Sinnott forwarded e-mail urging anti-abortion novena


IRISH MEP Kathy Sinnott has acknowledged she forwarded a chain letter which called for fasting and nine days of prayer beginning on January 11th, as part of moves to oppose US legislation liberalising access to abortion.

The letter, which was sent by e-mail, warns the recipient of "bad news on the horizon" for anti-aborttion campaigners as the US Freedom of Choice Act is set to be debated by the US Congress on January 21st and 22nd next.

The e-mail letter claims that passing the Act would lead to an increase of 100,000 in the number of abortions annually and that all Catholic hospitals in the US would be required to perform abortions on demand.

It urges recipients to "pass this letter to five or more people" in three days or less, and start a novena on January 11th, praying for nine consecutive days. It says participants should "please also fast for at least two days during the novena".

Ms Sinnott told The Irish Times she had forwarded the letter to constituents who had asked to be kept informed on anti-abortion issues, as a matter of information, and not as "any call to action".

The letter maintains that if the US legislation is passed, Catholic bishops will close down all Catholic hospitals, which it says amount to more than 30 per cent of hospitals in the United States.

It further claims that the legislation being approved "could result in a future amendment that would force women by law to have abortions in certain situations rape, Down syndrome babies, etc and could even regulate how many children women are allowed to have".

Ms Sinnott said that as far as she knew, "the e-mail originates with Lord Alton".

David Alton is a British Crossbench (Independent) peer and is a leading anti-abortion campaigner. Attempts to contact Lord Alton yesterday were not successful.

The MEP said that since sending the message, she had checked with people in the US about the situation and the "feeling seems to be that the situation will be defused by President Obama".

She added: "On prayer, I pray every day for an end to violence and killing in Gaza, Iraq, domestic violence, child abuse, and that directed against babies before and after birth."