02 November 2012

'Silent No More' - and dangerous advice to pregnant women in Ireland

The video above is a production of The Silent No More Campaign. It is coming more and more to light that abortion, apart from being fatal to the child and sometimes to the mother, leaves a scar on the lives of many mothers and fathers of aborted children.

Groups such as Rachel's Vineyard reach out to such persons through weekend retreats where healing can begin. Only last weekend Bernadette Goulding (photo above) of Rachel's Vineyard Ireland let a retreat in Tórshavn, the capital of the beautiful Faroe Islands in the north Atlantic, a country of just under 50,000 people and under the jurisdiction of Denmark. I spent about six weeks there during the summer of 2000. There is no permanent priest there, though there is a permanent deacon. The islands come under the Diocese of Copenhagen, which includes three countries in two continents, Denmark, the Faroes and Greenland.

Tinganes, the old part of Tórshavn

While Bernadette was conducting the retreat in the Faroes the most widely read newspaper in Ireland, the Irish Independent, carried two stories of how some pregnant women in the Republic of Ireland, where abortion is illegal, have been given advice by counsellors that could put their lives in danger. One story was under the headline Revealed: the abortion advice that could put lives at risk. (The reality that abortion is almost always fatal to the child, though occasionally one survives, is usually overlooked.)

Gemma O'Doherty reports: STAFF at some taxpayer-funded pregnancy counselling services are putting women's lives at risk and breaking the law, an undercover probe has revealed.
The investigation was carried out over several months by a team of women, some from the pro-life movement, who secretly recorded counsellors at 11 locations around the country.
Some of the advice they gave about abortion was illegal, according to a leading lawyer, and some was medically dangerous, a top doctor says.
In several instances, women were told to hide their abortions from their doctors, a course of action that could endanger life if post-surgery abortion complications remain undiagnosed. (Full report here. The HSE mentioned in the story is the Health Service Executive, a government agency.)

The second story in the Irish Independent on the same date, 27 October, carries the headline Shocking breach of good medical practice, says Rotunda chief. The Rotunda Hospital (above), in the heart of Dublin, is the oldest of three major maternity hospitals in the Irish capital, which is said to be one of the safest places in the world for pregnant women.
This story begins: A LEADING obstetrician has warned that advice given by some taxpayer-funded pregnancy-counselling services is putting women's lives in danger.
Sam Coulter Smith, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal College of Surgeons, said he was "shocked and very disappointed" to learn that Irish women who travel to Britain for abortions are being told they should hide this from their doctors.
The findings, which emerged as part of an undercover investigation into crisis-pregnancy counselling services, are now the subject of an HSE probe.
At the HSE-run Crisis Pregnancy Support Service in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, a woman was told that "going on to have future pregnancies, there is no onus on you to disclose that you've had a termination.
"There is no direct relationship between termination, future pregnancy, anything like that. They don't need to know. They will ask you the same general question: is this your first pregnancy? You can say 'Yes'." (Full report here.)
There is a great need for political activity to ensure that every person, born and unborn, will have first-class medical care. There is need for public advocacy to ensure that the laws of every country will recognise the right to life of every human being, born and unborn, to fight against the twisted sense of the 'right' to kill an unborn child.
But as we see on every page of the Gospels, Jesus showed us how to live by the way he related to each suffering person he met. Some of us are called to be political and social activists, for want of a better term, but some are called specifically to enable individual women and men, persons with an individual name and an individual history, to experience the power of God's healing. 
Those involved in Rachel's Vineyard and similar groups, many of whom have experienced such healing, are called by God to meet the individual with compassion and with a message of hope.

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