Voice of the Family is an initiative of Catholic laity from major pro-life/pro-family organisations. It has been formed to offer expertise and resources before, during and after the Synod. The group is offering assistance to Synod Fathers, such as research, expert briefings, speech-drafting, and professional support and contacts.
Voice of the Family argues that the following themes must be central to the Synod’s conclusions:
By making a particular stand in defence of parents as primary educators, the Synod Fathers would be embracing marriage, the sanctity of human life, and the truth about human sexuality. The potency of this issue at grassroots level cannot be overestimated
The initiative is supported by:
The Voice of the Family website has already posted a number of important articles and will be updated regularly throughout the synod.
New organisation demands major reform of Children and Family Relationships Bill
A NEW organisation called Mothers and Fathers Matter has been launched today to draw attention to the anti-child nature of the Children and Family Relationships Bill in its present form.
The message of Mothers and Fathers Matter is exactly that, mothers and fathers matter. The latest version of the General Scheme of the Children and Family Relationships Bill, published last week, denies this outright.
In its present form the proposed legislation:
Minister Fitzgerald gives the impression that the law simply regulates existing family relationships by giving them necessary legal supports. In fact the law creates an almost absolute right to produce a child via artificial means and an extremely wide right for adults to adopt children regardless of marital status or whether the child’s right to a mother and father will be respected.
The law thus promotes families where children are deliberately denied either a mother or a father. This element of what the law does is based on adults’ wishes and not on the best interests of the child.
The proposed legislation authorises adults to deliberately deprive a child of a connection to either his/her natural mother or natural father where those adults use donor sperm or a donor egg to have a child. Using donor gametes to have a child commodifies children by allowing adults in effect to ‘order them’, even to particular specifications. (This is why eggs from university undergraduates are often sought by fertility clinics).
While the Bill will not provide a statutory basis for surrogacy, as was originally intended, neither will it prohibit the practice. It remains open to adults to use surrogate mothers to have babies, that is, to contract women to have babies for them.
The new scheme of the Bill aims to prohibit anonymous egg and sperm donation. This gives a child the right to know their natural parents when they reach age 18. But it means they have no right to a relationship with their missing natural parent as they grow up and even when they reach 18, their natural parent may refuse them such a relationship.
Mothers and Fathers Matter therefore asks Minister Fitzgerald to amend the Bill to take proper account of the natural ties and to protect children’s right to a relationship with their natural parents which, in every case, will be their mother and their father.
Mothers and Fathers Matter Chairman, Professor Ray Kinsella said: “We believe this legislation seriously undermines the rights of children. It amazes us that a Government, which professes to be pro-child, would wish to pass a piece of legislation that treats the natural tie, and by extension motherhood and fatherhood, in such a dismissive fashion”.
He continued: “We should have learnt the lessons of the past by now. We know the pain it can cause to children when they do not know their natural parents. The Government should do what it can to spare children this pain rather than inflicting it on them. Prohibiting anonymous egg and sperm donation does not properly protect the rights of children. Egg and sperm donation themselves need to be prohibited.
“Adoption law should also seek to place children with a married mother and father whenever possible. Only in exceptional circumstances should this preference be set aside. The proposed Bill does not uphold this preference at all. It allows cohabiting couples as well as same-sex couples in Civil Partnerships to adopt. This further highlights the fact that the Government does not attach any special importance either to marriage or to motherhood and fatherhood.”
He concluded: “Common sense as well as our Constitution acknowledge the place of mothers and fathers in conceiving, nurturing and raising children. We should not be legislating to subvert the most basic entitlement of a child.”
Further information about Mothers and Fathers Matter can be found on our website: www.mothersandfathersmatter.ie
Now that the expert group has reported we have had an opportunity of looking at its content and recommendations and have prepared a critique which we have set out below. We question the entire basis on which the report is premised and reject many of the assertions set out in itEuropean Life Network conclusionBy defining abortion as necessary medical treatment, and by undermining the absolute prohibition on abortion in the Irish Constitution and Irish statute law, the expert report sets the scene for legislation which will lead to ever-wider permissions for abortion. The history of abortion law in Great Britain shows that, over time, court judgments, new statutes, regulations and professional guidelines form a trend towards de facto abortion on demand. The Oireachtas must reject the expert group if it wishes to avoid this scenario. It must find a way to overturn the X case judgment and any other element of law or public policy in Ireland which fails to apply Ireland’s constitutional and statutory ban on intentionally ending the lives of unborn children from the point of conception onwards. This will also protect the lives and dignity of women, in a country whose maternal health record is one of the best in the world.We appeal to Enda Kenny to honour the pro-life commitments made by him prior to the last election and we ask him to stand firm against the pressure from the Labour Party to legislate along the lines of the seriously flawed 'X' case judgement.