Saturday, 21 January 2012

Advertising 'watchdog' acting as abortion industry's poodle

SPUC has responded to the decision by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP, for non-broadcast advertising) to allow so-called commercial post-conception advice services - in reality abortion businesses - to advertise on television and radio. SPUC has for several years been running a grassroots nationwide campaign against the proposal, inspiring thousands of ordinary people to protest to the government, Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about such advertising.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media earlier this morning:
"Today's statement by BCAP's Matt Wilson shows just how much his supposed 'watchdog' is acting as the abortion industry's poodle. Mr Wilson claimed that post-conception advice services 'are not there to promote abortion', yet Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Services (BPAS) are Britain's biggest abortion lobbyists and abortion chain operators. Mr Wilson also claimed that 'commercial pro-life pregnancy services will now be able to advertise too.' Yet there are no commercial pro-life pregnancy services in the UK: all pro-life pregnancy services in the UK are non-commercial and therefore cannot afford broadcast advertising. The massive income Marie Stopes and other abortion providers generate from both private and NHS-contracted abortion means they will dominate such advertising.

The pro-abortion bias of BCAP/CAP is further proved by its requirement that advertisements by pro-life pregnancy centres must make clear that they do not refer women for abortions. BCAP/CAP have admitted that they have imposed this requirement based on advice from the pro-abortion Department of Health, the pro-abortion Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and a pro-abortion parliamentary committee report. Yet BPAP/CAP have also ruled that Marie Stopes and their ilk will not have to declare that they offer abortion or have a financial interest in abortion. This two-faced decision is blatant discrimination against pro-life centres at the behest of the pro-abortion lobby.

We are disturbed that Jeremy Hunt, the media secretary, has concluded that he has no power to overrule BCAP/CAP despite being reportedly 'very unhappy' about their decision. This contradicts an admission by Mr Hunt's deputy Ed Vaizey that the media secretary does in fact have such a power, as SPUC has said all along.

This decision will only serve the abortion industry's money-spinning trade which hurts women through killing their unborn children."
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Friday, 20 January 2012

Powerful abortion radio drama "suppressed"

I have heard that a very brave Irish radio drama producer, Daniel Reardon, made an extraordinary production of TERMINATION - about the unborn child and abortion - by the writer Brian Comerford .

Reportedly, Mr Reardon's employers, RTE Radio 1, Ireland, did not share his courage, and I'm told that a scheduled broadcast of Brian Comerford's work was "aborted".

The script of this suppressed abortion drama is available for download on Amazon*: amzn.to/Script-Termination

Downloads will be FREE on Amazon tomorrow, Saturday 21st January.

Fiorella Nash, an author and a member of SPUC's research team, tells me:
"I have just read through Termination. The drama switches between the mother and the baby’s perspectives throughout. It avoids any sentimentality by having the pre-natal development side described as though the womb were a machine (this doesn’t sound very good in the telling, but if you imagine a voice-over describing different parts of the process and also the abortion, culminating in the sound of alarms shrieking, it manages to convey the panic and horror without being ghoulish or maudlin).

"Obviously the radio scripts are meant to be heard not read so one has to allow for the technical language of scriptwriting (off-mic, FX etc) ... Nevertheless, I can imagine some of the scenes being incredibly powerful ... "
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Thursday, 19 January 2012

'Three-parent' embryo technique is unethical and macabre

SPUC has responded to the announcement by the Wellcome Trust that embryo research into mitochondrial disease will start at its £5.8 million new centre at Newcastle University. At the same time the government has launched a public consultation on whether to pass legislation to allow the 'three-parent' embryo technique to be used for medical treatment.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media earlier today:
"These macabre experiments are both destructive and dangerous and therefore unethical. The vast majority of embryonic children created in the laboratory are killed because they do not meet the 'quality control' requirements dictated by scientists involved in such increasingly macabre experiments.

"It doesn't matter how an embryonic child is created, he or she is still an innocent member of the human family and therefore has the right to life.

“Scientists should abandon the spurious field of destructive embryo experimentation and instead promote the ethical alternative of adult stem cell research, which is already providing cures and treatments for the same conditions".
And as I also told the media earlier today, as with IVF and cloning, this mitochondrial technique may well lead to developmental abnormalities. Creating embryonic children in the laboratory abuses them, by subjecting them to unnatural processes. Human life begins at conception. Any grounds for denying human rights to human embryos are arbitrary and self-serving. Scientists should respect human life and pursue ethical alternatives which are much more likely to be successful in the long term.

