Senator Rónan Mullen has accused Junior Minister John Halligan of “cheap shots, smears and sympathy-seeking” after the Minister targeted the pro-life movement following threats made against him arising from his support for abortion. Reacting to Minister Halligan’s comments, aired on RTÉ Radio, Senator Mullen said: “It was wrong of him to attempt to smear the entire pro-life movement by making these unverifiable claims, and the way he did it reveals a desire to smear pro-life people as a whole. By referring to ‘a small element of what I would call the pro-life mob’, it is clear he means to denigrate all of us who hold pro-life views. He added: “Listening to Minister Halligan, I got the impression that he was less interested in reporting ill-treatment than in vilifying people he doesn’t like.”
Canada’s Senate has passed legislation to introduce euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Bill presented to the chamber had been subjected to challenges based on a number of issues but was finally passed without removing a controversial provision allowing a beneficiary from helping in a case of assisted suicide or being a signatory in requesting death by suicide. Also, the Senate had attempted to excise a provision that allowed for assisted suicide only where death is “reasonably foreseeable”, arguing that Canada’s Supreme Court, in ruling in favour of assisted suicide, had not ruled that an illness ought to be terminal before requesting suicide. The Bill now goes to Canada’s Governor General to be signed into law.
Pro-life activists in the United States are calling for the full retraction of a 2005 study which claims that unborn infants at 20 weeks of gestation cannot feel pain, pointing out that its authors are closely associated with America’s abortion industry. Originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study has been regularly cited by supporters of abortion but just as often attacked as out of date by pro-life advocates, who point out that its findings were refuted within two years. Multiple studies since have demonstrated that unborn infants are capable of feeling stimuli as early as six weeks.
The Pro-Life Campaign (PLC) has condemned as “a publicity stunt” plans by pro-abortion groups to fly abortion pills into Northern Ireland by drone. Reacting to news that a coalition of groups will fly pills from the Republic into the North where the medication will be consumed by women who are not pregnant, the PLC stated: “This stunt, organised by Women on Waves and the ROSA group, does nothing to advance debate or help women dealing with unplanned pregnancies. Instead, it has one goal which is to attract as much media attention as possible for the campaign for wide-ranging abortion. The groups involved in this latest stunt have zero respect for the right to life of the unborn child and are in deep denial about the long lasting trauma and hurt that abortion causes many women.”
Irish fathers will be able to avail of two weeks’ paid paternity leave from September under a new Bill tabled by the Government. Under the provisions of the new legislation, fathers will be entitled to €230 per week for two weeks of leave which can be taken at any point within the first six months after a child’s birth. The Government, hoping to have the Bill passed before the Dáil summer recess indicated also that it plans to extend the period of leave “as resources allow”. Introducing the Bill, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said “it’s long overdue” and represents “an important step forward”.
Sixty-one abortion groups in the United States have issued a joint appeal to the Republican and Democrat parties to use taxpayer money to fund abortions. As both parties gear up for the presidential campaign and draw up their election manifestoes, the umbrella group All Above All issued letters calling for traditional legal barriers against taxpayer funding of terminations (under the Hyde Amendment) to be overturned. However, the drive for abortion funding comes as a recent poll in the US shows taxpayer funding to be hugely unpopular, with two-thirds of Americans opposed to it, a figure that includes citizens who are pro-abortion.
A Church of England Bishop has called for the Genesis teaching on marriage to be “reconsidered”. Contributing to a new book on scripture and sexuality, Bishop Paul Bayes of Liverpool writes that “some reconsideration of how we should now understand the Genesis perspective on marriage is necessary, as well as exploration on how far that should affect the underlying principles”. The Bishop added that he was open to new interpretations of biblical texts on homosexuality. Bishop Bayes’ comments have been criticised by The Christian Institute which said: “The Bible is clear that marriage is between one man and one woman, and any attempt to ‘reconsider’ this is profoundly misguided. Genesis speaks about one man and one woman being brought together by God in marriage.
Independent Senator Ronan Mullen has described Government plans for a Citizens’ Assembly on repealing the constitutional protection for the unborn as “a pretence”. Reacting to news that moves to establish such an assembly to discuss the removal of the 8th Amendment, Senator Mullen said: “Oireachtas Éireann should be the only legitimate Citizens’ Assembly”. He added: “I don’t believe some unaccountable group of people, perhaps not randomly picked and quite possibly subject to pressure from the media, should be proposing our next steps on a life-and-death issue. And we shouldn’t then have to listen to Government claims that what it wants to do has widespread public support.” He dismissed the assembly idea as “pretending that there is a groundswell of public demand for what a small group of people wants to achieve. The only demand for such a change is among small interest groups with influential friends in media and Government. It’s much more of a ‘media-swell’ than a ‘groundswell’.”
Authorities in Spain have launched an investigation into Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Valencia following a sermon in which he defended the traditional family from attacks by gay activists and radical feminists. As a result of stating: “We have legislation contrary to the family, the acts of political and social forces, to which are added movements and acts by the gay empire, by ideologies such as radical feminism, or the most insidious of all, gender ideology”, the Cardinal could face four years in prison for ‘inciting hatred’. Tens of thousands of Spanish citizens have now signed a petition in defence of the Cardinal and his right to free speech.
US schools which distribute condoms to pupils experience a teen pregnancy rate 10% higher than schools that do not, a new study has revealed. Conducted by researchers at Notre Dame University, the study uncovered the greater rate of teenage pregnancy especially in schools where condoms were distributed without any counselling to pupils on the method of contraception. A spokesperson for Ascend, a US-based chastity group, said the findings were not surprising as another study it had carried out revealed that condom demonstrations in schools made sex appear as an expectation in the minds of pupils. “We’re not surprised that [distribution] would encourage sexual activity.”