Saturday, 5 November 2011

May peaceful pro-life witness outside abortion clinics spread like wildfire throughout our land

An all-night vigil on Friday evening at one of Britain's leading abortion clinics, led by Robert Colquhoun and the 40 days for life team, brings their courageous, life-saving, project to its final weekend.

Robert is pictured in the picture, below right, addressing us as the night began.

This vigil has drawn many pro-life groups together in a joint venture involving witness to the sanctity of human life, compassionate counselling for mothers-to-be and prayer.

It has won the support of church leaders - including Bishop Hopes, auxiliary Catholic bishop of Westminster, in west London, and Father Paschal Ryan, an episcopal vicar in central and east London in the archdiocese of Westminster, who led the closing prayers at Friday night's vigil. I also spotted at the vigil last night Father Alexander Sherbrooke, parish priest at St. Patrick's, Soho Square.

It won the support of Good Counsel Network and Helpers of God's Precious Infants - themselves tireless, all-year-round, witnesses, counsellors, and spiritual intercessors outside abortion clinics in London and elsewhere in the UK. And it won the support of SPUC.

Most important of all, lives have been changed and lives have been saved - an eternal consequence of the fantastic effort and leadership shown by this young inspiring team.

By harnessing the support of church leaders to their efforts, they are harnessing the support of officials who can completely transform the pro-life battle. I believe that the episcopal charism, in particular the power of teaching unchanging the truths guarded, but not owned by the church, such as the truth about the value and inviolability of human life, has the power completely to change the society in which we live.

100 young people last night were inspired by the presence of Fr Ryan, episcopal vicar in the archdiocese of Westminster, and by the strong support of Bishop Alan Hopes, who's made his backing very clear.

40 days for life, in a statement yesterday, put it like this:
"A great turn out for our vigil of 80-100 people came between 7pm-830pm last night, a good number staying all night! It was very likely there were two turnarounds on Friday thanks to some incredible counselling."
Thank you Bishop Hopes. Thank you Fr Ryan. And thanks to all who participated in this witness and in similar witnesses elsewhere in London and throughout the UK. With the help of God, and with wise human and spiritual leadership, may pro-life witness outside abortion clinics spread like wildfire throughout our land.

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Read the record of Ireland's president-elect on life and family

SPUC's Irish colleagues have kindly sent me their information on Michael D. Higgins, Ireland's president-elect. Do read the information below. You will soon see what a mistake the Irish people made by not electing a pro-life/pro-family candidate like Dana Rosemary Scallon. Our Lady of Knock and St Patrick, pray for Ireland!

Background

Michael D. Higgins is a veteran politician of the Irish Labour party, which is the junior partner in Ireland's coalition government, with Fine Gael the senior partner. Eamon Gilmore, the Labour party's leader, is reported to have said (on RTÉ's News at One) that the party wants to introduce abortion to Ireland based on the British model. The Labour/Fine Gael 'Programme for Government' includes commitments to:
  • "establish an expert group to address th[e] issue [of abortion]"
  • "legislate to clarify the law surrounding assisted human reproduction including the law relating [to] parental relationships arising from assisted human reproductiion"
  • "legislate to regulate stem cell research"
  • "legislate to change the [sic] organ donation to an opt-out system for organ transplantation"
  • hold a constitutional convention to consider (among other things) "same-sex marriage"
  • "amend tax and social welfare law in respect of civil partnerships" and "ensure that trans-gender people will have legal recognition".
Record

In 1983 Mr Higgins spoke in the Seanad (Senate) against the pro-life amendment to the Constitution.

Prior to this year's (2011) president election, Mr Higgins was asked by pro-life groups about his position on the right to life of the unborn child. He replied:
"I think that in relation to the woman she is entitled to protect her health, and equally we have to have rights for the foetus. As President, I respect the view of the Supreme Court, I respect the role of the legislature, if legislation comes before me I would certainly not be imposing any views of my own in relation to it. It wouldn't be appropriate."
Mr Higgins' reply implies that he will sign any legislation and accept any Supreme Court decision allowing for abortion or destructive embryo research, despite Ireland's pro-life Constitution.

