Saturday, 13 June 2009

Ed Balls contradicts health department report on teenage pregnancies

Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, has contradicted the department of health by claiming that teenage pregnancies "have come down substantially" nationally. He made the comments as he announced that his department is helping fund a Birmingham school to open its own centre offering "a full range of sexual health services". The department of health's annual report, published yesterday, admits that "the most recent quarterly data from 2007 indicates a worrying reversal of this downward trend." It also admits that more teenage pregnancies are ending in abortion.

Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary has responded to Mr Balls's claims:
"Mr Balls, the minister for one department, has contradicted another department in making this claim, and at the same time he has contradicted academic research and official health data. Mr Balls should retract his claim immediately. The latest data shows that, with respect to under-16s, pregnancy and abortion rates are actually higher now than when the government's teenage pregnancy strategy was published in 1999. The records show that the number of teenage pregnancies had already started falling before the strategy began; and the rate of decrease started to slow once the strategy began to be implemented on the ground.

"Mr Balls should also retract his claim that "The places where we have got teenage pregnancies down faster are where you've had a much closer working of schools and health services." In fact the Association of Public Health Observatories (APHO) has published data showing that the region with the lowest rate of under-18 conceptions (32.8 per 1000 girls) - which also had the lowest abortion rate (14.8 per 1000 girls) - was the East of England. The APHO report also found that when questioned, East of England school children were the least likely to say they relied on schools for sex information and the least likely to know about local sexual health services. This region also had the fewest young women approaching family planning clinics for contraception.

"Academic studies indicate that abstinence-promotion, parental involvement, higher general educational standards and improved social conditions reduce teenage pregnancies. Professor David Paton of Nottingham university has argued this convincingly in published research.

"The contradiction between Mr Balls and the department of health, as well as the government's increasingly radical gimmicks, is yet further evidence that the government's strategy is in disarray. It should be scrapped immediately."
Considering this shocking new example of Mr Ball's blind promotion of anti-life and anti-family policy, and considering his determined and well established policy commitments in this area, I am very concerned about the cooperation between the Catholic authorities and Mr Balls's department.

Extreme pro-abortion ideologue appointed head of government-backed family institute

I am grateful to Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications officer, for spotting this and carrying out some research on the Family and Parenting Institute.

Dr Katherine Rake (pictured) has been chosen as the new head of the Family and Parenting Institute, a government-funded body. Dr Rake is an extreme pro-abortion ideologue. Here's just a sample of her views on abortion:
"The right to an abortion is vital in itself ... We must continue fighting to ensure that these rights are built upon, not eroded, in the coming years."
Among the Family and Parenting Institute's trustees is Anne Weyman, formerly head of the Family Planning Association (FPA), the UK affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest abortion promoter. In 2002, Anne Weyman told a parliamentary committee that she "found the concept of 'children's innocence' to be a strange one, because why should sex be associated with guilt?"

So we have anti-family and anti-parenting campaigners appointed to a body ostensibly set up to promote family and parenting. Such euphemistic tactics reminds me of the Communist Chinese regime's petition offices, ostensibly set up to promote citizens' rights, but in reality used to identify people the regime would like to lock up.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Brazilian archbishop thanks SPUC and others for their support

I have received a letter of thanks from Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife (pictured), thanking SPUC and others for their support of his actions in the case of the nine-year old girl whose twins were aborted in March this year, which I blogged about on 7 March and 18 March. I reproduce a translation of the archbishop's letter in full below:
"After have received messages of solidarity and congratulation from several national and international organizations and mainly from hundreds of brothers and sisters – from Brazil as well as from various other countries - due to my position in relation to the recent clamorous event which has happened in the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife (i.e., the violation of canon law – on abortion) – when I publicly mentioned the legal position of Our Holy Church, which establishes the application of automatic excommunication – I wish to express my profound gratitude to each and everyone, invoking upon you the many blessings of Our Saviour Jesus Christ who has “come so all would have life and have it abundantly” [John 10:10].

"The application of canon law penalties is a way used by our Holy Church, since the apostles’ time, to lead Christians to follow God’s law and to eternal salvation. “God wants all be saved” [1Tm 2:4] , and for this, conversion is necessary, in other words a behaviour change, of no longer practicing evil and conforming one’s life to God’s laws. Mercy is not a connivance with evil, of violations of God’s laws.

"Article 1398 of the Code of Canon Law is a current law of our Holy Church, approved by the Vicar of Christ on earth, the servant of God John Paul II (He promulgated the new Code in 1983). This law aims to help spiritually all Church members to avoid a very grave violation of the 5th commandment of the Decalogue, the suppression of defenceless and innocent lives. It is a spiritual “medicine” (“remedy”) used by the church to lead a sinner to conversion, to lead him to change his behaviour. To ignore this automatic penalty – or even worse, to wish its abolition is a great evil to the common good of ecclesiastic society and the eternal salvation of God’s children.

"To lead his disciples to do good, by conforming their lives to the demands of the Law of God, Jesus Christ himself clearly talked about the real dangers of eternal damnation (Mt 11:23; 13:41-42; 25:31-46; Mc 9:43-48; Lc 16:19-31). This is the aim of the penalties established by the Church.

"We have ample proof that the great publicity of the event which happened in our archdiocese is producing very good fruits in the spiritual lives of many individuals.

"I would , therefore, like to repeat my profound gratitude first of all to the Author of Life, “the Father of light from who comes all perfect gifts” [ 1 John 1:14]. I also thank all my brothers and sisters who sent me messages of solidarity which witness their total fidelity to God’s Law and the Canon Law of our Holy Church.

"May God grant us, all, the grace of continuing to work together in defence of life."

Recife, May 19, 2009

(signed)

Dom José Cardoso Sobrinho
Archbishop of Olinda-Recife

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A tribute to Kathy Sinnott

Kathy Sinnott, the pro-life politician, failed narrowly to be re-elected as member of the European Parliament for Ireland South last weekend.

Pat Buckley of the European Life Network, said: "The outcome of the election was greatly influenced by the current economic crisis and Kathy was the target of a deliberate smear campaign which cost her critical support."

SPUC wishes to pay tribute to Kathy's sterling witness for the pro-life and pro-family cause as an MEP. A captivating speaker and tireless worker, she was always seeking to promote new, dynamic ways to promote the cause of life, such as Amnesty for Babies. On behalf of SPUC, I thank Kathy for her support of SPUC and wish her all the best in the future.

True love of relatives shows why assisted suicide is unnatural

A British television presenter has written how caring for his sick mother has led to his opposition to euthanasia. Charles Ottley has cared for 14 years for his mother, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Mr Ottley wrote:
"I can tell you that after years of caring for my grievously ill mother, I am more opposed to euthanasia than ever ... Mum devoted 18 years of her existence to me when I was growing up. Life may deal us some tough choices, but putting my life on hold to care for my mother has never been one of them."
It is a tribute to Mr Ottley that he has the wisdom and maturity to understand and follow our human nature. While our first instincts are often to flinch at the burdens of suffering, our deeper instincts move us to sacrifice some of the control we have over our lives. Assisted suicide and euthanasia fail at the first hurdle of suffering, by abandoning the vulnerable and rejecting true compassion. "Compassion" comes from the Latin words cum pati, which mean "to suffer with".

So please show your solidarity with the vulnerable and your belief in true compassion by contacting members of the House of Lords today, urging them to reject pro-suicide amendments to the Coroners and Justice bill. Please read and act upon SPUC's action alerts of 29 May and 5 June.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Not too many people: synopsis of major paper on population questions

Jim Moreton, who was until recently for many months a volunteer at SPUC HQ, has written an extremely clear synopsis of "Too many people?", a major paper on population questions by Dr Nicholas Eberstadt (pictured), a leading demographer, who holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute.

One of the points made by Dr Eberstadt which struck me that rapid population growth has actually helped increase the availability of resources and this is simply because a larger and healthier population is inevitably a more productive one.

It is therefore very disappointing to read that political and religious authorities in Syria are promoting population control, with the argument that conditions in Syria are too harsh for Syrians to have large families. Perhaps Dr Eberstadt's paper needs to be translated into Arabic. Do read Jim's synopsis of his paper in full here.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Amoral political masters hurting young people with failed reckless strategies

The government, with the help of Brook, the abortion referral agency, is drawing up guidelines which include making free condoms available to teenage boys just about everywhere, including football grounds, barber’s shops and scout huts. Boys will be issued with a card entitling them to the condoms after they have attended a so-called safe sex lesson. The scheme has been set-up so that obstacles - such as parents - are removed from boys' access to condoms.

This scheme will result in more hurt to young people, especially young girls who so often become the victim of brutish male behaviour, more sexually transitted infections, and more abortions.

Like the expenses scandal, this scheme also shows how amoral many of our political masters have become. Such amoral behaviour is irrational, flying in the face of facts and common sense. Government officials are in denial that their teenage pregnancy strategy has failed, despite irrefutable evidence. And as those MPs implicated in the expenses have found out, living in denial simply makes the day of reckoning worse. However, those who suffer will be the unborn, young people and their families - not the politicians pursuing these cruelly reckless policies.

Pro-abortion lobby tries again to deceive Polish women

Early last month Anand Grover, United Nations special rapporteur "on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health" visited Poland and told the country that its access to abortion is unsatisfactory. He admitted that he had not obtained official data on the number of illegal abortions performed in Poland, but added that Polish nongovernmental organizations put the figure at anywhere from 80,000 to 180,000 a year. The Warsaw Voice newspaper, reporting Grover's visit, failed to mention that these "nongovernmental organzations" are in fact the same ones campaigning for greater access to legal abortion.

We are sure that many Polish people, whose natural instincts are pro-life, will see through this ruse. Firstly, let's look at the facts of the current story: an incredibly rough estimate (80,000 to 180,000) without comparison to official figures. Secondly, let's look at the history of abortion law in Poland. Before the passing of a law restricting abortion in 1993, a concerted campaign by pro-life groups and the Catholic Church resulted in a steady decline in the number of legal abortions from 105,333 in 1988 to 777 in 1993. Thirdly, let's look at the history of the campaign to legalise abortion in the US before the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. Dr Bernard Nathanson, the abortion pioneer who became pro-life, admitted that he deliberately exaggerated the estimated number of illegal abortions five-fold.

As I've said before, the pro-abortion lobby should stop patronising Polish women with its deceitful, death-dealing agenda. The people of Poland have, in large numbers, this very week celebrated both the 20th anniversary of the end of Communist rule and the 30th anniversary of the first visit of the late Pope John Paul II to Poland. The last thing Polish people want is to return to a culture of death.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Obama-Clinton's worldwide abortion propaganda unit

The US House of Representatives is due to vote this week on the establishment of an Office of Global Women’s Issues within the US State Department. The office will be responsible for coordinating efforts “relating to gender integration and women’s empowerment in United States foreign policy.” The head of the new office is Melanne Verveer (pictured), former chief of staff to Hillary Clinton, and reported to be pro-abortion Catholic. With Barack Obama as President and Mrs Clinton as Secretary of State, we can expect this new office to engage in a worldwide campaign to make abortion on demand a universal human right.

This is yet more evidence that, for Obama and Clinton, a pro-abortion position is not just something to be expected of a Democratic party administration. They now appear to be making the promotion of a so-called right to abortion among the highest priorities of US domestic and foreign policy, something the mainstream media has generally failed to report. The courageous opposition, however, of thousands of people, including scores of bishops, to Notre Dame university honouring Obama turned the world's spotlight on Obama's anti-life reputation. That is why at Notre Dame Obama felt it necessary to try to spin convincingly about common ground. All the more reason why we must debunk his spin and warn the world about the abortion-centred new world order he is working to create.