Saturday, 20 June 2009

So-called human rights experts out of touch with human values

Among the many things discussed at last week's session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, was the Yogyakarta principles, something which I've blogged on 29 April this year and 22 November last year. The Yogyakarta principles, amongst other things, call on States to "ensure that all sexual and reproductive health, education, prevention, care and treatment programmes and services respect the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities, and are equally available to all without discrimination"; according to the World Health Organisation's definition "sexual and reproductive health" services includes the provision of abortion on demand.

As usual, British politicians are already implementing such radical re-engineering of human relations. The government is, through its Equality bill and its Coroners and Justice bill, are seeking to suppress any dissent from its anti-life agenda. The Conservative party, Britain's main opposition party, are also working against family values, with David Cameron, the party leader, due to join this year's annual Gay Pride march, and with the Conservative party annual conference due to host its first-ever "gay pride" social event.

Earlier this month I blogged about how these political leaders have misunderstood human sexuality, and the impossibility of protecting unborn children effectively where such a misunderstanding is present. I also think that the so-called human rights experts who advise those political leaders are deeply out of touch with human values. Pat Buckley, representing SPUC at Geneva, reports that one of the so-called expert speaker, Neha Sood of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
"told the meeting that she assumed everyone present were feminists, otherwise they could not claim to support human rights. She also told the meeting that the real problem in society is Patriarchy and it was responsible for making women second class citizens and creating the discriminatory institution of marriage an institution."
That such outdated Marxist dialectics are being allowed to be promoted at UN meetings suggests that it is the pro-life movement, and not these anti-life ideologues, which actually upholds authentic human goods - life, love and children.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Friday, 19 June 2009

Amnesty Int'l reveals an Achilles' heel of the anti-life lobby

Amnesty International, the human rights group, has criticised the Dominican Republic for moves to ban abortion. The country's congress is considering a new constitutional provision to guarantee the right to life from conception to natural death. Amnesty claims that banning abortion "could lead to violations of women's human rights", even though it admitted that "international human rights law...already protects prenatal life".

That admission is very revealing, because other pro-abortion groups won't admit such an unpalatable (to them) truth. It is an Achilles' heel in the anti-life lobby's campaign to get the United Nations to declare abortion to be a human right. That is why SPUC is developing the Amnesty for Babies campaign, so that legislators will declare that international law in fact protects the unborn from intentional killing from conception onwards.

Amnesty's 2009 report on the state of the world's human rights also contains attacks on other Latin American countries for restricting abortion. Amnesty's main concern would seem to be the provision of abortion for rape victims. That contradicts one of Amnesty's core principles: that the innocent should not be killed or punished. In what way does any unborn child, a member of the human family, deserve death? Amnesty should remind itself of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), article 6(5), which forbids the death penalty to be carried out on a pregnant woman. The covenant's travaux pr├ęparatoires (preparatory works) state that the express intention of this article was inspired by humanitarian considerations, and by consideration of the interests of the unborn child. Indeed, the innocent ought not to die with the guilty.

Amnesty must return to its core principles and reject the injustice of abortion.

Pro-lifers holding sponsored vigil against TV abortion ads

Today SPUC members are holding an all-day silent vigil outside the offices of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA is considering allowing abortion providers to advertise on television and radio. Sponsorship for the vigil will go towards SPUC's campaign against the ASA's proposal and to educate the public on abortion.

Pete and Anne Fearon (pictured, with their children Catherine and James) of SPUC Merseyside are leading the vigil. They have been married for 25 years and have six children, including two sets of twins. Anne says:
"Bringing up children these days is hard enough without the abortion industry targeting our sons and daughters and sending out the message that casual sex and abortion are perfectly okay. That's why I'm strongly in favour of SPUC's policy of reaching out to young people in their schools and I'm hoping the money we raise at the sponsored vigil will help them expand this vital service.

"The whole family feel very strongly that allowing abortion to be advertised on TV will have a harmful effect on society in general and will lead to more unborn babies being destroyed and more women and girls suffering the after effects of abortion.

"We will do all that we can to support SPUC's campaign to stop abortion adverts invading our homes.

"We have supported SPUC for longer than we care to remember but I started going to Crosby branch meetings about 17 years ago. After a few years I found myself branch secretary and began attending Merseyside regional meetings and then SPUC's National Council meetings (the Society's governing body). I am also chairman of Merseyside region.

"Pete is a science teacher. He was head of science for many years in a large Catholic school in Liverpool before retiring last year and now does supply teaching.

"James and Catherine have just turned sixteen and are the youngest of our six children. They will have just completed their GCSE exams a couple of days before the sponsored event. As you can imagine, things are a bit tense in our household at the moment with all that last minute cramming!

"As a family we always try to support SPUC's fundraising in any way we can and this particular event is very important to us. Last year my daughter, Siobhan, took part in SPUC's sponsored skydive parachute event."
People wishing to sponsor the vigil can donate securely online here

For many years a committed team of SPUC staff has provided regular pro-life news services via the SPUC website and email, and more latterly this blog, the SPUC Facebook group and now Twitter. While delivering news and comment in this way incurs a financial cost, we have made it our policy not to appeal directly to our readers to meet these costs. However, should you wish to do so, you can help support SPUC’s news services by sponsoring the vigil (see above). Appeal contributions will help defray the costs of SPUC's news services and our campaigning, education and caring work. What’s most important to us, though, is that you continue to have access to good quality information which leaves you better informed about pro-life matters. Whatever you decide to do, please consider forwarding this page to anyone you think may benefit from SPUC's news services (one way of forwarding this page is to click on the mail icon below).

Thursday, 18 June 2009

SPUC's submission on TV abortion ads

SPUC has published its submission to the public consultation about allowing abortion agencies to advertise on television and radio. You can read SPUC's submission in full here, but below are are selection of points SPUC has made objecting to the proposal.
  • "It is likely, in our view, that the public will be exposed directly to television and radio advertising which promotes abortion services.
  • Both of the proposals relating to abortion advertising (permitting it on broadcast media, and imposing a special requirement on non-abortion providers) amount to unfair commercial practices. Promoting abortion providers is exploitative of several vulnerable groups: expectant mothers, women who are uncertain whether they are pregnant, unborn children and particularly unborn children with disabilities.
  • Abortion also remains a criminal offence on the statute book. Advertising of illegal procedures is contrary to the public interest, advertising codes, and the law.
  • Only those agencies with the financial resources would be able to advertise. Abortion providers can generate financial resources for advertising by charging more for abortions, whereas most pro-life advice services do not charge clients (or the NHS) for their services. Thus there will be a disproportionate opportunity for abortion providers to advance their cause.
  • Advertising has the power to be subtly constructed so as to direct vulnerable women to these agencies where abortion may be promoted as the “best option”.
  • Advertising should not be misleading, harmful or offensive.
  • Abortion causes immense harm.
  • Such advertisements by their nature would be objectively offensive to moral and religious principles.
  • The highly contentious nature of abortion and its deep moral significance would suggest that minors not be subject to its promotion via advertising, which would undoubtedly occur if this proposal were permitted.
  • Family planning centres and pregnancy advice agencies which refer women for abortion but offer no alternatives, are not required to mention the limits of their services.
  • The strongly predominant wish in the community is for the numbers of abortions to decrease, not increase. However, advertising of abortion services would promote abortion, increase its incidence and thereby increase harm to all involved."
Tomorrow SPUC supporters will be holding a sponsored vigil outside the offices of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Doctor-bioethicist highlights Dutch involuntary euthanasia

On Tuesday the Times published a letter from an American doctor and bioethicist which highlights the incidence of involuntary euthanasia in the Netherlands. Dr William Reichels of the Centre for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown university, writes:
"I am a physician who has studied physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia since 1988, especially in the Netherlands ... Although the law calls for performing assisted suicide and euthanasia with the patient’s consent, it is often involuntary. The law also calls for obtaining a second opinion of another physician, but this is often never done. By 1991 the Remmelink report showed that 1,040 people (an average of three per day) were actively killed by Dutch doctors without the patient’s knowledge or consent."
SPUC has pointed out that the Remmelink Report also found that the doctor was often the person who first raised the subject of euthanasia with the patient.

