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Positively Protecting Life



The recentLaw ReformCommissionReporton AdvancedCare Directives has implicationsfor legal protectionof the righfto-lifeof the ill and elderly. HealthMinister,Mary Harneyhas reiteratedher intentionto regulateIVF in linewith the governmentappointedCommissionon AssistedHuman Reproductionwhich voted24 to 1 in favourof destructiveresearchon tl

livinghumanembryos. Recommendations reducingprotection for humanlife in its vulnerable moments,at life'sbeginningor ending,mustbe resolutely opposed.

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Concern,and even outrage,among pro-lifesupportersat certain governmentdecisionsis understandable. Frustration and impatience must not, however,becomepart of the problem. Insteadwe must engagelegislators on lifeissues,with respect, well-informed commentand feasiblealternatives. lf we commit to this approachit will greatlyimproveour chances. Thereis also an onus on politicians not to shirktheirresponsibility on these vital matters.There is no true democracywheneverthe right-to-life is threatened.Democracydependson trust betweenpoliticiansand people.Pollsshowthat life issuesreflectpeople'sdeepestvalues. The successfulintervention of Gay MitchellMEP and othersin preservingthe pro-lifeethos of the EuropeanPeople'sParty(EPP) is a commendable exampleof genuineefforton the partof some politicians. The very positivepublicresponseto the Pro-LifeCampaign'sYourVote Mattersinitiative,duringthe recentEuropean/local elections,indicatesa growingawarenessamong the electorateof the importanceof only voting for candidatesand oartiescommittedto protectinghuman life.

C Gase woman regrets her abortion The youngwomanat the centrethe C Caserecentlybrokeher silenceon the horrificcircumstances surrounding hercase.ln 1997,aged13,hercasesparkedcontroversy whenshe becamepregnant as a resultof rapeandthe thenEasternHealthBoardsoughta courtordergrantingleaveto takeher to Englandfor an abortionagainstthe expressed wishesof her parents. ln an emotionalinterviewrecentlyon RTE'sTodaywithPat Kennyshetalkedabouther harrowing ordealand howshewas completely unawareof whathavingan abortionentailedat the timeand howshe deeplyregrettedhavingit. The determination of the socialworkersto securean abortionsuggeststheywere morefocussedin tryingto changeour abortionlawsthanin the longtermwelfareof the youngwomanand her unborn baby. The HSEshouldconducta full-scale reviewof howsimilarcasesare handled. The lazypresumption thatabortionis the answerin difficultsituations runscontraryto the medicalevidence, including the Finnishstudyl,whichshowsthatwomenare muchmorelikelyto commitsuicideafteran abortion thancontinuingwiththe pregnancy. 'The

EuropeanJoumalof PublicHealth2005 15 (5): 459-463,Iniurydeaths,suicidesand homicidesassociatedwith pregnancy, Finland by Mika Gissler,Cynthia Berg, Marie Helene Bouvier-Colleand Piene Buekens.

CPA reveals its bias again The CrisisPregnancy initiativetargetswhat it Agency'slatestadvertising calls"roguecrisispregnancy services." However, the billboard campaign is focussedexclusivelyon attackingagenciesopposedto abortion. publicdebateon what constitutes A responsible best practicein pregnancy counselling wouldbe welcome.Butwastingtaxpayers'moneysimplyto demoniseand caricaturethe entirepro-lifemovementis an unacceptable way for any Stateagencyto behave. The CrisisPregnancy Agencyshouldstickto its remitand adopta balanced shouldalsochallengethe way in which'pro-choice'counselling agenciesrefuseto makewomenawareof the latestpeer reviewedstudies showingthe negativelong-termpsychological effectsof abortion.

