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Defending life
from conception to natural death


weekly update, 1 to 8 March

8 March 2007

weekly update, 1 to 8 March In its statement to the 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women [Holy See Mission, 2 March ], the Holy See delegation highlighted issues of prostitution, forced marriages and sex selective abortion. "[A]bortion, often considered a tool of liberation, is ironically employed by women against women", Professor Mary Anne Dantuono told the Commission. The statement also said that: "The promotion of women will be achieved not only by the legitimate vindication of women's rights. With that there must also be established a fresh appreciation of authentically feminine values in the heart of our societies." The Holy See has warned the UN's Commission on the Status of Women that abortion does not liberate women. Archbishop Celestino Migliore drew particular attention to the practice of sex selective abortion against baby girls and the relegation of women in some parts of the world to second-class citizens and disposable property. He said that abortion 'is ironically employed by women against women'. Also at the CSW conference, members Canada Silent No More are participating in a workshop entitled: "Breast Cancer and Reproductive Health" Speakers include Dr Joel Brind and Dr Angela Lanfranchi, a breast cancer surgeon. [, 5 March ] [, 5 March ] A priest and geriatric oncologist has reminded a conference of Catholic health care ethicists that there is more to Church teaching than 'dilemmas and controversies.' Father Myles N Sheehan told the conference held at the Loyola medical school in Chicago: "People are ethically illiterate rather than understanding that they are heirs to a great tradition." He criticised the tendency of ethics committees to 'have great fights but ignore the suffering that is in front of them' and argued that palliative care should begin much earlier rather than a patient being sent to a hospice just days before death. [Catholic News Service, 2 March ] Christian leaders in Sweden have appealed to the Minister of Health and Social Affairs against plans to open abortion facilities to foreign women. In an article published in Sweden's biggest newspaper, Catholic Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Sten-Gunnar Hedin, the leader of the Pentecostal church, wrote: "As Christians we are deeply worried that the Swedish government is preparing a new bill in which foreign women are given the possibility to come here and have late abortions done...We ask instead to have a policy asking our rich country, Sweden, to do more for the women who need help to bear their children, both in our own country and abroad." [Zenit, 4 March ] The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has praised a doctor who resigned as advisor to the College of Physicians after his colleagues decided not to take action against the anaesthetist who disconnected Piergiorgio Welby's respirator. Dr Stefano Ojetti described Welby's death as a 'sad and dark page in the history of our medicine.' [Zenit, 4 March ] Girls in Portsmouth, England, as young as 13 will be able to obtain the morning-after pill free of charge and without parental knowledge, provided they can prove their age. The pregnancy rate among 15 to 17-year-olds in Portsmouth is 26% higher than the national average. Canon David Hopgood, Dean of St John's RC Cathedral, has criticised the plan, saying that it would not solve the problem, and "They need to be looking at family life, the importance of marriage and good stable homes where children are brought up with stronger values." [The News (Portsmouth), 28 February ] A Catholic priest in the diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, is starting a group for men who are suffering after an experience of abortion. Fr Steve Wolf says that the lack of a role in the abortion decision can have life-long consequences for men. The strong emotions of rage, impotence, or grief can lead to destructive behaviours. His new group, Sons of Adam, will allow men to talk about their experience and feelings in confidence. [Diocese of Nashville, 23 February]

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