Friday, 27 June 2008

Rights for apes?

Spanish parliamentarians could pass a law giving rights to apes. Proposed measures would stop the animals from being used for experiments, filming, television advertising and circus performance.

The Spanish proposal takes animal welfare into the realms of rights. This runs contrary to the widely-held beliefs that animals are not persons and that only persons are capable of possessing rights. Indeed, permission for abortion, embryo experimentation and (in certain cases) euthanasia is often predicated on the erroneous belief that unborn children and the severely mentally incapacitated are not persons.

The Spanish measure is inspired by the Great Ape Project, which calls for human-style rights for several types of mammal. A leader of this initiative is Dr Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, New Jersey. Peter Singer has been quoted as saying: ''I do not think it is always wrong to kill an innocent human being. Simply killing an infant is never equivalent to killing a person.''

The proper treatment of animals is a legitimate concern. We need to treat all aspects of our world responsibly, and it's wrong to abuse any creature even if it's not human. One could debate whether it actually is cruel to get animals to perform in public. There's also the issue of whether medical research on other creatures can be justified if it benefits humans.

What is striking, though, is that we find concern for animals among those who are happy to deprive humans of their right to live. Like so many western countries, Spain allows the abortion of human babies. There will be a tragic irony if that country affords extra dignity to apes while continuing to deprive some of its youngest human inhabitants of every possible dignity by killing them.

Europe assembly approves resolution with pro-abortion wording

The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly today approved a resolution which contains pro-abortion language. The resolution and its accompanying report promotes "legal and easier access to sexual rights and reproductive health services" such as "contraception and abortion".

The resolution's subject is abandonment at birth. Its title describes abandonment as the first form of violence yet this is untrue. The first form of violence is abortion. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as every human being under the age of 18. It calls for protection before as well as after birth.

What kind of world do politicians live in where they call for the abortion of children in order to avoid their abandonment at birth? Quite apart from the cruel fate of the children aborted, this policy will result in the abandonment of the mothers who are being aborted, and the continuation of the social problems which the report claims to address.

The Council of Europe is out of control. Assembly members appear completely out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Europeans, who will be appalled that such a resolution has been pushed through. We must spread the message far and wide – that the Council of Europe thinks that child abandonment can be solved by killing the children to be abandoned – with a view to addressing this serious situation in one of Europe's major debating chambers.

Patrick Buckley, who spent the last few days lobbying for SPUC in Strasbourg, said: "Of the assembly's 636 members, just 65 attended the debate and only 40 voted. This is a sad reflection on what Europe in general thinks of the rights of the unborn." The resolution was approved by 39 votes to one.

Despite promises to the contrary the report was not taken on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. Six amendments were proposed and accepted.

Mr Michael Hancock, a British member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, presented a report which formed the basis of the resolution. He said the law meant nothing if the most vulnerable (the newborn) were not protected. The report and resolution were intended:

  • to raise awareness of the issue of abandonment
  • to protect the interests of the child
  • to ensure that every born child had the right to live and be given a decent chance to achieve his or her potential.

These are noble sentiments, but they ignore the unborn. Worse, the resolution contains language which puts them in even greater danger than at present. The assembly's resolutions can have significant influence on law, in particular human rights law.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Child abandonment: legal analysis of pro-abortion agenda behind Council of Europe motion

As I blogged recently, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will debate tomorrow a draft resolution on the subject of child abandonment. The draft resolution contains a clear promotion of abortion. Please contact your country's representatives in the Assembly immediately - see my 20 June blog for more information. The UK members of the Assembly can all be emailed via one email address coepa.del@parliament.uk Simply send a separate, individually-addressed email for each UK member.

The European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has published a comprehensive legal analysis of the pro-abortion agenda which has been inserted into the draft resolution. The ECLJ has condemned the draft resolution's:

"utilitarian calculus promoting abortion over life as a result of being born into inadequate social and financial circumstances. As social and financial circumstances are changeable and the termination of pregnancy irreparable, it is institutionally unacceptable for the Parliamentary Assembly to promote such a worldview with its underlying shadow of social eugenics."

Life-respecting doctors threatened by BMA motion

Doctors who protect the unborn are under threat again. Dr Evan Harris, the pro-abortion MP and member of the British Medical Association (BMA) Medical Ethics Committee, has tabled a motion for the BMA's forthcoming Annual General Meeting (ARM), 7-10 July. Dr Harris's motion would marginalise doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion, specifically by effectively barring them from seeing patients with unplanned pregnancies. The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF), led by Dr Peter Saunders (pictured), has published a comprehensive analysis of Dr Harris's motion and his parliamentary agenda for more abortion. SPUC seeks to support doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion. If you wish to see the flyer and briefing SPUC sends to doctors, contact me at: johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Abortion on demand amendment to Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

A beautifully clear exposition of a new terrible danger of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill on which I blogged earlier this month has been provided by Fr Finigan, the parish priest of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Blackfen.

I strongly recommend that readers draw the attention of local clergy and other religious leaders to Fr Finigan's blog on this matter. Please order a quantity of our new leaflet "No to more abortion" http://www.spuc.org.uk/hfeabort.pdf and distribute them door-to-door, in the street and at churches.

I also ask readers of my blog who believe in prayer - to pray, and to ask local clergy to lead their communities in prayer, that Evan Harris's and Chris McCafferty's pro-abortion amendments to the HFE bill will not succeed.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Pro-abortion lobby's double standards

A report by ActionAid on discrimination against women through sex selective abortion and infanticide was the subject of a meeting hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health in Parliament yesterday. Disappearing Daughters makes harrowing reading. There are an estimated 35 million missing girls in India. On average there are just 800 girls for every 1000 boys, with the number as low as 300 in Punjab. Though sex-selective abortion is illegal in India, it is widely practiced with ultrasound scans routinely used to determine the sex of the child. Women are taunted, abused and bullied if they fail to produce a son and feel that they have no option other than to abort their unborn daughters.

