Thursday 30 April 2009

SPUC goes on Twitter

SPUC has launched a Twitter service whose homepage is Today we've tweeted on:
  • an archbishop's dire warning about the new US secretary of health
  • Irish taxpayers' money indirectly supports a pro-abortion FPA lawsuit
  • how parents are suing the NHS for their son's "wrongful birth".

British PM's wife at conference where abortion is promoted

I'm very sorry to see that Sarah Brown (right), the wife of Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, has been speaking at a conference in Los Angeles at which the legalization of abortion is being promoted for African nations. The Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (whose email address is reported: "The Vice President for the Africa Alliance of pro-abortion NGO IPAS, Dr. Eunice Brookman-Amissah, former Minister of Health, Ghana, spoke on the Maternal Health Panel and advocated for the legalization of abortion as part of a comprehensive health strategy."

Dr Brookman-Amissah is quoted as saying elsewhere: "Women tend to seek abortions when pregnancies are not supported by their partners, families or communities, when the pregnancy may threaten the woman’s health or survival or when the foetus has abnormalities. It’s not for immoral reasons ... Induced abortion is one of the safest medical procedures."

All too often maternal mortality is advanced as a reason for legalising abortion. In 2oo4, an article was published that had been written by Jeanne E. Head, a retired labor and delivery nurse, and vice president for international affairs and UN representative for the National Right to Life Committee, and by Laura Hussey, a Ph.D. student and research assistant for the National Right to Life Committee. The piece was called Does Abortion Access Protect Women's Health?.

They say: "... the main factor that has dramatically diminished abortion-related fatalities since the 1930s and '40s until today is not legalizing the procedure so much as improving the overall quality of national health-care systems."

They also write: "UN publications provide several examples in which legal abortion and lower maternal mortality rates do not coincide. Consider Britain, where abortion has been broadly legal for decades, and the nearby Republic of Ireland, which has long banned the practice. According to the 1990 UN Demographic Handbook, Ireland's maternal mortality rate for 1988 was some three and a half times lower than Britain's."

They conclude: "... the facts suggest that maternal mortality can be reduced in the developing world the same way it has been done in the developed world since 1941--by improving basic and maternal health care and the general health status of women, not by legalizing abortion."

They dragged me in and injected my belly with a needle: Reuters report on China

Today, Reuters reports on forced abortions in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

By way of complete contrast, a couple of months ago, the British government decided to send more than a hundred paintings by the English Romantic artist J M W Turner to be exhibited in Beijing – after the successful visit of the Terracotta Army to London – as part of a "wider approach to building understanding between the two countries".

Why should it be acceptable to make such a gesture towards modern China, as if the Chinese government runs some sort of civilised regime, when it has legislation in force which permits savage brutality to women and their babies? (See my answer below.) Can you imagine such a gesture being made to Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, or, come to think of it, Adolf Hitler's Germany?

Reuters reports:

" ... three young surrogate first-time mothers were discovered by authorities hiding in a communal flat. Soon afterwards, district family planning and security officers broke into the flat, bundled them into a van and drove them to a district hospital where they were manhandled into a maternity ward, the mothers recounted to Reuters.

"'I was crying 'I don't want to do this'," said a young woman called Xiao Hong, who was pregnant with four-month-old twins.

"'But they still dragged me in and injected my belly with a needle," the 20-year-old told Reuters of her ordeal which happened in late February.

"The woman, who declined to give her full name for fear of reprisals, said the men had forced her thumbprint onto a consent form before carrying out the abortion ... "

Reuters goes on to report that Zhang Minan, a law professor at Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen University and an expert on the issue, says:

"'They (the authorities) do have the right (to force abortions) ... "

In answer to the question I pose above: It's OK for Britain to deal with the Chinese government as if they run some sort of civilized regime, because, as I reported last year, the UK government, (along with Obama's administration and virtually all Western governments) are complicit in China's policy of forced abortions. The UK is the fourth highest funder of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), according to their annual report, and UNFPA's involvement in China's one child-policy is very well-documented.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

States must beware of self-styled experts who manipulate human rights

I have mentioned before the infamous Yokyakarta principles which, amongst other things, called on States to "ensure that all sexual and reproductive health, education, prevention, care and treatment programmes and services respect the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities, and are equally available to all without discrimination"; according to the World Health Organisation's definition "sexual and reproductive health" services includes the provision of abortion on demand.

In "A brief commentary on the Yogyakarta Principles", Jakob Cornides (pictured), a lawyer and writer on human rights, explains that the Yogyakarta Principles were adopted in 2007 by a self-styled ‘International Panel of Experts in International Human Rights Law and on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’.

