Sunday, 22 October 2017

ABORTION AND IRELAND

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FROM NOW ONWARDS WE ARE ALL GOING TO WITNESS AN AGGRESSIVE AND EMOTIONAL DEBATE AS IRELAND MOVES TOWARDS ITS EIGHT AMENDMENT REFERENDUM TO DECIDE IF ABORTION WILL BE MORE AVAILABLE IN IRELAND.

Currently, some 10 Irish women per day take a flight or a ferry to travel to the UK to procure a termination which is not available in Ireland - with the exception of an abortion pill.

There is a very fanatical anti-abortion camp which often calls itself PRO-LIFE.

There is an equally fanatical camp which calls itself PRO-CHOICE.

I imagine that most Irish people are like myself - in the middle - and struggling with what we all realize is a very contentious issue.

I am Pro-Life - in the sense that I treasure and value ALL human life. But that does not immediately mean that I am anti Choice.

The first thing I would say is that abortion can never be called "A GOOD THING". At best, and in difficult situations, it should be called "THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS".




When a couple has to decide that they are going to save the life of the mother - and that results in the death of the unborn baby they are not doing something that calls for a celebration. In fact, in most such cases, they make the decision in great sorrow - a sorrow that can last for years or even a lifetime.

If I were a husband and my wife was pregnant and we had three other children at home needing their mother, I am quite certain that I would choose saving my wife's life and see my choice as being the lesser of two evils. It would break my heart and be the cause of lifelong regret for me. But I would believe that in an imperfect world I would have made a morally justifiable decision.

And what if I were the father of a young teenage girl who was raped and could not cope with a pregnancy and giving birth to a baby? What would I do then? Again I would choose the baby's termination as a lesser of two evils.

And what if I were married and the doctors told me that my wife and I were going to have a baby that would not survive outside the womb or would be very seriously ill and disabled all its life? Again, I think, I would allow the baby to go to God and prevent it having years and decades of pain and suffering.

I think that perhaps the situation is different when it comes to conditions like Downs Syndrome and similar conditions. I have seen such people having very meaningful and long lives and even working or getting married.

And I am not talking about these situations as if they have never affected my life.

My younger sister Sandra was born with a very serious disability called Tuberous Sclerosis. She lived until she was 39 and was in a wonderful care environment from the age of 12 to 39. She was also partially blind.


ON SANDRA'S FIRST HOLY COMMUNION DAY


Tuberous Sclerosis left Sandra with severe brain scaring. This gave her the most severe headaches and caused her to bang her head off the wall in order to get relief. She had to go into care when she was 12 because she banged her head so much off the wall at home that she knocked a hole in the wall between two bedrooms.

She also had severe suffering involving her hormonal issues after she passed puberty - which was solved by 6 monthly contraceptive injections (against Catholic Church teaching ???)

Fortunately, her care venue was near our family home and we were able to visit many times a week. 

Sandra could talk but chose not to. I communicated with her by singing hymns to her - which she loved - singing with me and marching around the room after me. 

Her favourite was I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS which I place on the Blog today in memory of her. 




Sanda died six years ago and is buried with my Mum and Dad in Dublin. I had the privilege - and sadness - of celebrating her Funeral Mass.

Did Sandra have quality of life? Yes, she did. She had a lovely room in a lovely centre. She had all she needed physically. She was brought by her carers to the pub for a Coca Cola. She was brought on foreign holidays. She liked an occasional cigarette. 
But My God did she suffer!

Now her suffering is over.

Abortion is NOT a step to be taken lightly. It is not an appropriate form of contraception. 

It is not something that should ever be done for convenience or for less than the most serious reasons.

But I cannot say, in my heart of hearts, that it should not be allowed in the most difficult of cases.

59 comments:

  1. Thankfully you do not have children.

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  2. MourneManMichael22 October 2017 at 01:29

    I entirely agree with your very sensible position on this very contentious issue Pat.
    I spent two months in the summer of 1966 based at the Irish Centre Manchester assisting those arriving from Ireland with the practical issues of accommodation and money. But a significant number were bewildered pregnant young women fleeing local opprobrium and seeking an abortion. Another main activity was responding to the worried requests of parents whose pregnant daughter had disappeared, believedly to England. It was at times quite harrowing for a then 22 year old naive inexperienced seminarian.
    MMM

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  3. Bishop Pat, you know, from my comnents on your blog, that I hold you in the highest personal regard. But I cannot (and, please God, never shall) seek to sanction abortion morally. Why? Because I believe not just in Jesus' divinity, but in his divine promises: to help each and every one of us...if ONLY we should express unquestioning faith in his promises.

