21st January 2022
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In this issue:
READ (#chriwt) : (#NYT) Government search for ‘Independent Chairperson’ turns into a farce (#1)
READ (#Jeff) : (#2) Senator Keogan accuses HSE of ignoring damning revelations about its MyOptions hotline (#2)
READ: (#3) Students for Life lodges complaint with Advertising Standards Authority about the MyOptions hotline (#4)
READ: Pro-Life Senator in Nebraska receives death threats (#3)
APPLY NOW: Ireland needs pro-life students and young professionals who are ready to speak up for the unborn. Apply TODAY for the Future Leaders Programme! (#FLP)
APPLY NOW: Virtual Internship with the PLC (#VS)
Government search for ‘Independent Chairperson’ turns into a farce ()
In the Seanad yesterday, Senator Rónán Mullen challenged the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly for not honouring a commitment to tender openly for an Independent Chairperson for the Three-Year review of the abortion legislation.
Senator Mullen also called on the Minister to account for a Department of Health press release which falsely claimed to have published an open tender for the Chairperson.
In a related development this week, the Minister for Health was forced to admit that “a small number of candidates, identified as having suitable experience, were contacted and invited to apply for the role of independent Chair.” Minister Donnelly made the admission in reply to Parliamentary Questions submitted by TDs Michael Collins and Peadar Tóibín.
This week’s revelations taken together raise extremely serious questions about the independence and impartiality of the Government’s Three Year Review. The fact that the much talked about “open and transparent” tendering process to find an independent Chairperson is not happening greatly undermines the entire process.
It is already on the public record that the Minister for Health met with several abortion supporting groups before his announcement in December setting out the framework for the review. Despite repeated requests, the Minister refused to meet with the Pro Life Campaign or his own pro-life parliamentary colleagues.
It’s obvious the Government are hellbent on keeping the lid on the truth about the horror of the new abortion law and wish to avoid at all costs having to defend the broken promises that were made prior to the 2018 referendum that abortion would be “rare” and that ghastly D&E late-term abortions would not happen in the event of repeal.
This week has shown once again that Government attempts to thwart a truly impartial review from happening will be challenged every step of the way by pro-life TDs and senators who remain steadfast in their commitment to ensuring accountability and making sure that the public are informed about precisely what’s happening under Ireland’s abortion law.
You can watch Senator Mullen’s contribution in the Seanad here ([link removed]) .
Senator Keogan accuses HSE of ignoring damning revelations about its MyOptions hotline (#1)
In the Seanad on Thursday, Senator Sharon Keogan demanded accountability from the HSE following the horrifying revelations that several of its MyOptions counsellors urged women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy to make their first abortion appointment even in cases where women made it clear that they were still very conflicted about whether to proceed with the abortion or not.
Senator Keogan took issue with the HSE for issuing a statement on “rogue” counselling agencies two days after the revelations were made public about the disturbing counselling practices being conducted by MyOptions which is run by the HSE. Senator Keogan accused the HSE of trying to deflect attention away from its own group by issuing the statement and she called on the HSE to immediately issue a separate statement specifically addressing the revelations about MyOptions.
The research on MyOptions counselling practices was conducted by members of Students for Life between November 2021 and January 2022, and released last week.
Senator Keogan’s contribution in the Seanad yesterday is well worth a watch! It can be viewed here ([link removed]) .
Click here ([link removed]) to read a summary of the research conducted by Students for Life on MyOptions.
Students for Life lodges complaint with Advertising Standards Authority about the MyOptions hotline ()
Students for Life have made a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about the State funded MyOptions pregnancy counselling service, accusing it of false advertising for claiming that it provides “information and support on all your options, including continued pregnancy supports” when advising women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.
In recent months, Students for Life carried out research on MyOptions and arranged for a series of phone calls to the agency to establish a clear picture regarding the advice and counselling they provide to clients.
The research showed a clear pattern involving MyOptions counsellors being the first to raise abortion with women facing an unexpected pregnancy and evidence of not being equipped to talk to clients about options other than abortion.
As well as lodging a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, Students for Life has also called for a complete overhaul of how the MyOptions hotline operates and said in a statement that people with experience in meeting the needs of women who wish to continue their pregnancy should be invited by the Government to participate in the decision making process and be appointed to relevant bodies overseeing policy in the area of unplanned pregnancy.
