Friday, 20 July 2012

Sterilization of "mental defectives" defeated by Parliament 81 years ago tomorrow

81 years ago tomorrow a Bill for the sterilisation of certain categories of "mental patient" was proposed in the House of Commons in 1931 by Labour MP Archibald Church as a Ten Minute Rule Bill. Church moved that leave be given to bring in a Bill to “enable mental defectives to undergo sterilizing operations or sterilizing treatment upon their own application, or that of their spouses or parents or guardians; and for purposes connected therewith.”

In moving his motion, Church claimed it was necessary to stop the reproduction of those "who are in every way a burden to their parents, a misery to themselves and in my opinion a menace to the social life of the community". He added he would be failing in his duty to the House if he did not state that in his opinion, this Bill was “merely a first step in order that the community as a whole should be able to make an experiment on a small scale so that later on we may have the benefit of the results and experience gained in order to come to conclusions before bringing in a Bill for the compulsory sterilisation of the unfit.”

Opposition to the Bill was led by Dr Hyacinth Morgan (Labour MP for Camberwell Norty) who said:
“I rise to ask the House not to give leave for the introduction of this Bill. The House has heard a harrowing tale which is mostly moonshine. The Bill is said to be in advance of public opinion, but it is really in advance of common sense and ordinary sanity....If once the principle of maiming or mutilation is admitted, not for the benefit or health of the individual but for the good of others or the State acting for others, there is no brake to sliding down the slippery slope leading to the swamp of State penalisation, where we may get rid of all those obnoxious to the State. Those preaching subversive doctrines may have their tongues cut out. Those writing subversive doctrines may have their hands cut off. The State (those temporarily in power) are the dictators of limb and life. The eugenicist upon a pinnacle of intellectual snobbery, looking down upon the less fortunate mental defective, may gradually raise the standard of mental deficiency and push more and more citizens into the maelstrom of the mentally-maimed."
Dr Morgan concluded by appealing to the House to “refuse to give leave to introduce this pagan, anti-democratic, anti-Christian, unethical Bill.”

The House then divided and Major Church’s proposed Bill was defeated by 167 votes to 89. It is interesting to note that future Prime Minister Anthony Eden (then a back bencher) voted in favour of the Bill.

The debate can be seen here.

And in case anyone thinks that such blatant eugenic thinking in political circles is a thing of the past ... completely to the contrary, it has become part and parcel of the British political establishment, and now with lethal consequences on a grand scale:
  • In the UK 92% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down's syndrome are killed by abortion. This has remained constant since 1989 when the National Down's Syndrome Cytogenetic Register began. Under the UK Abortion Act, a child deemed to have a disability can be aborted up to birth. These are sad and utterly unacceptable facts.
  • As recently as 18th October 2005, Caroline Flint, a junior minister of health under a previous government, told Parliament that a risk of repealing the Abortion Act 1967 (and thus, inter alia, the risk of making the killing of disabled unborn babies unlawful) would be an annual cost to the country of £5 million for the "cost to care for disabled children" (See Partial Regulatory Assessment of The Prohibition of Abortion (England and Wales) Bill).  David Cameron, meanwhile, the current UK prime minister, has made it clear that he supports abortion up to birth for disabled babies.
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Thursday, 19 July 2012

SPUC supporters conquer Britain's highest peaks

On 1 and  2 July, a team of SPUC supporters climbed Britain’s three highest peaks – Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike – in order to raise funds for the Glasgow midwives’ appeal costs and SPUC’s other life-affirming work. (Make a donation over the phone, by cheque, or online . If donating online, select 3 Peaks Climb from the drop-down menu).

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The ascent of Ben Nevis (4370 ft), Scafell Pike (2900 ft) and Snowdon (2400 ft) within 24 hours has long been regarded by many as one of the ultimate physical challenges in the British Isles. The challenge includes a total of 9670 feet of climb, covering a walking distance of approximately 25 miles, with 500 miles of travel by road between the peaks. [Heights given measured from the starting point of each climb]

Success depends on several factors, some of which can be controlled, such as personal fitness, scheduling to minimise climbing in the dark and using the correct equipment, food and clothing. But there are other factors over which one has no control; principally the weather and road and traffic conditions between the peaks.

The difficulty of this challenge should not be underestimated. It is easy to get lost, particularly when mountains need to be climbed in the dark or in poor weather. With full knowledge of what the challenge involved, a group of SPUC supporters from the Yorkshire Region conquered the peaks.

Report from Michael Hill, 5 July 2012

It would be quick and easy just to cobble together a few lines for the SPUC website confirming that this year’s sponsored challenge was completed successfully on 1st & 2nd July, who took part, and how long it took them.

