Saturday, 30 August 2008

The puzzling saintly air of certain strongly pro-abortion politicians


One of the puzzling things for voters, who oppose abortion and other attacks on the sanctity of human life, is the saintly air of certain strongly anti-life politicians such as Barack Obama and, closer to home, Tony Blair (who has repeatedly refused to repudiate the strongly pro-abortion, pro-human embryo research and pro-euthanasia by neglect policies he and his government pursued). Tony Blair has even established a "Faith" foundation under his own name!

The puzzle has been solved by Michelle Obama! According to CNA, yesterday in Denver she said that Barack Obama's pro-abortion stand "respects the sacred responsibility of parenthood" ... so who could be more holy than Barack and Tony?

Friday, 29 August 2008

The abortion scandal in Catholic schools in England, Part One: Catholic Education Service at the root of the problem

In previous posts, I have referred to the government’s policy of providing children at school with access to secret abortions and abortifacient birth control without parental knowledge or consent. (The document to which I link, above, states, amongst other things: “Deliberate breaches of confidentiality … should be serious disciplinary matters.”) I have also referred to the fact that the Catholic authorities in England and Wales are co-operating with this policy.

I’ve spoken publicly about the abortion scandal in Catholic schools at many meetings in England and Wales and at international meetings, in Warsaw, Kracow and Manila, with bishops, cardinals and representatives of the Vatican and the Holy See listening to my talks. I’ve been interviewed about the situation in Zenit, the Catholic news agency which, according to its mission statement, aims to view the modern world through the messages of the Pope and the Holy See.

No-one has ever sought to deny the evidence I’ve put forward. No-one has ever written to Robin Haig, SPUC’s national chairman, to ask him: Why is SPUC’s national director saying these things about the Catholic authorities in England and Wales? On the contrary, Catholic priests and parents have approached the Society to confirm that what I am repeatedly and publicly saying is true. Occasionally, SPUC is given the facts about an abortion agency being promoted, with the consent of the school, and SPUC takes up the matter with the Catholic authorities.

But still the abortion scandal in Catholic schools in England and Wales continues.

As a pro-life campaigner I consider that the government’s policy of providing secret abortions to children is the worst development since the passing of the Abortion Act 1967. As a Catholic father, I consider that the policy of the Catholic authorities in this respect is the worst imaginable betrayal of the sacred trust given to the church by her founder. Jesus’s words could not be more relevant and appropriate: “It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than you to cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17,2)

The “little ones” concerned are the families betrayed by the policy of the Catholic authorities in England and Wales – parents and children of whom Pope John Paul II said:

“Following Christ who ‘came’ into the world "to serve" (Mt 20:28), the Church considers serving the family to be one of her essential duties. In this sense both man and the family constitute ‘the way of the Church.’"

It’s clear to me that at the root of the problem is the policy of the Catholic Education Service (CES). I’ve decided to write to the CES as a Catholic father whose children recently attended Catholic schools, and as national director of SPUC … but I would appreciate help from the readers of this blog. My letter not only needs to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s” – the CES policy must be reversed. The CES must understand, above all, from the Catholic laity and all concerned citizens, its responsibility to protect (not expose) children from the government’s policy of encouraging children to access to abortifacient birth control services and abortion.

If this is an issue which concerns you, please look at the links I provide in my posts on this topic and let me know what you think. This will be the first of several posts.

Let me start by looking at the CES remit which begins:

“The CES negotiates, on behalf of all bishops, with Government, and other national bodies on legal, administrative, and religious education matters in order to: promote Catholic interests in education; safeguard Catholic interests in education; contribute to Christian perspectives within educational debate at national level…”.

We’re told then that the CES negotiates on behalf “of all bishops”. The Catholic Directory tells us that the CES chairman is Archbishop Vincent Nichols and it was established in 1988 as an agency of the bishops’ conference [of England and Wales]. The CES chief executive is Ms Oonagh Stannard.

The CES document “The Connexions Service working in Catholic schools in England” tells us: “The Connexions Service is making an increasing impact on young people in Catholic schools and colleges. It is a service to be welcomed.”

Connexions is the Government's support service for all young people aged 13 to 19 in England. Prominent on the homepage of Connexions’ website is a link and contact details of Connexions Direct advisers – a major aspect of their work to which I will return in later posts.

