain and in other jurisdictions women like me don’t think twice, because it’s normal. It is the done thing, it is what is expected of you. In this country we are so close to importing that culture, a culture that says life is not a gift, it’s a problem,” she said.

Crisis pregnancy

“The Yes side hates it when women like me speak out because they say there are no women like me,” she said. “The message comes out from them every single day that women like me cannot survive being a mother; that a crisis pregnancy is the end of the road for us,” she said.” Together for Yes never mentions the baby – ‘baby’ is their kryptonite.”

Ann Flynn, a nurse from Offaly, said she was “gravely concerned at the consistent emphasis on very rare cases”, in the referendum debate.

“Every day I open up my newspaper to see another story that is flat-out wrong. I read that women have to carry dead babies inside them – that is rubbish. I read that women can’t get cancer treatment – that is rubbish.

“I read that women are treated as vessels – that is rubbish. We have had a sustained campaign in Ireland to essentially slander the entire health sector.”

It was “offensive, it is nonsensical, and those pushing this narrative should be ashamed”, she said.

‘Horror show’

“If you vote Yes on May 25th, you are voting for a horror show. You’re voting for death on an industrial scale,” she said.

Meanwhile, in a pastoral letter Catholic Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahanhas warned that the proposed post-referendum abortion legislation would allow “unrestricted access to abortion” and “make the regime in Ireland one of the most liberal in the world”.

It would “also make abortion available on unspecified health grounds for up to six months. Our Constitution is the people’s law – only the people can change it. If we remove the constitutional protection for the unborn, we are giving permission to a future Dáil to introduce an even more liberal law,” he said.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/intentionally-ending-the-life-of-an-innocent-baby-does-not-treat-any-illness-1.3484529

 

 

 

 

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/intentionally-ending-the-life-of-an-innocent-baby-does-not-treat-any-illness-1.3484529

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Mass appeal….everyday we ask people to pray, fast and have Mass said for Ireland and the protection of the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution. See http://www.massandfastforireland.com for details.

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Professor Patricia Casey, Consultant psychiatrist

TODAY’S POST:

Patricia Casey says Bill the Government intends to introduce should amendment be repealed ‘very vague’

Consultant psychiatrist Patricia Casey has said that to suggest abortion is a solution to mental illness “is naïve in the extreme”.

Referring to 2010 study headed by Royal College of Psychiatrists in London, she said it found “whether a woman had an abortion for an unwanted pregnancy, or gave birth, made no difference to her mental health outcome”.

The study found no evidence that abortion protected a woman against mental health problems, she said.

She said the Bill the Government intended to introduce should the Eighth Amendment be repealed on May 25th was “very vague in relation to psychiatric assessment”. It contained no definition of mental health and under its terms any medical practitioner could decide an abortion was necessary.

“That, to me, is a gross deficiency in the Bill,” she said.

It could mean “a single doctor, specialty unspecified, can carry out an immediate termination of pregnancy where he or she is of the reasonable opinion that there is immediate risk of serious harm to the mental health of a woman, and it will be lawful to carry that out up until birth”, she said.

‘Insupportable’

The Bill went “much farther than the politicians are pretending . It is extreme, it is unsupportable, and it is not based on any evidence,” she said.

When asked whether she had difficulty with abortion where there was a threat to the physical life of the mother Ms Casey responded “of course I don’t”. She said: “I don’t think anybody I know would want to see a woman die because of a complex pregnancy.”

She was speaking at a press conference in Dublin on Tuesday called by Save the Eighth campaign to challenge what it claimed was misinformation supplied by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

 

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/psychiatrist-says-to-suggest-abortion-a-solution-to-mental-illness-naive-in-the-extreme-1.3480660

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Removal of Eighth would create law more inhumane than Britain’s

Abortion in Britain can take place for functionally any reason up to 24 weeks

(Of note this article is only available to subscribers on the Irish Times website.)

Vote No: “While the Irish Government’s proposals may seem restrictive, just as the Abortion Act did in the 1960s, long British experience shows that any legislation enacted based on their ‘principles’ would introduce a radically permissive abortion regime all throughout pregnancy. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Recently, the Irish Government released a paper setting out 21 principles that would inform their prospective abortion legislation, were the Eighth Amendment to be repealed.

Looking at this from a British perspective, it’s worryingly hard not to see shadows of our own law, the Abortion Act 1967.

When it was introduced just over 50 years ago, the 1967 Act was sold to the public and to the Westminster Parliament as a restrictive law. The evidence of half a century, however, shows this claim was utterly empty. The everyday reality in Britain today is that abortion is available on demand, for any reason, up to 24 weeks. In 2016, just over one in five British pregnancies ended in abortion.

The false assurances we heard in 1967 are echoed by certain pro-repeal politicians today, as they claim that abortion law after any removal of Eighth Amendment protections for unborn children would be modest and more restrictive than those across the Irish Sea. The truth is that, if anything, it would create a law not just as permissive and inhumane as Britain’s – but even more so.

The reason why the Abortion Act has led to abortion on demand is because section 1(1)(a) of the Act allows abortion under what we now call Ground C: when two doctors agree that “the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family”.

‘Mental health’ reasons

Some 97 per cent of all abortions in Britain take place under this ground; 99.8 per cent of which are carried out for “mental health” reasons/

Of course, no evidence exists that abortion helps safeguard mental health. As pro-choice Prof David Fergusson reported in a longitudinal study on mental health and abortion, the “evidence clearly poses a challenge to the use of psychiatric reasons to justify abortion”. Uncoincidentally, no verification is required regarding the alleged underlying psychological condition, nor is even one of the two doctors required to be formally qualified to be able to identify such a condition.

As a consequence of this, abortion in Britain can take place for functionally any reason whatever up to 24 weeks – the explicit “upper limit” introduced in 1990. This has meant a situation of normalised laxity, which a media investigation in 2012 showed even allows for the ugly spectre of misogynistic sex-selective abortion.

This permissive abortion system has not only led to the destruction of girls in the womb, but to the deeply tragic suicides of young women. Examples include 13-year-old Ashli Blake in 2014, whose abortion helped to cover up her sexual abuse; young mother Jade Rees in 2015 after the abortion of her baby daughter, and the artist Emma Beck in 2007 after the abortion of her twin girls.

Compare the British model to the principles of the Irish Government’s Health paper on prospective abortion legislation. These state that under any legislation they introduce, abortions would be provided “without indication” (ie on demand) up to 12 weeks, but also on the grounds of “risk to health” to a pregnant woman with no gestational restriction.

Ireland would suffer a system even more extreme than the British, which itself has destroyed so many lives, not only of unborn children, but of pregnant mothers

Moreover, no distinction would be made between physical and mental health. This would establish the same supposedly limited “health grounds” for abortion as in UK law, but by crucial contrast, with no “upper limit” applying in such cases. This would lead to a de facto situation of abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth.

Sex-selective abortion

“Any reason” would include the sex-selective abortion that has been shown to be possible in British practice. The Stop Gendercide campaign started by women’s groups Jeena International and Karma Nirvana, in analysing currently debated proposals for permissive abortion on the Isle of Man, has noted that due to improvements in prenatal testing technology, foetal gender can now be detected after seven weeks’ gestation. Not only would introducing abortion on demand up to 12 weeks formally legalise sex-selective abortion in the first trimester, but providing de facto abortion on demand would enable sex-selection throughout all of pregnancy.

While the Irish Government’s proposals may seem restrictive, just as the Abortion Act did in the 1960s, long British experience shows that any legislation enacted based on their “principles” would introduce a radically permissive abortion regime all throughout pregnancy.

Ireland would suffer a system even more extreme than the British, which itself has destroyed so many lives, not only of unborn children, but of pregnant mothers. Both lives matter: every life counts.

In considering how to vote in the upcoming referendum, I hope the Irish public realises that if the Eighth Amendment is repealed, the Republic would go down a road even darker than that of British practice. Knowing this, I hope voters will opt instead to Vote No to maintain Ireland’s Constitution as a civilised standard of human dignity and rights.

David Alton is a member of the House of Lords and a long-time anti-abortion campaigner

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/removal-of-eighth-would-create-law-more-inhumane-than-britain-s-1.3480588

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Icon of Rachel weeping for her children

Referendum on Eighth about trusting politicians – not women or doctors

We have all seen breath-taking speed at which politicians’ principles can ‘evolve’

Vote No: “We are being sold a false narrative that our laws on pregnancy and abortion need to be updated.”

Imagine for a moment that a pair of smartly-dressed young men come knocking at your door. Apparently, they’ve noticed your roof is badly in need of replacement. This comes as a surprise to you, as your roof seems to be serving its purpose very well in keeping out the elements without problems.

However, as these smooth-talking characters explain, all your neighbours have got a new kind of roof, and it would be backward and foolish of you not to follow their example.

Again, this seems strange, as you’ve recently heard some of your neighbours complaining about their roofs leaking. But these nice young men are so charming that you give them the go-ahead anyway. Then they inform you how much the new roof will cost you. You gasp with shock!

This is a price that you’re not sure you can afford. But their sales patter is so convincing that you reach for your chequebook.

Just as you are about to write the exorbitant cost on a cheque, one of the young men says, “Actually, just to be on the safe side, why don’t you just sign the cheque and just leave the amount blank? We wouldn’t want to go to all this trouble to bring you to the door again if the job ends up costing a little bit more.”

Nice young man

As you prepare to detach the cheque from the chequebook, the other nice young man speaks up. “Since we don’t know what other work might need doing, it might be better if you just signed all the cheques in the chequebook, left them undated, and gave us the whole chequebook.”

What should really cause us to sit up and take notice is the request for us to hand over an entire book of undated legislative blank cheques

If such a scheme were operating on the streets of Ireland, we would expect to see warnings from the Garda. But none of us would be so foolish as to fall for such a sales pitch – or would we?

According to the World Bank’s maternal mortality ratios, published by the World Health Organisation, Ireland currently has a healthcare system that is one of the safest in the world for pregnant women. Our maternal mortality rates are, for example, lower than those of either the United Kingdom or the United States.

Yet we are being sold a false narrative that our laws on pregnancy and abortion need to be updated to become more like these countries.

The initial cost we are being quoted to install a new legal regime for pregnant women is steeper than most of us expected, causing many seasoned politicians to doubt whether we can be persuaded to pay it – abortion on demand up to 12 weeks.

But what should really cause us to sit up and take notice is the request for us to hand over an entire book of undated legislative blank cheques.

The mantra is “Repeal & Replace”, and listening to our political leaders, you could be forgiven for thinking that the “Replace” refers to the 12 weeks legislation.

Yet, no matter how hard we look for it in the voting booth, it appears that we won’t find any reference to 12 weeks anywhere in the referendum question.

Authorise the Oireachtas

Instead, we will be asked to authorise the Oireachtas to legislate anything it chooses on the subject of abortion.

This will not just apply to the current minority government, but to every future government, including those which are struggling post-election to garner votes and need to form coalitions or sweet-talk a few Independent TDs into keeping them in power.

I suggest that it would be naive in the extreme to remove the most important human right of all – the right to life – from the Constitution

Meanwhile, our current Government has, at great effort and expense, persuaded the Supreme Court that an unborn child has no rights whatsoever under the Constitution except for the right to life guaranteed in the Eighth Amendment.

It is significant that the case before the Supreme Court did not refer to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but was about an unborn child that was due to be born only three weeks later.

Trusting politicians

The imminent referendum is not about trusting women. Nor is it about trusting doctors. It is about trusting politicians.

We have all seen the breath-taking speed at which politicians’ principles can “evolve” – whether it be with respect to water charges, abortion or whether the US President merits an invitation to our country or not.

I suggest that it would be naive in the extreme to remove the most important human right of all – the right to life – from the Constitution and to put it in the hands of career politicians.

Nick Park is executive director of Evangelical Alliance Ireland

this article is from the Irish Times 30th April.

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    Abbey presbyterian churchThe Abbey Church on Parnell Square Dublin

 

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has called for retention of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which recognises the equal right to life of mother and unborn, in next month’s referendum.

In a letter circulated this weekend to all minsters and congregations in the Republic, it said that: “The General Council of our Church, acting with the authority of the General Assembly, has concluded that meaningful protection for the unborn can only be secured if the Eighth Amendment is retained in the forthcoming referendum.

“We therefore encourage church members to consider these matters prayerfully and with great care over the coming weeks and to vote in accordance with their conscience.”

The letter is signed by the Church’s moderator Rt Rev Dr Noble McNeely, clerk of the general assembly Rev Trevor Gribben, and convener of the Republic of Ireland panel, council for public affairs, Very Rev Dr Trevor Morrow, also a former moderator of the church.

They recalled how “in January, representatives of our church wrote to members of the Oireachtas, affirming the value of every human life, emphasising the importance of care for women, children and families in times of crisis, and urging all to work for a truly progressive Ireland where the weak and vulnerable, including children in the womb, are cherished and protected”.

Since “then the Government has pressed ahead with proposals to introduce unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, should Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution, the Eighth Amendment, be repealed”.

“As Christians, we see the scriptures speaking consistently of the importance and value of human life, including that of the unborn. On that basis, we are responsible before God to honour the sanctity of human life.”

Mixed views

They said that, “while recognising that there are mixed views within our church about the adequacy of the current Constitutional provision, particularly around those exceptional circumstances in which the termination of pregnancy may be necessary, we consider the proposals for unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy to be regressive, incompatible with human dignity and morally unacceptable”.

Looking to the position of the other main churches in Ireland, the Catholic Church opposes abortion in all instances and wants the Eighth Amendment retained.

The Methodist Church rejects the proposed unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks but says abortion is permissible where there is risk to the health of the mother as well as in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality and where the foetus is incapable of survival.

The two Church of Ireland Archbishops – its Primate Archbishop Richard Clarke and Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson – said they were opposed to “unrestricted access to abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, or indeed at any stage”. However two of the church’s bishops, Bishop of LimerickKenneth Kearon and Bishop of Ossory Michael Burrows, have said they favour repeal of the Eighth Amendment as has former Archbishop of Dublin John Neill.

Rabbi Zalman Lent of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation favours repeal as his community believes abortion should be permitted where there is a risk to the mother’s health.

Dr Umar al-Qadri, chairman of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, has said he believed the Eighth Amendment should be repealed while Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin’s Clonskeagh, opposes repeal.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/presbyterian-church-urges-no-vote-in-abortion-referendum-1.3478231

 

 

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(Days 26 and 25 are together as we were away :))

25 days to go….to Ireland’s referendum on whether or not to repeal the pro-life 8th amendment, which gives equal right to life to mother and child to the Irish constitution, or retain it.

MASS APPEAL: Everyday we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said either privately or publicly in your parish for Ireland, in reparation, for conversions and that the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution would be saved. For links to online organisations that arrange Masses through the missions go to the home page : http://www.massandfastforireland.com

TODAY’S POST:

WE CAN’T BELIEVE THEY DON’T WANT TO MENTION ABORTION TO SIX MONTHS

OR:

WHY IS THE PRO LIFE SIDE PLAYING THE PRO CHOICE GAME DOOR TO DOOR?

This is not intended to be offensive or controversial for its own sake but please bear with us….

Originally, the Irish government reported that unrestricted medical abortions would be allowed lead by GP s up to 12 weeks. Then after 12 weeks for mental and physical health risk subject to two nominated doctors’ agreement with no upper limit to include life limiting or so-called fatal foetal conditions, so in the last trimester of pregnancy. At that point there were two sets of ‘health care’ (as they insist on calling it) conditions. To 12 weeks no questions asked and 12-40 weeks / full term subject to the said doctors’ judgment.

Then we discussed how the Irish government, after a 10 point drop in opinion polls for the repeal campaign, announced that they were going to introduce a 24 week upper limit on abortions. Thereafter as the baby would be viable, they would not abort but would deliver the baby. This was to clarify and reassure the population that from 24 weeks, babies would not be left to die or subjected to feticide (death by lethal injection).

At that point it emerged that there would be a three tier system in place: the same as originally proposed, but a cap on killing at 24 weeks. So unrestricted no questions asked medical abortions which would be GP lead until 12 weeks, abortions on mental and physical health grounds to 24 weeks as decided by two nominated doctors, (no doubt nominated to be pro-choice) and finally abortions in the final trimester only in three circumstances: (a):  if the mother’s life was at risk ( which was always done under the existing medical council guidelines (b): her health was at severe risk (this would cover mental and physical risks) and (c): for life-limiting conditions / or fatal foetal abnormalities as they insist on calling them. This despite groups like ‘One Day More’, who delivered their seriously ill babies as close to term as possible, asking the Irish government not to use the term fatal foetal abnormalities, as it’s not medically or scientifically based and is inaccurate with some babies dying after birth or survive to this day.

Because of the U.K.’s history of botched abortions in at least one of the NHS trusts, whereby babies born alive from abortions, usually with Down Syndrome were left to die and not transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit, the pro-choice camp have been emphasising that if babies here are aborted after 24 weeks, they will receive care. Remember these are the people who do compassionate health care.

There are a few ways of interpreting this:

The fact that it took them a month to come up with the 24 week ban gives an indication that they were letting the no upper limit / full term abortion idea float to see how it’d fly. Possibly they always knew that after 24 weeks, however up for a woman’s right to choose they may be,  others in hospitals would balk / draw the line at not providing care to a live delivered baby that could potentially survive and so they were always going to permit these babies to receive care. They then announce it to show how conservative they can be, as a concession and again to show compassion and how reasonable they are: if you’ve a chance of making it outside the womb, we’ll give you that fighting chance.

Something we cannot get our heads around to date however, is how the pro choice and pro life sides both seem to be focusing their campaigns on the 12 week limit for unrestricted medical abortions.

We can understand on the pro choice side, why this would be in their interest: after all, the pro choice side announced limitations where before there were none to emphasise by the way, how reasonable they are.  They are eager to fudge the fact that a liberal abortion regime is at the door up to 24 weeks on the mental / physical health ground and according to what they were originally proposing: on severe risk to maternal health grounds even in the last trimester (whether or not they always intended to care for viable babies).

However we don’t at all understand why the pro-life position has been focusing so much on the 12 week limit especially going door to door with an argument that the proposals could be liberalised at a later stage. Or that the proposal to have abortions mid-trimester, are as we have heard it, on ‘vague’ mental / physical health grounds.

It appears to be the case that the focus on the 12 week limit is to emphasise that these are healthy babies with healthy mothers. Public take note, these are not the hard or extreme cases that many of you would allow abortion for. Now we understand that one has to be strategic and it’s fair enough to point out how developed these babies are, that in the  majority of cases they are normal, how they are not a risk to their mother’s health or life, but are considered fair game for execution. This is all fact. In a sense this is appealing to the public, consider the plight of these babies mostly healthy. This referendum therefore is not about the extreme / hard cases really. It is the government proposals in fact which are extreme and go so much further. So the argument appears to go….

But while it’s valid to discuss how far the baby has developed to 12 weeks:  all its internal organs are developed, it responds to touch by week 11, etc., this also just serves to emphasise that the upper limit proposed is just to 12 weeks if that’s where most conversations at the doors stop.

What is the rationale for this argument we’ve heard repeatedly, that abortion could be liberalised at a later stage? Yes it’s true, politicans could opt to abort to birth again and harmonise laws here with the U.K  where unrestricted decriminalisation of abortion in all cases, unfortunately is now on the cards.  “Politicians will have a blank cheque for all future changes to abortion laws” is the argument at the doors here in at least some cases. It’s not that this is not true. It is true. The Irish government will receive a blank cheque to do whatever the hell they want. Literally.

But we already know they are going to extend it from 12 to 24 weeks minimum to include the mental health risk ground which is the social abortion ground in the UK and other countries. Remember this is ground C on the abortion form in the UK where almost 9 million abortions have taken place since 1967. 98% of those 9 million odd abortions were done under ground C. The mental health risk ground is the catch all ground for abortion on demand everywhere. If a baby is unwanted in any jurisdiction where abortion is on demand, all a counsellor / nurse / medic has to do, is state that there is emotional inability to cope and tick the mental health risk box. That’s it.

Incidentally the two doctor stipulation in the UK has effectively long been dispensed with. The Dept of Health and professional bodies all agree a doctor is not required to see a woman pre abortion. A nurse / counsellor can deal with the preliminaries and the doctor’s only role is to sign the abortion form, stating where they performed the abortion. There’s even a box to tick on whether they did or did not see the patient. The second signature can come from a doctor off site at another clinic. Zero patient contact is required legally despite the law stating that two doctors must agree having formed an opinion in good faith that she meets the requirements under the act. What a serious farce the two doctor model is across the Irish Sea. Why would we be any different?

So we in Mass and Fast for Ireland are concerned that a truly massive elephant in the room is being missed and that the pro choice side cannot  believe their luck. A large section of the pro life canvass is focusing on the 12 weeks limit and risk of future liberalisation by the government at the doors. Why give the public the impression going door to door that 12 weeks is where it’s at when the government / repeal side have made it clear they’ll shoot for 24 weeks upper limit minimum with hand-picked doctors and their interpretation of the very useful all-embracing mental health ground? Surely the conversation should specifically state there is a 24 week limit proposed and a clearly stated intention to copy our neighbours use of the mental health ground for mid-late trimester abortion on demand and how utterly farcical the two doctor model has worked out abroad.

