News Roundup

Last abortion-free Canadian province moves to change law

The only province in Canada not providing abortion services has succumbed to pressure and will legislate for the practice.

The decision by legislators of Prince Edward Island has been described as “heartbreaking” by pro-life groups.  The province’s decision was prompted by a legal challenge mounted at the provincial Supreme Court by a group called Abortion Access Now P.E.I.

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Church must ‘reclaim the nobility of marriage’ – Cardinal Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has said that “the major and most urgent mandate for the Church is to reclaim the beauty and nobility of the sacrament of marriage and family life”. The Cardinal made his comment during an interview just days ahead of the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the family.

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Mississippi moves to protect religious freedom

The US state of Mississippi has signed into law a bill allowing businesses to refuse services to gay couples based on deeply held religious beliefs. Amid a storm of protest from gay rights advocates, Governor Phil Bryant signed the new law and said it would “to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions”.

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Majority in Scotland belong to no religion – poll

A majority of people in Scotland now declare they belong to no particular religion, according to a new poll. Conducted among 1,288 people, the Scottish Social Attitudes Study reveals that 52% of Scots have no religious affiliation, a 12% rise in 16 years. Meanwhile, just 20% of people say they belong to the once-dominant Church of Scotland.

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Primate urges religious freedom protection amid meetings with NI parties

As the Northern Ireland Catholic Council on Social Affairs (NICCOSA) held its first meeting with political figures in Northern Ireland, the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin urged the region’s Assembly to protect religious freedom by giving “focused attention to the importance of respect for freedom of religion and conscience as a fundamental pillar of a genuinely free, diverse and democratic society.”

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European petition to defend traditional marriage launched

A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) has been launched towards defending the family and marriage as between one man and one woman across the continent. The move is backed by Christian Concern and other pro-marriage groups. An ECI is “an invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate” and  must be backed by a minimum of one million people across at least seven member states, with a minimum number of signatories required in each member state.

 

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Majority of Canadians oppose euthanasia on certain grounds – poll

A Canadian poll reveals that 86% of people aged 55-plus oppose euthanasia on the grounds of psychological suffering, while 68% of all respondents objected to religious-run hospitals being required to participate in euthanasia provision.

 

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NI woman receives suspended sentence for drug-induced abortion

A Northern Ireland woman who purchased abortion drugs online has received a suspended sentence after lawyers successfully argued that if she had been based anywhere else in the United Kingdom, she would not have faced a court. The woman successfully procured drugs online and later dumped her aborted foetus in a bin at her home.
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Pope’s exhortation on the family set for release

The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis’ post-synodal document on the family will be published on April 8. The Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’ meaning ‘The Joy of Love’ will be released at a press conference that morning led by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna.

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Northern Ireland abortion guidelines may reduce terminations

Northern Ireland’s newly issued abortion guidelines will “make doctors more conscious of their obligations” and make procuring a termination harder, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has said. The new rules, SPUC, added clear up the ambiguity of the previous ones where abortion as a legal option was “open to a wide spectrum of interpretation”.

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