Another link, centre-stage on the homepage, entitled “Relationships”. Various routes on the Connexions website lead to information about how to obtain an abortion and just a few clicks away on this page you find the following advice:

“I'm pregnant, what are my options? ... There are four main options ...

“ ... Terminate the pregnancy by having an abortion ...

“ ... Remember, ultimately the choice to keep the pregnancy or terminate it is yours. Listen to other peoples' advice and consider financial, physical and emotional support networks that you will need whatever your decision, but the choice is ultimately yours.”

In my letter to the Catholic Education Service, the first question I will be asking is: Why is Connexions ‘a service to be welcomed’ when it’s clearly a government agency which, amongst other things, refers young people to abortion agencies?

Please let me know your views – and any comments you may have on the documents to which I’ve linked. Write to me at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

I will return to this matter very soon. With many schools starting back it really is time the CES policy was more widely understood and reversed. As parents and responsible citizens we must resist the government’s pro-abortion policy and, as a Catholic, I am particularly concerned about my church authorities’ co-operation with that policy.

How can the dream survive if we murder the children?

Barack Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention overnight was given on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech. Indeed, Mr Obama, the first African-American nominee for US president, ended his own speech referring to Martin Luther King's speech.

Dr Alveda King, Martin Luther King's niece, has led protests outside the convention against Mr Obama's extreme pro-abortion positions (see my 31 July blog about Mr Obama). Alveda has said:

“Senator Obama’s answer to the ills of society, such as continued tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, are diametrically opposed to everything African Americans truly believe and an anathema to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." [JS: Planned Parenthood is the American branch of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest abortion provider and promoter.]

Alveda continued: "Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.

"In the shadow of the famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech by my uncle in 1963, as Barack Obama makes his speech in 2008, how can the Dream survive if we murder the children?”

John McCain, Mr Obama's Republican rival, has referred to Mr Obama's position on abortion:

"For a man who talks so often about 'hope,' Senator Obama doesn't offer much of it in meeting this great challenge to the conscience of America".

Also in contrast to Mr Obama and his Democratic party, the Republican party has approved a strikingly pro-life manifesto:

"Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.

"We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."

This approach mirrors the Amnesty for Babies campaign.

So we should warn people, especially those sympathetic to the other messages of Mr Obama and the Democratic party, not to get swept away by "Obamania".

Thursday, 28 August 2008

By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign: Book Review

Mr Leon Menzies Racionzer, a seasoned pro-life campaigner, has been reading Ann Farmer's newly-published By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign*, and this post is based on his kind examination of this important book.

By Their Fruits
reveals the abortion campaign's true origins and motives, beginning with Thomas Malthus' 18th-century warnings that population growth would outstrip increases in food supply. Malthus has of course been proven wrong: as a 2001 report by the United Nations Population Division put it,

"Even though population increased more rapidly during the twentieth century than ever before, economic output grew even faster, owing to the accelerating tempo of technological progress…while world population increased close to 4 times, world real gross domestic product increased 20 to 40 times, allowing the world to not only sustain a four-fold population increase, but also to do so at vastly higher standards of living."

Mrs Farmer tells of a plot by a nucleus of politicians and other influential people. The plan is to manage national and global economies by controlling the breeding habits of the poor and non-white, and eradicating the disabled.

She describes the Eugenics Society's Machiavellian activities and includes references to previously unpublished personal files of more than 40 of its members. The eugenicists saw the poor, infirm and non-white as a national burden. They feared such people's breeding habits would alter society so that the elite would be over-run by a sub-class. The lower orders were therefore best limited in number or eradicated.

The eugenicists portrayed a bleak view to legislators of 19th and early 20th-century family life among the poor. Women were described as being oppressed in the home, virtual sex slaves. Mrs Farmer, a member of the Labour Life Group, traces her own working-class family's history to Victorian times. She finds that wives and mothers were actually stabilising forces in families, with a strong moral sense and pride in their offspring. There were also economic advantages to having large families.

