Saturday, 17 November 2012

Congratulations to Archbishop of Westminster for challenging government on same-sex marriage

According to a Daily Telegraph report this morning, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster,  speaking in London, told George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not to use marriage as a political football and to publish in full the results of the government consultation on marriage.

The archbishop is speaking this evening at an evening for marriage - defending marriage as the bedrock of society - in St. Monica's Hall, North Finchley.

According to The Daily Telegraph the archbishop has said: 
“He is the politician not I – I just think it is too important to be made simply as a political football.
“This is not simply a redefining of marriage to accommodate a few, it is a redefining of marriage for everyone and therefore all marriages, if this bill is introduced, will be different.

“It is a different reality for everybody and that is a very serious matter and one to which we are very strongly opposed and will remain strongly opposed.

“It is a very important building block in society and it is very foolish to alter that when as far as we can see there is not a specific identified problem that that change is supposed to be addressing ...

“ ... My own sense is that many people feel deeply uneasy about this move, it was not in any election manifesto, it has not in that sense been put to the country.
“That is why the strength of opinion expressed in the consultation ought not to be hidden and that’s why we want the full disclosure of the results of that consultation.”
According to The Daily Telegraph report, at their meeting this week, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference agreed a resolution insisting the results of the Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage be published in full.

I congratulate Archbishop Nichols. Not only Catholics but citizens throughout Britain will be greatly encouraged that the archbishop of Westminster is challenging the government in this way. Upholding marriage is in everyone's interests, including people with no religious faith. Marriage - the permanent, exclusive union of one man and one woman - is the basis of the family, the fundamental group unit of society.

Last November, SPUC's national council launched a campaign against the Westminster government's proposals for same-sex marriage. Marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage. For more information see SPUC's position paper and background paper on same-sex marriage.  Please do everything you can to support SPUC's Britain-wide lobby of Members of Parliament on marriage.

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Fatwa/Islamic ruling is issued on presumed consent organ donation legislation in Wales

Hizbul Ulama in the UK (Association of Muslim Scholars/UK) has issued a Fatwa/Islamic ruling opposing the Welsh Government's plans to introduce legislation allowing presumed consent in organ donation. The Welsh government is calling it "deemed consent", in which people living in Wales for a period of six months or more will be opted-in automatically as organ donors. This will include prisoners, tourists, and students.

The Islamic ruling calls on "all Muslims who are living in Wales to oppose strongly this unjust, unislamic, inhumane bill by all legal and peaceful means"

The ruling, signed by Molvi Yakub Ahmed Miftahi, Hizbul Ulama UK,states:
"Fatwa/Islamic ruling from Hizbul Ulama UK in Britain regarding presumed consent, 2nd Muharram 1434H/16th November 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Assalaamu alaikum warahamtullah wabaraktuh

Our organs and our bodies belong to our Creator: ALLAH. We are ordered in Islam to protect all our organs from any harm like alcohol and smoking, and to allow them to be satisfied physiologically with all their needs and as ALLAH wanted. We do not own any of our organs and no one has the right (Muslim or non Muslim) to take any of our organs especially at time of death.

ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION is a controversial issue in Islam: Some Muslim scholars agree with it but with many strict conditions, others oppose it! However if any Muslim is interested to give any of his/her organs: The law in Britain allows him/her to do that. But this should be done voluntarily by doing a WRITTEN CONSENT in advance and during one's life and after been made aware:

 Of the details of the surgical procedures being agreed to, including the possibility of organs being taken while the patient is still alive and the heart is still beating or pain is still felt
 Of any harm resulting to the donor when he/she is still alive. And without any interference with the natural moment of death as fixed by ALLAH Almighty and not by doctors. There should not be any interference with the natural moment of death.
 Death should occur first NATURALLY when both the heart and respiration (and all brain activity) stop naturally and normally the soul leaves the body after natural death.
 That there is no other alternative to help the patient

We became aware lately of a draft Bill in Wales called: PRESUMED CONSENT or DEEMED CONSENT
In this Bill, if it becomes law: the doctors/hospitals in Wales have the full right to take our organs at time of death, WITHOUT ANY WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM US BEFORE AND DURING OUR LIFE ... THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE HUMANELY ISLAMICALLY AND MEDICALLY.

We all know that before any medical or surgical procedure in hospitals today, we have to give our own informed consent before.

So why our basic human right: CONSENT is taken from us in this Bill?

Besides, almost all Muslims who will die in Wales and who did not know about this Bill, their organs will be "TAKEN AND STOLEN" by force, if the Bill is implemented, without giving their own written consent before. Also, those Muslims who were against organ donation and organ transplantation during their life, their organs will be taken, without their knowledge before[hand] and without their consent.



Wassalam Alaikum

Molvi Yakub Ahmed Miftahi
Hizbul Ulama UK
Those seeking further information on the Fatwa should contact Dr A Majid Katme, Health/medical adviser to Hizbul Ulama UK on 07944 240622

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Induced delivery of non-viable children is neither ethical nor Catholic

In the wake of the tragic death of Savita Halappanar, various pro-life and Catholic commentators have been claiming that inducing delivery of Savita's child would have an appropriate course of action. They claim that an induction does not constitute abortion and is standard medical practice in Ireland.

