Catholics go on the offensive?

November 19, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

The head of an aborted foetus held by forceps

The head of an aborted foetus held by forceps

Mumbai, November 17, 2012: Following the news of Karnataka-based dentist Savita Halappanavar’s death in Ireland, allegedly for being denied an abortion, a cross-section of people have been questioning Catholic beliefs that support the right to life as a basic human right. 

However, the Mumbai-based Catholic Christian Secular Forum has, in a statement, said that portraying the woman’s death as anti-Catholic or racist is not right and that the church has been grossly misrepresented.

The forum’s general secretary, Joseph Dias, said that Savita’s case is neither a racist issue nor a religious one. “It’s a medical decision backed by the laws of that country [Ireland],” said Dias, adding that if the country’s laws term abortion as illegal, asking doctors to terminate a pregnancy is a crime.

“Like pornography in India is not legally accepted unlike in many western countries, abortion is illegal in the West unlike in India,” said Dias.

The forum also asserted that a probe into what led to Halappanavar’s death is still on, and unless it is conclusively established, one should not blame the church, principles or the legal system. “People are jumping the gun. Savita died three days after a miscarriage. Doctors tried to save both mother and child. It is still to be ascertained whether the cause of death was denial of abortion,” said Dias.

The forum asserted that the church’s stand on abortion reflects sanctity of life in all its forms.

Spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bombay, Fr Anthony Charanghat, said Savita’s case has to be looked at in detail. “We cannot make a judgement or comment as we’re not sure what happened there… In cases where a choice has to be made, we say that one should go for lesser evil.”

– dnaindia

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An tiny aborted foetus in the hands of the abortionist

An tiny aborted foetus in the hands of the abortionist

The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF) takes strong exception to politicians and sections of the media, who it seems have gone overboard in criticizing the Catholic Church’s stand on abortion in the aftermath of the unfortunate death of Savita Halappanavar, who was reportedly denied an abortion in Ireland. India’s right wing, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Ministry of External Affairs, Communist Brinda Karat and the powerful pro abortion lobby worldwide have used the case to take potshots at the universal Catholic Church and Ireland’s abortion laws. The latest being a UK MP of Indian origin, Virendra Sharma said that religious views have taken precedence with the doctors in the Savita case. 

All protests are based on feedback received by Savita’s family. Two official investigations are on and its results should be awaited. Rather, it is already being alleged that the probes are a ‘sham’ or need to be properly carried out. The CSF urges restraint, until it is conclusively established that the cause of death was denial of abortion, before getting into anti-Catholic bashing or stirring up hate campaigns. The incident is being wrongly portrayed, giving it religious or even racist connotations, without the Catholic viewpoint being equally emphasized or even mentioned. The CSF appeals that the tragic death be seen in the right perspective and hence this statement.

Catholic Bashing & Wrong Portrayal of Abortion
According to Joseph Dias, CSF general secretary the Catholic Church is being falsely blamed and pointed out that ” the swell of protests seem to be funded by the pro-abortion lobby, as medical termination of pregnancy is big business, with even franchisee chains and the mafia being involved in running abortion clinics. Easy abuse of the abortion law and unethical medics without scruples are other reasons why abortion must remain illegal. Nations where abortion is illegal include – Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, Malta, Poland, Monaco, Andorra, San Marino and N. Ireland part of UK. But none of these are Catholic and it would be wrong for non-citizens to urge them to make abortion legal. The hate campaign unleashed against Catholics and particularly Ireland, is shocking. For a Catholic, abortion is murder and one has to respect the belief, just as other religious believers have a right to hold their own faith. One cannot expect Vatican to change its doctrine according to what deviants or not from the faith want. The essence is life and treating the body with respect ” he added.

