News Roundup

Women pilots under pressure to have abortions – claim

Captain Evan Cullen of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association has claimed women pilots were being told by airlines not to get pregnant, and that some were told: “you have a choice, you terminate your employment or you terminate your pregnancy”.

He was speaking yesterday to the Oireachtas Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection which is investigating the abuse by companies of self-employment contracts. Self-employed workers are far less likely to have pregnancy leave as parts of their contracts. In addition, women pilots are not allowed to fly planes when pregnant because of safety fears.


War Memorial Cross does not breach State neutrality on religion

Applying a significant brake on the secular State’s hostility to religion, the US Supreme Court has ruled that a large World War One memorial cross which resides on federal land, does not breach the Constitution.

The ruling overturns a lower court judgement that said the cross was a public endorsement of religion.

That court had suggested the 40-foot-tall monument that was erected in 1925 should be removed or have its arms lopped off so it would become an obelisk.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday by a 7-2 majority that it may stay in place and should contained to be maintained by the Government.

In another ruling, the Court vacated a lower-court ruling that upheld $135,000 in fines against a now-defunct Oregon bakery called Sweetcakes by Melissa for refusing to do work for a same-sex wedding. In their order, the Supreme Court directed lower courts to consider their 2018 ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, in which the court determined that laws and enforcement targeting people for their religious beliefs violate the First Amendment.


Catholic primary school to introduce pro-transgender policies 

A Catholic primary school in Co Wicklow is introducing a new policy which will allow boys to wear skirts and girls to wear trousers from next September. The school will also eliminate boys’ and girls’ bathrooms. Pope Francis has attacked gender ideology on many occasions. There has been no comment so far from the Archbishop of Dublin. Gender ideology says your body and your sex (or gender) are unrelated.

St Brigid’s National School in Greystones, Co Wicklow, said the new approach aims to ensure that any children with gender identity issues feel happy and accepted at school. However, five doctors recently resigned from the biggest clinic in England for the treatment of children who report as transgender. They believe that some gay children struggling with their sexuality are being wrongly diagnosed as “transgender” by the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) clinic in London.

Máire Costello, the school principal, said the move was prompted by the school’s student council and had been agreed by the school’s board of management and parents.

“We have children who are questioning their sexual identity. It is happening at an earlier age. We want all our children to have a happy experience in school,” she said.

The school is also phasing out boys’ and girls’ toilets and replacing them with gender neutral versions.


Scottish woman withstands pressure to abort and gives birth to unexpectedly healthy child

A Scottish mother who ignored medical pressure to abort her unborn baby has given birth to a healthy boy. In Ireland earlier this year a health baby was aborted after the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street told the parents that their baby had a so-called ‘fatal foetal abnormality’.

Lauren Webster, 21 from Cumbernauld near Glasgow, was asked repeatedly by medical staff if she wanted an abortion after a 13 week scan showed her unborn baby had a ‘bladder obstruction’, with a low chance of survival and could possibly be suffering from the genetic disorder, Edward’s Syndrome.

Ms Webster, however, had a ‘gut feeling’ her baby would survive and resisted the pressure to abort.

Doctors were left stunned when her son, Ollie, was born with no health problems at all, as his ‘bladder obstruction’ had managed to correct itself and the genetic disorder never materialised.

SPUC Scotland Director of Communications and Campaigns, Michael Robinson, said: “The scandalous reality behind the veneer of choice, is that pregnant women are increasingly exploited and pressured into abortion. Recent research by the UK charity, Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH) has found that 75% of female clients state that they had an abortion because they had felt pressure from a loved one. Whilst pressure and coercion can come from a variety of sources, intimate partners are the main culprit.

He added: “The stories now surfacing of these young women who have been pressured to abort their children, show not only an entire lack of compassion and care from medical staff, but also just how seriously mistaken medical staff can be.”


Former students press ahead with religious discrimination case against UCG

Christian students are pressing ahead with a court case this week alleging religious discrimination by University College Galway.

Isaac, Kezia, Ammi and Enoch Burke had been active members of two college groups, the Christian Union, and the campus pro-Life group. However, after the students repeatedly complained of suffering intimidation and harassment, the college in November 2014 banned them for life from all student societies.

Last week, on the eve of a circuit court hearing, the university told the Burkes it was lifting the ban, and offered to not seek costs if they discontinued their action.

The students however rejected the offer.

“It has been over four years and six months since we were banned for life from societies at NUI Galway,” Enoch Burke said. “Now, on the eve of the court hearing, that ban has been lifted. The university should never have imposed this ban in the first place and we are pressing ahead for justice. The whole point of going to court is that the equal status Acts are there to offer redress for those who have been discriminated against, and that is our claim against the university”.

The case is being heard over three days in the Circuit Court in Galway this week.


