Friday, 22 July 2016

50 years ago today MPs approved 2nd Reading of the Abortion Act 1967 on the basis of lies

Lord David Steel, formerly David Steel MP,
the principal sponsor of the Abortion Act 1967
Fifty years ago today, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill [subsequently the Abortion Act 1967] passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons with a massive vote of 223 votes for and 29 against.

SPUC calculates that, so far, 8,624,567 innocent lives have been lost under the 1967 Abortion Act.

It's instructive to consider the the pro-abortion lobby’s claims in 1966 in the second reading debate and during subsequent debates on this tragic legislation:
  • “…it is not the intention of the promoters of the Bill to leave a wide open door for abortion on request.” (David Steel, Hansard 5th Series, Vol 732, col 1075, 22 July, 1966)
  • “Nobody is advocating abortion on demand in this Committee or anywhere else…” (David Steel, Standing Committee F, 15 February 1967, col 250)
  • "It is certainly not a general licence to a medical practitioner to carry out an abortion on anybody who desires it.” (Lord Silkin, sponsor of the Abortion Act 1967 in the House of Lords, Hansard, 19 July 1967, col 263)
What proved to be true was the following:
  • As early as 1972, a report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) stated: “…there is no such danger of injury [to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman] in the vast majority of cases [of women seeking abortion], as the ‘indication’ is purely a social one.” (RCOG Report on Unplanned pregnancy. London, England: RCOG; 1972)
  • And (Lord) David Steel himself, formerly David Steel MP, has, over the decades, openly promoted abortion on demand: "If it's simply the decision of the mother then the limit should be 12 weeks" (BBC, 4 July 2004).
  • He has also written: "Incidentally, I was misreported in one Sunday paper as advocating a lower limit for "social" abortions. There should be no such distinction - proper medical care takes all social considerations into account…." (The Guardian 6 July 2004).
  • And, earlier this year, Lord Steel said regarding the state of the law in Northern Ireland that it was “simply ridiculous” and “absolutely extraordinary” that abortion is not widely available there.
Back-street abortion claims

The most widely promoted claim by the pro-abortion lobby in 1966, in Parliament and in the media, was that the Abortion Act was necessary to overcome back-street abortion and deaths associated with back-street abortion. The pro-abortion lobby’s estimates as to the number of back-street abortions rose to hundreds of thousands – but the evidence indicates a very different reality.

David Steel MP, the principal sponsor of the Abortion Act, claimed in the parliamentary debate:
“I would not settle for any definite figure, but it is probably somewhere between 40,000 and 200,000 a year.” (David Steel, Hansard 5th Series, Vol 732 col 1071 22 July 1966)
The truth was:

In 1966, the Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) showed that, in 1962, approximately 14,600 women in England and Wales had received hospital treatment for the consequences of criminal abortion. The RCOG Council commented: “It has been repeatedly stated that as many as 100,000 criminal abortions are induced in this country each year, and a more recent estimate is 250,000. These, and an earlier figure of 50,000, are without any secure factual foundation of which we are aware.” (Legalised Abortion: Report by the Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists”, British Medical Journal, 1966; 1: 850-854.)

In developed countries, the number of women dying from abortion started to fall significantly in the decades before abortion laws were liberalised. Numbers in England and Wales fell from 96 deaths in 1950 to 56 deaths in 1960, and to 32 deaths in 1970. (World Health Statistics Report, Vol.30, no.4, Geneva: World Health Organisation, 1977, p.322.; World Health Statistics Annual 1970, Geneva: WHO, 1973, vol.1, p.516.) (These figures include deaths from both legal and illegal abortions, as well as natural miscarriages.) Medical advances, such as the use of antibiotics, have been the most important factor in this trend.

After the British Abortion Act was implemented in 1968, the overall trend in the number of women dying from all causes in their main childbearing years continued the steady decrease already in evidence, apart from a slight increase in 1968 itself. (Report on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom 1985-1987, London: HMSO, 1991, p.6.) In other words, there was no sudden, marked decline in women’s deaths which could be attributed to the working of the Abortion Act.