An abstract summarising Mr Cornides' paper warns: "While the comments presented in [Mr Cornides'] paper mainly concern the substance of the Yogyakarta Principles, it should be noted that the way in which these Principles came into being provides even greater reason for concern: this is a deliberate attempt to manipulate our understanding of ‘Human Rights’ in order to promote the self-serving social agenda of a small cluster of vociferous and politically well-connected advocacy groups. States should beware of such manipulations, which, purporting to impose on them obligations and values to which they never have signed up, have the potential of undermining not only the credibility of the self-styled ‘experts’ who put their names under this document, but of ‘Human Rights’ and, ultimately, of international law as a whole."

Tuesday 28 April 2009

The trouble with the Catholic Education Service position on sex education

Ms Oonagh Stannard, the chief executive and director of the Catholic Education Service (CES), said today that the CES supports the principle of making sex education lessons compulsory, providing that what was taught was in line with parents' wishes and upholds the ethos of the particular school. (Schools must teach pupils about babies, Aids and sex, The Independent)

There are a number of problems with the Catholic Education Service's position to which SPUC is urgently seeking answers.

Arguably the biggest problem is summed up in the Catholic Education Service's letter to the Government on 26th August, 2008, in which Ms Stannard (pictured with Mr Edward Balls MP, the children's and schools minister) writes: "I support the concept of encouraging more schools to draw on the support of external professionals and on having a cadre of well trained, skilful people tooled up to delver SRE [sex and relationships education]. I would suggest, however, that there is some anxiety, certainly in Catholic schools about the role of external professionals in SRE. Sometimes this is because of the one day visit/hit approach to the SRE curriculum and at other times it is because [of] a lack of clarity about the role of the school nurse. Much could be done to assuage concerns by introducing the expectation that schools develop a protocol/written agreement of collaborative working etc to cover such external professionals working in schools, accompanied by strategies to ensure that it is implemented. This could be a powerful weapon in building parental confidence and ensuring that partners from other agencies and visitors are appropriately backed and supported in their work."

The trouble is that the CES used strikingly similar language in their document on the pro-abortion government advisory body, Connexions. They say: "the work of the Connexions Service is making an increasing impact on young people in Catholic schools and colleges. It is a service to be welcomed".

The CES document continues: "[Connexions] has also caused some concern in our Catholic community because its wide remit to provide advice and guidance to young people includes matters of personal development, and by implication, sex and relationships (SRE) education. These are, of course, the responsibility of the governing bodies of our schools and colleges and there will usually be robust policies to accompany SRE. Colleagues in dioceses, schools and colleges have been rightly concerned to ensure that the work of personal advisers within the Connexions Service should not compromise our Catholic rights and the particular ethos of our schools and colleges."

Now, Connexions is a government agency which is committed to giving schoolchildren, under the age of 16, access to abortion and abortifacient birth control drugs and devices without parental knowledge or permission. Connexions' advisers are trained to tell young people that they can obtain birth control drugs and devices, and abortion, without parental knowledge or consent - as can be seen in Young People and Sexual Health, a reader for those participating in the Connexions training programme, a copy of which I can provide to readers (write to

Tragically, it's all too clear that Connexions are promoting access to abortion and abortifacient birth control among Catholic schoolchildren in spite of their undertaking to respect the Catholic ethos of the schools.

As a Catholic parent who has been working in the pro-life movement for 35 years, I regard the CES policy of welcoming Connexions advisers into Catholic schools as possibly the greatest ever betrayal of the sanctity of life and families in Britain.

Will the Catholic Education Service, in the light of their concern not to compromise "Catholic rights", be reversing its position on welcoming Connexions into Catholic schools? Will they also insist, in the light of their letter to the government (see above), that external professionals visiting Catholic schools must not include representatives from pro-abortion groups or anyone trained to advise children of their alleged legal right of access to abortion and abortifacient birth control drugs and devices without parental knowledge or consent?

Monday 27 April 2009

SPUC holds nationwide pro-life witness

On Saturday, SPUC supporters took part in nearly 60 Pro-Life Chains throughout the UK. Christine Hudson, organiser of the event in Plymouth, Devon, writes: "These pictures are to prove that we did hold pro-life chains along Exeter Street in Plymouth and that it was freezing cold, blustery and raining at times – a heroic effort all in all! I have taken all [Saturday] afternoon to warm through. This time last year we got sunburnt!" Windswept participants in the Plymouth chain are pictured above. We also put together (mainly for the media) a page with links to photographs of various chains.

Sunday 26 April 2009

Defeating the myth of the right to abortion

Last year the Human Rights Law Review published Abortion as a Human Right – International and Regional Standards by Christina Zampas and Jaime Gher of the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York. In a review of this article, Dr Jakob Cornides (right) points out that its authors, though writing in a scholarly journal, work for an organisation with a pro-abortion agenda.

