Tuesday, 27 January 2015

US Agency for International Development linked to forced sterilisation camps in India

Fiorella Nash, an SPUC political researcher, has sent me the following harrowing report:
The Population Research Institute (PRI) has published a damning report exposing India’s forced sterilisation camps. In the name of reaching family planning quotas, women in the most populous parts of India have been sterilised in filthy and dangerous conditions. Cases reported by PRI include:
  • Doctors using bicycle pumps to inflate women’s wombs
  • Repeated use of unsterilized needles and other equipment
  • Operations performed without adequate anaesthesia
  • Old school buildings lacking electricity and running water used as operating theatres
  • Little or no aftercare
  • Antibiotics contaminated with rat poison
  • One doctor performing over 80 operations in a couple of hours.
The victims of this aggressive sterilisation campaign were reportedly bribed with small amounts of money while others were forced or deceived, with some only discovering that the operation would leave them infertile when it was too late. Women have died and hundreds of survivors left traumatised and disabled for life by these procedures, but outside India the story continues to be underreported.

USAID has denied any connection with coercive policies, but documents have been unearthed linking USAID with programmes going back as far as the 1990s. According to PRI, USAID not only helped to fund population programmes but offered technical support. The scale of USAID’s underhand dealings includes the setting up of what PRI has described as “an unaccountable agency to operate away from public view and outside the democratic process.” It is hard to see how an organisation that has gone to such lengths to cover its tracks could possibly have acted in innocence.
I will return to this matter in future blogposts - with suggestions for action on the part of concerned readers.

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Monday, 26 January 2015

Cardinal Baldisseri is undermining Catholic teaching

Patrick Buckley, SPUC's international
envoy, speaks out at Vatican conference
Voice of the Family*, a coalition of leaders of 23 pro-family and pro-life groups worldwide, has issued a statement criticising Cardinal Baldisseri, the organizer of the forthcoming Synod on the Family, saying that his comments last week have further undermined Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. SPUC is co-founder of Voice of the Family.

The cardinal was speaking at an international conference in Rome organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Voice of the Family reports:
[Cardinal] Baldisseri defended the right of Walter Cardinal Kasper to assert that divorced persons living in unions not recognised by the Church should be permitted to receive Holy Communion. Baldisseri, in response to a concerned pro-family advocate, told delegates that we should not be 'shocked' by theologians contradicting Church teaching.
The Cardinal said that dogmas can evolve and that there would be no point holding a Synod if we were simply to repeat what had always been said. He also suggested that just because a particular understanding was held 2,000 years ago does not mean that it cannot be challenged.

Patrick Buckley (pictured), international envoy for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, commented: “The Church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage is founded on the words of Jesus Christ. These words may have been spoken 2,000 years ago but for Catholics they remain nothing other than the unchanging commands of God.”
Patrick Buckley and Philomena, his wife, are the parents of seven children and they have twenty grandchildren.

*Voice of the Family is an initiative of Catholic laity formed in support of the Synod on the Family 2014 - 2015.

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First speech by Head of Russian Orthodox Church in Duma calls for nationwide abortion ban

First speech by Head of Russian Orthodox Church in Duma – calls on MPs to campaign against abortion
In the first ever speech by a head of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Russian parliament (the Duma) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has called for state funding of abortion to end and action towards a complete nationwide ban. The Patriarch said, “The argument that a ban would cause an increase in the number of underground abortions is pure nonsense.”  He called for abortion to be excluded from the list of services covered by mandatory medical insurance. He also said that banning abortion would help address concerns over population in Russia. [23 January, Orthodoxmag]

Pro-lifers march in Washington D.C.
The 42nd annual March For Life took place in Washington D.C. on Thursday 22 January 2015. The march began with Benediction led by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky. The march attracted hundreds of thousands of people who were addressed by Congressman Chris Smith, March for Life President Jeanne Monahan Mancini and Congresswoman Kathy McMorris-Rogers, who is the head of the House Down syndrome caucus and mother of a son with Down’s Syndrome. Pope Francis sent a message via Twitter to show his support for the march - “Every life is a gift.  #MarchForLife”. [22 January, LifeSiteNews]

House of Representatives passes bill to ban state funding for abortion
As the March for Life was passing through Washington D.C., a bill was passed the House of Representatives which would ban state funding for abortion, including tax credits offered through ‘Obamacare’. The bill was approved by 242-179 although President Obama has said he will veto the legislation. [22 January, BBC News]

Adoption by same-sex couples debated in Portuguese Parliament
This week the Portuguese parliament debated three bills which would mean a change in the law allowing adoption and ‘equality’ in “medically assisted procreation” for same-sex couples. A spokesman for the Party for Animals and Nature (PAN) said, “An adult’s sexual orientation has no impact on his or her parental abilities nor does it interfere with the development of children’s personalities”. In a survey conducted on the subject of same-sex adoption, 41.5% of respondents said that the President of Portugal should call a referendum to decide the matter. [22 January, The Portugal News]

Abortion
China has the most serious gender imbalance in the world [21 January, Financial Times]
Bill banning abortion after 20 weeks fails in the House of Representatives [22 January, The Federalist]

Methodist human rights lobbyist mocks March For Life [23 January, First Things] 

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