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Health Minister Leo Varadkar has been attacked by the Pro-Life Campaign after he criticised Ireland’s abortion law as too restrictive and expressed support for the repeal of the Constitutional protection for unborn children known as the ‘Eighth Amendment’. Minister Varadkar said yesterday that he believes the Eighth Amendment has a “chilling effect” on doctors and that he supports the law being changed so as to allow for the aborting of unborn babies with fatal handicaps.
A symbolic motion in favour of legalising assisted suicide has been defeated in a vote in the Welsh Assembly. Twelve Assembly Members (AMs) voted in favour, while 21 voted against and 20 abstained. While the Welsh assembly does not have the power to change the legislation on assisted suicide, the motion, tabled by Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas, was intended to lend support to Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill, currently being debated in the British Parliament.
The leader of a western French region has described as “grotesque” an order to remove a Nativity crib from his town hall. Following a complaint by a group called the Federation of Freethinkers against a traditional crib at the town hall in La Roche-sur-Yon in the Vendée region, a local court ruled that the display was a violation of France’s secular laws and ordered its removal. The action set in train a number of orders from local councils for similar displays to be removed from other civic buildings.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has defended its decision to uphold complaints of bias on the issue of same-sex marriage after journalist Una Mullally accused the BAI of stifling debate on the issue.
“You can have no idea how much I feel for those who, as I speak, are suffering for their faith in such terrible circumstances.” This was the message conveyed by England's Prince Charles yesterday as he addressed a gathering of Iraqi Chaldean Christians in London.
Two leading abortion providers in Britain have called for US-style 'buffer zones' around clinics to 'protect' staff and visitors from pro-life advocates. Pro-lifer campaigners say it is an attack on the right to protest.
A member of the Northern Ireland Assembly has unveiled a 'conscience clause' Bill after a Christian bakery was sanctioned for refusing an order for a cake supporting same-sex marriage. Democratic Unionist MLA Paul Givan is seeking support for an amendment to current equality legislation to take account of ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ after the bakery, Ashers of Newtownabbey, fell foul of existing laws in refusing to complete an order which was to depict the Sesame Street characters Ernie and Bert under the message 'Support Gay Marriage' and the logo for LGBT lobby group Queerspace.
British schoolchildren are being denied lessons on the true meaning of Christmas by teachers frightened of offending other faiths, a BBC broadcaster has said. In an arrticle penned for the current edition of the Radio Times, Roger Bolton, presenter of Radio 4's Feedback programme states that a combintaion of fear and reluctance within a PC culture is creating a religious illiteracy among children, with neagtive consequences for other subject areas.
Two years after the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar and her unborn child, a review of the hospital at the centre of her case has concluded there is still “room for improvement” in patient care. Galway University Hospital became the focus of attention after October 28, 2012, when a raft of deficiencies were identified as leading to the death, by sepsis, of Mrs Halappanavar and the loss of her baby.
The Catholic bishops in Ireland have launched a new pastoral statement outlining and explaining the Church's vision of marriage. Bishop Liam McDaid, chairman of the Bishops’ Council for Marriage and Family, and Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin launched the 16-page letter “The Meaning of Marriage” in Maynooth yesterday. The bishops say in the document that “Marriage is a unique relationship different from all others” and that “to seek to re-define the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of our society”.
A major study of family life for 'millennial children' in Britain has discovered a massive increase in marital breakdown in a single generation. Seeking to replicate a study conducted from 1969, the Centre for Longitudinal Studies and the Institute of Education launched the Millennium Cohort Study based on around 13,000 children born in Britain between September 2000 and January 2002, tracking their lives and family settings for 11 years.
Video footage of the cutting down of the cross on Kerry's Carrauntoohill mountain has emerged online. The short film segment, which was sent to journal.ie, shows an unidentified figure felling the cross with an angle grinder. It also asks those who agree with the action to further share the segment. Those responsible for the video claim to have carried out the cross's destruction in protest at the number of schools run by the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Irish families who have lost children to life-limiting conditions such as anencephaly and trisomy 18 have called on medical, legal and media professionals to stop using the term “incompatible with life” to describe unborn children.
Moves underway to reform Ireland's adoption laws could result in 2,000 children transitioning from long term foster care into permanent family structures. The Irish Times reports that under draft legislation drawn up by the Government, a more flexible approach to domestic adoptions will be introduced.
Being raised by married parents helps to protect children from the socio-emotional problems associated with poverty, the latest report from the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study has found. The new report also finds that more families than ever are now economically vulnerable, mainly as the result of the recession.
Europe must recover its “vigour” and “idealism”, by renewing its commitment to human dignity, entering into “meaningful” and “open” dialogue with its religious traditions, and being unafraid to acknowledge its Christian history, Pope Francis has told the European Parliament. In a wide-ranging address that mixed praise for European institutions with strong criticism, the Pope echoed his predecessor Benedict XVI in arguing that Christianity’s role in promoting the centrality of the human person to the European ideal is not a relic of the past but a living reality
The National Centre for Medical Genetics stopped referring patients abroad for embryonic genetic screening in 2006 after receiving legal advice that the referrals could be unconstitutional. According to the Irish Times, staff at the Centre, which is based at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, had to cease direct referrals for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), after they were told that the procedure could be unconstitutional as it “inevitably and necessarily involves the destruction of human embryos”.
Oxford’s Christ Church College has voted to cancel an abortion debate organised by a pro-life student group, after a planned protest was said to threaten security. Christ Church College’s JCR, or student union, retracted permission to host the debate, which was due to feature journalists Tim Stanley and Brendan O’Neill speaking for and against the motion, “This House believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All”, claiming that a threatened protest from a Facebook group called "What the F**k is 'Abortion Culture’?" made the event a security risk.