The authors of the article describe how the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa calls on countries to "protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the other or the foetus." Disturbing though this is, Dr Cornides points out that this protocol is unique among human rights treaties in describing abortion as a right. He also questions whether the African nations which signed it were sincere in doing so, particularly since development aid can be conditional upon following donor countries' social agendas.

Zampas and Gher concede that, even in liberal western countries, abortion is not enshrined as a right; Dr Cornides points out that no nation's law actually permits totally unrestricted abortion.

The authors of the article claim that UN conferences on population and women that were held in Cairo in 1994 and in Beijing the year after brought so-called reproductive health into the realm of social justice. However, that term was not intended to include abortion, as has been clarified by the European Commission and the USA.

Dr Cornides' review undermines the credibility of what is claimed to be a growing consensus in favour of abortion as a right, as well as questioning the mandate of various experts who pronounce on the issue.

Turning to how abortion might be justified in terms of natural law, he writes: "[I]t is uncontested that the human fetus is human from the very moment of its conception, as it comes into existence through the union of a human sperm and a human ovum. It is [at] this moment that the unique genetic identity of a child is created. From that moment, the fetus does not pass through different stages of evolution - from amoeba to homo sapiens – but is and remains human throughout gestation." This is the pure, stark truth which our pro-abortion opponents must constantly obfuscate and flee.

Zampas and Gher actually make no reasoned case for abortion. Rather, they appeal to UN documents, as if the United Nations somehow conferred humanity on the world's people.

Crushingly, Dr Cornides writes of the authors: " They speak of ‘human rights’, but do not appear to know who is human, nor what corresponds to … human nature, nor what a right is. The ‘rights’ they are advocating float around freely; they are neither grounded in positive law, nor in natural law, nor is there, despite claims made by the authors, a true political or social ‘consensus’ to support these purported rights."

Saturday 25 April 2009

Mrs Clinton praises eugenicist birth control promoter

Mrs Hillary Clinton has confirmed that, when her government speaks of reproductive health, that term includes access to abortion. The US secretary of state was talking to the House of Representatives' foreign affairs committee. She also praised Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), the birth-control advocate. Representative Christopher Smith pointed out in the committee that Ms Sanger had been a eugenicist and asked Mrs Clinton to confirm that the Obama administration would promote abortion overseas. Her replies suggested that it would.

Mr Smith later said: "It is evident that Mrs Clinton and President Obama want to force the tragedy of abortion upon women around the world especially and including in countries where democratically elected leaders want to continue to protect their unborn children. There are other ways in which both mother and baby are protected, cared for and helped - with food, nutrition, clean water and life-affirming healthcare. Secretary Clinton's inability to see this will mean more babies will die and more women will suffer the consequence of abortion as a result of US foreign policy overseas."

Mrs Clinton recently received an award named after Ms Sanger from Planned Parenthood.

Friday 24 April 2009

Bishop concerned at human cloning claim

A doctor in Kentucky claims to have implanted cloned human embryos in four women. Dr Panayiotis Zavos (right) says none of the 11 embryos survived, but he reportedly intends to enable a cloned child to be born. Rt Rev Patrick O'Donoghue, the Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, calls the reports disturbing and the alleged activities repugnant. He writes that cloning: "creates a dislocation in the human family; it removes the begetting of children from its true context – the fruit of mutual self-giving in marriage – and turns human children into a manufactured product."

The bishop says that it is mistaken both to support embryo research and to think it can be controlled. Such research involves killing humans and, once it is allowed, demand for embryos soars. He adds: "Some doctors and scientists have condemned Dr Zavos for breaching the widely accepted ban on transferring cloned embryos to the womb. But those who support destructive embryo research while criticising Dr Zavos are laying themselves open to a charge of hypocrisy."

UN racism meeting avoids abortion issue

A current United Nations meeting on racism will not include any pro-abortion language in its final declaration, SPUC lobbyists report. We have had two people at the Durban Review Conference in Geneva and their brief has been to ensure that the so-called outcome document would not be revised at the last minute to include wording which promoted abortion.

SPUC's Peter Smith writes from Switzerland: "At many UN conferences, regardless of the subject matter, there is wording put into the outcome document to promote abortion. That has not happened here and this is good news for pro-lifers."

The conference, which ends today, has been reviewing progress since the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

Hormonal birth control advertised on television

Last night, British commercial television broadcast an advertisement for hormonal birth control pills. Since I'm in Canada speaking at a pro-life conference, I didn't see it, but someone who did tells me that it was an animated cartoon with music, which portrayed a woman whose contraception had failed and who gets Levonelle One Step from a pharmacist. This powerful drug is sometimes called the morning-after pill and a caption on the screen during the ad pointed out that it was not 100% effective.

