The Iona Blog

Only a social revolution can reverse falling birth rates

By David Quinn

Why do birth rates keep falling? A common explanation is that the cost of living is the main factor, especially the rising cost of accommodation. But an alternative explanation is that the main reason is changing social attitudes. An important new study provides plenty of evidence that the second explanation is the stronger one. The...

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The review of the operation of Ireland’s abortion law

The Minister for Health has invited members of the public and organisations to submit their opinions on how the current abortion law is operating. It is not a review of the law per se but how it is being implemented from day-to-day. Obviously, all pro-life groups would like the law to be reversed completely, but...

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A new Irish law will allow for deliberate creation of semi-orphans

By Dr Angelo Bottone

A new assisted human reproduction Bill, presented this week by Cabinet, will allow the use of sperm or eggs from a deceased person. The children produced will be deliberate semi-orphans, one of their parents dead before they are even conceived. This is one of several big ethical problems with the legislation. The final text of...

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Ireland is still too immature to discuss ill effects of divorce

By David Quinn

It is now 25 years since the formal introduction of divorce to Ireland. Although we had the referendum in 1995, the law itself was not passed until 1997. The analysis I have read so far of the anniversary has been shallow and self-congratulatory. It is as though there is no downside at all to divorce....

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Here’s a little science: religious practice is good for you

One of the star academics of the present time is Professor Laurie Santos who lectures on the science of happiness at Yale University. Santos investigates what kind of things result in greater happiness, and religious practice is on the list. For example, in an interview this week in the New York Times, she says: “There’s...

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Assisted suicide does not reduce overall suicide rate, says new study

By Dr Angelo Bottone

Supporters of assisted suicide often say that permitting the procedure would lead to a reduction in non-assisted suicide because it would provide a better alternative. A new study suggests this is not true. In countries where assisted suicide is available, non-assisted suicides do not necessarily reduce in number. The study by David Albert Jones, director...

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Radical assisted suicide organisation opens in Ireland to almost no reaction

By Dr Angelo Bottone

Exit International, one of the most radical pro-euthanasia organisations in the world, has launched an Irish branch. They want almost no limits on euthanasia/assisted suicide. They believe that any adult who wishes to kill themselves, and is mentally competent, should be facilitated in doing so. The person doesn’t have to be sick, let alone terminally...

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Officials warn against commercial overseas surrogacy

By Dr Angelo Bottone

There is a mounting pressure in Ireland to have foreign commercial surrogacy arrangements recognised here. Today the matter is being considered by a Special Oireachtas Committee, but ahead of that meeting, the Attorney General’s office produced a document highlighting the ethical pitfalls with commercial surrogacy. It also challenges the recommendations on the matter of the...

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A big victory for the rights of parents

By Dr Angelo Bottone

The right of parents to choose how to educate their children has been upheld by the Supreme Court in a major ruling published on Monday. It unanimously dismissed the appeal of the Minister of Education against two home-schooled students who were excluded from the Leaving Cert calculated grades scheme. Their exclusion interfered with the constitutional...

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Irish hypocrisy on surrogacy and the natural ties

The Government has announced the setting up of a special committee on surrogacy to discuss couples (or individuals) who make use of surrogacy arrangements overseas and then have difficulty when they come back home being recognised as the legal parents of the child. At the same time, the Government is passing legislation to make it...

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