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.”
Bishop Phonsie Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore has said he is “totally opposed” to Amnesty International having speaking access to Catholic schools given its calls for Ireland to end its protection for the unborn. Speaking to The Irish Catholic newspaper, Bishop Cullinan said: “I was a supporter of Amnesty myself in the past when it was campaigning for prisoners unjustly jailed in foreign countries. Now Amnesty is lobbying here in Ireland for the destruction of unborn human life which it considers not worthy of life. To say the least this is bizarre…Given the current situation it would seem prudent that they not gain widespread access to Church schools.”
Abortion activists in the Republic of Ireland have announced plans to fly abortion pills into Northern Ireland by drone next week in an act of defiance against current laws there. Describing the action as one of solidarity with women seeking abortion in Northern Ireland, one group behind the move, Rosa, said it will fly the pills from Omeath in Co. Louth and land close to Narrow Water in Co. Down where women who are not pregnant will consume them. A number of pro-choice groups, Alliance For Choice; Rosa; Labour Alternative and Women On Waves, have collaborated on the issue.
Doubts have been raised as to the validity of hundreds of marriages conducted in Ireland due to questions around training and accreditation of some wedding solemnisers. The Department of Social Protection expressed concern after the Registrar General raised issues regarding the training being offered to solemnisers by smaller, newer religious bodies. The Registrar General admitted there is no way to police this: “Religious bodies are not required by law to have training and accreditation procedures, and there is concern that the quality assurance provided by training and accreditation may not be present in some cases. The office is aware any individual can easily obtain an online ordination certificate without any training or accreditation by the religious body issuing the certificate.”
Prison authorities in England and Wales have been ordered to ensure transsexual prisoners have access to hair dye and make-up under new government guidelines. The move, which also calls for prisoners to be allowed to nominate the gender category of prison where they are held, comes after a review of prison policy found that it places too much emphasis on a prisoner’s birth sex and, in order to avoid “harm or distress”, prisons should support a prisoner’s self-identified gender option. The new policy states: “Regardless of where prisoners are held, they should be respected in their self-identified gender, being provided with those items that enable their gender expression.”
A growing number of hospitals in the US state of California are defying a newly introduced law on assisted suicide. Rather than comply with the law which allows physicians to prescribe life-ending medications, a number of hospitals in the Santa Barbara and Palm Springs areas have vowed to ignore the law on this issue. One spokesperson, for Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs and the JFK Memorial Hospital said: “After careful consideration, we have determined that aid-in-dying medication will not be ordered or administered.” The facilities have agreed that patients seeking information on the End of Life Option Act will receive said information, but nothing further at the hospitals now opting out.