Thank God one of the pro life groups is running the billboard campaign depicted:

I had NO idea….they want to legalise abortion to 6 months.

That’s kind of ironic considering those met at the doors may still have no idea based on the format as described but a publicity blitz on this will build on what’s already been done and expose how radically further the proposals really go.

Please all canvassers:  limiting the conversation to 12 weeks only with a reference to vague possible future liberalisation is underplaying it with all due respect and with the wolf at the door.

Please canvassers include the following from now on:

Please any pro life organisations not blitzing these points, consider escalating them now:

(1): The government propose abortion to 6 months on mental / physical health risk grounds according to the say so of two nominated doctors.

(2): The mental health ground in the UK is social abortion, (ground C), accounting for 98% of nearly 9 million abortions.

(3): The two doctor model in the UK, has slipped to no legal requirement to see a woman prior to an abortion. (If necessary mention the box ticking that the doctor did / didn’t see the woman). A nurse sees her beforehand. The Doctor aborts and signs the form.

If you get a chance add in:

(4): Down’s syndrome babies are aborted mid-trimester in other countries under the mental health ground even though no ground officially exists for disability abortions like Ireland.

No ground +no specific ban+mental health risk= Down Syndrome abortions mid-trimester. (9/10 Down’s babies in Germany diagnosed mid-trimester on pre natal screening are aborted this way. Up to half of Down’s babies in the UK were aborted on the mental health risk ground as abortionists didn’t fill in the disability ground but Down Syndrome genetic registries did).

Below is Dr. Peter Boylan’s ongoing crusade to permit carnage in Irish hospitals and get repeal over the line with the reassurance that babies on the cusp of viability will be delivered and limits.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/government-will-seek-to-ban-late-term-abortions-1.3440056

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27 days to go to Irelan’ds referendum on abortion May 25th on whether to retain or repeal the pro-life  8th amendment to the Irish constitution which gives equal right to life to mother and baby.

Everyday we mention Sr. Bridge McKenna’s Mass appeal where she asked for as many Masses as possible to be celebrated for Ireland and protection of the 8th.

Please consider having one said privately or publicly in your parish before May 25th.  In reparation for Ireland’s turning away from God, conversions and protection of the 8th. Alternatively for links to Aid to the Church in Need or Human Life International Ireland’s1000 Mass appeal, please go to the Home page of this website.

TODAY’S POST:

DR BOYLAN VERY WRONG (ABOUT UK ABORTION FIGURES.)

See the Iona institute’s article on this after the following…

Dr Peter Boylan has yet again come out with a deliberate smokescreen to throw off the pro-life vote. He does this quite deliberately and from a genuine belief that he represents an Ireland that has ‘grown up’, operating out of a paternalistic attitude that some plebs out there can get confused / bogged down in understanding human rights. He understands this is not helped by despicable and nutty pro lifers throwing out disturbing facts at the masses, so it is necessary for someone to save them, to break things down for the said plebs by reassuring them that any concerns they might have steering them towards a pro-life position, are entirely groundless.

If necessary blanket denial or a fresh re presentation of facts can be used and the end justifies the means as some people either just aren’t educated enough or don’t use what education they did receive to get over hurdles thrown up by the right to life crew, such as the inherent dignity and humanity of the unborn baby, the barbaric nature of the act of abortion and the carnage that will result in Irish hospitals and on Irish soil in the name of the Irish people. Some even express discomfort with adopting a utilitarian approach to other human beings whose rights have actually come to only depend on wantedness. As such the unborn, actually when you think about it,  do not exist and their prematurity and dependency which equals vulnerability to attack and killing, mean they are absolutely up for grabs if not wanted.

Previously Dr Boylan stated that Savita died because of the 8th amendment, as if she had had an abortion on request, her life would have been saved. His counterpart, heading up the obstetrics and gynaecology profession in India at the time, Professor Divakar, disagreed which is fair enough one way or the other if he’s convinced he’s right, but he neglects to acknowledge repeatedly, that a very rare bug that killed Savita can have up to a 60% mortality rate. That’s without going into the multiple oversights in the hospital system which missed basic care. He’s still saying it despite 3 official independent  investigations not saying it.

He also said that Down’s Syndrome babies will be exempt from mid-trimester abortions as there is no ground for aborting them in government proposals. What are the chances of him not knowing, that without a ban, this is meaningless, as in Germany, where there is no ground for their abortion either, the mental health risk ground is invoked to abort 9/10 Down’s babies diagnosed on screening because there is no specific ban.

His latest shot is at the famous No posters across the country, which state that 1 in 5 pregnancies in the UK end in abortion or 1 abortion takes place for every 4 live births. Dr Boylan states that one in five UK pregnancies ending in abortion is wrong and it’s actually 1 in 10, as the pro life movement here did not mention miscarriages.

Knowing full well the statistics quoted on abortion worldwide,  never include miscarriages as one cannot get accurate figures on these, he decided, maybe for the craic or because the compilation of data doesn’t help his quest to repeal or both, to re present the facts in a fresh creative and pro repeal way. Also knowing full well,  that miscarriage is entirely different to intentional abortion which is the whole point of the pro life position and so he produces the 1/10 figure to dilute the starkness of the U.K. Government’s own stats which nonetheless and despite his best efforts, speak for themselves.

 

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Seriously.

Dr Peter Boylan very wrong about UK abortion figures: Iona Institute:

26TH APRIL 2018

Dr Peter Boylan very wrong about UK abortion figures

April 26, 2018 – In an interview in Hot Press magazine this week, Dr Peter Boylan makes a claim about the British abortion rate that is very wrong. He says that in Britain one in ten, rather than one in five pregnancies ends in abortion.

But the one in five figure comes from official UK statistics. (See Note 2 below). It is true that miscarriages are not included in the total number of pregnancies in the official data. But this is standard practice in reports of this kind because we cannot know with any certainty how many pregnancies end in miscarriage.

England Wales conceptions abortion pregnancies

In any case, what we can say with absolute certainty is that in Britain there is one abortion for every four births, a horrifying statistic.

For example, looking at figures for England and Wales, we see that in 2016, there were 696,271 live births and 185,596 abortions. That is one abortion per four births.

In Scotland there 54,199 live births and 12,063 abortions in the year to April 2017. (See Note 3 below).

Commenting on Dr Boylan’s claim, Maria Steen of The Iona Institute said: “It is disturbing that someone as senior as the head of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynecologists should make a claim that in the UK there is one abortion for every ten pregnancies. There is simply no way Dr Boylan can arrive at a figure like this because he cannot know, and no-one can, how many miscarriages take place each year”.

She continued: “But what we do know is that in the UK there are almost 200,000 abortions annually, and that is equivalent to one abortion per four births. Another way of saying this, and it is used in official reports in the UK, is one abortion for every five pregnancies.”

She added: “We cannot have a proper debate about abortion if we are not properly informed. We are being asked to introduce a regime that in many respects goes further than the regime in the UK. For example, in the UK, a health reason, in theory, is required to justify an abortion whereas here the intention is to permit terminations for any reason in the first three months, which is when about 90pc of abortions take place.”

Ms Steen concluded: “It is vital in this debate that we look at what is happening in other jurisdictions. Right next door in Britain there is a colossal number of abortions each year. Very many pregnancies end in termination. The Irish people need to know this and not be misled into thinking the situation there is less bad than it really is”.

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28 days to go…

Everyday we ask for prayer, medically safe fasting / Masses: privately or publicly in your parish for Ireland and the 8th (see our home page for further details).

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says church must be ‘pro-life’

Church needs to be beacon of support at any ‘vulnerable moment along the path of life’

The Catholic Church and believers must always be “pro-life”, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

The church “must always be a beacon of support for life at its most vulnerable moments. And a beacon of support at any vulnerable moment for any woman or man along the path of life,” he said.

“The church must be pro-life when it comes to the unborn and those who are vulnerable at the end of their lives. However, the church must be pro-life at so many other moments in the lives of people.

“Being pro-life means recalling all of us to reflect on the deeper meaning of life and to reject many of the paths of superficiality that just lead away from fulfilment,” he said.

The church was called to be pro-life “not just in words and statements and manifestoes but to be pro-life in deeds, through being a church which reflects the loving care of Jesus especially for those who grapple to understand the challenges of their lives.

‘Sad fact’

“Being pro-life is not an ideological position. It is a path of conversion that we are all called to follow. Church institutions have failed many times in their duty . . . to those entrusted to their care. It is a sad fact that has led many to drift away from the message of Jesus.” he said.

Archbishop Martin was speaking at the Dublin diocesan pilgrimage to Knock 2018. A concerted effort was made to involve a wider number of parishes from Dublin in the pilgrimage this year, he said, “as it takes place just a few months before the World Meeting of Families which will be held in Dublin in August and which the Holy Father, Pope Francis, will attend.”

He said “we want to pray today for the success of that world event and we want to pray for families, especially those family that experience difficulties and challenges”.

He recalled how at his general audience in Rome last Wednesday Pope Francis spoke about “the many simple things parents can do in passing on the faith. He repeatedly mentioned teaching children how to make the sign of the cross and how to make it properly and not slovenly,” said the Archbishop.

The sign of the cross is “remembering our baptism where we were welcomed into the Christian community by our parents and godparents who made the sign of the cross on our foreheads,” he said.

 

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Dr Mark Murphy

29 days to go….Mass appeal…..Dr. Mark Murphy advocates for intellectually disabled women to be able to abort their babies at Inclusion Ireland’s pro-repeal launch.
Yesterday we examined Evie Nevins’s talk at a Kildare Pro Repeal meeting. Evie is the disability rights activist who advocates for abortion access rights and she made a number of negative comments regarding pro-life activism in relation to the billboards depicting Down Syndrome children with the statistic that 9 out of 10 are aborted in the UK (diagnosed pre natally) and also how the ground E abortions for severe disability in the UK are as low as 1 to 2% by way of arguing that those with disability will not be at higher risk of abortion/ discriminated against / screened out of the population. Yesterday we looked at the UK government’s last published data from 2016 where it was stated that a figure of 2% of disability abortions was probably underestimated by a half. This was only picked up by the Christian Medical Association doctor Dr Peter Saunders and it begged the question, if half of abortions on grounds of disability can be missed in official U.K. govt. data is the problem of under reporting even wider?
WHO LAUNCHED INCLUSION IRELAND’S REPEAL CAMPAIGN (PART 3)
The third person who launched the pro-repeal campaign for Inclusion Ireland was Dr. Mark Murphy.
Dr. Murphy is the chairman of ‘Together for Yes’ campaign, a coalition of pro-choice / repeal groups. He is a G.P and a member of the group Doctors for Choice. He has co-signed a number of letters on behalf of Doctors for Choice to the Irish Times. Again in the Irish Times he stated at Repeal the 8th launch: “women with disabilities, like all women in the Irish State, should be able to make private, personal decisions about their own healthcare, particularly in a crisis”. He said it was very difficult for him, as a GP, to stand over the lack of access to care for his patients who had disabilities. He is a lecturer and head of communications in the Irish College of General Practitioners where other founding members of Doctors for Choice have been based.
[To get a flavour of where Dr. Murphy is on the catholic Church and how much he despises the Church, have a read of this:
It’s not clear if Dr. Murphy, like Suzy Byrne and Evie Nevins, had any dealings with Inclusion Ireland before the launch. If they did ….genuine apologies. If they didn’t, then, they were contacted by Inclusion Ireland, presumably by the C.E.O. Paddy Connolly and / or Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath, to launch a disability repeal campaign using Inclusion Ireland as a platform.
Minister McGrath also cites the fact that he is a father to Cliodhna, his daughter who has Down Syndrome in the context that there is a need to repeal the 8th. This is supposed to give credence to his and Paddy Connolly’s use of Inclusion Ireland as a front for a repeal campaign on behalf of those with disabilities.
As mentioned in previous posts, Minister Finian McGrath, contradicted himself when stating his rationale for wanting the 8th repealed. In one article he gave right-on statements, on how he wanted women with intellectual disability to have the right to choose, including abortion access. In another article, he stated that realistically, it is the family and the GP who make the decision in a crisis pregnancy and that abuse takes place in certain centres under the radar. The intellectually disabled woman doesn’t get a mention in the decision making process in that comment, nor does he elaborate on what abuse takes place. It appears no one enquired further what abuse and in what centres, he was referring to that resulted in crisis pregnancies in intellectually disabled women.
It’s likely that the good name of Inclusion Ireland was hijacked by Minister Finian McGrath and Paddy Connolly for the repeal campaign.
For an organisation, some of whose policy papers are taken with the issue of rights to sexual relations in the intellectually disabled, providing capacity to consent is established and consent does take place, I wonder how many members of Inclusion Ireland were consulted on using the organisation as a platform for repeal?
How many family members or is that irrelevant? How many of the intellectually disabled themselves, deemed to have capacity were brought through what is at stake if the 8th is repealed,  before the organisation went public on their behalf, advocating that if any of their female clients got pregnant, they would be able to access abortions in Ireland?
Is this not another example of the minister having his cake and eating it? He and other activists choose for the intellectually disabled, saying it’s best to for them to have access to abortion on a wider scale. He also advocates for them having the right to sexual relations if consent is genuinely given at least in theory, but says the G.P. and family members make a decision on the ground in a crisis pregnancy? ( If he was only talking about those who can’t consent he didn’t clarify that which would have been critical)?
Were board members of Inclusion Ireland who include self-advocates / people with intellectual disability consulted on the launch and if so what were they told or how were they told what repealing the 8th meant? Did someone from a non-directive counselling perspective advise the board members? Did they have someone from both sides talk to them for balance and voted?
Otherwise if they didn’t consult their membership, it’s paternalistic and against the spirit of what they say they advocate for. Perhaps the following did not enter their heads, but it may have been a safer bet to choose an organisation representing intellectual disability as it was unlikely that the client base of intellectually disabled would rise up in arms about it if they did disagree.
Or is that discriminatory of us to suggest that?
Separately, even though Evie Nevin and Suzy Byrne have physical disabilities and they say they want to be treated equally, they were also happy to advocate for the intellectually disabled to have abortion access among the wider body of those with disabilites. Maybe they did act in trust, but really, did anyone think of checking with the intellectually disabled?  Remember these are the clients Inclusion Ireland are agitating for to have rights to sexual relations.
For that matter, why weren’t other disability groups chosen?
Was it just Minister Finian McGrath’s personal bias kicking in? (Is it the case that at some level he has already established in his mind that if ever his daughter had a crisis pregnancy,  she would be best having an abortion?)
Perhaps the other disability groups weren’t playing ball?
Did he consult any of them?
We did. We contacted the national ones listed on the HSE disability groups page.
The following have stated they don’t have any position on the referendum:
The National Council for the Blind (N.C.B.I.)
Enable Ireland,
The National Disability Authority,
Down Syndrome Ireland.
Special Olympics Ireland said to give them a call to discuss it. But they have not taken a position.
Others did not respond though they were contacted twice. If they had a position, one imagines they would have responded to an open question or have flagged it on their websites.
While pro-repeal people could argue that other disability groups didn’t get involved as Inclusion Ireland was already doing the job for them, is it not more likely that the launch was signed, sealed and delivered based on the personal paternalistic bias of Minister McGrath with C.E.O. Paddy Connolly, who got a pro abortion ideologue in Dr. Murphy and two very eloquent physically disabled rights activists to talk about where they are coming from?
Either treat the intellectually disabled as people capable with capacity or don’t and just openly make decisions for them (Inclusion Ireland advocates that capacity to consent to sex should be presumed in the first place in the intellectually disabled, not the other way round which they feel would be discriminatory. But they also say that if sexual relations are happening, that that is okay once capacity and consent is established. We’re not sure when capacity and consent is established in relation to sexual activity in the intellectually disabled) . Don’t just advocate for them when it suits Inclusion Ireland / Minister McGrath.
You can’t have it both ways…

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30 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on whether or not to retain or repeal Ireland’s pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which uniquely gives equal right to life to mother and child. Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world with the 8th amendment….

5 in a photo

From Left to Right: Paddy Connolly C.E.O. Inclusion Ireland, Evie Nevin, Finian McGrath, Minister for Disabilities, Suzy Byrne and Dr. Mark Murphy at the Together for Yes, Inclusion Ireland launch for repeal of the 8th amendment

MASS APPEAL:

Everyday we ask people individually or together to go into prayer and medically safe fasting to protect the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution.  We ask catholics in particular worldwide, to consider Sr. Briege McKenna’s call for Masses to be celebrated for the protection of the 8th.  (Sr. Briege has an international ministry of intercession for priests and healing).

TODAY’S POST:

WHO LAUNCHED INCLUSION IRELAND’S REPEAL CAMPAIGN (PART 2).

Yesterday we talked about Suzy Byrne, the disability / feminist activist and award winning blogger who launched Inclusion Ireland’s pro-repeal the 8th campaign. Inclusion Ireland is the state-sponsored advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities.

The second disability activist who advocated for abortion rights for disabled women in general and presumably intellectually disabled women in particular as that is Inclusion Ireland’s focus, is Evie Nevin, who advocates for choice to include abortion access.

Evie and her two children suffer from the condition, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. A connective tissue disease that is genetic, very painful and which unfortunately there is no cure for. Evie first went public about her condition when asking for financial help to manage trips to the UK to a private specialist unit over there, Ireland having no such unit (1). Having previously worked in journalism, Evie has been unable to due to her condition.  Evie started a facebook page / campaign: disabled4choice and has said that should she become pregnant, as she previously had a complicated pregnancy and as hormonal contraceptives do not agree with her, that she would need to have an abortion and should not have to travel for this.

We previously posted on how Dr. John Monaghan, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist with extensive experience stated that the 8th amendment never blocked him from taking any action necessary to safeguard / save a woman’s life. Pro-repeal obstetricians such as Dr.s Peter Boylan, state they want abortion on demand to permit them to intervene to safeguard / save a woman’s life and in any case, that it is a woman’s right to choose independently of any risk.

Medical debates aside, Evie now lobbies on behalf of ‘Disabled people together for Yes’,  ‘West Cork Together for Yes’ and latterly ‘Inclusion Ireland”s pro-repeal launch so that intellectually disabled woman can access abortions in Ireland. Evie has suffered greatly from her condition and speaks on this at a pro-repeal meeting, Kildare Coalition for Repeal.(2)

However at this public meeting, Evie states: “there have been people who have taken it upon themselves to speak for people with disabilities and families of people with disabilities. We’ve all seen the billboards, we’ve all seen the facebook ads and the trucks on our roads. Perhaps it’s because we’re seen as needing to be protected? But we don’t. We want to be treated like anyone else. We want equal rights. We are not a pawn in anyone’s game. One argument that is constantly used, is that disabled people will be wiped out, should the 8th be repealed and legislation brought in to decriminalise abortion.

In reality this is not going to happen. Statistics from Britain show that 1 to 2% of abortions, are carried out because of a diagnosis of severe disability. Should the legislation follow the Joint Oireachtais Committee’s vote* , only a diagnosis of Fatal Foetal Abnormality will be allowed for abortion after 12 weeks. So this idea of eugenics through the use of abortion simply won’t happen. I won’t mention the issues surrounding Down Syndrome as Down Syndrome Ireland have asked people to keep the condition out of the debate and I want to respect their wishes.”

*(the Irish parliament’s health committee which had a ratio of 6: 1 pro-choice to pro-life expert witnesses and voted half way through the proceedings for repeal of the 8th before hearing all witnesses)

Evie states that pro life activists are speaking out of turn on behalf of the disabled.  The reality is that able bodied or disabled, there are people on both sides of this debate, whether either side wishes this or not. A similar argument could be argued by a pro life disabled activist that non disabled pro choice people should not take it upon themselves to speak for him or her if that is Evie’s meaning. Indeed Lord Shinwin, a peer in the House Of Lords in the UK last year attempted to introduce a ban on last trimester abortions from 24 weeks for disabled babies which are permitted to birth even if they only form a small % of the absolute total (3). It failed and so abortions to birth continue in the U.K. for disability and 24 weeks for non-disability . He might have argued that abortion supporters / providers refrain from commenting, but it of course in no way deterred them and they voted against him.

So debate on life and death issues in society that have a wider impact cannot be only for those directly affected however much either side’s activist might wish it. Separately,  of all the disability groups that could have launched the repeal campaign, Inclusion Ireland, an advocacy group for intellectually disabled women was chosen presumably by Finian McGrath the pro-repeal minister for Disability, whose daughter Cliodhna, has Down’s Syndrome and the C.E.O. Paddy Connolly.

One wonders how they decided between them, that this particular group, intellectually disabled women was to be the focus group to launch a wider or narrower disability abortion access campaign?  It’s difficult not to conclude that these two gentlemen, decided that two very eloquent, well able to go,  female public speakers / activists, Suzy Byrne and Evie Nevin, each with different physical disabilities, could best represent disabilites in general and their client base, intellectually disabled women in particular on abortion rights in Ireland. Could this decision making process perhaps also be open to accusations of people taking it on themselves to speak for the disabled, in this case the intellectually disabled? Minister McGrath has already gone on the record that it is the family and G.P. who decide on abortion in crisis pregnancy of intellectually disabled women despite previously talking on the intellectually disabled woman’s right to choose herself…. (see day 33 blog post). More on this tomorrow….

