Saturday, 5 March 2011

Eileen Clarke is a great sign of hope for the disabled

I wish to pay tribute to Eileen Clarke (pictured) from Melton Mobwbray, one of SPUC's most indefatigable fundraisers. Do read this moving account sent to me by Frances Levett, another great SPUC stalwart from Melton:
"Eileen is a disabled widow who lives in council sheltered housing. She has multiple disabilities, including diabetes and arthritis, and her mobility problems mean that she needs a pavement vehicle to help her get about. Despite this, she is an outstanding fund-raiser for SPUC. She is the first to arrive at our annual street collection, before 8.30 am, and she spends the entire day sitting with a collecting box. She always has the highest amount in her box and over the years she has raised £732.96 in this way. She also helps at every market stall and car boot sale we run, especially at the Melton Show, a very large event. She usually stays for the whole day, and has frequently unpacked huge amounts of bric-a-brac, enough to daunt the stoutest heart! In addition, she has helped to man our float in the carnival parade, but her real strength lies in fund-raising. She has an infectious cheerfulness that seems to lead people to want to give. I have watched her at the street collection. She will shout, 'Hello darling! Got any spare change?' and the person starts to smile and feel in his pocket straight away."
What I think is particularly wonderful about Eileen is that she is a disabled person helping to protect other disabled persons, from the threats of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and destructive embryo research. It's because of incredible supporters such as Eileen that SPUC has survived and grown over the past 43 years. As Jill Stanek, the leading American pro-life blogger, pointed out this week, the pro-abortion movement simply doesn't have the same level of personal committment of the pro-life movement. So thank you, Eileen, for being such a great sign of hope for the unborn, the sick, the elderly and the disabled.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Friday, 4 March 2011

Pope Benedict has ordered bishops to support parents' role as "first educators of their children"

Yesterday Pope Benedict addressed a group of Filipino bishops in Rome. The Vatican Information Service (VIS) reported [my emphases in bold]:
"'The deep personal piety of your people needs to be nourished and supported by a profound understanding of and appreciation for the teachings of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Indeed, these elements are required in order for the human heart to give its full and proper response to God', he said.

The Holy Father likewise called on the bishops not to fail to include 'outreach to families' in their catechesis, 'with particular care for parents in their role as the first educators of their children in the faith.'"
As I noted in my blog of 7 February, the Vaughan Parents' Action Group (VPAG) has exposed the failure of Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, to provide this papally-ordered care:
"The VPAG notes that, in his 85 word statement, the Archbishop does not even mention the word “parents” ... The Church teaches that parents are “the primary and principal educators” (Gravissimum Educationis, 3) of their children, not the Diocese, and not the Bishop. It is their role to support parents in that task..."
SPUC is not going to leave parents without the support they need in their primary and principal role of protecting children against anti-life/anti-family school-based sex education (which is backed by Archbishop Nichols and the Catholic Educations Service (CES)). We have just published a new campaign bulletin on sex and relationships education (SRE) to inform, support and engage parents in the fight against the culture of death which threatens all children, born and unborn. Do read it today, order copies and spread the word.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Eugenics is an enduring part of fallen human nature, says leading international bioethicist

Today I am with clergy in London who are being addressed by Fr John Fleming, SPUC's bioethical consultant, as part of the latest series of clergy information days organised by SPUC up and down the country. Fr Fleming's presentation is entitled: "Eugenics - an enduring part of  fallen human nature". His full presentation can be read here on the SPUC website, but below is an executive summary:
From very early on in human society, those human beings judged to be “unworthy of life” have been at great risk of being marginalized and even killed by mainstream society.

Eugenics is expressed in two forms:
  1. Positive eugenics which encourages “good” parents to have more children
  2. Negative eugenics which discourages or coerces the “unfit” from reproducing their own “kind”.
Plato encouraged both forms of eugenics in order to build a state which was better capable of defending itself against the enemy, better able to contribute intellectually and better able to participate sensibly in the affairs of the state.

Christianity was opposed to practices such as the jettisoning of ‘weak’ children by their parents.  These babies were collected by Christians and cared for by them.  The Christian faith was the key factor in the development of western culture which saw an end to the lawful practices of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.

Since the Enlightenment and especially from the time of Charles Darwin in the nineteenth century there has been an increased interest in the practices of eugenics.  Social Darwinism influenced many intellectuals in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The Nazi eugenics programme began quickly because the German medical profession had already been radicalised by notions of “racial hygiene” and the desirability of ridding society of “useless eaters”.  The racist aspect of Nazi eugenics was inspired by other factors.