The CSF general secretary said that ” the Church’s stand is at variance with the popular one, on matters such as divorce, contraception, gay marriage, right to die, alternate fertilization or women priesthood… But we use our resources to care for the unborn child, unwed mothers or others affected, like those with critical deformity, chronic illness, AIDS/HIV patients, senior citizens, homosexuals, destitute, etc. The Church has dignity and respect for victims of such tragic circumstance and reaches out to them, irrespective of whether the government or others do. Worldwide, we are in the forefront of the human rights and social justice movements and yet are the most targeted by vested interests, as the Church threatens exploitative structures and takes up a preference for the unfortunate “.

Respect the law of Ireland.
Millions of various nationalities work or reside abroad and it is a must that they follow law of the land. Can we expect foreigners in India to disobey Indian law eg. Italian marines case. Those in the Gulf or Islamic states, dutifully follow laws and there seems to be little outcry for their basic human or religious rights, if violated. India which has a predominantly Hindu population is a place where minorities are persecuted, which they suffer silently despite many constitutional safeguards. Why are issues like those of the Dalit Christians/Muslims or the Anti-Conversion Acts not equally highlighted? Ireland’s abortion law has come up in many referendums over the last 30 years, under different governments and the citizens of that country have repeatedly rejected abortion for the asking. It is for the Irish to decide. Unless the Irish law is amended suitably, it stands and advocating the doctors to abort is asking them to commit a cognizable offense and crime under the law.

The Irish abortion law has been wrongly targeted, as not only does it does provide for rare abortions, but there are also precedents of the Supreme Court of Ireland intervening to facilitate it. The World Health Organization (WHO) in its report on global maternal death rates found that in Ireland only 3 out of every 100,000 women died in childbirth. This can be compared to an average of 14 in Europe and North America, 190 in Asia and 590 in Africa. It is clear that the doctors in Savita Halappanavar’s case tried their best to save the child and allowed a miscarriage when the heart beat had stopped. Thereafter for 3 days, one cannot expect that the doctors did nothing to save the mother, while she was in hospital. Ireland has internationally an impeccable mother’s healthcare system. Complications do arise and even in India, we have numerable cases of relatives of the deceased blaming the doctors, but is unfair to their efforts. The grief and anguish is understandable, but to say her death was because the child was not aborted, is something only qualified medical professionals may conclude.

Amend MTPA in the light of experience
The CSF points out that The UN World Abortion Policies 2011 mentions that a survey of abortion laws across the world shows – more than half of the countries don’t allow abortion, even in case of rape/incest, foetal impairment or for economic / social reasons. Only 29% of countries allow abortion on request, without reason. The Consortium on National Consensus for Medical Abortion in India, points out that an average of about 11 million abortions take place annually and around 20,000 women die every year due to abortion related complications. It is known that most of the abortions are post sex determination, with female infanticide being most prevalent. Against such a background, The CSF calls upon the government to consider amendments in the Indian Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTPA) and protect Indian society from the ill-effects of abortion. When MTPA came into existence in 1972 there were only 25,000 abortion, but today the number of legally conducted abortions has crossed the 2.5 crore mark – 2,52,9,979 officially reported. In England and Wales in 2011 alone, there were about 2 lakh ‘murder’ by abortion cases recorded.

The Church’s stand reflects its views on the sanctity of life in all its forms.

The Church treats life as a precious creation of God, which every Catholic is duty-bound to nurture at every stage – from womb to tomb. Hence, its serious and legitimate concerns, not just on abortion, but also euthanasia, contraception, death penalty, fertility practices, sexual lifestyles, etc. The pro life stand of the Church does not discriminate against the mother and is all inclusive, not stopping at birth. The Church’s stand continues in all life situations and aspects – physical, mental and spiritual. The Church is therefore foremost in its world campaigns for not just the unborn, but also for the sick, orphans, dying, hungry, elderly, terminally ill, unwed mothers… 

According to The CSF, the solution is not abortion, but rather the answer lies in the government providing both mother and child with equal and adequate health and medicare. The government must revisit the abortion legislation to protect the life and human dignity of the unborn child, as these laws have proved to be disastrous, succeeding only in the ‘murder’ of millions of lives, with severe moral and social impact.

– CSF view

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