Europe: Ireland must rethink abortion

IRELAND The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in December that Ireland's government did not comply with its own Supreme Court's decision guaranteeing a woman's right to abortion if her life is at risk. The ECHR found that a woman with cancer who went to England for the procedure in 2005 should have been able to get an abortion in Ireland, where it is technically permitted in such cases but practically impossible. However, splitting what some had expected to be Europe's Roe v. Wade, the court rejected pleas from two other women who had wanted abortions for non-life-threatening reasons, saying their cases "went against the profound moral values of the majority of the Irish people."

Phoenix hospital loses Catholic status

Phoenix Archbishop Thomas J. Olmsted revoked the name "Catholic" from St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in December after facing off with hospital officials over an abortion that the hospital authorized in 2009 to save the life of a mother. The archbishop considered the procedure a violation of the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; the Catholic Health Association disagreed, publicly backing the hospital. The hospital will retain "St. Joseph's" in its name.

Charities can bar gay foster parents

AUSTRALIA The Administrative Decisions Tribunal of New South Wales has somewhat reluctantly upheld the right of religious charities to reject gay couples as foster parents. The Wesley Mission, having been ordered to provide foster services to gay couples, successfully argued that this would jeopardize its fundraising and volunteer base, most of which supports traditional families. The tribunal noted that the state's Anti-Discrimination ...

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