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  4. Little Sandara. What a beautiful, God-filled little dote!

    Bishop Pat, like you, I am the first-born in my family. The youngest, my beautiful little sister, I should rather have died for than sacrificied through abortion.

    Abortion is, truly, an unspeakable evil. Regardless of its circumstance.

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    1. Magna, I have disagreed with you on almost everthing but on the issue of abortion, I wholeheartedly agree. Having baptised so many beautiful children, some with life threatening conditions and acknowledging their dignity, preciousness and beauty in the eyes of God, I cannot ever countenance the deliberate taking of unborn human life. Yes, some necessary medical procedures for a woman may result in the loss of her child (principle of double effect) but to deliberately take the life of an unborn child is morally reprehensible. The RIGHT TO LIFE OF THE UNBORN CHILD is a principle which should be strengthened, not removed from our constitution. Abortion is not just about the right to choose - that's to hide and camouflage the horrendous reality of abortion, just like the continued use of the term "foetus". Fundamentally, we sould be serious that THE RIGHT TO LIFE OF THE UNBORN IS UPHELD, PROTECTED AND VALUED. THE UNBORN CHILD HAS AN INALIENABLE RIGHT TO LIFE. In conscience I cannot ever accept abortion.

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    2. Bless you Magna.... Nobody can say you are not right today....

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    3. I want to clarify my comment @ 02:36. Although I stated that abortion was 'an unspeakable evil', I did not mean to imply any degree of moral culpability (sinfulness) to poor women who, for whatever reason, feel compelled to undergo an abortion.

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  5. Bless you +Pat. A very poignant and touching blog today. Your position on this reflects mine 100%.

    I pray that in this debate and decision, protagonists from all sides do not forget the sanctity of each others life.

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    1. Yes Tom and let us not forget the SANCTITY OF THE UNBORN CHILD first and foremost. Let this inviilable truth and principle underpin all debate. This is a HUMAN RIGHT'S ISSUE not just "pro choice"......

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    2. I agree the the Pro Choice approach is problematic.

      The unborn child has rights.

      The father of the unborn child has rights especially if he wants the baby and is determined to be a good father.

      I wince when I hear women saying "It's my body. I can do what I like with it.

      That's a crude and arrogant approach.

      Others, not to mention God, are affected by the many things we do with our bodies.

      I do not like the strident feminist approach to this issue.

      Nor do I like the pontifical approach of many bishops and priests.

      How many of them had to care for a disable person for 50+ years.

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  6. A topic like this will bring all sorts of comments into the frame including extremists and those who have a go at posters out of frustration. Might be good to remember God chose to deal with his people through covenant rather than dictatorship. Minds and hearts will never truly be influenced by absolute legalism.

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  7. None of us commentating today would be able to do so if our mothers had been "pro-choice".

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    1. My mother, Jo, was PRO CHOICE.

      She said YES to SEVENTEEN babies!

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    2. Pat, you know quite well the meaning and disastrous consequence of the phrase 'pro chiice' as used today: it means the right to have abortion, that is, to deliberately end the life of an unborn child. Your flippancy about your mother being pro choice is unnecessary and only blurs the horrendous reality behind abortion.

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  8. In so many things there's no choice. Can I choose not to pay tax, the tv licence, drive as fast as I like? No, but I have the choice to exterminate the life of a growing child in the womb?

    Thanks for bringing up this discussion point, Bishop Pat, and thanks too for your moving post about your relative.

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  9. The most vulnerable months for many beautiful babies is the months before they are born. Some never see the light of day if they receive the lethal injection of abortion. A most touching thing I have heard from a pre-birth nurse is that when some mothers see their living and kicking infant on screen and hear the fast pound of his foetal heartbeat, they cannot go through with an intended termination. Maybe we should be grateful for the advances in modern scan machines.

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    1. Yes.. @ 11.48..My relatives have told me that also.. Thank you for posting it here... when most needed I would say.

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  10. I am with Pat on this one.

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  11. Pat's mother (RIP) went into eternity in the sure and certain knowledge that she had given all her many children equal right to survive. She will be surrounded by them all in happiness in God's "pro - choice" of time.
    That is as it should be.

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  12. Bishop Pat, I'm going to ask you a very personal question which, if you choose not to answer, will be absolutely fine with me. Was Sandra, despite the awful pain she suffered, happy to be alive?

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    1. MC, unlike you and I Sandra had no consciousness or "being alive" and would not have been able to think about than concept.

      I imagine she was "happy" when she was not in pain and deeply "unhappy" when she was.