Colleagues who've been speaking to the media about this move have been at pains to point out that these pills are not just contraceptive in their effect. Publicity from the manufacturer persistently describes them as contraceptive, as does the product's website. Advertising and marketing are supposedly regulated, with manufacturers being told not to make misleading claims. Some ads are infuriating with all their disclaimers and "terms and conditions apply". Nevertheless, the makers of Levonelle can call their product a contraceptive even though their own literature describes how it may also prevent the implantation of the early embryo – thus causing an early abortion.

Regulators and lawmakers can be fierce in restricting what is said in advertising about alcohol and cigarettes because of the damage those things can do to people. By contrast, morning-after pills, which can lead to the death of innocent humans, are now being promoted like aspirin or indigestion cures. Abortion providers want to advertise on TV too and, rather than sending them away with a flea in their ear, the regulators are patiently holding a consultation on the proposal.

Thursday 23 April 2009

The biology of the theology of the body

A mother of six who has been helping women and men wounded by abortion since 1984 will next month be talking about how human sexuality, ordained by God in its physiology, explains why men and women fall in love and bond to each other. Vicki Thorn, founder and executive of National Office of Post Abortion Healing and Reconciliation and Project Rachel, will give a presentation entitled The Biology of The Theology of The Body. Details of the talks are:
  • Tuesday 12 May, 6:30 pm to 9 pm, Pastoral Affairs Department, Diocese of Westminster, Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, London, SW1P 1QN, (020) 7931 6064,, admission £5
  • Wednesday 13 May, 7:30 pm, The Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative, 104 Albert Road, Crosshill, Glasgow, G42 8DR, (0141) 433 2680,, admission free
  • Thursday 14 May, 8 pm (Mass and AGM from 7 pm), Luton Good Counsel, Our Lady Help of Christians Parish Hall, Castle Street, Luton, LU1 3AG , (01582) 411155,
There is a poster about the events on the web.

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Withdraw flawed abortion guidelines or face judicial review, says SPUC Northern Ireland

SPUC Northern Ireland is calling on Mr Michael McGimpsey MLA (pictured), Northern Ireland’s health minister, to withdraw the flawed guidelines on abortion issued by his department last month, and to have the matter looked at again by the Province’s devolved government.

We're saying that the department’s advice to doctors is so seriously flawed that it is in breach of the law and is warning that doctors who approve abortions on the basis on the guidelines could risk prosecution. In a letter setting out our concerns, we're telling the minister that, if he doesn’t act immediately to address the issue, SPUC will have no choice but to seek a judicial review of the guidance.

Betty Gibson, SPUC’s chairwoman in Northern Ireland, says: “Despite the claims that this guidance won’t change the abortion law in Northern Ireland, it will radically alter clinical practice and undermine the statutory protection for children before birth. The approach adopted by the department regards abortion as just another medical service with administrative arrangements in each health trust area for the referral of women to designated hospitals where abortions are carried out as a matter of routine. In reality there is never any medical justification for deliberately killing a child before he or she is born. That’s why abortion is a criminal offence in Northern Ireland and not a medical procedure.

“We don’t believe the Executive has been presented with all the facts of this matter so we are hoping that Mr McGimpsey will give his fellow ministers the opportunity to examine our concerns and the legal advice we have been given. I hope he will be reasonable and seek to avoid the unnecessary delay and expense of a judicial review. He should, however, be in no doubt of how serious this situation is. Women deserve better than abortion and we will do whatever is necessary to maintain Northern Ireland’s legal protection for women and unborn children."

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Alert public to TV abortion ads consultation by ordering SPUC's new flyer

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has launched a leafleting campaign "Help Keep Abortion Ads Off Our Televisions". We're calling on the public to respond to the public consultation on this matter. The leaflet is pictured right.

Abortion promoters want to advertise on TV and may be allowed to do so by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). A public consultation is being held and ends on 19th June.

There's no time to lose in alerting the general public and calling on them to respond to this consultation. Please order leaflets now - to give out door-to-door, on the high street, and, with the permission of the clergy, at local churches. Write to me directly to order a quantity - 50, 100, 250 etc - which you are confident you are able to distribute. Write to me at

TV abortion advertising threatens to further commercialise the killing of unborn children. It would completely disregard the adverse effect of abortion on women's health. Agencies with a financial interest in abortion will be in a position to buy expensive broadcast advertising, whereas groups which provide objective information about abortion and its impact on women's health will be unlikely to afford to advertise.

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue, the bishop of Lancaster, calls the possibility of TV abortion advertising "another hammer blow to the sanctity of human life in this country" and Archbishop Nichols, the incoming Archbishop of Westminster has said "Advertisements should be truthful and tasteful. I doubt that any intended adverts about abortion would be fully truthful and tell the whole truth of the effects of abortion in a woman's life". He urges people to respond to the consultation.

