Saturday, 13 September 2008

Celebrate International Day of Peace in the Womb on Sunday, 21st September 2008


Pat Buckley, one of the world’s foremost pro-life lobbyists at the UN, has called for governments throughout the world to declare an amnesty for babies starting on Sunday week, 21st September, the day designated by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace. He cites Mother Teresa who called abortion “the greatest destroyer of peace” in her unforgettable Nobel lecture when she received the Nobel Peace Prize, on 11th December 1979.

Let’s respond to Pat’s call and to Mother Teresa’s prophetic lecture, and make Sunday week, 21st September, the International Day of Peace in the Womb. Mother Teresa began her lecture saying: “As we have gathered here together to thank God for the Nobel Peace Prize I think it will be beautiful that we pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi … ”

I suggest that Christian pro-lifers write to their pastors this week, enclosing a copy of Mother Teresa’s Nobel Peace Prize lecture and asking them, if possible, to draw attention to the following words and to lead the faithful in the prayer of St. Francis:

“As soon as he [Jesus] came in her life - immediately she went in haste to give that good news, and as she came into the house of her cousin, the child - the unborn child - the child in the womb of Elizabeth, leapt with joy. He was that little unborn child, was the first messenger of peace. He recognised the Prince of Peace, he recognised that Christ has come to bring the good news for you and for me … but I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing … And we read in the Scripture, for God says very clearly: Even if a mother could forget her child - I will not forget you - I have carved you in the palm of my hand. We are carved in the palm of His hand, so close to Him that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God. And that is what strikes me most, the beginning of that sentence, that even if a mother could forget something impossible - but even if she could forget - I will not forget you. And today the greatest means - the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here - our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us. Our children, we want them, we love them, but what of the millions. Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child - what is left for me to kill you and you kill me - there is nothing between …”

The UN website suggests: “A Peace Day event can be as simple as lighting a candle or meditate on Peace on September 21”.

Christians and non-Christians alike might like to celebrate the International Day of Peace by meditating on Mother Teresa’s words – and saying the prayer of St. Francis which you can find at the foot of Mother Teresa’s lecture to which I link above.

Friday, 12 September 2008

The false dichotomy behind assisted suicide

Today's Independent features an interview with Debbie Purdy (pictured with her husband Omar, outside the high court), a lady with multiple sclerosis who is pursuing a legal challenge relating to assisted suicide. SPUC is seeking to intervene in the case so I can't comment here on the case itself. I can say, however, that The Independent's interview is at best biased and at worst seriously factually misleading.

Dignity, compassion and solidarity are all at the heart of the pro-life response to illness and disability. Protecting life and autonomy, providing good palliative care and ensuring people's psychological welfare are, and should in practice be, inseparable. It is the pro-euthanasia movement which implies or even claims that these things can be mutually contradictory. They claim that the good of life can be an obstacle to the good of autonomy, and that a patient's psychological welfare can't be ensured if palliative care can't permanently remove all pain. This is because they don't or won't realise that:
  • only if life is protected as an inalienable good will the vulnerable be protected against violations of autonomy and dignity
  • palliative care can help all patients and treat most pain
  • illness, suffering and disability are an inevitable experience of the human condition which challenges us to care, not kill.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Men are victims of abortion too

A conference was held earlier this week in Chicago to highlight the little-acknowledged fact that men are victims of abortion too. The conference, entitled "Reclaiming Fatherhood: A Multifaceted Examination of Men Dealing with Abortion", was organised by the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

SPUC, in cooperation with our sister organisation British Victims of Abortion (BVA), have also been highlighting the effect of abortion upon:
  • men who are excluded from the abortion decision
  • men who are against abortion or what one would term pro-life
  • married men whose spouses abort against their will
  • men who are ambivalent about the abortion decision.
Pictured is Mr Charles McCann of Torquay, at a Silent No More event organised by SPUC and BVA in Plymouth last year.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Pro-abortion politician says Northern Ireland is backward for opposing Abortion Act

The latest campaign for the extension of Britain's Abortion Act to Northern Ireland was launched last night at a shambolic meeting in one of Belfast's most expensive hotels. There were about 100 people there, mostly from Northern Ireland but with significant numbers from southern Ireland, England and further afield. All the usual suspects attended: the Family Planning Association, the Irish Family Planning Association, the Ulster Humanists' Association and, of course, the Socialist Workers' Party.

