Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Anti-Catholic Article on Monaco's Unconstitutional Liberalized Abortion Law



Abortion Law Liberalized in Catholic Monaco
Thu, 06/11/2009 - 11:33 — Wendy
By Anna Wilkowska-Landowska, RH Reality Check, Eastern Europe

Last month, after five years of advocacy, Monaco approved a new law, which legalizes medically necessary abortions. Monaco was one of the last three states in Europe where abortion was illegal. The other two countries are Ireland and Malta.
The law was passed unanimously by the National Council, Monaco's parliament, in a 26-0 vote. This is significant because 90 percent of Monaco's population is formally Catholic. As generally known, the Roman Catholic Church believes that life begins at conception and opposes abortion under all circumstances. However, the modern Catholic position states a medical procedure needed to save the life of the mother, but that may result in the death of the "pre-born child" as a secondary effect, is morally acceptable.

Until now, Monaco has had one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Under Monaco's Criminal Code, there were no stated exceptions to a general prohibition of abortion. Nonetheless, under general criminal law principles of necessity, an abortion could be performed to save the life of a pregnant woman. Any person performing an illegal abortion was subject to one to five years imprisonment and a fine. A woman who induced her own abortion or consented to its being induced was subject to six months to three years imprisonment and a fine. Physicians, surgeons, midwives and pharmacists who performed abortions were liable to harsher penalties including suspension from their profession.

The process of adopting a new bill calling for increased abortion access took years of struggling against religious beliefs. Like many other Catholic Church representatives, Archbishop Pernard Barsi of Monaco said there are a few fundamental principles that come not from religious morality, but from the natural law itself, that applies to all modern civilized societies: Life begins at conception. "What we term ‘interruption of pregnancy,' no matter what the motive is, remains an abortion. One of the most fundamental human rights is the integrity of the person at all stages of life. Civil law must never abridge the moral law," he said.

The Catholic Church in Monaco continuously claimed that permitting deliberate abortion for medical reasons or rape would inevitably lead to abortion on demand, and sooner or later, to the total liberalization of abortion. Barsi was pointing to the progression of laws permitting abortion in countries with no restrictions on the procedure. Instead of focusing on termination of pregnancies, he suggested looking closer at the problems faced by women and families dealing with difficult pregnancies, and called for increased support in society for them. "It's not by legalizing the 'interruption of pregnancies for medical motives or rape' that we will help women, couples and families. We must in fact accompany women by putting in place concrete measures within our institutions to foster solidarity," he said.

The new law permits abortion for "hard cases" including rape, fetal deformity, fetal illness or danger to the life of the mother. Catholic authorities argue that new regulations on termination of pregnancy are "incompatible" with the constitution of Monaco, which recognizes the Catholic faith as the state religion. They fear, for example, that there will be further attempts to conform Monaco to what they consider lowest ethical standards.

Adoption of the new bill on abortion in Monaco should be regarded as an important step on the way to providing sufficient guarantees for women within the area of reproductive rights. The fact that currently there are only two states in Europe where abortion is illegal and therefore totally prohibited, is a genuine proof that societies can change mentality, despite religious constraints that very often constitute serious obstacles when discussing controversial matters, especially abortion. Monaco serves as a perfect example.

Prince Albert II at September 2007 Inauguration of Monaco Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Address of Prince Albert II at September 2007 Inauguration of Embassy of Monaco in Washington, D.C.

Address by H.S.H. Prince Albert II at The Inauguration of the Residencein Washington on September 26, 2007

Mr. Ambassador, Madame, Your Excellencies, Madame Consul General, , distinguished Consuls of Monaco in the United States, Ladies and Gentlemen,
dear friends and dear family members, thank you all for being here. It’s wonderful to see, by your presence, the links between Monaco and the United States.

