Wednesday, July 31, 2013

China slammed by US State Department for policies that encourage trafficking in persons

The US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (or TIP Report) has downgraded China to a Tier 3 nation – a status it now shares with Iran, Sudan and North Korea.  Tier 3 nations may be subject to sanctions, if approved by the U.S. President.  A Chinese official responded with indignation, calling the downgrade an “arbitrary judgment.” Report by Women's Rights Without Frontiers

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “The anger of the Chinese government against the TIP Report is misplaced.  They should channel their anger toward taking effective action against traffickers, rather than against the exposure to the world of their abysmal record on human trafficking.”

The TIP Report discusses how China’s One Child Policy, combined with son preference, has caused a gender imbalance that is driving human trafficking and sexual slavery, not only within China but from the surrounding countries as well.  The Report lists the many nations from which women and girls are trafficked into China:  “Women and children from neighboring Asian countries, including Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Mongolia, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as from Russia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, are reportedly trafficked to China for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.”

The TIP Report found that, despite the prevalence of human trafficking and sexual slavery, the Chinese government’s efforts at prevention falls below minimum standards.  In fact, the Report found that many state-run institutions were complicit in the trafficking:  “ . . . The Chinese government did not demonstrate significant efforts to comprehensively prohibit and punish all forms of trafficking and to prosecute traffickers. The government continued to perpetuate human trafficking in at least 320 state-run institutions, while helping victims of human trafficking in only seven.”

The TIP Report further criticized the Chinese government for failing to “address the effects its birth limitation policy had in creating a gender imbalance and fueling trafficking, particularly through bride trafficking and forced marriage.”

 Women’s Rights Without Frontiers commends the decision by the State Department to drop China from a Tier 2 to a Tier 3 nation.  We particularly affirm the connection the TIP report draws between the One Child Policy and human trafficking. The sex-selective abortion of baby girls in China – exacerbated by the coercive low birth limit under the One Child Policy -- has created a dangerous gender imbalance in which there are an estimated 37 million more men than women living in China today.  

The TIP report mentions the forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees as economic migrants.  Such forcible repatriation contravenes international refugee law.  Moreover, young women and girls who are refugees or who are trafficked from North Korea into China may face the death penalty upon their forcible repatriation.  These young North Korean sex slaves in China are among the most desperate people on earth.  They can be beaten and raped with impunity.  If they somehow manage to escape and report this abuse to Chinese authorities, instead of receiving help, they can be repatriated to North Korea, where they may be executed.

Littlejohn continued, “WRWF urges the Obama administration to apply appropriate sanctions against China, consistent with those allowed in the TIP Report.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ireland’s Pregnancy Law Open to Challenge

Ireland’s President Higgins, following a meeting of the Council of State on Monday July 29th, has signed the controversial “Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act 2013” into Irish law according to a Global Herald article.
This legislation which flowed from an Irish Supreme Court judgement in the X case and a subsequent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C case, will permit legal abortion to be carried out for the first time, up to birth, in Ireland. The enactment of the legislation has caused major controversy and is expected to be faced with legal challenges.
A challenge could be mounted on the wording of Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution, which says;
 “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.” 
The Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act 2013 clearly fails to treat unborn life as equal to that of a mother and as a result could be construed as failing to defend and vindicate that right.
A mother who fears that she may, at some future date, become suicidal may be granted an abortion. This has nothing to do with human rights
Challenges are also possible on the inclusion in the Act of issues rejected in a previous referendum, without being referred back to the people, and further challenges are also possible in the area of conscientious objection or the nomination of Catholic Hospitals in the list of those in which abortion will be available.

One of the major controversies has been the dictatorial approach of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fine Gael the senior party in the current coalition government who gave a commitment before the last election, in order to secure the pro-life vote that they would not introduce abortion. Once in office however they turned their backs on those pro-life voters who supported them. 

The Irish Government having first set up a group of experts decided to legislate for abortion and set up two sessions of Oireachtas hearings to examine the issues. The hearings proved to be mere window dressing and the evidence given in them was largely ignored particularly the expert psychiatric submissions, which affirmed that abortion is not and never can be a treatment for suicidal ideation.

The insistence by Taoiseach Enda Kenny of the application of the Party whip is also to be deplored. Party loyalty is of course important but it is contrary to every reasonable understanding of democracy that any deputy should be forced to vote against his or her conscience.
Some deputies were coerced and others cajoled into supporting the legislation and some simply said no and defied the party whip.
Former European Minister Lucinda Creighton stood by her convictions and voted against the legislation at the high personal cost of ejection from the parliamentary party and the loss of her ministerial post. Importantly deputy Creighton, who has shown herself to be a person of high caliber made some very incisive remarks about the conduct of the body politic and the media in Ireland.

This legislation is deeply flawed and the sooner it overturned the better

President Higgins and the abortion bill: Will he sign it or wont he?