      All her life (39 years) she was in a distressed or semi distressed state.

      She was less distressed when I, and others, took her out for a drive - to the pub for a coke and a fag.

      She used to get excited sometimes when, especially my mother, arrived for a visit.

      and everything new was a terrible ordeal for her - a visit to a doctor or dentist etc.

      I loved her and I am happy she lived. I still feel very sad when I think of all her pain and confusion.

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    2. Thank for that very touching, and deeply honest, reply.

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    3. If Sandra was aware of those moments when Pat's mother arrived to see her and was excited about the visit,then I think she had some sense of "being alive" in her limited way. That was nice and she brought people together without saying a word maybe?
      Did she teach people to be patient and to show kindness? I have no doubt of it!
      A good reminder that everyone has her worth and her dignity. Everyone has his place. The weak, the meek, the vulnerable... blessed... all of them. Sandra deserved life as much as you or I. Thanks to her wonderful and unselfish mother) and rest of her family) she got it.

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    4. To 14.45
      You have said it all really... That was very beautiful.

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    5. Might I remind everyone of Tom's post @ 07:32?

      'I pray that in this debate and decision protagonists from all sides do not forget the sanctity of each other's life.'

      You may have noticed, all of you, that I haven't today behaved in characteristically, er, 'robust' form. This is because, being opposed to abortion, how can I (or anyone else so inclined) be taken seriously as a 'pro-life' advocate in this debate if I don't show consideration for dissenting voices? This ethic applies especially to pro-life campaigners, not to their opponents.

      So, please, tread carefully in the debate, which will gather momentum in the days ahead, and with it the white heat of impassioned feeling, when example rather than words may be the only thing that can persuade.

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  13. I have never read such emotional clap trap in ages particularly in relation to your young relative. To use a young person with Special Needs and a relative to defend your argument is beyond contempt and quite frankly you should be ashamed of yourself. Pro choice is a nonsense because what it really means is pro birth. The pro choice zealots are only interested in the baby being born but care less for the Mother and her child after the birth and the financial situations they may be faced with. How selfish is that pro choice stance? Pat continually reminds us of the hundreds of babies found in septic tanks at the hands of Nuns and the many who have died in the cause of religion - where is the pro life in these situations? So many hypocrites on here spouting dignity of life, right to life and sanctity of life - don't make me laugh!!! The Christian fundamentalism raises its ugly head on these occasions and rams it down our throats whether we like it or not and we dare to condemn Islamist fundamentalists who push their way of thinking and life on to ours. I am sickened by the hypocrisy by so called 'Catholics' and others over this. Take the great big plank out of your eyes.

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    1. 14.02:I'm confused about your comment. However, the question you ask about the pro life people re: scandals of the past and the abuse of children in institutions is valid but not the correct question. I totally uphold the belief in the dignity and sanctity of human life at all stages of its existence - born and unborn. I abhor the abuse of any child. I abhor all violence againt the dignity of the human person, all that dehumanises and destroys us. Abortion to me is the act of abuse and violence I abhor most because, for me, respect for the unborn child underpins my respect, love for - and care for all human life. It begins at this point. I am not a fundamentalist because I have the courage to state my convictions about the dignity and sanctity of the unborn child or to profess my Catholic faith. I too am sickened by hypocrisy of any kind but particularly that of pro/choice/abortion supporters. The "zealots" in this camp have completely used words to anaesthetise their conscience and to blur the awful realities of abortion.

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    2. That poster at 14.02 has described Pat's precious memories of Sandra as "beyond contempt" and trampled them in the gutter of her own twisted argument.
      Words fail me!
      Perhaps her own description is apt for her own behaviour today... Beyond contempt just about says it..

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    3. 14.02: There are many, many people of no religious affiliation who abhor abortion. It's not just a "Catholic Issue" - and I'm supportive of and believe its clear moral teachings - but do so out of respect for the right to life of the unborn child. Thankfully. You should also restrain your passive anger evident in your blogging!

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  14. 14:02, you've made a good point, and it demands a convincing reply. I don't know if I can provide it, but I can try.

    Those who cannot morally favour abortion (like me), but do nothing to help mothers/families and their children are hypocrites; ignore them.

    One of my relatves became pregnant as a student. None of the family knew this, knew the secret she was worriedly harbouring.

    One night, when she was home on holiday from university, I remember praying the rosary with her and her younger siblings, and one of the intentions I made was that God would somehow turn the minds of young and frightened women considering abortion to resolve to keep their child and that family and friends rally round them with unconditional, non-judgemental and, above all, practical love.