I’m particularly thrilled to be inaugurating Monaco’s Ambassador’s Residence here in Washington today with you. I’m delighted that Monegasque Diplomacy and Diplomatic Representation are now at an Ambassadorial Level. And I think this is only to highlight my personal commitment and that of the Principality to provide the necessary resources for deeper cooperation between Monaco and the United States.
I’m also moved today because my thoughts are obviously with my parents.
Especially with my Mother, since she was both of our countries’ most outstanding Ambassador and bound both of our countries in a very unique way.

As you know, I’m very fond of this country and harbor many happy memories of my early childhood and years after that. Summers with family members, summers at camp. There are a couple of people whom I went to camp with who are in this Embassy today. And of course, studying in Amherst College, then trying to learn some sort of insight and to make some sort of sense of what it means to be in Corporate America. And every time I spend time in this country, it brings back a whole lot of these fond memories. I think America instilled in me an appreciation for entrepreneurship and a deep respect for work as the only way to win. Also, it revealed to me the value of competition, not in order to dominate the other person but to surpass one’s self and find fulfillment. Returning to this land as I do fairly often, I embrace the immensity of its wide open spaces and the richness of a society founded on so many different ethnic origins. The inauguration of this Embassy marks a fresh impetus that I wish to bring to the relations - a long lasting and friendly relation between the Principality of Monaco and the United States of America.

These relations, as you know, were consolidated on December 8 of last year when His Excellency, Ambassador Gilles Nogh├Ęs, presented his Letters of credence to President Bush. And, five days later, His Excellency Craig Stapleton, the United States Non-Resident Ambassador, handed his Letters of Accreditation to me in the Principality. I had the pleasure of welcoming Ambassador Stapleton back to the Palace just a few days ago and used that opportunity to take another look at issues of common interests to both our Countries. Our mutual Ambassadors constitute a very visible expression of the close links that bind us.

I would also like to take this opportunity to salute the valuable work carried out by Mrs. Maguy Maccario-Doyle, who is our Consul General in New York City, and the equally indispensable efforts of the Principality’s six Honorary Consuls. Most of them are here today. It’s a real pleasure for me to see them again and to be able to keep up with their great work and I salute them and urge them to keep on going on that track.

Monaco shares the ideals and concerns of the United States, this I think you are all well aware of. Joining with the international community and the American government we will do everything possible to bring our efforts to the fight against terrorism in all its forms. A joint agreement pertaining to the proceeds of crime and the confiscation of goods signed by the Government of Monaco and the US government on the twenty fourth of March of this year bears witness to this.
Our American friends know that they will always receive a particularly warm welcome in the Principality and the image I would like you all and like our American friends to take away from Monaco is that of a Country that may be small in size but is driven by an unsuspected capacity to rise to challenge. It is inspired by the same values of freedom.

And we also remain open as our American friends do, to the great issues of our time. At the forefront of these issues, I think you know my commitment to the environment. And, as you know, not only has Monaco over the past ten years done tremendous efforts in terms of cooperation with other countries on environmental projects, but I felt it was time for me to do more. And so that’s why I set up in June of last year my own Foundation solely devoted to the environment.

We have three main areas that we have concentrated on, that is: the protection of biodiversity, the studies on climate change and on new energies, and also on the excruciatingly serious concerns about water and about water management. And so, with this new Foundation, we are working currently on 30 different projects that have been approved by our Scientific Board and by the Board of Trustees. We have decided to expand and to have satellite committees in different countries.

I am delighted to say that there will be a Prince of Albert II Monaco Foundation arm in the United States. I am very grateful and pleased that my cousin, John Kelly, has accepted to chair this group. And so, this arm of the Foundation will be happy to work with different entities in this country.

Thanks to Monaco’s Embassy in Washington, our two countries will now become still greater friends, building on the close links that we have already nurtured together. I think Isaac Newton said many years ago that, “man builds more walls than he does bridges.” I believe that both of our countries have been fortunate to build many bridges of friendship over the years. Let’s hope by working together that we will not only keep these bridges strong, that we’ll keep them open for ever.
Thank you very much.