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A widow in the UK has won a High Court battle allowing her to keep her husband's frozen sperm with a view to being impregnated with the sperm later. Beth Warren's husband Warren Brewer, a ski instructor, died from a brain tumour two years ago, but signed paperwork before starting cancer treatment saying that his wife could use them after his death. However, regulations from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) state that donated eggs or sperm can only be stored for long periods of time if the donor keeps renewing their permission. Lawyers representing Mrs Warren said that the regulator was taking an “excessively linguistic and technical approach.”
A senior Vatican official has strongly defended religious freedom at a conference on in Slovakia. He also criticised Uganda’s new law outlawing homosexual acts. On the subject of religious freedom, Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said: "It is important to preserve and defend religious freedom because it concerns “each person's freedom to live according to their own deeper understanding of the truth.” He added that “freedom of religion is inseparable from freedom of thought and conscience”.
UK government plans for ‘mitochondrial replacement therapy’ could lead to children with genetic material from three parents being born in 2015. According to the Daily Telegraph, the new rules will allow clinics to replace an egg cell’s defective mitochondrial DNA with material from a donor egg.
One in five births were to cohabiting couples and more than 35% in total were outside marriage in the third quarter of last year, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office.
Church teachings on marriage and family are poorly understood, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told a group priests and members of parish councils at Clonliffe college yesterday. He was commenting on the results of a survey of lay people in the diocese, conducted ahead of a Synod on the family that will take place in Rome in October at the initiative of Pope Francis.
A new US report into state and government programmes designed to encourage and stabilise marriage has found that these programmes can have a positive effect, particularly on lower-income families. However, the report also found that the level of success varied considerably depending on the programme, and that many of the initiatives suffered from a lack of funding.
The government have proposed lowering the age at which a person can change their legal gender from 18 to 16. Under the proposed law a person can be biologically male or female in every detail but still be declared a member of the opposite ‘gender’.
Independent Senator Ronan Mullen today called for a "lucid debate" on gay marriage in the *Irish Times *today, saying that there exists "real hatred about towards people who defend marriage as presently constituted." "It would be strange" he wrote "for gay rights supporters to argue that the term homophobic was not defamatory. They, more than anybody else, have reason to understand how abhorrent homophobia is."
Children have a right to know the identity of their genetic parents, writes Deirdre Madden, lecturer in Law at UCC. Writing in The Irish Times, she said that it was “unfortunate” that in Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s proposed Family and Relationships Bill 2014 “nothing is said about the child’s right to discover the identity of the donor, which is an important human right worthy of legal protection and which other jurisdictions have enshrined in legislation in recent years.”
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Poland have criticised “gender ideology” which holds that there are no fundamental differences between men and women and that our ‘gender’ is chosen. In a pastoral letter, the Bishops write: "Confronted with increasing attacks against different aspects of family and social life coming from this ideology, we are compelled to speak out clearly in defence of the Christian family and the fundamental values that support it, on the one hand, and, on the other, to warn against threats stemming from propagating new forms of family life”.
The success of the film Philomena has lead to a ‘significant increase’ in the number of people trying to trace their birth parents, Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has told the Daíl. She said that the film, which is based on the struggles of Philomena Lee to make contact with her son, who was adopted against her will, had acted as a “catalyst” for the increased numbers of queries to the Adoption Authority.
Only 46% of children aged 15-17 in the United States have been raised with both their married biological parents since at or near the time of their birth, according to a new US survey. The Marriage and Religion Research Institute, (MARRI), a branch of the Family Research Council, released its 4th annual ‘Index of Family Belonging’.
The Spanish government has won a parliamentary vote against a Socialist motion that would have forced it to withdraw a bill aimed at narrowing the circumstances under which abortion is available. Spain has had abortion on demand up to 14 weeks since 2010. Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon's bill, which bans abortion except in the case of rape, or when women can prove that having the child would pose “a severe risk to her physical or mental health”, was challenged by the opposition Socialist Party, which tabled a motion for the bill to be withdrawn immediately.
The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, has defended his proposed Family and Relationships bill, which seeks to regulate the whole area of Assisted Human Reproduction but which overlooks the importance of giving a child a mother and a father. “It is important that legislation should support couples who wish to create a family together” Minister Shatter said in a speech to the Family Lawyers Association.
Scotland’s new same-sex marriage law contains a provision stating that the introduction of same-sex marriage will have no impact on existing rights to freedom of speech and that it is possible to oppose same-sex marriage "without being homophobic". Meanwhile, the last Catholic adoption agency still open in Scotland has won a legal battle to be allowed to continue to operate as a charity, and to place children in accordance with its ethos.