To clarify, the posters and billboards which Evie refers to as being reprehensible show a child with Down Syndrome and state that 9/10 babies (diagnosed antenatally) in the UK with Down Syndrome are aborted.

DOWN'S BILLBOARD UK

Actually those of us on the pro-life side, equally do not want to have to have this conversation or look at billboards of Down Syndrome children with grim statistics on display about their demographic demise across the water. We would all much prefer not to have to. But we do have to, as if an advocacy group for those with Down Syndrome can stay quiet about the screening out of Down’s babies across Europe and previous proposals in the citizen’s assembly here to permit their abortion to 22 weeks and can stay silent on how this will likely happen here, then apologies to all unhappy with the posters, but SOMEONE has to name it and a simple image, not of an aborted baby, but of a child with Down Syndrome, does speak a thousand words.

A further point: Evie’s argument that only 1 to 2 % of abortions in the UK are done for disability is incorrect in itself,(4) as the 2% figure quoted in the UK Department of Health’s own government statistics has been closer to double that.

The current roll out of the simple NIPT blood tests (Non Invasive Pre-natal Tests) in the U.K.  towards the end of the first trimester, earlier than the mid-trimester screening to date has resulted in sufficient concern from the Anglican communion in the U.K. to meet and affirm the dignity of people with Down’s syndrome in their country (5), though pro-lifers might have wished that they’d called out how individualism coupled with a fear of being perceived to judge, however laudable that is, is leading to eugenics.

The increased availability and accuracy of screening for congenital abnormalities comes at a time when the trend in maternal age continues upwards (6).  The % of Down’s babies are higher (4% of over 35s) , the older the maternal age and a trend of increasing numbers of pregnancies with Down’s babies will likely therefore also continue upwards with increased uptake in screening.

From the UK government’s own official stats 2016 on abortion (4), Ground E on the abortion form HSA4, is the ground that permits abortion for severe disability to include Down Syndrome.

“1.15 During 2013, it was brought to the Department of Health’s attention that the number of Ground E HSA4 notifications was lower than the number reported to the congenital anomaly registries. The Department of Health has worked closely with the National Down’s Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (NDSCR) to explore this discrepancy and is now working with Public Health England.

1.16 A matching exercise was carried out between the NDSCR data and Department of Health notifications for 2011, 2012 and 2013 data. Results from the matching suggest that a Department of Health notification was made for about 54% of NDSCR records and that almost half of Ground E notifications are missing.”

The only reason this discrepancy that almost half of abortions of Down Syndrome babies were missing from official statistics, was because the National Down’s Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (N.D.S.C.G.R.).,**, which had almost double the numbers reported to it as to government. The discrepancy was actually picked up by the head of the Christian Medical Alliance in the U.K. (7) and does not appear to have been on the radar for the Dept. Of Health. If half of all trisomy abortions are not reported to the Dept of Health in the UK why is that?  The abortion stats document for England and Wales continues:

“In December 2016 the Department of Health wrote to all Fetal Medicine Units, Antenatal Screening Midwives and administration staff reminding colleagues of doctors’ responsibility to submit HSA4 forms to the relevant Chief Medical Officer. The letter was jointly signed by the Department of Health, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Maternal and Fetal Health Medicine Society. However, despite some progress being made, it is likely there is still a significant undercount presented in the ground E notification tables in this publication, so overall figures related to ground E notifications should be treated with caution.”

Despite writing to all the relevant abortion providers, there was little improvement in the reporting rates. It concludes:

“Between 2011 and 2013, there was a 17.8% increase in the submission of HSA4 Abortion Notifications for Down’s syndrome.” So even after sending letters to everyone possible urging compliance with the HSA4 forms (abortion forms for disability) the yield increased by only 18%. So about 2.36 out of a possible 4% total abortions were now being reported.

Some of the discrepancy appeared to be about who had responsibility for filling in the form when a two stage medical abortion took place.

** The National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (NDSCR) was set up on 1 January 1989. It holds anonymous data from all clinical cytogenetic laboratories in England and Wales of cases of Down’s, Patau and Edwards syndromes diagnosed antenatally or postnatally.

(1): https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/cork-family-pleads-for-help-to-battle-rare-illness-446841.html

(2): https://www.facebook.com/disabled4choiceire/videos/570161246693184/

(3): https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/tory-peer-says-lords-dont-want-disabled-babies-to-live-after-abortion-bill-thrown-out-a3488066.html

(4):https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/679028/Abortions_stats_England_Wales_2016.pdf (see bottom of pg 9 and 10)

(5): https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/general-synod-affirms-dignity-and-humanity-people-downs-syndrome

(6): https://www.bpas.org/about-our-charity/press-office/press-releases/ons-data-shows-continued-trend-towards-older-motherhood-decline-in-teenage-births/

(7): http://www.lifenews.com/2013/01/09/uk-govt-grossly-under-reports-of-down-syndrome-babies-aborted/

 

 

 

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31 days to go…. to Ireland’s abortion referendum on whether or not to retain or repeal the 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal right to life to mother and child.

Inclusion Ireland 4 people

Dr. Mark Murphy, Minister Finian McGrath, Inclusion Ireland C.E.O. Paddy Connolly and Suzy Byrne.

DAILY MASS APPEAL:

Every day, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna (O.S.C.) ‘s appeal for prayers, fasting and Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God, conversions of heart and for protection of the 8th amendment. There is nothing greater than the Mass. (See home page for links)

TODAY’S POST: WHO LAUNCHED INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY ADVOCACY GROUP INCLUSION IRELAND’S PRO REPEAL CAMPAIGN:

DISABILITY RIGHTS ACTIVIST SUZY BYRNE:

Inclusion Ireland the advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities, launched Ireland’s pro repeal campaign one week ago. This is an extract from radio station Newstalk 106’s website:

Disability rights activists say the Eighth Amendment is about more than abortion for the women they represent.

Disability organisation Inclusion Ireland has joined forces with the ‘Together For Yes’ campaign to call for a yes vote in the upcoming referendum.

They say that the Eighth Amendment creates additional barriers to care, including inaccessible travel options for those who may need abortion services.

Disability rights campaigner Suzy Byrne says some disabled women are told not to get pregnant.

She explained: “The Eighth Amendment is about an awful lot more than terminating a pregnancy when it comes to people with disabilities.

“People are told ‘don’t get pregnant because there’s nothing we can do to help you’. Then contraception may not work in certain circumstances depending on your condition – you may not be able to take medication because it may affect other medication that you have.”

She says travelling to the UK for some physically disabled women is sometimes not an option – and even if it is, it’s a logistical nightmare.

“The tube in London is not accessible… so there were taxis involved, a hotel involved… and the psychological impact is huge,” she observed.(1)

Suzy Byrne is a disability rights, L.G.B.T. and feminist activist and writer of an award winning blog: http://www.mamanpoulet.com. She was previously and publicly critical of Minister Finian McGrath in September 2017 in an Irish Times article entitled ‘Both sides of abortion debate abuse existence of people with disabilities’ (2): for only representing the views of carers and family members rather than the views of those with disabilities themselves. While the title of the article calls out both sides of the debate on using / abusing those with disabilites for their agendas and while she also complains about disability being used for right to die moves, she does come down on one side of the argument the way the Irish Times report it:

“Disabled women are hugely affected by the Eighth Amendment. Disabled women are not seen as sexual, not allowed control over their bodies when giving birth.”

Whatever about advocacy for the right to control how to give birth, the issue of taking the life of a developing baby is not given an mention.

Notably, she had previously also signed her name to a letter to the Irish Times 22nd January this year (3) by disability rights group: Repeal 8, which addressed (didn’t deny mind) any claims that people with disabilities would be more likely to be aborted as follows:

“concerns about pregnancy terminations on grounds of fetal impairment and anticipated disabilities are better addressed through ensuring that women and girls receive non-directive counselling following prenatal screening and access to pregnancy-related information that enables them to make informed choices and to prepare for caring for and supporting a child with a disability, as well as social and financial support for families raising children with disabilities”

This in spite of the 90% abortion rates of Down Syndrome babies in those who receive positive screening results in the UK and Germany.  (100% rates in Iceland and > 95% in Denmark) and that’s before N.I.P.T. / non-invasive pre natal testing is rolled out in the U.K., (which is now happening) which will permit Down Syndrome in particular to be predicted with an accuracy of 99% on a blood test from week 10 on.  Repeal 8 continued:

“With this in mind and based on the recommendation of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Ireland should avoid enshrining into law a specific “disability exemption” because it tends to suggest that the law devalues the lives of people with disabilities. However, the UNCRPD does not allow the promotion of disability rights at the expense of women’s human rights and reproductive freedom. Rather, these should be pursued in tandem. This can be achieved through not only ensuring women have access to abortion, but that they have access to pregnancy-related information, including prenatal testing. Following receipt of testing results, women should receive accurate, non-directive counselling that works against disability-based stigma and discrimination, and informs women about the means of and support for caring for a child with a disability, as referenced earlier.”

Repeal 8 and Suzy Byrne, do not want any positive or negative discrimination in relation to the lives of unborn babies with disabilities. They do not want any additional protection or ground in the law exempting babies with disabilities as this is deemed to be discriminatory to the disabled who are being singled out for protection from abortion over non-disabled babies. They also feel it’s discriminatory to women in general, whom they feel need to receive non-directive counselling “that works against stigma” that allows them to decide on whether or not to keep a disabled baby like any other baby. Disabled rights must not trump women’s rights. And that is according to this coalition of disability rights activists. As long as there isn’t overt stigma against disability in any non-directive counselling a woman receives presumably, her right to choose trumps any right of the unborn baby, able bodied or disabled.

In one sense, this is coherent  / consistent as it at least calls out a hypocrisy in the Irish government proposals to exempt Down Syndrome abortions so as not to be seen publicly to be discriminatory to the disabled (which was a cynical move to get repeal over the line even though Down’s babies will not be exempted as no ban exists on Down Syndrome abortions, making the lack of a ground utterly meaningless as in the German model).

The pro -life position also would hold that ability or disability in the developing baby should not be grounds to abort by virtue of that little human being’s inherent dignity for his or her own sake. The position of the government if repeal happens, though mendacious,  as Down’s babies will be aborted mid-trimester on mental health risk grounds (no ground, no ban means no protection: can’t overstate this enough), was giving the lie that Down’s babies were getting extra protection while remarkably deeming ‘normal’ babies at similar gestations not worthy of a right to an exemption. Why?  By virtue of not having a disability. But that is the lie. If a woman mid trimester approaches two nominated family planning doctors stating inability to cope which is the mental health risk ground, what are the chances I.F.P.A. doctors will turn an abortion request down whether the baby is able bodied or not?

Mad stuff.

However at least for the purposes of the Inclusion repeal launch,(4), Suzy Byrne and the minister joined forces and at least overtly got over their differences. Or perhaps Minister Finian McGrath, was instrumental in inviting her to launch the campaign to smooth over previous differences.

(1): https://www.newstalk.com/Disability-organisation-Inclusion-Ireland-joins-Together-For-Yes-campaign-

(2): https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/both-sides-of-abortion-debate-abuse-existence-of-people-with-disabilities-1.3231980https://www.repealeight.ie/eighth-amendment-disability/

(3):  https://www.repealeight.ie/eighth-amendment-disability/

(4): https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/disability-group-backs-repeal-of-eighth-amendment-1.3463423

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32 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion and whether to retain or repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution which gives equal right to life to mother and child.

As with everyday we ask people to have Masses said or arrange prayer vigils / groups and fast to pray for Ireland (see home page).

Today’s post is an article from Lifesite news on how the ethicist Peter Singer of Princeton University, states that those who do not have capacity to consent are not harmed if sexually active. Yesterday we examined how the Minister for Disability, Finian McGrath contradicted himself on where rights to consent to abortion lie in the event of a pregnancy in an intellectually disabled woman.

Here is another take, on those who do not have capacity.

Celebrated moral philosopher: It’s OK to rape the disabled

 DisabledEthicsNew York TimesPeter SingerRape

NEW YORK, April 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – It may be ethical in some situations to rape a mentally disabled person, according to controversial Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer in an article he co-wrote and The New York Times published this week.

The argument made by Singer and Oxford moral philosopher Jeff McMahan is not hypothetical. Their article, “Who is the Victim in the Anna Stubblefield Case,” is two-pronged defense of Stubblefield, a fellow ethicist recently convicted of sexually assaulting a 29-year-old man with severe cerebral palsy.

The first prong is a relatively unobjectionable re-argument of the defense case. Stubblefield utilized a highly subjective and disputed technique called “facilitated communication” to befriend the man, known as D.J. “Over a two-year period in which she believes she communicated with him often and deeply,” McMahan and Singer relate, “she came to love him and to believe that he loved her and indicated his wish to have sex with her.”

They did have sex, but when she told his family, they sued her and went to the police. Then came a jury trial, a conviction and a 12-year prison sentence. Singer and McMahan say the judge prevented the defense from making a case that D.J. was a cognitively aware adult mentally and morally capable of consenting to sex. They contend that the judge allowed the jury to see only minimal evidence of the validity of “facilitated communication” and prevented D.J. from testifying because she accepted the prosecution’s and family’s position that D.J. was mentally and physically incapacitated. The conviction is being appealed.

This part of the Times article is reasonable, say observers. However, it is the second prong of Singer and McMahan’s case that is alarming, both to defenders of the disabled and to critics of Singer’s controversial equation of humanity with mental capacity.

In effect, the two bioethicists say that, if the prosecution is right and D.J. is mentally incapacitated, then Stubblefield has done him no real harm in having sexual intercourse with him and, arguably, some good.

“If we assume that he is profoundly cognitively impaired … in that case, he is incapable of giving or withholding informed consent to sexual relations; indeed, he may lack the concept of consent altogether,” they write.

“On the assumption that he is profoundly cognitively impaired, therefore, it seems that if Stubblefield wronged or harmed him, it must have been in a way that he is incapable of understanding and that affected his experience only pleasurably.”

Writing in Current Affairs, which he edits, Nathan Robinson said Singer [and McMahan] might have won plaudits from the disabled community if they had simply asserted D.J.’s right to prove his cognitive ability in court.

“Instead, he decided to give another defense of Stubblefield, and in doing so offer one of his most outrageous arguments yet: it might actually not be bad to rape cognitively impaired people.”

For Robinson, this is creepily close to Singer’s previous devaluations of the disabled, especially if newborn. Singer’s utilitarian moral philosophy values people — and animals — for their power to think, be self-aware and experience pleasure. In 1979, for example, he wrote, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons.” Therefore, he reasoned, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”

Later, he defended the killing of disabled newborns based on how little pleasure they could be expected to experience. He argued that the prudent disposal of children be allowed for up to 30 days after birth — time enough to discover their defects. Other factors that might enter into Singer’s calculus: Would caring for a disabled child give the parents pleasure? Then let it live. On the other hand, if a couple killed their disabled child, might they then have another child with much more capacity to enjoy life? Then kill the disabled child.

“This kind of stuff (repeated again and again),” Robinson added, “has led some disabled people to get the not unreasonable impression that Peter Singer, perhaps the world’s most prominent ethicist, would prefer it if they died.”

Groups such as Not Dead Yet opposed his hiring by Princeton University. Robinson says the problem goes beyond Princeton. He condemns utilitarians in general for being “meticulous and Spock-like in their deductions from premises. … Utilitarians constantly end up endorsing the moral necessity of an endless number of inhumane acts. It’s a terrible philosophy that leads to brutal and perverse conclusions and, at its worst, it turns you into Peter Singer.”

Robinson says The New York Times should never have run Singer and McMahan’s piece, attributing its action to stupidity or negligence. “Either way,” he concludes, “the continued presence of Peter Singer in national dialogue about disability shows just how far we have to go before people like D.J. will actually be granted their full humanity, by prosecutors and philosophers alike.”

RELATEDPeter_Singer_ethicist_810_500_55_s_c1

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33 days to go……MASS APPEAL….PRO-REPEAL MINISTER FOR DISABILITES FINIAN MCGRATH CONTRADICTS HIMSELF.

33 days to go…. to Ireland’s abortion referendum on whether or not to retain or repeal the 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal right to life to mother and child.

DAILY MASS APPEAL:

Every day, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna (O.S.C.) ‘s appeal for prayers, fasting and Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God, conversions of heart and for protection of the 8th amendment. There is nothing greater than the Mass.
Can you, with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days / days of prayer with medically safe fasting in your parish between now and May 25th?
Please consider getting Masses said locally where ever you are or through the following:
(a): Aide to the Church in Need (Ireland): A.C.N. is an international organisation that helps the mission of the Church in some of the poorest and most dangerous places in the world……http://www.acnireland.org/masses or call 018377516 (International: 0035318377516)
(b): Human Life International Ireland, a pro-life and family, Catholic organisation, have a 1000 Mass campaign for the protection of the unborn and reparation for Ireland’s turning from God…….www.humanlife.ie/latest-news/1000-masses

TODAY’S POST: PRO-REPEAL MINISTER FOR DISABILITES FINIAN MCGRATH CONTRADICTS HIMSELF:

The video below is from independent member of parliament (T.D.) Finian McGrath, own constituency website.
The first part is on the Make Work Pay scheme which aims to get more intellectually disabled adults into positions in the workplace with pay.
The second part, 40 seconds in, is a brief call to get out there and get the repeal the 8th over the line.

Finian McGrath, who is also a junior minister in the coalition government, is minister for disabilities and himself has a daughter Cliodhna with Down Syndrome. In his capacity as minister for disabilities, Minister McGrath has been calling for a repeal of the 8th amendment and helped launch Inclusion Ireland’s (the advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities) repeal the 8th campaign.

In an article in the Sunday Times, McGrath stated that there is no evidence that repealing the 8th would result in a greater number of babies with Down Syndrome being aborted.

Mr McGrath said women with disabilities should also have the right to choose. “I believe in the equality of women in every area of Irish life, hence my support for the repeal campaign. Disabled people should always be free to make decisions about their personal and private life. This includes mobility issues in relation to travel and access to family planning services,” he said.

“Impediments such as inaccessible information, difficulty in travel, poverty, difficulty accessing medical treatment, including maternity services and access to contraception, place greater barriers in front of women with a disability exercising their reproductive rights. People with disabilities need access to sexual and reproductive health, just like everyone else. The UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which Ireland recently ratified, affirms that right,” he said. (1)

With regard to the first argument: that there is no greater risk of Down Syndrome babies being aborted than non disabled babies:
He sates this despite the fact that virtually all Down syndrome babies in Iceland are aborted (2), over 95% in Denmark (3), 90% of those diagnosed pre-natally are aborted in Germany (4) and in the U.K.. (5): Whereas in the U.K., a ground exists for abortion of people with severe disabilities to include Down Syndrome (ground E on the abortion form), in Germany none exists. However in Germany it is done after 12 weeks on the mental health risk ground also because there is no specific ban. Just like the Irish government’s proposals here. As the pro-life posters, state, almost 1/5 pregnancies in the UK end in abortion. There is no way he does not know this information by now.

With regard to his second argument: That intellectually disabled women should have the right to choose and not have to travel:
This is in keeping with the language of Inclusion Ireland, their submissions and the human rights language of disability think tanks.
According to Inclusion Ireland, intellectually disabled women need the same rights as other women to access abortion in this country if they decide to, (presumably, providing they have been determined to have capacity to consent and the women in question do consent). One of the queries we had in previous posts on this position of Inclusion Ireland is, how does the process of dealing with a pregnancy in an intellectually disabled woman play out? The intellectually disabled woman (and her family if informed), will definitely receive non-directive counselling if they attend a family planning clinic with no real recognition of the life of the developing baby she is carrying.

It’s interesting to see Minister McGrath’s apparently totally different take on this issue in the following extract from another article in the Irish examiner (6):

Mr McGrath said he is aware of women with disabilities who have had to go to England for an abortion.

“The reality is that it goes on all the time,” he said. “Particularly those who are parents of daughters with intellectual disabilities where they are involved in decision-making and capacity issues.

“The bottom line is it is the parents, the G.P., and the people directly involved with that young adult with intellectual disability make the decisions.

“Yes, there are very tragic cases where they go to England. There has been issues of abuse in certain centres, it’s under the radar, but the bottom line is the G.P.s, the families, are saying: ‘Why should they be forced to travel over the England in crisis situations?’ ”

So despite his previous comments in the Sunday Times about intellectually disabled women’s right to choose and despite all the submissions from Inclusion Ireland on the right of their clients to sexual activity, which should be a sexual relationship of their choosing (and does not have to be loving as the word loving is discriminatory), the right to plan family to include contraception and abortion, the right to bear the number of children they want or not, at the end of the day, the minister says practically, it is the people AROUND a young woman, who make the decision, (at least in a community setting as judging by his referencing a G.P.)..

Separately some of these cases out of the minister’s own mouth, are the result of sexual abuse in certain centres and according to his own words are under the radar.

It’s surprising that he cites abuse in residential care as grounds for abortion for the intellectually disabled at one level and yet there is no media reaction to that given the level of understandable outrage at the physical and emotional abuse in Áras Treasa in County Mayo.(7).