But our sponsors deserve more than that. And having been personally involved with this event from the early discussions in 2011 through to the fond farewells in the middle of a rainy Welsh car park at the end of the challenge, I can tell you that every member of the challenge team deserve more as well - so hear goes:

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Gill Suddaby, William Jenkinson, Andy Openshaw, Gavin Sharp, Sally Hill, Alex Hill, Gina Suddaby, and Michael Hill.

Prelude

William and Andy arrived for the final planning meeting a week before the event. Alex and Gavin had each sent their apologies but confirmed that they would be doing the Challenge. The four of us at the meeting reviewed the schedule, agreed travelling times, decided who would be responsible for the food and confirmed Sat-Nav postcodes. After the meeting we knew that the next time we would see each other would be at the foot of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands.

Two days later I received a phone call from a total stranger, a young lady called Gina. She told me she had planned to do the Three Peaks Challenge but her team had cancelled, leaving her high and dry, and she was looking for another team to hook up with. Her search began on Facebook, which led her to contact a Hospice in Wakefield where a member of staff suggested she contacted SPUC. Bingo - how could we say no? Gina was obviously committed to raising funds for her charity and would go to any lengths to do it. That impressed me.

We met Gina and her mum, Gill, for the very first time in the Ben Nevis car park just one hour before the Challenge was scheduled to begin. We chatted together while we sorted our rucksacks, waterproofs and boots, and when the 5 o’clock start time came we set off up that first mountain not as strangers, but as friends.

Ben Nevis
Conditions on Ben Nevis were perfect on that Sunday evening in July, with blue sky, high cloud and sunshine. We had travelled through quite a bit of rain on the way to Fort William, so this was an unexpected pleasure. Climbing is physically challenging even in good weather, and it wasn’t too long before the breathing became laboured and conversation ceased. The girls pulled ahead of the boys to reach the summit first. We claimed that the spectacular views had delayed us, which to a degree was true, but I think the girls were just fitter!

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There were a good few walkers on the mountain that evening, and being able to exchange banter and pleasantries with like minded people engaged in a common pursuit was another bonus. The only incident to mar the conquest of Ben Nevis was my fall. I was returning from the summit and not far from the finish, when I clipped a rock and toppled like a felled oak onto the rocks! I lay still for a while thinking I must have broken something. My left leg had taken the brunt of the impact and was numb. After a while I struggled to my feet. I had escaped a fracture, but had serious soft tissue damage. I knew I had to continue the descent if only to determine whether or not I was going to be able to complete the challenge. I desperately hoped I could. The others could tell something was wrong as soon as they saw me, and I told them what had happened. I would decide what I would do later.

After hot soup and sandwiches at ‘Andy and Sally’s Car Boot Café’ we all got into our       respective vehicles and set off for the Lake District and Scafell Pike, 266 miles away. It would soon be getting dark but it remained dry - for a while.

The total driving distance between the 3 peaks is approximately 490 miles, which translates to a minimum of 10 hours driving at safe speeds. The travelling element of the challenge is crucial, so you can imagine what colour the air turned when we discovered that the route we had chosen was the subject of an unscheduled overnight closure. It was midnight, we had an extra 22 miles to travel, and it had begun to rain. The mood was changing.

Scafell Pike

The rain increased as we approached the National Trust car park at the foot of Scafell Pike. It was almost 4am and still dark, but the rest of the gang were already there and ready to go. Weather conditions at the bottom of Scafell were poor, and I explained to the team that conditions would be much worse on the top, but there wasn’t the slightest doubt – they were going for it regardless!

I had climbed Scafell Pike twice in the past, and I knew my knowledge of the route would be valuable to the team, especially in the dark and the rain. So despite my injured leg (hero that I am) I decided to accompany them to a place called Hollow Stones, about two thirds of the way up. From there they would be able to follow a chain of Cairns to the top.

I recognised that my personal challenge was at an end as I watched those four young men and women disappear into the wind and rain towards the summit. The weather worsened as dawn broke, and my descent was slow and painful.

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Gina, Alex, William and Gavin all reached the summit safely, but did not linger as the wind chill factor was high. On their return, absolutely soaked to the skin, the team was greeted by the mouth-watering smell of bacon sandwiches. Yes, that’s right - ‘Andy and Sally’s Car Boot Café’ was open for business, but a full change of clothes was needed first. This is not easy in a car park, but with the aid of a towel and a strategically placed umbrella, modesty was preserved!
    
