Thursday 31 July 2008

The abortion president would gravely damage America's reputation worldwide

Senator Barack Obama, de facto Democrat candidate for US president, has said he will reinstate American funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Such spending is presently prevented by the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment which, according to the Population Research Institute "forbids U.S. funds from going to any organization or country that participates in a program of forced abortion or sterilization." Earlier this month, President Bush's government withheld some $40 million from UNFPA, making a total of $235 million withheld over seven years.

Reinstating funding for UNFPA will gravely damage America's reputation worldwide. Under the current president, the US has done a lot of good work to protect the unborn overseas and an Obama victory would throw all that away. He will also do immense damage in his own country. Mr Obama has said that, if elected, he will immediately sign the Freedom of Choice Act which would enshrine abortion in US law and overturn all state-based restrictions. No wonder the Christian Defense Coalition has called him the abortion president.

While SPUC never endorses candidates, least of all those in other countries, an Obama presidency would have bad effects throughout the world, so it is a legitimate concern for us and our pro-life colleagues elsewhere to know that a new administration would fund UNFPA. Obama's neo-colonialist abortion policies will kill unborn children, destroy the lives of women and families overseas, and gravely damage the good name of the US.

On a related note, the Democratic and Republican parties have yet to choose their candidates for US vice-president. The choice is an important one, because vice-presidents sometimes succeed the incumbent (e.g. Lyndon Johnson succeeded JFK; Gerald Ford succeeded Nixon) or can become influential, either while vice-president (e.g. Dick Cheney) or in later life (e.g. Al Gore). It stands to reason that Mr Obama's running mate will probably share his anti-life positions. John McCain, Mr Obama's Republican rival, said recently that his running mate should share his "values, principles, and priorities." Among those speculated as a possible running mate for Mr McCain is Condoleezza Rice, the current Secretary of State (equivalent to the British Foreign Secretary). It would seem that Miss Rice does not share what is reported to be Mr McCain's position on abortion.

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines to resume hearings next week

On Saturday I blogged about a bill in the Philippines' house of representatives which would pave the way for abortion, and which promotes abortifacient birth control and sterilisation. The proposed law would over-rule medical staff's conscientious objection to being involved in such practices. I now hear from a contact in the Philippines that the appropriations committee will resume hearings on the measure a week from today (6 August). May I ask those of you who read this blog and who are religious believers kindly to pray earnestly that no part of this measure will pass into law.

29,000 reports of serious incidents relating to poor nutrition – the problem is the law

The Telegraph reported yesterday that there were more than 29,000 reports of serious incidents relating to poor nutrition in England during last year. Stephen O’Brien (Conservative), the shadow health minister, is reported as saying:

"This is a further disgraceful statistic from a Government which has failed patients and the public. People go to hospital expecting to get better, yet in 2007, 29,000 people suffered unnecessary and completely avoidable harm from poor nutritional care.”

The range of incidents included badly-fitted feeding tubes, frail patients who cannot reach a glass of water and deaths due to dehydration and choking.

According to The Telegraph, Stephen O’Brien went on to say "Nutrition is central to health and dignity – how many more patients must suffer at the hands of this inept Government?"

Given Mr O’Brien’s concern, which I’m sure is genuine, it’s a pity that he failed to vote on either the second or third readings of the Labour Government’s Mental Capacity Act.

Under the Mental Capacity Act, assisted food and fluids (e.g. tube-delivered) is regarded as medical treatment. Indeed, treatment is defined so broadly in the Mental Capacity Act that other elements of basic care, maybe even spoon-feeding, may be withheld from patients – as SPUC’s lobbyists warned MPs and Peers when the law was introduced into Parliament.

Moreover, the checklist for how to determine a patients' best interests in the Mental Capacity Act is dangerous. The checklist includes many woolly and subjective non-medical factors which serve to undermine protection for the patient’s life or health - clear and objective medical factors which used to be the principle criteria for determining a patient's best interests. A doctor can thus over-ride life and health when considering a patient's best interests.

The legislative environment is thus ripe for euthanasia by starvation and dehydration to flourish.

There is a connection between today’s report of poor conditions in hospitals and nursing homes and euthanasia by neglect. SPUC’s Patients First Network receives calls from distressed relatives saying that their loved ones are not being fed properly. Vulnerable patients are made weaker by lack of food and relatives often feel this is contributing to the premature death of their loved ones. Patients First Network is a support group which promotes good medical care until natural death. Anyone concerned about a friend or relative can call the Patients First Network confidential telephone support service on 0800 1691719.

The Telegraph report tells us that Dr Kevin Cleary, medical director of the National Patient Safety Agency, said:

"We recognise that good nutrition and hydration is essential for the recovery of patients and we support clinicians with guidance to ensure that learning from reported incidents is provided."

Dr Cleary may recognize the importance of good nutrition and hydration to aid the recovery of patients. The problem is the law, however, under which food and fluids can be withdrawn with the intention of ending the patient’s life.

Welsh assembly reluctance over organ donation consent

Members of the Welsh assembly have rejected calls for people's consent to organ donation to be presumed. Instead, the assembly's health committee wants potential donors to be encouraged to register their intentions. The British Medical Association is disappointed. Regrettably, the committee has not completely ruled out so-called presumed consent but one should be grateful for small mercies.

As I blogged in January, there is a risk that eager medics could hasten patients' deaths to get fresh organs for a person in need - well-intentioned but wrong. Earlier this year, a patient in Paris, presumed dead, revived as surgeons began to remove his organs. The International Forum on Transplant Ethics proposed that certain patients to be given lethal injections so that their organs are in better shape for transplant.

Presuming consent isn't the same as obtaining it, so it's not really consent at all, and such an presumption effectively nationalises everyone's bodies. Some countries which presume consent actually get fewer organs that are obtained in this country where consent is still needed. Mr Jonathan Morgan AM, health committee chairman, rightly points out that it's difficult asking grieving relatives to make decisions about a patient's body-parts. While organ donation can be a generous act, none of us is morally required to do it and government has no right to require it of us.

Also in January, I blogged on the dangers of defining tube-feeding as medical treatment and its implications for organ donation. We're keeping an eye on this issue of organ donation and our Patients First Network continues to watch out for the interests of people in hospital.