Monday 20 April 2009

Sarah Palin is not "pro-choice", she's a human being

I feel sure that most people will admire Sarah Palin's beautifully honest account of how she felt and what she thought when she first discovered she was expecting her son Trig, who has down's syndrome. For a fleeting moment, Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate said, she considered her "options" - in other words, she considered abortion.

She said: "'I had to ask myself, 'Was I going to walk the walk or was I just going to talk the talk'".

As David O'Steen, executive director of the US National Right to Life Committee, told the Washington Post: "I think every one of us, every human being, has had it go through their mind, the possibility of an act they know is wrong - and then rejected."

Elizabeth Shipp, a US pro-abortion campaigner, is reported as saying: "If I didn't know any better, I'd say governor Palin sounds remarkably pro-choice."

No, Elizabeth. Sarah Palin is not "pro-choice", she's a human being. As Alison Davis, the leader of No Less Human, a disability rights group which campaigns against abortion and other anti-life practices, put it to me today: "I greatly admire Sarah Palin and now I admire her all the more for her honesty. Abortion is permitted in the US for any reason throughout the nine months of pregnancy, so it's no wonder that mothers-to-be under pressure might consider it, even fleetingly. Laws which permit the killing of the unborn put mothers-to-be under inhuman pressure when they are most vulnerable - and that's one of the many reasons why they must be changed."

Sunday 19 April 2009

Anglican bishop visits SPUC branch

Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, Anglican Bishop of Chester, spoke recently to the annual meeting of SPUC's Ellesmere Port and Neston branch, which was held at St Winefride’s Catholic church, Neston, Cheshire. Judy Howard, branch secretary, tells me that members were especially pleased that the bishop was prepared to visit them in the week before Easter. She adds: "It is so encouraging that someone of his stature should have become a patron of SPUC Evangelicals and a member of SPUC. He is not afraid to speak out against abortion and the damage it is doing to family life."

Judy is pictured above, second from the right, with the bishop. Next to her are Margaret Unsworth, branch chairman, and Robin Haig, SPUC's national chairman. Also pictured is Anne Fearon, chairman of SPUC Merseyside.

Saturday 18 April 2009

UN agreement could support health workers' conscientious objections

You may know that various United Nations documents defend unborn life. The 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child includes: "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". You can read more about how international conventions protect the unborn in What rights, if any, do the unborn have under international law? by Doctors John Fleming and Michael Hains on the Priests for Life website.

I mention such global agreements because another such document is being cited in the matter of the Australian state of Victoria's Abortion Law Reform Act. Our colleagues at New South Wales Right to Life describe how this law would force health workers to declare their opposition to abortion and to refer women who want abortions to people who will perform them. Lawyers point out that agreements which Australia has signed could invalidate this measure. Pursuing sources which NSW Right to Life use, we find that the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: "No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice." In a comment on that covenant, the UN's human rights commissioner points out that that document's provisions mean that "no one can be compelled to reveal his thoughts or adherence to a religion or belief."

In other words, not only are healthcare workers entitled to their beliefs (including an objection to abortion), but forcing them to declare such beliefs is against international agreements. Meanwhile, abortion supporters want abortion made an international human right.

Friday 17 April 2009

Pressure on pan-American meeting to endorse abortion

A pro-life colleague in Washington, DC, warns that a current meeting between the nations of central, north and south America could be used to promote abortion. Mrs Marie Smith (left) of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues says that the International Planned Parenthood Federation is trying to influence a declaration of the Fifth Summit of the Americas which is taking place in Trinidad and Tobago and ends on Sunday. The federation wants the conference, due to be attended by President Obama and Ms Hillary Clinton, to acknowledge what it calls reproductive health and rights as essential to prosperity.

Mrs Smith writes: "Pro-life advocates need to be alert to attempts to use the declaration to advance reproductive health with language which can include abortion. These terms include reproductive health care, reproductive health, reproductive health services, sexual and reproductive health, and sexual health. Pro-life countries will need to remove these terms from the document if possible and clarify in an Explanation of Position (EOP) that nothing in the document advances abortion."

Mrs Smith points out that there is a move to make reproductive health (which can include abortion) part of primary health care and HIV treatment. She says that caution is needed even when dealing with such innocuous expressions as comprehensive healthcare and services, health services, and healthcare services.

Mrs Smith adds: "While the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton State Department support IPPF in all its abortion endeavors, and will fund it with hard earned taxpayer dollars, the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean are a long way from rejecting their cherished defense of the most basic human right, the right to life of the unborn child."

The Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues is run by Life Issues Institute, Ohio.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

The pro-life battle in the US

I'm pictured above at a meeting in the US last month with Dr. Wanda Franz, president of National Right to Life (centre) and Darla St Martin, the organisation's co-executive director. Our American colleagues have a tough battle ahead of them as they confront a deeply anti-life administration led by President Obama.

