British Catholic Church Spokesman Sues Newspaper Over False Abortion Story

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 18, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Catholic Church Spokesman Sues Newspaper Over False Abortion Story Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 18
, 2008

London, England ( — A former spokesman for the Catholic Church in England is suing a newspaper there over a story that allegedly falsely accuses him of pressuring a girlfriend into having an abortion. The story accused Austen Ivereigh of being a hypocrite by taking a pro-life position publicly but not privately.

In the suit, Ivereigh says he lost his position as the head of public affairs for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor because of the article the London Daily Mail published in 2006.

According to a BBC report, Ronald Thwaites, Ivereigh’s attorney, told the court in a hearing that the story "falsely alleged that he was a hypocrite for not practicing what he preached in relation to the issue of abortion."

The article suggested Ivereigh had a former girlfriend obtain an abortion 19 years ago and described him as a "man without honor" and "unfit to work for the cardinal or for the Church."

"For this man, few things could be more serious or devastating than that," Thwaites said.

According to the BBC, Thwaites said Ivereigh’s girlfriend obtained an abortion that contravened his wishes in 1989 while he was a student at Oxford and that her decision strengthened his position against abortions.

The BBC indicated Ivereigh took to the stand to defend himself and said he told the Daily Mail reporter he had the facts wrong.

"When I saw the article, I was just horrified, astonished. My blood froze. I simply could not believe that they could run this story because these were lies," he said.