The decision of President Higgins is now eagerly awaited following the meeting of the Council of State, convened to discuss the “Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013” which took place at Áras An Uachtaráin (The Irish President’s Official Residence) yesterday.  There is much discussion, speculation and analysis about this in today’s newspapers. During the meeting pro-life warriors held a peaceful prayer vigil at the gates of the Áras.

The Independent for example reports that former President Mary Robinson and former Taoiseach John Bruton who did not actually attend the meeting nevertheless made written submissions. It is understood that both recommended the abortion legislation not be referred to the Supreme Court.

In written submissions to President Michael D Higgins, the two former office holders said the bill should be signed into contentious law – and allow it to be challenged in the courts through individual cases.

The President's advisory body, the Council of State, debated the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013 for almost four hours yesterday.

Mr Higgins has until tomorrow to decide whether to sign the bill into law or refer it to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.

While he didn't express an opinion at the meeting, there was a sense Mr Higgins would sign the bill.

President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said there was no question the legislation would be challenged in the courts.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern gave a history of the issue, particularly from his own time in office, while his successor as Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, gave a more legalistic assessment of the legislation.

Former President Mary McAleese also gave her legal assessment of the legislation.

Mrs Robinson, Mr Bruton and former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds were the only three members not in attendance at Aras an Uachtarain yesterday.

But Mrs Robinson and Mr Bruton sent in written submissions, which were circulated amongst the members in recent days.

Although the former President would be regarded as liberal and the former Taoiseach as conservative, both felt it shouldn't be referred to the Supreme Court and cases should be allowed to happen.

"Mary Robinson was of the same view as John Bruton. Leave it to case law," a source said.

All 21 members of the Council of State present gave their view on the legislation as the President went around the table seeking opinions.


The advice given to Mr Higgins generally broke down into three categories: sign the bill into law; refer it to the Supreme Court; or sign into law to allow Supreme Court challenges.

Although it wasn't a unanimous view, it was generally felt the Government did well to take on the issue and that the Attorney General did well in presenting the case.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Attorney General Maire Whelan each said the Government felt the bill was in line with the Constitution.

The President of the High Court felt there was a risk of cases being taken and felt the legislation was going to be challenged if it was signed into law.

President Higgins has until tomorrow to decide

The meeting starting just before 3pm and finished at 6.45pm.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pope requests baby whose parents rejected abortion be presented during offertory at final WYD Mass

According to news reports an estimated 3 million people attended the closing mass of World Youth Day on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 28-- one of the largest crowds in the history of World Youth Day. Meanwhile it has been reported that Pope Francis sent a powerful pro-life message to everyone by  requesting that a baby suffering from anencephaly, whose parents rejected abortion, be presented during the offertory of the Mass. reports that Pope Francis has added a powerful pro-life statement to his closing mass at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro today, personally requesting at the last minute that a seriously ill child whose parents rejected abortion be presented during the offertory procession at the Mass.
According to Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s press officer,  “During the final mass of World Youth Day, Pope Francis will welcome this child during the offertory procession of the mass as a gesture of welcome and offering of a life to God.”
Fr. Lombardi said the pope first encountered the child, who suffers from anencephaly, a condition in which a baby is born without a significant portion of its brain, as he was leaving the cathedral of St. Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. The parents presented the baby to the pope.

Most babies with anencephaly do not live more than minutes after birth, although some have been known to live for months or even years. Many of them are aborted before birth.

According to Fr. Lombardi, “The parents did not wish to abort their child even though an abortion would have been allowed legally for such a case.”

“The parents wished to welcome the gift of life.”

Millions of youth are expected to join today’s mass, the concluding event of the five day World Youth Day festivities, which brought the world’s first Latin American pope to his home continent.

According to some estimates, as many as three million youth gathered on Copacabana beach for a prayer vigil yesterday evening, during which the Pope urged them to eschew the siren call of money and power

