February 7, 2012

Scientifically speaking

The planet is a better place because humans are a curious species. Occasionally, a scientific discovery comes by happen-chance but typically it flows from a curious mind asking the right question.

Thus we are living longer and more comfortably than ever. Progress has been mankind’s hallmark since before the invention of the wheel. Life is full of wonder. One discovery leads to another. The Wright brothers wondered if man could fly and barely a lifetime later Neil Armstrong was standing on the moon.

Published in Editorial
January 31, 2012

A welcome debate

The January issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal included an editorial proposing that the gender of an unborn child be withheld from parents until 30 weeks gestation to prevent gender-based abortions, a practice that typically targets females.

While screening for the sole purpose of sex selection is illegal in Canada, and not believed to be widespread, there is convincing anecdotal evidence that it does occur, particularly within ethnic communities where sons are more valued than daughters.

Published in Joanne McGarry

Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Canadians a wake-up call with his recent warnings at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The problem is that even those who hear the alarm might rise to the wrong bell.

Harper was candid that our country’s solid economic performance in comparison to Europe and the United States masks a frightening demographic threat. Bluntly put, the number of Canadians nearing retirement is rising; the number of younger Canadians available to replace them is falling. The outcome of that stark reality, Harper said, will require his government to simultaneously undertake serious reform of federal pensions, particularly the Old Age Supplement, and immigration policy.

Published in Peter Stockland

WASHINGTON - Participants at the annual March for Life were urged in advance of the march not to let themselves be compromised in their beliefs as the federal government pursues regulations that Catholic leaders say constitute an attack on conscience and religious liberty.

"I beg and pray for the young people present and all youth and young adults not to be compromised in your dedication to the protection of life of each human person, born and unborn," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. "Keep it before your eyes and in your hearts immediately. Threats against life and against the consciences of those who say 'yes' to life must be met with timely and unwavering action, in our families and institutions, and yes, in the public square."

Published in International

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Catholic bishops of California are backing proposed ballot measures to require parental notification before a minor's abortion and to end use of the death penalty in the state.

The endorsement, contained in a statement posted Jan. 10 on the website of the California Catholic Conference, marks a departure from the bishops' long-standing policy of not taking a stand on potential initiatives until they have qualified for the state ballot.

But the "convergence" of the two proposed initiatives presents "a unique teaching moment on life and family," the bishops said.

Published in International

TORONTO - More than 20,000 pamphlets were dropped in mailboxes at homes across Ontario as part of the “De-Fund Abortion Pamphleting Blitz” on Jan. 14.

The aim was to raise awareness among taxpayers that their tax dollars are providing abortion services in the province.

“It works at the grassroots level to spread awareness about… abortion funding to motivate and activate the everyday person to contact their MPP,” said Alissa Golob, youth co-ordinator at Campaign Life Coalition, who ran the event.

Published in Canada

CALGARY - Young pro-lifers from Calgary are petitioning the Alberta government to bring a halt to provincial funding for abortions.

The campaign to Defund Abortion in Alberta is a grassroots initiative started by university and college students, mostly from Calgary, seeking to eliminate public funding for abortion and to support conscience rights for taxpayers.

“A defunding campaign will also focus on uniting Albertans who often disagree about tactics in the abortion debate, but who would generally agree that tax dollars should not fund abortions,” said Amanda Achtman, a University of Calgary student active in the group.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Dan McTeague, one of about a dozen staunchly pro-life Liberals who lost their seats in the May 2011 federal election, looks forward to the revitalization of the once powerful Liberal Party.

As one of more than 3,100 delegates at the Liberal Biennial Convention here Jan. 13-15, McTeague said he hoped the party will be able to reach out to all Canadians, including the Catholic and ethnic voters who were the former pillars of party support.

Political scientists have credited the Liberal defeats in 2006 and 2008 to a growing collapse of Catholic and ethnic voter support. Last May, the Liberals were demoted to third party status behind the NDP and the governing Conservatives. The Liberals elected only 34 MPs, though their numbers have grown by one with the recent defection of a Quebec NDP MP to the Liberal ranks.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Three days after Christmas, the altar and pulpit of St. Michael's Cathedral were still adorned with wreaths and festive decorations. Parishioners and visitors filled the pews for a Wednesday evening Mass, only two blocks from the mid-Boxing Week rush at the Toronto Eaton Centre and other downtown retailers.

But the congregation wasn't gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus — the people were there to pray for those yet to be born.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

NEWARK, N.J. - A group of 12 nurses who sued the University Hospital in Newark over a policy requiring them to care for patients before and after abortions can no longer be compelled to assist in these procedures, under an agreement reached in federal court.

The nurses in the same-day surgery unit of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey can remain in their current jobs and will only be required to help patients with abortions in a life-threatening emergency when no other nonobjecting staff members are available and only until someone can be brought in to relieve them, according to the Dec. 22 agreement.

U.S. District Judge Jose Linares, who mediated the agreement, said the nurses would be allowed to remain in the unit and would not be discriminated against because of their stance on abortion. He declined to rule on how the hospital would configure its nursing staff, calling that a contract issue.

Published in International

OTTAWA - Lawyers for oft-arrested pro-life demonstrator Linda Gibbons argued before the Supreme Court of Canada Dec. 14 that using the criminal courts to stop her protests is like using a butcher’s knife where a scalpel would be more appropriate.

Attorney Daniel Santoro told the land's highest court that criminal courts should not be used to enforce an injunction made by a civil court, an injunction that has been used to jail Gibbons repeatedly. Instead, violations of civil injunctions or orders made by family courts or human rights tribunals should go back to the civil courts for enforcement, where there are a wider variety of remedies, including the lifting of the injunction.

Published in Canada

MANCHESTER, England - Catholic medical professionals have questioned the reliability of a British review concluding that women who have abortions have no increased risk of developing mental health problems.

The British government-funded "Systematic Review of Induced Abortion and Women's Mental Health" found that although an unwanted pregnancy may cause mental health problems, it made no difference to the mother's mental well-being if she continued with the pregnancy or had an abortion.

The review was carried out by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health at the Royal College of Psychiatry and published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

Dr. Roch Cantwell, a consultant perinatal psychiatrist who led the review, said that the work showed "that abortion is not associated with an increase in mental health problems."

Published in International

OTTAWA - With Christmas and the commercialization of the holidays, it is easy to get depressed about the consumerism in the modern world, said Sr. Nuala Kenny.

“Pay attention to the notion of commercialization and commodification because that’s the world in which we find ourselves,” said Kenny, a Sister of Charity of Halifax whose resumé includes work as a pediatrician and bioethicist at Halifax’s Dalhousie University. She is also an officer of the Order of Canada.

Published in Youth Speak News