Children have the right to grow up with a mother and a father, Pope Francis has told an interfaith conference on marriage held at the Vatican. “Family is an anthropological fact — a socially and culturally related fact,” the Pope said. “We cannot qualify it based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history. We can't think of conservative or progressive notions. Family is family.” “Marriage and family are in crisis,” he said, with the “culture of the temporary” dissuading people from making the “public commitment” of marriage.
The Church of England has warned of the potential for divisiveness in the drive for 'British values' in schools in that country. In an essay penned by the church's chief education officer, Nigel Genders, in response to Ministry of Education guidelines on imparting 'British values' to pupils, the church expresses concern that the move contains the danger of shifting towards testing if people are “safe” and “loyal” based on a narrow defintion of Britain's values.
“We've been liberated too much.” That is the assessment of Barbara Hulanicki, once a leading light of the fashion world of the so-called Swinging Sixties, who now argues that the sexual revolution sparked then has moved to worrying extremes over the intervening years.
Pope Francis will address a major interreligious conference on the place of man and woman in marriage next week. Beginning on Monday in the Vatican, the conference, Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage, will see the Pontiff address delegates from 23 countries and 14 faith traditions
An opinion poll has found that one out of ten British people think that elderly people should be offered a “reward” if they opt to end their own lives. But it also found that 58 per cent of the public think that it would be “impossible” to legalise assisted suicide in a way that would be completely safe from abuse by doctors or unscrupulous relatives.
Any change to the laws protecting the ethos of religious schools must take account of the wishes of parents, the head of the Catholic church's education body has warned. Fr Michael Drumm, head of the Catholic Schools Partnership, said that the government should “keep in mind that schools do not exist primarily to employ teachers but to assist parents in the education of their children.”
The State has won its appeal against a High Court ruling that the genetic mother of twins born to a surrogate should be registered as their legal mother on their birth certificates. The Court found that the birth mother should be presumed to be the legal mother, but that the legal status of surrogacy and the children born through it was ultimately a matter for the Oireachtas. In her ruling, Chief Justice Susan Denham held there was no definition of “mother” in the Constitution.
"We're continuing to hold to the stand that we took originally because we believe it's biblical, we believe it's what God would want us to do, and we also think that if we do cave in to the Equality Commission at this point it'll put pressure on other citizens who are defending their view of traditional marriage.” Asher's bakery is being supported in court case by the Christian Institute.
A bill definitively stating that abortion on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child is illegal has passed the House of Commons on a cross-party vote. According to the Daily Telegrahp, MPs voted 181 to 1 for a motion brought forward by Conservative MP Fiona Bruce in an effort to end uncertainty over whether doctors can be prosecuted for the practice. The bill will now have a second reading in January, but is unlikely to become law without getting government support and parliamentary time.
A sweeping new pro-family tax reform has been announced by the Canadian government. It has promised to allow “income-splitting” for tax purposes. This will help families where one spouse earns all or most of the income. The change, which comes as part of a package of pro-family tax and benefit policies, was a key election promise of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. The Government is also boosting Canada's child benefit payments — $160 a month for children under six, up from $100, plus a new monthly benefit of $60 for children aged six through 17 which will replace a less generous tax credit.
A new report into applications for children to be taken into State care in the Republic of Ireland has found that in seven in ten of the cases examined, the children involved were being raised by single parents at the time of the Child and Family Agency taking them into care. The Second Interim Report of the Child Care Law Reporting Project examined 486 childcases between September 2013 and July this year, involving 864 children, or just over 20% of all children in court-ordered care.
Pope Francis has warned against marriage being reduced to “mere association”, and said that there is a “crisis” in the family, which is being “beat up from all sides.” Speaking to members of an international Marian movement, the Pope said, “The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardised."
Seven different churches compelled to cover elective abortions via their health insurance plans are suing California Governor Jerry Brown's administration, with assistance from Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defence Foundation. In August, after two Catholic universities refused to offer abortion coverage in their employee insurance plans, California's Department of Managed Healthcare issued letters saying that refusing to pay for any abortion, whether medically necessary or not, would be a violation of the state constitution, and of a 1975 law.
Providing free nursery care to three-year-olds has only temporary effects on children's development and educational performance, with most of the advantages disappearing by the time a child reaches the age of 11, according to a new study. Research presented to the House of Lords by the Institute of Education and the universities of Surrey and Essex found the policy had a “small beneficial impact” on children at age five, but the size of the effect then declined as the children got older before disappearing, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Doctors and nurses in the UK who assist someone in taking their own lives will be less likely to face criminal charges after a change in prosecution guidelines, the Daily Telegraph reports. Until now all health care professionals faced a greater chance than others of being prosecuted for helping people to die because they were considered to be in a position of trust. But Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosectutions, changed the guidelines so that the extra deterrent would only apply to doctors "directly involved with a patient's care."
Egg and sperm donation should become “as obvious as blood donation”, the chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the UK, despite the thousands of donor-conceived children who believe they suffered a loss from not knowing their biological parents. The Daily Telegraph reports that Lisa Jardine said clinics should “improve their customer service”. "We think some patients in centres are not being encouraged that they might donate. We have some evidence, somewhat anecdotal, that donors are not particularly welcomed at clinics. Clinics are more and more busy and donors are [treated as] a sort of side issue."
Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, has said that he has no intention of reversing tax individualisation. This is despite opposing it when it was introduced by Charlie McCreevy in Budget 2000. Speaking on Today With Sean O'Rourke, Mr Noonan said in response to a caller's question that individualisation was now a key part of the tax system, and that he would not be repealing it. He also ignored a question from Sean O'Rourke about taking measures to lessen the burden of individualisation on families where one parent works in the home.
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