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UK court orders forced abortion for disabled woman

London, England, Jun 21, 2019 / 11:15 am (CNA).- A British judge has authorized doctors to perform an abortion on a pregnant Catholic woman with developmental disabilities and a mood disorder, despite the objections of the woman’s mother and the woman herself. The woman is 22 weeks pregnant.

“I am acutely conscious of the fact that for the State to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn't want it is an immense intrusion,” said Justice Nathalie Lieven in her ruling in the Court of Protection, June 21.

“I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society's views of termination,” Lieven explained, arguing that her decision is in the best interest of the woman.

The Court of Protection handles cases involving individuals judged to lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The woman, who cannot been publicly identified, has been described as “in her twenties,” and is under the care of an NHS trust, part of the UK’s National Health Service.

Doctors at the trust wished to abort her pregnancy and argued that, due to her diminished mental capacity, the abortion would be less traumatic for the woman than giving birth, especially if the baby would then be placed in foster care.

The woman’s mother made clear to doctors and the court that she would assume care of her grandchild.

The woman is believed to have the mental capacity of a grade school-age child. She is reportedly Catholic, and her mother is Nigerian.

It is unknown if the pregnancy was conceived consensually, and police are investigating the circumstances of conception.

The woman’s mother, reported to be a former midwife, registered her absolute opposition to the abortion citing the Catholic faith of herself and her daughter. A social worker who cares for the woman also disagreed that she should be forced to have an abortion.

The judge said she did not believe the woman understood what it meant to have a baby.

“I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll,” Lieven said.

Lieven also said she did not believe the woman's mother, who already helps care for her daughter, would be able to offer care for a grandchild at the same time.

Allowing the child to be born and then removed from the woman’s home and placed into foster care or adoption would be against the woman’s own interests, the judge concluded.

“I think [the woman] would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed [from her care],” Lieven said, because “it would at that stage be a real baby.”

Lieven clarified that the pregnancy “although real to [the woman], doesn’t have a baby outside her body she can touch.”

As a lawyer, Lieven has appeared in court before in cases concerning abortion. In 2011, while representing the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion provider, she argued that British women should be permitted to medically abort their pregnancies at their own homes instead of in a hospital.

Five years later, Lieven argued in court that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were a violation of the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Act.

In 2017, she said that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws were akin to torture and were discriminatory.

Unrestricted abortion is legal in the UK until 24 weeks of pregnancy, after which doctors must certify that the abortion is in the medical interests of the mother.

NHS statistics show babies born at 24 weeks have a 50% chance of survival on average, though the rate depends on the NHS trust providing care. Babies born in a University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hospital in London at 23 weeks of gestation have a 70% chance of survival.

In final decision, Missouri health department denies license to Planned Parenthood

St. Louis, Mo., Jun 21, 2019 / 10:50 am (CNA).- Missouri’s health department on Friday rejected a license renewal request from a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, the last remaining abortion clinic in the state.

Pro-life groups had been calling for the clinic’s closure.

“This particular facility’s track record shows an appalling pattern of botched abortions and other violations that prove they are incapable of policing themselves,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said May 31. “Planned Parenthood does not deserve special treatment and the health and safety of women should never come second to the abortion industry’s bottom line.”

Planned Parenthood had filed a lawsuit after state health officials initially said the clinic failed to meet safety standards and would not be receiving a license renewal.

The health department cited a failure to cooperate with state regulations, as well as four botched abortions, one in which the mother developed sepsis and another in which the patient was hospitalized with life threatening complications.

Gov. Mike Parson explained May 31 that “We are committed to and take seriously our duty to ensure that all health facilities in Missouri follow the law, abide by regulations, and protect the safety of patients.”

Planned Parenthood objected and accused the state of enforcing regulations arbitrarily for political reasons, National Public Radio reported. The organization contends there is no valid reason for state rules mandating two pelvic exams before the administration of drugs that induce abortions. It has also rejected state demands that officials interview its medical trainees on staff.

State circuit court judge Michael Stelzer had granted a preliminary injunction, allowing the clinic to continue operating past the end of the day on May 31, when its license was set to expire. He ruled that the clinic would face “immediate and irreparable injury” if its license lapsed and said the clinic could stay open while its case was being decided in court.

Missouri’s Department of Health was given until June 21 to make a final ruling on whether it would renew the license.

Stelzer said after the decision that the clinic may remain open until further order from the court, CNN reported.

If the St. Louis Planned Parenthood were to close, Missouri would become the only state without an abortion clinic. Five other states currently have only one facility that performs abortions, according to CBS News.