    I do not, to this day, know what effect my words had on this young woman: remember I did not know she was pregnant; none of us did.

    As it turned out she decided to keep her child, and she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. If only you knew the absolute joy this little beauty has given all of us. And she wants for nothing, this centre of our world.

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  15. To 14.02
    A disgraceful attack on Pat and on the sincerity of other good people.
    How dare you make those dissimilar connections to give you the "right" to condemn others as "hypocrites"!
    You have a nerve!

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    1. I have never - and never would - advise anyone to have an abortion.

      And I have ministered to some women who had abortions and later regretted it. I urged them to ask God's forgiveness - and also to find a way to forgive themselves.

      I have helped some women in their decision to keep their baby.

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  16. Thank you Magna for that... and to poster at 14.34..I completely and utterly agree with you... I, too am so angry and disgusted that certain
    ignorant individuals feel it's perfectly OK to make the completely unwarranted assumption that people who are very against the termination of an innocent baby's life are people who wouldn't reach out to help young pregnant women or that they would approve of babies being in septic tanks etc!!
    What on earth gave you that idea?
    People who have deep respect for human ife will utterly condemn such evils. Stop the tired old clich├ęs, please. I do recall Pat telling us about the heinous disrespect of the septic tank babies.
    I did not - -nor do I expect to - - hear him advocate that it those children should all have been aborted before birth to help us get shot of the problem in a nice easy clinical way.

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    1. I NEVER said that!

      Two completely different issues.

      You do your cause no justice.

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    2. As Pat says, you do "your cause no justice" . Thank you for that poster 15.31
      You said it very eloquently.
      And thanks Magna.

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  17. I am the poster at 14.02 and I would like to make a slight correction to my earlier post. I made reference to pro choice twice when in fact I meant pro life. Sorry I posted quickly in haste preparing the luncheon. Can I thank Magna at 14.33 for attempting to answer my post in a civil and very articulate way. I stand by 100% of what I have written. Thank you.

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  18. I wonder if the poster at 14.32 has a point when the pro life lobby seem to be even turning on Pat and showing us what they are really like

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    1. There are no "pro life".. that is, anti - abortion.. people "turning on Pat".! The poster who DID turn on him admitted in a later post that she had made an error.
      (I hope all those scholars who were asking a few weeks ago about examples of Freudian slips are reading Pat's blog today6)

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  19. Sadly, many advocates of abortion use that old red herring argument - why don't pro life people care for the pregnant woman in distress or for those in poverty and in impoverished situations. Of course as a pro life activist I care for all people in all kinds of situations. That's why, apart from my support for and involvement with the PRO LIFE MOVEMENT, I also give my support and assistance to Br. Kevin's Day Care Centre, St. V. de Paul and Alice Leahy's TRUST Charity. I know many, many people who do likewise, their involvement being inspired by their uncompromising respect for human life, born and unborn. Blogger at 14.02 is wildly and totally disingenuous with such spurious comments.

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    1. @ 16.11 Thanks for that. Your post and your experience re-iterate that of poster 15.31.

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    2. I too was appalled at Pat's beautiful memories of Sandra being used as a stick to beat him by poster at 14.02.
      I am pleased that other sincere good people feel the same.
      And no. we're not all "fundamentalists "and what was her other insult? -" hypocrites"

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  20. We should think of the Mother in all of these situations too.

    Sr. Mary

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    1. your dead right there. A woman should have ownership over her own body

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    2. "You're dead..."

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    3. We do think of the mothers Sr. Mary. But we are absolutely right to also remember that there are two human beings - the mother and the unborn child. That's a truth conveniently forgotten by pro choice people.

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    4. Sr. Mary - what Catholic Religious Order do you belong to? Amazed your background doesn't enlighten you that apart from the mother, who should be cared for and protected, there is also the life of the unborn child, which I'm sure you hold to be sacred.

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    5. We all, in a sense have ownership over our own bodies.
      However that does not in any way give us the right to terminate the life of another - including the life of an unborn infant entrusted to our pre-natal care.
      What a privilege and what a responsibility that is!
      (Sr Mary.. I think the thing that has really shone out today from most of Pat's posters has been the empathy and concern that they DO feel towards the mothers in what isi often a traumatic time for the them as you rightly imply. So thank you for drawing our attention to that. These comments, in the main, seem to have come from experienced people who are perhaps mothers themselves and certainly some are heavily involved in the charities which support mothers through the birth and in the weeks and months which follow. It was good to see. What was particularly important and relevant was that not one of those experienced workers advocated the expediency of abortion as a short term "solution". They had far too much respect for the enormity of the decision than to trivialise it as if the woman was making a hair appointment!
      So yes, you have "ownership" of your own body but also sometimes a sacred trust to be the caring custodian of another little body until you bring it safely into the world. That is not a privilege given to everyone and not one to be taken lightly. I. hope you have had food for thought Sr Mary and that you will continue to pray and support young mothers as I am sure you already do. I hope so anyway.