Friday, July 26, 2013

Realistic description of abortion necessary in sanitised debate of half-truths

Senator Jim Walsh has an interesting article in today’s Irish Times (26 July) in which he correctly defends his decision to describe the horrific abortion methods currently practiced in other jurisdictions. Senators were left in no doubt about what they were actually voting for and predictably blamed the messenger rather than taking the message to heart.
To underline the truth expressed by Senator Walsh in his final paragraph headed ‘selective outrage’ I am including a link to a video testimony by a brave young woman who having been given the sad news that her baby was suffering from anencephaly and would not survive courageously faced the issue and allowed her baby subsequently baptized John Paul after his birth to survive and live as long as he was capable of doing so. See my BLOGPOST "John Paul ours for a time"
The following is the text of Senator Walsh’s article;
Given how the abortion debate has developed in recent months, I was not surprised by the reaction to aspects of my speech in the Seanad last week.
The vast majority of media commentary has simply repeated the Government spin that its abortion legislation is “extremely restrictive” and has written off any contrary position as scaremongering.
Few in the media seem to consider for a second the distinct possibility that the new law could, over time, lead to wide-ranging abortion.
Some commentators and parliamentarians may genuinely believe the legislation is strictly confined to life-saving interventions to safeguard the lives of pregnant women. However, deep down, many must know the reality will be quite different.
I knew my speech would be criticised but chose to make it because the debate has been dominated by sanitised half-truths and comforting fictions. One of these fictions is that the Bill is “restrictive”. The unborn have neither a voice nor a vote, so if those of a pro-life ethos do not articulate the protection of their innocent, vulnerable status, their cause is conceded, to the shame of humanity.
Abortion on demand
A look at the experience of jurisdictions from California to New Zealand shows that laws almost identical to the one the Government is introducing have led to abortion on request.
This is why the Labour Party has campaigned so hard for 21 years for legislation based on the X case. Its spokespeople, from Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, have been quite clear they see the Bill as a stepping stone to abortion on request.
I make no apology for using graphic descriptions of abortion during the committee stage in the Seanad. The context in which I did so was seeking to ascertain what precise methods of abortion will be used under the new law.
The answers the Minister for Health gave were far from reassuring. Inexcusably, he was unable to confirm what abortion procedures will be allowed. All we know is the law he is bringing in permits terminations that are life-ending not life-saving. Indeed the abortion procedure is not in any way circumscribed.
If my descriptions were horrific and “disgusting”, what does that say about the procedure itself, a procedure that we are set to legalise?
I was mindful of trying not to add to the heartbreak of women who have been through the experience. I met with women from groups such as Women Hurt who pleaded with members of the Oireachtas to speak out about the devastating consequences of abortion and help end the spiral of silence about its brutality and what it inflicts on an innocent unborn child.
It’s perfectly legitimate for commentators and others to attack my speech. In a democracy, you expect that. But democracy functions better when all sides are scrutinised and criticised equally. That isn’t what is happening here.

Selective outrage
When a Senator last week described babies with a fatal foetal abnormality as “a cluster of cells which will develop into a large piece of tissue that will have no head, no brain, no spinal cord”, where was the outrage and condemnation from any newspaper? Where was the demand to correct this misleading description or to apologise to the families of babies who were born with this condition and loved for as long as they lived?
With the Government set to introduce abortion disguised as medical interventions, I believe that it is an appropriate time to describe the reality of what is being proposed.
Jim Walsh is a Fianna Fáil Senator

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Council of State to meet next Monday to discuss the 'Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013'

The Irish Times reports Thursday 25th July that President Michael D Higgins has announced he will convene a meeting of the Council of State to seek its advice on whether or not he should refer the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.
According to the report a statement issued by Áras an Uachtaráin has confirmed that President Higgins will be invoking the powers available to him under Article 26 of the Constitution to convene the Council of State to reach a decision on referring a Bill.

The meeting will take place at Áras an Uachtaráin next Monday afternoon.

The Bill completed its passage through the Oireachtas on Tuesday, when the Seanad voted in favour of the legislation.

Article 26.1 states: “ The President, after consultation with the Council of State, refer any Bill to which this Article applies to the Supreme Court for a decision on the question as to whether such Bill or any specified provision or provisions of such Bills is or are repugnant to this Constitution.”

If the President decides to refer the Bill it must be done within seven days of him receiving the Bill from the Oireachtas.

A total of 15 Bills have been referred since 1940. The last Bill referred to the Supreme Court was the Nursing Homes Bill in early 2005. The Bill proposed to prevent retrospective payments to residents of nursing homes and other institutions and was referred by then President Mary McAleese.

The Supreme Court ruled the Bill was repugnant to the Constitution.

Once a Bill is found to be in keeping with the Constitution after being referred under the Article 26 provision, the legislation can never be challenged on constitutional grounds again by a citizen in the courts.

The Council of State is comprised of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Chief Justice, President of the High Court, Ceann Comhairle, the two former presidents, the five former taoisigh, retired chief justices, as well as those named by Mr Higgins. They are: Michael Farrell, Deirdre Heenan, Catherine McGuinness, Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Ruairí McKiernan, Sally Mulready, and Gerard Quinn.

Conscience, a last bulwark against totalitarianism: Article by Rev Fr Vincent Twomey emeritus professor of moral theology at Maynooth

A very timely article by the prominent moral theologian Rev. Fr. Vincent Twomey, appeared in the Irish Times on Wednesday July 24th under the banner ‘Conscience, a last bulwark against totalitarianism'. The article deals with both, the implications of the recent insistence by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on a whipped vote in respect of his Government's abortion legislation despite the conscientious objection of many of his own party members, and the role of Catholic Seminaries in the promulgation of flawed moral theology.

Fr. Twomey writes;
The passing of the abortion Bill in the Dáil, it was said, marked the end of the old cosy church-State relations. But is this true? One of the main reasons, it seems, why many senior priests and bishops were personally silent on the Bill is the fact that many clerics and their families have long histories of being supporters of Fine Gael. Another reason for the lukewarm support of the bishops’ position was theological in nature.