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Claim of rise in illegal abortions globally is dubious

A claim published today in The Lancet that so-called 'unsafe' - usually illegal - abortions worldwide have risen by 5% is dubious.

The claim was made in a report* by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organsation (WHO). The researchers and other commentators in The Lancet are using the figure to argue that so-called 'safe' abortion should be legalised worldwide.

As I told the media this morning, the WHO routinely makes unsubstantiated claims about so-called 'unsafe' or illegal abortion. WHO is one of the world’s major pro-abortion bodies. The Guttmacher Institute is the research arm of the worldwide pro-abortion lobby. The report is pro-abortion propaganda, and should be dismissed as such.

Promoters of legal abortion have a proven track-record of making wildly exaggerated claims about the number of so-called 'unsafe' or illegal abortions. Such false claims were made in 1967 to lobby for the UK's Abortion Act and in the 1970s to justify the US's Roe v Wade decision. The late Dr Bernard Nathanson, the US abortion pioneer who became pro-life, admitted that he deliberately exaggerated the estimated number of illegal abortions five-fold when campaigning for abortion legalisation.

The truth is that countries with strict laws against abortion have lower maternal death rates than countries which allow abortion widely. Ireland, where abortion is banned, has one of the world's best maternal health records. Legalised abortion does nothing to improve medical care.

* "Induced abortion: incidence and trends worldwide from 1995 to 2008", The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 19 January 2012 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2811%2961786-8/abstract
 
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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Martin Luther King's prophetic words are amazingly applicable to the pro-life cause today

On Monday the United States celebrated Martin Luther King (MLK) Day. I've blogged before about the link between MLK's fight for civil rights for black people and the pro-life cause today:
However, this is the first time I'm blogging about MLK's famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail". I've reproduced below some extracts from the letter which I believe are amazingly applicable to the pro-life cause today, including in the UK:
"I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
...
My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and halftruths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.
...
My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure.
...

We have waited for more that 340 years for our constitutional and Godgiven rights ... men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.
...
[T]here are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of Harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.. [and] ends up relegating persons to the status of things.
...
One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
...
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.
...

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all it ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light injustice must be exposed with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion, before it can be cured.
...
More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in the generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people ... Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
...
But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus and extremist for love ... And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" [?]  . . . So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calv[a]ry's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime -- the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
...
I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership ... I felt that the ministers, priests, and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows.
...
In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church ... There was a time when the church was very powerful -- in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But the Christians pressed on ... Small in number, they were big in commitment ... By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent -- and often even vocal -- sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
...
I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity ... Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment."
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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Midwives defend right to conscientious objection in Scottish court

Two midwives from Southern General Hospital in Glasgow have today challenged the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board over their right not to be involved in abortions in the hospital’s labour ward. The Abortion Act 1967 states that no one with a conscientious objection can be forced to participate in abortions.

The hospital management changed its approach to conscientious objectors when it started allotting more late abortion cases to the labour ward instead of the gynaecology department. The management now says that all sister midwives must oversee midwives performing abortions as well as those delivering babies. This can entail having to assist with the abortion procedure. The petitioners believe this is profoundly wrong and in the past their right to avoid becoming involved had always been respected. They are bringing the case to enforce the protection of conscience afforded to all health care staff in the Abortion Act.

The midwives bringing this case have helped many thousands of mothers to deliver their babies safely over the past 20 years, contributing to the Southern General’s outstanding reputation as a maternity hospital.

The case follows a lengthy grievance procedure that has failed to resolve the matter. Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told the media today:
“SPUC has been in touch with the midwives over the long course of the grievance procedure. We would emphasise that there is no suggestion that these midwives had ever treated any woman unkindly, despite what some pro-abortion groups might say about pro-life health care staff. The petitioners' approach is one of professional and ethical integrity. SPUC Pro-life is supporting the midwives' stance and is underwriting their legal costs."
The solicitors acting for the midwives are Brodies LLP. They are represented in court by David Johnston QC of Axiom Advocates.