UK’s no-fault divorce plans ‘euthanasia for marriage’

The UK Government’s plans to introduce no fault divorce with a mere six month waiting period for England and Wales has been described as ‘euthanasia for marriage’ by a leading marriage and family campaigner.

The Christian Institute’s Director Colin Hart said that under Government plans an innocent spouse will “not be able to cite adultery or domestic violence in a divorce petition”. Moreover, he said couples struggling through a difficult time in their marriage need time and opportunity to reconcile, whereas this legislation seems to block off that possibility.

“The Government’s main argument is that fault-based divorces lead to acrimony. If that is so, why is the Government also abolishing separation grounds which never involve any allegation of fault?”

He continued: “Four out of ten divorces are on the basis of separation and take well over two years. Under the Government’s plan it will be six months. A massive speeding up of divorce. It’s also disturbing that the Government has been trialling an online scheme which claims to process divorces in twelve weeks.”

“This Bill is a euthanasia programme for marriage,” he said.


Ireland has no right to push abortion on Africa, says distinguished Missionary

Ireland does not have the right to interfere with the values of African countries that oppose abortion.

That’s according to Franciscan Missionary sister, Miriam Duggan, who is also a medical doctor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology with over fifty years experience working in Uganda. During that time she pioneered the country’s successful response to the AIDS crisis that garnered her worldwide recognition and multiple awards including a Presidential Distinguished Service Award here in Ireland in 2015.

She pioneered a system based on abstinence or fidelity and the HIV/Aids rate among young people dropped from 28% to 6%.

In February, the Government announced a new initiative promoting ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ as part of Ireland’s foreign aid. The Irish Times reported that the new policy would ‘likely’ result in the lifting of a ban on funding abortions.

Sr Miriam told Spirit Radio she hoped this would never involve promoting abortion.

“Africa has its own values of life. They look upon children as their wealth, their treasures,“ she said, adding: “I don’t think we have the right to interfere in their values”.


Pushback against companies saying restricting abortion is ‘bad for business’

A letter from 180 companies calling abortion restrictions “bad for business” has received significant push back from pro-life voices.

The letter published in a full page ad in the New York Times last week says: “Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers. Simply put, it goes against our values and is bad for business.”

It adds, “The future of gender equality hangs in the balance, putting our families, communities, businesses and the economy at risk.”

But pro-lifers have criticised the businesses for coming down on the side of abortion. Pro-Life Action League tweeted: “You know what’s REALLY bad for business? Literally killing people. First comes moral suicide, followed by intellectual suicide, and then economic suicide.”

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said: “How is protecting the inherent dignity of the human person from the moment of conception ‘bad for business’? Perhaps the better question is what is the ‘value’ of human life to these business leaders?”

Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, said it was not “healthcare” to end the lives of unborn babies. “So it’s ‘better for business’ to kill off future generations of customers? Murdering a child in the womb isn’t, has never been, and will never be, ‘healthcare,'” she said.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio accused the businesses of double standards. “170 CEOs sign letter calling abortion a ‘human right’ & condemning laws passed by democratically elected U.S. legislatures,” he tweeted. “Ironically they have no problem doing business with serial human rights violating authoritarians all over the world.”


Catholic Bishops get ready for upcoming Church-State talks

Conscientious objection to abortion plus faith-based education will be raised by the Irish Catholic bishops at a Government meeting with religious and non-faith organisations that Leo Varadkar will chair at Dublin Castle on July 4.

In response to a request by Martin Fraser, the Taoiseach’s secretary general, that each delegation propose up to three topics for discussion, the bishops listed “conscience, care of the marginalised, and support for parents who wish for a faith-based education for their children”.

The hierarchy has nominated Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, and Emer Crooke, research co-ordinator of the bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace, to attend the meeting.

Mr Varadkar has said Government ministers are being told to keep their diaries clear for July 4th in order to attend the meeting and respond to issues relevant to their portfolios. The Tanaiste and the ministers for health, education and justice are expected to attend.


Catholic Schools’ RSE teaches both facts and values, say Bishops

Ireland’s Catholic bishops have defended the kind of sex education taught in Catholic schools.

In a statement following their summer meeting at Maynooth, the bishops said: “Contrary to some recent negative commentary, in Catholic schools young people do [their emphasis] learn facts as part of their relationships and sexuality education.

But they also “learn about values, about respect, about consent, about self-esteem” and other important issues on relationships and sexual health “in age appropriate ways, and in cooperation with parents”.

On schools the bishops said they “strongly support parents as the primary educators of their children, particularly in the area of relationships and sexuality education (RSE).” In a statement they stressed “the central role of parents as they nurture their children to grow in these challenging times.

“Parents must therefore be consulted in the development of RSE programmes. Teachers also face challenges in RSE, and they need support. Appropriate resources, including the provision of in-service training and continuing professional development, are required to address current deficits,” they said.

The bishops welcomed the document Male and Female He created Them, published last Monday by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, which reiterated church teaching in the areas of gender and sexuality.

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