The kind of fundamental moral theology taught in seminaries in recent decades is one that, contrary to church teaching, denies there are any moral actions, even abortion, that are intrinsically wrong. The moral evaluation of an action depends rather on motive and circumstance. Such a theology also distinguishes between the moral and legal/political spheres, allowing Catholic politicians to put politics above their “private” moral convictions. This theology, though widespread, is radically at variance with church teaching.

Moral quagmire
The apparent “neutral” stance on the Bill taken by the leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) illustrates the moral quagmire caused by this kind of fundamental moral theology. The ACP leadership refused to take a formal position. One member, Fr PJ Madden, stated his personal belief that “there is no need for legislation on abortion”. Two other leadership members, Fr Tony Flannery and Fr Brendan Hoban, when asked, would not state their positions. But the ACP website did publish an article by Margaret Lee in which she wrote: “I believe that a woman is entitled to choose termination when the foetus has no chance of surviving outside the womb.” In other words, abortion is in principle allowed in certain circumstances.

This kind of moral theology undermines conscience, reducing morality to a “personal belief”, a private conviction. Conscience is regarded as a subjective conviction, rather than something objective, namely our capacity to recognise what we ought to do, especially when we are not inclined to do so.

Jerry Buttimer TD, chairman of the Oireachtas committee on the Bill, played a central role in getting the Bill passed. As a seminarian at Maynooth, he was exposed to the kind of fundamental moral theology that denies moral absolutes, such as direct abortion, and places politics superior to (supposedly private) moral convictions.

Whatever the rationalisations used, the net effect of all this was the attempt by the Taoiseach, Minister for Health and chief whip to put pressure on anti-abortion colleagues to vote for legislation they knew to be wrong. Legislators, in a word, were forced to act against their conscience. That itself is gravely immoral.

Attempted suppression
The neutering of the legislature by the executive has been a feature of Irish democracy for many years, but the attempted suppression of parliamentary dissent on a matter of fundamental moral significance marks a new low.

One senior party figure offered it as his view “that Enda Kenny showed personal courage and political skill”. I see a lot of evidence of political manipulation but . . . of personal courage?

The Taoiseach had nothing to lose. His Government had not only a huge majority, supported by Labour (the real motivating force behind the Bill), but there was no concerted opposition from any other political party. Fine Gael TDs knew that the price for following their conscience would be expulsion from their party.

The imposition of the whip in such a debate on life and death crushes the small voice of conscience more effectively than any torture chamber. The fact that five TDs defied the whip is what gives cause for hope that our present greatly enfeebled legislature might, one day, mature into a real democratic parliament.

It is well to remember that, in the aftermath of totalitarianism, the German people in 1949 wrote the primacy of the conscience of elected representatives into their constitution. Those representatives are expressly instructed that they are not bound by orders or instructions; they are answerable only to their conscience. Conscience is the last bulwark against totalitarianism.

It is not without significance that the Government parties want to get rid of the Upper House, the only chamber they cannot completely control. This week Senators were given an opportunity to demonstrate to the nation their limited but indispensible role in Irish democracy – provided they are true to their conscience.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Irish Government passes anti life “Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013”

The Irish Government has passed all stages if the so called “Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013” which will now be sent to the President Michael D Higgins for signature.
The passing of this pro-abortion legislation is to be deplored and we put the Irish Government on notice that the pro-life people of Ireland will work without ceasing to have this anti-life legislation overturned as soon as possible no matter what it takes, commencing with an immediate legal challenge to its constitutionality.
The Parliamentary debates of both the lower and upper houses of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) were long and arduous and a small number of heroic deputies on all sides of the two chambers were seen to stand head and shoulders over their party colleagues, in some cases even defying the party whip and voting in accordance with their consciences, despite the consequences.

The passing of the legislation however raises a number of questions, which will have to be carefully pondered by the pro-life community in the continuing war against the unborn. 
  • WHY is it that the current Irish government will only listen to the pro-abortion agenda
  • WHY is the Irish print and broadcasting media so biased against unborn life and persist in championing abortion and pushing it at every opportunity
  • WHY does the government ignore and dismiss the pro-life voice and paint it as extremist
  • WHY does the Government ignore the vast numbers of Irish men and women who voted with their feet and attended the various pro-life vigils and rallies ranging from 10,000 in December and rising to 25,000 in January, 40,000 in June and finally around 60,000 in July
  • WHY does the Government believe they can ignore the majority without facing future consequences.
There are also some questions about how Ireland came to be in this position in the first place. The pro-life community know for example that it was brought about as a result of sustained pressure from both national and international pro-abortion organisations such as the Irish Family Planning Association which is a branch of International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) the largest abortion provider in the world.
  • How for example did three women who did not know one another one being a non-national get together to take a case against the Irish Government to the European Court Of Human Rights (ECtHR) in order to force this change in Ireland’s laws
  • Who financed them in taking this case against the Irish Government the ECtHR
  • How were the grounds for taking the case prepared and by whom.
  • How was the European Convention on Human Rights subverted in reaching the decision in the A,B and C case and real justice denied in the ECtHR
  • What other international pro-abortion organizations were behind the outright attack on Ireland’s pro-life laws.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Senator Jim Walsh criticized by pro-abortion legislation politicians, for telling it as it is.