We left Scafell Pike dead on schedule at 7.30am, but arrived at Snowdon one hour behind schedule. This was due to an incompetent and un-cooperative Sat-Nav insisting we take the M58 instead of the M56. The rain and the heavy Monday morning traffic did nothing to improve the 222-mile journey, either.

Our only consolation was that it was most unlikely that we would suffer the same weather conditions on Snowdon that we’d had to endure on Scafell Pike (the words ‘Hope’ and ‘Eternal’ spring to mind here)

Snowdon

We were the last of our team to arrive at the Pen-y-Pass car Park. It was one o’clock in the afternoon and time was slipping away. The rain was coming sideways again. I just couldn’t believe our misfortune. But just like at Scafell Pike, there was simply no doubt in the team’s mind that they were going to complete the challenge, even in these most appalling weather conditions. Gavin and William had already set off on the Miners Track. Alex and Gina cobbled together some waterproofs, and chose the Pyg Track. By sheer coincidence all four met up at the summit for photos. Alex and Gina were the first to finish with William and Gavin not far behind. Again, these four young people showed tremendous grit and determination in the face of real adversity. They had completed the challenge half an hour outside their own schedule, but one hour inside the 24-hour limit!

Farewell

Sally presented each of the walkers with a chocolate ‘gold’ medal in a light-hearted gesture to mark their achievement, but they had given so much of themselves in completing this challenge that real gold medals would not have been out of place. After the presentation we bid a sad farewell to Gina and her mum. We didn’t know if we would ever see each other again, living at   opposite ends of the country, but we knew that we had shared a very special experience, one that we would remember for the rest of our lives. It was a privilege to have been part of it.

Michael Hill

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Evidence points to the negative impact of contraception on women's health

Edmund Adamus, director for marriage and family life in the Westminster Catholic archdiocese, has an excellent letter in last weekend's Tablet on contraception and women's health.

It's worth reading in full and to note the chapter and verse he cites in making his case that "more and more evidence points to the negative moral and physical impact of contraception" as Edmund puts it.

Earlier this week, SPUC published an extensively researched document which provides the most up-to-date information on how certain forms of ‘birth control’ operate and whether they have an abortifacient effect.

And last week, I reported that the newly-appointed bishop of Portsmouth, Monsignor Philip Egan, has argued that Humanae Vitae is infallible, i.e. irreversibly and without error, by the Catholic Church's ordinary universal magisterium. Humanae Vitae is Pope Paul VI's encyclical letter on the regulation of birth published 44 years ago on 25th July 1968.

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Wed 18 July

Top stories:

Mayor of Tower Hamlets to investigate explicit sex education programme in schools
The mayor of Tower Hamlets in east London has told parents that he will order an investigation into how £80,000 was spent on training and resources for an explicit sex and relationships education (SRE) programme for schools in the borough. Representatives from Tower Hamlets Parents' Action Group on SRE presented a petition of over 10,000 signatures from local people to Mayor Luthfur Rahman. Antonia Tully of the Safe at School campaign has supported the parents throughout the campaign. [SPUC, 17 July]

SPUC releases "Contraceptives: what you need to know: birth-control (‘contraception’) methods which can cause abortion"
SPUC has released a new leaflet entitled "Contraceptives: what you need to know: birth-control (‘contraception’) methods which can cause abortion". This much-needed document, based on extensive research undertaken by the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute (SCBI), gives readers the most up-to-date information on how certain forms of ‘birth control’ operate and whether they have an abortifacient effect. More in-depth information can be found in SPUC's paper "Birth control methods which can cause abortion" [SPUC, 16 July]

Other stories:

Abortion
  • Stop using terms 'baby' and 'unborn child', they’re cells, says US abortion doctor [LifeNews.com, 17 July]
Embryology
Population
  • Doctors suspended in India's Rajasthan for 'gender tests' [BBC, 17 July]
  • UK statistics show population up in last decade [BBC, 16 July]
Sexual ethics
To subscribe to SPUC's email information services, please visit www.spuc.org.uk/em-signup. The reliability of the news herein is dependent on that of the cited sources, which are paraphrased rather than quoted. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the society. © Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, 2012

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Women around the world respond to Melinda Gates' controversial plans

Last week Melinda Gates held a family planning summit, the focus of which was the promotion of contraceptive devices to women in poor countries. So far an estimated US$4.6 billion dollars has been raised by this summit to promote contraceptives in the developing world.

In this short video, produced by Human Life International, women around the world respond to Melinda Gates' controversial plans for them, and her supposed charitable assistance. Although the women in the video are addressing Melinda Gates, the same points they make could just as appropriately be made to David Cameron, who addressed the summit and whose government is spending huge amounts of money promoting contraception and abortion in the developing world.