These commentators are wrong. In its 2009 "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services", the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) teaches [my emphases in bold]:
"45. Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion..."
"49. For a proportionate reason, labor may be induced after the fetus is viable."
Savita was in the 17th week of pregnancy. There is no scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of surviving outside the womb at such a young age. If the doctor in Savita's case had agreed to induce her child,  he would have been performing an abortion. The principle of double-effect would not have justified inducing Savita because:
  • the termination of pregnancy before viability (which would certainly have killed the child) would have been directly intended, and would not have been (as double-effect requires) an indirect and unintended effect
  • the sole immediate effect of the inducing would have been the termination of pregnancy before viability, thus killing the child
  • there are alternative ways of managing these highly distressing cases (see my blog on the International Symposium on Maternal Health held in Dublin in September).
The intrinsic wrongness of inducing babies before viability has been taught clearly by the Catholic Church. In the late 19th century a doctor who practised premature delivery of non-viable children in the belief that it could save mothers' lives asked the Holy Office (now called the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) if his practice was licit. The Holy Office replied* in 1895:
"In the negative, according to other decrees [of the Holy Office]".
This reply of the Holy Office was approved the next day by Pope Leo XIII himself. One of those "other decrees" (1889) had declared as not "licit":
"every surgical operation that directly kills the fetus".
Another papally-approved reply by the Holy Office in 1898 referred to the 1895 reply above (condemning premature delivery of non-viable children) as a
"decree...on the illicitness of abortion". 
The Church was thus making clear that premature delivery of non-viable children is abortion.

In 1902 another reply of the Holy Office decreed that it was not permitted to extract from the womb an unborn child earlier than six months after conception (at that time, the point of viability), explaining that:
"[W]ith respect to accleration of the birth is licit, unless it be performed at the time and according to the methods by which in the ordinary course of events the life of the mother and that of the fetus are considered."
In other words, premature delivery of non-viable children violates their right to life. Pro-life and Catholic commentators should take care not to deny that truth nor promote such inducing as an ethical response to medical emergencies.

*See "The Sources of Catholic Dogma", Henry Denzinger, Loreto Publications, 1955, section 1889 onwards.

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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Savita Halappanavar death tragic but abortion doesn’t save women’s lives

SPUC has responded to claims that Savita Halappanavar’s death was due to a hospital's refusal to abort her unborn child by inducing labour. According to reports, Mrs Halappanavar was 17 weeks’ pregnant when she came to the hospital in Galway. She miscarried and later died from septicaemia. The case is currently subject to investigations.

Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, told the media earlier today:
“The full details of this case are not yet known, so we must await the investigations which have been launched before we can make definitive comments. What we do know is that miscarriage and infection can be managed by proper medical treatment. Abortion is not medicine - it does not treat or cure any pathology."
Leading obstetricians with extensive experience in dealing with these situations have found that they can be successfully managed without abortion, while sometimes the pregnancy can be saved. This was recently confirmed at a symposium in Dublin by Dr Byron Calhoun, a US obstetrician

Mr Tully also said:
“It is not ethical to induce delivery of an unborn child if there is no prospect of the child surviving outside the womb. At 17 weeks’ pregnancy Mrs Halappanavar’s child was clearly not viable outside the womb, as there is no scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of surviving outside the womb at such a young age. Rather than removing the protection of the womb from unborn children, the ethical response to emergency situations in pregnancy is medical treatment of the mother for the conditions causing the emergency. In the case of infection, this is usually timely administration of antibiotics. It is also not ethical to end the life of an unborn child, via induction or any other means, where the child is terminally-ill.
We do not oppose medical treatment which is necessary for the mother and targets her own body but may have an adverse side-effect on the baby such as unintended death/miscarriage, provided this is truly unintended and proportionate to the threat to the mother.
What is rarely reported are the many cases of women who have died from infection or other causes because of supposedly safe and legal abortions. Manon Jones, Jessie-Maye Barlow and Emma Beck would all be alive today if they had not been subjected to abortions in Britain. The Republic of Ireland has the world’s best record in maternal health, without recourse to abortion. By contrast, Great Britain and the United States, with their high abortion rates, have poor maternal health records. It is therefore entirely spurious to argue that Ireland should legislate for abortion in order to save women’s lives.”
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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pro-life analysis of US presidential election reveals need for Church support

Below is a list of articles from pro-life commentators analysing the results of the US presidential election (see my blog of last Thursday about the election). These articles provide useful arguments and data which rebut today's article in The Times by George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which argues that Mr Obama won the election partly because of his strong support for abortion and same-sex marriage. The pro-life commentators' analyses reveal the urgent and essential need for the Catholic Church and other faith communities to throw their full weight behind the pro-life and pro-family movement. The re-election of Mr Obama, the most anti-life and anti-family US president ever, is an historic tragedy, the likes of which will be repeated unless Christians everywhere are converted to believing in and implementing fully the Gospel of Life.

N.B. My inclusion of any article below does not imply endorsement of any of its content.
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