Family and Life, an Irish pro-life group, has said:
"Michael D. Higgins (Labour) has refused to clarify his position on abortion, despite calls to do so in the wake of Dana's comments that Mr. Higgins was 'pro-abortion'. He is also in favour of same-sex marriage and adoption by homosexual couples. While he was a member of the Dáil, Mr. Higgins called on the then Fianna Fáil-led government to introduce abortion in 2001."
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Friday, 4 November 2011

Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Fri 4 Nov

New pro-life film
Top stories:

500 cases of abuse and neglect of elderly reported every week says UK health service
The National Health Service (NHS) has for the first time published statistics of the abuse and neglect of the elderly. The figures reveal that almost 500 cases of such abuse and neglect are reported every week. Incidents include denial of food and medication. [Mail, 3 November] http://goo.gl/G0rwp

Argentina lower house drops bill to extend abortion
The lower house of Congress in Argentina has dropped a bill to extend abortion. Approval by a committee, necessary for the bill to progress, was not obtained. Cynthia Hotton, a deputy in the congress who opposed the bill, said: "I reaffirm my commitment in defence of the life of the child from conception and to natural death." [LifeNews.com, 3 November] http://goo.gl/NeFfE

Other stories:

Abortion
Embryology
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Join tonight’s pro-life vigil if you can

Pro-lifers praying at Bedford Square
40 Days for Life London has sent out the following email:
"This evening we have an all night vigil for life. Unfortunately we have been informed by Bishop Hopes today that due to unforseen circumstances he is unable to make the vigil, but he is keen to come at another date. We will continue our prayers and vigil as usual. Please come and join the vigil for our last 3 days of 2011!"
The details of this evening's vigil are:
  • Location: north-west corner of Bedford Square, London WC1B 3HP
  • Time: 7pm to 8pm.
I do hope that everyone who was intending to go along to support Bishop Hopes in his witness for unborn children and their mothers will make an even greater effort to be present.

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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Eugenics rules in Europe, three generations after Nazism

Doris Stump
Daniel Blackman, one of SPUC's researchers, has sent me his report (below) on a recent debate in the Parliamentary Assmembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the subject of sex selection (see SPUC's alert of 28 September). We can see that eugenics now rules in Europe, three generations after the defeat of the Nazi regime: 
"The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recently passed resolution 1829 (2011) “Prenatal Sex selection”, which aims to outlaw the practice of prenatal and preimplanation genetic screening to determine the sex of the child with a view to terminating his or her life. The resolution will be forwarded to the Committee of Ministers, representing the PACE member-states. The resolution was put forward by Doris Stump, a Swiss socialist . The issue of sex-selective abortion and embryo destruction received particular criticism in the context of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, who are members of PACE. The resolution calls on member-states to introduce legislation and clinical guidelines that prohibit sex-selective abortion and embryo destruction.

However, the resolution contains strongly eugenic clauses that discriminate against the disabled. It states that sex-selective abortion should be prohibited:
“unless justified for the prevention of serious sex-linked genetic diseases”
and
“except when it is justified to avoid a serious hereditary disease”.
An example is that of Turner’s syndrome which almost exclusively affects females. It is not life-threatening, and can be managed in a way that allows girls and women to lead fulfilled lives. In Britain at least 2,290 babies were aborted on disability grounds in 2010. The recommendation attached to the resolution cites a eugenic and discriminatory section of the Oviedo Convention on Biomedicine along the same lines. Luca Volonte, leader of the European People's Party (EPP), put forward an amendment to have one of these eugenic clauses removed, arguing that prenatal sex selection would still discriminate against girls if they were found to have a genetic disorder. The amendment was rejected, revealing that the support for abortion was greater than the support for human rights.