The same pattern of exaggeration has characterised campaigns for legalised abortion all over the world. Former abortionist Dr Bernard Nathanson has admitted that he deceived people about the number of abortion deaths while campaigning for pro-abortion law in the United States. (Bernard N. Nathanson (with Richard N. Ostling), Aborting America, Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1979, p.193.)

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A new book which brings great clarity to sexual ethics

I very much encourage my readers to listen to a discussion just posted on SPUC's YouTube channel of a new book by Dr Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's Education Director, entitled Ethical Sex: Sexual Choices and Their Nature and Meaning (buy on Amazon). Introducing the book is Thomas Pink, professor of philosophy at King's College, London.



Why is this of interest? In short, because the book brings philosophical clarity to the difficult subject of sexual ethics - a subject of deep relevance to pro-life issues. Ideologies which undermine respect for the unique nature of human sexuality and fertility have grave consequences for the lives of the unborn insofar as they undermine the natural institutions which are their best protection.

I would urge readers to buy and study this ambitious academic book so as to strengthen their understanding of this crucial area of ethics.

Here is what two leading philosophers have been saying about the book:
"McCarthy's book on sex and marriage is full of fascinating, creative and powerful arguments. It interacts with a broad base of philosophical, literary and theological reflection, from Aquinas and Shakespeare to a rich and diverse set of contemporary philosophers. All who want to have an informed view on traditional sexual ethics need to look at this work." Professor Alexander Pruss, Baylor University
"This splendidly and engagingly written book deserves wide attention and careful reading. It defends in an intelligent way - brilliantly debating views opposite to the author's own - a number of important and, I believe, very true theses about human sexuality and sexual ethics." Professor Josef Seifert, International Academy of Philosophy - Institute of Philosophy Edith Stein
Please take the time to listen to this interesting and valuable discussion which took place at the launch of the book this spring. The book is available for sale via Amazon or through SPUC (telephone 020 7091 7091).

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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

We have a duty to face up to what's happening at the highest levels in the Catholic Church

Pro-life leaders and local activists need to face up to what's happening at the highest levels in the Catholic Church.

As Voice of the Family reported last week:
"A representative of the Holy See [Monsignor Jean-Marie Musivi Mupendawatu, secretary to the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers], in an intervention at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva last week, welcomed Sustainable Development Goal 3 and all its targets, despite target 7 calling for 'universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services.' These terms are defined as including abortion and contraception by many powerful governments and agencies ... " 
 ... These powerful governments and agencies include the Obama administration, the British government, the United Nations Population Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation to name but a few.

The Voice of the Family report continued:
Mgr Mupendawatu made no reference to the statement of reservations issued by the Holy See delegation to the UN in New York after the approval of the SDGs by the UN in September 2015. In that statement the Holy See expressed some reservations regarding Goals 3.7 and 5.6, both of which refer to “sexual and reproductive health”. The text of the Holy See statement of reservations can be accessed here.
It might be argued that this was an isolated instance, a simple mistake as a result of inexperience, carelessness or human error. We are human. Mistakes happen. I accept that.

However, whether or not a most regrettable mistake was made, the fact is, as the Voice of the Family report points out: " ... there has been extensive collaboration between other Holy See bodies and powerful proponents of abortion, contraception and population control during the current pontificate, under the guise of promoting sustainable development". A selection of Voice of the Family’s commentary on this collaboration can be found below:
Pro-family Catholics disturbed after reports of Pope’s comments on contraception, 18 February 2016

Climate agreement welcomed by pope but pro-lifers concerned about language that promotes abortion, 22 December 2015

Cardinal Turkson: Pope Francis ‘has invited people to some form of birth control”, 10 December 2015

‘Sacrilege’: Catholic leaders react to Vatican’s climate change light show, 9 December 2015

Synod adopts alarming sociological approach in place of clear doctrine, 12 November 2015

Voice of the Family statement: Parents are the primary educators of their children, 15 October 2015