Huge drop in abortions in Poland - Fascinating interview in Zenit

Antoni Zieba (pictured right) the secretary of World Prayer for Life, and vice-president of the Polish Federation of Pro-life Movements, was interviewed in Zenit yesterday. He provides fascinating insights into the reasons for the huge drop in the number of abortions currently being experienced in Poland and into the history of abortion in Poland - first legalized by the Nazis in 1943. "They wanted to eliminate Poles with abortion", says Mr Zieba.

In his role as secretary of World Prayer for Life, he recently proposed making March 25 the World Day for the Protection of Life, but without giving up the national Pro-Life Day. Quoting Pope John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae (#100), Antoni Zieba says that a great prayer for life should be made throughout the year "but I am convinced that March 25, feast of the Incarnation -- of Jesus' conception in Mary's body -- must become a world day of prayer for the defence of life".

As joint vice-secretary of the World Prayer for Life, naturally I support Antoni's proposal. In addition, I support a suggestion made closer to home here in England for a world fast day of prayer on 14th August - particularly in view of the terrible threat posed by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology bill, due to be debated again in Parliament in October and the appalling bill currently before the House of Representatives in the Philippines.

Tuesday 29 July 2008

A tale of two judges

The European Court of Human Rights is going to decide whether Ireland's restrictive law on abortion is unfair to women. Three anonymous women claim that Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion violated their human rights because it discriminates against women, and because it subjected them to inhuman and degrading treatment by forcing them to travel to obtain an abortion. The Irish judge on the court, which sits in Strasbourg, France, has withdrawn from the case. It may be that Dr Ann Power SC has done so because she represented the Irish Catholic bishops at a parliamentary hearing on abortion. It is quite understandable that a judge might be disqualified because of previous involvement as an advocate in a related case.

Meanwhile, the United Nations general assembly has unanimously approved the secretary general's nomination of Ms Navanethem Pillay of South Africa as the UN's new human rights commissioner. The United States began by resisting her appointment and, under President Bush, America has pursued some enlightened pro-life policies such as refusing to fund agencies involved in performing abortions overseas or to finance bodies, like the UNFPA, which are involved in forced abortion and forced sterilisation in China.

According to one source, Ms Pillay was interviewed in 1994 and spoke about how the South African constitution mentions unborn children's rights. She reportedly said: "I wondered why the right to life was stated so explicitly. It is going to open up huge debates on the right of the fetus and so on. … that is the one clause [the pro-life lobby] are going to latch on to for their cause ..."

It would appear that Ms Pillay has a view on the rights of the unborn and it's not a very sympathetic one. However, the United Nations' 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child says: "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." If Ms Pillay still has problems with unborn babies' rights, she's in no position to defend them – in accordance with a UN resolution – as human rights commissioner.

Diane Abbott MP misleads British public about "backstreet" abortion in Northern Ireland

Addressing the House of Lords last November, Baroness Paisley, wife of the former First Minister of Northern Ireland (pictured together), said: “Northern Ireland will not be bullied by political activists whose ideas and actions have brought about the massacre of more than seven million innocent unborn children in the years that this [Abortion] Act has been in operation...”

Such sentiments, however, don't stop Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, believing that she can impose the Abortion Act on Northern Ireland despite the fact that, in addition to Baroness Paisley, Northern Ireland's devolved Assembly, 90% of its elected representatives and all four main Churches in the Province, have told Ms Abbott and her colleagues that they don't want Britain’s abortion law.

“No-one in Northern Ireland voted for Diane Abbott, Evan Harris or any of the other pro-abortion extremists in Parliament and yet these MPs seem to think they are our colonial masters and that we must do as they say,” Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland organizer, said to me.

Ms Abbott claims that she wants equality for women in Northern Ireland but she adds insult to injury to the long-suffering people there when she tells the media that women in the Province are “facing conditions more reminiscent of the 19th century,” and that “[m]ost working-class women must take their chances with the backstreet abortionist.”

In reality, the maternal mortality rate in Northern Ireland is the lowest in the UK.

Is it possible that Ms Abbott actually believes her own propaganda? Interestingly, she did not make these claims to the media within Northern Ireland where she could easily be challenged. If anyone in the English press asked her to prove what she said about backstreet abortions in Northern Ireland she would be unable to find any evidence to justify her claims.

“Diane Abbott knows nothing about the women in Northern Ireland and it’s also clear that she doesn’t give proper attention to the standards of healthcare for women in her own part of the UK,” Liam Gibson said to me. “If she did, she would notice that the abortion law in Northern Ireland not only provides more protection for unborn children, but also helps to safeguard the health of women.”

People in England, Scotland and Wales should write to their MPs to tell them the truth about Northern Ireland and call on them to stop Diane Abbott and her colleagues from imposing their anti-life values on the people of Northern Ireland.

Monday 28 July 2008

Organized parental resistance to compulsory sex education the only option

This morning we find the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health & HIV advising the Government to introduce compulsory sex education classes in the national curriculum including discussion about, and better access to, contraception and greater access to abortion.

Take a look at the membership and biographies of this so-called Independent Advisory Group, starting with the Chair, Baroness Joyce Gould (pictured), whose biography is not untypical of the other members. The Department of Health website entry reads: “Baroness Gould is a House of Lords Life Peer with a strong interest in sexual health. She is President of fpa (formerly named Family Planning Association) ... and also Chair of the All Party Pro Choice Group. She has extensive experience of chairing large groups and committees.” Baroness Gould is qualified to be a heroine of the pro-abortion campaign as well as to be a major enemy of parental rights and responsibility in their children's sound formation in human sexuality. This is the person chosen to be chair of the group announced by the government in March 2003.

The work of the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV is, of course, funded by the government. SPUC is researching just how financially dependent on government funding are the organizations with which those members are associated, or for which they work.

There’s only one possible response from parents to a very real threat of compulsion from an advisory group (which is no more independent of the government, and on issues of sexual health, than Pravda was independent of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union) and that’s organized resistance by parents in local schools the length and breadth of Britain and Northern Ireland. Contact SPUC’s Safe at School campaign by writing to me at or phone SPUC at 020 7091 7091.

Sunday 27 July 2008

"Superhero" Obama boasts he has 100% pro-abortion voting record

The Telegraph today says of Barack Obama: "On his journey through Europe last week the US presidential contender garnered adulation fit for a superhero".

Millions of unborn children, if he becomes president, may never hear about this charismatic, super-heroic figure, because they will be dead.

On his website he writes: ""Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it’s never been more important to protect a woman’s right to choose. Last year, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, and in doing so undermined an important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect women’s health. With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women’s fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election.

"Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. "When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president."

Check out what the National Right to Life Committee in the US say about him here.

Saturday 26 July 2008

Humanity under attack in the Philippines

No wonder 15 Philippino bishops led their people in a prayer rally in Manila yesterday opposing a population bill currently being considered by the House of Representatives in the Philippines. Reading it through one can only conclude that the Bill has been framed by the enemies of humanity - or the friends and supporters of International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Read below Sections 21 and 22 of the bill, entitled "Prohibited Acts" and "Penalties":

"SEC. 21. Prohibited Acts. – The following acts are prohibited: a.) Any health care service provider, whether public or private who shall :
1. Knowingly withhold information or impede the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;
2. Refuse to perform voluntary ligation and vasectomy and other legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousal consent or authorization.
3. Refuse to provide reproductive health care services to an abused minor, whose abused condition is certified by the proper official or personnel of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or to duly DSWD-certified abused pregnant minor on whose case no parental consent is necessary
4. Fail to provide, either deliberately or through gross or inexcusable negligence, reproductive health care services as mandated under this Act, the Local Government Code of 1991, the Labor Code, and Presidential Decree 79, as amended; and
5. Refuse to extend reproductive health care services and information on account of the patient’s civil status, gender or sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, and nature of work: Provided, That all conscientious objections of health care service providers based on religious grounds shall be respected: Provided, further, That the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible: Provided, finally, That the patient is not in an emergency or serious case as defined in RA 8344 penalizing the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases. b) Any public official who prohibits or restricts personally or through a subordinate the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning c.) Any employer who shall fail to comply with his obligation under Section 17 of this Act or an employer who requires a female applicant or employee, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to involuntarily undergo sterilization , tubal ligation or any other form of contraceptive method; d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 14 of this Act; and e) [sic] f) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

"SEC. 22. Penalties. – The proper city or municipal court shall exercise jurisdiction over violations of this Act and the accused who is found guilty shall be sentenced to an imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine ranging from Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos(P50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president, treasurer, secretary or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration. An offender who is a public officer or employee shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service. Violators of this Act shall be civilly liable to the offended party in such amount at the discretion of the proper court."

Pat Buckley of European Life Network, one of SPUC's lobbyists at the UN and the Human Rights Council in Geneva, says of the Philippines population bill: "The act not only sets the scene for the introduction of abortion it is also aimed at substantially reducing the population by various means including abortifacient birth control and sterilisation. While some of the language is about choice there is also coercion. Medical personnel will be forced either to comply or to refer people to someone who will. This is a direct attack on conscientious objection. There are also a range of penalties if various people do not comply, from dismissal to fines and imprisonment. There is also a provision that says Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act shall be subject to penalties. This is a grave attack on freedom of speech and is aimed at the pro-life community and the Church. Many of the definitions are straight from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD, Cairo) document but the sections used have been cherry-picked to exclude the balancing areas. The ICPD is "soft law" only and is not enforceable. The other thing about ICPD is that it states clearly in the text that it does not create any new human rights."

A world day of fasting and prayer for the unborn has been proposed for 14th August. Humanity is under attack in the Philippines - and 40 years after Britain legalized abortion, there's a danger of a huge extension of the Abortion Act at report stage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in October, including its imposition on Northern Ireland. Let me know if you would like to organize a day of fasting and prayer in your area and I will send you some simple guidelines. Write to

Friday 25 July 2008

UN body criticises Ireland on abortion

The United Nations' human rights committee says it is concerned about the restrictive nature of Ireland's abortion law and wants more of what it calls progress in this area. [Irish Times] Progress, for many UN agencies, involves eroding the rights of the unborn even though the Convention on the Rights of the Child defends them. Pat Buckley (pictured) of European Life Network in Dublin says the committee is exceeding its brief and following its own agenda. He blogs on the matter today.

The Tablet: the anti-Humanae Vitae megaphone drowing out the voice of reason

Catherine Pepinster uses The Tablet, of which she’s the editor, like a megaphone to bellow her opposition to Humanae Vitae and to drown out the voice of reason. Like the bigot at a public meeting who has no intention of listening to those on the public platform, she declares in The Times today:

“The Church has much to teach society about the needs of the developing world and the nature of justice. Yet dialogue between secular society and the Catholic Church over climate change has been painfully limited and stymied until very recently. With the impact of a rapidly escalating world population playing its part in climate change, birth control has been the elephant in the room in discussions.”

Maybe she didn’t hear or read Pope Benedict’s address on 10th May, when he said:

“What was true yesterday is true also today. The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change; on the contrary, precisely in the light of the new scientific discoveries, its teaching becomes more timely and elicits reflection on the intrinsic value it possesses.”

Pope Benedict was addressing the participants of the international congress organized by the Pontifical Lateran University on the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. I wonder if Catherine Pepinster sent any of her editorial staff to hear what the speakers had to say at that conference.

And I wonder if The Tablet sent anyone to the conference in Rome the following month when over 200 FertilityCare Practitioners and NaProTechnology physicians and gynaecologists gathered for the annual meeting of the American Academy of FertilityCare Practitioners, inspired by the teaching of Humanae Vitae. I can send Catherine Pepinster a full report if she likes!

Evidence presented there shows that the medical applications of NaPro have grown to become a comprehensive branch of women’s health medicine, which respects both the natural fertility cycle and the teaching of the Catholic Church. Working cooperatively with the woman’s body, NaPro has been shown to treat many gynaecological conditions including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, miscarriage and other causes of infertility. Is The Tablet interested by any chance?

Other evidence presented at the conference by Dr. Phil Boyle showing that NaPro has between a 40-60% success rate in achieving pregnancy. This compares to a maximum success rate of 30% for IVF (UK average raw data “take-home-baby” rate).

As I blogged yesterday, IVF – which gave birth to the first IVF child thirty years ago – has led to over two million embryos discarded, or frozen, or selectively aborted, or miscarried or used in destructive experiments. (2,137,924 human embryos were created by specialists while assisting couples in the UK to have babies between 1991 and 2005, according to BioNews. During this period, the HFEA informs us that the total of live babies born through IVF procedures was 109,469.)