Irish Health Minister, Dr James Reilly rejected an intervention by Fianna Fail Senator Jim Walsh who claimed that his abortion bill would cause pain to unborn babies and was tantamount to torturing an unborn baby to death.

Dr Reilly also criticised Senator Walsh for his graphic descriptions of abortion techniques which he claimed were not being used in Irish hospitals and would not be used.

"I find it regrettable that Senator Walsh has engaged in dramatic – and what some people would describe as offensive and upsetting – descriptions of procedures which do not take place in this country and will not be taking place in this country," he said.

Despite the fact that Senator Walsh had also been criticised by his own party leader Micheal Martin for giving graphic descriptions of abortion techniques during the Seanad debate on the abortion bill last week, he was unrepentant

"I have no intention of sanitising my language on any stage of the debate so as to facilitate the passage of horrific practices into law," he said.

Senator Walsh was supported in his stance by his Fianna Fail colleague Senator Marc MacSharry and Independent Senator Ronan Mullen, who pointed out that the Seanad debate was not "children's television".
Dr Reilly also clashed with Senator Ronan Mullen who said the legislation showed ta profound disrespect for life, “I utterly reject that," he said.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Reported death of woman, following 2012 London abortion, introduced in final week of Ireland's abortion debate

The pro-abortion forces and the liberal media in Ireland know something about timing and use it to deadly effect. We saw for example the barefaced exploitation of the Savita Halappanavar case which was used very effectively to begin the process of the introduction of abortion in Ireland and now we see what seems to be the ‘coup de grace', timed to coincide with the final debates in the Senate before it is voted into law. The Media are reporting on the sad case of a woman, a foreign national living in Dublin, who died from ‘extensive internal blood loss’ following an abortion in a Marie Stopes clinic in London in January 2012.
Whilst the reports are carefully worded the obvious conclusion that abortion is dangerous for women as well as being deadly for babies is not even considered and neither is the question of why this report was not presented in January 2012 but saved for the week in which the final vote is to be taken in the Senate. 

Judging by the headline of the article in which a non-national living and studying in Ireland is morphed into 'A woman FROM Ireland' one can be forgiven for cynically concluding that this story is already in the process of becoming yet another 'cause celebre' for the pro-choice movement.
The carefully crafted story rather than focusing on the real issues implies that the problem arose from the fact that the woman could not obtain an abortion in Ireland.

Interestingly an article by John Waters appears this week in the Irish Catholic Newspaper in which he says of Ireland's pro-abortion media;
For one thing, the ‘debates’ are almost invariably hosted by ‘liberal’ journalists, and, for another, the skewed dynamics of the ‘debates’ ensure that these are really dramas in which traditionalist forces are pitted against liberals in a manner that ensures only the liberal argument can win.
The Independent reports as follows (see this link)
THE woman who travelled to the UK from Dublin for an abortion died from a heart attack caused by “extensive internal blood loss” hours after having the procedure.
Police in the UK are investigating the death of the mum-of-one who travelled from Dublin to London for an abortion.

Today, the Irish Independent can reveal that a post-mortem conducted on the woman concluded that she died from a heart attack, caused by extensive internal blood loss.

The London Metropolitan Police confirmed today that they were investigating the woman’s death, which occurred in Slough, on January 21, 2012, and a file will be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The 32-year-old married woman was understood to be a foreign national living in Dublin.

A spokesperson for the London Metropolitan Police confirmed that detectives from Homicide and Serious Crime Command are investigating the circumstances surrounding her “unexplained” death which occurred around midnight on Saturday, 21st, 2012, in Slough.

Medical personnel were called but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Next of kin are aware and an inquest is scheduled to open in due course,” a spokesperson said.

“A post mortem which took place on 23 January at Wexham Hospital concluded that the cause of death was a heart attack caused by extensive internal blood loss.

“We continue to investigate the death and are liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service currently,” the spokesperson added.

A report in today’s Irish Times said the woman sought an abortion at a maternity hospital in Dublin.

However, the mother-of-one was told that it was not possible to obtain one in this jurisdiction.

It is understood she had a condition which raised the chances of a miscarriage – however, it was not believed to be a life-threatening condition.

The woman travelled to a Marie Stopes clinic in London.

However, she died in a taxi just hours after the procedure.

Speaking anonymously, the woman’s husband said she had a child in Ireland in 2010 but the pregnancy was a painful experience. It was also complicated by fibroids. Treatment for such a condition could have caused infertility, the man.

The man said they worried what would happen if she fell pregnant again.

He said his wife was approximately 20 weeks pregnant when she travelled to London for an abortion.

He told the newspaper she would have underwent the procedure sooner, but they spent some time exploring all their options.

It also took some time for the couple, who were on student visas at the time, to save the sum required for such a procedure.

Thousands of Irish women travel each year to England and Wales for an abortion.

Latest figures show that almost 4,000 women travelled to the UK last year for an abortion.