The Supreme Court has reserved judgement in the State's appeal of a landmark surrogacy case in which the High Court decided that twin’s genetic mother, rather than the surrogate mother, that is the birth mother, was to be placed on the birth certificate as the the legal mother of the children.
The Supreme Court has been told that twins born to a surrogate mother must have the genetic link with their 'commissioning' parents recognised. On the second day of an ongoing appeal by the State against a High Court decision recognising the genetic mother as the legal mother of twins born to a surrogate mother, Gerard Durcan, Senior Counsel for the genetic mother and her husband, who is the genetic father, told the court that motherhood and fatherhood were determined by “inheritable characteristics” or a “blood link” to a child.
Speaking to a gathering of women and men from religious orders throughout the Archdiocese of Dublin in Terenure College, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that faith provided an answer to the “alienation and hopelessness and suffering and search for meaning that exists among the men and women of our time.” He also said that religious in schools should be “travelling companions” with young people.
In a landmark appeal to the Supreme Court, the State has argued that the Oireachtas should have the power to define legal motherhood. The State is appealing an earlier High Court decision which found that twins born through surrogacy were the children of their genetic, rather than their birth mother.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter has published the details of an extremely radical and far-reaching reform of family law called the proposed Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014. A lengthy definition it gives of “the best interests of the child” makes no reference to natural ties or to mothers and fathers.
Schools in the UK will be obliged to publish details of their sex education syllabi online amid concern among parents and the general public about the the increased sexualisation of children, the impact of internet porn, and the content of some sex education programmes.
A new study published in the British Medical Journal indicates that In Vitro Fertilisation is being employed in cases where the evidence for its effectiveness is 'weak', and that extended use of the treatment is associated with health risks to mothers and children.
The Little Sisters of the Poor have been granted an injunction by the U.S Supreme court, temporarily freeing them from the obligation to obey the Obama Administration's 'HHS Mandate' requiring employers to include contraceptives and abortifacients in their employees' health insurance policies.
The Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin and the Association of Catholic Priests have strongly criticised Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn's suggestion that schools should reduce teaching time for religious education. Mr Martin said that the Minister was “insensitive to people of particular religions” and “oblivious” to the impact his proposal could have on small schools of various denominations.
Women seeking abortions in the UK are six times more likely to have experienced domestic abuse than women seeking antenatal care, suggests a new study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
A new report highlights some of the latest attacks on Christian targets in Europe over the last few months. The attacks range from vandalism of a crib in Belgium, to anti-Catholic graffiti being spray-painted on four churches in Malaga, Spain, to an arson attack on a chapel in France.
News that the Government is to reopen the Irish embassy to the Holy See has been welcomed by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. The embassy was closed in 2011 for ‘financial reasons’. A new one-person embassy will replace it. The embassy will focus on development aid which is a key concern of the Holy See and many of the embassies attached to it.
Some of the ethical pitfalls of surrogacy have been starkly revealed in an RTE documentary broadcast this week called “Her body, our babies”. It examined the story of an Irish couple who paid a woman in India to carry babies for them. The woman became pregnant with three babies and one was aborted in a so-called ‘pregnancy reduction’ under instructions from the Indian clinic charged with overseeing the woman.
Only a quarter of couples who move in together in the UK actively see it as a step towards getting married, according to a new study. And a fifth of such couples have actively ruled marriage out.
Serious concern has been voiced about the safety of troubled children in a a State-run care home. Inspectors for the State's health watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) said that the care unit, Crannóg Nua locked children in for up to 12 hours a day, the Irish Times reports.
People with religious faith tend to have less work-related stress, according to new research. The study, carried out in the UK, found those with a faith are less anxious in the work place, healthier and less likely to take sick days, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The suggestion that psychiatrsts who hold a particular view on abortion could be bypassed by GPs is “deeply insulting to psychiatrists working at the coalface of psychiatry,” Professor Patricia Casey has said. She was responding to remarks made by Dr Anthony McCarthy, former president of the Irish College of Psychiatry in an interview with the Irish Times.
Divorcing parents are often in denial about the effect of their break-up on their children, according to a new UK survey. The survey of adults and children who have experienced a divorce found that youngsters are far more likely to have seen their parents fighting than the adults realised, the Daily Telegraph reports.
A religious order in the US has won a temporary injunction against a new requirement that it provide insurance cover for abortifacient and contraceptive pills, which are in direct contravention of Catholic teaching. The injunction against the Obama Administration mandate was granted by Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor.
The Government's new abortion law came into effect yesterday. Among other things, it compels named Catholic hospitals to perform abortions under the terms of the law and doctors who are pro-life must refer patients seeking abortions to doctors who are pro-choice.
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