Suffragettes and early feminists campaigned for poor mothers' welfare and condemned demands for legalised abortion. By contrast, proponents of the 1967 Abortion Act, including feminists, exaggerated the number of back-street abortions, manipulating statistics on natural miscarriages. The pro-abortion movement constantly refuels this myth.

The eugenicists' birth control policies have actually led to promiscuity and more abortions. Reductions in the size of poorer families have led to an ageing population and a shrinking workforce, which strains the retirement pension system.

The book also describes current proposed changes to British embryology law. It warns of a future with continuing negative attitudes to the poor and disabled. Medical science could become more concerned with the eradication of defective genes than with the search for cures or alleviating pain.

* Catholic University of America Press, ISBN 978-0-8132-1530-3

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

"Mistaken reasoning" of those who say Catholic church should drop its opposition to contraception: Bishop O'Donoghue


Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue’sFit For Mission? Church, Being Catholic Today” provides a major commentary on the Catholic church in England and Wales, including in relation to pro-life issues.

It represents a significant response to the call made by Pope John Paul II: “With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses” (Evangelium Vitae, 95)

“Fit For Mission? Church” follows in the style of Bishop O’Donoghue’s “Fit for Mission? Schools” in which he calls on parents, schools and colleges to reject anti-life sex education.

I began reading “Fit For Mission? Church” because I knew it would contain a robust challenge to the culture of death – and I was not disappointed.

On pro-life issues, I would single out the importance of Bishop O’Donoghue’s understanding of the prophetic significance and authority of Humanae Vitae. Indeed, I think it’s important for all believers in God to hear the first thing that Bishop O’Donoghue says about the authority of that document:

“I have heard it expressed many times that the obvious rejection of the Church’s teaching on contraception by many Catholic couples is an apparent expression of the sensus fidelium [what the Catholic faithful sense to be the Catholic faith] and, consequently the Church should drop its opposition to it and adopt a more permissive attitude. This mistaken reasoning forgets three elements essential to the authentic sensus fidelium: Firstly, the sense of the faith must be founded on the Word of God and not secular opinion. Scripture is clear that there is an inseparable bond between sexual love, procreation and God’s creative power and lordship over life…”

Bishop O’Donoghue’s highlights the key point: God’s creative power and lordship over life. And, when this teaching is rejected, mankind and its governments assume arbitrary power over life and death. Whatever a person’s position on Bishop O’Donoghue’s theological perspective (and SPUC includes people of all faiths and none) even those who don’t believe in God can observe the consequences.

Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, so derided by the liberal “intelligentsia”, accurately forecast that once contraception became “regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty” (HV, 17), brute power which would be used by governments to impose birth control policies on their populations. We now have coercive abortion in China and secret abortions for schoolchildren in the UK – and we have legislative proposals, which include coercive and totalitarian elements, in Kenya and in the Philippines.

Moreover, to my own mind it’s quite clear* that countless human lives have been destroyed as a result of the rejection of Humanae Vitae and its teaching on the wrongfulness of the separation of the unitive significance and procreative significance of the conjugal act, not least through birth control and IVF practices, including amongst Catholics (*albeit on the question of the separation of the unitive significance and the procreative significance of the marital act SPUC itself has no policy. The Society is made up of people of all faiths and none and SPUC’s remit is solely concerned with defending the right to life from conception till natural death.)

As Southern Cross Bioethics Institute put it in their commentary on the Philippines Reproductive Health Bill: “A ‘contraceptive’ is abortifacient (literally ‘causing abortion’) when one of its modes of action is to precipitate the destruction of the developing embryo. For example, intrauterine devices prevent the implantation of the embryo in the uterine lining and hence cause its destruction”. This is something which should concern everyone.

And as I mentioned last month on my blog (in a post about “The Tablet’s” ill-informed campaign against Humanae Vitae) IVF – which gave birth to the first IVF child thirty years ago – has led in the UK to over two million embryos discarded, or frozen, or selectively aborted, or miscarried or used in destructive experiments. (2,137,924 human embryos were created by specialists while assisting couples in the UK to have babies between 1991 and 2005, according to BioNews. During this period, the HFEA informs us that the total of live babies born through IVF procedures was 109,469.)

On a positive note Bishop O’Donoghue observes in his diocese of Lancaster that “the Church has richly developed her doctrine on marital love, seen in Pope John Paul II’s comprehensive theology of the body, the deepening understanding of marriage as a covenant and the Billings Ovulation Method”.

