Friday, 8 May 2009

Obama follows IPPF orders

President Obama's health budget proposals include abolishing funding for abstinence-only programmes. According to Reuters, these programmes have received about US$1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s. Mr Obama's move is straight from the agenda set for him before his inauguration in “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration,” a memorandum signed by 60 or so pro-abortion organisations, including International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the biggest promoter of abortion in the world. The memorandum called for abstinence-only programmes to be de-funded (whilst bankrolling the abortion industry and population control agencies.)

The Obama administration and its anti-life mentors claim that abstinence promotion only works when done in conjunction with the promotion of contraception - what they called comprehensive sex education (CSE). The Abstinence Clearinghouse, an American organisation, links to a document by the Institute for Research & Evaluation, Utah, which provides evidence against this claim. The Institute found the following:
"1. Comprehensive sex education purports to promote both abstinence and condom use, yet we see no evidence that school-based CSE programs are effective at improving both of these outcomes.
2. School-based CSE programs have shown no evidence of effectiveness at decreasing teen pregnancy or STDs, or increasing consistent condom use.
3. Only a few school-based CSE programs have increased any type of condom use (e.g., at first or last intercourse) for a significant period of time.
4. Four school-based abstinence programs have produced broad-based and sustained increases in the percentage of youth who remain sexually abstinent."
In other words, Obama-style sex education is a failure, even in its own terms. This conclusion squares with the work of Professor David Paton, chair of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School. Unfortunately you probably won't hear the truth about abstinence through mainstream media outlets such as Reuters - though you will on this blog!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Suicide devalues the lives of the terminally-ill

Chris Woodhead (pictured), the former chief schools' inspector, has said that he plans to commit suicide at some point during the progression of his motor neurone disease (MND). He has said the dependency and loss of control entailed by the disease is intolerable and humilitating. He believes his life will cease to be worth living within a few years.

The Daily Mail report says:
[Mr Woodhead] said that he 'might need help to die' but that he was determined not to involve his wife or daughter Tamsin, because they could be jailed for up to 14 years if they assisted his suicide. Referring to the unsuccessful legal battle fought by fellow MND sufferer Diane Pretty to allow her husband to help her die, Mr Woodhead added: 'I don't believe that politicians will have the courage to alter the law.'
I accept, of course, that MND is a particularly severe and frightening illness, and Mr Woodhead has my heartfelt sympathy. But the consequences of legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia would be even more severe and frightening, and not just for people with MND. For example, when assisted suicide was legalised briefly in the Northern Territory, Australia, aborginals feared going to doctors or hospitals for fear of being killed.

Allowing assisted suicide would undermine protection for everyone, both the vulnerable and those of us not currently vulnerable, by lessening the value of human life. Assisted suicide sends a message to the terminally ill that caring for them is a waste of time, that their lives are no longer worth living and that they are better off dead.

The late Pope John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae ("The Gospel of Life"):
"[A]ny State which made such a request legitimate and authorized it to be carried out would be legalizing a case of suicide-murder, contrary to the fundamental principles of absolute respect for life and of the protection of every innocent life. In this way the State contributes to lessening respect for life and opens the door to ways of acting which are destructive of trust in relations between people." (paragragh 72) (my emphasis)
Many people, including patients themselves, often don't know that palliative care is highly successful in alleviating the symptoms of MND. Mr Woodhead's fears about his quality of life and the effect on his family can be properly addressed with correct medical advice and full personal support. Here are some points from "The Case of Diane Pretty" by Alison Davis of No Less Human (NLH).
  • The claim by the pro-euthanasia lobby in such cases that people with MND inevitably die by choking or suffocation is completely untrue.
  • George Levvy, chief executive of Motor Neurone Disease Society, has said: "This is not the case. The majority of people with MND die from respiratory failure and the death is usually very peaceful and usually when the person is asleep. With the correct palliative care it is very rare for someone to die from choking."
  • Dr. Sykes, a hospice doctor, with experience of over 300 MND patients has stated that he does not know of a single patient who choked to death.
  • Dr. Rysz Bietzk, Head of Medical Services at the Pasque hospice, who actually cared for Diane Pretty during the last few days of her life, said “Diane died peacefully … choking or suffocation was never an issue for her.”
  • 80% of people with MND at St. Christopher’s Hospice who reported breathlessness as a problem responded well to the use of morphine and other drugs.
  • Recently there have been advances in the use of portable ventilators for people with MND, which have proved highly effective.
  • The problem of communication can nowadays be overcome with computerised speech .(Many readers will have heard on TV or radio the computerised “voice” of Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist who has MND.)
  • Overcoming the problem with swallowing and the resulting inability to take in food and drink can be easily and discreetly done by means of a gastrostomy tube – a tube leading directly into the stomach, through which food and water can be given.
  • Legalising assisted suicide would divert resources from the hospice movement, which aims to achieve peaceful deaths for all, to providing death as a solution to the challenges illness and disability pose.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Radio debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide tomorrow

Mrs Dominica Roberts of the ProLife Alliance will, on present plan, take part in a broadcast debate tomorrow (Thursday 7 May) with Dr Philip Nitschke, the Australian advocate of assisted suicide and euthanasia. The programme is Breakfast on Radio 5 Live which, as well as being broadcast on the radio and various digital TV systems, can be heard online. You can read about the case against euthanasia on SPUC's website. We understand that the programme will include an opportunity for the public to take part by telephone. The number, at least for people in the UK, is 03700 100 500. The programme runs from 9 am till 10 am. The BBC tell us that the news-agenda can shift and, thus, the subject of the debate can change, but it looks as though Dr Nitschke and Mrs Roberts will be discussing these issues tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The White Ribbon Alliance should not be supported

The Scottish Herald reports today that midwives in Scotland are calling for more action to prevent maternal mortality in developing world. The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood is supporting the midwives' call. A closer look at the White Ribbon Alliance reveals some disturbing facts.

Among the Alliance's members are the world's leading anti-life organisations: the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Marie Stopes International (MSI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Alliance's material claims that these organisations "promote safe motherhood" - when in fact they promote abortion, the antithesis of motherhood.

The Alliance uses the usual anti-life euphemisms: "sexual and reproductive health", "informed choices", "expanding choices", "family planning" etc. It promotes contraception, claiming that there is a massive unmet need for contraceptive services. (As we know, most methods of contraception can also act abortifaciently.) And the Alliance wants "health care systems [to] [p]rovide reproductive health education and services for adolescents." (page 19 in the document, page 30 of the PDF). This almost certainly means secret abortion, without the knowledge or consent of parents.

Providing abortion and contraception does not help maternal health. Abortion is banned in the Republic of Ireland, yet that country has the world's best maternal health statistics. Providing contraception on a mass scale appears to lead to an increase in irresponsible sexual behaviour, which in turn leads to sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies (which often end in abortion).

It is also worrying that some Christian organisations are also members of the Alliance, including several Catholic dioceses and several branches of Caritas, the Catholic Church's leading aid agency. I feel sure that their membership of the Alliance is due to ignorance of its anti-life associations. I will be writing to them to urge them to leave the Alliance.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

UN children's agency promotes abortion

The United Nations has reportedly been trying to stop the Dominican Republic from adopting a constitution which would protect human life from conception. In March Mr Nils Kastberg (left), the UN children’s fund’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, asked legislators to liberalise abortion. The Swede used the customary argument that banning terminations led to women’s doing unsafe things. Happily, lawmakers of all parties seem to be ignoring his pleas and the measure is making good progress. It’s tragic that, of all UN bodies, the supposedly pro-child agency should be promoting the destruction of the unborn.