Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Report on SPUC support for the pro-life movement in Slovenia

Slovenia 201410
Leonora, Margaret, Rhoslyn
Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC’s youth & education officer, has kindly sent me the following report of SPUC's visit to the pro-life movement in Slovenia:
From 2-6 October, Leonora Blackhall, SPUC Scotland’s education officer, Margaret Byars of ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline) and Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC’s youth & education officer, travelled to Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. The aim of the trip was to support a local, newly-established pro-life group named Božji otroci (God’s Children), in their demonstration against the International Federation of Professional Abortion and Contraception Associates (acronym FIAPAC).

FIAPC were holding their bi-annual conference in Ljubljana. SPUC supporters may remember that SPUC Scotland protested against FIAPC's presence in Edinburgh in 2012.

Valentina Pikelj (left) leads the march
Valentina Pikelj is the founder and head of God’s Children. She became pro-life when she quit her job as a civil engineer to train as a nurse. During her training, she met nurses who felt forced to distribute abortion pills to mothers and had to witness the death of babies who had been delivered at 20 weeks and left to die. On one occasion, Valentina came into contact with a mother who decided to give up her baby for adoption. Valentina heard the other nurses asking why this mother hadn’t just aborted the child instead.

Valentina felt useless in the fight against the culture of abortion that she had witnessed, but after participating in a campaign to oppose a law which would have allowed same-sex couples to adopt children, she came to the conclusion that something had to be done about abortion in Slovenia.

18 months ago, Valentina founded God’s Children, which enjoys a central location in Ljubljana, thanks to a supporter who allows use of the office. Božji otroci provide counselling services to mothers considering abortion and, through a small network of supporters, also provide material support such as baby clothes, cots and prams.

God’s Children’s is still in its infancy as a group, but it nevertheless managed to organise a day of praise and worship in the square opposite their office the weekend before the FIAPAC conference which, by their own estimate, attracted some 1,000 people. The day was advertised as Christian event rather than an explicitly pro-life event, but nonetheless included testimonies on abortion throughout the day.

God’s Children then organised a march the following weekend which processed through the city centre to the cultural centre where FIAPAC’s conference was being held. Outside the centre, participants prayed the Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet together, whilst a separate un-affiliated pro-life group, led by Todd Hunnicutt, a minister for the International Church of Ljubljana (an independent church) stood closer to the entrance, holding pictures of aborted babies.

The representatives from SPUC returned to the conference centre the following day to pray and witness outside the centre once more, where they were passed by the FIAPAC conference delegates leaving for lunch. Some of them, it was noted with sadness, were clearly delegates from Ireland.

Titles of talks at the FIAPAC conference (the conference programme can be found here) were many and varied, including one delivered by Ann Furedi, Director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), entitled ‘Safe abortion – a moral obligation: why is it so difficult to follow the evidence?’ and another by a representative of Marie Stopes International, ‘Marie Stopes International UK Abortion Study: The association between choice of method of abortion, postabortion contraception and the risk of having another unintended pregnancy’.

Furedi also co-chaired a workshop with a representative of Catholics for Choice entitled, ‘The value of our values in reproductive choice’.

It is believed that the conference had around 100 attendees and had numerous sponsors, including the World Health Organisation, IPAS and BPAS. More surprisingly, Cambridge University Press was also a sponsor.

Though the pro-life movement is very young in Slovenia, God’s Children know of at least four babies and mothers who have been saved from abortion through their efforts. They are very hopeful that with their prayers, many more happy ‘saves’ will occur in the future.
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Amnesty's attack on Northern Ireland abortion law is 'arrogant' says pro-life group SPUC

Criticism by Amnesty International of Northern Ireland’s legal protection for unborn children has been described as arrogant and anti-democratic by SPUC.

SPUC was responding to an opinion poll, commissioned by Amnesty International, which claims that over 70 percent of people in Britain believed Northern Ireland should change its abortion laws to fit in with the rest of the UK.

Liam Gibson, SPUC's development officer in Northern Ireland, told the media this morning:
"A public consultation on proposed changes in the law here will run until January 2015. We will see then just how accurate or not is Amnesty's opinion poll. I expect that the majority of those who respond will oppose the abortion of disabled babies, which is a lethal form of discrimination.

"The number of women from Northern Ireland seeking abortions in Britain continues to decline. Official figures show that it was just 802 in 2013, a  fall of nearly 50 percent from 2001.

"The elected representatives of the people of Northern Ireland have repeatedly rejected all attempts to introduce Britain's Abortion Act 1967 to the Province.

"The claim that there should only be one abortion law for the whole of the UK fails to recognise the movement toward even greater devolution of powers following the Scottish referendum.