Pope Benedict’s address (above) continues:

“As I wrote in my first Encyclical Deus Caritas Est: "Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united.... Yet it is neither the spirit alone nor the body alone that loves: it is man, the person, a unified creature composed of body and soul, who loves" (n. 5). If this unity is removed, the value of the person is lost and there is a serious risk of considering the body a commodity that can be bought or sold (cf. ibid). In a culture subjected to the prevalence of "having" over "being", human life risks losing its value.”

Would Catherine Pepinster be interested in exploring in The Tablet the connection between the Pope’s words and what’s happened during the past 30 years with the IVF industry?

Catherine Pepinster reminds The Times readers that “The Church has much to teach society about the needs of the developing world and the nature of justice”

If she could put down her anti-Humanae Vitae megaphone for a moment and reflect on Pope Benedict’s words in the opening address of his visit to Australia for World Youth Day:

"The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable."

One starting-point for this “profound reflection” might be the abortifacient nature of virtually all contraceptive drugs and devices – with the exception of course of prophylactics like condoms – as freely acknowledged by their manufacturers. And what about about the fulfilment in England and Wales of Pope Paul VI’s prophecy in Humanae Vitae, that governments will impose on countries birth control measures which are considered lawful by couples in pursuit of a solution to particular family difficulties? And how the Catholic authorities in England and Wales are co-operating with the British government in imposing birth control, including abortion, on families through children’s access to secret abortion in schools, including in Catholic schools?

Are these aspects of Humanae Vitae in which Catherine Pepinster is interested? Or is she actually on the other side of the abortion debate? After all, a recent edition of the Tablet (which describes itself as "the international Catholic weekly") contains a glossy full-colour insert advertising Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), sometimes known by its English name Doctors Without Borders (DWB). The insert's front page has a modern paraphrase of the Hippocratic Oath, "I will tread with care in matters of life and death". Yet inside, an MSF nurse working in the Democratic Republic of Congo recounts how her team "trained local nurses to provide emergency contraception", i.e. the morning-after pill, which may cause an early abortion. See my recent blog on this here.

Finally, if Ms Pepinster must continue to use the Tablet as an anti-Humanae Vitae megaphone, spare us the percentages of Catholics who ignore or don’t know or don’t understand the Church’s teaching. It will be less grating to hear such observations when journals like The Tablet put down their megaphones and begin to follow what’s happening in the world and to count the human cost of Humanae Vitae’s message being ignored.

Thursday 24 July 2008

Continued overwhelming silence of religious leaders and the pro-life movement on why IVF is always wrong will be a catastrophe

Continued overwhelming silence on the part of religious leaders and the pro-life movement on why IVF is always wrong will be a catastrophe in the struggle to defend the sanctity of human life from conception till natural death. Already, the pro-life struggle is being undermined by widespread acceptance of IVF in the communities from which the movement derives most of its support. Compassion for childless couples may be the reason for such silence – but it cannot be justified, in view of the availability of the more effective alternative of NaproTechnology, and, above all, in view of terrible human cost of the IVF industry.

2,137,924 human embryos were created by specialists while assisting couples in the UK to have babies between 1991 and 2005, according to BioNews. During this period, the HFEA informs us that the total of live babies born through IVF procedures was 109,469. What happened to the other 2,028,455 human embryos? Again, according to BioNews:

“Unused embryos in clinics under UK law may by consent be discarded, frozen, donated to research or donated to other infertile couples…” and, of course, many embryos are transferred to the womb only to miscarry or to be selectively aborted.

If the abuse and destruction of literally millions of human beings are passed over in silence in the name of compassion something is badly wrong. How can any human life be effectively defended – from abortion, destructive embryo research or even from euthanasia – when the lives of millions of human beings cannot be mentioned for fear of giving offence?

This week the Telegraph newspaper in the UK has carried a number of stories and interviews highlighting changes in IVF and other aspects of assisted reproductive technology since the birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, 30 years ago.

The Telegraph coverage illustrates all too clearly how IVF has led to human embryos being treated as products to be discarded when “faulty” (disabled) or excess to requirements.

The very language of journalism – Judith Woods of the Telegraph refers to “the birth of the IVF industry” thirty years ago – reveals the truth at the heart of IVF: the IVF child is in a position of profound subordination to the will of the technologists and parents. The technologist becomes the ‘maker’ of another without the protecting love that a parent normally provides.

SPUC's basic objection to IVF is that it amounts to the manufacture of human beings. The practice of IVF assumes that our offspring may be produced in the laboratory, and that the role of the natural mother, in safeguarding with her own body the welfare of the embryo from conception, may legitimately be transferred to other people. IVF thus makes embryos vulnerable, exposing them to the risks of being discarded, frozen or experimented upon. Many thousands of human embryos have perished in the development and practice of IVF.

Recently, the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute prepared a paper for SPUC regarding the “Creation and Transfer of Single Embryo in Reproductive Technology”. What they say is, in my view, very important, so it is reproduced in full on the SPUC website here.

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Abortion extremists bid to impose abortion on Northern Ireland

Extreme pro-abortion MPs at Westminster have launched a bid to impose abortion on Northern Ireland. MPs for five English and one Scottish constituency have tabled an amendment to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland, via the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill.

Betty Gibson, SPUC Northern Ireland chairwoman commented:

"This attempt to impose abortion on Northern Ireland is extremist, anti-democratic and arrogant. The move flies in the face of the will of the people of Northern Ireland who have, through their elected representatives in both Stormont and Westminster, continued to say no to abortion. The leaders of all four major political parties and the four main Churches right across Northern Ireland's traditional divide have written to both the government and all Westminster MPs calling on them to allow the issue of abortion law to be decided by the Province's devolved government.

"None of the MPs who've tabled this amendment represent anyone from Northern Ireland. Dr Evan Harris is notorious for his anti-life extremism, and John Bercow has tabled another amendment launching a witch-hunt against pro-life pregnancy counselling services. Diane Abbott [pictured] misled listeners of this morning's Today programme by claiming that the law on abortion in Northern Ireland is stricter than in the Republic of Ireland.

"This amendment is a desperate attempt by the most extreme members of the anti-life lobby to legalise abortion on demand ahead of the devolution of criminal justice matters to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

"SPUC is calling on everyone opposed to the Abortion Act being forced on Northern Ireland to make their opposition public by wearing the Little Feet lapel pin showing the feet of an unborn baby at 10 weeks. This is an international symbol of solidarity with unborn children. Anyone in Northern Ireland can order Little Feet lapel pins for free by contacting SPUC's Belfast office on 028 9077 8018.

