As the United States continues to battle the horrifying consequences of Roe v. Wade, Ireland is approaching a similar crossroad. Faced with its own landmark decision on May 25, the country could allow women to abort children up to twelve weeks after pregnancy.
The Irish Eighth Amendment proclaims that, “The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.” Passed in 1983, the controversial law is now being called into question. According to The Independent, a United Kingdom based news source, the referendum of 1983 was supported by over 66% of voters, with 33% opposed. Today, both sides appear even, with a slight favor towards repealing the law.
This reversal is not sudden, rather it comes after years of modifications that have loosened the amendment’s effects. In 1992, for example, additional amendments were passed that allowed for women to travel abroad for abortions. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Ireland’s stanch stance against abortion, criticizing it as violating human rights that were outlined in the European Convention for Human Rights. 2013 marked the final major stride in Ireland’s quest to liberalize its laws, as scenarios were outlined that would allow for an abortion to occur if the mother’s life was at risk. While this sounds reasonable to many, such risks include the possibility of suicide, which could be technically claimed by any person seeking an abortion.
Several sources report a confidence from the repeal side of the vote. Many corporations, including Google and Facebook, have stripped foreign pro-life groups from advertising in defense of the unborn. While these media companies have also banned pro-choice causes from doing the same, this decision seems to have primarily impacted the former.
Making matters worse, support from the religious arm of the country has severely diminished. Census numbers report a steep decline from 94% Catholicity in the 1950s to 72% in 2016. A traditionally conservative country, Ireland has recently embraced numerous “progressive” policies, despite the long-term negative effects such policies have caused in other nations. The decline of religion has been tied to what could be considered “counter-culture” movements across the country, as many of these developments seem to be directed against the Catholic Church, amongst other traditionalist institutions.
Matters seem bleak for the fate of the unborn in Ireland, which will be determined as May 25 approaches.
This past Sunday, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) took to walking with members and supporters through the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland in the hopes of raising $225,000 for mental health services.
Many walking had a special connection to the cause, and in an interview with KATU2, one young woman involved with NAMI explained her reason for walking. Having to resort to a hospital stay for emotional distress, Trillian Stanton realized the importance of support in recovering from mental illness. This realization is what inspired her to create Project Self-Care.
The project creates self-care boxes with various comforting items, such as fun snacks, journals, coloring books, a fidget toy. Each box also includes a handwritten note letting the recipient know that he or she is in someone’s thoughts. She states in her explanation of the project that “the idea behind project self care is to remind people that they are worth loving, we give them the materials to then use to help nurture themselves when they are in times of crisis.”
In the interview, Stanton stated, “When you’re in the middle of the night, and you want to not be here anymore, and you open this kit and you’re trying to take care of yourself, and you’ll think, ‘look at how much the community wanted to take care of me.'” She hopes this feeling of community will help those struggling with mental illness.
In the past three months, she has already given out 30 kits and is currently fundraising for $1,200 to help her project.
Stanton is not the only one however attempting to help those with mental illnesses in Oregon.
In a statewide study released earlier this year, Oregon was found to have a higher than average number of teens struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health issue in a year, but in Oregon, the average was actually 1 out of 3 students.
Multnomah County is currently taking measures to counteract this statistic by providing services in the schools, including providing specific people to talk to or a place to get more professional, serious help. The County health offices now also provide resources on their website as well as a through a phone line 24/7.
David Hidalgo, Director for Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services, stated in an interview with KATU2, “For students, being able to have a healthy mind is critical to being successful in school.”
The supervisor for School Based Mental Health in Multnomah County, Stephen Dunlevy, also stated in the interview the importance of teen’s mental health and the need to reduce the stigma. “It’s important that we reduce stigma so that getting access to mental health services is just like going to your doctor.
President Trump is considering a series of actions that would significantly cripple Planned Parenthood, following through his commitment to protecting the unborn. While the President had stated his interest in aiding the Pro-Life movement at events such as the Washington, D.C. March for Life, he did not mention specific strategies for accomplishing his goal. This time, the President has a plan.
Title X, also known as the “Family Planning Program,” provides families, especially those of low-income background, with health services and resources. While abortion does not fall under the programs that Title X supports, Planned Parenthood still receives over $50 million a year from it, according to LifeSitenews. This is because the organization is listed as a family and health program, and claims to use the money for non-abortion services. Under President Ronald Reagan, Title X was barred from groups that promoted abortions. However, the Clinton administration eagerly overturned Reagan’s mandate. Thus, President Trump seeks to return to the Reagan-era restrictions.