"It is scandalous that a group like Amnesty International, which claims to promote human rights, should seek to strip unborn children of their right to life. For Amnesty to imply that Northern Ireland is somehow backward because we protect our children from abortion is extremely insulting. There is no right to abortion recognised in international law."
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Monday, 20 October 2014

Welsh government advertises controversial organ donation law

Students in Wales are being informed of a new organ donation law by an advertising campaign from the Welsh government. The new law introduces a system of ‘deemed consent’, whereby anyone who has not explicitly removed themselves from the organ donation register may have their organs removed at death, or, in many cases, when the donor’s heart is still beating. SPUC campaigned against the Human Transplantation (Wales) 2013 Act, pointing out that consent has not been given if it is deemed. SPUC is particularly concerned for foreign students and those who take little interest in current affairs, who may not be aware of the law, even with an advertising campaign. [BBC, 13 October]

Baby boy with fatal tumour is saved by miracle surgery in the womb

A South African couple discovered that a benign tumour had grown on their unborn baby boy’s left lung, taking up 50% of the his lung space and causing fluid on the lungs, resulting in cardiac failure. However, the parents were offered a life-saving treatment for their baby, Ethan, which entailed surgery whilst he was still in the womb. The surgery was successful and was followed up with another operation after birth.  Ethan has now fully recovered from his treatment. [LifeNews.com, 16 October]

'Bucketlist' baby Shane born with anencephaly dies peacefully

A baby boy born with anencephaly has died after living for only a few hours. After Shane was diagnosed in the womb, his parents decided to draw up a 'bucketlist' for him – things they would like him to do before he is born and passes away. As babies with anencephaly usually live for only a hours or days after birth, Shane’s parents completed everything on the list and documented it online before Shane was born. Shane was born at 2:25am on 9 October and died in his parents' arms four hours later. [Fox News, 9 October]

Other stories:

  • Welfare reform minister says people with disabilities are "not worth" the minimum wage [Guardian, 15 October]
  • Former ballet dancer starts ballet class especially for children with Down’s Syndrome [LifeNews.com, 10 October]
Family issues
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Synod’s final report “fails to resolve confusion”, says pro-family coalition

The final report issued by the Extraordinary Synod on the Family fails to resolve the confusion caused by the Synod, says Voice of the Family http://voiceofthefamily.info an international coalition of pro-family groups.

Paragraphs containing controversial ideas on sexual morality remain in the published document, even though these paragraphs did not receive the required two-thirds majority of Synod members. The Vatican’s spokesmen made clear that these paragraphs remain subject to discussion at next year’s Ordinary Synod. Although the final report contains some significant improvements on the original draft, the voting numbers reveal that most Synod Fathers remain open to proposals contrary to Catholic teaching, such as Holy Communion for Catholics in invalid ‘second’ marriages.

Maria Madise, Voice of the Family’s coordinator, said:
“The architects of the Extraordinary Synod are responsible for deepening the confusion that has already damaged families since the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. This confusion will now continue from today through to next year’s Ordinary Synod.

There has been much talk about ‘welcoming’ and ‘accompanying’ people, but this is impossible without the clarity of the truth.

Several Synod Fathers protested openly in the past days against manipulation by liberals among the Synod’s officials, such as Archbishop Bruno Forte. Gratitude and admiration is due to those Synod Fathers who – despite manipulation – voted to uphold Christ’s doctrine on Holy Matrimony and sexual purity.

We thank the many concerned Catholics who have told us that Voice of the Family is speaking up for them. We urge all those concerned to defend the family to join us as we start the long preparation for next year’s Ordinary Synod on the Family.”
 Related press releases by Voice of the Family:
Follow Voice of the Family via:
Voice of the Family is an international lay coalition of major pro-life and pro-family organizations that has formed to offer expertise and resources to leaders of the church, the media, NGOs, and governments before, during, and after the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family.

Voice of the Family consists of 18 member organizations from nine nations on five continents. Members include:
The following truths are at the heart of Voice of the Family’s work:
  • Sacramental marriage, binding parents together in an indissoluble union, is the greatest protector of children both born and unborn.
  • The artificial separation of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the sexual act is a major catalyst of the culture of death.
  • Parents are the primary educators of their children and it is through the education and formation of parents, and future parents, that the culture of life will be built.
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Monday, 13 October 2014

Extraordinary Synod mid-way statement is "one of the worst official documents in church history" says Voice of the Family

Voice of the Family has published a very strong statement opposing the mid-way statement from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family here in Rome. We have called it "one of the worst official documents drafted in Church history".

Pat Buckley, Voice of the Family's Irish representative says:
“The Synod’s mid-way report represents an attack on marriage and the family. For example, the report in effect gives a tacit approval of adulterous relationships, thereby contradicting the Sixth Commandment and the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the indissolubility of marriage."
Fortunately, many Synod Fathers - albeit not widely reported by the media - are standing up for the Catholic position on marriage and are courageously seeking to protect our families in their interventions at the Extraordinary Synod. For full reports and commentaries go to Voice of the Family and subscribe for our future posts.

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