Saturday, 24 November 2012

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Sat 24 Nov

Top stories:

Savita Halappanavar death tragic but abortion doesn’t save women’s lives
The death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland is tragic but does not justify allowing abortion, says SPUC. SPUC was responding to claims that Mrs Halappanavar’s death was due to a hospital's refusal to abort her unborn child by inducing labour. According to reports, Mrs Halappanavar was 17 weeks’ pregnant when she came to the hospital in Galway. She miscarried and later died from septicaemia. The case is currently subject to investigations. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, commented: “The full details of this case are not yet known, so we must await the investigations which have been launched before we can make definitive comments. What we do know is that miscarriage and infection can be managed by proper medical treatment. Abortion is not medicine - it does not treat or cure any pathology." [SPUC, 14 November]

Savita case round-up:
Other stories:

Parents criticise primary schools in Tower Hamlets
Parents in Tower Hamlets are unhappy with sex education in the borough's primary schools. SPUC Safe at School www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/safeatschool and SRE Islamic have released a report which contains statements from 20 local parents on their poor experiences with sex and relationships education (SRE). The report can be read at http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/safeatschool/towerhamlets201211 Antonia Tully of Safe at School said: "I am supporting parents in this area to protect their children from explicit sex education. [SPUC, 19 November]

Abortion
Embryology
  • Why would we want to 'cure' our daughter's Down's Syndrome when we love her just the way she is? [Mail, 22 November]
Euthanasia
Sexual ethics
General
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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Appointment of leading abortionist to head Savita inquiry bodes ill

Following the sad death of Savita Halappanavar and her unborn child in Galway, Ireland's Health Services Executive (HSE) has announced that Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, the head of obstetrics and gynecology at St Georges Hospital, London, is to head the HSE's inquiry into Savita's death. This bodes ill for the outcome of the inquiry, as Sir Sabaratnam is the president-elect of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), which is one of the world's leading advocates of abortion. In 2009, he called upon governments to make abortion a legal right. And in 2007 he co-authored a paper which defended secret abortions without parental knowledge or consent for girls under 16.

We therefore must double our prayers for Ireland and especially for our pro-life colleagues, who are having to deal with a virtual tsunami of anti-life vitriol unleashed by the pro-abortion lobby and its fellow-travellers in the mainstream media.

By the way of summary, here are some key points about the Savita case:
  • the full details of this case are not yet known, so we must await the investigations which have been launched before we can make definitive comments
  • miscarriage and infection can be managed by proper medical treatment
  • abortion is not medicine - it does not treat or cure any pathology
  • many women have died from infection or other causes because of supposedly safe and legal abortions.
 Here are the statements and blogs SPUC has published about the Savita case:
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A close look at the BBC exposes its inbuilt bias against the pro-life message

On 25 October I blogged about how "BBC World helps Marie Stopes vs SPUC", following an interview between George Alagiah of BBC World and Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's education and publications manager. SPUC spokespersons are of course well-accustomed to the anti-life bias of the mainstream media, including frequently on the BBC. Yet the intensity of Mr Alagiah's attack suggests something more. Let us look at the part of the BBC for which Mr Alagiah works.

BBC World News is the BBC's overseas television arm, and began life as the BBC World Service Television. BBC World News, BBC World Service (the BBC's government-funded overseas radio arm) and BBC Media Action (formerly named as BBC World Service Trust) are all part of the BBC's Global News Division. Mr Alagiah is both a trustee and a director of BBC Media Action, and is one of the BBC's representatives on BBC Media Action's board. Among its objectives BBC Media Action lists:
"raising public awareness of subjects such as sexual and reproductive health issues."
'Sexual and reproductive health' is a term commonly used by pro-abortion bodies and is interpreted by them as including access to abortion. BBC Media Action, which is both a registered charity and registered company, is entirely "funded by external grants and voluntary contributions." Among the main donors to BBC Media Action are:
  • Department for International Development (DFID)
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • European Union (EU) 
  • Norwegian government
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • US Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
These governments and foundations are the very same bodies which are bankrolling abortion around the world - including funding and working closely with Marie Stopes International.

In July, the Gates Foundation and DFID co-organised the London Summit on Family Planning, which was a jamboree for the worldwide abortion lobby, including Marie Stopes. Sarah Montague, the well-known BBC presenter, hosted one of the summit's sessions. Prior to, during and after the summit, she and other BBC journalists ran news-pieces and published Twitter posts which were thinly-veiled advertorials for the summit and its main participants.

In 2010, BBC World broadcast a news-piece, including a sound-byte from Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, which was entitled:
"Western anti-abortion campaigners' threat to African sex advice"
The blurb for the piece read:
"Western-based anti-abortion campaigners are undermining efforts to improve sexual and reproductive health education in Africa, according to some international agencies. Family planning and abortion are contentious issues in large parts of the continent, where access to reproductive health is far from universal. Zeinab Badawi reports on the challenges facing health workers in Uganda."
It should be noted that Zeinab Badawi is not just a BBC reporter, going about the usual business of a reporter, but is also:
  • a trustee of the BBC Media Action
  • the founder and chair of the Africa Medical Partnership Fund (AfriMed)
  • a former trustee of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  • a Vice-President of the United Nations Association
  • a member of the Foreign Office Public Diplomacy Strategy Board
  • a board member of the British Council
Finally, returning to George Alagiah, in 2004 he gave an interview to The Messenger of Saint Anthony, a Catholic magazine run by the Franciscan Order. During the interview Mr Alagiah was asked:
"You were brought up a Catholic. On the basis of your personal experience, who is God for you?"
Mr Alagiah replied:
"For me God is a forgiving, understanding, figure. I find that some of the Church’s rules run against that."
Given that:
  • Mr Alagiah allowed his professional standards to drop so markedly in his vehemence towards SPUC’s straightforward position on Marie Stopes (i.e. it quite openly breaks the law on abortion in countries in which it works)
  • he is a trustee of BBC Media Action, which is funded hugely by pro-abortion bodies
I wonder if one of the church rules which, in Mr Alagiah’s view, run against God as a forgiving, understanding, figure, is its rule that:
“that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being ... No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”
John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995, #62

