News Roundup

Number of GPs offering abortion drugs remains low

Just one in every 10 GPs in Ireland are offering abortion drugs, a research paper authored by a doctor and commissioned by the National Women’s Council has found.

There is no GP provision of abortion in Sligo.

The research was published on the third anniversary of the vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment, and ahead of a Government review of Ireland’s abortion provisions.

The NWCI report states that as of April last year, 373 GPs had signed contracts with the HSE to provide early medical abortions (EMA), and medical professionals who took part in this research suggest this has increased slightly to around 385 providers.

The Irish College of General Practitioners, estimates that 3,496 GPs are actively practising in Ireland, leading the report to conclude that just one in every ten GPs is an abortion provider.


Public think toilets and changing rooms should remain single sex

While Irish society has become more accepting of gender expression, a new opinion poll indicates that biological sex matters to the public when it comes to the provision of intimate spaces and services.

An independent survey into attitudes to gender in Ireland has revealed widespread support among the Irish public for single-sex spaces, services and sports.

The RedC Research poll, commissioned by the advocacy group ‘The Countess Didn’t Fight For This’, a reference to Countess Markievicz, the first female Cabinet Minister in Europe, questioned a representative sample of 1,001 adults last month on a range of gender-related issues.

The majority favoured single-sex facilities and care provision, while more than half are opposed to people being allowed to compete in sports of the opposite birth sex.

More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) agreed that people should have the right to request that intimate medical examinations are carried out by a person of the same birth sex.

62% said public buildings such as schools and banks should have to provide single-sex toilets.

64% agreed that hospitals should be required to provide single-sex wards.

55% of respondents said males who identify as women should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports at any level, versus 21% in favour.


Minister confirms abortions available at St Vincent’s hospital

Abortions are available at St Vincent’s hospital in Dublin, the Minister for Health has said. It is no longer run as a Catholic hospital. It is claimed by some, without direct evidence, that the new National Maternity Hospital will not perform abortions because it will be built on the same site as formerly Catholic hospitals founded by the Religious Sisters of Charity.

Stephen Donnelly said all procedures were permitted at St Vincent’s at present. He told the Oireachtas committee on health today that abortion could be carried out at St Vincent’s if a woman was severely ill but that in the normal course of events such procedures would be carried out at a maternity hospital.

He was responding to questions from TDs as to whether the new National Maternity Hospital would provide abortions if it were built on land owned by St Vincent’s.

Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall said: “there is no example anywhere in the world, that I’m aware of, where there is a hospital operation under the auspices of a Catholic organisation, and which performs the full range of women’s healthcare services.”

Mr Donnelly replied that the Government “categorically” was not setting up the National Maternity Hospital under the auspices of a Catholic organisation.

“I double-checked, the charters of the hospital don’t contain any reference to religious ethos“, he said.


Cuban-American bishops express solidarity with Cuba protests

Four Cuban-American bishops issued a statement Tuesday indicating their support for Cubans seeking recognition of their human rights, following protests of the island’s communist government.

“We, Cuban-American bishops, join in solidarity with the Cuban people in their quest for responses to their human rights and needs.  We are deeply troubled by the aggressive reaction of the government to the peaceful manifestations, recognizing that ‘violence engenders violence,’” read the statement.

“Such a reaction seems to negate the basic Cuban principle of having ‘una patria con todos y para el bien de todos’ (a homeland with all and for the good of all).  We stand in solidarity with those detained because they have voiced their opinions.”


Threat to conscientious objection in Spain ‘unacceptable, illegal, and unjust’

A body representing Spain’s medical colleges said on Monday that a government minister’s threat to conscientious objection on abortion is “unacceptable, illegal, and unjust.”

The General Council of Official Medical Colleges (CGCOM) was responding to proposed changes to the country’s abortion law announced by Spain’s Equality Minister Irene Montero.

Montero declared that “the right of physicians to conscientious objection cannot be above women’s right to decide,” ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, reported.

The CGCOM, the governing body representing 52 local medical colleges, defended the right to conscientious objection in a July 12 statement.

“Forcing the conscience of physicians in order to expand the number of physicians available in all communities is, in addition to being unconstitutional, a bad solution, which from the perspective of the medical profession would be considered unacceptable, illegal, and unjust,” it said.


