Saturday, 26 January 2008
Friday, 25 January 2008
- extend the creation of embryonic children in the laboratory ('test-tube babies')
- allow embryonic children to be abused and killed for a wider range of research purposes
- permit the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos.
Please write to one or more Lords as soon as possible, urging them to move for a vote against the Bill. You can contact peers from our page of parliamentarians' email addresses. You are free to write to any Lord(s) you wish. Please write to one or more - as many as you can. The most important thing is to contact them soon, and to urge them to vote against the bill at third reading.
Kaye Smith, the student conference organiser in our SPUC Scotland office, says: "This conference is a unique pro-life event which promises to be a special weekend of fun, education, training and a great opportunity to network with fellow students making a difference in their schools and university campuses around the world."
Celeste Beal, great niece of famous civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King, will be the keynote speaker. As the theme for the conference is Human and Civil Rights, Celeste will explain why she believes abortion is today’s most pressing civil rights issue. As a young student herself, Celeste is passionate about her youth and pro-life work and has a strong desire to help, motivate, uplift and positively impact the world and the people she meets.
Other areas of pro-life work will be explored.
The arts will also form a part of the conference with a special screening of the movie, Bella, winner of the Toronto Film Festival People’s Choice Award 2006, which has been welcomed by the international pro-life community.
All those wishing to attend the conference must register beforehand. Information relating to the conference, including registration, venue and accommodation is available on our special conference website. For further information, or to book places, phone SPUC Scotland on (0141) 221 2094 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II wrote of a "dangerous crisis of the moral sense" about abortion. He said: "Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name [JP II's emphasis], without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception".
Readers of this blog, whatever their religious faith, will like the idea of church leaders doing what the late pope recommended. Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, has knocked a United Nations official off her pedestal for proposing the legalisation of abortion throughout
I think I've got that your eminence. Thank you. I do recommend that everyone reads what you've said.
Thursday, 24 January 2008
Cathy McBean (left) and Margaret Cuthill at BVA HQ, Glasgow.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
A pro-life activist is to receive an award for her work for SPUC in Leicestershire.
Mrs Levett's citation for the award mentions that she has been a member of SPUC since 1972. As well as helping run the Melton branch, she has helped found other local branches. Mrs Levett ran a study-day on post-abortion syndrome for more than 80 people at
The battle to defend human life increasingly centres on conscientious objection. In recent months, the Pope made a powerful plea to pharmacists to resist pressures to collaborate in supplying “products which have clearly immoral aims”. [Pharmalot, 29 October] Benedict XVI made apparent references to:
- so-called contraceptive drugs
- devices which may work, in part, by preventing the embryo from implanting in the lining of the womb
- drugs to enable persons, perhaps with a terminal illness, to commit suicide.
He said: “In this area, it is not possible to anesthetize consciences, for example, about the effects of [a drug’s] molecules to prevent the implantation of an embryo or to shorten a person’s life.”
SPUC is also playing a role in developing the practice of conscientious objection in order to protect human life. For example, we are fighting against euthanasia and the impact of the Mental Capacity Act through Patients First Network. This group helps you tell doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers how you expect to be treated in hospital if you are mentally incapacitated.
The pro-life movement worldwide should be working on ways to build a powerful, peaceful resistance movement against abortion, in-vitro fertilization, human embryo research and euthanasia, to complement the vital political, educational and caring work already being carried out.
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
A disturbing amendment from the pro-embryo research lobby however, seeking to loosen ethical constraints, was ostensibly resisted by the government but with sympathetic noises and comforting reservations. Lord Patel, a leading pro-cloning peer, promoted an amendment to permit the creation of cloned embryos from cells donated in the past, where the donors have not been informed of any possibility of their being cloned. Baroness Royall, the Government spokeswoman, started off by opposing the amendment but then promised to go away, reflect on the matter to find a way to accommodate it if possible and return with any possible solution.
Those moving more ethically-conscious amendments don't have the force of numbers to get the government to accept any major ethical constraints on the bill. What is there left to do? Only to maintain a radical, principled opposition that sends the message to the government and parliamentarians that the bill is evil. The mock battle between the government and the embryo-research lobby must be seen for what it is - just an exercise in passing the buck.