But then he and the media was silent on the highly biased (6 pro choice to every 1 pro life expert witness) parliamentary health committee (Oireachtais committe) who proposed the repeal, referring to care of disabled offspring as a ‘burden’. So were Inclusion Ireland and Down Syndrome Ireland.

Between residential care and community / family set ups are two processes at work? Should her rights not be streamlined irrespective of where she lives?

There is no indication that the minister is up for repeal in a disinterested fashion, nor does he pretend to be. It is personal. He is clearly referencing the fact that he is the father of a young adult daughter with Down Syndrome whom he has spoke publicly about and been photographed with at the parliament buildings and he is stating her rights to an abortion. Does his pro-abortion stance, at least include an understandable fear that those with Down Syndrome risk being taken advantage of / abused more easily which may result in an unplanned pregnancy? Submissions to the Law Reform Commission are grand, but at the end of the day….

At the end of the day, are there two ideologies going on in the pro abortion movement for the intellectually disabled in Ireland?

On the one hand, ideologues, who cite the UN convention on disability, make submissions that if capacity to consent is deemed present and consent then given, this is grounds enough to permit sexual activity to go ahead in the intellectually disabled. These human rights professionals, insist on removing any language that is patronising, They advocate for family planning of as many children or none as the intellectually disabled may want and abortion access.

On the other hand, are the parents and family members of women with intellectual disability, who understandably fear their daughter getting pregnant in less than optimal circumstances. Maybe being parents, if they are honest, they fear it in any and all circumstances. According to the minister for disability’s own words, it is the people on the ground AROUND her, who make the decision on any pregnancy.

He doesn’t mention babies being born, just the decision being made by people around her. Is this not contrary to Inclusion Ireland’s own stated position, whose repeal movement he helped launch? One supposes he might say, that of course what he meant was that capacity and consent having been established, that the pregnant woman with intellectual disability would make the decision in consultation with the G.P. and family / care staff. And presumably the non-directive counselling from a family planning centre. He just neglected to mention her.

It would likely take a very strong-minded young woman with intellectual disability to not be swayed one way or the other if there was unanimity of opinion among those around her. If those representing the state and the family wish for abortion, is that what always happens? Because if not, where are the babies or are they in care / adopted? If there is disagreement between parties around the young woman, what happens? What happens in residential care? Is there a reluctance to talk about abuse in centres that result in pregnancy to protect the identity of the woman or because the father is also intellectually disabled? Have prosecutions resulted? if not, is it because, neither party was deemed to have capacity to consent or at least the father didn’t have capacity? Presumably he would not have been referring to non-disabled people sexually abusing residents or we would have heard about it? What does Finian McGrath mean when he says abuse happens under the radar in centres, a rationale for abortion for intellectually disabled women living in community or state run residences?

 

 

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Inclusion Ireland logo

 

34 days to go…. Mass appeal….More on Inclusion Ireland’s advocacy for abortion for Intellectual disabled Irish women.

Over the last few days we’ve examined Inclusion Ireland, a state sponsored advocacy group for the intellectually disabled. At a press conference recently, they launched their repeal campaign so that women who are intellectually disabled can access abortion in Ireland. There was a separate video of Paddy Connolly the C.E.O. calling for the repeal vote so that intellectually disabled women would be equal with their non-disabled counterparts. Yesterday’s post was their submission document,  regarding section 5 of the sexual offences act in 2012 in which Inclusion Ireland advocated for among other things:

  • Removal of presumption of inability / lack of capacity to consent but rather a presumption of capacity to consent to sex by the intellectually disabled.
  • Removal of capacity to consent based on status / diagnosis and replacement with functional assessment on a case by case basis so as not to pigeon hole.
  • Removal of the words vulnerable adult which is deemed to be patronising. Use of mental impairment is considered acceptable.
  • Removal of the suggestion that intellectually disabled adults are entitled to a loving relationship as this is discriminatory and substitution with a sexual relationship of their choosing as those who are not intellectually disabled do not have to prove that their sexual relations are loving.
  • A need to challenge societal norms that showed about a half of Irish people surveyed, were not comfortable with the idea of sexual relations in the intellectually disabled because of concerns about capacity / consent issues.
  • A need to change society to facilitate full integration of teens with intellectual disability to be able to pursue relationships and in those relationships, sexual relations if they so wish. A survey of intellectually disabled teens showed they talked about eventually marrying and living away from home one day, but they did not have boy or girlfriends. Inclusion Ireland felt this was due to the wider difficulties in integration and forming relationships, so that they were left at serious disadvantage in exercising their right to sexual relations.
  • A need to challenge the above discriminatory attitudes in carers in residential institutions who were concerned at intimate relations taking place among the clients they care for and who had contacted the organisation querying should they be stopping sexual activity among clients.
  • A need to update the sexual offences act to include acts short of intercourse and buggery as instances had taken place where this had happened but the culprit who was not disabled, was not prosecuted. Also a need to do away with a vague part of the act which stated that there should be no prosecution of a vulnerable adult on sexual offences grounds unless the DPP o.k.ed it.
  • Inclusion Ireland supports the recommendation there should be a strict liability offence for sexual offences committed by a person who is in a position of trust or authority and recommend that this be extended to offences by volunteers or family members.

There are obviously positive changes that in fairness, Inclusion Ireland have done great fantastic on, in relation to greater protection from sexual assaults that fall short of intercourse and buggery which were not covered in the past, in the areas of work and health and destigmatising intellectual disability.

However, the opening of the intellectually disabled to sex education and validating / facilitating their rights to engage in sex, means crisis pregnancies and abortions will occur and no doubt, non-directive counselling with the added complication of establishing capacity and consent for an abortion. At what stage this capacity and consent is determined by carers / social workers and are family members involved if they are long-term residents?

How influential will attitudes of those surrounding a pregnant intellectually disabled woman be on a decision to keep or abort a baby? In fairness to Inclusion Ireland, they state they wish to advocate for the right of pregnant clients to keep a baby (if she of course chooses to) and to marry and plan family as their ideal in full integration on every front for their client base though the submissions didn’t mention studies on this.

But is it not possible that attitudes of those around her, consciously or unconsciously, will influence a pregnant intellectually disabled woman who even if deemed to have capacity to consent, may very well be at more risk of being swayed?  No doubt Inclusion Ireland would say this is a discriminatory attitude as this could be argued to apply to the general population. Separately what the impact of having sexual relations are on the intellectually disabled population from a purely secular viewpoint, whether in a loving relationship or not is not clear though on their website they state that some of their clients have spoken positively about it.

But ultimately, if sexuality and its expression is God given which we as Christians believe it is, there is zero recognition given to abstinence or chastity, which in fairness the Catholic Church applies to all non-married irrespective of disability or not. Whether an individual with intellectual disability could marry in the Church at least, is another day’s work in terms of establishing capacity and consent.

There is absolutely zero recognition of the humanity or dignity of the unborn and post abortive harm to the mother, is denied across the board whether disabled or not and is unlikely to be studied given the denial of the reality of it in the general population. There is zero recognition that they are facilitating innocent adults entering into sexual relationships that are not of God and may disproportionately harm them more than the general population. On their website is the following re the 8th amendment:

“The 8th amendment has been recognised by the UN as cruel, inhuman and degrading and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Ireland recently ratified, includes a right to decide freely on the number and spacing of children. Access to abortion on an equal basis with others is essential for Ireland’s compliance with the UN Convention. This campaign builds on Inclusion Ireland campaigns on the right of persons with a disability to make decisions, including medical decisions, as well as a right to sexual relationships.”

In another submission from Inclusion Ireland on the Law Reform Commission’s Consultation Paper on Sexual Offences and Capacity to Consent 2011, they acknowledge,

“While we now accept that an expression of sexuality is considered part of everyday life for people, including people with disabilities, there is growing evidence of high rates of sexual abuse involving people with intellectual disabilities.

 “The LRC states that there is a move from large institutions to community living for persons with an intellectual disability. However it should be noted that there are still nearly 4,000 people with an intellectual disability living in congregated settings, i.e. ten or more people (Time to Move on from Congregated Settings, HSE 2011). These people are at a high risk of abuse, be it financial, physical or sexual abuse.”

As Christians we believe all of us are sexual beings, but not all are called to express that in sexual relations. Does sex education and facilitation of sexual relations among the intellectually disabled educate them as much as possible about their bodies / cycles / desires? Is the population prematurely / further sexualized because of policy makers’ ideology which is effectively imposed, even while stating that they are advocating for them?

However well-intentioned in terms of desiring to have clients live as integrated a life as possible, does the introduction of sex ed. and the facilitation of sexual relations in the care system, make abuse more or less likely to happen than before it was enacted?

How often are sexual relations happening in different care homes and is there an ongoing review process? If in residential care they are at high risk of abuse, what are the numbers / the trend in rates of sexual abuse in care and how is it handled?  Is abortion always the outcome to pregnancies resulting from “sexual relationships of their choosing”, the expression of choice by Inclusion Ireland / sexual abuse resulting in pregnancy ? How many pregnancies have resulted and how many have been kept and if any, where are the babies now?

Why is the ideology of Inclusion Ireland / the U.N. the final arbitrator in deciding on what is healthy for the intellectually disabled in terms of sexual activity, family planning and abortion? Other than the absolute absence of sexual relations, (despite high rates of abuse of different types including sexual, according to their own submission) where was the evidence of harm from abstinence or is abstinence, just assumed to be harmful? Is there an element that this is a response to high rates of abuse because it’s perceived that at least consent is established in as many cases as possible?  If from a purely secular viewpoint, they believe this to be best for the intellectually disabled, was there evidence and if so where, if not, have they taken a risk with the intellectually disabled population and is this not a paternalistic attitude of knowing what is best but from a secular viewpoint? Is this not potentially or really an attack on innocence from a Christian one?

 

 

 

 

 

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Inclusion Ireland repeal launch

Evie Nevin and Suzy Byrne, disability rights activists,  launch Inclusion Ireland’s press conference calling for the 8th amendment to be repealed

 

Yesterday we looked at Inclusion Ireland’s ( the advocacy group for people with intellectual disability) public entrance into the fray on the 8th amendment with their C.E.O.’s public support for repeal of the 8th so that intellectually disabled women can access abortion which he states is their right along with anyone else.

For a look at where the organisation is on the matter of sexual relations, here is their submission to the proposed law reform section 5 of the 1993 Criminal Law Sexual offences act, which was released in 2013.

 Inclusion Ireland state: 

“Where there are perceived intimate relationships taking place, particularly in a residential care environment, people working in the service have contacted us with concerns about whether they have a responsibility to prevent such relationships. This so-called ‘chilling effect’, leads to a disadvantage among young people with impairment, as compared to their non-disabled peers.
People with intellectual disabilities face many difficulties in terms of social integration and in particular intimate or sexual relationships. A report by the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, discovered that while the majority of the teenagers involved in their research “expected to live away from home in the future and to marry”, none had discussed having a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.

Attitudes play a significant part in driving change in this area and the National Disability Authority reports, that almost half (49%) of people surveyed believed that people with intellectual disability did not have the same right as everyone else to a sexual relationship. Concerns as to the capacity to consent was cited as a significant factor in this attitude. With people with intellectual disabilities facing such significant social and attitudinal barriers, it is clear that legislation compounding these attitudes is unhelpful at best and represents a significant barrier to people with intellectual disabilities enjoying their right to relationships. “

Inclusion Ireland believe that the innocence portrayed in teenagers with I.D. stating that one day they would live away from home and marry but none of them appeared to have a current boyfriend or girlfriend is an indication of difficulties in social integration especially in the area of sexual relationships.They cite staff members in residential care units contacting them with concerns that intimate relationships were happening on their watch as indicative of a pervasive discriminatory mind set, which is borne out in the National Disability Authority Reports showing that half of those consulted did not believe in sexual relationships for people with intellectual disability, because of concerns about capacity to consent.

Just to put it in context: the Irish government’s proposed law reform according to Inclusion Ireland’s submission sought not to prevent sexual relationships among adults with intellectual disability.  Rather they stated that the intellectually disabled population, has the right to “a loving sexual relationship” . However this from Inclusion Ireland’s point of view, was discriminatory. They state:

“A person who does not have a disability is not required to demonstrate a loving relationship prior to having their right to sexual relationships respected. The standard, in general, for a person to have a sexual interaction with another person is that consent is present and that the individual had the capacity to consent. In this proposal, it is mentioned that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) obliges States Parties to eliminate discrimination in realizing their human rights. To require people with intellectual disability to be in ‘loving’ sexual relationships is to hold them to a different and discriminatory standard.”

So Inclusion Ireland are stating that the sexual relationships that adults with intellectual disability engage in in general or in care, do not have to be loving. This they feel is patronising them, as the general populace don’t have to have loving relationships. The only thing that is required is that consent is present and the capacity to consent by one party if the other person does not have intellectual disability or by both if both have intellectual disability.

It’s worth noting that Inclusion Ireland point out how acts short of intercourse and buggery were not covered in the 1993 sexual offences act and how this loophole meant that when someone with intellectual disability was abused, the perpetrator walked free. They also point out under the 1993 act, that as a sexual act was prohibited with a person with such a disability, if two people with the disability did engage in sexual relations, they were potentially open to criminal charges which needed to be addressed.

But ultimately Inclusion Ireland’s recommendations to the Dept of Justice are as follows:

Recommendations:

 The concept of ‘Vulnerable Adult’ should be revisited with a broader ‘Person with Impaired Capacity’ considered

 A definition of vulnerability based on an individual’s disability or mental illness is discriminatory and should be removed.

 A statement of the presumption of capacity to consent for all persons would be beneficial in terms of policy

 ‘Loving sexual relationship’ should be removed. If a statement is required ‘Sexual relationship of their choosing’ could be considered.

 The statement that ‘no proceedings for a sexual offence shall be brought against a vulnerable person except by, or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ should be removed for the reasons outlined above.(This last point refers to a recommendation for reform of the section 5 of the 1993 Criminal Law Sexual offences act that vulnerable persons not be prosecuted)

A big question arises if trying to avoid having clients with intellectual disability engage in sexual relations is deemed to be discriminatory at official level. How after the fact of sexual relations taking place with one or more intellectually disabled people possibly in residential, or day care when state agencies are involved, do the said agencies, handle this on the ground? If it looks like something could happen do they intervene or is consent to be presumed and it’s let go ahead or anticipating them, is capacity and consent established in advance? If relations do happen without warning, is an assessment of functional ability to consent automatically done or only if the general level of functioning raises flags? If it’s heterosexual, does a visit to a family planning specialist automatically kick in? Whether those relationships are loving or not,  the presumption of capacity to consent and the entitlement of intellectually disabled people to express their sexuality when and however they wish to, will result in pregnancy some of the time.

If a intellectually disabled woman gets pregnant, won’t she get non-directive counselling that denies the reality of her baby’s right to life just like anyone else? At least in that regard, it is  non-discriminatory if the position is that her developing baby has no inherent rights unless she chooses it.

Perhaps the pregnant woman with intellectual disability, judged to have capacity to consent,  is asked if she wants the baby and her answer is in the negative.  An abortion is arranged.  But if her answer is the opposite, is that the end of the story? Consciously or unconsciously will people around her influence her decision not to abort and should she choose not to, accept it? Do the discriminatory attitudes identified in the population kick in then?

If discriminatory attitudes operate along the lines of ‘she’s better off having an abortion and it’s best all round’, who knows and is consulted and who benefits from the abortion? The woman? The person who got her pregnant especially if they didn’t have a disability or don’t want the baby?

A baby will likely have problems that those assisting her or the father if he has disability also, may deem too much for her / him or their families or the health system to cope with. This may be perceived as grounds enough for influencing a push to abort however nuanced or unconsciously done (or not) though it shouldn’t happen. Although Inclusion Ireland advocate that she has the right to marry or not and have a baby or not, what of the non-directive counselors in family planning clinics if that is the route taken or if a worried next of kin family member want her to have an abortion: does that influence the decision?

If the abortion happens, again, does anyone else benefit? The HSE?  There are many who view the disabled as a burden including state agencies and state agents. One has to look no further for this term ‘burden’ being used about babies with disabilities, than the final report of the Joint Oireachtais committee on abortion which recommended to repeal. However there was no press conference or statement by Inclusion Ireland about that.

 

 

 

 

36 days to go…Mass appeal….Inclusion Ireland’s advocacy for abortion

36 days to go….to Ireland’s referendum on abortion.

This is Paddy Connolly, the C.E.O. of Inclusion Ireland, an advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities.  Paddy explains they are joining the ‘Together for Yes’ campaign to repeal the 8th amendment, because ‘the right of a woman with a disability to decide when or how she is going to have her children’ is a critical right. Paddy further explains that a vote to repeal is making a statement that the rights of women with intellectual disability are equal to the rights of all others.

The majority of people with intellectual disability / I.D.  have Down’s syndrome. In previous posts, we covered how Down’s syndrome Ireland, the advocacy group complained about the pro life campaign’s posters which showed an image of a child with Down’s and which stated that 9/10 babies diagnosed with Down’s are aborted in the U.K.. (also true in Germany) while nearly 100 % are aborted in Iceland with Denmark not far behind.

Paddy is being paid no doubt with tax-payer’s money to defend the people with intellectual disabilities in society. How the women he mentions might have got pregnant, by whom, their capacity and ability to consent and how the process that leads to a decision to abort plays out, is reduced by Paddy to a soundbite about equality.

Whereas Down Syndrome Ireland wouldn’t take either side of the debate, Inclusion Ireland has no such qualms. If repeal happens and Down syndrome babies are aborted at the rates in other countries, then the future of both Down Syndrome Ireland and Inclusion Ireland will be in jeopardy but that is not on their radar obviously.

There is something questionable about Mr. Connolly’s advocating for women with intellectual disability, many of whom depending on individual capacity to consent and who may not have fully understood what was happening when they got pregnant, being deemed in a single soundbite, able to consent to abortion and stating on their behalf, that this is their right. In his opinion or in whose opinion?

Some questions arise in determining how Paddy and Inclusion Ireland have reached this momentous decision to advocate for abortions for pregnant intellectually disabled women whom they represent….

Paddy would say of course, social workers, family doctors and those in intellectual health services would establish if abuse had taken place resulting in pregnancy. Without doubting this, the question is where and how do Inclusion Ireland draw the bar on what constitutes abuse of a woman or for that matter, man with intellectual disability. A study of Inclusion Ireland’s website throws light on their philosophy for tomorrow’s post….

 

 

Link

The above video is of Conor O’ Dowd, son of Michael O’ Dowd of Disability Voices for Life, which is calling for a no vote in the referendum.

The majority of people with intellectual disability / I.D.  have Down’s syndrome. In previous posts, we covered how Down’s syndrome Ireland, the advocacy group complained about the pro life campaign’s posters which showed an image of a child with Down’s and which stated that 9/10 babies diagnosed with Down’s are aborted in the U.K..

DOWN'S BILLBOARD UK

The billboards Down Syndrome Ireland objected to

 

In previous posts, we’ve also discussed how German law allows abortions after 12 weeks on mental health risk grounds despite their being no ground for abortions of non-fatal disabilities there because of their Nazi past ( like Ireland’s proposals) and how Down’s babies diagnosed after 12 weeks on screening, are aborted in Germany, also at a rate of 9/10 pregnancies. This is because, the absence of a ground is meaningless without a specific ban in place and Ireland does not have a ban in place.

The following article is surprisingly from the most liberal of papers, the Irish Times, on a movie: ’24 weeks’ by a German director, Anne Zohra Berrached, which examines a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome. Being the Irish Times, she in the end explains that she is still pro-choice, which is probably the only reason it got published. She gives talks publicly on how high Down’s abortion rates are in Germany. This is because at the end of the day, she feels abortion is ‘modern’ and explains how it is right that Germany does not let its eugenics past ban the procedure. She may feel somehow exonerated in her pro-choice position  because she feels she is at least highlighting at her public talks, how very much Germany, like the UK and other countries are still killing their disabled in what is de facto eugenics done under another guise.

It would be rare that the Irish Times, would have a pro-life article other than something from Breda O’ Brien or the occasional one balanced with a pro-choice one. The following article is unusual in its highlighting of feticide: the killing of the baby after 20 weeks by injection with potassium chloride  /digitalis usually into the heart, umbilical cord or amniotic fluid. It’s also unusual in that a pro-life person is interviewed in it though the final word is given to a pro-choice movie director who seems to appeal to people to consider choosing to have babies that are disabled while enshrining nonetheless their continued right to abort them should they not wish to do so.

Shadow of history hangs over Germany’s abortion debate

Anti-abortion campaigners link Down syndrome abortions to Nazi eugenics practices

The laughter stops half an hour into the German film, 24 Weeks. A comedian and her manager husband announce to family and friends they are expecting their second child, a boy, with Down syndrome.

Smiles freeze. Someone murmurs: “Oh s**t.”

In heartbreaking and shocking detail, the film documents the subsequent moral and emotional rollercoaster as well as reactions of family and friends. “I’m sure you’ll manage.” “Are you sure about this?” “These days, you don’t have to have children like that at all costs.”

For a country that loves to count everything, Germany is curiously imprecise about Down syndrome. Caused by an additional third chromosome 21 or “trisomy 21”, people with Down syndrome are a rare sight on the streets. Of a population of almost 83 million, just an estimated 50,000 people, or 0.07 per cent of the population, have Down syndrome. In Ireland, with about 5,000 people, they comprise 0.15 per cent.