It was also the case that intellectuals in the ‘civilised’ and ‘democratic’ countries were also attracted to eugenics.  These intellectuals included people like Bertrand Russell, Julian Huxley, and a whole host of others. Indeed it is fair to say that eugenicism has been driven in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by intellectuals and their allies in the mass media.

Eugenic abortion is predicated on the idea that there are some human lives which are not worthy to be lived. It is now widely accepted that there are people whose lives are so blighted by old age, sickness, or disability that they would be better off dead. This is the principle that lies behind the current drive for legalised euthanasia.

Even some of those who would describe themselves as ‘pro-life’, nevertheless support eugenic abortion and the right of the medical profession to discontinue food and fluids to those patients reckoned to be living useless and burdensome lives.

While eugenicism bites deep into the psychology of many human beings, it has often been prevented from expressing itself by social standards. Those standards are now being increasingly undermined such that the eugenic impulse to rid the world of social and economically burdensome people has gained an almost unstoppable momentum.
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Please respond today to minister's speech to pro-abortion conference

Anne Milton MP (pictured), the minister for public health, has been speaking today at a conference organised by Brook, one of Britain's leading abortion referral organisations. Brook specialises in advising young people - including those under 16 - about abortion, sex, STIs etc. This morning Mrs Milton addressed Brook's conference on the subject of sex and relationships education (SRE), or, as she wants to re-name it, "RSE" (relationships and sex education). Brook gave a live summary of Mrs Milton's speech via Twitter - please see Brook's tweets below.

We need to challenge Mrs Milton's ideas, particularly her attemcpt to stop health officials and fellow politicians from advising children to say "no" to sex. Please email Mrs Milton at anne.milton.mp@parliament.uk (and copy your message to your own MP) with one or more of the following questions (and any of your own):
  • Do you say that children must NOT be told that it is best to reserve sex for a permanent, committed relationship?
  • Do you not agree that abstinence plus monogamy is the safest behaviour for avoiding HIV and other STIs?
  • Do you not agree that avoiding premarital teenage sex will help avoid the social exclusion of single unsupported young mothers?
  • Does she want to see more exploitation of vulnerable young women?
You can send a separate copy of your email to Mrs Milton to your own MP via http://www.spuc.org.uk/mps

Brook's tweets @BrookCharity of Anne Milton's speech to the Brook conference, 3 March 2011:
  • Ann[e] Milton begins by thanking each volunteer by name - smart woman! Her perspective is as a nurse, a mother and politician
  • "We must make sure yp [young people] are informed, have the info they need to make safer choices" Ann[e] Milton MP
  • Bolstering self esteem as important as education, services etc. Government's role is to provide the right framework.
  • Must take action across all government departments, locally and nationally. Will include a range of public health strategies
  • Consultation on sexual health strategy, including abortion, open til mid March - Ann[e] Milton encourages all to take part.
  • No young person should feel pressured into behaviours they are not ready for. Good quality SRE is vital. Ann[e] Milton MP
  • Ann[e] Milton's mission is to make it RSE because the Relationship part gets lost. Current SRE not good enough.
  • Julie Bentley @fpacharity asks AM [Anne Milton] commit to statutory SRE. Answer is no "regulation & compulsion is a way of ministers covering their arses" [sic]
  • Ann[e] Milton wants to see better SRE without it becoming statutory. Difficult to know how to do that without the framework.
  • Q: How do we drive the Sex Positive msg without strong commitment from Gov? A: leadership is important & we must talk more
  • Ann[e] Milton says the 'Just say no' msg will not happen on her watch & we should contact her if we hear politicians say it.
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Jane Russell rejected the celebrity world's support for abortion

Jane Russell, the Hollywood film star of the 1940s and 50s, has died aged 89. Best-known for her beauty, her opposition to abortion is also widely noted in today's obituaries. As a 19-year old, she resorted to an illegal abortion, which almost killed her and which left her infertile. She's pictured (right) with Marilyn Monroe (whom it is claimed was also left infertile by abortion). Rather than conclude from the experience that abortion should be legalised, she rejected abortion, saying:
"People should never, ever have an abortion. Don't talk to me about it being a woman's right to choose what she does with her own body. The choice is between life and death."
She started an organisation called WAIF (World Adoption International Fund) to help people adopt unwanted children from overseas, and adopted three children herself.

Her family has asked that, instead of flowers, mourners send donations to her local pro-life crisis pregnancy centre.

