News Roundup

State may cover cost of bringing aborted remains back from UK

Women who procure abortions in England may be able to repatriate their infants’ remains at the Irish State’s expense under new proposals. Following a July 6 meeting with a group called Terminations for Medical Reasons (TFMR), the Department of Health has confirmed that Minister Simon Harris is considering whether the State should cover repatriation costs as well as other financial supports and whether a range of services such as psychological supports, such as bereavement counselling can be put in pl

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Pro-life doctors in Britain face ‘harassment, discrimination’ – report

Doctors in Britain who, for conscientious reasons, refuse to take part in abortions are being harassed and side-lined, a new report has found. According to the findings of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, witnesses have stated that for medical staff who have made their pro-life beliefs known, a career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology is almost “out of the question”.  In one case, a doctor was offered counselling for holding pro-life views. The Pro-Life Group called for the introduction of ‘reasonable accommodation’ of conscience into law based on its findings. Fiona Bruce MP, who led the inquiry, said it was important that medics who object to abortion can be free to do so without fearing “censure, discrimination or abuse”.

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European Court criticised for endorsing commercial surrogacy

The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has described as “lamentable” a judgement handed down by Europe’s highest court against French authorities for refusing to recognise the birth certificates of children born through commercial surrogacy in India. Despite evidence that the mothers in two cases had received payment to pass on their children to a single man and a gay couple respectively with no intention of maintaining contact, the European Court of Human Rights fined France €45,000 in damages and costs for violating the children’s privacy. Reacting to the case, the ECLJ stated:  “This judgement marks a step forward in the liberalisation of surrogacy and the ‘purchase of children’… The European Court, with all his authority, endorsed ‘low-cost surrogacy’ and ‘gay surrogacy’.”

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Citizens’ Convention on abortion ‘a smokescreen’ – Bishop Doran

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin has described the Government’s planned citizens’ convention on abortion as “a smokescreen”. Delivering an address to pro-life advocates this week, the Bishop stated: “The Government has proposed the establishment of a citizens’ convention to make recommendations on what should be done about the pro-life amendment. In my personal view, this is nothing more than a smokescreen, by means of which the Government wants to distance itself from the political consequences, by pointing the finger towards some other group, in much the same way Adam is reputed to have pointed at Eve. A government is elected to take responsibility for the common good and that includes the good of each and of all. Any government which seeks to legalise the taking of innocent human life betrays its sacred trust and is guilty of a crime against humanity.”

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Increasing number of youngsters exposed to porn – ISPCC

Young children are increasingly exposed to porn and sexualised language, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has said. Launching its annual report for 2015, the body called on schools to better educate pupils on the issue. “Watching imagery that you’re incapable of processing does a child harm, not just immediately but over the course of their childhood,” said ISPCC chief executive Grainia Long.  “Schools and the curriculum now needs to play a much proactive approach in terms of saying this is an issue.” She revealed that the ISPCC is dealing with an increasing number of calls from young children who are distressed at witnessing pornography while surfing online.

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Atheist-led alliance calls for end to ‘compulsory’ RE is secondary schools

Atheists, Evangelicals and Muslims have joined in calling for an end to compulsory religious education in Irish secondary schools. Arguing that the State’s second level religious programme “disrespects the philosophical convictions of atheist, secular and minority faith families”, the alliance of Atheist Ireland, the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland and Irish Ahmadiyya Muslims is calling for children to be afforded the right to choose an alternative subject to religion. Atheist Ireland chairman Michael Nugent said: “The minister for education should immediately issue a circular letter informing all schools at second level that the State religious education course is not compulsory and students can choose another subject, and schools should actively inform students and parents about this.

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No medical advances through aborted tissue – Congressional report

Aborted foetal tissue has led to no scientific or medical advancements, the US Congress has been told. Despite claims from some researchers that aborted body parts are essential for scientific progress, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives said its own research had found no evidence of medical breakthroughs or progress in the past 90 years based on the use of such tissue. “In short, human foetal tissue is outdated technology that is not necessary for modern vaccine research,” the Panel stated in its report to Congress. “For example, current vaccine research for HIV/AIDS, Cancer, Malaria and Ebola does not rely on foetal tissue.”

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Concerns for Turkey’s Christians amid attacks

Concerns are growing for the Christian community in Turkey after it emerged that a number of Christian sites were attacked during the failed coup of July 15. Reports from areas across the country report broken windows at a number of churches as demonstrators took to the streets in response to the action of some in the military to overthrow the government. The actions have led to calls for the authorities to better protect the positon of minority communities. Canon Ian Sherwood, Anglican chaplain of the British consulate in Istanbul said: “As long-centuries established Christians in Turkey we are alarmed at how life is evolving in Turkey.” He added that many indigenous Christians are now trying to flee growing intolerance in Turkey.

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Canadian Anglican Bishops critical of same-sex marriage vote

A group of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Canada has issued a joint statement criticising the Church’s recent vote in favour of same-sex marriages as “a departure from faith”. In a joint statement, the seven Bishops warn that the conducting of gay marriage ceremonies in Anglican churches ““would be a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of the Anglican Communion on the doctrine of marriage”. They added: “The General Synod has taken a further step in ordaining something contrary to God’s Word written and imperils our full communion within the Anglican Church of Canada and with Anglicans throughout the world”.

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US University ditches speech ‘permit policy’ after religious challenge

A university in the state of North Carolina has ditched plans to require permits for religious and other groups to host speeches on campus following a challenge by a Christian group. Authorities at Northern Carolina State University agreed a settlement with Grace Christian Life after the group threatened legal action, backed by Alliance Defending Freedom, for what it said was an unacceptable curb on constitutional freedoms of religion and speech. Welcoming the university’s decision, ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said: “Students of any religious, political, or ideological persuasion should be able to freely and peacefully speak with their fellow students about their views without interference from university officials who may prefer one view over another. NC State did the right thing in revising its policy to reflect this instead of continuing to defend its previous policy, which was not constitutionally defensible.”

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