Below is the Alberta Pro-Life Association's weekly E-Update – October 31, 2008,
LaRee Pickup, provincial Director, Tel: (780) 421-7747, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Woman wants court to open sperm donor records
A B.C.-born journalist, Olivia Pratten, has launched a lawsuit to have medical records of anonymous sperm donors opened so that she, and other children born through sperm donations, can learn the identity of her biological father. This is a class action lawsuit which would require doctors who do artificial insemination procedures to keep the medical records permanently and make them available once the children turn 19 or in medical emergencies. Right now, the records must be kept for six years. Ms. Pratten told the Globe and Mail that she wants to know her genetic origins. “"The child is the one who lives with choices that were made for them before they were born and who bears the consequences of these adult decisions," she said. Her lawyers will argue that Ms. Pratten’s equality rights—and those of other sperm donor children—are violated. Adoptive children now have access to records to help them trace their biological parents. Ms. Pratten has won support from Dwight Jones, a B.C. man who says he donated his sperm 300 or 400 times. He told the Globe and Mail that he would like to know who his offspring are. This week the B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction ordering doctors not to destroy the records of sperm donors until this case can be heard.
Bishop Henry on Gardasil
Calgary Bishop Fred Henry wrote a column in the Calgary Herald this week to answer critics of the decision by many Catholic schools boards to refuse permission for Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, to be administered in their schools. The Alberta government has decided to provide the vaccine, which protects against four of the over 100 strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted disease and the cause of most cases of cervical cancer. Alberta Health has recommended mass inoculation for girls in Grades 5 and 9 and most school boards in Alberta have agreed to accommodate the program. Bishop Henry’s column explains the ethical, moral and health implications behind the decisions of 10 Catholic boards who have refused to go along with the plan. He points out that parents of these children can still make their own decisions about whether to have their daughters vaccinated and the province will provide the vaccine through health units. Gardasil was tested primarily on girls and women aged 13 to 25. Girls in Grade 5 are 10 years old. The outspoken Catholic bishop questions the underlying assumptions of the program. “The popular wisdom these days insists that because we can't stop our children from engaging in premarital sex, and because such sex can be dangerous and have bad effects, we should do everything we can to protect our youngsters by vaccinating them against the HPV virus. The vaccine, we are assured, will decrease cervical cancer in a simple, straightforward way. If parents love their children, they will surely see to it that they have ‘protection’….. Arguments in favour of widespread availability of the HPV vaccine are emblematic of a collective loss of nerve in the face of powerful libertine pressures within our culture." You can read a similar version of his column at the Calgary diocese website: http://www.rcdiocese-calgary.ab.ca/.
British court denies woman right to assisted suicide
A British woman, who wanted assurance from the courts that her husband would not be prosecuted for helping her to commit suicide, lost her case this week. Debby Purdy is 45 and has multiple sclerosis. She went to court seeking an order to force the Director of Public Prosecutions to assure her that her husband would not be charged if he took her to Switzerland to commit suicide. The court said that her rights were not violated by the DPP and that only Parliament could change the law. Justice Scott Baker did express sympathy for her and for others "who wish to know in advance whether they will face prosecution for doing what many would regard as something that the law should permit, namely to help a loved one go abroad to end their suffering when they are unable to do it on their own." However, Ms. Purdy was given leave to appeal because of the “public interest” in the issue. More than 100 people in Britain have gone to the assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. Earlier this year, Baroness Mary Helen Warnock, a moral philosopher and advocate of legal euthanasia for Britain, said that “If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service,” she said. She has written an article, “The duty to die” which will be published later this year in a Norwegian medical journal. Charles Colson commented on her remarks in a Breakpoint column this week. It’s at: http://www.informz.net/pfm/archives/archive_674708.html.
Edmonton Archbishop launches Nothing More Beautiful series
Archbishop Richard Smith has announced a series of “encounters” for his “Nothing More Beautiful” evangelization series. The first year of this five-year project will be devoted to “The beauty of the human person, created by God and saved by Jesus Christ.” Each of the four encounters will include a catechist and a lay witness. The program will be launched on Dec. 12 at St. Joseph’s Basilica in Edmonton at 7 p.m. Speakers for this first encounter will be Archbishop Smith as catechist and Lea Singh, Assistant Director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, as witness. You can learn more about “Nothing More Beautiful” at http://www.edmontoncatholic-church.com/index.shtml. Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Denver Archdiocese will be the catechist for the third session in April. Archbishop Chaput has been an outstanding defender of life and has recently written a book called “Render Unto Caesar” about the melding of Catholic faith and politics. Archbishop Chaput spoke about the book and his reasons for writing it at a conference earlier this month. You can read a condensed version of his speech at:
Have you signed the petition for the Unborn Child yet?
Last month, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, C-FAM, launched its Petition for the Unborn Child to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, Human Rights Day around the world. As C-FAM president Austin Ruse explained then, “This will be a very big deal at UN headquarters in New York. The opponents of the unborn child will be out in force. We expect they will present petitions to the General Assembly asking for an explicit right to abortion. Those agitating for this are the largest, richest and deadliest abortion groups in the world: International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.” The groups have been collecting signatures for two years and recently removed the counter from their website. At that point, they had slightly over 600 signers. The C-FAM petition, on the other hand, as of October 31, has attracted over 56,000 signatures. Mr. Ruse hopes to hit 100,000 before presenting it on December 10. Download the petition from C-FAM and get it signed by friends, neighbours, church communities, youth groups and anyone else you can think of and encourage others to do the same. Go to http://www.c-fam.org/publications/id.95/default.asp.
Support the Back Porch and get free ice cream!
Come and celebrate National Child Day of Canada on Thursday, November 20th, with make-your-own sundaes for the whole family! The Back Porch, an Edmonton-based ministry across from the Morgentaler Clinic, is hosting this fundraiser to support their work helping women who are reconsidering their decision to abort. Join us in the Holy Family Parish hall at 75 Poirier Ave, St. Albert. The fun will begin at 6:30 p.m., with face painting for the kids, a presentation for parents, and ice cream for all. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. For more information call 780-421-9941.