Woman with Down syndrome challenges UK’s ‘discriminatory’ abortion law

Allowing abortion up to birth if the unborn child has Down syndrome is discriminatory and stigmatises disabled people, the UK high court has heard.

Heidi Crowter, a 26-year-old woman with Down syndrome, and Máire Lea-Wilson, 33, and her son Aidan, who has Down syndrome, are challenging Health Secretary Sajid Javid over the Abortion Act 1967. The act sets a 24-week time limit for abortions unless there is “substantial risk” of the child being “seriously handicapped”, which includes conditions such as Down syndrome, cleft palate and club foot.

The three argue it is discriminatory, interferes with the right to respect for private life in article 8(1) of the European convention on human rights (ECHR), including the decision to become or not to become a parent and “rights to dignity, autonomy and personal development of all three claimants”.

Actress Sally Philips (of Bridget Jones’s Diary fame) was also present outside the court to show her support for the case. Ms Philips, whose son Olly has Down syndrome, presented the remarkable and highly acclaimed documentary on BBC a few years back called “A World Without Down’s Syndrome?”


EU: New political alliance to fight for Judeo-Christian values

The leaders of 16 political parties from across Europe have announced an alliance to defend the sovereignty of European nation states, protect the nuclear family and preserve traditional Judeo-Christian values.

The July 2 “Joint Declaration on the Future of the European Union” represents the first significant endeavour by euroskeptic parties to jointly oppose efforts by European federalists to transform the European Union into a multicultural superstate.

The document states that the European Union requires “profound reform” because, “instead of protecting Europe,” it has itself become “a source of problems, anxiety and uncertainty.” The signatories say that the EU has become a tool of “radical forces” that are determined to carry out a civilizational transformation of Europe. Their objective, they say, is to create a European superstate void of European traditions, social institutions or moral principles.

The signatories say that conservative establishment parties in Europe have abandoned traditional Judeo-Christian values ​​and have aligned themselves with leftist positions for political gain.


Ganley urges court to hear case over ban on public worship

Businessman Declan Ganley has urged the High Court to hear his challenge to the legality of the ban on attending public religious worship which operated from the mid-level, Covid19 restrictions.

Neil Steen SC, for Mr Ganley, argued on Friday that, although the disputed regulations had lapsed, the case raised important legal issues about the balance between the right to public worship and public health.

If the case was not heard, the State would have “outmanoeuvred any effort at judicial supervision” and the administration of justice could also be held in disrepute, he said.

In submissions for the State, Catherine Donnelly SC said, on the facts of this case and applicable law, it appeared the proceedings should be held to be moot (pointless).

It was for the court to decide if Mr Ganley’s side had met the burden of proof to show it was not moot, she said.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan will rule on a later date whether the case is moot or should proceed to hearing.


Christian Movement calls for free elections in Cuba

The Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) called on Cubans to continue to pressure Cuban communist authorities to open general elections after thousands of people took the streets of major local cities to protest the unprecedented scarcity of essentials and the death rate produced by COVID-19.

After months of food and medicine shortages and the collapse of hospitals due to the pandemic, thousands of Cubans took to the streets shouting “Down with the dictatorship!”, “Homeland and life!”, “We want vaccines!”, and “we are not afraid!”, in the largest demonstrations that ever occurred in more than 60 years of Communist rule.

Protesters in some regions marched with the image of Our Lady of Charity, the national Marian advocate of Cuba.

The MCL was founded by Catholic dissident Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas in 1988 to achieve a peaceful democratic reform in Cuba, explicitly inspired by the social doctrine of the Church.


Number of Northern Ireland women opting for abortion rises dramatically

The number of women from Northern Ireland choosing to abort their unborn children has dramatically increased since Westminster imposed radical abortion legislation on the six counties last year.

As of June 11, the Department of Health had received 1,624 notifications of abortions, despite the lack of a full and formal commissioning of the law.

A further 371 women travelled to Britain in the 12 months ending March 2021. While that is a decrease from 1,014 who travelled for the procedure over the previous year, the overall figures are far higher.
Abortion figures in the South have also jumped since the introduction of a liberal abortion law, even allowing for the number of Irish women who travelled to England for terminations.