While in the US, I attended Mass at Sacred Heart church, Suffern, NY. Mgr Joseph Giandurco, parish priest, wrote in his newsletter about how parishioners had filled in postcards opposing the Freedom of Choice Act and about the furore over Notre Dame university's offering the president an honorary degree. Before Mass, laypeople led the congregation in prayers for the defence of the sanctity of human life from conception till natural death. This is something which we in Britain may care to do too, with the permission of the parish clergy.

Symposium on theology of the body, Maynooth, June

An Irish youth movement is presenting an international symposium on the goodness, truth and beauty of human sexuality, and the divine plan for human love. Pure in Heart will host Man and Woman He Created Them: Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body from 11 to 14 June at Maynooth Campus, County Kildare. The event marks the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland and the of first papal audience on the theology of the body.

Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe will offer the opening Mass and conference speakers will include Fr Don Calloway MIC, Sister Mary Timothy Prokes FSE, Dr Mary Shivanandan and DDr Michael Waldstein.

The event is sponsored by the Theology of the Body Institute and 3ltv. You can find out more and arrange to attend by visiting or emailing

Saturday 11 April 2009

One child policy partially responsible for 32 million more young men than young women in China says British Medical Journal

The forced abortion regime in China, for which Barack Obama restored vital funding as one of his first actions as President, is responsible for untold human misery involving the brutal mistreatment of women and their families.

Another aspect of the misery was highlighted yesterday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), "the medical publication of the year". According to analysis of data from a 2005 national survey China has 32 million more young men than young women.

According to a BMJ editorial:
"By showing that sex ratios for different age groups and places of residence vary with how the one child policy is implemented, the study confirms that the policy is partially responsible for the current imbalance in the sex ratio in China."
In an interview with the Associated Press, Therese Hesketh, one of the authors of the BMJ study, said that the imbalance is expected to steadily worsen among people of childbearing age over the next two decades and could trigger a slew of social problems, including a possible spike in crime by young men unable to find female partners.

And to our eternal shame, the UK remains the fourth highest country donor to the UNFPA (according to the UNFPA's latest annual [2007] report . The UNFPA’s well-documented involvement in China’s one-child policy has been described as “arguably the greatest bioethical atrocity on the globe”.

Friday 10 April 2009

Archbishop condemns plan to advertise abortion on TV

When I was going into church for a Good Friday service earlier today, a delighted fellow-parishioner told me about a statement by the archbishop-elect of Westminster on proposals to advertise abortion and birth control on television. I've told the media that SPUC warmly welcomes Most Rev Vincent Nichols' initiative. I'm sure many Catholics and non-Catholics will respond to his call to oppose ads for abortion and condoms on TV.

Honduras votes to ban abortion-inducing morning-after pill

The legislature of Honduras has voted to ban the morning-after pill. Members of Honduras’s Congress argued that the morning-after pill is abortifacient and therefore violates Honduras’s constitutional ban on abortion. The measure passed bans the purchase, sale, use and distribution of the morning-after pill. Martha Lorena Alvarado de Casco (pictured), a Liberal party representative and an Honduran pro-life leader, sponsored the ban.

SPUC has fought very hard for many years to have the truth about the morning-after pill recognised. In the year 2000 SPUC mounted a legal challenge in the English high court against the supply of the morning-after pill without prescription. We explained that the morning-after pill manufacturers say that it can affect the lining of the womb so that embryos can't implant. (It's important to note that other contraceptive drugs and devices also cause early abortions.) This may be a death sentence for young human lives.

Mr Justice Munby, the judge in the case, ruled against SPUC, deciding that a mother is not pregnant until the embryo implants in her womb. Although an embryonic child is present before implantation, the judge said, the mother is not legally pregnant. Justice Munby’s decision has been strongly challenged in the academic press and elsewhere, specifically by Fleming, Pike & Neville and by John Keown. In summary, the overwhelming scientific and legal evidence makes clear that:
  • conception is to be equated with fertilisation;
  • a woman is pregnant from fertilisation/conception onwards;
  • miscarriage, being synonymous with abortion, refers to loss of the preimplantation embryo, potentially caused by the morning after pill.
Importantly, Mrs de Casco pointed out that the morning-after pill "is a hormonal bomb that acts directly in the body causing thousands of physical changes in girls, who are the ones taking it the most, 12, 14 and 16 year-old girls". Levonelle 1500 delivers 50 times the daily dosage of the Norgeston daily mini-pill. It is shocking to discover that there is very limited medical evidence on the effects of the morning-after pill on girls under the age of 16, which the manufacturers have also admitted. Pro-abortion advocates so oftens claim that they are promoting women's rights and health, but what the young women exposed to the morning-after pill?