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Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 17 Jan

Marie Stopes Int'l gets Vietnamese award
Top stories:

Book now for 5th International Youth Pro-Life Conference, 2 - 4 March
Every year since 2008 SPUC has hosted the International Youth Pro-Life Conference. Around 150 delegates join us from colleges and universities from around the world. This year's the conference is on 2-4 March and the theme is 'Human Dignity'. We have a fantastic line-up of speakers who will address a wide variety of pro-life issues. For more information, see "Young people are emerging on the front line of the pro-life movement" [John Smeaton, 16 January]

Abortion giant given award by two-child policy Vietnam
Marie Stopes International, the international abortion provider, has been awarded a certificate of merit by Vietnam's Ministry of Health (pictured) for its so-called family planning work. [MSI via Twitter, 16 January] Vietnam's government operates a coercive two-child population control policy [SPUC, 21 July 2009] Marie Stopes International is also complicit in China's coercive population programme. [Fr Timothy Finigan, 24 May 2010]

Congratulations to the Good Counsel Network, now 15 years old
The Good Counsel Network (GCN) (website and blog) has celebrated its 15th anniversary. Clare and Stuart McCullough (blog) have, through their prayer, fasting, counselling, support and witness, saved countless lives from abortion and served countless women in need. SPUC is proud to support Good Counsel Network. [John Smeaton, 14 January]

Other stories:

Abortion
Embryology
  • US sperm donor, father of 14 children, is 36 year-old virgin [Mail, 17 January]
  • Cambridge team claims stem cell breakthrough in growing blood vessels [Mail, 16 January]
Euthanasia
Sexual ethics
General
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Monday, 16 January 2012

Young people are emerging on the front line of the pro-life movement

I have said on many occasions before on this blog that the new generation of young people committed to the defence of vulnerable human life is a reason for  great hope for the pro-life movement. Over the past few years these young people have emerged on the front line of the pro-life movement through initiatives such as 40 Days for Life in London and Birmingham. SPUC are proud of our work supporting these initiatives and of the work undertaken by young people within SPUC. Over the past year SPUC provided the first ever pro-life presence at Lewisham People's Day - one of London's biggest local fairs and SPUC's summer youth interns conducted a full scale campaign against the opening of a new abortion facility in Stratford.

Young people are showing a willingness to respond to the numerous threats our society poses to vulnerable human life. We must keep educating them about these realities and inspiring them to take action.

Every year since 2008 SPUC has hosted the International Youth Pro-Life Conference to do just that. Around 150 delegates join us from colleges and universities from around the world: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, USA, Australia, Canada, Portugal, Germany, France, and the Congo. Previous speakers have included: Alex Schadenberg, Sr. Roseann Reddy, Brian Kemper, Rev. Dr. John Fleming and Rebecca Kiessling.

This year's the conference is on 2-4 March and the theme is 'Human Dignity'. We have a fantastic line-up of speakers who will address a wide variety of pro-life issues.

Rev. Dr. Andrew Pinsent: Pro-Life Philosophy
Lynette Burrows: Sex Education in Schools
Professor David Paton: Teenage Pregnancy and Abstinence strategies
Dr Ann Carus: Family Planning and IVF
Sr Andrea Fraile: Abortion Counselling
Fiorella Nash: Pro-life Feminism
Rev. Dr. John Fleming: Marriage and pro-life
Dr Philip Howard: End of Life Care
Dr. Jacqueline Laing: Euthanasia and assisted suicide

There will also be workshops looking at the effect of performing abortion on the abortionist, organising pro-life action and how the law treats human life during its earliest stages.

When: Friday, 2 March 2012 at 16:00 until Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 15:30
Where: Park Inn, Rotherham, Express Park, Manvers Way
How much: £90. You can book and pay online via our online shop, or download and fill out the booking form, posting it to us with a cheque.

There is a Facebook event page which you can use to inform others about this conference.

The price is heavily subsidised by SPUC, and includes all talks, workshops, handouts, meals, accommodation, and evening socials.


Delegates enjoying some discussion over lunch with Stephen Barrie of the Anscombe Bioethics centre Oxford, Annie, co-founder of Students for Life Bristol and Alithea and Annette of Cardiff Students for Life.


The conference is a great chance to pick up excellent prolife resources for yourself and your college or university prolife group.


A packed conference talk given by Donna Nicholson, SPUC Scotland director.

Please spread the word about this crucial pro-life event and encourage young people to sign-up today.

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