While the St. Louis Planned Parenthood is the last abortion clinic in Missouri, there is a private surgical abortion facility near St. Louis, across the Mississippi River in Granite City, Ill. A Planned Parenthood clinic 20 miles away in Belleville, Ill. offers medication-induced abortion, the New York Times reports.

In a separate case, on Friday, June 14, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge David Dowd ruled that Missouri’s legislature cannot cut funding from the Planned Parenthood clinic, after the clinic argued that it not only provided abortions, but other health care services, according to a local Fox News affiliate. Missouri Governor Mike Parson said the decision will be appealed.

Parson also recently signed a bill that punishes abortion doctors who perform abortions on a woman who is past eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies which seriously threaten the life or quality of life of the mother. The law does not penalize women who obtain abortions.

Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis called the eight-week abortion ban “a giant step forward for the pro-life movement.”

The year 2019 has witnessed significant controversy at the state level over abortion regulations. Changes in the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court have prompted speculation that the court could dramatically alter or overturn Roe v. Wade and other major precedents mandating legal abortion nationwide.

Missouri is one of at least a dozen states that have enacted abortion restrictions so far this year, with others still considering similar legislation. Other states have passed expansive laws preserving and expanding access to abortion regardless of future Supreme Court decisions.

 

 

Planned Parenthood to lose $60 million after Title X ruling

San Francisco, Calif., Jun 21, 2019 / 07:30 am (CNA).- The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that new Title X rules, that prohibit funds from going to clinics that perform abortions or provide abortion referrals, can go into effect.

The June 20 decision, issued from the bench in San Francisco, means that Planned Parenthood will stand to lose about $60 million in federal funding, though the abortion provider will continue to receive close to half a billion dollars in federal funding from other programs.

In late February, the Trump Administration finalized the “Protect Life Rule,” which added new eligibility requirements for Title X fund recipients. Shortly thereafter, several states sued over the new policy, and California, Washington, and Oregon received a preliminary injunction that blocked the rule from going into effect. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that earlier decision on Thursday, calling the administration rules a "reasonable" interpretation of federal law.

The court ruled that allowing the injuction to stand would mean “HHS will be forced to allow taxpayer dollars to be spent in a manner that it has concluded violates the law, as well as the government’s important policy interest…in ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not go to fund or subsidize abortions.”

The three judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals who ruled on this case were all appointed by Republican presidents.  

Title X is a federal program created in 1965 that subsidizes family-planning and preventative health services, including contraception, for low-income families.

Among other provisions, the Protect Life Rule requires that there be a physical and financial separation between recipients of Title X funds and facilities that perform abortions. Clinics that provide “nondirective counseling” about abortion can still receive funds.  

Previous regulations, written during the presidency of Bill Clinton, allowed for health clinics that were co-located with abortion clinics to receive funds, and required that Title X recipients refer patients for abortions.

As a result of Thursday’s ruling, Title X fund recipients are immediately prevented from referring patients for abortion services. By March 2020, health clinics must be located seperatly from abortion facilities in order to be elligable for Title X funding.

Dr. Leana Wen, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, promised to appeal the court’s decision.

In Naples, Pope Francis calls for theological dialogue with Islam, Judaism

Naples, Italy, Jun 21, 2019 / 06:39 am (CNA).- In Naples Friday Pope Francis delivered a speech calling for theological dialogue with Islam and Judaism in pontifical universities as part of “a theology of dialogue and acceptance.”

“Theology students should be educated in dialogue with Judaism and Islam to understand the common roots and differences of our religious identities, and thus contribute more effectively to building a society that values ​​diversity and fosters respect, brotherhood and peaceful coexistence,” Pope Francis said June 21 in front of Naples’ Jesuit-run pontifical Catholic university.

“With Muslims we are called to dialogue to build the future of our societies and our cities; we are called to consider them partners to build a peaceful coexistence, even when there are shocking episodes by fanatical groups, who are enemies of dialogue, like the tragedy of last Easter in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Pope Francis’ 30-minute speech in Naples presented his vision of “theology in the context of the Mediterrarean,” an area, he said, of transit, exchange, and historic conflict that is now called to be a bridge between Europe, Africa, and Asia.

“The multicultural and multi-religious reality of the new Mediterranean is formed … in the dialogue that comes from listening to the people and texts of the great monotheistic religions, and especially in listening to young people,” Francis said.

The pope’s message focused on theological study within pontifical universities as outlined in the apostolic constitution Veritatis Gaudium published in January 2018. Veritatis Gaudium stipulated new norms of governance and education for all institutions that issue ecclesiastical degrees.