Only two of the 108 members of the Northern Ireland legislative assembly (MLAs) openly support the extension of the Abortion Act and both spoke at the meeting. One is the sole representative of a fringe party linked to a Loyalist terrorist group which refuses to decommission its weapons. The other MLA is from the Alliance party, which has always opposed violence.

Alliance is a small party with seven assembly members and no policy on abortion. Some Alliance MLAs are pro-life but Anna Lo, the member for South Belfast (above right), supports the extension of the 1967 act to Northern Ireland. Ms Lo told the gathering that she was not advocating abortion on demand but said she was a realist. She went on to say that women were criminalised by Northern Ireland's "ancient law" which only permits abortion on strictly medical grounds.

Northern Ireland, she said, had always been a conservative society but if the province wanted to attract people and stop the brain drain, it had to be more liberal. "How can we remain so backward?" she asked. In fact, there is no brain drain from Northern Ireland and, if a society wants to have more talented young people, then it should not kill them before they are born.

When the Olympic torch was making its way through Britain, Ms Lo's son was involved in protests against China's appalling human rights record. It is sad, therefore, that someone from a culture where abortion has been the cause of so much suffering should be blind to the injustice of British abortion law. Later when speaking to a member of SPUC who attended the meeting, Ms Lo refused to believe that it was legal in Britain to abort a child with a disability right up to birth.

It is regrettable that she implies that many of the people who elected her to the Northern Ireland Assembly are backward. While no country has a perfect human rights record, there is no comparison between the problems Northern Ireland has seen and what goes on every day in China, where women are forcibly aborted and baby girls are abandoned to die because of the traditional preference for sons.

When it comes to abortion Ms Lo is not the realist she thinks she is. She admits that, in the past, she has helped women get abortions, and she is now advocating a law which she clearly doesn't understand. Ms Lo owes the people of Northern Ireland an apology for calling them backward because they believe that unborn children have a right to life. Rather than being backward, Northern Ireland does pretty well in many ways, including having the UK's lowest maternal mortality rate.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Government spends more on failed, ethically bankrupt, anti-life, anti-family teenage pregnancy campaign

Today’s on-line edition of Sales Promotion magazine regales us with news that Iris London, the marketing agency, has won an advertising contract from the government to promote condom use.

The deal has been struck by the government’s Central Office of Information on behalf of the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), which run the government’s sexual health and teenage pregnancy initiatives.

This news is replete with tragic ironies. From past experience, Iris London’s campaign promoting condoms will
  • lead to an increase in sexual ill-health
  • lead to an increase in the numbers of unborn children being killed, and
  • may lead to an increase in the number of under-age conceptions.
So the Department of Health will effectively be promoting disease; and the Department for Children, Schools and Families will effectively be promoting
  • more killing of unborn children
  • the blighting of children’s lives, and
  • the undermining of families (as parents are barred from knowing about their children’s confidential access to birth control).
The Sales Promotion magazine article says:

“Campaigns will aim to engage the young audiences at timely and actionable moments to help reduce the occurrence of sexually transmitted infections and under-18 conception rates as well as ensuring accurate information and advice is available about sex and relationships for those under 16.”

The record over virtually a decade shows: it won’t work. We should ask our MPs to find out how much this campaign will cost – another drop in the vast ocean of money the government has spent on its failed, ethically bankrupt, anti-life, anti-family teenage pregnancy campaign.