This is also reported in the Irish Times under the following heading
UK inquiry as woman from Ireland dies after abortion
London Metropolitan Police are investigating circumstances surrounding death of 32-year-old.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Update on High Court case of young woman under pressure to abort her baby

BELFAST 19 July 2013: The young man at the centre of the abortion case in the Dublin High Court, 16 July, has said he is extremely grateful to the pro-life groups which helped him prevent his girlfriend from being forced to travel to England for an abortion. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and Women's Net crisis pregnancy agency had provided him with advice and support when he approached them earlier in the week.

On Friday 12 July the young man's girlfriend was taken from their home in Northern Ireland by her parents and brought to Dublin. Shortly afterwards he discovered that an abortion had been arranged to take place within a matter of days despite the fact that she wanted her baby.

Already 20 weeks pregnant, she had given-up smoking, had picked out baby clothes and was receiving appropriate anti-natal care. Earlier in pregnancy she had expressed a desire to have her baby even if the child was disabled. Having taken her to Dublin, however, her parents had prevented the child's father from contacting her. Concerned for the safety of his girlfriend and their baby the young man was desperate to find help. After discussing the situation with SPUC and Women's Net it became clear that a legal intervention to prevent her from being taken out of Ireland was the only realistic option. He was then put in touch with a legal team in Dublin who was able to act on his behalf.

The result of this action was to remove the pressure being applied to the young woman. Having assured the Court that she would not be prevented from having her baby, the psychiatric assessment called for by the Court to establish her wishes was no longer required and the application was withdrawn.

Liam Gibson SPUC's development officer in Northern Ireland said  "This case highlights the very serious issue of women being coerced into having abortions. Despite the slogans, women frequently undergo abortions because they feel they have no choice. No woman should be compelled by parents, a husband, boyfriend or even financial pressures to have an abortion. And no one can give proper consent without being informed of the serious and potentially lifelong consequences of abortion. These are issues which the Irish government has completely ignored in its rush to legalise abortion in Ireland.

"In this case the fact that the young woman would have had to travel to Britain for an abortion provided vital time in which a forced abortion could be prevented. Other women have not been so lucky," said Mr Gibson.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Government win committee stage: Senators willing to vote for abortion but outraged when told how it is done

The Government won the latest vote on the abortion bill by 33 votes to 14 rejecting all opposition attempts to remove the section allowing abortion on the grounds of suicide from the proposed legislation. Interestingly the numbers imply that there were 12 abstentions as there are currently 59 Senators , Dr Martin McAleese having resigned

Having disposed of the committee stage of the abortion bill, the Seanad is due to discuss the report and final stage of the bill next Monday and Tuesday. The bill is then due to go to President Michael D Higgins either for signature into Irish law or referral to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.

There was major controversy during the debate where Fianna Fail Senators Jim Walsh and Brian O Domhnaill gave graphic descriptions of some abortion methods.

Walsh described a late-term abortion could involve the baby's legs being taken out, having a scissors jammed into its skull and a tube inserted to suck out its brains.
O Domhnaill also read out descriptions of an aborted foetus being taken apart in the womb and brought out bit by bit. 

Needless to say the pr-abortion lobby and the pro-abortion media were loud in their condemnation

In what seems to be an ever widening rift in Fiann Fail, Party leader Micheal Martin distanced himself from Walsh and O Domhnaill  saying there was a need to show respect and to avoid the use of emotive and provocative language. "It is a source of regret that some contributions, including from within my own party, have fallen short of that standard," he said.

It seems that TD’s and Senators can vote for the killing of babies but are horrified at the thought of being told how it is done, surely this is the height of hypocrisy

Health Minister Dr James Reilly insisted that the graphic abortion methods described by Senator Walsh were not in use and would not be drawn on the specifics of the methods of termination/abortion permitted.

There was an attempt on the Fine Gael side to claim that the most gruesome methods were a thing of the past, but Senator Walsh told the Senate that he had consulted obstetrician-gynaecologists the previous day and that they agreed with his description.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Senate debate pro-abortion legislation

Debate continues on the Senate on the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013 with the Government rejecting proposed amendments for rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality all of which are unconstitutional according to James Reilly and to include them would mean that any legal challenge to the bill would succeed and the bill would fall.

Controversy arose during the debate on the second stage when Senator Jim Walsh reminded the Senate that, “human life is inviolate from conception to natural death” and continued by describing the consequences of abortion for post abortive women. Broken relationships are common. Flashbacks may occur, sometimes when passing hospitals or clinics. There may be alcohol abuse, or drug abuse or “sexual promiscuity and other forms of addiction”.

Senator Walsh included case histories such as those of a woman cutting her wrists 17 years after the event; a 16-year-old on her 10th overdose; a 50-year-old suffering severe depression; and a 25-year-old man who “starts using hallucinogenic drugs to get in touch with his lost child”.

Senator Walsh criticised the “sanitised language” to which people are prone in the abortion debate and went on to describe how abortions are actually carried out.

the cervix is dilated and a suction pump inserted, limbs are pulled out and, with a clamp, “tear out the spine, intestine, heart and lungs”. That “white gelatinous material” is the brains. “Many times a little face will come out and stare back at you.”

 “Colleagues, that is what you are being asked to vote for,” stated Walsh, before finishing with a poem about an aborted baby crying on its way to the incinerator.

Needless to say the pro-abortion lobby was furious and the media have been exploiting both the intervention and the responses

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Irish girl under duress to abort her baby

The Journal reports that a man has gone to the High Court  in Dublin over his fear that his pregnant girlfriend is being forced by her family to travel abroad for an abortion against her will.

The court heard this afternoon that the man does not wish to stop the woman from traveling for a termination if it is her own choice and she is not under duress.

Lawyers representing the man said that the woman involved is under “huge pressure”.

“Indications to us are that the defendant wishes to go ahead with the pregnancy,” Seamus Ó Tuathail told the court. He suggested that the woman may be able to speak with a forensic psychiatrist to make it clear what her wishes are.

Upon finding out that the woman involved does not have legal representation, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said it would be “wholly appropriate” for her to receive legal advice. The judge adjourned the case until 11am on Friday to allow time for this to take place.

The woman and her boyfriend sat beside each other at the back of the court this afternoon as the application was discussed. None of her family members were present.

Ó Tuathial said that the case was “essentially a factual issue” and said that his client “does not have any desire to restrain the defendant from travelling.”

At the resumption of the hearing this afternoon Ms Justice Laffoy ruled that the people cannot be identified due to the nature of the case.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Students guide to bioethics to be distributed at World Youth Day

World Youth Day this year takes place in Rio De Janerio next week from July 23rd to July 28th and it is expected that millions of young people from all over the world will be in attendance. This will be the first World Youth Day with Pope Francis in attendance and the first time he has returned to South America since his election. 
This years world youth day has been given the title “Go and make disciples of all nations” Taken from the end of Matthew’s gospel, the context of the theme is to respect the Resurrection of Christ. The disciples, who until then were frightened and locked inside for fear of the Jews, encounter Christ, the victor over death.
The encounter with Christ Risen encourages all to the living of this mandate. Mary Magdalene sees the empty tomb and witnesses! Peter and John believe and testify when they see the strips of linen and the cloth! The disciples of Emmaus recognize Christ in the sharing of bread and testify that Christ lives!

It is in this context that Christ gives the mandate: Go! Go because He is alive and he walks in front of his friends. Go because Christ is victor and remains with each member of the Church. Go and announce the resurrection!

This is what the theme of WYD Rio2013 seeks to generate in the heart of every young pilgrim. It motivates each participant to let the light of the Risen Christ dissipate the darkness of fear and doubts that paralyze. It encourages young people to be missionaries even in situations of conflict, in countries where Christians are persecuted, amid a secularized world that does not want to live Christian values.

The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, sponsor of World Youth Day 2013, requested that a Student’s Guide to Bioethics be distributed to all the pilgrims attending World Youth Day in Rio. 2 million copies have been printed in French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese and inserted into the “pilgrim’s bags” so that all attending will have a copy.

Every youth taking part will receive a "kit" from organizers.  Within each kit is a copy of this excellent pro-life booklet published by the Lejeune Foundation.
This is one of a number of pro-life materials that are going to be shared with the millions of people expected in Rio.

Titled in French, Manuel Bioéthique des Jeunes, the Student’s Guide to Bioethics was first published in 2006 by the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation to counter the ideological bias in a qualifying examination in science for youth.  The objective of the Student’s Guide to Bioethics is “to go beyond cosmetic rhetoric to focus on the reality of biological facts and their ethical implications”. The French edition has been a great success: more than 300,000 copies have been distributed free of charge to students, parents and schools that have requested it. The book has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, and Swedish.

The English translation is now available and puts critical questions facing our society and culture on an objectively scientific basis. It encourages readers to make well-informed judgments based upon scientific fact and sound ethical principles.  The approach is rigorous, yet accessible making this small book a valuable educational tool, not just for young people but also for adults.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Commentary on the Irish Government pro-abortion vote

Much has been said and much written about last week’s decision by Dail Eireann to allow the killing of unborn babies. The Government decision is to be deplored and there is no doubt that many people will work solidly either to stop this proposed legislation in its tracks, before it is finally enacted, or to have it overturned at the earliest possible date.
The insistence by Taoiseach Enda Kenny of the application of the Party whip system in a case like this is also to be deplored. Party loyalty is of course important but it is contrary to every reasonable understanding of democracy that any deputy should be forced to vote against his or her conscience.
Some deputies were coerced and others cajoled into supporting the legislation and some simply said no. One of the saddest statements was that of Michelle Mulherin who admitted that though she was finally voting for the legislation she was doing so against her better judgement and was doing so only to avoid being ‘booted out of the party’.
Lucinda Creighton on the other hand stood by her convictions and voted against the legislation at a high personal cost, ejection from the parliamentary party and loss of her ministerial post. Importantly deputy Creighton who has shown herself to be a person of high caliber made some very incisive remarks about the body politic and the media in this country.
The following article was published in the Mail on Sunday and also appears on Lucinda Creighton’s BLOG
On July 1st I delivered a speech in the Dáil at the Second Stage of the abortion bill. I took the opportunity to elaborate my concerns about abortion in a general societal sense, as well as focusing on specific aspects of the proposed Bill which I considered, and still consider, to be deeply flawed.

