News Roundup

Mexico rejects liberalisation of abortion law

 The Supreme Court in Mexico has ruled against legalising abortion in the country. In a three to one ruling, justices opted to maintain the current law that protects the unborn except in cases of rape or where there is a threat to the life of the mother. The justices further ruled that a proposal on the abortion issue should be drawn up for a national debate. Though abortion is legal in Mexico City up to three months, across the country a woman procuring an abortion can face criminal charges in 18 of the 31 states.
Read more...

Catholic women who attend Mass less at risk of suicide – study

Catholic women who regularly attend church services are five times less likely to commit suicide, a new study in the United States has shown. Led by Harvard researchers, the study looked at figures from 1996 to 2010 and found, that while suicides within a cohort of 89,708 women represented most categories, of 6,999 Catholic women who attend Mass at least once a week, there was not a single suicide.  The study’s authors suggest that attendance at religious services is “a form of meaningful social participation” that buffers women against loneliness and isolation — both factors that are strongly implicated in depression and suicide. “Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that psychiatrists and clinicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”

Read more...

Abortions lead murder 69 to 1 for Black Americans

A black pastor in the United States has revealed that abortions on black Americans outstrip murder by a rate of 69 to one. Pastor Walter B Hove undertook his own research at a time when America is struggling over the homicide rate among black people, not least from police shootings. However, while the community is exercised by this, even forming a Black Lives Matter Movement, Hove charges that abortions are being virtually ignored. He provided figures for 2013 to show that while 6,217 black people were murdered that year, 429,000 black infants were aborted, a rate of 1,175 abortions per day.
Read more...

Call to force religious migrant charities to offer abortion

Religious-backed aid groups assisting migrants should be forced to provide contraception and abortion, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said. In a legal case launched by the group with the Department of Health and Human Services, the ACLU argues that if aid groups receive government grants for their work, they should be compelled to offer a full range of reproductive health options. Lawyer for the ACLU, Brigitte Amiri, cited cases of pregnant girls coming into the care of Catholic charities who request abortions and must then be transferred. She argued that religious exemption on abortion allows charities to “to violate the law and impose their religious beliefs on these young women”. One legal expert has described the ACLU’s case as weak.
Read more...

Government split on abortion vote

Independent Ministers are refusing to oppose a Private Members’ Bill on abortion in a challenge to the Government’s stance on the issue. A meeting this week to finalise opposition to TD Mick Wallace’s Bill on abortion in cases of foetal abnormality adjourned after no consensus could be reached, with Independent members of Cabinet urging a free vote so as to allow them to abstain on the matter as an alternative to voting against the Government.  Allowing Ministers to abstain on a vote proposed by the Government is highly unusual, but the Independents argue that the abortion Bill is not covered by the programme for Government.
Read more...

Conscience rights on same-sex marriage removed in Mississippi

A Bill protecting the conscience rights of county clerks in the US state of Mississippi on the issue of licensing same-sex marriages has been struck down by a federal judge. While gay rights activists have welcomed the ruling, others have objected to the compromising of religious freedom with the move. Mississippi’s Lieutenant Governor Tae Reeves said:  “If this opinion by the federal court denies even one Mississippian of their fundamental right to practice their religion, then all Mississippians are denied their First Amendment rights. I hope the state’s attorneys will quickly appeal this decision to the 5th Circuit to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of all Mississippians.”
Read more...

Spanish doctor imprisoned for offering late-term abortions

A Spanish abortion doctor who discussed late-term abortions with undercover reporters has been imprisoned. The clinic of Dr Carlos Morín was recommended by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service to reporters from The Sunday Telegraph posing as a couple while investigating breaches of Spain’s 22-week limit on abortions. They subsequently recorded Dr Morin discussing prices for abortions up to 30 weeks, resulting in a criminal investigation by Spanish authorities who sentenced the doctor to 18 months in prison. The investigation also revealed that the abortion centre were prepared to list the reason for an abortion as a “gynaecological emergency”, even if it was a “normal pregnancy”.
Read more...

Religious colleges face funding threat over ‘discrimination’ Bill

Religious-backed colleges and universities in California may lose their right to protect their ethos under a new Bill aimed at tying public funding to the accommodating of sexual and gender preferences of students. Specifically, this would target Catholic institutions whose rules are based on religious beliefs. The Bill has already passed the Senate and now proceeds to the Assembly for a further vote. Opponents of the Bill have pointed out that it moves to make discrimination on the grounds of religion acceptable while outlawing discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Read more...

US Supreme Court ‘bends the rules’ on abortion – Justice

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accused the nation’s top court of operating “at the behest” of the abortion industry. In his dissenting opinion on the court’s decision to strike down restrictive requirements on abortion clinics seeking to operate in the state of Texas, Justice Thomas accused the court of working to “bend the rules” towards creating a “putative right to abortion”. He added: The Court has simultaneously transformed judicially created rights like the right to abortion into preferred constitutional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution. But our Constitution renounces the notion that some constitutional rights are more equal than others.”

Read more...

Labour launches fresh assault on Faith Schools

Religious-run schools should have their right to priortise children of faith restricted to those within their catchment area, the Labour Religious-run schools should have their right to priortise children of faith restricted to those within their catchment area, the Labour Party has argued. Ahead of a Bill aimed at amending the Equal Status Act – the legislation ensuring that religious schools have the right to protect their ethos – Labour’s education spokesperson Joan Burton called for cross-party support on the issue ahead of a vote this week. If passed, religious schools would still have a limited right to prioritise children from its faith community, as complete removal of this right raises serious constitutional issues.

Read more...
5