I spoke on the 'phone this week to Martha de Casco. She said that the measure banning the promotion and selling of the morning after pill now goes to the President of the Honduras who will either ratify or veto it. If it's vetoed, it will go back to the Congress who can overturn the veto with a three-fourths majority. It's therefore vital to write to the President of the National Congress to congratulate the Congress on their vote and calling on Congress-men and -women to stand firm. Please write to:

Roberto Micheletti Bain
Presidente Congreso Nacional de Honduras
Palacio Legislativo
Tegucigalpa, D.C.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Pro-lifers must defend the Pope from the Blairs' campaign

On 5 March, I blogged about how Tony & Cherie Blair had launched high profile attacks on two fundamental aspects of papal teaching on building a culture of life. Just over a month later, the Blairs have made a similar attack on Pope Benedict on the same issues. Tony Blair, in an interview with Attitude, a homosexual magazine, has said that the Catholic Church must change its "entrenched attitudes" to homosexuality. And Cherie has told the Times of Malta that she was "rather saddened" by the Pope's comments in Africa that the promotion of condom use threatened to worsen the spread of HIV.

What this repeat joint attack suggests is that the Blairs are using their continuous high-profile media exposure to undermine the Catholic faith to which they subscribe. In his Attitude interview, Tony said: "For all religions, the challenge is how do you extract the essential values of the faith from a vast accumulation of doctrine and practice?" Considering the support that both Tony & Cherie have given to pro-abortion campaigns, will the Blairs now soon be campaigning openly for the Catholic Church to ditch its teaching against abortion?

A clue to the answer to that question can be found if we ask another question a la Cicero: Cui bono? Who benefits from the Blairs' campaign against Catholic teaching? The answer is clearly the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and other abortion promoters, which are endorsed by Cherie Blair, and the pro-abortion groups with which Tony Blair and his Faith Foundation have established such close links, continuing the pro-abortion policies he pursued as an MP and as Prime Minister. The culture which has resulted from a rejection of traditional sexual ethics has in turn created a culture of death. As I've mentioned before, it is IPPF which has led the attacks on the Pope -whose comments on condoms and AIDS is bad for their "big business".

For the sake of unborn babies, women and young people, pro-lifers of all faiths and none must rally together to defend the Pope, from the Blairs' campaign. As the late Pope John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae (para. 97), it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Please sign declaration of support for Pope Benedict's pro-life/pro-family stance

Pope Benedict has been under heavy attack following his visit to Africa and his clear statements pointing out that condoms are not the solution for AIDs. International Planned Parenthood Federation have led the attacks in order, as I explained at the time, to protect the "big business" in which they are engaged.

I have written many times on this blog about the Catholic Church's teaching on the truth and meaning of human sexuality, and particularly about the intimate links there are between Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, the sanctity of human life and the pro-life struggle. The Pope needs our support for his pro-life/pro-family stance, so I am encouraging you to sign the declaration at

We, the undersigned, declare our full solidarity with the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and his teachings.

We strongly object to the irresponsible attacks in the media on the person of the Holy Father in the context of his pilgrimage to Africa. His words of truth have become a pretext for further attempts to undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church, and especially the Encyclical “Humanae Vitae”.

We wish to express our great gratitude to the Holy Father for his uncompromising proclamation of the Truth, which the modern world needs so much.

The list of people who signed the statement will be delivered to the Vatican.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Dignitas director says suicide is marvellous, marvellous

Forget the reassurances given to you by euthanasia advocates: "only in the case of terminal illness", "only for people in unbearable pain", "just for the hard cases." Yes, well we've heard that before, haven't we?

Ludwig Minelli, the director of Dignitas, the Swiss suicide outfit, is at least upfront about the motives of the euthanasia movement. Dignitas has assisted almost 900 people in ending their lives, including more than 100 from the UK. Pro-euthanasia groups in this country try to distance themselves from disreputable individuals like Minelli whilst at the same time using the existence of these facilities to manipulate public opinion.

According to Minelli, assisted suicide is a "marvellous, marvellous possibility for a human being" which should be available for absolutely anybody, including those suffering from depression, and it is quite a little money-saver for the state.

"For 50 suicide attempts you have one suicide and the others are failing with heavy costs on the National Health Service", says Minelli. "If we would have another attitude to suicide, saying suicide is a very good possibility to escape. In many, many cases they are terribly hurt afterwards sometimes you have to put them in institutions for 50 years. Very costly."

His comments simply do not reflect reality. Many suicide attempts are what is known as parasuicides, cries for help that are not intended to end in death. Yes, suicidal people may need ongoing help and support, but the argument that they are financial liabilities who should be put out of the nation's misery is so heartless as to be worthy of Nazi Germany. We mustn't forget that the euthanasia movement is just another heartless facet of the culture of death. Fortunately, its advocates are becoming careless and are making their real motives increasingly obvious.