“In theological faculties and ecclesiastical universities, courses in Arabic and Hebrew language and culture are to be encouraged, as well as mutual understanding between Christian, Jewish and Muslim students,” he said.”

“I would say that theology, particularly in this context, is called to be a theology of acceptance,” Pope Francis said.

The pope’s one-day trip to Naples is his second visit to Italy’s third largest city as pope. On Francis’ first trip to Naples in March 2015, he denounced the city’s corruption and organized crime.

On this trip, Pope Francis praised Naples, as “a special laboratory” for a theology of discernment, mercy, and acceptance in dialogue with different cultures and religions.

Pope Francis said that the Church needs theologians open to the inexhaustible novelties of the Spirit, who can escape the self-referential and competitive environment of academia, and act as “men and women of compassion.”

The pope also said that the contribution that women are giving and can give to theology is indispensable and must be supported.

“Without communion and without compassion, constantly nourished by prayer, theology not only loses the soul, but loses … the ability to interpret reality in a Christian way,” he said.

“The first sources of theology, that is, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, are inexhaustible and always fruitful,” Pope Francis said.

U.S. State Department honors Comboni sister as anti-trafficking ‘hero’

WASHINGTON — Honored as one of the U.S. State Department’s “heroes” in combatting human trafficking, Comboni Sister Gabriella Bottani urged action to fight the situations that make … Read More

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The Eucharist is food for today

One image Vatican Council II uses to describe the church is that of a pilgrim people. Pilgrimages in their most basic understanding are holy journeys. When one … Read More

The post The Eucharist is food for today appeared first on The Compass.

Child’s Play

NEW YORK  — The nicest thing that can be said about the reimagined horror film “Child’s Play” (Orion), it that is just 88 minutes long. Any longer … Read More

The post Child’s Play appeared first on The Compass.

Nigerian leaders honor deceased bishop as servant, peacemaker

Jos, Nigeria, Jun 21, 2019 / 12:14 am (CNA).- At a funeral earlier this month, Nigerian religious and political leaders paid tribute to Bishop Kevin Aje of Sokoto, well-known as a role model who worked for peace in the country.

The funeral for Bishop Aje was held at Holy Family Catholic Cathedral in Sokoto. He died May 27 at the age of 85.

A vigil Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Matthew Ndagoso of Kaduna and concelebrated by Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja. Benin City Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, gave the eulogy.

The funeral was attended by 16 other bishops and hundreds of priests, as well as government representatives.

Akubeze described Aje as “a man who was a great teacher of the faith. A meticulous minister of the Sacraments, an ecclesiastical prelate who led the people through collaboration and listening to the people of God.”

“We have come to bury a man who gave all he had for the service of God and his people,” he said, according to the Catholic News Service of Nigeria.

During the homily, Cardinal Onaiyekan said the faith facilitates truth and charity, and should not be used for selfish and manipulative purposes. He praised the leadership of Aje, saying he was “among the early group of zealous lay apostles who worked with the foreign missionaries, most of the time carrying much of the burden of the day, reaching out directly to the most remote places to bring into the Christian fold people at the grassroot levels.”

“He was a true man of God, with deep conviction and generous heart. Once he puts his hands on the plough, he never looked back. As a pioneer Nigerian priest in his days, he became an effective role model to many young men who were later to follow his footsteps,” he said, according to the Catholic News Service of Nigeria.

At the wake Mass, Monsignor Cletus Gotan of the Archdiocese of Jos gave the homily, describing the late bishop as a man who sought virtue rather than the mundane things of life.

“[The] bishop offered a life of service to the people in various capacities that have changed the lives of so many people,” Gotan said, praising Aje’s work as Education Secretary, Coordinator of JDPC, and Cathedral Administrator, as well as his contributions to civil society.

Aje had retired in 2011 after serving as a priest for over 50 years and as a bishop for more than 30. During his time as bishop, he encouraged evangelization efforts among the laity and challenged voters to support leaders who favored religious liberty.

Shortly after he died in May, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari sent a message of condolence to Pope Francis. He said the bishop was a “spiritual father” who built a culture of dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

California bishops promote ‘ecological spirituality’ in new statement

WASHINGTON — The California Catholic Conference commemorated the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” by issuing a pastoral statement … Read More

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Vatican official praises Catholic media for coverage of sex abuse crisis

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In a remarkably frank and detailed speech, the Vatican official heading the department charged with reviewing clergy sexual abuse allegations told an assembly … Read More

The post Vatican official praises Catholic media for coverage of sex abuse crisis appeared first on The Compass.