Friday 21 October 2011

Archbishop Nichols’s address to the RCOG was shameful

George Pinker, anti-life doctor
Last week Vincent Nichols, Catholic archbishop of Westminster, delivered the Inaugural Annual Sir George Pinker Memorial Address. The address was co-hosted by Wellbeing of Women and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). The RCOG is the professional body which (among other things) represents abortionists. Wellbeing of Women is the RCOG’s partner charity which (among other things) has funded research into “fetal screening techniques”, the use of ultrasound “to detect fetal abnormalities in early pregnancy" and “pre-natal screening being extended to Downs Syndrome”.

Westminster archdiocese’s website says that (my emphases in bold):
“The objectives of the Annual Address are to celebrate and remember the enormous contribution Sir George Pinker made to the medical profession ... Sir George Pinker, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, died in 2007 at the age of 83. He enjoyed a long and highly distinguished career...”
The archbishop's address started with:
"I never had the privilege of meeting Sir George Pinker ... I was particularly struck by [Roger Marwood's] description of what [Marwood] had learned from [Pinker] as a doctor: ‘I learnt from him always to keep the patient at the centre of any clinical situation – especially when teaching. He gave his patients his absolute individual attention and treated all women with the same dignity and respect whatever their circumstances...’ That moral principle – that all women – indeed every human being - should be treated with the same dignity and respect whatever their circumstances - is the basis of what I want to speak about this evening ... [T]he extraordinary advances in your own specialism, which George Pinker did so much to promote and sustain, have helped dramatically to reduce the risks [of maternal mortality or morbidity] in this and other developed countries."
Yet Sir George Pinker supported both abortion and IVF. His obituaries in 2007 make clear his support for IVF; for example in The Telegraph:
"In 1978 he gave his full backing to the world's first test-tube baby, Louise Brown. On Woman's Hour he said he thought there were no ethical problems and offered his whole-hearted support to the technique".
In 1990, Sir George, then the RCOG's president, wrote to an MP to support recommendations (subsequently passed) that abortion be allowed up to birth. Sir George also believed that:
"family planning is a human right and social need, and that it is unethical to deny any couple contraceptive advice"
"sterilisation ... unethical surely not."
The latter half of the archbishop's address said (among other things):
"[T]he Church starts from some very clear and unambiguous principles, founded on the utmost respect for human life from the time of its conception. Such a principle unfolds into all sorts of areas and in ways with which some of you will not agree ... I very much welcome the fact that, as your President told me, the College fully accommodates [the right of conscience] ...The prestige and leverage of this Royal College puts it in a unique and crucial position in driving forward efforts among professional associations around the world in saving and improving the lives of so many mothers and babies."
Firstly, the archbishop's reference to "some of you" is most curious. Members of the RCOG who concur with Catholic teaching must be as rare as hen's teeth. The RCOG's policy is that:
"abortion and contraception are an integral part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services."
Secondly, the RCOG does not "fully accommodate[ the right of conscience]". The RCOG's policy is that:
"Practitioners cannot claim exemption from giving advice or performing the preparatory steps to arrange an abortion where the request meets the legal requirements. Such steps include referral to another doctor, as appropriate."
Some quick, basic research by the archbishop's staff would have provided all this information about Sir George and the RCOG.

The RCOG can have no "prestige" in Catholic eyes: it presides over the killing of 200,000 unborn children every year. The archbishop's address was shameful.

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