The debate was mistakenly framed within the context of gender equality, rather than human rights. Within that context abortion was defended as a woman’s right. As the rapporteur Doris Stump said:
“It is difficult because it touches on an area that we do not want to question: the right to have an abortion in countries where they have that. At the same time, everyone accepts that there is a problem in our societies with sex selection, or we could have a problem if we go on like this.”
The gender equality framework and eugenic clause came under criticism from Mr Rochebloine, a French EPP delegate :
“It was claimed that sex selection had its roots in cultural sex discrimination, including violence against women. The absurdity of such claims would became obvious if one turned the issue around and tried to promote female births. Men and women should be respected for their individual qualities Prenatal selection should be opposed, whether to select the sex of a baby or to avoid giving birth to a handicapped child. Condemnation of the practice should be based on an absolute conviction of children’s right to be born. Respect for that principle was the source of social cohesion and moral force.”
Mr. Vareikis, a delegate from Lithuania, rightly brought attention the issue of family as the context for children, not IVF procedures. Children must be conceived and raised in the family based on one man and one woman in marriage. A child should not become the property of the pregnant mother who can dispose of the child. He said:
"We have to change our spirit and our understanding of what the family is. The solution lies in the attitude to family life. Family is not for GDP creation: it is not for the production of boys or members of the work force. Family, as we say, is the soul of society, and we have no statistical proof that families with more boys are happier than families with more girls. It is a stupid attitude to think that families are happier with more boys. We have to have – I am sorry, I am very romantic – more children, more natural family planning, more natural love, more natural sex. We would be happy without any reports about how to ban sex selection."
The resolution, including its eugenic clauses, was passed 81 in favour, 3 against, and 3 abstaining. The recommendation, which carries the resolution to the Committee of Ministers, was passed 82 in favour, 3 against, and 3 abstaining. Luca Volonte was one of the three delegates to vote against the recommendation.
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Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Thu 3 Nov

Sir John Williams and his surgeon's knife
Top stories:

New evidence may confirm that abortionist was Jack the Ripper
New evidence has emerged which may identify an abortionist as Jack the Ripper, the notorious serial killer of women in Victorian London. A knife and samples of uterine tissue belonging to Sir John Williams, a famous surgeon who performed abortions, have been discovered by one of his relatives. Sir John was recorded to have had performed an abortion on one of the Ripper's victims. [Telegraph, 3 November] http://goo.gl/afayz

40% of Austrians oppose IVF for single women and lesbians couples
40% of Austrians oppose IVF for single women and lesbians couples, suggests a new survey. The survey follows proposals by Alois Stöger, Austria's health minister. In August Mr Stöger had also proposed an expansion of abortion services. [Austrian Times, 2 November] http://goo.gl/o4RsT

UK government to allow homosexual partnership ceremonies at places of worship
The British government is reported to have approved a proposal to allow civil partnership ceremonies to be conducted at places of worship. Civil partnerships in English law are legally exclusive to same-sex couples and in practice are used only by homosexual couples; and have already been given many of the "rights belonging to marriage" in English law. [Telegraph, 1 November] http://goo.gl/3ML9d John Smeaton, SPUC director, called upon people to confront the Cameron government’s homosexual agenda while they can. [John Smeaton, 2 November] http://goo.gl/JWHHG

Other stories:

Abortion
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

We must confront the Cameron government’s homosexual agenda while we can

St John Chrysostom confronted the Empress Eudoxia
The Telegraph reports today that the government has approved the proposal to allow civil partnership ceremonies to be conducted at places of worship. Readers will recall that civil partnerships in English law are legally exclusive to same-sex couples and in practice are used only by homosexual* couples; and have already been given many of the "rights belonging to marriage" in English law. 

