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February 27, 1998     The Message
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February 27, 1998
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Couple says U.N. Sanctions deeply hurt Iraqi By SAM M. LUCERO Catholic News Service DULUTH, Minn. (CNS) m As the war of words between the United States and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein moved perilously close to a real war, a mar- ried couple who recently visited Iraq said children there were the real losers. John Heid and Jane Hosking are members of a Duluth Catholic Worker community known as Loaves and Fishes. In January they completed a two-week mis- sion to deliver medical supplies and meet with Iraqi citizens and religious leaders. k nuaren.., su00ermgjrom Imr malnutrition and dying from medical problems that are curable The couple were part of a five-person delegation that spent two weeks in Iraq. Their trip was sponsored by the Chicago-based Voices in the Wilderness, which seeks an end to the sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Iraq. According to Voices, a 1995 U.N. report shows that over 1 million Iraqis have died  567,000 of them chil- dren  as a direct result of the U.N. economic sanc- tions. Held said these numbers are much higher today. Voices also said a UNICEF report showed 4,500 Iraqi children under the age of 5 were dying each month from hunger and disease. For Heid and Hosking, who help operate a shelter for single women, couples and families with children, their visit to Iraq helped put a human face on the statistics. As a result they find it impossible to support U.N. economic sanctions or official U.S. policy toward Iraq. "The impact of the embargo is falling squarely on the backs of the Iraqi people," said Heid, who with Hosk- ing was interviewed by the Catholic Herald, diocesan newspaper of Superior, Wis. "What we as a country have said by our silence is that it is completely acceptable to starve a civilian pop- ulation in order to change public policy," Heid said. Heid and Hosking said that when most Americans think of Iraq they picture Saddam Hussein and a gov- ernment that thumbs its nose at the internation- al community. But the couple said that now when they think of Iraq they remember the children they saw in under-equipped hospitals suffering from malnu- trition and dying from medical problems that are curable with medication. Hosking argues that the economic sanctions in place since after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 have done little to affect the Iraqi administration but have caused suffering on the civilian population. "We're trying to get at the administration through the civilian population and most peoples' response is, 'It's Saddam Hussein's fault that these children are starving,"' she said. "Yet we don't consider the fact that this policy has not worked.., and continues not only to inflict suffering, but it also is killing innocent chil- dren." The couple took pictures of some children they met while visiting five hospitals in Baghdad and two other cities. Hosking said it is the faces of the suffering chil- dren that will thaw the cold attitude Iraq. : "We really need to get a look at the dren and be able to respond to cents that takes place today," she said. :ii! Heid said the economic sl diplomatic strategy. "This is a war. The embargo is a war victim," he said, holding up Iraqi child. "What do people of say? .... Heid, a Quaker, said that ff to the proposed bombing of Iraq is I "that's largely going to come from ty. There's not a single politician who's in! ing the sanctions." Pope John Paul II and many U.S. bishopS! strong opposition to economic because of its fatal impact on the poor. While in Iraq, Heid and Hosking bishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the nuncio to Iraq. Heid said the archbishop told appalled at the silence of the America the embargo." However, the U.S. bishops the human effects of the sanctions in place and urged the government "clear moral responsibility to end its and to abandon efforts to destruction." The nuncio also told Held and Iraqis are the most faith-filled pie. What they don't have is hope, Partial-birth abortion ban, informed consent pass in By NANCY HARTNAGEL Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) Virginia legislators Feb. 17 passed legislation banning par- tial-birth abortion and requiring informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion. A day later, the House of Del- egates voted 77-20 to ban assist- ed-suicide. This vote began the process of recertifying a ban enacted last year that contained. a one-year re-enactment clause. "We're on a roll now," said Louise Hartz, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life in Richmond. The society is the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. The partial-birth abortion ban, passed by the Senate 33-7 and by the House of Delegates 78-21, is modeled on a federal law vetoed last October by President Clinton. It contains an exception to save the life of the mother. In a statement Feb. 17, Repub- lican Gov. James S. Gilmore said, "I congratulate the bipar- tisan effort put forward.., to make this horrible and inhuman procedure illegal. It will mean saving the lives of so many unborn children." The same day, the House of Delegates voted 61-38 to imple- ment informed consent. The bill would require a woman to wait at least 24 hours before having Archbishop defends AIDS education in Ottawa Catholic schools By ART BABYCH Catholic News Service OTTAWA (CNS) -- Archbish- op Marcel A. Gervais of Ottawa has denied claims that the AIDS education program for Ontario Catholic schools promotes homosexuality. "This program does not in any way encourage sexual experimentation," Archbishop Gervais said Feb. 18 in response to a campaign launched by Ottawa Catholics opposed to the program. AIDS, acquired immune deft- ciency syndrome, is "a tragic real- ity" and one that kills millions of people, said the archbishop. !'Efforts to prevent its spread involve a range of strategies, including education of the young," he added. Demonstrations by small groups of opponents of the AIDS curriculum for Catholic students were held outside Good Shepherd Catholic School and Convent Glenn Catholic School during parent informa- tion sessions. At Good Shep- herd, picketers pasted strips of surgical tape over their mouths to symbolize the "silencing" of Catholic opposition to the pro- gram, called "AIDS: A Catholic Educational Approach." On Feb. 3 a delegation from the St. Brigid's Association appeared before Catholic school trustees and attacked the program as "a platform to indoctrinate children with homosexual propaganda." But Archbishop Gervais said the program presents clear sci- entific evidence about AIDS while emphasizing "the dignity and value of each human per- son, the beauty of a committed relationship in marriage, the gift of life through procreation, the capability of each person to make and follow responsible value choices, (and) the call to love with chastity and fidelity." He said a medical description of how the AIDS virus is trans- mitred through homosexual activity is given to 10th-grade students "along with the very clear evaluation of such acts as 'morally unacceptable.'" If parents object to the program, their children can be exempted from it, the archbishop noted. He also said that while parents are the primary educators of their children, they cannot fulfill their responsibilities alone. "Parents depend on Catholic schools to help them give their children a Christian vision of personal relationships, sexuality and the dangers presented by HIV/AIDS," he said. an abortion after getting infor- marion pertinent to her decision. Under the measure, the physi- cian who is to perform the abor- tion, a referring physician or a registered nurse supervised by the physician must state the probable gestational age of the fetus and explain the procedure to be used. In addition the person pro- viding this information must offer to review with the woman the risks and complications of abortion and childbirth and a list of public and private agen- cies and services that help women through pregnancies and after childbirth. The informed consent bill was sent to the Senate. Hartz, a parishioner at St. Bridget in Richmond, said her organization has been "trying to get informed consent since 1979." She spoke with Catholic News Service Feb. 18 by phone. "We've worked very hard to educate the people about the (partial-birth abortion) proce- dure," she said, noting that the society was the first statewide pro-life group to organize 31 years ago. The organization is very pleased with these latest leg- islative successes, said Hartz. "And we got parental notifica- tion last year trying," she the Legislature's! parental "Peo F that we're she said, "that  the right people." In Mar abortion eration in the Judicial heard testimony 18, and send it to within a week. According to a from the Committee, a number On Feb. nate Francis E. go said he dened" by court order enjoined the ,,] baric sary," he "The great citizens hibited." He state's "continue to ( Health and ST M medical news from a Cathol!c perspective ,s Heal .th Ca a courtesy of Services