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    6. And her baby's body?

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    7. @21.27.
      Read, read and read again before you jump in with your reply.!. The poster ANSWERED your point "And her baby's body"
      She/he is very anti abortion and respectful of the baby's life.
      Now I am not going to spell it out and re-write her words when you, even at this late stage, are capable of doing so for yourself.
      But learn from this experience to read the the full post and then decide on your response..

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  21. 16.11 If you read my post carefully rather than just reading what you want to read I did not imply pro life people do not care for the woman before birth. My concern was that pro life zealots like you disappear once the baby is born because you have won your victorious campaign. It is more pro birth than pro life, a life continues long after a birth and where does a Mother and family turn to then when in real difficulty? She would get short shrift from the likes of you because you would be too busy running out to help other women to give birth to their children. What's with all the capital letters in your post, loud and angry cyber language. Can you not show some civility or manners in your post without reverting to anger. Some Christian/Catholic you call yourself.

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  22. @17.58
    I think it's you, yourself is the one who is "reading what you want to read" which is what you have accused someone else of! You say that once a birth was over, the young mother would "get short shrift from the likes of you". to the poster who is very much against abortion. You have the audacity to say that in spite of the fact that the poster has named for you three different excellent charities to which she give her ongoing time and effort! She also mentions that many others unselfishly do likewise. That could hardly be described as giving them "short shrift" and caring nothing for them afterwards. You then proceed to accuse the poster of lacking in civility and manners! I believe, on the contrary, she responded with a lot more civility and restraint than your outburst deserved.

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  23. 17.58: You are a total contradiction. I am not a pro life zealot in your "understanding" . Yes, I am "very zealous" in my beliefs about the right to life of the unborn child - and, no,I don't disappear once the baby is born. Like all pro life people, we truly care about and value all human life, BORN AND UNBORN. Your reaction to my capital letters obviously accentuates how you are affected by my beliefs. Your level of interpretation of my comments are rather very telling of you. I am Catholic and I don't apologise for that. I am not at all angry. I listen respectfully to all viewpoints but I am very vocal in my opposition to abortion. Leaving my Catholocism aside, I consider the protection of the unborn child to be fundamentally a HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE. Any mother/father or child who needs support and help will never be denied my assistance.

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    1. And the abortionist blogger's answer to the social problems with which we all have an obligation to engage with and eradicate: butcher and dismember the child while it is still completely vulnerable in the womb.

      Anyone who has witnessed the antics of the abortionists, at marches and rallies, sees unveiled, in all its vicious nastiness, the demonic nature of their hate.

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  24. 14.02 earlier. You are the zealot, your scriot epitomising the meaning of passive aggressive. I can just imagine your pro choice placards!! Pro choice zealots should finish the sentence they begin: -"The right to choose" should be followed by "The choice to destroy or kill the unborn child". For that is what pro choice truly means. I abhor abuse of any human being, born and unborn. You are entitled to your views but you must learn to respect others who differ. I will never stop defending and protecting the beauty, dignity, preciousness and sanctity of human life at all stages. There is a moral ugliness about the reality of abortion which pro choicers hide in cold, clinical terms. 14.02 - Your comments are very crude and "confusing" even though you tried correcting yourself. Perhaps you are pro life after all!!

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  25. Just passing thought I'd say the folowing.

    When my daughter was raped I prayed that there would be no new life as a result, thankfully that was the case. My child at the time had all the terrors of the experience to contend with, if new life occurred the terror would only have multiplied.
    As a father to the child I told her my views for all life and the right to live, but I also told her that if life occurred I would not be influencing her decision either way, with respect to abortion.
    She strongly replied that if the question of life for this terror it would be life and LOVE.

    I work as an independent chaplin and encounter those who have made the decision to abort.Their own religons have been far from Christian and certainly lacked any compassion or LOVE. I stand with them in their pain and tell them that I LOVE them and God surely does too.

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    1. Thank you, Big Hank, for your life and for your unconditional, non-judgemental love.

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  26. May i suggest one looks up and listens to Ven. Fulton Sheens views on abortion. "The Approach of Midnight" on Youtube. Bishop Sheen is brilliant at getting his point across.

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