Life Report Around the World
(a) US: Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies drew tens of thousands to more than 150 events across the US to protest the HHS Mandate which seeks to force religious employers to provide contraception, sterilisation and abortion-inducing drugs. US Bureau chief for LifeSiteNews, Ben Johnson, citing the history of Eastern Europe, said; “Light and transient offences against our religious liberty never remain light and transient offences’ but are usually the opening salvos of a greater war “to deny all our religious liberties.” … It’s a test of our strength and our resolve, an attempt to set a binding precedent, and it’s an attempt to weaken our resources against the more serious assaults that are to come.” At a rally in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jerry Cox, president of the Family Council, said; “There is a reason tyrants (and) dictators ….always go after religious freedom first. They know that faith in God sets men free.” Elder Levon Yuille of Ypsilanti Bible Church in Michigan and Director of the Pro-Life Congress said he got involved in the rallies because “…the HHS Mandate and the hate crimes speech” represent a “direct attack on the religious faith of America.” Perhaps the most pithy explanation of the protests was that given by Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock – “Civil law must never require what conscience forbids, nor forbid what conscience requires.” LifeSiteNews, 7 June, 2012.
(b) DENMARK: The Danish parliament has voted to force churches in the established Evangelical Lutheran Church to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies that are identical to heterosexual marriage ceremonies. The law took effect on 15 June, 2012. Priests may opt out for theological reasons but a bishop must provide a replacement. The passage of the Danish Bill comes at the same time as pro-family activists the world over are warning that the homosexualist agenda is threatening the basic freedoms of religious believers all across the West. LifeSiteNews, 7 June, 2102.
(c) US: Dr Nicholas Cummings, a former President of the American Psychological Association (the APA) who introduced the motion to de-classify homosexuality as a mental illness in 1975 says the APA has been taken over by “ultraliberals” beholden to the “gay rights movement” who refuse to allow an open debate on reparative therapy for homosexuality. Cummings said the APA’s problems began with the rejection of the Leona Tyler Principle which required all public positions of the APA to be supported by scientific evidence and that by the mid-1990s, “political stances seemed to override any scientific results. … The gay rights movement sort of captured the APA.” Recalling his own work with homosexuals who wanted to leave the gay life style he said, “It’s a difficult therapy, and it’s not huge in terms of numbers, but yes we have seen success, and this is why the stance that ‘you can never change’ ….. it’s absurd. All you have to do is find one exception and it knocks down the ‘never.’ But yes I’ve experienced more than one exception….Admittedly we had failures. The recidivism along the way with some would be intense, but we experience the same thing with treating substance abuse and alcoholism.
Falling off the wagon is part of the treatment.” Similarly, Dr Robert Spitzer, past President of the American Psychiatric Association, led the efforts of that Association to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses. He also became critical of the Association in the following decades and authored a study in 2000 indicating that highly motivated homosexuals could alter their sexual preferences through reparative therapy. However, Dr Spitzer recently repudiated his study after years of pressure from homosexual activists. Dr Cummings has not retracted his view that sometimes homosexuals can change. LifeSiteNews, 6 June, 2012.
(d) AUSTRALIA: Euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International, fears he will lose his medical licence over his involvement in the death of an Australian woman suffering from motor neuron disease. She used the drug Nembutal to kill herself in December last year. She had been given some advice about coping with her condition by Dr Nitschke. Exit International claims that other doctors have interfered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s investigation into the case. AHPRA says its investigations were impartial. BioEdge, 16 June, 2102.
(e) UK: Doctors could be banned for refusing to prescribe contraceptives for unmarried women or to carry out sex-change operations under new General Medical Council guidelines. The guidelines warn doctors that “serious or persistent failure to follow this guidance will put your registration at risk.” Interestingly although at law doctors can refuse some treatments on ethical grounds, including abortion, the guidelines require doctors to refer patients to a colleague who will perform the treatment. BioEdge, 2 June, 2012.
This is the same approach as in S. 8 of the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act. So even if the law protects freedom of conscientious objection doctors can still be “coerced” into violating their conscience by threat of refusal of registration to practice or of professional indemnity insurance which they must have in order to practice.
(f) WORLD: With the new government of French president Francois Hollande announcing it will legalise same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption and with pressure for same-sex marriage building up in countries such as Australia, the UK and the US perhaps it is time to ask where the children for male couples will come from. This is not a question that has been very prominent in the debate so BioEdge asked a number of IVF clinics in the US and India whether they were preparing for a rise in demand for surrogate mothers because of the legalisation of same-sex marriage. “The answer was a resounding YES.” BioEdge said its survey was far from scientific let alone comprehensive. Nevertheless, it suggests “many needy women in developing or economically troubled countries are going to be working for gay couples looking for deals on cheap gestational carriers.” Dr Samundi Sankar of the Srushti Fertility Research Centre in Chennai in India was asked “Is he preparing for an increase in demand? Definitely, Yes.” Dr Samit Sekhar of the Kiran Infertility Centre in Hyderabad said “…we have seen an increase in the number of gay couples and single men approaching our clinic as soon as legitimacy to their public union is granted in their respective states or country.” Comments from one of the leading fertility doctors in the US, Dr Jeffrey Steinberg, who runs The Fertility Institutes in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, suggest American IVF clinics are also anticipating a surge in demand for surrogates for gay couples: “When a country begins to consider legalizing gay marriage, we get a surge …. of inquiries… About 1/3 …continue to seek our services even before the legislation is passed; 1/3 advise us they are waiting to see what developed with legalization; and we don’t hear back immediately from 1/3. …Where marriage is actually legalized, we get another surge of inquiries including hearing back from those that contacted us with a “wait and see” response. Once legalized, about 40% of the “new” inquiries want to sign up, and we ultimately hear back from about 30% of the remainder.” What is certain is that the demand for surrogates for gay couples will grow, but what is not so certain is what benefits there are for the women who perform this service. BioEdge, 30 June, 2012.