Monday, 8 September 2008

TUC abortion policy, agreed today, plays into the hands of unscrupulous employers

This is a warning to watch out for the insidious promotion of abortion at your place of work.

This afternoon at the Trades Union Conference (TUC) conference in Brighton, the TUC voted through a motion to promote abortion. Amongst other things, Motion 19 calls on trade unions to promote abortion rights within the work place under the guise of ‘equal rights’.

There is the usual shameless promotion of abortion on demand but there are two parts of the motion to which I particularly draw attention: a call for the publication of “guidance and support for trade unions on workplace issues relating to access to abortion and time off for treatment” (section vi) and a call for the extension of the 1967 Act to Northern Ireland (section iv).

The truth is that abortion hurts women and abortion is the antithesis of equal rights. My worry is that promoting abortion in places of work will also promote an anti-woman, anti-motherhood, agenda in the workplace. Unscrupulous employers seeking to avoid key workers taking up to a year’s maternity leave might well find the TUC policy of promoting abortion within place of work very convenient. How convenient for employers to put their selfish business interests first under the guise of women’s rights!

This is also a call to people in the workplace in Northern Ireland. As I have blogged previously the pro-abortion lobby is spreading lies about backstreet abortion in Northern Ireland. Now the TUC, no doubt on the basis of such lies, is joining the campaign to impose the British Abortion Act on Northern Ireland against the wishes of the people there. Propaganda in the workplace put out by pro-abortion trade unionists in Northern Ireland should be actively challenged and resisted.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Julie Burchill wins the third George Orwell prize

Post-abortion trauma (PAT), sometimes called post-abortion syndrome, is a condition members of the pro-life movement come across a great deal. I suspect this is chiefly because we are among the few sections of society prepared to offer genuine support to women suffering after abortion. Professor Philip Ney, the psychiatrist, states: “From clinical and research observations, I have concluded that abortion is the most deeply damaging trauma that can happen to any human.”

A study conducted in New Zealand, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 2006 concluded: “Those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental health problems including depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviours and substance use disorders. This association persisted after adjustment for confounding factors.”

The Elliot Institute's website contains thousands of pages of research, case studies and other resources on post-abortion problems including PAT. Organisations such as BVA, Good Counsel Network, Life and Silent No More work around the clock offering help and support to women and men struggling after an abortion experience.

In spite of the overwhelming evidence that abortion hurts women, the abortion lobby continue to dismiss or ignore it, whilst at the same time letting slip from time to time that abortion does indeed carry the risk of psychological and emotional harm.

The Brook Advisory Service's website fails to mention anything at all about the emotional and psychological after-effects of abortion. It might of course be covered in the pamphlets on sale at their online shop, but the abortion page on the site simply ignores the subject. Likewise, the section on abortion on the BUPA website makes no mention of how a woman may feel after an abortion, aside of physical symptoms.

The RCOG comes within a whisker of treating PAT honestly, then uses the usual "it is probably not the fault of the abortion, you are probably just like that" argument to dismiss the problem:

“Some studies suggest that women who have had an abortion may be more likely to have psychiatric illness or to self-harm than other women who give birth or are of a similar age. However, there is no evidence that these problems are actually caused by the abortion; they are often a continuation of problems a woman has experienced before.”

Later, the RCOG states that a woman should be offered “further counselling if you experience continuing distress (this happens to a few women and is usually related to personal circumstances)".

FPA's leaflet for young people claims that "most women who choose an abortion do not regret it" and that "only a few women have any long-term psychological problems and those women who do often had similar problems before pregnancy." FPA state that women should seek help if they are "feeling upset about having had an abortion", but none of the cartoon-faces illustrating the point express regret:
  • “I just felt very relieved after the abortion. I still do!”
  • “Sometimes I wonder what having a baby would have been like. But, no, I don't regret it.”
  • “I was surprised how sad I felt, but I must admit we were both really relieved.”
The token sad girl states: “It was a difficult time for me – not just the abortion. Counselling really helped me.” So even in her case, abortion is not the primary cause of her unhappiness.

