Not Only Catholics Should Oppose a Court-Ordered Abortion in Britain

June 24 2019

On Friday, a British judge ordered doctors to perform, against her will, an abortion on a Catholic woman who suffers from severe developmental disabilities. The woman’s own mother has strenuously opposed the ruling, and insisted that she will raise the child herself, but to no avail, and the case has received much attention in Catholic circles. To Harold Braswell, a Jew and himself the child of a mentally disabled woman, all people of good conscience should be horrified by the callousness and cruelty of the judge’s decision:

Attending medical doctors have judged that her giving birth and eventually having the child removed from her custody would be extremely traumatic because of her intellectual disabilities. Based on this assessment, the judge has ruled that it is in the woman’s “best interests” that the pregnancy be terminated.

My own birth was difficult, perhaps even traumatic, for my mother. . . . Ultimately, I was removed from my mother’s custody, but instead of being given up for adoption, I was taken in by her mother, my maternal grandmother. But though my mother did not raise me herself, she remained, always, my mom. She visited me monthly, sending, almost every week, postcards and gifts. These visits, postcards, and gifts were, at times, confusing for me, even unwelcome. But not always, and, over time, I came to appreciate them and also her. We developed a strong relationship, and, on becoming an adult, it was I who began visiting her, and sending her my own postcards and gifts.

[The British court’s] ruling should be recognized as evil by anyone. It is baldly “anti-choice,” and fails even the thinnest liberal commitments of opposing bigotry and protecting minorities. It shows an utter lack of creativity, a disturbing closure to the dynamism of life, an unwillingness to accommodate [human] difference even minimally.

As a secular Jew at a Catholic university, . . . I [have come to] appreciate many Catholics and, in a way, Catholicism itself. In a society that, too often, undervalues disabled people—making their very status as “persons” a topic for debate—Catholics have consistently advocated for the intrinsic worth of their lives. I may not agree with the theological presuppositions based on which they do so. But I am grateful nonetheless. It is my hope, however, that this does not remain “just” a Catholic issue, that there is a broad public outcry both in England and internationally, and that the decision is reversed.

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More about: Abortion, Catholic Church, Freedom, United Kingdom

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy