Friday, 7 May 2010

There are plenty of chances and dangers in the new parliament

Last night's historic general election results present both opportunities and dangers for the pro-life movement. There were a number of good results:

Harrow East: Tony McNulty, the anti-life Labour minister, was defeated by Bob Blackman (Conservative), who assured SPUC of his intentions to vote pro-life if elected. A team of local SPUC members distributed many thousands of leaflets in the constituency.

Stockton South: Dari Taylor, the anti-life Labour MP, was defeated by James Wharton (Conservative), who also told SPUC of his intention to vote pro-life if elected. The local SPUC branch also distributed leaflets in Stockton South.

Cardiff North: Jonathan Evans (Conservative), a pro-life MEP and former MP, was elected. SPUC has worked closely with Mr Evans in various issues, and SPUC members were active in the constituency during the election campaign.

Many anti-life MPs lost their seats. Notable among them were:
  • Gillian Merron (Labour), public health minister
  • Sandra Gidley (Liberal Democrat), very anti-SPUC and pro-morning-after pill.
  • Jacquie Smith (Labour, home secretary), originally elected via the pro-abortion EMILY's List.
  • Oxford West and Abingdon: Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat), perhaps the most anti-life MP, was defeated by Nicola Blackwood (Conservative). In 2008, I gave Dr Harris (popularly known as "Dr Death"), a special lifetime Orwell Award for his outstanding use of “political language ... designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” (George Orwell)
Those are some of the individual highlights for the pro-life movement from last night's results. It's difficult to give an overall assessment. Some pro-life MPs lost their seats (e.g. David Drew, Labour, Stroud) and some pro-life hopefuls (Phillippa Stroud, Conservative, Sutton and Cheam) were not elected.

The most immediate concern for SPUC in this new Parliament is to protect children from the pro-abortion ideology which lies behind plans to make sex and relationships education compulsory in England from the age of five. SPUC is therefore to launch a campaign against sex education proposals as the new Parliament meets.

In the last Parliament, plans to make sex and relationships education compulsory from 5 to 16 years had to be abandoned by the (Labour) government when it was forced to negotiate with opposition parties in the “wash up” period immediately prior to the general election. Parents and children were betrayed by MPs and by church leaders in England and Wales who backed the government’s plans.

The three major party leaders and their parties have all signalled their support for an anti-life/anti-family approach to sex and relationships education (though the Conservative party's behaviour regarding the Labour government's bill has been inconsistent). Whichever party or parties form the new government, the danger is basically the same.

The government’s compulsory sex and relationships education (SRE) policies sought to impose their ideology regarding so-called sexual and reproductive health. This ideology included the confidential provision of abortion and birth control drugs and devices to children under the age of 16 without parental knowledge or consent, as Ed Balls, who was Secretary of State for schools, repeatedly made clear.

This ideology is embedded in the draft guidance on sex and relationships education published earlier this year by the Department of Children, Schools and Families, which is unaffected by the general election (and a change of government).

Parents must fight back against the policies promoting abortion and attacking young children’s natural reserve and innocence in sexual matters. Parents have a right and a duty to protect their children. They have been betrayed by MPs, and by Catholic and Anglican church leaders who have not told the truth, and who backed the government’s plans to make abortion and birth control drugs and devices accessible, on a completely confidential basis, to schoolchildren throughout England.

Parents have a right and duty to know if their young teenage children are receiving so-called sexual health procedures such as abortion, long-term birth control implants, the morning-after pill, or STD/HIV tests and treatment.

SPUC is therefore launching a parents’ right to know campaign and will be organizing regional seminars for headteachers and for parents on the threat posed by the draft guidance on sex and relationships education published earlier this year by the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

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