Interestingly for me, the one phrase I used which was picked up and referenced repeatedly by media and political colleagues was “group think”. This seemed to touch a raw nerve and some were apparently very angry about it. My speech was incorrectly picked up as singling out members of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party for participating in group think. This is not what i said.

What I said in fact, was that group think is a negative feature in society, in the media and in political life. Increasingly we are all supposed to think and speak the same way. There is less and less room in this country for a diversity of opinion, for real and meaningful debate and for genuine analysis. We are all supposed to swim with the tide on every occasion. I consider this dangerous. I am certain that this is dangerous for our democracy.

This was a long and difficult week, particularly for many in the Fine Gael party. Five of us argued for the right to express an alternative (though previously entirely accepted) view on this vitally important piece of legislation. We lost the internal battle to have our voices heard and our consciences respected. This is not a good thing for the democratic process in this State.

Much of the commentary in the aftermath of Thursday’s vote confirmed to me that our media perpetuates the blind group think which prevailed and contributed to the economic collapse in this country. I listened to the Friday Panel on Today with Pat Kenny. The level of analysis or understanding of what is happening in our shambolic Parliamentary system was alarming.

A commentator from the Irish Times seemed only capable of understanding the events of the week in terms of “strength” “power” and “crushing opponents”. To him is was just a numbers game. He was entirely uninterested in the substance of the disagreement, or the fact that an important viewpoint was ignored or “whipped into line”.

He seemed to believe that the only issue at hand was the fact that “only five” TDs had voted against the legislation and this was somehow a great victory for the Government, its senior figures and Fine Gael. This is a sad and shallow analysis, which ignores the fundamental questions of democracy which were raised thought the last few weeks when elected Members of our Parliament were, in many instances, coerced and cajoled into voting for legislation they clearly considered to be faulty and against their better judgement.

 My colleague Michelle Mulherin summed this up. She has unfairly been subjected to much criticism in recent days. I would defend her stridently, because she had the courage to tell the truth. I understand completely the dilemma she found herself in. I was there too. I took a different decision, by voting against the legislation. She clearly wrestled with her ultimate decision and eventually decided to vote for it. She did so to avoid being “booted out” of Fine Gael, her party. I felt sick to the pit of my stomach listening to her speech in the Dáil Chamber – out of sadness for her, and the choice she has clearly been forced to take to avoid expulsion. There is something so, so wrong with this. Citizens of this country ought to be concerned at the words uttered by Michelle. They genuinely gave me a deep sense of foreboding.

In every other modern western democracy that I have studied, public representatives are not and would never be, forced to choose between their conscience and their party. That is worth considering and reflecting upon. This includes Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and many, many more. In my investigations I could not find any other democratic country on this planet that forces people to vote against their conscience. Ireland has the dubious distinction of standing alone in its denial of conscience. This is not something I am proud of. Nobody should be.

The great democrat and peace maker Mahatma Ghandi said “In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place”. This is correct. History has taught us what savagery and crimes against humanity can occur, when people abandon their conscience, for the sake of the quiet life, or worse, to satisfy personal ambition. Our State should guard against this, rather than try to normalise it. And we as citizens should demand that this be so.

Some might suggest that this issue of the imposition of the “three line whip” is only coming into focus for me because I myself have just lost the whip and been expelled or “booted it” from my parliamentary party. However, I have been raising this concern for years. In 2010 at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties I raised my concerns in a public fashion, and it caused some disquiet.

“In Ireland … the most stringent form of whip, the three line whip is imposed for every single vote. This demonstrates to me a lack of confidence amongst political parties. It shows an immature democracy, which urgently needs to grow up to meet the needs of a mature people. It also creates a fertile environment for mediocrity to flourish, where politicians are enabled and indeed encouraged to avoid individual accountability. The result of our entrenched and archaic party whip system is that our politicians can dodge personal responsibility for their own political decisions.”

I stand over that view. Politicians in this country really do need to stand up and be counted. I don’t advocate the abandonment of the Whip system. It is an essential fundament of a stable economy and a stable society. Coherent positions and voting by political parties are essential in the context of the annual Budget, all finance measures, social welfare measures and so on. But there it should stop.

Those “commentators” who cheer the crushing of political opponents, and applaud the stifling of debate in Ireland, do no service to either good journalism or good politics. In fact they are complicit with the rot in a system which so desperately needs changing.

Their anxiety to take quotes and spin from “well placed sources” may make their contributions sound plausible and knowledgeable. In fact, they are missing the real story.