SPUC is also asking for volunteers to flood the Province with thousands of leaflets explaining the effect of abortion on unborn children and their mothers," said Mrs Gibson.

The MPs for the five English constituencies are Diane Abbott, Dr Evan Harris, John Bercow, Jacqui Lait, and John McDonnell, and the MP for the Scottish constituency is Katy Clark.

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Can you remember what you were doing when Parliament voted to create human-animal hybrids?

A reader sent me this snippet from Grayfriar News, Summer 2008, the newsletter of the Roman Catholic religious order, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal:

"It was beautiful sunny May day in St. James Park, London. The sky was blue, the foliage in lush green bloom and the birds in full spring voice. A day to thank God for the wonder of His creation and for the simple joy of being alive. Those people who were walking, jogging and cycling through the park were enjoying one of the finest days of the year so far. All seemed right with the world. But the evening before, just half a mile away, something had happened, something momentous, something most people had deemed unthinkable. In the Houses of Parliament, members of the House of Commons had voted overwhelmingly... to legalise the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos. One of the Catholic newspapers commented, `We have become used to calling ourselves a post-Christian society. But we flatter ourselves. From this week onwards we have definitively chosen to become a post-human society."

Monday 21 July 2008

The pro-life leadership of Cardinal Keith O'Brien

The website of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh says the following about Cardinal Keith O'Brien's engagements in July:

"The Cardinal will be absent from Scotland during most of the month of July, initially leading the annual Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes and then travelling to Australia for the World Youth Day in Sydney, followed by a visit to the Diocese of Wollongong; and then journeying to New Zealand before returning to Scotland on Thursday 31 July 2008."

His absence in Lourdes, Australia and New Zealand, has not prevented the Scottish cardinal from continuing to provide pro-life leadership and speaking out powerfully on abortion and embryo experimentation in the run-up to this week's by-election in Glasgow East. Cardinal O’Brien says: "We are facing a crisis in society and we must ask ourselves is human life important to us or is it not?...[The Human Fertilisation and Embryology] Bill is a monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life. …MPs must search their hearts and their consciences in this extra time in which they have been given to decide whether or not the value of human life really matters or whether or not it is simply one more commodity to be cast aside in our throw-away society."

New research paper on stem cells

An ethical approach to stem cell treatment by Alison Davies of ‘No Less Human’

Scientific research is proceeding at such a pace that it is often difficult to keep track of the latest developments that impact on human life. One of the fastest developing areas in this regard is stem cell treatment. Alison Davies, who heads No Less Human, SPUC’s division concerned with promoting the rights of people with disabilities, has written a research paper into the various forms of stem cell treatment and whether an ‘ethical approach’ is possible. Her paper is extensive in the ground it covers and exemplary in the presentation, which is both scientific and accessible to the layman.

It is very difficult to cover here all the topics which this research paper touches on. Two points of particular importance, however, stood out to me. First was the depth and clarity of Alison’s account of recent developments in adult stem cell (pictured) research, this includes great discussion of recent discoveries which have been termed induced Pluripotent stem cells (iPs) cells, which are mature cells ‘reprogrammed’ to have great flexibility in terms of the cell types into which they can transform.

It has been the contention of many scientists that the major difference between adult and embryonic stem cells is that the latter has great capability (or plasticity) to transform into many different types of cell, and thus are more useful in the fight against disease. The paper reports, however, that “the evidence which has been assembled since 2007 strongly supports the proposition that induced pluripotent stem cells have a plasticity comparable with that of any embryonic stem cell line.”

The second feature of this research paper which makes it an invaluable resource is that Alison looks at the specific promises of stem cell treatment in seven specific conditions: Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and bone disorders. In these sections the research paper not only manages to pick out the milestones in recent research into the conditions themselves, but from the evidence of a multiplicity of scientists, aims to predict how stem cell treatment might help those who suffer from these conditions.

Yet, as one would expect from a pro-lifer who has spent her life fighting for the rights of people with disabilities, Alison Davies does not shy away from criticism of the many scientists who have turned a blind eye to the ethics of killing embryos simply because some good, somewhere down the line might come of it. Alison writes:

“I am totally appalled at the suggestion (made both by scientists and by the British Government) that unethical stem cell research using human embryos is somehow justified because it might “help” people like me. I cannot think of anything more reprehensible than to suggest that it is acceptable to research upon and kill the most vulnerable of human individuals because there may be something in it for me.”

This research paper provides a very useful starting point for those scientists and members of the general public who would either like a survey of the scientific situation as it stands, or would like to launch into a more detailed study themselves.

Sunday 20 July 2008

Hillary Clinton attacks health professionals' right to conscientious objection to abortion and abortifacient birth control

George Bush, the US president, is under fire from Hillary Clinton for seeking to protect doctors’ and nurses’ conscientious objection to abortion, including abortifacient birth control drugs and devices. She reportedly described a Bush administration plan to define several widely used contraception methods as abortion is a "gratuitous, unnecessary insult" to women.

According to Reuters, a copy of a memo that appears to be an Department of Health and Human Services draft carries a broad definition of abortion as any procedures, including prescription drugs, ‘that result in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.’

Hillary Clinton’s response to the Bush administration’s initiative shows that the “freedom” to choose abortion turns out to be a triple attack on freedom, the freedom of:
  • the unborn to live
  • health professionals and others not to participate in killing innocent human lives, and
  • women and men to know the truth about the abortifacient properties of birth control drugs and devices.
I hope the Bush administration sticks to its guns on this issue.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Philippines bishops "take fight versus birth control to the street"

With powerful and enlightened leadership, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is organizing a mass demonstration against a reproductive health bill, rushing through the Philippines Congress, which allows the use of artificial birth control in family planning. In a press release entitled “Church takes fight versus birth control to the street” the bishops point out that the Bill seeks, through various measures, to work towards a 2-child policy.

Fenny Tatad, the executive director of the Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines says that “Collective Bargaining Agreements” between employers and employees are required to include birth control and other services in their agreements and that although not “mandatory and obligatory” the bill also proposes a 2-child policy.

“This and all the above-mentioned proposals are considered gross violations of the pro-family provisions of the Constitution and the universal right to health of citizens,” Tatad said. “Public funds coming from Catholic taxpayers will fund these programs which is oppressive and in violation of their universal right to religious freedom and the freedom to live their faith in an environment that is free of coercion and harassment,” she added.