Director Anne Zohra Berrached decided to make 24 Weeks – now available on DVD with English subtitles – when she learned that about 90 per cent of Down syndrome pregnancies are terminated.

“I didn’t know that, no one does,” she said. Two years on she is still invited to talk to women’s groups, she says, and the first thing people often ask is: “Is it really 90 per cent?”

Uneasy compromise

In an uneasy compromise, Germany legislation makes abortions illegal but not prosecutable in the first 12 weeks. After that in the case of conditions such as Down syndrome, however, abortions remain possible to term. Decisive in such cases is not the diagnosis itself but the woman’s ability – or inability – to cope with the situation – and the child.

For late-term abortions after 20 weeks, not uncommon in Down syndrome cases, a lethal injection of potassium-chloride is used to stop the heart before labour is induced.

Things don’t always go to plan, as Germany learned 20 years ago with the so-called “Oldenburg Baby”. Just 690g and 32 cm, the boy born with Down syndrome survived a sixth-month termination after the doctor decided not to use a lethal injection.

His mother didn’t want to see the baby, named Tim by the father. When doctors discovered he was still alive, nine hours after birth, they began medical treatment. Today Tim lives with a foster family and, in July, will turn 21.

Heike Meyer-Rotsch, a mother of a six-year-old boy with Down syndrome, regrets what she see as an “automatism” in the German system.

“The termination is there in the room with the diagnosis,” said Ms Meyer-Rotsch, head of the Down Syndrome Berlin organisation, and mother of a six-year-old with the syndrome.

She sees Germany’s high termination rates as a self-fulfilling prophecy, caused by fear of the unknown and prejudice, caused in turn by the absence of Down syndrome in daily life.

Then there is the shadow of history that hangs over Germany’s Down syndrome debate.

Nazi Germany

From 1943 on, providing an abortion to an “Aryan” woman became a capital offence in Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, “non-Aryan” women were encouraged to have abortions, as were Aryan women who could demonstrate the child might be born with a congenital condition.

At the same time as 24 Weeks came out in 2016, German cinemas were also screening Fog in August, based on the true story of children in a Nazi-era orphanage murdered by euthanasia nurses dispensing poison-laced raspberry juice.

The Nazis murdered over 5,000 children deemed “unworthy of life”, a term that covered mental and physical handicaps but also disruptive or troubled behaviour.

German anti-abortion campaigners and Down syndrome groups see an uncomfortable overlap between Third Reich eugenics and modern prenatal testing, particularly given the high rate of Down syndrome and other abortions.

“Ethically, we find this extremely troubling because we had once in Germany this talk of ‘non-worthy’ life,” said Ms Meyer-Rotsch. “I find it threatening that a group of people are being discriminated against in the worst possible way.”

Ms Berrached says she welcomes every woman who decides for life and that they need full support.

“No woman makes this decision easily but the conflict situation is so individual that no one but they can decide,” she says.

But the director has a different take on the shadow of history that hangs over this difficult subject in Germany.

“I think the fact that a woman can decide not to have the child shows that we are modern,” she says, “and that we don’t use our history as an excuse to ban not having the child.

https://www.thelocal.de/20170914/5-things-to-know-about-abortion-in-germany

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38 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on whether to repeal or keep the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution on abortion….

Minister for Health Simon Harris ignores Amnesty Ireland’s flouting of law on donations, its legal challenge to Irish law on foreign funding of political campaigns and attends Amnesty Ireland’s repeal launch….

The above video shows Irish Minister for Health, Simon Harris, independent Senator Lynn Ruane and Colm O’ Gorman of Amnesty International Ireland at the launch Amnesty’s: ‘it’s time to talk’ in Moore St. market in the centre of Dublin, calling for repeal of the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution. They have an interview with a vehemently pro-choice fruit vendor, whom fortunately from their point of view, they initially appear to have randomly run into while the media listen in . ‘It’s time to talk’, appears to be aimed at more at Irish men, encouraging them to talk to the women of Ireland, because though it’s a woman’s choice, men in fact, do vote too as Harris in his wisdom, explains to everyone.

Clearly, Amnesty’s Colm O’ Gorman and Minister Harris, who are also both men, feel that this approach will help get the repeal vote over the line, as they believe that ‘mná na hEireann’ (the women of Ireland) will be mostly for a repeal vote and getting men who might otherwise not discuss abortion to do just that, will win them votes on referendum day. Senator Lynn Ruane asks the vendor: “What about at home, you’ve boys at home?”

This focuses the vendor, Caroline Alright who elaborates on how her sons are pro-choice, which was another happy coincidence as the campaign is targeted at men, whom Amnesty’s Colm O’ Gorman and Simon Harris  are trying to give good example to.

The interview at Moore St. which is iconically working class Dublin with Senator Ruane who talks about her community in Tallaght, also traditionally a working class area, but with well-heeled minister Harris and Amnesty’s O’ Gorman in attendance, covers the political divide and very different socio-economic groups. Job done, all three nod approvingly.

It’s not beyond the realm that market research was behind the ‘it’s time to talk’ campaign to bring the male vote into line. This suggests there’s a concern that the male vote may not behave.  As the Irish government and shamefully most of our elected representatives to parliament are canvassing on the ‘Together for yes’ campaign, it’s interesting that they also took the time out to target the male vote as above.

Amnesty no doubt want to keep a high profile and not be listed with the 70 odd other organisations in ‘Together for Yes’ and much of their fund-raising comes from new members mostly young.

If market research determined this, whether that was produced by  the Irish government at the expense of the Irish tax-payer, or Amnesty International Ireland, now that they have registered with the Standards in Public Office for the referendum,  we will never know.

Harris Lynn Ruane and Colm O Gorman

The article from the Independent newspaper follows:

Health Minister Simon Harris is facing a continuing backlash for supporting Amnesty International’s campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the abortion referendum despite the charity’s dispute with the State’s political watchdog.

 

The anti-abortion Iona Institute criticised Mr Harris saying he has “chosen to ally himself” with an organisation that’s refusing to return a foreign donation found to have been in breach of Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) rules.

Amnesty International Ireland has brought a High Court challenge after Sipo told it to return €137,000 it got in 2015 from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), which was set up by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.

Mr Harris attended the launch of the human rights charity’s ‘It’s Time To Talk’ campaign to encourage a ‘Yes’ vote.

Last night Iona Institute spokesperson Maria Steen hit out at Mr Harris’s involvement.

She claimed: “So determined is the minister to further his campaign for the introduction of an abortion regime that is even more permissive than that in Britain, he is prepared to overlook Amnesty’s defiance of Sipo rules.”

Cora Sherlock, from the LoveBoth campaign, previously said it was “unacceptable” for the minister to campaign with Amnesty.

A spokesperson for Mr Harris responded to the fresh criticism pointing to a previous statement that said he had been assured Amnesty International will fully comply with Sipo rules during the abortion campaign.

She rejected Ms Steen’s remarks claiming Mr Harris’s proposals for an abortion regime to replace the Eighth Amendment would be more permissive than in Britain.

The spokeswoman said the proposed legislation is for “regulated, medically supervised termination of pregnancy in restricted circumstances” and is “vastly different to the current British law”.

Ms Sherlock also said: “it is ironic that the position of those who condemn the British regime would mean that Irish women will continue to be forced to travel to it”.

Amnesty International’s Irish director Colm O’Gorman accused anti-abortion groups of “obvious distraction tactics” in their criticism.

He said Amnesty is registered and “fully compliant” with Sipo for its referendum campaign.

“The issue that we have brought to the high court relates to a campaign targeted at Government that ended in 2017,” he added.

“With six weeks to go before polling day it’s time for us all to focus on the real issues.”

 

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/abortion-referendum/antiabortion-group-cranks-up-pressure-on-minister-36799211.html

Link

The video below is from the Amnesty International Ireland  / AII tent at the Electric Picnic Rock Festival.

Amnesty International Ireland ran the ‘My Body my rights’ campaign with a grant from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation  / O.S.F. which the Standards in Public Office / S.I.P.O. compelled them to return as it was being used for political campaigning illegally. 

In a leaked document, George Soros’ O.S.F. said it was funding Amnesty, the Irish Family Planning Association and the Abortion Rights Campaign (which later gave back its €23,000 grant) “to work collectively on a campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional amendment granting equal rights to an implanted embryo as the pregnant woman. With one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, a win there could impact other strongly Catholic countries in Europe, such as Poland, and provide much needed proof that change is possible, even in highly conservative places,” the document stated.

Legal counsel for Amnesty in its challenge against the Standards in Public Office, said the purpose of the donation was to fund Amnesty’s 2016 campaign ‘My Body My Rights’ campaign,  whose purpose included “to increase public support for repealing the Eighth Amendment, collaborate with other groups working on access to safe and legal abortion. No referendum on the Eighth Amendment was planned or had been called when the donation was made”. Amnesty fears reputational damage and financial hardship, counsel said. 

So according to Amnesty, the money wasn’t being used for political campaigning you see….

Below is a video from Amnesty International Ireland itself on the Electric Picnic campaign starting with its campaign for signatures to repeal the 8th. Which in case there is any confusion about this, by the way is not political campaigning…

 

 

Full article below on the challenge by Amnesty and interesting double speak…..

https://www.rte.ie/news/2018/0212/940173-amnesty-sipo/

Counsel said that media reports in 2016 on leaked documents from OPF suggested that the funding was part of a strategy to force the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. SIPO then wrote to Amnesty referring to obligations under the Electoral Act.

Counsel said Amnesty told SIPO the donation was not for political purposes. 

Amnesty International has brought a High Court challenge against the Standards in Public Office Commission’s order that it return a Swiss based foundation’s donation of €137,000 for a campaign to increase support for a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

The donation was made in August 2015 by the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a body founded by businessman George Soros, for the Irish based strand of Amnesty’s, “My Body, My Rights” campaign.

The objectives of the campaign included increasing support among politicians for the holding of a referendum on the Eighth Amendment and provide a human rights compliant abortion framework.

The campaign included lobbying politicians and organising events and seminars for politicians before the 2016 General Election aimed at having the Eighth Amendment appealed.

Last November, the Standards in Public Office Commission directed Amnesty to return the money after finding the donation was prohibited under Section 23 A2 of the 1997 Electoral Act after deeming it to be a donation for political purposes.

Amnesty denies the funds were used for political purposes and says SIPO’s decision is flawed, and should be set aside.

As a result, Amnesty International’s Irish section, CLG, has brought proceedings against both SIPO, Ireland and the Attorney General where it seeks to quash SIPO’s decision.

It also seeks several declarations including that SIPO has acted in error of law, in excess of its jurisdiction, misdirected itself as to the interpretation of Electoral, has failed to give adequate reasons for its decision and has acted irrationally and unreasonably.

It further seeks declarations that it should not have to repay the money, that SIPO has breached both Articles 40.3 and 43 of the Irish Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law.

On Monday, Brian Murray SC, instructed by Daragh O’Donovan of Orpen Franks Solicitors, for Amnesty said  the challenge raises many complex legal issues concerning the interpretation of the Electoral Act.

“Amnesty and other NGO’s are extremely concerned about the implications of the decision,” counsel said.

Counsel said the purpose of the donation was to fund Amnesty’s 2016 campaign, whose purpose included to increase public support for repealing the Eighth Amendment, collaborate with other groups working on access to safe and legal abortion.

No referendum on the Eighth Amendment was planned or had been called when the donation was made, counsel said.

Counsel said that media reports in 2016 on leaked documents from OPF suggested that the funding was part of a strategy to force the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. SIPO then wrote to Amnesty referring to obligations under the Electoral Act.

Counsel said Amnesty told SIPO the donation was not for political purposes.

However, the Commission said it received information and confirmation from the foreign donor that the money was for explicitly political purposes.

OSF has disputed that it provided written confirmation that the donation was for political purposes, and said that SIPO seemed to be basing its decision on an internal document for discussion that was made public after OSF was targeted by Russian hackers, counsel said.

Amnesty fears the matter could be referred to the Gardaí, leading to a possible criminal prosecution, if it does not return the money.

It also fears reputational damage and financial hardship as Amnesty does not have any significant reserves. The return of the money would have to come out of its current budget for 2018, counsel added.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan.

The Judge made the matter returnable to a date in April.

 

Link

 

A funny thing happened yesterday with the Mass and Fast for Ireland facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/irishunborn. Facebook rejected boosting the posts/ blogs for day 41 and 42 on Professor Frédéric Amant’s articles / expert evidence at the International Symposium on Maternal Health.  No apparent explanation was given other than something called ‘mixed values’. After much time spent trying to discover what the problem was, all that appeared to emerge as being problematic in the wee small hours was that the titles were too similar (assuming that was the reason why….).  So, we’ve re posted it with a different title as we think it’s critical to the debate at present in light of arguments that women die because of the 8th amendment.

The kids are o.k.: Day 42 of our countdown campaign citing a 2015 article by Professor Frédéric Amant, focused mostly on outcomes in children of women who went ahead with pregnancies, despite being diagnosed with cancer and treated for it while pregnant. It was reassuring in that it showed there was no evidence of ill-effects in the areas of the children’s general health or mental development, cardiac problems in those exposed to chemotherapy in the womb.

No advantage to terminating pregnancy in women with cancer:

it’s official: Day 41’s (and repeated today for the above reasons)  article is from the prestigious medical journal: ‘The Lancet‘ on Professor Amant’s major impact on this area of research and on how there is no advantage to terminating a pregnancy in a woman being treated for cancer in terms of outcome / prognosis . The video is from the end of a talk he gave in Dublin at the International Symposium on Maternal Health 2012, where he again articulates that women can be treated as successfully for cancer while pregnant as not pregnant and termination is no advantage.

Abortions that do happen in pregnant women with cancer are not medically necessary or indicated by doctors: 

Even in the following article where he refers to individual cases where a mother ends up having an abortion because the father does not feel he could cope with a newborn alone, this is not a decision directed by the medical profession but a decision made by the couple. “In other cases, the parents may decide to terminate the pregnancy because the father cannot go on alone.”

Of interest in the current debate in Ireland on the 8th amendment , the article states: “In other advanced cases, the dying mother is kept alive, for example with a brain tumour in a coma—to enable the baby to be born to term”, says Amant.” One of the cases cited by the Irish pro-abortion movement,  is the 2014 case of a brain dead pregnant woman who was kept alive on a ventilator before it was shut off following a high court decision. Obviously it may have been the case with Professor Amant, that the next of kin actively wished for the continuation of intensive care treatment despite brain-death compared with the Irish case and whereas the Irish patient was just 18 weeks pregnant, the above may have been a later pregnancy, we don’t know.

In other words, whereas Saturday’s article was focused on how children of women who go to term having been treated for cancer in pregnancy, have shown no ill effects to date, this article, shows that the women themselves are no worse off for having cancer treatment while pregnant and that termination of pregnancy / abortion does not improve outlook / prognosis.

Perspectives:
http://www.thelancet.com Vol 379 February 11, 2012 511

“Usually obstetricians and oncologists don’t spend much time together”, Frédéric Amant told The Lancet. “And this meant a certain group of women were not getting the care they needed: pregnant women with cancer.” Providing the right care for these women is a key focus of Amant’s work as Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

For Amant, an early experience of caring for a pregnant woman with cervical cancer was pivotal in shaping the course of his career: “She told me her early diagnosis was thanks to the pregnancy. So she wanted to give her baby the chance he had given her.” Amant’s patients are a major influence on his work, but his first interest in medicine came much earlier during his childhood on his family’s farm near Leuven, Belgium. Two of his uncles were training to be doctors as he grew up, “so I found myself buried in advanced medical texts well ahead of my years. I can’t really remember wanting to be anything other than a doctor”, he says.

Although he retains an interest in nature that reflects his rural upbringing—heis a co-founder of a non-profit organisation that promotes forestation in Belgium—Amant followed his uncles into the profession and completed his medical degree at theCatholic University of Leuven. After training in obstetrics, gynaecology, and surgery, he specialised in gynaecological oncology. It’s a specialty that he finds continually motivating because of “the challenges of complex surgery for a life-threatening disease, combined with personal contact with patients and research opportunities”.

Amant is a lead author of The Lancet’s Series on malignancy in pregnancy. About one or two per 2000 pregnancies are complicated by cancer, with the most common being breast cancer (40%) and blood cancers (20%). Amant, who is Chair of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology’s task force on cancer in pregnancy, says that “this simply reflects the normal range of cancers in women of reproductive age, and there is nothing to suggest the pregnancy causes the cancers”. The biggest challenge is educating the public that chemotherapy is possible in pregnancy without harm to the baby.

“Women find it hard to believe they shouldn’t have an aspirin, but can take these very strong chemotherapy drugs during pregnancy”, Amant says. “At first, we did not have much evidence regarding the unborn children. But now more than 120 children have been born to women treated with chemotherapy in our ongoing international
collaborative study, and they are doing as well as the general population, so that offers reassurance.” Most of the babies who didn’t do so well were born preterm after being induced early, rather than as a result of exposure to the drugs.

“Fear of chemotherapy should not be a reason to terminate pregnancy”, Amant says, adding that “there is no evidence termination improves outcomes for the mother”. And while it’s true that radiotherapy poses more of a danger during pregnancy, especially later in the gestation, Amant says that “in most cases, especially breast cancer, women are started on chemotherapy (as they would be if not pregnant) and can then be treated with radiotherapy postpartum if necessary”. The key messages Amant wants to come from the Series, and a related paper in Lancet Oncology, are “that it’s rarely necessary to change the standard chemotherapy treatment regimen for pregnant women with cancer, and that chemotherapy does not harm the unborn child”. He adds that “Staging scans shouldbe limited to avoid overexposing the fetus to radiation, and radiotherapy of upper body parts with fetal shielding is possible during first and second trimester only.”

Day to day, Amant’s working life is an emotional roller coaster. While in most cases, mother and baby can be helped through this difficult time, there are always heartbreaking tales. As the father of four children himself, Amant recognises how painful these decisions can be for expectant parents. “Sometimes, a mother-to-be’s cancer is so far advanced it kills her and her unborn child before anything can be done. In other advanced cases, the dying mother is kept alive, for example with a brain tumour in a coma—to enable the baby to be born to term”, says Amant.

“In other cases, the parents may decide to terminate the pregnancy because the father cannot go on alone. It is impossible to imagine how difficult such a decision would be”, acknowledges Amant. Alongside this clinical work, Amant has a strong research record. While still a registrar, his 1999 publication in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of a randomised trial of misoprostol for the prevention of post-partum haemorrhage lay the foundation for larger scale trials.

As well as driving forward the agenda on cancer in pregnancy, he is an expert on uterine cancer. “It is Frédéric’s ability to respectfully balance strong personalities as Principal Investigator in groundbreaking projects, as well as his generous contributions in
other collaborative studies, that make him to a true leader”, says Helga B Salvesen, from the University of Bergen, Norway, who co-founded the European Network for Individualized Treatment in Endometrial Cancer with Amant. Eric de Jonge,
from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Belgium, agrees. “Frédéric’s vision, work ethic, and his ability to establish durable contacts based on mutual professional respect have enabled him to build a remarkable research network. Supported by unconditional cooperation from his peers he drives ‘his’ pioneering project: cancer and pregnancy.”

Tony Kirby
Profile
Frédéric Amant: leading the agenda on cancer in pregnancy
See Series pages 558,
570, and 580
See Lancet Oncol Online/Articles
DOI:10.1016/S1470-
2045(11)70363-1
For the University Hospitals
Leuven site on cancer in
pregnancy see http://www.
uzleuven.be/en/kanker-enzwangerschap/cancer-andpregnancy
For European Society of
Gynaecological Oncology’s task
force on cancer in pregnancy
see http://www.esgo.org/
Networks/Pages/TaskForces.aspx

Link

41 days to go…..

Yesterday’s article by Professor Frédéric Amant, focused mostly on outcomes in children of women who went ahead with pregnancies, despite being diagnosed with cancer and treated for it while pregnant. It was reassuring in that it showed there was no evidence of ill-effects in the areas of the children’s general health or mental development, cardiac problems in those exposed to chemotherapy in the womb.

Today’s article is from the prestigious medical journal: The Lancet on Professor Amant’s major impact on this area of research and on how the mother / maternal outcome is unaffected by cancer treatment in pregnancy. The video is from the end of a talk he gave in Dublin at the International Symposium on Maternal Health where he again articulates that women can be treated as successfully for cancer while pregnant as not pregnant. Even in the following article where he refers to individual cases where a mother has an abortion because the father does not feel he could cope with a newborn alone, this is not a decision directed by the medical profession but a decision made by the couple. In other words, whereas yesterday’s article was focused on how children of women who go to term having been treated for cancer in pregnancy have no ill effects to date, today’s, shows that women themselves do no worse having had cancer treatment while pregnant and that termination of pregnancy / abortion does not improve outlook / prognosis.

