Saturday, 6 March 2010

I am speaking today at the University of Gdansk

Today I am speaking at the University of Gdansk at a day conference organized by Human Life International, Poland. The meeting room is being provided free of charge by Solidarity, the first independent trade union in the former Soviet bloc, whose former leader, Lech Walesa (pictured), won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for the part he played in Poland's push for freedom.

I am speaking today about the threat to freedom posed by the British government's sex and relationships education proposals in the Children Schools and Families bill which has its second reading in the House of Lords on Monday. I urge my visitors in the UK - before reading any further - to read my post of yesterday to find out what you can do to lobby peers.

I am explaining to over 200 delegates from across Poland that the British government's legislative proposals are designed to extend confidential access to abortion for children in every state school in the country, including Catholic and all faith schools, and to make explicit sex education compulsory for little children from five years old.  I am telling them - with considerable shame as a Catholic myself - that the government's draconian legislation is being supported by the Catholic authorities in England, including Catholic bishops of England and Wales.

I am saying:
Britain is witnessing the fulfilment of the prophetic message of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's historic encyclical which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Speaking about the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse he wrote: "Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone."
I'm telling Polish delegates that it's vital that the pro-life movement in Europe studies the history and consequences of the overwhelming rejection of Humanae Vitae by Catholics in the West, following its publication in 1968 and the failure of Catholic leaders to teach the truth of Humanae Vitae. I say:
One of the consequences of this failure is an article published on the front page of Osservatore Romano in March last year, written by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. His article appears to defend a direct double abortion carried out on a little Brazilian girl. Whilst the issue has been clarified by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Fisichella insists that the clarification vindicates his original article. This is a major scandal for the Church and seems to create a dubium about abortion at one of the highest levels just as happened 40 years ago on contraception.
Finally, reflecting on the worldwide drive for abortion I am telling delegates that the Polish people's resistance to the culture of death and, historically, to totalitarian regimes, has inspired the world. I conclude:
But there is a new totalitarianism which persecutes the unborn, families and parents. It's a totalitarianism in which, to name but one country, Catholic bishops in England and Wales are involved in imposing.

Our crisis began with the rejection of Humanae Vitae. It will end with its acceptance and implementation.

The acceptance and implementation of the prophetic teaching of Humanae Vitae will only be possible if there is a radical change in the nomination policy of Bishops throughout Europe. The nominations of bishops who do not have a sustained and genuine track record of fidelity to the teachings of the Magisterium on the transmission of human life (Humanae Vitae) must stop. Such nominations must stop because the cost in babies' lives is simply too great. Humanae Vitae which has been re-stated in Pope Benedict's Caritas in Veritate must become central to your movement. You and your bishops will go on to lead the world provided you are united on the totality of the truth on human life and its transmission.
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Friday, 5 March 2010

Lobby Lords on sex education bill

The Children, Schools and Families bill received its third reading in the House of Commons on 23 February (see SPUC's alert of 22 February) and will have its second reading (first debate) in the House of Lords on Monday next, 8 March. It is then expected to go into Lords committee, possibly as soon as 22 March. It would be a huge blow against the right to life if such legislation were enacted, imposing pro-abortion sex education on all state schools.

Although the general election could be called within this timeframe, the bill could even then be rushed through in the clearing-up procedure by which bills can pass through several readings in a matter of minutes, prior to an election. It is therefore most important to raise objections to the bill as strongly as possible in the Lords. Please contact as many Lords as you can, asking them to oppose the bill. Could you do five, ten, twenty, or more Lords? You can find email addresses for Lords via http://www.spuc.org.uk/lobbying/email/email (Please SPUC know if you experience any problems using this list). You are welcome to email Lords either randomly or according to your choice. We recommend, however, focusing upon Conservative party Lords. The Conservative party both opposed the bill in the Commons and tabled amendments which sought to limit the harm of the bill's sex education proposals. We therefore need to ensure that the Conservative party does the same in the Lords. This is particularly important, considering that it seems highly unlikely that the bill could be rushed through without Conservative support. Please visit our list of Conservative (and cross-bench i.e independent) Lords who attend Parliament regularly. You can use this list in conjunction with our lists of Lords' emails.

It is important to point out to Lords that the government's amendment (passed in the Commons) which purports to safeguard faith schools will not prevent schools from having to impart information promoting abortion. Ed Balls, Children, Schools and Families secretary, said that such schools would still have to tell children how to access abortion. Whatever the impact of the amendment, it would not in any case provide any protection to non-faith schools – which the majority of children attend.

As well as emailing Lords, please write by post to:
  • Gordon Brown, the prime minister, urging him to withdraw the sex education proposals,  at 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA
  • David Cameron, the Conservative opposition leader, telling him of your strong objection to the proposals, at: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. You can also email him at david.cameron@conservatives.com
Please forward any replies you receive to SPUC by:
More information can be found in:
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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Bishops' election guide inadequate and relies on 'seamless garment' error

Here is SPUC's quick initial response to "Choosing the Common Good", the guide to the general election issued today by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. The guide:
  • is inadequate from pro-life perspective
  • fails to give voters clear guidance how to make the best choice when voting
  • relies on the classic “seamless garment” error (see below)
  • has some good insights into the plight of families
  • is good that it challenges politicians to act ethically.
Pro-life issues are first mentioned on page 15 of the bishops' guide. It says:
"defence of the immeasurable value of human life is part of a ‘seamless robe‘".
The 'seamless robe' or 'seamless garment' approach to pro-life issues has been debunked by, among others, Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the "supreme court" of the Catholic Church), who said in September:
“Whatever the good intention of using the image of a seamless garment to talk about the moral issues regarding human life, it has become identified with the proportionalist way of thinking in which, for example, acts of war, the use of the death penalty, procured abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and euthanasia are viewed as matters of equal moral weight. In other words, the image covers over the distinction between intrinsically evil acts and acts which are not evil in themselves but can become evil, if unjustly taken. The moral questions pertaining to the safeguarding and fostering of human life are all related to one another but they are not of the same weight. To use the image of the garment, they are not all of the same cloth. The use of the metaphor of the seamless garment, while it may have been intended to promote the culture of life, has, in fact, been used to justify the acceptance of acts essentially contrary to a culture of life for the sake of attaining some seeming good. Whatever good intention those who have developed the "seamless garment" argument may have had, it falsely places intrinsically evil acts, that is, acts which are always and everywhere morally wrong, on the same plane with acts which, according to prudent judgment, may not sufficiently safeguard human life.”
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Monday, 1 March 2010

SPUC comments on Angie Jackson's abortion tweets

Angie Jackson, an American pro-abortion activist, has broadcast her chemical abortion experience in graphic detail via Twitter.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media today:
"Women should be encouraged to share their abortion experiences, but those stories need to be shared in ways which respect the humanity of unborn children. It is clear from Angie Jackson's tweets that she knows very little about unborn children. One of her justifications for her abortion was her claim that the baby she aborted at four weeks after conception had no heart or brain, when in fact a baby's heart starts to beat at three weeks, and at four weeks his or her brain has human proportions. Angie Jackson and those supporting her need to educate themselves about unborn children, who are killed by abortion.

"Women's abortion experiences need to be shared also with sensitivity for women who regret their abortion experience. In contrast, Angie Jackson, who is a long-standing abortion rights activist, was intentionally provocative in many of her tweets and internet posts. Also, some observers have pointed out apparent contradictions and dubious claims in her different accounts of her abortion. Women deserve honesty about abortion, not half-truths from pro-abortion activists.

"Even according to its makers, RU-486, the chemical abortion method used by Angie Jackson, puts women through an appalling psychological ordeal. Women deserve better than abortion."
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SPUC cautiously welcomes reports that TV advertising proposals are shelved

Naturally I am pleased to read reports this evening that Britain's broadcast regulator BCAP (Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice) has shelved proposals for TV advertising by abortion agencies.

BCAP's statement suggests there was overwhelming opposition to TV abortion advertising in response to their consultation. My heartfelt thanks go out to all those concerned members of the public who submitted their views to the consultation and who responded to SPUC's petition.

However, a word of caution: I hope that BCAP's statement is not conditioned by the impending general election and the desire to conceal a decision in favour of abortion advertising on TV for which the government would be blamed - especially in view of David Cameron's comments last July when he said: 'Even when a power is delegated to a quango, the minister remains responsible.'"

Heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all those SPUC supporters who responded to last year's BCAP consultation.

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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Nurses opposed to euthanasia are invited to study day

Nurses Opposed to Euthansia is a group within the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Here are details of an upcoming Study Day in central London:

Nurses Opposed to Euthanasia
Multidisciplinary Study Day
What do we mean by care?

SATURDAY, 20 MARCH 2010
10.00 – 15.30hrs (Registration 09.30hrs)

Venue: St Vincent’s Centre (pictured), Carlisle Place, Victoria, London SW1P 1NL (Disability access)
Cost: £40.00 (Includes lunch and refreshments)

Medical, Nursing and Legal speakers
  • Compassion and Care in Nursing
  • The Liverpool Care Pathway: critical analysis
  • Assisted Suicide: DPP Policy
  • The Government’s End of Life Care Strategy: Open to misinterpretation?
  • Conscientious objection
Email theresalych@tiscali.co.uk for a registration form.

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