Thousands of faithful are expected to join a rally at the parade ground of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on July 25 to show their opposition against the proposed population policy.

“The street protests will coincide with the CBCP’s celebration of the Humanae Vitae’s 40th year, the landmark encyclical issued by Pope Paul VI that deals with Church’s uncompromising stand on birth control” the bishops’ press statement says.

I have blogged recently about the fulfilment in England and Wales of Pope Paul VI’s prophecy in Humanae Vitae, that governments will impose on countries birth control measures which are considered lawful by couples in pursuit of a solution to particular family difficulties. I also explained how the Catholic authorities in England and Wales are co-operating with the British government in imposing birth control, including abortion, on families through children’s access to secret abortion in schools, including in Catholic schools.

The bishops in the Philippines are providing more enlightened leadership – by assisting couples and families to resist public policy which will undoubtedly lead, in the fullness of time, to the type of abuse we parents experience in England and Wales.

Friday 18 July 2008

Pope Benedict and bishop of Motherwell united in defence of life

In the opening address of his visit to Australia for World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI (pictured right) has said:

"The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable."

Back on the other side of the globe, Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell, Scotland (pictured left) has said in a letter to the press:

"Protecting innocent infants in the womb, supporting pregnant, frightened young women and working to secure a better standard of living and greater opportunities for the poor and marginalised are not mutually exclusive ideals. Indeed, a nation that condemns to abortion our beautiful and blameless unborn babies betrays itself as morally, ethically and politically untrustworthy and disinclined to give due care and attention to the poorest and weakest members of our society. ... Britain has among the highest abortion rates, the highest rates of family breakdown and the worst social problems in modern Europe. Do not tell me these things are not connected."

I have blogged about Tony Blair, recently received in the Catholic Church, and his refusal to repudiate the strongly pro-abortion, pro-human embryo research and pro-euthanasia by neglect policies he and his government pursued. I have also blogged about Progressio and its partnerships with organizations which campaign for legalised abortion and against the Holy See's observer status at the United Nations.

Both Tony Blair and Progressio claim that their "concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment" are motivated by their Catholic faith.

I would like to invite readers of my blog to join me in writing to Tony Blair and writing to Progressio to ask them how they square their positions with those of Pope Benedict and the bishop of Motherwell. We are encouraged to do so by Pope John Paul II who said in Evangelium Vitae (95):

"We need to begin with the renewal of a culture of life within Christian communities themselves. Too often it happens that believers, even those who take an active part in the life of the Church, end up by separating their Christian faith from its ethical requirements concerning life, and thus fall into moral subjectivism and certain objectionable ways of acting. With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth. At the same time, we need to promote a serious and in-depth exchange about basic issues of human life with everyone, including non-believers, in intellectual circles, in the various professional spheres and at the level of people's everyday life."

Thursday 17 July 2008

World fast day of prayer for the unborn

Ian Walker is a fellow parishioner of mine. We belong to the Catholic parish of St. Joseph's, Wealdstone, in north London.

Ian is a devout man and, in his prayers, he felt called to organize a world day of fasting for the unborn on Thursday, 14th August.

With the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill
making progress through parliament, with all its terrible provisions including the creation of human-animal hybrids for destructive research, I readily gave him my support. There's also the real danger of pro-abortion MPs using the report stage of the bill to widen, in a major way, the Abortion Act, virtually stripping the unborn child of any vestige of protection.

The postponed report stage and third reading of the bill in the autumn will arrive before we know it. I believe that activities to defeat this bill and to stop parliament from agreeing to further liberalisation of the abortion law must intensify and grow in number as never before over the summer. We must work on this as though everything depended on us.

However, I believe in God and I believe in prayer and I think those who believe in prayer should pray as though everything depends on God.

It's a world fast day of prayer because the goverment of virtually every nation under the sun promotes abortion - by funding the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN body which supports and participates in the management of China's population control programme, the one-child policy implemented by forced abortion. 180 countries make financial contributions to UNFPA. (President Bush's administration does not do so, on account of UNFPA's activities in China.)

I therefore invite believers to join Ian Walker in a world fast day of prayer for the unborn. In our parish, Fr Michael Doherty (pictured above) is organizing the world fast day of prayer in accordance with Catholic traditions. On 14th August, evening Mass will be preceded by recitation of the Rosary and followed by Eucharistic adoration until 10 p.m.. Others may choose other ways of celebrating the day - either privately or in accordance with other Christian traditions.

Is the Government calling a pro-abortion tune for Progressio to dance with its partners?

I've blogged recently (4 July and 10 July) about Progressio, formerly the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR), and its pro-abortion partner organisation in El Salvador, Las Dignas. Progressio describes its work in El Salvador as including "Strengthening the women's movement on response to the needs of women's organisations". The question needs to be asked: has Progressio helped Las Dignas's work promoting abortion?

Further research into Progressio has revealed that at least two of its partner-organisations support a campaign to strip the Holy See, the government of the Catholic Church, of its permanent observer status at the United Nations. (The See Change campaign is run by the pro-abortion and falsely named Catholics For Choice [CFC] and is motivated by, among things, the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion.)

One of the two Progressio partners supporting See Change, COMUS (Colectiva Mujer y Salud) (Woman and Health Collective) in the Dominican Republic, is described by Progressio as: "a non-profit-making organisation which has been working since 1984 to defend the sexual and reproductive rights of Dominican women in rural and urban areas. The collective offers services of integral care and health (physical, mental and emotional), training, produces information materials and promotes public debate on gender issues."

"Sexual and reproductive rights" is a term commonly used to denote the right of access to abortion on demand. It would be interesting to know whether the Collective's "services of integral care and health" include abortion. The Collective lobbied its country's legislature to decriminalise abortion and condemned the government's decision to declare 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation, as the Day of the Unborn Child.

Among Progressio's areas of work in the Dominican Republic are "supporting women's organisations", "lobbying and advocacy skills training" and "training in social and political rights". The question needs to be asked: has Progressio helped the Collective to lobby for the legalisation of abortion?

Progressio describes its other partner supporting See Change, Fundacion Puntos de Encuentro (Meeting Points Foundation) in Nicaragua, as "a platform from which to take on and debate different themes from a perspective of diversity with equity and non-discrimination. Among others, it deals with the themes of health and sexual and reproductive rights". The Foundation is also a partner of the Guttmacher Institute, the worldwide pro-abortion lobby's leading research body. The Foundation campaigned against the closing of a loophole in Nicaraguan law which allowed abortion.