Perspectives
http://www.thelancet.com Vol 379 February 11, 2012 511

“Usually obstetricians and oncologists don’t spend much
time together”, Frédéric Amant told The Lancet. “And this
meant a certain group of women were not getting the care
they needed: pregnant women with cancer.” Providing the
right care for these women is a key focus of Amant’s work as
Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. For Amant, an
early experience of caring for a pregnant woman with cervical
cancer was pivotal in shaping the course of his career: “She
told me her early diagnosis was thanks to the pregnancy. So
she wanted to give her baby the chance he had given her.”
Amant’s patients are a major influence on his work, but
his first interest in medicine came much earlier during his
childhood on his family’s farm near Leuven, Belgium. Two
of his uncles were training to be doctors as he grew up,
“so I found myself buried in advanced medical texts well
ahead of my years. I can’t really remember wanting to be
anything other than a doctor”, he says. Although he retains
an interest in nature that reflects his rural upbringing—he
is a co-founder of a non-profit organisation that promotes
forestation in Belgium—Amant followed his uncles into
the profession and completed his medical degree at the
Catholic University of Leuven. After training in obstetrics,
gynaecology, and surgery, he specialised in gynaecological
oncology. It’s a specialty that he finds continually
motivating because of “the challenges of complex surgery
for a life-threatening disease, combined with personal
contact with patients and research opportunities”.
Amant is a lead author of The Lancet’s Series on malignancy
in pregnancy. About one or two per 2000 pregnancies are
complicated by cancer, with the most common being breast
cancer (40%) and blood cancers (20%). Amant, who is Chair
of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology’s task
force on cancer in pregnancy, says that “this simply reflects
the normal range of cancers in women of reproductive age,
and there is nothing to suggest the pregnancy causes the
cancers”. The biggest challenge is educating the public that
chemotherapy is possible in pregnancy without harm to the
baby. “Women find it hard to believe they shouldn’t have
an aspirin, but can take these very strong chemotherapy
drugs during pregnancy”, Amant says. “At first, we did not
have much evidence regarding the unborn children. But
now more than 120 children have been born to women
treated with chemotherapy in our ongoing international
collaborative study, and they are doing as well as the general
population, so that offers reassurance.” Most of the babies
who didn’t do so well were born preterm after being induced
early, rather than as a result of exposure to the drugs.
“Fear of chemotherapy should not be a reason to
terminate pregnancy”, Amant says, adding that “there is no
evidence termination improves outcomes for the mother”.
And while it’s true that radiotherapy poses more of a
danger during pregnancy, especially later in the gestation,
Amant says that “in most cases, especially breast cancer,
women are started on chemotherapy (as they would be if
not pregnant) and can then be treated with radiotherapy
postpartum if necessary”. The key messages Amant
wants to come from the Series, and a related paper in
Lancet Oncology, are “that it’s rarely necessary to change the
standard chemotherapy treatment regimen for pregnant
women with cancer, and that chemotherapy does not
harm the unborn child”. He adds that “Staging scans should
be limited to avoid overexposing the fetus to radiation,
and radiotherapy of upper body parts with fetal shielding is
possible during first and second trimester only.”
Day to day, Amant’s working life is an emotional roller
coaster. While in most cases, mother and baby can be helped
through this difficult time, there are always heartbreaking
tales. As the father of four children himself, Amant recognises
how painful these decisions can be for expectant parents.
“Sometimes, a mother-to-be’s cancer is so far advanced it
kills her and her unborn child before anything can be done.
In other advanced cases, the dying mother is kept alive, for
example with a brain tumour in a coma—to enable the baby
to be born to term”, says Amant. “In other cases, the parents
may decide to terminate the pregnancy because the father
cannot go on alone. It is impossible to imagine how difficult
such a decision would be”, acknowledges Amant.
Alongside this clinical work, Amant has a strong research
record. While still a registrar, his 1999 publication in the British
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of a randomised trial of
misoprostol for the prevention of post-partum haemorrhage
lay the foundation for larger scale trials. As well as driving
forward the agenda on cancer in pregnancy, he is an expert on
uterine cancer. “It is Frédéric’s ability to respectfully balance
strong personalities as Principal Investigator in groundbreaking
projects, as well as his generous contributions in
other collaborative studies, that make him to a true leader”,
says Helga B Salvesen, from the University of Bergen, Norway,
who co-founded the European Network for Individualized
Treatment in Endometrial Cancer with Amant. Eric de Jonge,
from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at
Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Belgium, agrees. “Frédéric’s vision,
work ethic, and his ability to establish durable contacts based
on mutual professional respect have enabled him to build a
remarkable research network. Supported by unconditional
cooperation from his peers he drives ‘his’ pioneering project:
cancer and pregnancy.”

Tony Kirby
Profile
Frédéric Amant: leading the agenda on cancer in pregnancy
See Series pages 558,
570, and 580
See Lancet Oncol Online/Articles
DOI:10.1016/S1470-
2045(11)70363-1
For the University Hospitals
Leuven site on cancer in
pregnancy see http://www.
uzleuven.be/en/kanker-enzwangerschap/cancer-andpregnancy
For European Society of
Gynaecological Oncology’s task
force on cancer in pregnancy
see http://www.esgo.org/
Networks/Pages/TaskForces.aspx

Link

 September 2015: Women who are pregnant when diagnosed with cancer can start treatment for their disease immediately and do not need to terminate their pregnancy due to worries over the effects of therapy on the development of their child.

In a special session on cancer in pregnancy at the 2015 European Cancer Congress [1] on Monday, Professor Frédéric Amant said that new results from a study of 129 children, aged between one and three, born after prenatal exposure to cancer treatment, showed normal development of their mental processes and heart function when compared to a matching group of children from the general population.

“Our results show that fear of cancer treatment is no reason to terminate a pregnancy, that maternal treatment should not be delayed and that chemotherapy can be given. The study also shows that children suffer more from prematurity than from chemotherapy, so avoiding prematurity is more important than avoiding chemotherapy,” said Prof Amant, who is a gynaecological oncologist at the University Hospitals Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium) and at Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). The study is being published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine [2].

A total of 129 children from Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, and the Czech Republic were included in the study and were matched with a similar number of children of the same gestational age who were born to mothers unaffected by cancer. The children’s general health and mental development were examined when they were 18 months and three years old. At the age of three, 47 of the children also had the functioning of their hearts checked with electrocardiograms (ECGs) and echocardiography.

The most common cancers among the mothers were breast and haematological cancers, such as leukaemia and lymphoma. Eighty-nine (69%) of the children were exposed to chemotherapy before birth, four (3.1%) to radiotherapy, seven (5.4%) to both chemo- and radiotherapy, one (0.7%) to trastuzumab, one (0.7%) to interferon β and 13 (10.1%) to surgery alone, while 14 (10.9%) mothers did not receive treatment during pregnancy.

“Compared to the control group of children, we found no significant differences in mental development among children exposed to chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery alone or no treatment,” said Prof Amant. “Nor was the number of chemotherapy cycles during pregnancy, which ranged from one to ten, related to the outcome of the children.”

On a scale for measuring mental development (Bayley Scales of Infant Development), both groups of children had a median average score of 100,ranging between 56-145 in the children exposed to cancer treatment and 50-145 in the unexposed children (the higher the score, the better). Children exposed to chemotherapy had a median average score of 100 versus 99.5 for the control children; those exposed to radiotherapy scored an average of 102 versus 105, to surgery alone, 111 versus 102, and to no treatment, 105 versus 97.5.

However, the researchers found that the scores tended to increase by an average of 2.2 points for every week in gestational age, after controlling for age, gender, country, ethnicity and parental education level. “Delayed development of mental processes appeared to be related to premature birth,” he said.

Premature birth was more frequent among children born to mothers with cancer, regardless of whether or not they received prenatal treatment, than in the general population in the countries participating in the study. They had a median gestational age of 36 weeks, ranging from 27-41 weeks; 79 (61.2%) children were born at less than 37 weeks, compared to 7-8% in the general population.

“In most cases, they were born prematurely due to a medical decision to induce preterm so as to continue cancer treatment after the delivery,” said Prof Amant. “In some cases preterm delivery was spontaneous and it is possible that cancer treatment plays a role in this. But we do not know what exactly triggers preterm delivery. It could be that chemotherapy induces preterm contractions or vaginal inflammation with preterm rupture of the membranes.”

Of the 47 three-year-olds who had their cardiac functioning checked, 29 had been exposed to chemotherapy, but compared to the control group of children, there were no differences or abnormalities.

In 2011, Prof Amant reported results of 70 children born after being exposed to cancer treatment, and this latest report is a continuation of this work. However, now the researchers have a control group of children against which to compare the development of the study children. “We did not have this comparison before. In addition, we have included children born to mothers who had surgery alone, or a diagnosis but no treatment. These latest results are again reassuring, but given that we have a larger group of children and the comparison with the control group, the current data are much more robust,” he said.

However, he warned that the results had some limitations. “Our data include many types of chemotherapy, but we cannot guarantee that all types of chemotherapy are safe.

“We need to look at larger numbers of children and larger numbers exposed to each drug in order to be able to document the potential effects of individual drugs. In addition, we cannot extrapolate to newer drugs, including targeted drugs. We need longer follow-up to see if there are any long-term toxic effects in cases where cisplatin was administered before birth. For these reasons we will continue to follow these children until the age of 18 years and we will enlarge the group. This will allow us to document longer-term effects and to draw conclusions for specific drugs. In addition we will investigate to what extent anti-cancer drugs are diluted in the body during pregnancy, and also at the psycho-emotional needs of mothers and their partners.”

The mothers with cancer were recruited into the study from the International Network on Cancer, Infertility and Pregnancy registry; they were registered between 2001 and 2014 at the time of their cancer diagnosis. All study children were seen between 2005 and 2015. The control children, because they needed to be matched to the study children, were recruited and examined between 2012 and 2015.

Professor Peter Naredi, the ECCO scientific co-chair of the Congress, who was not involved in the research, commented: “These latest results should be reassuring for pregnant women who have been diagnosed with cancer and who will, naturally, be worrying about the best course of action not only for themselves but for their unborn child. While further follow-up of these children is required, the important message at this stage seems to be that doctors should not only start cancer treatment immediately, but should also try to maintain the pregnancy to as near full term as possible.

https://www.cancerinpregnancy.org/news-events/news/ecco18

Professor Frédéric Amant is a world leading researcher / clinician in the area of cancer treatment in pregnant women.

dr-frederic-amant.jpghttps://www.cancerinpregnancy.org/news-events/news/ecco18

Link

A former chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said nothing in the law had prevented him from carrying out an abortion where necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.

Dr Eamon McGuinness said a doctor’s primary duty lies in saving the mother and “giving her all the help she needs, even if that means that the life of the baby is at risk.

“I have had to do that myself, working under the auspices of the Eighth Amendment. Where a woman has developed a uterine cancer for example, it has meant that I have had to advise and carry out an early termination of pregnancy. Nothing in the law prevented me from doing so.”

Dr McGuinness was speaking at a Save the Eighth press conference in Dublin on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution which guarantees the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn.

A retired obstetrician, he was chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists from 1993 to 1996. The current executive of the institute has stated it is in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment in the referendum on May 25th.

Dr McGuinness said the “Eighth Amendment has never impacted my ability to provide the best healthcare that women and their babies expect and deserve”.

He also said “there is perhaps a misconception that under current law a woman has to be actually dying before we can intervene to end a pregnancy. Again this is untrue.”

The Medical Council guidelines which all doctors had to adhere to were very clear, he said. “Section 48 stipulates that even if a threat to the mother’s life is not immediate or inevitable it can be acted upon.”

‘Living proof’

It was put to him that the Ms P case went to the High Court to be resolved where the HSE kept a woman who was clinically brain dead on life support because she was 15 weeks pregnant.

Asked about the divergence of view when masters of maternity hospitals and other medical practitioners said the Eighth Amendment was tying their hands, Dr McGuinness said: “I just want to know where it’s tying hands. It didn’t tie my hands”.

Audrey McElligott, who also spoke at the press conference, said she was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkins Lymphoma while pregnant and went through three cycles of chemotherapy at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Her child was born healthy and she was “so happy no one ever mentioned the word abortion to me”. She said she was “living proof” that the Eighth Amendment “doesn’t prohibit pregnant women from receiving the life-saving medical care that they need”.

Louise Dunleavy, a mother of six, said she developed life-threatening septicaemia during her sixth pregnancy but said her pregnancy did not impact on the treatment she received. “Doctors were not constrained by the Eighth Amendment from acting to save my life.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/retired-doctor-says-8th-amendment-did-not-stop-him-carrying-out-abortion-1.3457341

44 days to go…Mass appeal… Obstetrician says lives not lost through the 8th amendment…

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45 days to go & Mass appeal.The real push for and risk of decriminalisation of abortion to birth in Ireland.

45 days to go…..

to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th when voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.

THIS POST IS IN THREE PARTS:

(1): BACKGROUND TO THE PRO-LIFE CRISIS IN IRELAND:

(2): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S MASS APPEAL FOR THE 8TH:

(3):TODAY’S POST:

The real push for and risk of decriminalisation of abortion to birth in Ireland. 

exposed by of all people, the no. 2 in parliament, Simon Coveney, whose attempt to limit future parliamentarians power to decriminalise abortions to birth (as per this government’s original plan),  sank like a stone.

(1): BACKGROUND TO THE PRO-LIFE CRISIS IN IRELAND:

International Planned Parenthood: 

the umbrella body for abortion providers worldwide, seeks through its affiliates here, to introduce an extremely liberal abortion regime to Ireland. The Irish government is campaigning for a no questions asked unrestricted medical abortion regime to 12 weeks. Until recently, they proposed abortions with no upper limits i.e. to birth on mental / physical risk grounds with a two doctor model approach similar to the U.K. (the U.K. mental health risk ground has been responsible for 98% of almost 9 million UK social abortions to date and the two doctor UK model has been dispensed with long ago, with most abortions signed off on by doctors who do not see the woman until in theatre: please see our previous posts on this).

Down syndrome exemption?

The Irish government say babies are diagnosed with Down’s syndrome after 12 weeks. Therefore they will escape the unrestricted abortion limit to 12 weeks. The government also says they will be exempt from mid-trimester abortions as no ground for abortion of non-fatal disabililties will be permitted. Mid-trimester abortions will otherwise be permissible on mental / physical health risk grounds by two nominated doctors. However in Germany, there is equally no ground for abortion of Down’s babies, yet 9/10 Down’s babies are aborted under the mental health risk ground. The absence of a ground is meaningless without a ban while the mental health risk ground exists.

 

Last trimester Ban or is it?

Because of a recent drop in support in opinion polls, the Irish government cynically dropped the ‘no upper limit’ ……ahem….limit and now propose a ban on abortions above 24 weeks of pregnancy / viability. Exceptions to the new limit proposed include serious maternal life and health risks and fetal life limiting conditions, where babies may be still be aborted to birth. How ‘serious’ will be defined as opposed to mental and physical health risks for mid-trimester abortions is unclear but reassurances are given that babies will not be left to die.

Zero legal protection:

In any case if the 8th amendment goes / is repealed, there remains zero legal protection for the Irish unborn to birth following a recent Irish supreme court decision that stripped any remaining rights other than the right to life enshrined in the 8th. Recent attempts by the Irish government’s 2nd in command, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, to prevent further liberalisation of current government proposals including a possible reversion to the original ‘no upper limit’ scenario, failed miserably in the Irish parliament or ‘Dáil’ this past week on the grounds of being unconstitutional. Thus the door will be left wide open to this or future governments acting as they will. Having said that, a constitutional lawyer here has intimated that the total lack of constitutional protection to birth without the 8th in place, might permit a situation to unfold where any limitations in place could be challenged with nothing to underpin them.

A thorn in the side for years:

International planned parenthood’s juggernaut, has targeted Ireland’s pro-life laws for many years describing the 8th amendment as the ‘jewel in the crown’ for the pro-life movement in general. This targeting despite Ireland having one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world without abortion.

Money is involved at many levels. Consider the revenue of Planned Parenthood America in 2016 which was 1.4 billion US dollars alone. Consider a recent post on major abortion provider Marie Stopes U.K.’s bonus driven culture; (calling back women who’d already refused abortions to offer later appointments as a sales target) and consider yesterday’s post on the flooding of Irish pro-abortion organisations such as Amnesty International Ireland with foreign funds from George Soros amongst others, accepted and kept illegally. With a view to not only repealing the 8th amendment, but to specifically  target any remaining countries with restrictive abortion laws including Poland and Malta….

 

(2): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S MASS APPEAL:

REPARATION, CONVERSION AND PROTECTION OF THE PRO-LIFE 8TH AMENDMENT.

Everyday, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God, conversions of heart and for protection of the 8th amendment. There is nothing greater than the Mass. (Sr. Briege has a worldwide apostolate of intercession for priests and healing ministry). In August last year in the Marian shrine, Knock, Ireland, she said, ‘if Ireland votes for abortion, Ireland is lost.’

Can you, with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days / days of prayer with medically safe fasting in your parish between now and May 25th? 

Please let us know about your parish event or if you are going to have a  Mass said privately by emailing us at: massandfastforireland@gmail.com or go to our website: www.massandfastforireland.com/contact

Please consider getting Masses said locally where ever you are or through the following:

(a):  Aide to the Church in Need (Ireland): A.C.N. is an international organisation that helps the mission of the Church in some of the poorest and most dangerous places in the world……http://www.acnireland.org/masses or call 018377516 (0035318377516)

(b): Human Life International Ireland, a pro-life and family, catholic organisation, have a 1000 Mass campaign for protection of the unborn and reparation for Ireland’s turning from God…https://humanlife.ie/1000masses/community/add

 

(3): TODAY’S POST:

The real push for and risk of decriminalisation of abortion to birth in Ireland: 

The Tanaiste / No. 2 in the Irish government, Simon Coveney’s failed efforts to reassure voters, by limiting future liberalisation on abortion in the Irish parliament,  highlighted how easily legislators will be able to return to their first position of abortions with no upper limit once the 8th is repealed.

Background: the no. 2 in government Simon Coveney had declared previously that he was pro-life. He then capitulated to a position of supporting ‘hard’ cases for abortion. Finally he supported the government’s proposals for unrestricted abortion to 12 weeks and depending on nominated medical personnel’s assessment of mental or physical health of the mother, to 24 weeks.

Obviously concerned enough, that abortion to full term could be introduced once the 8th went, given that the government introduced the 24 week ban after a drop in opinion polls, he then proposed a parliamentary fail safe mechanism to reassure voters, whereby more than a 2/3rds majority of parliament, known as ‘the Dáil, would be required to change legislation further.

This was instantly shot down as unconstitutional. To allay Coveney’s and others fears, the minister for Health, Simon Harris (also previously a self-professed pro-lifer), stated that they would look at other mechanisms to ensure future amendments weren’t treated as any other law and to add a sense of gravitas to the whole proceedings.

The suggestion is then made in the following article of yet another citizen’s assembly to examine the issue  (despite the discovery that one recruiter for a recent citizen’s assembly just rang friends of his / her own contacts) and yet another parliamentary health or ‘oireachtais’ committee.

A citizen’s assembly of 100 people supposedly representing the Irish population demographically, makes recommendations to a Dáil / Irish health parliamentary or oireachtais committee. Based on what we have just seen: a ratio in the recent parliamentary abortion committee of 6 pro-abortion speakers for every 1 pro-life speaker and a vote by committee members taken to repeal the 8th half way through proceedings, before all the experts had had a chance to give their testimony, we can expect a similar whitewash.

The recent stripping of any other rights from the unborn by the Irish supreme court other than the right to life in the 8th amendment, paves the way for total decriminalisation of abortions on Irish unborn to birth. The fact that the government originally proposed the two doctor approach with no upper limit on mental / physical health risk grounds, exposes the plan to permit abortions through all stages of pregnancy and provide uniform abortion care through all trimesters to birth on both islands of Ireland and Great Britain.

‘The Tanaiste Simon Coveney has denied doing a u-turn on abortion.’

With reporting by Sean Defoe:

It follows his decision to back unrestricted terminations up to 12 weeks into pregnancy after initial reservations.

The Cabinet approved draft laws on Tuesday that they would try to bring in if the 8th amendment is repealed.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Minister Coveney said they have allayed his fears.

“I don’t categorise it as a u-turn at all – I couldn’t support the 12 weeks proposal unless it was accompanied with what we got yesterday now from the Minister for Health, which is a very strict and detailed protocol which involves a lot more time for consideration.”

It is also likely we will find out the date of the abortion referendum later on Wednesday.

The Seanad is expected to pass the final stages of the referendum bill later.

The May 25th had been suggested as the probable date for the public to go to the polls.

But Mr Coveney has suggested it could happen a week earlier than expected.

“Once the legislation passes through the Seanad we’ll be able to announce a date at that stage.

“There are two possible dates that we’re looking at towards the end of May.

“Not necessarily the last Friday – it could be the second last Friday”.

 

 

 

 

Future abortion laws

It comes as the Attorney-General has been asked to look at ways to make sure if abortion laws are ever re-visited in the future, they would get more scrutiny than regular legislation.

The move is being seen as a way to address concerns raised by Mr Coveney.

On Tuesday Mr Coveney went into Cabinet asking that if any new abortion laws were to come in, it would require two-thirds of the Oireachtas to vote in favour of changing them again.

But he was quickly, and publicly, shot down by the Taoiseach.