In 2003, Fiorella Nash of SPUC authored a paper entitled "Bias and the BBC: A study of BBC Panorama’s investigation Sex and the Holy City broadcast on 12 October, 2003". I recommend reading this as a detailed expose of how BBC bias works against the pro-life cause.

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Pius XII's teaching on double-effect did not allow induced delivery of non-viable children

Further to SPUC's statement and my blog on the sorrowful death of Savita Halappanar and her unborn child, Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's education and publications manager, has written a letter to The Catholic Herald,  explaining that the principle of double-effect, specifically as taught by Pope Pius XII, does not justify induced delivery of non-viable children. The Catholic Herald has kindly given us permission to publish the full text of Anthony's letter - see at the end below.

Anthony's letter is very timely, considering that today the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference has issued a statement in response to the Savita case, in which they re-state the important principle of double effect. But, as I blogged last week, the Church's Magisterium made clear over a century ago that double effect does not allow induced delivery of non-viable children, where such delivery is itself intended. Saving the mother’s life or health is a further intention (a good intention, which should be pursued in other ways) but the immediate intention and immediate effect of induction is the termination of the pregnancy. In the case of a non-viable child, this is abortion.

By the way of summary, here are some key points about the Savita case:
  • the full details of this case are not yet known, so we must await the investigations which have been launched before we can make definitive comments
  • miscarriage and infection can be managed by proper medical treatment
  • abortion is not medicine - it does not treat or cure any pathology
  • many women have died from infection or other causes because of supposedly safe and legal abortions
Letter by Anthony McCarthy to The Catholic Herald, 18 November 2012:
SIR - The sad and painful death of Savita Halappanavar, in a country whose maternal health record far excels that of Britain, is prompting discussion of abortion definitions in regard to pre-viability induced labour. It is worth getting this issue clear, even if, as some doctors believe, it is doubtful whether removing the baby earlier would have saved Savita.

Of interest here are the words of Pius XII in his Allocution to Large Families in which he refers to life-saving interventions on a pregnant woman, "independently of her pregnant condition" , which are permitted, even if they have the unintended, but inevitable, effect of causing the death of her baby. These words were cited by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as recently as 2009.

In contrast, an intention specifically to expel a pre-viable child, perhaps without the intention to kill the child, is impossible to justify, as witnessed by Church teaching over the past hundred years and more (carefully tracked by John Connery S.J. in his book Abortion: the Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective). Abortion is not always defined by the Church in terms of deliberate killing, but sometimes in terms of deliberate expulsion or "acceleration of birth" before viability, which has been excluded even for the good end of promoting a woman’s health. Good ends must be promoted by good means, which good doctors can and must employ.

Where the woman’s own body needs treatment of a kind which does not target the presence of her child, all would agree that such treatment ought to be provided. That could include the giving of antibiotics or blood transfusions, the clamping of the woman’s blood vessels to prevent bleeding, hysterectomies for uterine cancer and, for ectopic pregnancy, the removal of a damaged fallopian tube. Irrespective of the unborn child’s continued presence, the damaged tube or uterus would need to be removed: an operation which targets the woman's body alone, and is therefore legitimate, despite its impact on the child.

In short, it is extremely important to distinguish between deliberately abortifacient procedures which are aimed at removing a pre-viable child (though in practice they also require a harmful separation of foetal tissues) and procedures which may result in a baby's removal via miscarriage as a genuine side-effect of treatment aimed to help the pregnant woman (in the words of Pius XII) "independently of her pregnant condition". Foetal removal should not be deliberately intended, any more than foetal death.

Yours sincerely,

Anthony McCarthy
Publications and Education Manager
SPUC
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Monday, 19 November 2012

Parents criticise primary schools in Tower Hamlets

Parents in Tower Hamlets are unhappy with sex education in the borough's primary schools. SPUC Safe at School and SRE Islamic have released a report today which contains statements from 20 local parents on their poor experiences with sex and relationships education (SRE). The report can be read at http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/safeatschool/towerhamlets201211

Antonia Tully of Safe at School told the media today:
"I am supporting parents in this area to protect their children from explicit sex education. I encourage the parents who contact me from across the country to try to work with their child's school to eliminate inappropriate sex education which is harmful to children. Sadly many parents in Tower Hamlets feel that the schools are not listening to them sufficiently.

"Parents are worried that although some schools are removing the most graphic elements from the SRE lessons, the sex education programmes in use are fundamentally flawed. These programmes are based on the Alfred Kinsey premise that children are sexual from birth. Parents know this is not true."
The report on SRE in Tower Hamlets includes the results of a questionnaire sent to all the borough's primary schools under the Freedom of Information Act and shows that many schools use highly explicit materials.

The Tower Hamlets Parents Action Group on SRE is holding a meeting today to inform parents about how they can protect their children from SRE. The group is angry that the Mayor and Isobel Cattermole, corporate director of the Children, Schools and Families Directorate, have so far not responded to their concerns, despite repeated requests for a meeting.

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