And I love the passion with which the bishop proclaims the truth about human life when he says:

“The advocates and apologists for the culture of death dismissively accuse Catholics of being ‘indoctrinated’ or ‘brain washed’. They are wrong. The one thing we have in common is that we value human life, because we know how much God values every human life. The value of every human life is at the heart of the Gospel, ‘But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us’. (Romans 5:8).

“Every crucifix in church and home proclaims the victory of life over the culture of death. The paschal mystery of Christ, (Eucharist, passion, death and resurrection) are the ultimate expression of the Law of Self Gift:

“At every opportunity proclaim the right to Life – the most fundamental human right that underpins authentic work for justice and peace…“

Pray, Protest and Petition the institutions that promote the culture of death – Parliament, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nurses, Brook Advisory Centres, broadcasters, the tabloids and broadsheets.“

I also ask all parishes to support Catholic organisations, such as Life groups, that provide counselling, advice, support and hospitality to women considering abortions.

“Also consider actively supporting the following groups promoting the Gospel of Life: The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children; Sisters of the Gospel of Life, Life and other pro-life organisations.

Finally, I note Bishop O’Donoghue’s concern, expressed in a note circulated by his secretary that “the section [9.9] on the Bishops' Conference is but a very small part of the document. There are far more important parts … .” I’ve no doubt that’s true and I am looking forward to re-reading and to studying the document in greater depth.

However, what he says about the bishops’ conference is important: “We must keep it clearly in mind that the Bishop is not the manager of his local branch of the Catholic Church, who reports to the board of the national Episcopal Conference…” It’s important because, as I’ve noted elsewhere, the Catholic authorities in England and Wales are co-operating with the government in providing our children and grandchildren with secret abortions in Catholic schools. Bishop O’Donoghue headlines this section of his document “The Need for Confident and Courageous Bishops” and he highlights the following extract from the Catholic church’s teaching in Lumen Gentium: [Bishops] are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice... Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be revered by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth.” (LG 25).

I do not believe that the policy of the Catholic authorities in England and Wales regarding secret abortions in Catholic schools is one which is in tune with teaching “endowed the authority of Christ” or with “teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff”. It’s important to be reminded that individual Catholic bishops in England and Wales are free to reject such a policy – as Bishop O’Donoghue, a confident and courageous bishop, has done. He calls on parishes to “Review the parish’s co-operation with schools to challenge the culture of death among young people” and much else besides.

SPUC Scotland investing in young people

Last Saturday I attended the Scottish Board meeting of SPUC Scotland in their new Glasgow office at 75 Bothwell Street, close to Glasgow Central Station.

SPUC Scotland is committed to building a new pro-life generation. SPUC's contributes towards the joint SPUC/Life Education4Life project which was launched in Scotland - making pro-life presentations in schools on the beginning of life, abortion, assisted conception, post-abortion trauma and many other topics; and Lucy McCully, youth and university officer will be speaking about youth activism at SPUC's conference next week (5th - 7th September, Swanwick Derbyshire).

Other speakers at SPUC's conference include Dr Jerónima Teixeira, a professor and consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, who will speak on foetal sentience; Dr James Sherley, senior scientist, and leader of human adult stem cell research laboratory in the Programs in Cancer and Regenerative Biology, at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, will give a talk entitled: "From abortion to human embryonic stem cell research: a vacation of reason"; and human rights expert, Jakob Cornides, who will be examining the question: "Conscientious objection – is it a right or a duty?" Paul Tully, Antonia Tully and I are speaking on "After the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill – building resistance to abortion and other anti-life practices at local level and in Parliament". Some conference places are still available. You can find out about booking here.

In the picture, above, you can see (L to R): Liz McGachey, Andrew Jackson (partly obscured), Mike Meenan, Jon Galloway, Agnes Girvan (Treasurer), Marysia O'Sullivan (Chairman), James Scanlan, John Paul Cecil and Ian Murray.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Ethicists (sic) propose killing patients for their organs

A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine has argued that it is ethical to remove vital organs from certain patients even if those patients are still alive, thereby causing death. The essential line taken by the paper's authors is that it really doesn’t matter whether the patient is dead or not. Instead what really counts is whether informed consent has been given. A report of the paper came to SPUC's attention via LifeSite. The Southern Cross Bioethics Institute (SCBI) has written, on behalf of SPUC, a commentary on the paper, which can be read here.