Specifically, the President seeks to focus on the separation of Title X funds from practices that harm the unborn. Since the Clinton administration, Pro-Choice groups have not been not required to strictly report their spending of government money, which has enabled Planned Parenthood and its associates to funnel federal money to its abortion clinics. According to the National Review, under Trump’s restrictions, Planned Parenthood would be forced to financially separate its Title X operations from any activities involving abortions. However, since Planned Parenthood’s abortion services are integral to its finances, some analysts claim that it would be impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to meet this separation. If Planned Parenthood refuses to comply, it will be denied its funding from Title X.
Critics claim that this decision will severely inhibit access to women’s health care, as Planned Parenthood provides services that lie outside the boundaries of abortions. However, the Trump administration stated that “non-abortion” health centers greatly outnumber their counterparts at Planned Parenthood by more than 20 to 1, assuring families that they will still have ample access to a wide array of providers. Additionally, many opponents of Planned Parenthood believe that the group’s alleged allocation of Title X funds to abortions are a misuse of tax dollars that are meant to be spent on tackling illnesses and health issues.
The Trump administration has not spared words when opposing the misdeeds and moral crimes of Planned Parenthood and similar organizations. Now it seems that the President is closer to taking action against such groups, though it is also up to voters to support and pressure the White House to follow through with its words.
All Oregonians will remember the tragic wildfire that ran through the Columbia River Gorge, destroying many of the state’s most beautiful hikes and views. The fire burned a total of 48,000 acres of land.
Ever so slowly, several trails are opening up to the public once again, specifically Starvation Ridge, Mount Defiance, and Warren Lake. Favorite spots that include Oneonta Gorge, Angel’s Rest, and Larch Mountain are still closed to the public.
In February, the teen who started the fire by throwing fireworks into brush pleaded guilty, and he was just charged by the Hood River County Circuit Court with paying around $36.6 million in restitution for the damage caused by the fire. The Hood River Juvenile Department will help him to establish a payment schedule. The judge stated in a memorandum on the case that “In short, I’m satisfied that the restitution ordered in this case bears a sufficient relationship to the gravity of the offenses for which the youth was adjudicated.”
Federal funding, in any society, inevitably leads to governments making moral decisions, often at the frustration of opposing groups. Canada’s struggle between a Pro-Choice government and Pro-Life organizations aptly demonstrates the complications that arise from such funding.
The Canadian government has been accused by many of infringing on the basic rights of conscious that belong to its citizens. As summer approaches, so do the annual grants given to groups who seek to hire workers. To meet the requirements for receiving money, a document must be signed endorsing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which includes a pact of non-discrimination against groups of various backgrounds. While this seems reasonable, there is one part that has garnered massive attention, reading, “These include reproductive rights.” This is the portion that hundreds of organizations have taken issue with.
The wording of the document has aroused great nervousness amongst several groups, who are accusing the government of forcing them to endorse a Pro-Choice stance. Global News reports that over 1,500 applications have been denied funding, a massive increase since last year’s contract, which included no such agreement and resulted in 126 rejections. Several religious and pro-life groups cite their refusal to comply with the document’s request as the reason they were not allowed funding.
An Angus Reid Institute Survey, cited by CBC News, reveals that Canadians largely oppose denying funding to such groups if such institutions do not direct the money towards Pro-Life activities. However, a majority of those polled do believe that grant money should not, under any circumstance, be used to fund such endeavors. The debate continues today and while representatives have stated that they are not looking into directly amending their decision, they are open to suggestions and feedback from the public.
Ester Choo is a physician at Oregon Health and Science University who has previously taken Twitter by storm over her experiences in the emergency room.
But this May, she started a new initiative, just in time for Mother’s Day, that encouraged patients, doctors, and all who have experienced the power of medicine to share their life-giving stories on Twitter with the hashtag #ShareAStoryInOneTweet.
Choo’s original tweet, in 154 characters, described a patient who had been clinically dead for twenty minutes before being revived by Choo and her staff. She stated he still called her every year on the anniversary of saving his life, and it is now the ten-year anniversary.
Esther Choo’s #ShareAStoryInOneTweet
Hundreds responded to her challenge with incredible stories that would make any reader laugh, weep, and smile at their heartwarming experiences. The stories included the heavy impact of death on patients and doctors, miracles, dedication and perseverance, and hope for all.
Tweet in response to Esther Choo
See The Oregonian’s article for more responses to Choo’s Twitter Challenge.