A total ban on assisted suicide is necessary to protect vulnerable patients and to ensure that the law upholds the intrinsic value of human life. Please tell members of the House of Lords about Dr Reichels's letter and the facts about Dutch involuntary euthanasia - please read immediately SPUC's action alerts of 29 May and 6 June on the Coroners and Justice bill.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

UN resolution saved from pro-abortion agenda

As I blogged previously, the UN Human Rights Council is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. In my previous blog, I mentioned an extreme pro-abortion anti-family report on violence against women. However, another resolution* relevant to pro-life issues has also been discussed at Geneva, a resolution on maternal mortality. As is often the case at these UN meetings, the early drafts of the resolution had strong pro-abortion language. Thanks, however, to communication between sympathetic national delegations and the pro-life/pro-family coalition, the wording has been subtly yet significantly changed in many ways. The content of the resolution's final version, whilst still containing some concerning aspects, nonetheless denies the anti-life lobby its main goals. So congratulations to Pat Buckley, who represents SPUC at the UN, and to the other pro-life/pro-family lobbyists at Geneva for their vital work in preventing abortion being declared to be a human right.

* The resolution is entitled "Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development", and the relevant part is "11. Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights".

Monday, 15 June 2009

Pro-life vigil, Maidstone, Kent, this Wednesday 17 June

"A great prayer for life is urgently needed … prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil." Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae.

The Helpers of God's Precious Infants is an international pro-life group founded by Monsignor Philip Reilly under the direction of Bishop Thomas Daily of New York. Its main work is prayer vigils at abortion facilities. To date, 5 cardinals and over 100 bishops worldwide participate, including Bishop Bernard Longley of Westminster, Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood, Bishop John Hine of Southwark and Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds. The spirituality is one of solidarity with Jesus in the person of the forgotten poor: “Whatever you do for the least of these my brethren, you do for me.” (Matt.25:40).

The Helpers will be holding a vigil, with full police co-operation, this coming Wednesday 17 June at the Marie Stopes abortion facility, Brewer Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1RV. The proceedings will start at 10.00am with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at St Francis’ Church, Week Street, ME14 1RH led by Father Tadeusz Dec.
10.30am: prayerful and peaceful procession to Marie Stopes abortion facility, processing with image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Holy Rosary & hymns.
12.00pm: return procession and blessing. Refreshments in parish centre (please bring a packed lunch).

Directions: Connex South East runs a direct line from Victoria to Maidstone East Station, which is directly opposite St. Francis Church.
By road: The M20 – come off at Junction 6. Follow signs to town centre then to Maidstone East station. There is a car park at the station and also two car parks in Brewer Street and one in Wheeler Street, both of which are accessed by Lower Boxley Well road. The shaded areas on the map are pedestrian areas only.

For further information contact:
The Helpers Of God’s Precious Infants, P.O. Box 26601, LONDON, N14 7WH
Telephone: 020 8252 3109 E-mail: info@hgpi.co.uk Web: www.hgpi.co.uk

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Rally for Life, Dublin, Saturday 4 July

Below is a message on behalf of http://www.rallyforlife.net
Against all odds, and because Irish people have made their pro-life views heard, Ireland remains one of the only EU countries that protects its unborn children from abortion. Under constant pressure from the EU and the powerful pro-abortion lobby, the Irish people have maintained their pro-life ethos. But we need to act to keep it that way, and to ensure that we also speak up against the anti-life threats of euthanasia and stem cell research.

We invite you to join with thousands of others to speak up for the right to life. As pro-life people we say no to abortion. On 4 July let's do it together!

Day programme:
1pm Mass at St Saviour’s Church, Dominic Street, Dublin 1.
2pm Rally for Life, Garden of Remembrance.

Bring your family and friends for a great day out, with a powerful message. Hear great speakers including Dr Eoghan de Faoite, Fr Brian McKevitt (editor, Alive paper), Bernadette Smyth, and more, including some surprise guests!

Evening programme:
8pm Celebrate Life Reception and Guest speaker, Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay, Dublin 1.

Contact 01 8730465 (Republic of Ireland) and 028 90278484 (Northern Ireland) or email info@rallyforlife.net for more information.

Rally for Life is under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patroness of the Unborn. Rally is supported by Life Institute, Precious Life, Ultrasound - Students for Life, Youth Defence, Family First, C├│ir and more.

Speak up for unborn babies. Keep Ireland abortion free.