ActionAid’s work exposing and fighting against the killing of baby girls is commendable. However, it is a terrible irony that the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health is lending its support to preventing women from being pressured into abortion in India whilst caring so little about women who are pressured into abortion in this country. The chair of the all-party group, Christine McCafferty MP (pictured) has tabled an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill that would remove the requirement for two doctors to sign an abortion authorisation, meaning that more women will be rushed through the abortion process and more women, particularly young girls whose pregnancies are regarded as ‘mistakes’, will be pressured into seeking abortion.

Consider that some medical professionals in India, according to ActionAid’s report, regard the abortion of baby girls as a “social duty which prevented the ill-treatment of unwanted daughters or helped with population control.” Only last week, a columnist in The Times, argued: “Instead of looking down on these teenage girls who opt for an abortion as feckless, we should, almost perversely, be grateful for their decisions. After all, nearly every single negative consequence of abortion - emotional, social and the risk to future reproductive health - has an impact solely on the women having these abortions. They, very kindly - and potentially at great cost to themselves - make what could be a problem for us all, simply vanish.”

One does not have to look very far to find a callous disregard for the welfare of pregnant women in the name of ‘social duty.’

Monday, 23 June 2008

Margaret's plea to Romanian authorities: Don't abort the reported raped girl of 11

A harrowing story of a young Romanian girl raped, it is said, by her uncle was reported by AFP on Friday. A medical ethics panely has, reportedly, examined her and decided that "abortion should not be imposed" for certain legal reasons.

This young girl is only 11 years of age. It's said she did not know that she was pregnant and that her parents only found out by accident when she was given a medical after suffering stomach pains. Rape by an uncle is, it's reported, suspected but not proven. Margaret Cuthill of BVA, an experienced Post Abortion Trauma Counsellor of 20 years, said “If indeed the young girl has been raped, then performing an abortion on her would be akin to a further assault on her young body. It seems she has not had any say in what has been happening to her at all, and that the adults in her life are making all the decisions for her. In my experience those who have had late abortions in their teenage years are the most psychologically damaged.”

This is borne out by The Elliot Institute in America who recently published the following statistics relating to teenage abortion:-

  • Teenagers are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide if they have had an abortion in the last six months than are teens who have not had an abortion.

  • Teens who abort are up to 4 times more likely to commit suicide than adults who abort, and a history of abortion is likely to be associated with adolescent suicidal thinking.

  • Teens who abort are more likely to develop psychological problems, and are nearly three times more likely to be admitted to mental health hospitals than teens in general.

  • About 40% of teen abortions take place with no parental involvement, leaving parents in the dark about subsequent emotional or physical problems.

  • Teens are times more likely to seek subsequent help for psychological and emotional problems compared to their peers who carry “unwanted pregnancies” to term.

  • Teens are 3 times more likely to report subsequent trouble sleeping, and nine times more likely to report subsequent marijuana use after abortion.

  • Among studies comparing abortion vs. carrying to term, worse outcomes are associated with abortion, even when the pregnancy is unplanned.

For these reasons and others I will be joining Margaret in appealing to the relevant authorities in Romania to stick to their decision and not to "impose abortion" on this young girl.

Sexual Education Forum and British Pregnancy Advisory Service doing the British Government’s dirty work at taxpayers' expense

The Sexual Education Forum recently released a report that conveniently supported the policies of its major funder: the Government. The Sexual Education Forum is run under the auspices of the National Childrens’ Bureau a charity which receives more than half of its funding from the government, and is concerned with the “children’s sector” in England and Northern Ireland.

The Sunday Mail broke the results of a survey carried out by the Sexual Education Forum revealing that one-third, or 1,000, of secondary schools provide ‘sexual health’ services on the school site. Moreover this is often done without permission, or even knowledge, of the parents. The Sexual Education Forum is a largely taxpayer-funded agency dedicated to promoting the Government’s ‘reproductive health’ agenda in our schools, and the failing Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.

In addition, Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy and Advisory Service (BPAS), which receives more than 65% of its income from the NHS for the abortion services it provides , recently stated that pro-life campaigners were guilty of increasing the numbers of abortions in the UK by reminding women considering an abortion that they are simply doing what many of their contemporaries also do. As evidence for this she used that fact that the numbers of abortions have increased most in Scotland which had seen some of the fiercest campaigning.

One is entitled to be very sceptical of claims made about pro-life campaigners by a body carrying out, largely at the expense of the taxpayers, government policy in providing abortions virtually on demand.

Lisbon Treaty referendum and Ireland's abortion ban

The Sunday Business Post carries an interesting analysis of the critical role played by voters wanting to maintain Ireland's ban on abortion in the "no" verdict on the Lisbon Treaty Irish referendum on 12th June.

On the one hand Protocol 35 to the Lisbon Treaty clearly states: "Nothing in the Treaties, or in the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, or in the Treaties or Acts modifying or supplementing those Treaties, shall affect the application in Ireland of Article 40.3.3. of the Constitution of Ireland."; however, on the other hand, the European Centre for Law and Justice has pointed out in a legal analysis, that this would not necessarily be enough to protect the Irish Constitution from a court decision establishing abortion as a human right. Ireland is one of only three countries within the EU that protects the unborn in this way. A "yes" vote for the Lisbon Treaty might well have brought that protection to an end.