Synod fathers who compromise on contraception will be responsible for greater abortion, 6 October 2015

African families gravely threatened by western governments, international agencies and Vatican departments, 18 August 2015

Professor Schellnhuber: climate science and the population problem, 26 June 2015

Launch of new encyclical by head of Catholic agency accused of funding contraception shows urgent need for reaffirmation of Humanae Vitae, 19 June 2015

Voice of the Family statement on the encyclical letter Laudato Si, 18 June 2015

Any discussion on the environment must stem from understanding that the family is the key to sustainable development, 21 May 2015

Vatican endorsement of UN Sustainable Development Goals threatens unborn children, 29 April 2015

Leading global pro-abortion advocates speak at Vatican conference, 28 April 2015
Like many other pro-life activists, I personally have a right and a duty to speak out about what's happening at the highest levels in the Catholic Church:

I have worked at national and international level for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children for over four decades. In the 1990s, at United Nations conferences in Cairo, Copenhagen, Beijing, Istanbul and Rome, at the invitation of the Holy See, I helped coordinate more than 150 pro-life/pro-family groups in a great united effort, under the clear moral leadership of Pope John Paul II, to stop the world's great powers from establishing in international law a right to abortion. Since 1994, SPUC has sent professional lobbyists to United Nations meetings in New York, Geneva and elsewhere, at the expense of our hardworking families throughout Britain who support our work, maintaining in co-operation with other pro-life groups of all faiths and none, the historic struggle against the "right" to abortion. Throughout that period SPUC's team has sought to maintain a close relationship with the Holy See delegation which is so critical in persuading delegates from supporting nations to support marriage, parents as the primary educators, and to oppose abortion.

In raising my concerns, of necessity sometimes publicly like today, I am fulfilling my duty as clearly laid out in the Code of Canon Law, which states:
“According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” (Canon 212 §3)
I do urge pro-life activists "with reverence" towards your pastors "and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons" to raise your concerns with your diocesan bishop and other relevant authorities in the Church about a situation which, I am advised, is unprecedented in the history of the Church. I believe that future generations will consider us answerable for our failure to do so. Whilst my appeal is primarily to fellow Catholics, I believe that everyone with concern for the common good has a duty to act.

We are arguably experiencing the greatest catastrophe in the history of humanity. At a conservative estimate, since 1966, around 2 billion babies, made in the image and likeness of God, have been killed by abortion worldwide according to leading researchers from both the pro-abortion and pro-life lobbies. Moreover, the number of human embryos destroyed in the past 50 years by abortifacient birth control drugs and devices worldwide is simply incalculable; and in the UK alone, 2 million embryonic babies have been killed as a result of in vitro fertilisation procedures since 1990, according to the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority; add to that the scores of other countries where IVF is practised and the number of human beings killed is once again incalculable.

Estimates for the total number killed in wars throughout all of recorded human history range from 150 million to 1 billion. Even if the number were twice that higher figure, the last 50 years has witnessed the killing of more human beings through the “sexual and reproductive health” systems in our so-called civilised countries worldwide than in all the wars in recorded human history. In addition, during the past half century explicit sex education has destroyed the innocence of children, a sex education which provides children and adolescents with access to contraception and abortion. By removing parents as the primary educators of their children in the intimate area of human sexuality, powerful governments and the international birth control lobby funded by those powerful governments with our taxes, are establishing acceptance of contraception and abortion in the darkened hearts and consciences of future generations of adults.

Pro-life organizations, our families and the wider community need urgently to be reinforced by unequivocal, unyielding voices of Catholic Church officials and bishops throughout the world because the full Gospel message about the truth and meaning of human sexuality and the sanctity of human life, teaching which is also part of the natural law written on all human hearts, is the most important weapon known to man against the culture of death. The intimate connection between the truth and meaning of human sexuality and the sanctity of human life is nowhere more fully spelled out than in Catholic teaching – and all people of good will are capable of understanding that intimate connection.

This is not the time to be silent about what is happening at the highest levels in the Church.

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