Monday, 23 May 2016

50 years ago today David Steel MP decided to introduce a Bill to legalise abortion in Britain

Lord Steel of Aikwood
Paul Lennon, SPUC's adviser on parliamentary affairs has reminded the Society this morning: "It is 50 years ago today that David Steel made the fateful decision to sponsor a Bill to make abortion more easily available".

In 2015, under Steel's tragic legislation, 509 babies were killed every single day in England and Wales alone.

Paul Lennon explains: "Having won third place in the Private Members’ ballot on 12 May, David Steel pondered on what Bill to introduce. He has said that he would initially have liked to have sponsored a Bill to create a Scottish Border development authority but the Government made it clear that they were opposed to this and Steel realised that it would have probably have been defeated on Second Reading.

"The pro-abortion Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, suggested to Steel that he might wish to consider introducing the Sexual Offences Bill (to legalise homosexuality in England and Wales), which had just passed the House of Lords, or a Bill on abortion. (See John Campbell's biography Roy Jenkins A Well-Rounded Life, page 294 [2014])

"Steel apparently decided to take abortion because the Sexual Offences Bill did not extend to Scotland. The Labour MP, Leo Abse would subsequently take up the Sexual Offences Bill as a Ten Minute Rule Bill in July.

"Today also marks the 50th anniversary of the Committee stage of the second of Lord Silkin’s two Bills to make abortion more easily available. The debate can be seen here.

"The anti-life Labour Peer, Lord Silkin – the Sponsor David Steel’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill when it arrived in the House of Lords – had introduced his own legislation to make abortion more easily available during the 1965-66 Session. His first Bill was introduced on 11 November 1965 and was debated on Second Reading on 30 November 1965. An attempt by pro-life Peers to kill the Bill on Second Reading was defeated by 70 votes to 8. The debate can be seen here.

"The first Bill had been introduced at the start of the 1965-66 Session. Although that Bill had completed its passage through the House of Lords, there was no Parliamentary time available for it to proceed further in the House of Commons because the 1966 General Election intervened.

"Following the election, Lord Silkin reintroduced the Bill on 26 April. It was given an unopposed Second Reading on 10 May 1966."

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the first pro-life group to be established anywhere in the world, began to be formed on 30th September 1966 when Elspeth Rhys-Williams (now Elspeth Chowdharay-Best) and Alan Smith (who remains a member of SPUC's Executive Committee and Council) had a letter published in The Church Times. They asked readers, wishing to oppose David Steel's abortion bill, to contact them at 47 Eaton Place, SW1, SPUC's first national address.

Both Elspeth and Alan will be attending the SPUC's 50th anniversary national conference from 23rd to 25th September 2016 in Derbyshire. Contact katherinehampton@spuc.org.uk  if you are interested in attending and would like to receive full details.

Let's pray for David Steel today (now Lord Steel of Aikwood) and for the countless millions of victims of his Abortion Bill (mothers, fathers and children) which he made the decision 50 years ago today to introduce - as well as the victims of copycat abortion legislation subsequently introduced in so many countries worldwide.

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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Building a pro-life resistance movement

I am honoured to have been invited to address the Latin Mass Society's one day conference on the family next month on Saturday, 14th May, at Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, London, W!C 2DJ - just five minutes from Oxford Circus underground station.

The title of my talk is Building a Pro-Life Resistance Movement.

It promises to be a very good day - including for non-members of the Latin Mass Society and non-Catholics - focusing on the unprecedented crisis on the intimately linked issues of the sanctity of human life, marriage and the family.

Dr Joseph Shaw, chairman of the LMS is speaking on Marriage and the Complementarity of the Sexes.

Other speakers include:
  • Edmund Adamus, director for Marriage and Family Life for the archdiocese of Westminster, speaking on Truth and Freedom - Twin Pillars of the Domestic Church
  • Father Serafino Lanzetta, of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate speaking on The sacrament of Marriage as spousal love of Christ for his Church
  • and Prior Cassian Folsom OSB, founding prior of the The Benedictine Monks of Norcia, speaking on Pius Pater: Insights into family living from the Rule of St. Benedict.
Full conference information and booking details can be found here.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Please pray about next week's election in Northern Ireland as political atmosphere grows more hostile to unborn children

Maria Madise, SPUC's
international director, with Liam
Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland
development officer
Statistically an unborn baby in Northern Ireland is safer than anywhere else in the UK. SPUC's success, in union with our sister pro-life groups in Northern Ireland, in preventing the extension of the Abortion Act has meant that the law in Northern Ireland still provides a safeguard for the lives of unborn children as well as protecting women from the terrible damage which abortion can cause.

Two months ago, the Northern Ireland Assembly rejected an attempt to make it lawful to abort children diagnosed with a life limiting condition by 59 votes to 40, and also voted 64 to 30 against an amendment which would have made it lawful to abort those said to have been conceived through criminal sexual activity. There is more unity in Northern Ireland on abortion between people of different faiths than in any other part of the world in which I’ve worked.

However, all of this is now under threat as never before. Please read Liam Gibson's message below to SPUC supporters in Northern Ireland spelling out the very immediate dangers to unborn children.
  • If you do not live in Northern Ireland and if you know no-one there - please play your part by praying every day in the run-up to next week's election, in nine days, on 5th May.
  • If you do live in Northern Ireland or know people there - please contact Liam Gibson at liamgibson@spuc.org.uk to find out what you can - and pray, of course, especially during the next 9 days.
Unborn lives depend on our prayers and action.

Liam writes:
It is no exaggeration to say that, in terms of the right to life of unborn children, this year’s election is probably the most important there has been since the Assembly was established. How you cast your vote could help to decide whether our unborn children will continue to be protected or if abortion will be introduced to Northern Ireland.

The political atmosphere in Northern Ireland is growing increasingly hostile to children before birth. In the last six months alone the attacks on the rights of unborn babies have been on an unprecedented level:

  • 30 November 2015, the Human Rights Commission convinced the High Court that our laws violate the European Convention on Human Rights
  • 10 February 2016 pro-abortion MLAs (Sinn Fein, Alliance and some Ulster Unionists) attempted to introduce legislation which would have led to widespread abortion
  • in April 2016 abortion advocates used the case of a woman from south Belfast who aborted her baby with drugs she bought online to pressure public authorities into ignoring DIY abortions

A group of civil servants currently examining the issue of legalising abortion for babies diagnosed before birth with a terminal illness will deliver a report to the health minister later this year. There are very serious concerns over the membership of this group. If, as seems likely, it recommends a change in the law then it will be crucial that there is a majority of solidly pro-life Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) committed to defending the lives of all children.

Sadly both the Sinn Fein and the Alliance parties are now solidly pro-abortion, as are an increasing number of the Ulster Unionists.

Next year sees the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the (British) Abortion Act 1967. In that time at least 8,400,000 babies in Britain have been killed before they could be born. Until now Northern Ireland has rejected every attempt to introduce similar legislation. The MLAs of the next Assembly will decide whether this continues to be the case.
Election time is the only occasion when politicians can’t ignore what the people have to say.

Please encourage your friends and families to vote only for candidates committed to protecting ALL unborn children, regardless of their disabilities or circumstances of conception.
If you cannot find a candidate you wish to vote for, then mark your ballot with a pro-life slogan, such as ‘Pro-Life Republican’ or ‘Pro-Life Alliance.’ Candidates will be shown spoilt ballots and will see the message
Please ask for prayers at your church for the safe delivery of all unborn babies, especially those in danger of abortion

Finally, on 5 May, please use your vote to speak up for those children who have no voice of their own.


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