Progressio says that "the current focus of Progressio's work [in Nicaragua is, among other things] "to promote women's rights" and that "Progressio's development workers have strengthened advocacy by partner organisations working with networks of women". The question needs to be asked: has Progressio helped the Foundation to lobby for abortion?

A parliamentary answer yesterday showed that, in the decade since the Labour government came to power, Progressio has received over £28 million from the British government's Department for International Development (DFID), and will receive over £3 million in the coming financial year. The Labour government's policy is to promote abortion on demand worldwide as a fundamental, universal human right. Progressio itself presents a case study of DFID funding an English woman to prepare programmes for Progressio's pro-abortion partner in Nicaragua, the Meeting Points Foundation mentioned above.

Does the old adage "He who pays the piper calls the tune" apply here?

As a Catholic myself I think its wrong that Progressio is listed as a Catholic organization in the Catholic directory and that its publications can be found in Catholic churches.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Young people reap Government's bitter harvest

At least two news articles today highlight the fact that rates of sexually transmitted diseases in teenagers are at a record high (The Independent and Guardian). This is hardly surprising. Nor is it particularly new. The Government’s strategy of promoting birth control, including abortion, as some sort of panacea for society’s ills is not solving any problems. The victims of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy are not only growing numbers of unborn children being killed daily, but also the teenagers themselves.

There is hard evidence for this, as I have mentioned before. Professor David Paton, who holds a chair in Economics at Nottingham University, has shown in a paper entitled "
The economics of family planning and underage conceptions" (this paper is not available free online, but if you would like a copy please contact me) that family planning, and increased access to it, increases the likelihood that teenagers will engage in sexual activity. Prof. Paton says: "I find no evidence that greater access to family planning has reduced underage conceptions or abortions. Indeed, there is some evidence that greater access is associated with an increase in underage conceptions..."

Elsewhere, Prof. Paton discusses a principle which in the insurance industry is called “moral hazard”. The principle is that the greater the level of coverage afforded by any insurance scheme the more likely the insurance holder will be to take chances. Applying this principle to the current debate, Prof. Paton explains: "For those youngsters who are not opposed in principle to abortion, it provides a way in which, if pregnancy occurs, birth can be avoided, i.e. if pregnancy occurs either through failed or non-use of contraception, there is a possible let out clause."

As much as the Government would like us to believe that their policies are evidence-based, the truth is that they are driven by an ideology proving harmful to our teenagers. The Government is sowing the seeds of family breakdown and public health catastrophes, and the public, particularly young people, are beginning to reap the harvest.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Honour life, not anti-lifers

It has been reported that Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, has given a high papal honour to a pro-abortion politician "for services to the nature of healthcare". Renate Brauner, the deputy mayor of Vienna, received the Pontifical Order of St Gregory the Great. In autumn 2005 she is reported as having said: "If we socialist women speak about lasting values, we mean lasting women's values - abortion rights are part of it." Surprisingly, Cardinal Schönborn is reported as saying at Mrs Brauner's investiture: “It’s good if the finance minister in the city council has first been responsible for the health care system because, this way, we can be sure that the state money will be in good hands." I will be writing to Cardinal Schönborn regarding the award to Renate Brauner.

Monday 14 July 2008

Abortion without borders

The latest edition of the The Tablet (which describes itself as "the international Catholic weekly") contains a glossy full-colour insert advertising Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), sometimes known by its English name Doctors Without Borders (DWB). The insert's front page has a modern paraphrase of the Hippocratic Oath, "I will tread with care in matters of life and death". Yet inside, an MSF nurse working in the Democratic Republic of Congo recounts how her team "trained local nurses to provide emergency contraception", i.e. the morning-after pill, which may cause an early abortion.

The reference in the Tablet insert is by no means an isolated incident of MSF complicity in the culture of death. In November 2001, an MSF spokesman admitted that MSF doctors perform abortions, saying: "In some countries abortion is an important part of family planning policy."

MSF's own website has many references to MSF's provision of abortion and abortifacient birth control, and its programmes of "reproductive healthcare" and "family planning" (both euphemisms for abortion). For example, in December 2005 an MSF article said:

"The obligation to give resources - even when operating in dangerous situations - is above all the obligation to provide care and to ensure its quality. In cases of sexual violence, it could be a matter of giving antibiotic treatment to combat a sexually transmitted infection, giving prophylaxis treatment to prevent HIV infection, providing medicine to avoid pregnancy, performing an abortion or reconstructive surgery, or, of course, addressing psychosocial issues."

"Providing medicine to avoid pregnancy" refers to the morning-after pill - MSF deny that life begins at conception. ("Prophylaxis treatment" is a reference to condoms and possibly early drug treatment.)

Last year, the president of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Doctors, Jose Maria Simon, claimed that an MSF internal protocol advises MSF doctors how to get away with performing illegal abortions.

Catholic publications should not promote Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). It is particularly to be regretted that this insert appeared in a publication sold at the back of Westminster Cathedral and other prominent Catholic places.

I will be writing to relevant Catholic authorities about this. In the meantime, anyone wanting more information about MSF's complicity in the culture of death can email me at

Sunday 13 July 2008

Knife crime, abortion, Mother Teresa and Gordon Brown

This morning a Google UK search provides over 11,000 news references to knife crime. The first two headlines from Times Online and the Press Association read "Brown commits to immediate action on knife crime" and "PM pledge over knife crime measures".

Today's knife-crime news and questions about the causes of violence in Britain (and its solution) bring to mind Mother Teresa's speech on 3rd February, 1994, at the National Prayer Breakfast in the US, in Washington DC - attended by President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the first lady.

Mother Teresa said:
"Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today - abortion which brings people to such blindness."
Peggy Noonan, best-selling author and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and present at the prayer breakfast, described the audience's response, including the reaction of Bill and Hillary Clinton, in an article in Crisis magazine:
"Well, silence. Cool deep silence in the cool round cavern for just about 1.3 seconds. And then applause started on the right hand side of the room, and spread, and deepened, and now the room was swept with people applauding, and they would not stop for what I believe was five or six minutes. As they clapped they began to stand, in another wave from the right of the room to the centre and the left. But not everyone applauded. The president and first lady, seated within a few feet of Mother Teresa on the dais, were not applauding. Nor were the vice president and Mrs. Gore. They looked like seated statues at Madame Tussaud’s. They glistened in the lights and moved not a muscle, looking at the speaker in a determinedly semi-pleasant way."
I'm sure Gordon Brown is entirely genuine when he says: “
The terrible stabbings that have occurred this week are shocking and tragic and my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have been hurt or killed in these attacks".
In saying such things the Prime Minister expresses the thoughts of virtually everyone in the UK; and if Gordon Brown were to discover the cause of this epidemic of violence and begin to address it, his premiership will go down in history for this reason and he will be well remembered by the British people.

I believe that what Mother Teresa said in 1994 about violence in the United States applies equally to the situation in Britain today; and I believe that if Gordon Brown begins to see the mistake he (and Parliament) made in voting for legalised abortion, in vitro fertilisation and destructive embryo research - and thus completely undermining respect for the sacredness of all human life - he will have discovered the greatest destroyer of peace in Britain and the biggest cause of knife-crime.

Now that debate and voting on pro-abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill have been delayed till the autumn by the government, pro-life leaders and church leaders should waste no time in echoing the words of Mother Teresa:
"...this is the greatest destroyer of peace today, abortion...".
Tony Blair, Bill and Hillary Clinton have never repudiated their pro-abortion positions and the worldwide consequences of their policies have been catastrophic. Even one small step for Gordon Brown, using his Government's influence to stop a complete meltdowon on respect for unborn life in Britain, could prove to be a giant leap for humanity.

Saturday 12 July 2008

Dr Tom Ward on Ruth Kelly's "evasion" of moral duty

I blogged recently on Ruth Kelly, a UK cabinet minister, and Clare Curtis Thomas, both of them Catholic MPs, avoiding their responsibility to the unborn.

Dr Tom Ward, a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, provides a balanced and penetrating analysis of Ruth Kelly's apparent position on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (NACF news, 6th July), the report stage of which has now been postponed by the government till the autumn. His letter appears in

Dr Ward writes: " A Catholic does not have the moral right to abstain from voting because such a grave omission is to refuse to protect human life at its most vulnerable. It is grave matter. Furthermore she is now the best known Catholic Member of Parliament in the country and the scandal of her evasion of her moral duty as a legislator will do great damage to the Church."

video of SPUC skydive

Last month I blogged on how Siobhan Fearon, a medical student from Merseyside, did a sponsored 14,000 feet parachute jump for SPUC, both to raise funds and to highlight threats to medics' freedom of conscience. Now, you can see her jump on this YouTube video.

Friday 11 July 2008

Frank Dobson's astonishing attitude to women and mothers-to-be

Mr Frank Dobson, a former Labour health secretary, made a revealing observation this week when expressing his support for pro-abortion amendments to the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. He said: "These amendments would make it easier for not very well informed women to have an abortion."

I asked Margaret Cuthill, a post-abortion counsellor of 20 years' experience, to comment on this and she writes: "The proposed amendments are tantamount to abandoning emotionally vulnerable women at a point of crisis in their lives.

"One amendment would allow the first pill in a chemical abortion to be administered in a doctor's surgery and the woman would then take the other pill at home. This is fraught with danger. The mother would be faced with going through a painful labour and with the possibility of an incomplete abortion. This could require surgery or heavy loss of blood, and could even lead to death. Ms Manon Jones, aged 18, from Caernarfon died after a doctor did not recognise the seriousness of the haemorrhage that the abortion drug had caused.

"Many chemical abortions are performed on girls and women aged under 26, often with their first pregnancy. Such young women will have no idea of what to expect and are not fully informed of the physical risks associated with this procedure. Others are faced with the psychological impact of giving birth to a small but perfectly formed baby.

"I recently had a call from a woman who had used drugs to kill her unborn child and then to cause a miscarriage. She had kept her 14-week baby's tiny body in her fridge for weeks after the abortion. She could not bear to part with it. She had been alone in her hospital room when the baby came away. She was devastated and still is. This lady is just one example of how psychologically damaging this type of abortion experience can be.

"This amendment to the bill presents a dark picture of back street abortion by another name. A woman in a crisis pregnancy, on her own, faces the trauma of the death of her child by her hand. Women deserve better than abortion as the answer to her crisis pregnancy.

"Mr Dobson says: 'These amendments would make it easier for not very well informed women to have an abortion.' Is he suggesting that we keep these women in ignorance? In his own ignorance, he has no idea of the effects of abortion. I would suggest that his concern is definitely not for the woman or her child but for a political agenda that lets down women in a crisis. Politicians like him seem to have no interest in finding out about the plight of women or their families. They seem just to go along with the abortion industry fundamentalists. Their propaganda is that abortion is good for women when, in fact, quite the reverse is true. I know this from the experience of my counselling work."

From despair to hope: The euthanasia petitioner who changed her mind

The story of Seema Sood, who petitioned the president of India for euthanasia, provides evidence of why euthanasia must be unceasingly resisted both politically and, sadly with increasing frequency, by the bedside. See my earlier post Resisting euthanasia at the bedside.

Alison Davis, who has spina bifida, and leads No Less Human, a division within SPUC, says:

"The story of Mrs. Seema Sood explains in a nutshell why allowing legalised killing of vulnerable people by euthanasia is wrong. Mrs. Sood, who is now 37, longed for death two years ago, and even petitioned the President of India for euthanasia. She had lost all movement of her limbs for 15 years following a severe attack of rheumatoid arthritis, and was in despair. Now two years later, after surgery paid for by the Government of her state and her university alumni association, she says 'I regret the letter to the President. Everything was so dark for me ealier, but I'm excited about my mobility now and I'm confident I will improve.'

"Euthanasia would have robbed Mrs. Sood of the chance to recover her love of life, and to benefit from the surgery which revolutionised her life, and no one would have known that life held something better for her in the future. She is not the only vulnerable person who has changed her mind about wanting to die. I've been through the same experience myself.

"But euthanasia allows for no changes of mind. It is the philosophy of despair. What sick and disabled people who want to die really need is the sort of help and support which Mrs. Sood received both from politicians and her friends. Note well, politicians. Your actions could save a life like Mrs. Sood's rather than condemning her and others to death."

And, readers, note also SPUC's service to those who want to protect their loved ones from euthanasia: Patients First Network. By supporting and advising the friends and relatives of patients who are at risk of euthanasia by neglect, Patients First Network is enabling ordinary people to mount a bedside resistance to a premature and distressing death for their loved ones.