How Humanae Vitae Happened … 40 years ago today Pope Paul VI declared that the Catholic church stands opposed to all forms of contraception. Patsy McGarry looks back to the run-up to the decision to issue the encyclical in an article at the Irish Times today. McGarry writes that the "reaction to the encyclical was unprecedented in recent Catholic
Church history in that almost immediately there was dissent from
prominent theologians of the day." In Europe, one of the most influential critics was the late Cardinal
Suenens of Belgium. He wondered "whether moral theology took sufficient
account of scientific progress, which can help determine what is
according to nature. I beg you, my brothers, let us avoid another
Galileo affair. One is enough for the church." Indeed the story of how Humanae Vitae came to be issued is an intriguing one and set the Catholic church on a surely very different course than it would have been on these past 40 years had the decision gone the other way. McGarry concludes her article with an observation on the unintended consequenses of the encyclical:
However, the great legacy of Humanae Vitae, though not intended, was
that it prompted many lay Catholics to inform and decide for themselves
on the big questions. They would no longer be as inclined to accept
unquestioningly decisions of popes, bishops or priests.
Amendment To Give Northern Ireland Women Abortion Rights To Be Debated in UK … The UK’s 1967 Abortion Act gave every woman in the UK the right to receive abortion care except for women living in Northern Ireland. Diane Abbott writes in the Guardian that more than "50,000 of these women have been forced to travel to England and pay for an abortion privately."
Surveys reveal that most of those women would have preferred to have
the operation at home in Northern Ireland, but they feel that they have
no choice. Dr Audrey Simpson, director of the Family Planning
Association Northern Ireland says:
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A Northern Irish
woman in the 21st century who is the victim of rape or incest is
expected to give birth, or find up to £2,000 to travel for treatment in
England where women have the right to access safe abortion. These are a
vulnerable group of women who need support – not to be forced to find
money and travel long distances on their own.
in many ways, the women who travel to England are the lucky ones. Most
working-class women must take their chances with the backstreet
Northern Irelands women may soon not have to travel and pay out of pocket for abortion care. An amendment currently making the rounds in UK’s parliment would give Norther Ireland’s women the same rights as every other woman in the UK.
Talking To Kids Openly About Sex Very Important … A recent survey of children 11-14 in the UK reveals that pre-teens would appreciate more open channels of communication with parents about sex related issues:
The research published on Thursday said that parents should talk to
children between the ages of 11 and 14, claiming that parents have
less influence once a teenager reaches 15.
that three quarters wanted to talk to their parents, but one-in-five
parents said they found it a challenging subject to approach.
44 per cent of teenagers did not trust information from friends, and a
quarter felt worried or scared that they had been given the wrong
"Teenagers unanimously agree that parents who speak to them about
sex are in no way encouraging them to go out and do it," she said.
fact the opposite is true – having everyday conversations as often as
possible about sex and relationships is proven to reduce risky
behaviour and can help young people make measured decisions about sex
and stay safe."
Family Planning Association chief
executive Julie Bentley said: "It is so important that parents have the
confidence to start a conversation with their teenagers and children
about sex and relationships as it makes a huge difference to their