See previous SPUC releases and blog posts on this issue.
SPUC has published an extensive briefing on how the British government, through the Department for International Development (DfID), has repeatedly spent tens of millions of pounds funding abortion and contraception overseas, at the expense of real care: food and basic medical care. Earlier this year SPUC held a conference with some of world's leading experts on maternal care. Sadly, their organisations do not have the backing of international governments and billionaires such as Melinda Gates.

This post first appeared on the SPUC Why I am Pro-Life blog on Monday 16 July 2012.

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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Mayor of Tower Hamlets to investigate explicit sex education programme in schools

The mayor of Tower Hamlets in east London has told parents that he will order an investigation into how £80,000 was spent on training and resources for an explicit sex and relationships education (SRE) programme for schools in the borough.

Representatives from Tower Hamlets Parents' Action Group on SRE presented a petition of over 10,000 signatures from local people to Mayor Luthfur Rahman. The petition calls upon the Council and  the Healthy Lives team to stop any further funding of the Christopher Winter Project, to recall all the resources currently in schools and to ensure that schools consult with parents about sex education. The programme is being used by 25% of the borough's primary schools who responded to a freedom of information request about sex education. (84% of Tower Hamlets primary schools completed the questionnaire.)

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Picture: Mayor Luthfur Rahman (front row, 2nd from left) and concerned Tower Hamlets parents.

The mayor expressed his concern about the highly graphic content of the Christopher Winter Project and has agreed to meet with key local parents.

Antonia Tully of SPUC's Safe at School campaign has supported the parents throughout the campaign. At the invitation of the Tower Hamlets Parents' Action Group, she spoke at seven meetings in the borough in the weeks leading up to the petition presentation.

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Picture: Antonia Tully of Safe at School (2nd from left); Dr Lisa Nolland (with petition-box), leading family issues expert; Emma Clarke (centre), parent-campaigner who travelled from Northampton; concerned parents (left and right).

Parents also called on Yusuf Patel of SREIslamic for support throughout the campaign. Mr Patel told parents about the nature of the Christopher Winter Project and the danger it poses to young children.

Later this week I'll be publishing a fuller report about the events in Tower Hamlets.

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Monday, 16 July 2012

Contraceptives: what you need to know

Can birth control cause an abortion, by stopping an unborn child from implanting in the womb? This question, of urgent importance to all pro-lifers, is answered today as SPUC releases "Contraceptives: what you need to know: birth-control (‘contraception’) methods which can cause abortion". This much-needed document, based on extensive research undertaken by the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute (SCBI), gives readers the most up-to-date information on how certain forms of ‘birth control’ operate and whether they have an abortifacient effect. SPUC urges all people who care about pro-life issues to study this and inform themselves and others of ways in which the very newly-conceived are under attack in hidden ways. More in-depth information can be found in SPUC's paper "Birth control methods which can cause abortion" (July 2012)

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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Parents force Northampton primary school to suspend explicit sex education

At the invitation of Mrs Emma Clarke, Antonia Tully (pictured right), of SPUC's Safe at School campaign, spoke last week at a public meeting for parents of children in Northamptonshire. As a result of the meeting, attended by thirty mothers and fathers, the Caroline Chisholm Primary School has suspended its teaching of sex and relationships education.

Emma Clarke (who spoke powerfully at SPUC's packed meeting in Westminster last December Sex education as sexual sabotage, co-hosted by the Working Party on the Sexualisation of Children under the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group) and Antonia Tully informed the parents about the sex education video "Living and Growing". This video cartoon depicts a naked couple chasing each other around a bed and engaging in sexual intercourse in numerous positions. It is being shown to children between the ages of seven and nine, including in Catholic schools, without parents' knowledge or consent.

Emma Clarke reports:
"The meeting received considerable local media attention including a discussion and has caused Caroline Chisholm Primary School to issue the following statement to parents: 'To enable the school an adequate amount of time to consider feedback from parents we have taken the decision to suspend any teaching of Sex & Relationships education.We will review our current scheme of work in the autumn term.'

"This is a great success for our campaign and we plan to hold more local public meetings around the county to raise awareness amongst parents, we're also setting up a facebook page and website.

"Parents who attended our meeting were so shocked to discover what the school were planning to show their children (and already have in previous years) that another meeting has been arranged on Monday evening for more parents to view the Living & Growing DVD resource currently being used at the school."
Last Thursday I reported that Nick Gibb, the schools minister, confirmed in a letter to Antonia Tully, head of SPUC's Safe at School campaign, that primary schools are not required to teach children about sex in National Curriculum science lessons.

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