At the bill's forthcoming Third Reading its critics should join together to try to stop it before it reaches the House of Commons. Some of them will baulk at this, pleading that the unelected House of Lords must hand the bill over to the elected House of Commons, or that the House of Lords is just a revising chamber and so it shouldn't block government bills. Yet Parliamentary convention won't stop the government continuing to sanction the killing of the innocent. That will only stop when enough parliamentarians are pro-life enough to stand and oppose it.
Monday, 21 January 2008
You may recall that last November, the Portuguese government piled pressure on doctors to change their ethical code on abortion. Reuters reported on 15th November:
“Portuguese doctors have rejected a government ultimatum to remove an ethical ban on performing abortions after this deeply Catholic country approved the practice in July.
"Pedro Nunes, the head of Portugal's Medical Association, said doctors had every right to object morally to an abortion, which is stated to be wrong in the association's ethical code, despite government threats to take him to court.
"Having an opinion and ethical principles is what separates rational beings from a flock of sheep," Nunes said.
"The ethical code states doctors must respect human life from its beginning and the practice of abortion constitutes a grave ethical failure.
"This has nothing to do with abortion. It has to do with doctors having the right to have their own opinion," Pedro Nunes, who represents around 35,000 doctors, told reporters.
"The health minister threatened to take us to court if we did not change our code ... but the code can only be changed by doctors and not by a health minister."
Thereza writes today:
"We are preparing some events of praying here in Portugal for the sad anniversary of the referendum of 11th February 2007.
"We have [continuous] prayer in different churches, in front of the Holy Sacrament, … from the 1st to the 15th February, 24h a day and we hope to have it also until the rest of the month.
"We asked … hundreds of parishes to pray the Rosary before or after the Sunday Mass (10th February) and during the Mass to make a short prayer for Life.
"In the 29th January a group of people will also start to pray in front of the abortion clinics. They are looking for people to pray for them and for this work
"Please, pray for Portugal and for all who are working for Life here. It is very difficult with this Government."
I’m sure that many will be joining Thereza in spirit and in prayer, especially on 29th January and on 11th February, the anniversary of the abortion referendum.
The resistance to abortion in Portugal is alive and well. Anything the pro-life movement in other countries can do to help – through practical support, sharing experience and expertise, and prayer – is vital. International Planned Parenthood Federation and its powerful allies must not be allowed free rein to quash pro-life resistance in this beautiful, civilized, corner of Europe.
Perhaps, like me, you feel a bit helpless about the position in China. With Presidents and Prime Ministers trooping off to Beijing to win multi-billion pound business deals for their countries, the human rights of those oppressed by China’s one-child policy appear to nowhere on the international political horizon.
I was delighted to see the Sunday Mirror, yesterday, drew attention to “China’s one child scandal” – as they headlined it – in a story by Nick Owens and Dick Jones. They say:
“Gordon Brown is in China this week, conducting his most high-profile overseas trip since becoming Prime Minister. He is touring the country's booming business districts as he strengthens trade links between Britain and the world's fastest-growing economy. And, as the eyes of the world turn to Beijing for this year's Olympics, visits to China's new sports stadiums will be high on the Brown itinerary. But away from the red carpets, handshakes and photo-calls lies a sinister programme that won't be on the PM's agenda - China's one child policy. It's a system that's been enforced ruthlessly - sometimes barbarically - across the country.”
SPUC’s youth and student division organized a protest outside the China embassy last term and similar events have been held in Sydney, Australia, by students at Campion College. But we must do more. Write to me at email@example.com if you would like to discuss ideas for action.
"I hope that the House of Lords seizes this opportunity not just to frame laws for today but to plan for the future by establishing this new framework for ethical consideration. A national bio-ethics commission is long overdue. We need one for the sake of the common good."
But would a bioethics commission lead to a deeper concern for proposals relating to the sanctity of human life? Or would it lead to politicians hiding behind the learned discussions of the great and the good when challenged by constituents to vote against an anti-life bill? I can imagine MPs’ responses when challenged by pro-life constituents: “I will study the draft bill carefully – and the findings of the Bioethics Commission, which as you know includes representatives from the Catholic Church etc etc…”
However, leaving aside the merits or demerits of such a Commission, I will be worried if it gets into the Bill this evening. It could become an excuse for pro-life peers not to oppose the bill with the vigour and determination that its appalling proposals deserve. The setting up a Bioethics Commission will not outweigh the evil of a Bill which permits many new abuses of human beings. We must do everything in our power to urge Peers to oppose the Bill at third reading. Check out SPUC’s website for further information on the Bill. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information on what you can do about the Bill.