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More Americans 3iPro-Lifett than fi'Pro-Ghoicett for first time A newGalluppollshowsthatthe majorityof Americans as pro-lifeon the issueof self-identify abortionfor the firsttimesinceGallupbeganaskingthe questionin 1995.The Gallupsurvey showsthe percentage of Americans sayingtheyare pro-lifeat its highestpointin fifteenyears andthosesayingtheyare "pro-choice" at theirlowest, pro-lifewith42o/o TheGallupsurveyfinds51%of Americans callingthemselves sayingtheyare "pro-choice" andsupportlegalabortion. Thedayafterthe infamous1973Roev. Wadedecision, whichlegalised abortion, the New YorkTimesdeclaredthe issue"settled." Thifi-six yearson the issueis stillfar

' gtospeak upro rthe HLffiffi :::*il:li:[:::,1*T,ffi tion Abu ffT':#;,ff:',' Living wills or euthanasla hy the backdoor? ln September, the Law ReformCommission issueda reporton AdvancedCareDirectives recommending changesto the lawthatwouldallowpatientsto refusetreatments to sustain or prolonglifeundercertaincircumstances. the reportsuggests Controversially, as 'treatment'rather classifying nutrition and hydration thanas basiccare,in situations wherepatientsare severelyincapacitated. lf implemented, thiscouldleadto people,in effect,beingstarvedto death,as witnessed in somerecenthigh profileinternational cases. The tragiccaseof KerrieWooltortonin the UK is a verystarkreminderof howadvancedcare directives/living willscanworkin practice. suicide,Ms Wooltorton Afterattempting calledan ambulance andon arrivalin hospitalhandedmedicalstaffa letterstatingtheywerenotto try to saveher life. The doctorssaidthat althoughit was a "horriblething",underthe 2005 MentalCapacityAct, theyhad no alternativebut to accedeto her requestand let her die. Any proposedlegislation on advanced caredirectives in lrelandwouldhaveto be vigorously opposedunlessit fullyhonoursthe principle of protecting humanlife.

ffi Published by he ProLifecampaign, 104LowerBaggotStreet,Dublin2. Td:01-6629275 Faxr01-6629302 Website:

HmoraryPresidentDesHanafin Chairper$n:DrJoeMccaroll DeputyChairps$n:CoraShedock LegalAdvisq:Profe$orWilliamgindty [4edical Adviser:Dr Berryl(ely LegalCon$ltantCaroline Simons Secretily:JohnO'Reilly Martin Educalion Offctrs:Geraldine Dr RuthCullen

Latest ethical stem cell breakthrough a newtechnique havedeveloped thatis 200timesmoreefficientandtwiceas fastas conventional Scientists stemcells[iPS]. adulthumancellsintoinducedpluripotent methodsfor transforming in Octoberin thejournalNaturcMethods. Thelatestfindingswerepublished fromTheScrippsResearchInstitute(USA)makesgreatstridesin addressing Theresearchledby scientists medicine. challenge in the development of stem-cell-based a majorpractical stemcells.Embryoresearchinvolvesthe it doesnotinvolvethe useof humanembryonic Crucially, of humanlifeat its earlieststagesof development. destruction in thefieldis thatonedayit will be possibleto usestemcells- which Thehopeof mostresearchers possesstheabilityto developintomanyotherdistinctcelltypes,suchas nerve,heart,or lungcellsto repairdamagedtissuefromany numberof diseases.

Assisting the Pro Life Gampaign needsall the supportit cangetto bringits message to thewidercommunity. TheProLifuCampaign youarewillingto devotesomeofyourfreetimetofindingnewwaysof bringing thepro-lifemessage toyourcommunity? Perhaps programme youarewillingto makea smallfinancial oftheProLifeCampaign Perhaps commitment to secure theimplementation youhaveyourownideas Perhaps onhowyoucanbesthelpthecampaign? overthenextthreeyears? takethetimetocallustoday andwewillsendyoumoredetails. Regardless ofhowyouwishtohelp,please

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Pro Life Campaign Ireland - Birthright Newsletter November 2009  

Some of the issues dealt in this issues were the Law Reform Commission on Advance Care Directives, The Commission on Assisted Human Reproduc...