An interesting angle on the subject at Women on Web, modern-day backstreet abortionists who send abortion drugs to women in pro-life countries. As expected, Women on Web do their best to dismiss the likelihood of mental distress following an abortion since “feelings of regret after abortion are rare. Indeed, the most common emotional response after abortion is relief.” If women do feel bad, readers are told, it is likely to be the fault of “taboo and social stigma” or guilt “because they don't feel guilty about having an abortion, but think they should feel guilty.”

The confusion expressed on the website, however, only serves to highlight the conflict that exists within the abortion movement itself. For example, readers are informed that “most psychiatric experts doubt the existence of 'post-abortion syndrome' and point out that abortion is not significantly different from any other stressful life experience that might cause trauma in some people.” So, is there a risk of a trauma response after abortion or isn't there? Straight after assuring readers that “most women who have abortions experience little or no psychological harm”, the FAQ reads: “What can I do to help myself heal after an abortion?” Is this the healing that women only rarely need? Healing from an overwhelming sense of relief perhaps?

Then there are the few pro-abortion types who actually use the unhappiness women experience after abortion to promote their cause. I was browsing "Abortion changes you". I should point out immediately that it appears to be a very good site, offering women the opportunity to explore their feelings after an abortion and seek help and healing. The stories posted on the site are by no means a reflection of the site's own policy on abortion and they make heartbreaking reading, charting the journeys of women abandoned by families, boyfriends or husbands as soon as they became pregnant, very young women frightened by the prospect of raising a child alone.

“I chose to pretend like nothing happened,” wrote one. “I had a mask in place to make it look, to the outside world any way that I had it all together. No one even knew I went into deep depression every year around Easter and then again in December, when my little girl would have been born.” “Whoever is thinking about having an abortion, please THINK OVER AGAIN. It's your baby. Or else you'll regret later like me and some others.” “Every day I live with regret, shame, and sadness. I hate myself for what I've done.”

Tucked in the midst of all these stories is a "prayer" someone has posted which is supposed to help women who have had abortions. It is taken from a book entitled “Talking to God."

“A Prayer After the Termination of a Pregnancy:

“I made a decision, God, to terminate my pregnancy. This choice was not made lightly. I prayed, I meditated, I searched by soul for an answer. I knew in my heart that I should not complete this pregnancy.

“You know my heart, God. You know my pain. You know my anguish. In your infinite wisdom, I pray that You will glean the spark of potential life and plant it where it may grow and flourish.

“Help me, God. Shield me from the reproach of those who do not know my heart. Teach me how to overcome feelings of shame and guilt.

“Let me begin again, God. Lead me to new hope, to new joy. Hear me, heal me, never leave me.

“Amen."

It is almost blasphemous in its self-justification, basically saying: "God, I just wanted to tell you what a good, upright person I am! And it wasn't really a human life, it was a 'potential life', so that's all right then, but do please protect me against these nasty pro-life types who keep pointing out that there is a something wrong about abortion." It is a stark reminder that religion can be used to manipulate women into accepting an experience their own feelings and instincts tell them should never have happened.

But once again, the George Orwell Prize goes to an individual. Step forward Julie Burchill, for her breathtakingly ignorant and bitchy attack on women suffering after abortion, published in The Guardian no less.

“No doubt if you're the sort of lumbering, self-obsessed poltroon who believes that seeing Mommy kissing Santa Claus 30 years ago irrevocably marked your life, you wouldn't get over an abortion, as you wouldn't get over stubbing your toe without professional help. But you choose to be that way, because you are weak and vain, and you think your pain is important. Whereas the rest of us know not only that our pain is not important, but that it probably isn't even pain - just too much time on our hands.”

“Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." George Orwell