Very few people realise that the pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia lobby believes it can be right intentionally to kill innocent human beings, even in cases where little or no dispute exists that the victim is a person. Dr Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, New Jersey, is the world's leading utilitarian. Peter Singer has been quoted as saying: ''I do not think it is always wrong to kill an innocent human being." Now, the vast majority of people, even those who support in some way abortion and/or euthanasia, believe that a born infant is a person and that killing a born infant is one of, if not the, worst of crimes. Yet Peter Singer says: "Simply killing an infant is never equivalent to killing a person.''

As SCBI points out, the authors of the NEJM paper on organ removal are also utilitarians, but do not deny that the patients who would be killed under their proposal are persons. This new, further slide down the slippery slope of anti-life thinking is truly disturbing.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Classic pro-abortion lies being used to justify legalised abortion in Kenya


Exactly the same arguments, based on lies, are being aired in Kenya to justify legalised abortion as were used in the the UK, the US and other western nations.

According to Kenya's "Daily Nation" last Friday, the federation of women's lawyers (FIDA) which drafted a draconian abortion bill on which I blogged last week have said: “It is not a matter of giving women the permission to decide whether to abort or not, it is about legalising abortion to improve their physical and mental health” and "the Bill will reduce the number of abortion-related deaths occurring in Kenya".

These are classic pro-abortion lies. And pro-life Kenyan MPs must resist the temptation they will be offered to agree to an amended "compromise" version of the extreme Reproductive Health and Rights Bill.

Kenyan politicians and church leaders need look no further than the Republic of Ireland which has a constitutional ban on abortion. It has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world, according to figures published by the World Health Organization in 2007. These figures, for the year 2005, reflect Ireland's position over many years as, arguably, the safest place in the world to have a baby. And they vindicate the statement, in 1992, of Ireland's foremost obstetricans and gynaecologists: “As obstetricians and gynaecologists, we affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother
may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child.” (Letter to Irish Times, 1st April 1992, signed by Professor John Bonnar, Head of the Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Trinity College, Dublin; Kieran O’Driscoll, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College, Dublin; Eamonn O’Dwyer, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College, Galway; and Julia Vaughan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist.)

As I said last month, exactly the same kind of false arguments are being used by British MPs to justify the extension of the British Abortion Act to Northern Ireland - and Northern Ireland has the lowest rate of maternal deaths in the UK - and the BBC appears to be promoting these falsehoods, which are such a favourite of the pro-abortion lobby, in the run-up to a possible vote on this matter in Westminster in October.

I've no doubt that Kenya will be told by politicians that it's important to legalise some abortions in order to stop more extreme measures being put forward. Kenya needs to follow the courageous example of the Irish people who stood firm against legalized abortion in spite of blackmail tactics of politicians.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Help SPUC alert people to the most damaging extension of the Abortion Act for over 40 years


SPUC’s new leaflet is now available explaining the latest amendments to the Abortion Act, due to be considered by MPs in October at the Report Stage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (if selected for debate by the Speaker).

October’s parliamentary debate on these amendments could lead to the most damaging extension of the Abortion Act for over 40 years.

Please help us alert people to this threat by ordering a supply of leaflets to give to them. The leaflets are designed for distribution to the general public, so please encourage anyone you can to circulate them widely – and order as many as you - and they - can distribute.

As our leaflet states: pro-abortion MPs want to abolish even the minimal constraints in the Act, like needing a second doctor to authorise an abortion. They want nurses and midwives to perform abortions (which makes it cheaper, but not safer). They want the Abortion Act extended to Northern Ireland against the wishes of the vast majority of people living there. Pro-abortion MPs also want punitive restrictions on pregnancy counsellors who don’t refer women for abortions. If these amendments are passed it is likely to mean more abortions than ever before: more babies will die. Reluctant women will face more pressure than ever to submit to abortions.

To order flyers write to lizfoody@spuc.org.uk