It would be entirely wrong for Catholics to fail to oppose the celebration of civil partnerships by denominations other than the Catholic Church (or as present by the civil authorities), on the grounds thast such ceremonies are unlikely to be allowed in Catholic churches. The homosexual lifestyle violates the natural moral law; and the natural moral law binds everyone. It is an ethical matter, not just a religious one. By analogy, here is what the present Pope said in 1987 (when Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) regarding embryo research (my emphases in bold):
"The inviolable right to life of every innocent human individual and the rights of the family and of the institution of marriage constitute fundamental moral values, because they concern the natural condition and integral vocation of the human person; at the same time they are constitutive elements of civil society and its order. For this reason the new technological possibilities which have opened up in the field of biomedicine require the intervention of the political authorities and of the legislator, since an uncontrolled application of such techniques could lead to unforeseeable and damaging consequences for civil society. Recourse to the conscience of each individual and to the self-regulation of researchers cannot be sufficient for ensuring respect for personal rights and public order."
By analogy with the homosexual lifestyle, the government has a duty to forbid civil partnerships - and we must ensure that the government fulfils that duty.

Yes, I am all too aware of how rapidly the homosexual agenda is advancing:
  • 3 October: the Home Office announces that passports will now have the option of naming same-sex couples as the passport holder's parents
  • 10 October: Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, says the government will cut overseas aid to governments which don't respect so-called 'gay rights'
  • 23 October: a Christian housing manager is demoted by his employer for opposing gay marriage in a comment on his personal Facebook profile
  • 24 October: Tesco announces that it is now a major sponsor of the London Gay Pride festival
  • 27 October: the Commonwealth's secretary-general and the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group endorses the homosexual agenda
  • 28 October: a politician is voted off a Citizens Advice Bureau board for his opposition to gay marriage.
If, however, we fail to confront governments and other powerful institutions when they back the homosexual agenda, then there is a real danger that that homosexual campaigners will win their argument that "gay is the new black": in other words, that objections to the homosexual agenda will forever more be seen as unacceptable as racism. For example, Peter Tatchell, the notorious homosexual rights campaigner, said recently:
"There would be uproar if the government banned Jewish people from marriage and offered them civil partnerships instead. We would call it an anti-Semitic law; something we would expect in Nazi Germany not democratic Britain. Well, Jews are not banned from marriage but gay people are."
The idea that Catholics should "reframe" questions on homosexuality to make them less "neuralgic" for society is not Catholic. As Pope Benedict said earlier this month (my emphasis in bold):
"Christians have the duty to denounce evils, to attest to and to keep alive the values on which the dignity of the person is founded...".
And the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church says that (emphasis in the original):
“The Church’s social doctrine has the task of proclamation, but also of denunciation ... This social doctrine also entails a duty to denounce, when sin is present...”.
I will blog again soon on how this also applies to the Cameron government's promotion of abortion at home and abroad.

*Why is homosexuality (and sexual ethics generally) important specifically for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in no. 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do 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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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Catholic journalist commends pro-abortion MP to the nation

Francis Davis, a columnist for The Catholic Times and former director of the Las Casas Institute, has written a series of blog-posts on the address which was due to be given at Blackfriars by Dr Jon Cruddas MP (pictured) and the opposition this event attracted due to Jon Cruddas' pro-abortion voting record. As it happened, Jon Cruddas withdrew from the event.

Mr Davis has written with much verbosity about people who object to invitations from Catholic institutions to pro-abortion speakers. All one needs to know, however, about Mr Davis and his position is that he has described Jon Cruddas as "a very good thing" and that he is "proud to commend Dr Jon Cruddas MP to the nation".

This is the same Jon Cruddas MP who in December 2010 told The Catholic Herald that abortion "should be safe, legal and rare" and in June 2007 he said to BBC Sunday AM, when questioned about abortion: “I'm perfectly happy with the current situation”. The current situation in the UK is that there are 570 registered abortions on average each day, with abortions carried out up to birth.

Since 2000, Jon Cruddas MP voted 18 times with the anti-life lobby. For example:
  • voting in favour of the anti-life Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act at second reading - a law designed to kill millions of innocent human beings deliberately created never to be born
  • voting for the pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Act.
Since Francis Davis is proud to commend this strongly pro-abortion MP to the nation, I suppose that makes me proud to recommend that Francis Davis should not be employed by a Catholic newspaper.

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Watch SPUC's Anthony Ozimic and me speak about population on Russian TV

Last week Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager and I participated in a round-table discussion on the Russian news channel RIA Novosti. We were joined by Russian experts on demography, Prof. Anatoly Antonov (head of the chair of demography of the department of sociology in Moscow State University, Russia), Igor Beloborodov (director of Demographic Research Institute, Russia) and Olga Antonova (head of the department of statistics for population and healthcare of Russian Statistics Comittee, Russia); and by our colleague Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute (PRI) (see my blog yesterday commending Steve's message on the birth of baby 7 billion). Do watch the whole discussion on YouTube (click the play button in the box below or watch directly on YouTube). My first contribution starts at around 17 minutes into the video and lasts until 26mins. Anthony's first contribution starts at around 30mins and ends at around 37mins. Our final, briefer contributions start at 1hr04mins. Here are some of the main points I made:
  • Phoney science on population growth has helped to de-sensitise the world, including religious leaders, to the greatest attack on human life in the history of the world.
  • There is no moral leadership in the West seeking to withstand this onslaught on human life, on parental rights, and on conscientious objection to abortion.
  • Unless the pro-life movement worldwide speaks up loud and clear and makes this deplorable situation absolutely clear to Christian pastors, the decline into the destruction of unborn children, the destruction of parents’ rights and responsibilities and the destruction of the health and moral welfare of young people will be completed with terrifying speed.


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Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 1 Nov

Daniel Sanger with wife Lena
Top stories:

Real crisis in Europe is not enough children say experts
Pro-life experts are warning that the real crisis in Europe is not enough children. Their warning comes as population control advocates lament the birth of the 7 billionth person. Anthony Ozimic of SPUC commented: "What must convince people that they need to be thinking about their children’s generation, their grandchildren’s generation and into the centuries that follow." [KSL.com, 31 October] http://goo.gl/bszVZ

More than half of UK women using contraception use it inconsistently, suggests study
A new study has suggested that 57% of all UK women using contraception use it inconsistently. Many of the women surveyed said that they forget to take the pill. [PA via Yahoo!, 31 October] http://goo.gl/IoGD9 John Smeaton of SPUC commented: "The ineffectiveness of contraceptive practice in real-world conditions results in unplanned pregnancies and leads in turn to more abortions. Morally, medically and practically, contraception is a pillar of the culture of death."

Judge to rule on US man's feeding tube fight between mother and his wife
A US judge is due to rule on whether a disabled man's feeding tube should be removed. Daniel Sanger was left disabled after a heart attack. Lena Sanger, his wife, wants the tube removed, while his brother and mother want it retained. [Mail, 1 November] http://goo.gl/oRaJg

Other stories:

Abortion
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Monday, 31 October 2011

Welcome baby 7 billion, says Population Research Institute president

Steve Mosher, president of Population Research Institute, has made a statement today which deserves a very wide readership:
A few seconds after midnight a baby emerged from a mother's womb, drew a first breath, and announced his or her arrival into the world with a tiny cry. This is Baby Seven Billion. Today, 31 October 2011, is this baby's birthday.

As our numbers have grown, incomes have soared. In 1800, when there were only 1 billion of us, per capita income worldwide was a mere $100. By 1927 our numbers had doubled, but incomes had already increased five times to $500. By the time we reached 3 billion in 1960, income had tripled again to $1500. Today, as we pass the 7 billion mark, per capita income has soared to $9,000.

In 2100, when the population will be between 7 and 8 billion (and falling), it is projected to be $30,000 in current dollars.

Driving the so-called "population explosion" has been a real explosion in health and longevity. As late as the 19th century, four out of every 10 children died before reaching age five. Today under-five mortality is under 6 percent and falling. Two hundred years ago, human life expectancy was under 30 years. Today it is 69 years and climbing.

As people live longer, naturally there are more of us around at any given time.

By nearly every measure of well-being, from infant mortality and life expectancy to educational level and caloric intake, life in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has been getting dramatically better. According to the World Bank, the average income in the developing world has quadrupled since 1960.

Enough grain is produced for every person on earth to consume 3,500 calories daily. There is no need for anyone to starve in the midst of this plenty.

Population has more than doubled since 1960, but crop yields per hectare have kept pace. World food and resource production has never been higher.

Economies continue to expand, productivity is up, and pollution is declining. Life spans are lengthening, poverty is down, and political freedom is growing. The human race has never been so well off.

In fact, underpopulation, not overpopulation, is the real threat that much of the world faces today. Some 80 countries representing over half the world's population suffer from below replacement fertilitydefined as less than 2.1 children per woman.

The populations of the developed nations today are static or declining. The UN predicts that, by 2050, Russia's population will have declined by 25 million people, Japan's by 21 million, Italy's by 16 million, and Germany's and Spain's by 9 million each. Europe and Japan are projected to lose half their population by 2100.

Countries with below replacement rate fertility will eventually die out. It's just a question of time.

Even in the developing world family size has shrunk, from around 5 children per woman in 1960 to less than 3 today. And the decline continues.

According to the UN's "low variant projection"historically the most accuratethe population of the world will peak at 8 plus billion in 2040 or so, and then begin to decline.

High fertility rates are becoming rare. The UN numbers for 2010 show only 10 countries with population increase rates at or above 3.0 percent.

By 2050, persons aged 65 and above will be almost twice as numerous as children 15 years and younger. The economic consequences of population aging will be closing schools, declining stock markets, and moribund economies.

Ignoring these facts, the population controllers continue to spread their myth of overpopulation.

The UNFPA and other population control organizations are loath to report the truth about falling fertility rates worldwide, since they raise funds by frightening people with the specter of overpopulation. They tell us that too many babies are being born to poor people in developing countries. This is tantamount to saying that only the wealthy should be allowed to have children, and is a new form of global racism.

We should stop funding population control programs, and instead turn our attention to real problems, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and infectious diseases. As mortality rates fall, so will birth rates.

Let us also join together in celebrating the birth of Baby Seven Billion. He or she is a sign of our future, our hope and our prosperity.

People are our greatest resource. Extraordinarily gifted people have helped to enrich civilization and lengthen life spans. But the fact is, everyone, rich or poor, is a unique creation with something priceless to offer to the rest of us.
Baby Seven Billion, boy or girl, red or yellow, black or white, is not a liability, but an asset. Not a curse, but a blessing. For all of us.
________________
Steven Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute based in Front Royal, Virginia.


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History will judge Dana's bid for the Irish presidency to have been succesful

Dana Rosemary Scallon is a person of immense courage, grace and good humour. All of these qualities were clearly in evidence at the end of her unsuccessful bid for the Irish presidency. Ireland.com reports:
Dana Rosemary Scallon congratulated Michael D Higgins on his success and said she was glad she had been part of the campaign.
... “I think I might be too old to run for president again. Oh no, maybe not, because I'd still be younger than Michael D. But however, I think, it's really great to have come through a campaign. I think all of the candidates...we all face different challenges.”

... “I really wouldn't have missed it and I don't regret standing up for what I believe and speaking out on what I think I have to speak out on and that's how I live my life and I'm just glad to be here,” she said.
In September, I gave the reasons for my delight that Dana was standing for the presidency:
At the beginning of this year, Dana joined an alliance of over thirty cross community groups calling for absolute protection for unborn children prior to the Irish general election in February. The alliance called on party leaders to sign a pledge to defend human life at all stages, from conception until natural death and that if elected:
  • They will not dismantle Ireland’s Constitution and will maintain the people’s sovereign and democratic right, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy according to the requirements of the common good.
  • They will respect and uphold the Constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on Ireland’s unique pro-life status.
  • They will not legislate for abortion and will absolutely oppose any attempt by unelected judges from the European Court of Human Rights, (ECHR) to usurp the Constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on abortion.
I pray that all Irish citizens who care about Ireland's historic defence of the sanctity of human life, and that all Irish citizens who care about defending their constitution, will get behind Dana's bid for the presidency.
Actually, from the perspective of eternity, and in the light of the values Dana stands for, I don't believe her bid for the Irish presidency will prove to have been unsuccessful.

After all, God promised Abraham that he would spare Sodom from destruction if He found a mere ten just men there. However, last Thursday, 51,220 men and women (2.9% of the total) voted for Dana and for the values she was determined to uphold - not least the right to life of unborn children which Ireland's people voted to protect in their 1983 constitutional referendum which reads:
“The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
In spite of this constitutional amendment, and with complete contempt for the will of the Irish people, in today's Irish Times, Jan O'Sullivan, the minister of State for Trade and Development, proudly refers to Ireland's membership of UNFPA's executive board.

This is the UNFPA whose executive director until last year, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, said  that China had seen notable achievements made in population control by implementing the family planning policy. This family planning policy is the notorious, well-documented,, forced abortion policy in which UNFPA has been deeply involved for over thirty years - and continues to be deeply involved.

This is the same UNFPA which ten months ago signed a memorandum of understand with Islamic Relief in order to work together to ensure that "more women and men have access to reproductive healthcare information and services, including during times of emergency … " – which entails the promotion of abortion on demand, even in the desperately unsafe environment of refugee camps.

This is the same UNFPA which in 1979, the very year that China introduced its brutal one-child policy, signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Chinese government.

This is the same UNFPA which in 1983, the year commonly regarded as the worst year for coercion, gave one of its first two Population Awards to the minister-in-charge of China’s State Family Planning Commission. (The other award that year was given to Indira Gandhi, the Indian prime minister, whose government enforced compulsory birth control including sterilisation.)

This is the same UNFPA which in 1991, under its then executive director, Nafis Sadik, said: "China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth.” (Xinhua, 11 April 1991)

I'm quite sure that when the vitriolic media campaign directed against Dana subsides, including in the Catholic media, there will be many more Irish citizens who will wish they had voted for Dana - especially when they see how their government's contempt for the will of the Irish people emerges more and more clearly. When the tide turns in Ireland, as it surely will - not least because there are far, far more than the 51,220 citizens who voted for Dana who really do care for the things she cares for - Dana's courageous witness will be recognized as one of the key reasons why the Irish people kept faith in civilised human values.


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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Margaret Cuthill has changed the nature of the abortion debate in the UK

Two beautiful sisters, Marion, left, and Margaret Cuthill, right, the national co-ordinator of ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline), met in Glasgow last week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Margaret's working as a post-abortion counsellor.

ARCH, formerly known as British Victims of Abortion, is an organization which offers help for women, men and families to restore their lives and relationships after an abortion experience, as well as providing crisis pregnancy support. Its helpline, 0845 683 8501, is available during office hours, Monday to Friday, and from 7 pm to 10 pm, seven days a week. Margaret has been central to this compassionate outreach project of the SPUC Educational Research Trust for a generation.

Pictured in the background are (left to right) Philippa Forsdike and Robin Haig, trustees of the SPUC educational research trust, and Cathy McBean and Louise Shearer, Margaret's colleagues in ARCH.

I was privileged to pay tribute to Margaret at the Glasgow celebration of her great work.

For me, Margaret embodies what the pro-life movement is all about. Quite apart from her daily counselling, Margaret has devoted her life to giving a courageous, powerful, personal witness concerning her own abortions. She's the most moving speaker on abortion I've ever heard, with her simple, understated witness. Again and again, over the years, her personal witness has helped to change the nature of the abortion debate in the UK, humanizing it, removing it from the level of confrontation, and introducing people, instead, to the truth. She certainly fulfils Pope John Paul II's prophetic address, in Evangelium Vitae, to women who've had an abortion:
With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life.
On behalf of so many people you've helped and inspired, Margaret, thank you.

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