“The Attorney-General advises me that it would be contrary to article 15 of the Constitution, and therefore could not be included in this legislation – and therefore will not be”.

But playing to Mr Coveney’s concerns, the Attorney-General Seamus Woulfe has been asked to see if there is a way of giving future abortion laws special status, according to Health Minister Simon Harris.

“What the Attorney-General has been asked to do is… to look at seeing if there is a way of outlining if the Irish people or if the Irish people’s representatives decided they wanted to revisit elements of this in the future, that there would be a process in place that would be above and beyond that of changing a regular law”.

“And I’ve already outlined some of those examples – this time we’ve seen a Citizens’ Assembly, we’ve seen an Oireachtas all-party committee”.

The Government on Tuesday approved the heads of bill of the legislation they will try to bring in if the 8th amendment is repealed.

http://www.newstalk.com/AttorneyGeneral-asked-to-examine-ways-to-address-future-abortion-laws

 

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/unborn-does-not-have-rights-beyond-right-to-life-in-eighth-amendment-supreme-court-rules-36679324.htmlSimon Coveney

 

 

46 days to go…Mass appeal….How much of Amnesty International Ireland’s money goes on abortion promotion at home and abroad?

Just 46  days to go:
to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th when voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.
THIS POST IS IN THREE PARTS:
(1): BACKGROUND TO THE PRO-LIFE CRISIS IN IRELAND:(2): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S MASS APPEAL: FOR THE 8TH:(3): TODAY’S POST:Almost half of Amnesty International Ireland’s campaign money went on abortion promotion in 2016. 

International Planned Parenthood: 

the umbrella body for abortion providers worldwide, seeks through its affiliates here, to introduce an extremely liberal abortion regime to Ireland. The Irish government is campaigning for a no questions asked unrestricted medical abortion regime to 12 weeks. Until recently, they proposed abortions with no upper limits i.e. to birth on mental / physical risk grounds with a two doctor model approach similar to the U.K. (the U.K. mental health risk ground has been responsible for 98% of almost 9 million UK social abortions to date and the two doctor UK model has been dispensed with long ago, with most abortions signed off on by doctors who do not see the woman until in theatre: please see our previous posts on this).

Down syndrome exemption?

The Irish government say babies are diagnosed with Down’s syndrome after 12 weeks. Therefore they will escape the unrestricted abortion limit to 12 weeks. The government also says they will be exempt from mid-trimester abortions as no ground for abortion of non-fatal disabililties will be permitted. Mid-trimester abortions will otherwise be permissible on mental / physical health risk grounds by two nominated doctors. However in Germany, there is equally no ground for abortion of Down’s babies, yet 9/10 Down’s babies are aborted under the mental health risk ground. The absence of a ground is meaningless without a ban while the mental health risk ground exists.

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47 days to go…..Mass appeal…..Is the real reason Amnesty International Ireland won’t return the illegal money from U.S. based billionaire George Soros, because they’re in the red?

Just 47 days to go:

to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th when voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.

THIS POST IS IN THREE PARTS:

(1): BACKGROUND TO THE PRO-LIFE CRISIS IN IRELAND:

(2): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S MASS APPEAL: FOR THE 8TH:

(3): TODAY’S POST:

IS THE REAL REASON THE IRISH BRANCH OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WON’T RETURN THE ILLEGAL MONEY FROM U.S. BASED BILLIONAIRE GEORGE SOROS BECAUSE IT IS IN THE RED?

BACKGROUND: 

International Planned Parenthood: 

the umbrella body for abortion providers worldwide, seeks through its affiliates here, to introduce an extremely liberal abortion regime to Ireland. The Irish government is campaigning for a no questions asked unrestricted medical abortion regime to 12 weeks. Until recently, they proposed abortions with no upper limits i.e. to birth on mental / physical risk grounds with a two doctor model approach similar to the U.K. (the U.K. mental health risk ground has been responsible for 98% of almost 9 million UK social abortions to date and the two doctor UK model has been dispensed with long ago, with most abortions signed off on by doctors who do not see the woman until in theatre: please see our previous posts on this).

Down syndrome exemption?

The Irish government say babies are diagnosed with Down’s syndrome after 12 weeks. Therefore they will escape the unrestricted abortion limit to 12 weeks. The government also says they will be exempt from mid-trimester abortions as no ground for abortion of non-fatal disabililties will be permitted. Mid-trimester abortions will otherwise be permissible on mental / physical health risk grounds by two nominated doctors. However in Germany, there is equally no ground for abortion of Down’s babies, yet 9/10 Down’s babies are aborted under the mental health risk ground. The absence of a ground is meaningless without a ban while the mental health risk ground exists.

Continue reading

48 days to go…Mass appeal….Amnesty’s refusal to return illegal money funding repeal of the 8th

amnesty international logo.

Just 48 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th when voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.

International Planned Parenthood, the umbrella body for abortion providers worldwide, seeks through its affiliates here, to introduce an extremely liberal abortion regime to Ireland. The Irish government is campaigning for a no questions asked unrestricted medical abortion regime to 12 weeks. Until recently, they proposed abortions with no upper limits i.e. to birth on mental / physical risk grounds with a two doctor model approach similar to the U.K. (the U.K. mental health risk ground has been responsible for 98% of almost 9 million UK social abortions to date and the two doctor UK model has been dispensed with long ago, with most abortions signed off on by doctors who do not see the woman until in theatre: please see our previous posts on this).

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49 days to go….Mass appeal….pro-abortion money trail: other countries to follow…

George-Soros-fetus-Bruno-Domingos-Reuters--640x480.png

Just 49 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th when voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.

International Planned Parenthood, the umbrella body for abortion providers worldwide, seeks through its affiliates here, to introduce an extremely liberal abortion regime to Ireland. The Irish government is campaigning for a no questions asked unrestricted medical abortion regime to 12 weeks. Until recently, they proposed abortions with no upper limits i.e. to birth on mental / physical risk grounds with a two doctor model approach similar to the U.K. (the U.K. mental health risk ground has been responsible for 98% of almost 9 million UK social abortions to date and the two doctor UK model has been dispensed with long ago, with most abortions signed off on by doctors who do not see the woman until in theatre: please see our previous posts on this).

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50 days to go…Mass appeal…Conveyor Belt abortions and bonuses Marie Stopes UK

 

conveyor-304959_1280

50 DAYS TO GO…

MASS APPEAL….

THE CONVEYOR BELT PART 3:

‘MARIE STOPES U.K. PAID ITS STAFF BONUSES FOR ENCOURAGING WOMEN TO GO THROUGH WITH PROCEDURES (ABORTIONS)’: U.K. HEALTH WATCHDOG FINDS….

 

Just 51 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th when voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.

International Planned Parenthood seeks to introduce an extremely liberal abortion regime to Ireland. The Irish government is campaigning for a no questions asked medical abortion regime to 12 weeks. Until recently, they proposed abortions with no upper limits i.e. to birth on mental / physical risk grounds with a two doctor model approach similar to the U.K. (the U.K. mental health risk ground has been responsible for 98% of almost 9 million UK social abortions to date and the two doctor UK model has been dispensed with long ago, with most abortions signed off on by doctors who never see the patient until in theatre: please see our previous posts on this).

Because of a recent drop in support in opinion polls, the Irish government are now proposing a ban above 24 week abortions, unless serious maternal life and health risks are involved with the exception of life limiting conditions, where babies may be aborted to birth.

In any case if the 8th amendment goes / is repealed, there is zero legal protection for the Irish unborn to birth following a recent Irish supreme court decision that stripped any remaining rights other than the right to life enshrined in the 8th. Recent attempts to limit future liberalisation beyond even these proposals, failed in the Irish parliament or ‘Dáil’ as being unconstitutional leaving the door open to the government’s original proposals of no upper limit abortion.

International planned parenthood’s juggernaut, has targeted Ireland’s pro-life laws for many years despite Ireland having one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world without abortion. Money is involved at many levels. Consider the revenue of Planned Parenthood America in 2016 which was 1.4 billion US dollars alone. Consider the post below on major abortion provider Marie Stopes U.K.’s bonus driven culture for arranging abortions……

 

THIS POST IS IN TWO PARTS:

(1): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S MASS APPEAL: FOR THE 8TH:

(2): TODAY’S POST:

THE ABORTION CONVEYOR BELT: MARIE STOPES U.K. PAID STAFF BONUSES TO ENCOURAGE WOMEN TO ABORT

 

(1): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S MASS APPEAL:

FOR MASSES FOR IRELAND AND TO KEEP THE PRO-LIFE 8TH AMENDMENT.

Everyday, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God and for protection of the 8th amendment. There is nothing greater than the Mass. (Sr. Briege has a worldwide apostolate of intercession for priests and healing ministry). In August last year in the Marian shrine, Knock, Ireland, she said, ‘if Ireland votes for abortion, Ireland is lost.’

Can you, with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days or days of prayer with medically safe fasting in your parish between now and May 25th?

Please let us know about your parish event or if you are going to have a  Mass said privately by emailing us at: massandfastforireland@gmail.com or go to our website:

http://www.massandfastforireland.com/contact

Please consider getting Masses said locally where ever you are or through one of the following links:

(a):  Aide to the Church in Need (Ireland).

A.C.N. is an international organisation that helps the mission of the Church in some of the poorest and most dangerous places in the world.

http://www.acnireland.org/masses or call 018377516 (0035318377516)

(b): Human Life International Ireland, a pro-life and family, catholic organisation, have a 1000 Mass campaign for protection of the unborn and reparation for Ireland’s turning from God…

https://humanlife.ie/1000masses/community/add

 

(2): TODAY’S POST: THE CONVEYOR BELT CONTINUES:

‘MARIE STOPES U.K. PAID ITS STAFF BONUSES FOR ENCOURAGING WOMEN TO GO THROUGH WITH PROCEDURES (ABORTIONS)’: U.K. HEALTH WATCHDOG FINDS….

Inspectors from the health watchdog Care Quality Commission or C.Q.C., found evidence of a policy – in place across all 70 Marie Stopes clinics in the country – whereby staff were told to call women who had decided not to have an abortion, and offer them a new appointment.

The C.Q.C. inspected the Maidstone centre ( in Kent U.K.) in May 2016, but didn’t publish its findings until October 2017 having amended an earlier report. It was there that they found documentation of a widespread policy on women who do not opt for abortions.

They also uncovered a document referring to a ‘company-wide focus’ on women who weren’t going ahead with abortions, who were referred to as ‘Did Not Proceed’ patients.

According to the report, staff felt ‘encouraged’ to ensure women went through with abortions because it was ‘linked to their performance bonus’.

Staff told CQC inspectors the clinic was like a ‘cattle market’ and described a ‘very target-driven culture’.

Continue reading

51 days to go….Mass appeal…A patient of Marie Stopes UK speaks out

51 DAYS TO GO….

MASS APPEAL….

CONVEYOR BELT: A PATIENT OF MARIE STOPES U.K. ABORTION PROVIDERS

52 DAYS TO GO……to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th where voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.

This post is in two parts:

(1): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S APPEAL FOR MASSES FOR THE 8TH:

(2): TODAY’S POST:

THE ABORTION CONVEYOR BELT: BY A PATIENT OF MARIE STOPES

 

(1): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S APPEAL:

FOR MASSES FOR IRELAND AND FOR THE 8TH AMENDMENT.

Everyday, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God and for protection of the 8th amendment. August last year in Knock, she said, ‘if Ireland votes for abortion, Ireland is lost.’ Please consider getting Masses said locally or through this link to ACN:

http://www.acnireland.org/masses or call 018377516.

Alternatively Human Life International Ireland have a 1000 Mass campaign for protection of the unborn and reparation for Ireland’s turning from God…

https://humanlife.ie/1000masses/community/add

Most importantly: can you with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days or days of prayer with medically safe fasting in your parish?

Please let us know through the contacts page or at:

massandfastforireland@gmail.com

(2):

REVIEW:

Yesterday we looked at an interview given by Dr. John Parsons, who was head of the terminations / abortions unit at King’s College Hospital London, sat on the board of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service / B.P.A.S. and worked for years as a consultant part-time for Marie Stopes U.K., the 2nd biggest abortion provider in the world.

His report is damning, citing a conveyor belt system with sales targets, a turn around time, Health care assistants interviewing and consenting woman, taking their bloods and doing an ultrasound within 20 minutes. He spoke on the bottom dollar mentality there where safety was at a premium and administrative staff harried and hurried doctors to finish up a.s.a.p. even pushing them to sign consent forms when operating in theatre.

THE ABORTION CONVEYOR BELT: BY A PATIENT OF MARIE STOPES:

20 MINUTE PHONE CALL WITH A ‘CLIENT SERVICES ASSISTANT’,

20 MINUTES HEALTH CARE ASSISTANT INTERVIEW:

ABORTIONS ORGANISED IN 40 MINUTES TOTAL BY MARIE STOPES U.K.:

A former patient of Marie Stopes U.K. went public on her personal experience of the organisation when she was referred by her G.P. for an abortion, having become pregnant despite being warned not to. Shannon Skinner’s first labour had been difficult and she was advised to avoid pregnancy for two years but became pregnant four months later. Her G.P. advised her that another pregnancy could damage her health and to book an abortion with Marie Stopes.

She booked a telephone consultation, which was carried out by a healthcare assistant not a nurse.

Miss Skinner gave details of her medical history and was asked about her first pregnancy during the 20-minute call.

She thought that she would be given time at the clinic with a nurse to discuss her decision. But there, she saw only receptionists and healthcare assistants. She was scanned, told to sign a consent form and given her medication.

‘I regretted it instantly,’ she says. ‘I wish now I’d just walked out. I was crying my eyes out.’

 

The booking call with non-medically people in Marie Stopes call centres last no more than 20 minutes. On arrival in the clinic, on seeing the Health care assistant, the time to be handed the first of the two abortion pills took another 20 minutes.

40 minutes in total of contact with non-medically qualified personnel to administering an abortion pill.

She says she was not seen by a Marie Stopes nurse or doctor but received treatment from ‘uncaring receptionists and healthcare assistants’.

As she was handed the first of two sets of pills to end her eight-week pregnancy, she felt rushed and was not sure she was making the right choice.

Miss Skinner, then 19, says that instead of being listened to, she was met by staff ‘who were clearly trying to get as many abortions done in a day as possible’.

She says: ‘It’s not an experience I would ever want to go through again. [The clinic] felt like a conveyor belt. There were lots of crying women.’

But feeling like she had no choice, she went through with the medical abortion on the NHS in 2013.

A medical termination involves taking the drug mifepristone orally, which inhibits the hormone progesterone, essential for pregnancy.

This is followed by misoprostol, which can be taken on the same day or up to three days later, which causes the uterus to expel the embryo.

At the clinic in Bristol, Miss Skinner, now 23, was given the two drugs to take four hours apart. But they did not work and her baby, Amelia, survived.

Now raising Amelia, two, and her first daughter Lacie, three, she says she has ‘moved on’, but deeply regrets ever trying to abort her baby.

Her anger is directed at Marie Stopes, which she thinks ‘handed abortion pills out to anyone, no questions asked’. Miss Skinner says: ‘If someone had paid more attention to my doubts, I think I would have backed out of the decision to have the abortion and been much happier.’

‘But no one ever asked me how I felt about it, if it was something I really wanted. If there had been some trained and caring person willing to talk to me I think the outcome would have been very different. That way, I wouldn’t be living with the guilt that I do now.

‘For the rest of my life I will worry that the abortion tablets will have a negative effect on Amelia.

So far, she has been fine but no one can guarantee that will continue. I wish Marie Stopes had treated me better.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4284290/Marie-Stopes-abortions-signed-just-phonecall.html

Note: the above testimony, coupled with consultant specialist Dr. John Parsons’ testimony (see yesterday’s post: day 53 to go…), about the rushed nature of the work environment at Marie Stopes and the bottom dollar cost-cutting measures with a focus on profit, make the promo video below sound like a totally different organisation while the nature of what is done; the killing of a developing baby is utterly trivialised as ‘treatment’.

 

 

 

 

52 days to go….Mass appeal….An abortionist at Marie Stopes UK speaks out

52 DAYS TO GO….
MASS APPEAL….
CONVEYOR BELT: AN ABORTIONIST’S STORY
52 DAYS TO GO……to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th where voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.
This post is in two parts:
(1): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S APPEAL:
(2): TODAY’S POST: THE ABORTION CONVEYOR BELT: BY AN ABORTIONIST….
(1): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S APPEAL:
FOR MASSES FOR IRELAND AND FOR THE 8TH AMENDMENT.
Everyday, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God and for protection of the 8th amendment. August last year in Knock, she said, ‘if Ireland votes for abortion, Ireland is lost.’ Please consider getting Masses said locally or through this link to ACN:
Alternatively Human Life International Ireland have a 1000 Mass campaign for protection of the unborn and reparation for Ireland’s turning from God…
Most importantly: can you with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days or days of prayer with medically safe fasting in your parish?
(2):
REVIEW: 

Yesterday we looked at the controversy last year surrounding a Daily Mail investigation from 2017,  where undercover reporters phoned Marie Stopes call agents, the second biggest abortion provider in the U.K.

They reported that on stating that it wasn’t the right time for them to have a baby, the call agents (who are not medically qualified and who work to a script) stated that this would count as ‘client is unable emotionally to continue with pregnancy’, which fits the legal conditions and that the conversation took as little as 22 seconds. They described numerous failures that were identified by health watchdog Care Quality Commission C.Q.C. which included in one case the bulk signing of 26 consent forms by a doctor in Marie Stopes in 2 minutes.

Whereas the interpretation of the 1967 U.K. abortion law does not require doctors to see patients before abortions, it is considered ‘ good practice’ by the Dept of Health. One concern that appeared in the article was that whereas a nurse may go through the consent process according to N.H.S. guidelines and the doctor must sign off afterwards, in fact, health care assistants were doing this in Marie Stopes and while pre-signing of consent forms may not have been happening, the checks and balances were questionable to say the least.

(2): TODAY’S POST:

THE ABORTION CONVEYOR BELT:
BY AN ABORTIONIST AT MARIE STOPES U.K..
About 60,000 abortions are carried out in the U.K. each year in Marie Stopes clinics out of a total of 190,000 per annum. Dr. John Parsons a retired gynaecologist described his experiences working as an abortionist at Marie Stopes U.K..  Dr. Parsons is the former head of the termination of pregnancy service at King’s College Hospital, London, and a former member of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s board. The B.P.A.S. is the biggest abortion provider in the U.K..
Here are some quotes from an interview he gave the Daily Mail newspaper in the U.K..
‘ I worked there (Marie Stopes) one Saturday every month from 2003 to 2010, and then once a week until 2012. During the week, I was a consultant at King’s College Hospital, London.’
‘The business manager at the clinic was continuously checking that we were moving patients through fast enough. On the wall in the staff tearoom was a chart, showing the ‘progress’ of the previous week, and giving the turnaround time we should be aiming for – from the moment a patient walked in to the moment she left.’

‘The first point of contact in the clinic was with a health care assistant or H.C.A.

The H.C.A. had just 20 minutes to explain the procedures to each patient, perform an ultrasound and take a medical history and a blood sample. On top of that, the HCA had to complete the paperwork. It was a punishing schedule.’

‘At that time, Marie Stopes was performing around 30-35 surgical terminations a day at the clinic I worked in alone. About a quarter of them were over 14 weeks. Some 95 per cent of patients were funded by the NHS.’

‘Many women are upset when they arrive at a clinic. Time should be given to talk to them, and to pick up on any signs that they don’t want to go through with the termination. But you couldn’t always be sure this had happened, because of the pressures everyone was under.’

‘Legally, abortion forms require two medical signatures. I would fill in the forms without having met a patient, ticking the appropriate box to confirm that was the case.’

‘I just had to rely on the health care assistants and hope that if a woman was unsure or had been forced into a termination by her partner or parents, they had picked up the signs in the short time they had with the woman. There was a climate of fear at Marie Stopes. If we were taking too long signing forms, we’d be chivvied by administrative staff. Sometimes, I’d already be in the operating theatre, performing a procedure, when documents would be presented for me sign. To say it was a rushed would be an understatement.’

‘Every now and again, a patient on my operating table would change her mind and leave the room. Could she have been better counselled? Certainly, more time spent with her might have thrown up her doubts. It’s likely she had simply not felt able to express doubts about what lay ahead to the H.C.A. as she was sped through their checks.’

‘I sometimes got the impression that the women I treated hadn’t been given the full picture, or had the pain properly explained to them. They often appeared to feel more pain than you’d expect, and that upset me, because once you have started a termination you can’t stop. I would just have to carry on, despite their cries.’

‘The next level up from a no-anaesthetic abortion was ‘conscious sedation’ – something which is used very commonly throughout NHS services, including dentistry – whereby the patient is given low dose anaesthetic drugs so they don’t lose consciousness. The drugs used – which had similar effects to the ‘date-rape’ drug Rohypnol – would wipe the memory of the pain.’

‘It sped up the process, because women recover quicker than after general anaesthetic and there’s less aftercare needed. But is it all right for a doctor to hurt someone simply because she won’t remember the pain?’

‘I would be trying to perform a termination on a patient who was wriggling or shuffling up the operating table, trying to get away. I’d have to pull her back down again to continue the procedure. After a termination – and to keep a rapid throughput of patients – women would be taken into a small room where they were allowed to lie for ten minutes before being taken upstairs to sit in a reclining chair. On the occasions I had to examine someone who had post-operative pain, the fact that there was no bed available made it far more difficult.’

‘Late surgical terminations, from 18 weeks pregnancy on, were carried out under general anaesthetic. There was one anaesthetist but never a trained assistant during the time I was working at the clinic. I felt it would have been safer – and better practice – to have an assistant present as well.’

‘And when I carried out terminations at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, one of these assistants was always in theatre. Certainly, my anaesthetist colleagues at King’s College Hospital were shocked by this when I told them. I don’t know if this practice has since changed at Marie Stopes.’

‘The founder of Marie Stopes International, Tim Black, once told me: ‘Whatever is good enough for a black woman in Africa is good enough for a white woman over here.’ The implication was that Black was aware that Marie Stopes was providing a basic service.’

‘The aim was always to save money – the faster the recovery, the faster the patient would be out of the door. To my great discomfort, I felt it was an organisation that didn’t have its patients at the centre of the service they were offering.’

‘I had never see anything like that in an NHS clinic. We were constantly under pressure, with junior administrative staff harassing medical staff to get a move on.’

‘We worked in an atmosphere of bullying and pressure – it was nothing more than a conveyor belt service.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4284290/Marie-Stopes-abortions-signed-just-phonecall.html#ixzz5BYycYUiL

Tomorrow’s post:

Day 52….. Mass appeal….A Health Care Assistant organised abortion pills  in 20 minutes

Dr. John Parsons head of terminations at Kings College Hospital London

53 days to go…Mass appeal and the U.K.’s two doctor model of consent (part 4)

Marie Stopes image from Daily Mail Bloomsbury London

53 DAYS TO GO….
MASS APPEAL….
THE UK’S TWO DR. MODEL OF ABORTION CONSENT
(PART 4)
53 DAYS TO GO……to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th where voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it.
This post is in two parts:
(1): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S APPEAL:
FOR MASSES FOR IRELAND AND FOR THE 8TH AMENDMENT.
Everyday, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God and for protection of the 8th amendment. August last year in Knock, she said, ‘if Ireland votes for abortion, Ireland is lost.’ Please consider getting Masses said locally or through this link to ACN:
Alternatively Human Life International Ireland have a 1000 Mass campaign for protection of the unborn and reparation for Ireland’s turning from God…
Most importantly: can you with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days or days of prayer with medically safe fasting in your parish?
(2): THE TWO DOCTOR MODEL AND THE UK:
HOW DOES IT WORK: (PART 4):
2017 CONSENT SCANDAL AT MARIE STOPES U.K., ABORTION PROVIDERS:
Yesterday we looked at how the wording of the original 1967 act which required two doctors to form an opinion in good faith that a woman qualified for an abortion under certain grounds, was deemed to not require any abortionist to see a woman before an abortion and that while it was ‘good practice’, there was no legal requirement.
How abortionists may not pre-sign consent forms but must sign off on forms that nursing staff have already used to consent the woman.
How 70% of abortions in the UK are done by private companies contracted to perform them (NHS contract), the two biggest ones being: the British Pregnancy Advisory Service / B.P.A.S. and Marie Stopes UK.
Last year, the Daily Mail, ran an article:
“Abortions signed off after just a phone call: how Marie Stopes doctors approve abortions for women they’ve never met.”
According to the article: “Although doctors are not legally required to meet a woman before signing off their abortion, Department of Health guidance says it is ‘good practice’. And doctors must be able to show they have signed off the abortion after forming an opinion ‘in good faith’ that the legal grounds for termination have been met.”
Two Daily Mail reporters rang Marie Stopes help lines to test how requests for abortions are now handled given the different scandals of the past with Marie Stopes…
What appears to emerge is that the reason given over the phone in what can be a very short conversation ends up being re phrased to suit one of the grounds for the act and signed off on by a doctor at the clinic.
The Daily Mail maintain that one of the conversations lasted just 22 seconds to get approval for an abortion. In both conversations, not wanting a baby was re phrased as “emotionally unable to cope” under the act. The reporters in both phone calls were reassured that they would not have to see two doctors or any doctor as it was unnecessary.
By the time the reporter got to the clinic, her ‘I just don’t want the baby’ justification had been recorded in her medical notes as ‘client is unable emotionally to continue with pregnancy’, which fits the legal conditions.
A second reporter told a call centre worker: ‘I’m just not in a position at the minute to have a child really, it’s just not the right time for me.’ But after being asked whether she agreed that it was not the right time ‘emotionally’ for her to have a child, she was told: ‘Yeah, yeah, under the Abortion Act, that would fall down as an emotional reason, so that’s absolutely fine.’
The Daily Mail reporters raise two concerns regarding consenting of women for abortion from their experiences:
(1): Is that health care assistants or nurses consent the women and the doctor does not see them though there is no legal requirement for that to take place as per yesterday’s post: Day 55 .
(2): More significantly the Daily Mail states: “Concerns that doctors were signing off abortions based solely on call-centre conversations were raised last year by the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which inspected Marie Stopes clinics last April and published its reports in December. In a major scandal which resulted in the suspension of some abortion services at the clinics, inspectors found a string of failures.”
The reporters seemed concerned and cited a Care Quality Commission concern that women are not being seen by doctors pre-abortion. It’s a little surprising they were shocked or not in the loop, as that has been the established status quo since the 2014 response of the Dept. of Health to the pre-signing scandal and investigation by the General Medical Council of 2012 / 2013.
What is different however, in this article, is the suggestion that the call centre call with someone unqualified was grounds enough to book an abortion with no suggestion that a nurse would consent the woman for the doctor to sign off on.
There were also serious concerns about doctors ‘bulk signing’ abortion consent forms without seeing the women involved, with one doctor signing 26 consent forms in two minutes.
The article doesn’t state if the bulk signing was pre-signing ( the doctor signs the end of the consent form before the nurse goes through the form with the woman and fills in the rest of the consent form). Medics performing abortions have been warned not to do this by the General Medical Council, the Dept. of Health and the British Medical Association and it is illegal.
It is also possible, it was bulk signing after a nurse or nurses had gone through the consent forms with the women in question,  in which case, the doctor who bulk signed the 26 consent forms in two minutes, would likely have relied on the nurse(s) to flag any issues and signing off was an afterthought probably done under pressure.
If it is the latter case, it may not be considered to be good practice but there is absolutely nothing illegal in it as again, there is no legal requirement for abortionists to see British women seeking abortions before the abortion.
Tomorrow 52 days to go…. And the experience of an abortionist working at Marie Stopes UK.

54 day to go…Mass appeal & UK two doctor model of abortion consent (part 3)

pexels-photo-355934.jpeg

54 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on abortion on May 25th where voters decide whether to repeal / remove the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution which gives equal protection to mother and child, or to keep it. (Happy Easter: Jesus is risen, we took Good Friday off so the post is a day late, but o.k. cause we were to finish a day early…no loss 😊)

This post is in two parts:

(1): SR BRIEGE MCKENNA’S APPEAL:

FOR MASSES FOR IRELAND AND FOR THE 8TH AMENDMENT.

Everyday, we promote Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God and for protection of the 8th amendment.  August last year in Knock, she said, ‘if Ireland votes for abortion, Ireland is lost.’ Please consider getting Masses said locally or through this link to ACN:

http://www.acnireland.org/masses or call 018377516.

Alternatively Human Life International Ireland have a 1000 Mass campaign for protection of the unborn and reparation for Ireland’s turning from God…

https://humanlife.ie/1000masses/community/add

Most importantly: can you with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days or days of prayer with medically safe fasting in your parish?

The UK two doctor model of abortion consent: How does it work ?

(part 3)

Review: In parts 1 and 2, we looked at how a scandal was reported in early May 2014 in the Telegraph newspaper (1) over the pre-signing of abortion consent forms by 67 doctors during on the spot checks by the Care Quality Commission / C.Q.C. or health watchdog in 2012. This appeared to have happened at 14 out of 249 locations examined. The inspections followed a letter from the Chief Medical Officer in February 2012 to all providers of termination of pregnancy services making clear their responsibilities under the 1967 Abortion Act after a single case of pre-signing had been identified and all 14 found to be guilty of pre-signing were N.H.S. trusts (2). A cross-party group of M.P.s reported it to the Metropolitan Police and Earl Howe the Health minister in the House of Lords had said that prosecutions should result.

However the General Medical Council / G.M.C., found no case against the medics in question and stated the police had examined two sample cases and felt there was no ground for prosecution. The G.M.C. accepted that the practice was unacceptable and broke the law but refused to identify any doctors or their roles, stating that this was because it was so widespread, also stating that no woman had been harmed in the cases identified and because clinical practice had changed so much since the 1967 UK abortion act.

The G.M.C. warned the doctors in question not to do it again and said that the C.Q.C. watchdog had since established that the practice was no longer happening. They didn’t explain however what they meant by clinical practice having changed so much. It was not clear from the Telegraph report or the G.M.C. response, if patients were just being seen after the forms had been pre-signed (which would possibly risk oversights due to a sense of complacency in any consultation with a woman) or if the women simply hadn’t been seen at all by the 67 doctors.

The reaction of Earl Howe in the house of Lords and M.P.s seemed to suggest the latter rather than the former and the statement by the G.M.C. suggesting that pre-signing had been stamped out in follow ups by the health watchdog / C.Q.C., suggested that women were now being seen in consultation and consented in proper order by doctors as per the 1967 abortion act. This act requires that two doctors form an opinion in good faith that a woman seeking an abortions meets one of no. of potential grounds.

But within a fortnight the Telegraph reported  a public statement by the U.K. Dept. of Health / D.O.H., (3) that doctors could consult with a woman seeking an abortion by phone or Skype.

Most significantly, the Dept. stated that in fact under the 1967 act, there was absolutely no obligation on doctors to see a woman prior to an abortion. That while it was ‘good practice’, it was not mandatory. The option to Skype a woman before an abortion no doubt to facilitate more interaction between doctor and patient did not suggest consultations in person were always happening if indeed at all.

Just two weeks after the G.M.C.’s public reassurance that pre-signing had been stamped out, the statement by the U.K. Dept. of Health, suggested the G.M.C. absolutely knew that the doctors were not seeing women before abortions, but that there was no issue in the G.M.C. with that per se. So if there was no issue with the 67 doctors not seeing women prior to abortions, what did the pre-signing of consent forms mean practically if not failing to see a patient before a procedure? Wasn’t the furore because it was understood that a woman should be seen by two medics under the abortion act?

If this was the widespread practice that had changed radically since the 1967 act, the G.M.C. had adopted a position of not explaining this in its statement. A re-reading of the initial Telegraph report on the G.M.C.’s reaction to pre-signing,  in the light of the second D.O.H. report, shows that the G.M.C.’s comments on stamping out pre-signing, did not clarify or disabuse the public of the notion that women were now being seen and consented by doctors. This carefully worded statement by the G.M.C. belied the reality of what was really happening under the act but could be interpreted in different ways whether intended or not.

Probably under pressure from abortion providers and their doctors who had been investigated and reprimanded by the G.M.C., the D.O.H.  explained that the practice of doctors not seeing women before their abortions was not in fact breaking the law.

What was going on then, between the public positions of the G.M.C. who were insisting that that the law had been broken and that consent forms must not be pre-signed by medics and the position of the D.O.H. which stated publicly, that there was no onus at all on abortionists to see a woman before an abortion?

Part 3:

The puzzle:

The timing, a fortnight after the negative publicity for abortion providers in the UK, can only be a direct response to the pre-signing scandal and G.M.C. findings as reported in the Telegraph. Yet, the G.M.C. findings were actually not mentioned directly by the D.O.H. in the second article (though the article does quote Ann Furedi of British Pregnancy Advisory Service / B.P.A.S., the biggest abortion provider in the U.K.. who said they exonerated doctors. )

As a result of the Dept. of Health statement, the 67 medics that the C.Q.C. / health watchdog had found guilty of pre-signing consent forms and of breaking the law, were effectively exonerated by the British government on any perceived grounds that might be held by the public, of failing to see patients before abortions. Not in fact because they had actually seen patients before abortions: they hadn’t. But because the D.O.H. was now stating publicly that the 1967 act never required doctors to see the patient before the abortion!

But then how was the law broken if pre-signing consent forms does not mean failing to have a consultation with a woman?  Also, accepting that the D.O.H. just considered it to be ‘good practice’ for a medic to see a woman before an abortion, was this or is this happening at any frequency now in the UK? What happens to the woman? 

This is important as a two-doctor model is being proposed here in Ireland for abortions after 12 weeks, so mid-trimester 12 to 24 weeks. Depending on what the government are saying at any one time, this may also include the final trimester of pregnancy under conditions which may go beyond the scope of acting to save the life of the mother (which was always practiced in this country before the 2013 ‘Protection of Life during pregnancy act’) and beyond abortions to full term for so called ‘fatal foetal abnormalities’ which the government propose should have no upper limit in pregnancy i.e. to birth. 

The two biggest private providers B.P.A.S. and Marie Stopes U.K. account for almost 7/10 of the 185,000 annual abortions in the UK paid for by the N.H.S. (termed NHS contract), with the N.H.S. accounting for 3/10, no doubt done through G.P. referrals (Only 2% are done privately).(4)

If via B.P.A.S. or Marie Stopes, the first point of contact is a call to an abortion provider, usually a B.P.A.S.  or Marie Stopes call agent, who as that first point of contact, is trained to work to a script and need not have a medical background. According to the N.H.S. guide to abortion, (5) a woman may, if she wishes, see a trained counsellor.

If the decision for the abortion goes ahead, (with or without further counselling following that phone call), then a booking is made and at the abortion facility, it appears that the woman is seen by a nurse or doctor who obtain consent  as per N.H.S. guidelines. The abortion can be done / initiated the same day.

What becomes clear from studying some of the Quality Reports by the Care Quality Commission  / C.Q.C. watchdog, is that a nurse consents the patient, but a doctor must sign-off on the consent form for the overall procedure without ever having to see the patient prior to the abortion. The 67 doctors in 2012 appear to have broken the law by signing the consent before the nurses went through the form with the women.

On reading the Quality Report for B.P.A.S. Slough (6) by the C.Q.C. watchdog, in 2017, it’s clear that nurses or midwives consent the women. Equally a review of Marie Stopes’ practice (7) in February 2017 shows that: “A review of the provider’s abortion policy indicated that registered nurses could obtain consent providing they had attended consent training and had this competency signed off, by a clinical operations manager, a clinical team leader and/or a doctor”.

According to the B.P.A.S. report, paperwork would then be submitted to a doctor on site, who would assess the consent form and okay it / sign or be free to request more information. The ’67 act however stipulates that a second doctor must sign the consent form. The C.Q.C. report stated: “If a second doctor was available on site, they would review the information and similarly authorise the HSA1 (government abortion form that must be filled in) as the second doctor or decline and request further information. If a second doctor was not available on site, B.P.A.S. used the electronic central authorisation system to ensure information and the HSA1 form was accessible and signed by doctors located at other B.P.A.S. units.”

The second doctor must agree that the ground for abortion is the same as the first even if they are off-site in another clinic from the information in the consent form the nurse sends through. If >1 or different grounds are found for the abortion by both doctors they must liase and agree which ground the abortion is being authorised under.(8)

There does not appear to be any other necessity for two doctors to liaise.

Ann Furedi for abortion provider B.P.A.S. in that second Telegraph article on Dept. of Health guidelines was quoted as saying: “Recently, doctors providing abortion services have felt under intense political scrutiny, and this document should give them the reassurance that neither the law nor regulations have changed to accommodate those who think their work is wrong.  The law impedes best practice. There is no clinical need for two doctors to certify a woman’s reasons for abortion, in addition to obtaining her consent, it simply causes delays. B.P.A.S. trusts women to make responsible choices and B.P.A.S. doctors comply with the law.”

In one breath, Ann Furedi of B.P.A.S., stated that the law hadn’t changed but that it impeded best practice as there was no need for two doctors to certify reasons or obtain consent.

Also in the same Telegraph article on the Dept of Health guidelines, came a somewhat surreal contribution from Public Health Minister Jane Ellison who said: “This brings clarity to abortion care. Throughout its development we’ve worked closely with medical professional bodies and consulted the Crown Prosecution Service to provide clear guidance to clinicians about their roles and responsibilities under the law so that they can continue to provide the best possible care for women.”

Was this how the law was originally intended to be interpreted in 1967?

Further mandating of the zero doctor model masquerading as a two doctor model then came from the British Medical Association B.M.A. representing the medical profession itself which months later, in November 2014 issued its ‘Law and ethics of Abortion’ guide (9). In its introduction it states:

“The BMA has longstanding policy dating back to the 1970s and 80s supporting the Abortion Act 1967 as a practical and humane piece of legislation.” They outline the abortion act as follows:

Under the Act, a pregnancy can be lawfully terminated by a registered medical practitioner, in an NHS hospital or premises approved for this purpose, if two medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith……

This is then followed by the different grounds under the act.

It continues, “there is no legal requirement for the doctor to personally examine a woman seeking termination. Indeed, there is the option on the HSA1 (abortion) form for one or both of the doctors to certify that they have not seen or examined the woman. In 1981 the courts confirmed that abortion was a procedure carried out by a multi-disciplinary team, and that whilst the doctor should accept overall responsibility for all treatment with regard to a termination of pregnancy, they do not need to personally conduct every stage of the procedure, and can rely on information gathered by other members of their team in forming their opinion. Nevertheless, doctors must be satisfied that the conditions of the Abortion Act have been met.”

They cite the D.O.H. guidelines: “Guidance from the Department of Health asserts that it considers pre-signing of forms without subsequent consideration of any information relating to the woman to be incompatible with the requirements of the Abortion Act.23”

So there it is. The consent forms may not be pre-signed, but they must be post-signed where usually a nurse, not a doctor, has consented the woman and the doctors sign the form afterwards. At least by having the doctor take the responsibility for examining the completed consent form before signing off on it, it opens the possiblity of dialogue with the nurse about any issues that might have arisen when consenting her or even the option to see the woman herself, though there is no legal requirement to see her. In fact,  the official abortion forms give abortionists the option to document that they did or didn’t see the woman as it’s so accepted that they don’t need to.  With the 67 doctors guilty of pre-signing, it may have been tempting or thought implicitly okay, to just cut to the chase in a busy clinic and  pre-sign the form, trusting a nurse would later flag them if something came up. Though speculative, the fact that the 14 NHS trusts found guilty of pre-signing were found to be doing so after the Secretary of State for Health had sent all of the 249 U.K. locations where abortions are performed a reminder of what their duties are under the act, makes one question if the practice was even more widespread, as those found guilty it, had received fair warning from the Dept. of Health, which clearly flagged breaches must be happening.

One potential consequence of pre-signing is that is sooner or later something can go wrong somewhere and the whole practice is then brought into question. To ensure the buck stops with the doctor by getting them to sign off on the nurse’s consent, ensures that if something does go wrong, it is an individual case and the whole practice can continue.

Did Earl Howe who called for prosecution in the House of Lords and the cross-party M.P.s who went to the Metropolitan Police, know that the pre-signing of consent form scandal was only problematic because at stake was maintaining a real or perceived chain of clinical command?  Did they react because they believed at least one medic would see the woman before the operation?

The careful wording of a response by the G.M.C. would not debunk any misperception or false reassurance. Only the Dept. of Health statement did so, shedding light on the current loosest of  interpretations of the original 1967 act and in likelyhood, only to defend the practice and the doctors involved.  The government still insists that doctors oversee the process of screening carried out by nurses.

The doctors responsibility is to sign consent forms after nurses see the woman and hopefully pick up any red flags if they emerge.

For Ireland, the proposal by government here for two doctors to sign off on mid and possibly late trimester abortions must raise red flags too. As with all of its proposals, once the 8th is gone, it’s anyone’s guess on how the parliament / Dail would word legislation and how that would be interpreted over time.

Josephine Quintavalle of the campaign group, Comment on Reproductive Ethics, was quoted in the second Telegraph article on the Dept of Health guidelines on Skype / phone consultations: “A telephone consultation to ensure authorisation – presumably with a pro-choice doctor – completely ignores the life-taking nature of abortion, makes a complete mockery of the original Act and would surely not be tolerated in any other branch of medicine.”

Tomorrow’s post: 53 days to go…..

 

(1): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10807990/Pre-signing-abortion-forms-is-illegal-General-Medical-Council-admits.html

(2): http://www.cqc.org.uk/news/releases/findings-termination-pregnancy-inspections-published

(3): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10851574/Abortion-doctors-can-consult-women-on-phone-or-via-Skype-guidance.html

(4)https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/report-on-abortion-statistics-in-england-and-wales-for-2016

(5) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/abortion/what-happens/

(6): http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAF9125.pdf / BPAS Slough Quality Report pg. 19, 23-24.

(7): https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAG6589.pdfhttps://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAG6589.pdf   / Marie Stopes Interantional UK Quality Report 

(8): The law_and_ethics_of_abortion_BMA Views Nov 2014 pg. 6 : 2.1.4

(9): The law_and_ethics_of_abortion_BMA Views Nov 2014 pg. 3.