You can read a summary of the Students for Life research here ([link removed]) .
Pro-Life Senator in Nebraska receives death threats ()
In the US, Nebraska pro-life state Senator Julie Slama has recieved death threats and rape threats after introducing a bill along with 20 co-sponsors to protect unborn babies with detectable heartbeats.
In a recent tweet, Slama said the response to her pro-life bill has been “death threats, rape threats, & sexually explicit comments.” Senator Slama wrote, “It’s fascinating to see the death threats, rape threats, & sexually explicit comments sent by self-proclaimed ‘feminists’ to me, a female state senator, because I introduced a #prolife Heartbeat Bill….”
She has reported the threats to police and an investigation is ongoing. Similar violent threats were issued against pro-life public representatives in Texas when an almost identical bill was passed in 2021 that effectively prohibits abortion in the State.
The Supreme Court in the US is currently considering Dobbs v. Jackson, the Mississippi case that challenges Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalised abortion in the United States.
A decision is expected before the end of June. Whatever the court decides, it will have huge ramifications for the right to life of unborn babies. The make-up of the Supreme Court has undergone enormous changes in recent years and currently sits at a 6-3 conservative majority. Let’s hope and pray that the court delivers a resounding pro-life judgment.
Ireland needs pro-life students and young professionals who are ready to speak up for the unborn. Apply TODAY for the Future Leaders Programme! (#1)
The Future Leaders Programme will equip the next generation of pro-life activists to do just that.
Applications are now open for the eighth Future Leaders Programme, which commences online on Monday 7th February at 7pm.
The course is an opportunity for young people to upskill their pro-life knowledge, and hear from national and international pro-life leaders from the spheres of medicine, law, politics, psychiatry, and practical supports for women.
Students or young adults can apply for a place on the course here ([link removed]) .
During this strategic 8 week programme, delegates will be equipped with the competence, arguments and motivation to promote the pro-life vision in the public square.
If you want to become proactive, organised and enhance your personal effectiveness as a leader, communicator, and activist in the cause of protecting life - then this course is for you.
After completing this course, participants will:
* Understand the legal and medical realities of abortion and euthanasia in Ireland and the EU
* Appreciate and respond to the challenges faced by parents with an unplanned pregnancy
* Develop logically sound and emotionally compelling arguments aimed at promoting the right to life
* Become fluent in using traditional and social media to promote the pro-life message
* Experience debating the pro-life issue in a television or radio studio
* Understand the Irish and EU political systems and ways that individuals and groups can influence them effectively
* Meet those who share the same respect for the right to life
Previous participants have said the following:
* "DO IT!! It is an amazing course. You get to expand your knowledge, improve your skills and meet so many other amazing pro life people. If I could do it all over again I would!"
* "100% do this course! If you are a young person in college or in the workplace, this is for you! Such a great way to learn, keep up to date and meet new people. I have reclaimed the most amazing arguments that had slipped from my memory and learned a million more. Facts and stories, you can't beat it."
* "Definitely go for it, as it will provide you with the essential knowledge and tools you need to be an educated, effective pro-life advocate whether privately in one-on-one conversations or in a more public setting."
If you are aged between 18-35 and wish to apply to participate, please complete this application form ([link removed]) by Friday 31st January, and we will get back to you.
There are 15 sponsored places available.
APPLY NOW - Virtual Internship with the PLC (#1)
Would you like to experience working with a pro-active Human Rights organisation?
If you would like, APPLY HERE ([link removed]) to our exciting virtual intern programme for students!
Participants on the programme will have an opportunity to network with other young people and develop skills in advocacy, campaign management and project planning.
Internships run for one-week periods and are suitable for second level (Transition year or older) and third level students.
Each intern will do 4 hours supervised work each day and will be working on areas such as social media, contact with members of the movement nationwide, project planning and contributing to support work for women and their babies.
Internships are not paid, however expenses will be covered.
If you or a family member is interested, please complete the below form and we will be in touch with you presently. Placements are subject to availability.
Apply Now by filling in the application form ([link removed])
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Vital Signs is the e-newsletter of the Pro Life Campaign. We hope you and your families are keeping well in these unusual times. This email is to update you on what we have been working on recently, including news stories, project updates, and details of upcoming events. If you want to get in touch with us please do so by emailing [email protected]
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