Monday 6 April 2009

Courageous politician holds Hillary Clinton to account

On 27 March Hillary Clinton (pictured bottom-right), the radical pro-abortion US secretary of state, visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico, a major shrine for the international pro-life movement. The very next day in Texas, Mrs Clinton received from Planned Parenthood, America's biggest abortion provider, an award named after Margaret Sanger (pictured top-right), the founder of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) of which Planned Parenthood of America forms part. In her acceptance speech, Mrs Clinton said: "I admire Margaret Sanger enormously" and "I want to assure you that reproductive rights and the umbrella issue of women's rights and empowerment will be a key to the foreign policy of [the Obama] Administration".

In response, on 31 March Chris Smith, the pro-life congressman for Trenton, New Jersey, gave a stunning speech in the House of Representatives, holding Mrs Clinton to account for her endorsement of Sanger. Among many notable parts of his speech, Mr Smith laid out the evidence of Sanger's "cruel and reckless disregard for poor, pregnant women". Sanger had argued forcefully and at length against any form of welfare for poor mothers, arguing instead for the poor to be prevented from breeding. Mr Smith said that Planned Parenthood was really "Child Abuse Incorporated", as "[a]bortion is violence against children".

In a world dominated by a more and more aggressive and extremist anti-life regime under President Obama, we need many more courageous public figures like Congressman Chris Smith. There is no incompatibility between clear condemnations of abortion and profound, practical compassion for mothers in difficult circumstances. Chris Smith's speech featured both, and accurately represented the pro-life movement's core values.

Thursday 2 April 2009

Obama and China best of friends when it comes to forced abortion

President Barack Obama met with Hu Jintao, the Chinese leader, yesterday at the G20 summit in London. I think the smiles say it all. Mr Obama recently lifted the funding bans on the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and other anti-life agencies which are complicit in China's one-child, forced abortion policy. I'm sure that makes Mr Hu very happy.

The late Dr John S. Aird, former senior China specialist at the U.S. Bureau for the Census, was one of the world's experts on the one-child policy. Shortly before his death in October 2005, Dr Aird wrote to SPUC: "[T]he new Chinese leadership under Hu Jintao seems to have taken, if anything, a still harder line on population control than its predecessor."

The warm attitude shown to the Chinese regime by Mr Obama and by Hilary Clinton, the new US secretary of state, reminds me of the warm relationship between Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state and Mao Zedong, the Communist dictator, in the 1970s. Indeed, it was Kissinger's infamous National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200 of 1974 that set the stage for the Chinese to adopt a strict population control policy in co-operation with UN agencies in 1979. The belief that population growth, at home and/or or abroad, is bad for a country's economic and security interests rapidly became official dogma in America, China, the UK and many other countries.

After countless millions of abortions, as well as the effect of abortifacient "contraceptive" drugs and devices, and other anti-family practices, many countries now have no answer to the dilemma of how to provide for the growing proportion of their populations which is past retirement age.

For example, in the year 2000, of the population of Ukraine, 26% were children and 20% were elderly, making a total of 46% of the Ukrainian population categorised as dependent. It is predicted that by 2050, the proportion of children in the Ukrainian population will have fallen to 13%, whereas the proportion of elderly will have risen to 57%, making a total of 69% categorised as dependant. This represents an inversion of the usual population pyramid, in which a large base of working (i.e. income- and revenue-generating) citizens support a smaller base of non-working citizens.

So all the talk about stimulus packages to end the financial crisis is pointless without a plan to end the population crisis. Some tough choices are being made to end the financial crisis: company directors are being sacked and entrenched bad habits are being ended. Some tough choices need to be made to end the population crisis: many political leaders need to be sacked and abortion and other anti-life/anti-family practices need to end.

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Resistance to abortion in Spain

Last Sunday pro-life marches were held simultaneously in the Spanish capital Madrid and other Spanish cities. The catalyst for the marches was the Zapatero government's proposed extension of legal abortion. LifeSite reports that "[t]he organizers estimated that 500,000 people took part in rallies in more than 80 cities across Spain, with AFP reporting an estimated 100,000 in Madrid alone." SPUC sent a message of support.

The pro-life movement can often seem isolated. So the Spanish marches helps us to remember that we are not alone. There are countless thousands of active (and yet-to-become-active!) pro-lifers all over the world, of all ages, religions and backgrounds. New pro-life campaigns are launched regularly, such as Silent No More. Pro-life activitsts are learning every day how to use the latest technologies to spread the pro-life message.

Apart from the thousands of wonderful people in the pro-life movement, we have a resource which none of the forces deployed against us have, or will ever have: the truth. A powerful, peaceful, pro-life resistance (and, I believe, prayer) will, in time, roll back the culture of death, and the truth about human life will be seen clearly. So congratulations to the Spanish marchers!