Jane Russell is not the only celebrity to have stuck out her neck by making comments in support of unborn children or the dignity of motherhood, for example:
  • Charlton Heston, a contemporary of Jane Russell, gave the introduction to Eclipse of Reason (1986), the second of the late Dr Bernard Nathanson's documentaries on the reality of abortion
  • Jennifer O'Neill, a Hollywood actress from the 1970s onwards, now speaks out about her abortion experience on behalf of the Silent No More campaign, supported in the UK by SPUC.
  • Justin Bieber, the 17 year-old pop star, last month said that he doesn't "believe in abortion" because "It's like killing a baby". He has been attacked for being "too young" to have opinions on abortion!
  • Natalie Portman, who won best actress in this week's Oscars, has been attacked for describing her motherhood as "the most important role of my life". She also described pregnancy as "a miracle" giving meaning and importance amidst superficiality.
So let's pray that more people in the entertainment industry will be encouraged to speak out in support of life and family and not discouraged by attacks from the culture of death.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Pope Benedict is calling everyone to hear the voice of conscience on abortion

On Saturday Pope Benedict addressed the annual meeting of the Pontifical Academy for Life in Rome. Fr John Fleming, a corresponding member of the academy and SPUC's bioethical consultant, participated in the meeting. Fr Fleming is currently in the UK addressing meetings of clergy on pro-life issues.

Pope Benedict told the academy:
"Through moral conscience God speaks to each of us, inviting us to defend human life at all times..."
In recent years SPUC has increasingly focused upon the importance of conscientious objection to abortion and the duty of pro-lifers to defend the right to conscientious objection. SPUC helped secure a major victory on conscientious objection in a debate at the Council of Europe in October.

The Holy Father also said that the question of post-abortion syndrome reveals:
"the irrepressible voice of moral conscience"
later adding that:
"[I]t is important ... to ensure that the necessary help is not lacking for women who, having unfortunately already chosen the path of abortion, are now experiencing all its moral and existential consequences. There are initiatives, at a diocesan level or by individual volunteer organisations, which offer psychological and spiritual support for a full recovery. The solidarity of the Christian community must not abandon this kind of shared responsibility".
SPUC has always placed high importance on outreach to post-abortive women, through the foundation of its sister organisation ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline), formerly BVA (British Victims of Abortion).

The Pope went on address the role of doctors:
"Doctors must not fail in their serious duty to ensure that women's consciences are not tricked into believing that abortion will resolve family, economic and social difficulties, or the health problems of their child ... [D]octors are called to show particular fortitude in continuing to affirm that abortion resolves nothing; rather it kills the child, destroys the woman and blinds the conscience of the child's father, often devastating family life."
SPUC has launched an outreach to doctors through its "Abortion - your right to know" leaflet campaign, through which doctors are given the full facts about abortion to share with their pregnant patients. You can listen to a debate about this featuring Paul Tully of SPUC on BBC Radio 4's PM programme yesterday (the abortion debate starts 43 mins into the programme).

SPUC is answering Pope Benedict's call to be fully and pro-actively pro-life, serving all those affected by abortion in society and society as a whole. Please help SPUC continue to answer Pope Benedict's call by joining, donating and/or leaving a legacy to SPUC

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Monday, 28 February 2011

The RCOG's abortion draft guidelines are grossly inept

SPUC has been responding to the draft guidelines on abortion by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), which I blogged on 14 February.

Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, told the media earlier today:
"The RCOG draft guidelines play down the physical and psychological side-effects of abortion, discounting the real and serious damage that abortion can cause. Ireland, where abortion is banned, scores the world's best record in maternal health year after year. Chile, where abortion is also banned, has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America.

"The guidelines are very badly drafted, as they have totally confused Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and totally misunderstood the legal positions in both jurisdictions. This is grossly inept, as such misinformation could be extremely dangerous if followed.

Other black marks in the draft guidelines include:
  • the false claim that the right of conscientious objection to abortion only applies to doctors (line 1044) or only to doctors and nurses (line 1084) - when it applies to any person called upon to participate in an abortion
  • the contemplation of enforced abortions on some 16-17 year-olds (1260 - 1262)
  • failing to require that women be informed of alternatives to abortion and how to obtain such help (1438)
  • the failure to suggest that doctors should be wary of situations where women seek abortions on unlawful grounds (e.g. for social sex selection), or where women seek abortion under duress (1494).
"The RCOG has long since been an extension of the pro-abortion lobby. Its draft guidelines reflect that institutional bias and should therefore be binned."
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Please support the 40 Days for Life London campaign

40 Days for Life is an international pro-life campaign which began in the US and which has now spread to the UK. You can read more about 40 Days for Life in my blog of 3 September. The next 40 Days for Life campaign in London begins on 9 March. Margaret Cuthill of SPUC's sister organisation ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline) spoke at the campaign's pre-launch meeting on Wednesday evening in London (pictured). You can read more about the London campaign in a PowerPoint presentation and on its blog.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy