Saturday, 17 July 2010

Join our campaign against TV abortion ads


Pictured (right) is SPUC’s latest leaflet, explaining why TV adverts for abortion should be stopped.

If you are visiting this post from Britain, you might consider ordering this leaflet and distributing it as widely as possible over the summer months. It's designed to be easily read, and includes a special section addressing mothers-to-be (“Baby on board?”). In this way, it provides a powerful counter to the Marie Stopes TV advertising campaign.

The leaflet avoids naming the Marie Stopes abortion organisation (we don’t want to advertise them!), but many people will share our revulsion at the idea of TV ads for abortionists, and this leaflet tells them what they can do.

We need to distribute the flyer as widely as possible, so that we can ensure that expectant mothers get the help they need. Can you set an ambitious target – to cover your street or a number of streets in your neighbourhood? Can you enlist one or two others to help – or five or six – or a dozen?

The leaflets are designed for distribution to the general public, and they are of course free of charge.

You can distribute them:
• door-to-door
• at churches (with permission of the local clergy)
• at summer fetes, street stalls, car-boot sales, etc
• on the high street – near shopping centres, sports events, railway stations, etc.
(Please be aware that you should ask permission if distributing the leaflets on private property – such as a railway station, many shopping precincts and car-parks.)

TV abortion ads give offence to many people, not least those who have been affected by an abortion experience. They will also result in greater pressure for reluctant women to submit to abortions.

To order leaflets email me at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

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Thursday, 15 July 2010

Argentinian archbishop defends the culture of life through canon law

Catholic News Agency reports today that Archbishop Carlos Jose Nanez (pictured) of Cordoba has begun canonical proceedings against an Argentinean priest for refusing to retract the statements he publicly made supporting same-sex “marriage.”

This is an interesting and thought-provoking development those engaged in the struggle against the culture of death*. For example, in England and Wales, Archbishop Nichols and the Catholic bishops of England and Wales go along with the previous government's ideas and legislative plans on sex and relationships education - which involve giving access to schoolchildren under the age of consent to abortions, without their parents' knowledge or consent. The previous government's plans and ideas also included teaching that homosexuality is normal and harmless.

The example set by Archbishop Carlos Jose Nanez of Cordoba might be particularly important for parents who are seeking to exercise their fundamental rights and responsibilities to be the primary educators of their children.
 
*Pope John Paul II taught that it was an illusion to think that we could build a true culture of human life if we did not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.
 
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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Spanish abortion law is no law, says archbishop

A Spanish Catholic archbishop has today said that Spain's new abortion law cannot be followed. "This law is no law" says Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellín, the archbishop of Burgos (pictured). SPUC knows him well from his period in Rome as secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

LifeSiteNews.com tells us, in a report that should be read in full:
In a statement published on the bishops' Catholic Information Service, Gil Hellín laments the recent promulgation of the law, an "evil law which is directly opposed to right reason and the most elemental justice. Such is the law that establishes that the Spanish have the right to kill the unborn, as long as they do it before 14 weeks."

"Let us diagnose it with total clarity: this law is no law, although it is presented as such by some political and legislative bodies. And it isn't because no one has the right to eliminate an innocent. For that reason, it doesn't obligate. Even more, it demands a head-on opposition without reservation. Right reason cannot admit as a right the killing of an innocent person."

The new abortion law, which is being contested before Spain's Constitutional Tribunal, abolishes penalties for all abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. It also allows minors to obtain abortions without parental permission, although they must first inform their parents of their intention to do so.

The archbishop rejects arguments that claim the law is somehow valid because it was passed by the legislature and approved according to the required legal processes.

"It is a fallacy to affirm that this law has been approved by the majority of the Parliament and that this represents the majority of the citizens, or to say that if the Constitutional Tribunal decrees its conformity [with the Constitution] it would be disobedience to oppose it, and would deserve a punishment. The fallacy consists in attributing to politicians, judges, or citizens a right that they don't have, and no one has the right to legislate that an innocent can be killed."

"What society would continue if it declared that is the right of citizens to kill innocent persons by majority [vote]? In the best scenario it would be converted into a tyranny, against which upright persons would have to react, according to this advice by Gandhi: 'As soon as one understands that obeying unjust laws is contrary to his dignity as a man, no tyranny can dominate him.'"

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There's no scientific case for abortion, says new head of Pontifical Academy for Life

In a significant interview with Zenit, Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life dismissed scientific arguments in favour of abortion. Monsignor Carrasco, previously chancellor of the Academy, has succeeded Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella as its president. (Picture, right, shows Professor Jerome Lejeune, the founding president, and Madame Lejeune, with Pope John Paul II who set up the Academy.)

Asked by Zenit "How can the embryo be defended from the scientific point of view?" Monsignor Carrasco replied:
"The problem is not scientific. The embryo is very well defended from that point of view. The problem is essentially of a socio-political and ideological nature and here scientific arguments don't count. It is a realm in which what counts is power and if the one who has power has no desire to dialogue or, at least to reflect somewhat, then he doesn't have much to do with other guidelines."
This is fighting talk and it's good to hear. Monsignor Carrasco goes on to challenge politicians and political lobbyists to be tougher in their defence of the unborn:
" ... in the end what remains is the political weapon and the political weapon that we citizens have today is weak. Those who know politics can do much more and that is their very grave responsibility. Speaking in soccer language, lets say it's that they have the ball."
Monsignor Carrasco ridicules the concept of the right to abortion, saying:
"I don't know when we will arrive at the right to steal but behind these laws what exists is a relativistic logic".
And the new president of the Pontifical Academy for Life boldly suggests that defenders of the unborn should change the language of the debate. In a poignant passage in the Zenit interview he says:
"One of the problems we have with regard to the embryo is that it isn't seen. Instead of embryo we should speak of a child who is in the initial phase of development. Because we cannot see him, he is in a situation of tremendous danger, at tremendous risk."
Monsignor Carrasco announces in the interview that the Academy starts work this September studying post-abortion syndrome.
"The mission is not to demonstrate that this syndrome exists but to see what it is exactly and what it is like."
Again, this is forthright language. I pray that the work of the Academy on post-abortion syndrome will help women and men worldwide and provide an invaluable new resource to bodies like Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH) launched earlier this year in Britain.

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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Northern Ireland health dept withdraws flawed abortion guidance

The withdrawal of flawed guidance on abortion by Northern Ireland's health department is welcome.

In a letter to Mr Jim Wells, chairman of the Northern Ireland Assembly's health committee, the department has announced that it has withdrawn its interim guidance on abortion. The department also announced that it was launching a public consultation on the guidance.

Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland told the media today:
"We are very pleased that the health minister has withdrawn the interim guidance. This was the aim of the SPUC's application for a judicial review, due to be heard in September. The health minister has done the sensible thing by withdrawing the guidance. Otherwise he would have been ordered by the courts for a second time to withdraw it.

"When we challenged the original guidance in the High Court last year, the judge rejected a request from the department that it should be allowed to withdraw only the sections on counselling and conscientious objection. Health officials simply ignored this ruling. They quickly re-published the guidance with those sections left out. Otherwise the document was unchanged.

"Both the information given to women and the rights of medical personnel are central to clinical practice. We believe that any guidance which says nothing about these issues is fundamentally flawed, and should never have been published. The department finally seems to have accepted that.

"Until now, the health department has acted in a high-handed and belligerent manner regarding the guidance. The department appeared determined to pursue its own agenda, rather than apply the law. We will be working closely with pro-life members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and its health committee to ensure that the department's consultation does not result in the rights of women, unborn children or the medical profession being undermined."
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Senator Harris challenges opponents of Ireland's Civil Partnership bill to become martyrs

Eoghan Harris (pictured) is a member of the Irish Senate, a journalist and a columnist. He sets the tone for media rejoicing over Ireland's Civil Partnership bill, approved last week by both houses of the Irish parliament. (Patrick Buckley, of European Life Network, provides a useful summary of what happened in the Irish Senate).

When enacted the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitation Bill 2009 will establish the status of civil partners, enable same sex couples to register their civil partnership, confer on them a range of rights and duties consequent on registration including maintenance, shared home, succession and pensions rights.

Eoghan Harris wrote in the Sunday Independent:
"Civil partnership is a crucial stepping stone to gay marriage ... some of the speeches by opponents of the bill began to grate badly in three respects. First, I found it hard to stomach some of the spoof about private conscience. Fine, if it meant the speakers' own personal conscience. Not so fine if they were simply renting their conscience from the Christian churches. Why? Because while Jesus Christ was casual about sexual peccadilloes, his disciples, beginning with Paul, had an historically deranged view of human sexuality which led to atrocities ranging from the burning of witches to child abuse by Catholic clerics."
My first reaction, on reading Senator Harris's reflections on Jesus Christ's and St Paul's teaching on human sexuality, was to laugh: but then I realised he wasn't joking.

Donning a straight face, therefore, I ask Senator Harris two questions:
  • To what particular passage in the Gospel are you referring when you say Jesus was "casual about sexual peccadilloes"?
  • Have your profound reflections on St Paul on the matter of human sexuality included a critical reading of Pope John Paul II's 129 Wednesday audiences known as Theology of the Body - given between the years 1979 and 1984? If not, what Pauline scholarship did your reading include?
Senator Eoghan Harris continues:
"Second, I could not accept the argument that civil servants could refuse to register a civil partnership on grounds of conscience. Surely private conscience should concern major moral issues of life and death and not the peculiar convictions of civil servants on sexual matters? And how could a pluralist Republic allow civil servants to pick and choose between its laws?"
To which one might respond: Perhaps the "peculiar convictions" of the civil servants in question include a determination to abide by the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which obliges States to protect the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman. As the distinguished bioethicist and lawyer William L. Saunders has pointed out:
"Article 16 [of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights] declares: 'The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.' Thus, article 16 recognizes the common sense fact, sometimes overlooked by governments and international organizations, that the family exists prior to the state, is the foundation of the state, and that the state is obligated to protect it.

"Article 16 goes further. It recognizes the right of a man and woman to marry and found a family. In other words, it recognizes that the family is founded ... upon marriage. We can all be thankful the Declaration recognized these fundamental truths."
It is, therefore, only natural that good Irish citizens will want to oppose by conscientious objection Ireland's Civil Partnership Bill once it becomes law, if on no other basis than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

And, in addition to being inspired by the UDHR, there might be Irish citizens who agree with Pope Benedict that legislation which is "a crucial stepping stone to gay marriage" will tend towards "man's destruction". Such citizens may well regard it like a moral issue of "life and death" rather than "private conscience". Pope Benedict said in his 2008 end of year address to the Roman Curia:
"Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian Creed, the Church cannot and should not limit itself to transmitting to its faithful only the message of salvation. She has a responsibility for Creation, and it should validate this responsibility in public.

"In so doing, it should defend not just the earth, water and air as gifts of Creation that belong to everyone. She should also protect man from destroying himself.

"It is necessary to have something like an ecology of man, understood in the right sense. It is not outdated metaphysics when the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this natural order be respected.

"This has to do with faith in the Creator and listening to the language of creation, which, if disregarded, would be man's self-destruction and therefore a destruction of God's work itself.

"That which has come to be expressed and understood with the term 'gender' effectively results in man's self-emancipation from Creation (nature) and from the Creator. Man wants to do everything by himself and to decide always and exclusively about anything that concerns him personally. But this is to live against truth, to live against the Spirit Creator.

"The tropical rain forests deserve our protection, yes, but man does not deserve it less as a Creature of the Spirit himself, in whom is inscribed a message that does not mean a contradiction of human freedom but its condition.

"The great theologians of Scholasticism described matrimony - which is the lifelong bond between a man and a woman - as a sacrament of Creation, that the Creator himself instituted, and that Christ, without changing the message of Creation, welcomed in the story of his alliance with men.

"Part of the announcement that the Church should bring to men is a testimonial for the Spirit Creator present in all of nature, but specially in the nature of man, who was created in the image of God."
(I thank Teresa Benedetta of the Papa Ratzi forum for the translation and the Hermeneutic of Continuity for drawing attention to this translation at the time.)

Senator Harris goes on to say:
"Finally, if a civil servant really had a crisis of conscience about civil partnership surely Dr Johnson's adage applied? 'Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.'"
From what I know of Ireland and the Irish, and whatever Senator Harris means by martyrdom, there will be Irish citizens willing to meet his chilling challenge. Indeed, I pray to God, for the future of the family and for the culture of life*, that there will be.

* Pope John Paul II taught that it was an illusion to think that we could build a true culture of human life if we did not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection. However, with the bishops of England and Wales lending its support to legislation that obliges Catholic schools to provide information on contraception and abortion, is it not completely unrealistic to expect that Catholic sexual morality will be taught in these schools?



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Monday, 12 July 2010

Book now for SPUC Evangelicals conference, 17 to 19 September

This year, in place of the SPUC annual national conference, SPUC Evangelicals is organising a weekend conference, 17-19 September, at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire. It promises to be a most exciting and interesting weekend > Programme.

Although there will be a full evangelical input into the conference, the conference is open to people of any denomination, religion or none. As with all SPUC conferences, it is the pro-life philosophy which knits us together, and that philosophy will be the basis of all the talks and sessions.

SPUC is subsidising the conference, and it is therefore possible to offer places at a special discounted rate. The normal adult rate is £120, but if you book before 20 August a rate of £100 is available. This special discounted rate includes all meals, accommodation and conference fees.

Please:
  • reserve your place now > Booking form
  • let your evangelical friends know about the conference.
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Sunday, 11 July 2010

Early feminists campaigned for children and other vulnerable individuals

Ann Farmer, a pro-life feminist and author, sent me the following comment on Antonia Senior's honest pro-abortion article in The Times on which I commented last week:
"Antonia Senior is commendably frank in admitting that abortion takes a human life, but in claiming that abortion ('women's control of their fertility') is the lesser evil, she is implying that having a child is the greater evil. No doubt she would argue that the greater evil in her view would be a woman having a child she did not want - but where does this approach leave the unwanted child? It is surely the case that there are many infertile couples who would welcome the chance to give a home to an unwanted child. But even if this were not so, surely being unwanted should not be a reason for being killed? If that is indeed the case, then nobody is safe. If this is a feminist stance, it should be remembered that the early feminists campaigned not just for women but for children and other vulnerable individuals - they did not use their oppressed status to demand the right to oppress those even more vulnerable. In view of the fact that many abortions are carried out because pregnant women lack the support of the child's father, or are even pressured or coerced into abortion, Senior's stance would put women on the side of the oppressor. Before legalisation, at least such women had the protection of the law against being pushed into abortion - now the State sanctions abuse of both women and unborn babies."
Ann Farmer's publications include By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control and the Abortion Campaign, The Language of Life: Christians facing the abortion challenge  and Prophets and Priests, The Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement

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