Sunday 31 May 2009

Right response to pro-abortion policies is strong condemnation and resistance

Who could possibly take issue with The Tablet's editorial this weekend and its appreciative reference to Obama's speech at Notre Dame University calling for "respectful mutual comprehension" in relation to his anti-life policies?

I do.

The Tablet* writes:
Archbishop Nichols' words [at his installation sermon at Westminster Cathedral] might be construed as calling for the Catholic Church to be given a fair hearing, whereas Mr Obama was implicitly addressing his critics within the Catholic Church in America who condemn him as pro-abortion (and therefore condemn Notre Dame for honouring him). But Archbishop Nichols goes on to say: 'In these matters we ourselves in the Churches have so much to learn and do.' This sounds more like an appeal to his fellow Catholics to consider how they themselves engage in public controversy, in which case he is implicitly reinfor­cing Mr Obama's plea for respectful mutual comprehension."

I completely disagree with The Tablet. The right response to Barack Obama and his unprecedented execution of pro-abortion policies since being elected President is strong condemnation and peaceful resistance. As Father Frank Pavone (pictured), the national director of the US's Priests for Life puts it: "We have to stop trivialising abortion". Speaking about the students protesting against Notre Dame's honouring of Obama, Fr Frank writes:

"Everyone can imagine people they would protest speaking at a commencement: an avowed racist, anti-Semite, or advocate of terrorism. So the failure to object to one who is unwilling to call for an end to abortion is the failure to see that abortion is as bad or worse than those other evils. We have to stop trivializing abortion.

"Moreover, the university gave the President an honorary law degree. Law exists to protect human rights; but this president has admitted that he doesn’t know when a child receives human rights. How can he defend human rights when he doesn’t know who has them? ...

" ... Now dialogue with our opponents on this issue is something we at Priests for Life specialize in. I maintain friendships with abortion advocates and practicing abortionists. The clarity of our own convictions never means we despise, demonize, or shut out other people. And yes, we are willing to collaborate with others in morally legitimate ways to reduce the numbers of abortions.

"But the President’s remarks had a glaring omission. While willing to dialogue and to promote adoption, he gave no indication of any willingness to protect the children in the womb. And that’s the crux of the issue. In his remarks, he referred to the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation. Certainly, his call for open minds does not include openness to reconsider the segregation issue. There’s a right answer to it, period.

"So it is with the protection of the unborn."

The latter part of 20th century history shows again and again that the appropriate response to fundamental human rights abuses on the part of the State is organized peaceful resistance on the part of citizens - and strong condemnation on the part of the Church, as Pope John Paul II reminded us in Evangelium Vitae:

"The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: 'Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator'." (EV, 3)

*The Tablet describes itself as an international Catholic weekly but, editorially, it opposes Church teaching on fundamental issues relating to the sanctity of human life.

Social Bookmarking

Good news from Mexico and on adult stem cells

I've been drawn to some recent news stories which provide hope for the sanctity of human life:
These successes prove that pro-life work in the fields of lobbying, education and medicine has tangible results. There's no reason for apathy in pro-life work, not least because inaction means that not only opportunities, but lives, will be lost.

Saturday 30 May 2009

The threat of population control in Australia

A group called Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is pushing for Australia to adopt a Chinese-style one-child policy, with the aim of reducing Australia’s population of 22 million people to seven million. The groups claims that such a drastic population cut is needed to ensure a sustainable future.

Anthony Ozimic of SPUC, who assists me with my blog, is an Australian, and he tells me:
"The history of modern Australia to the present day is one of under-population. Australia does not, and never has had, anywhere near a sufficient population to take proper advantage of its natural potential. As a result, Australia has always required fresh waves of immigration. I have personal knowledge of these things. Both sides of my family came to Australia from Europe, helping to meet Australia's need for hard-working, industrious immigrants. My father and maternal grandfather, both reservoir geologists, were at the forefront of supplying the oil and gas which sustains Australia's enviable standard of living.

"Believing in humanity entails acknowledging its unfailing ability to produce pioneers who solve many of its problems. Australia has always been a country of pioneers, whether it be explorers of Australia's vast habitable areas or scientists finding better ways to supply food, water and energy. A radical cut in Australia's population would mean cutting Australia's best natural resource - its people, and the future pioneers among them. Australia already has a below-replacement fertility rate and a high abortion rate. Concerns about sustainability, pollution, etc will not be addressed if fewer potential future scientists, engineers, etc are born."

Friday 29 May 2009

Coroners and Justice Bill – assisted suicide threat

An amendment that would have the effect of legalizing assisted suicide has been tabled to the British government's Coroners and Justice Bill in the House of Lords. Despite the Government saying that they did not want such an amendment attached to the Bill, it has been tabled by Lord Alderdice (pictured). Although the amendment has little chance of success, it is very important that it is strongly opposed at the committee stage debate, which is scheduled for 9th and 10th June. Please read and act on this SPUC alert. Thank you.

Positive report in The Times on Napro Technology - the ethical fertility treatment

Oddly enough for the London Times, which is usually virulently anti-life, it has published a positive report on natural procreative technology (NaProTech or NPT). Among other things, the report points out that:
  • "NPT is offered to couples as an 'ethical alternative' to assisted reproductive techniques ... There is no egg selection, no donor insemination and no embryo wastage."
  • "NaPro is slowly establishing itself in Britain."
  • "Supporters of NPT say that its attractions are not only moral but tangible."
  • "NPT has markedly lower fees than IVF"
  • "The biggest study of NPT effectiveness [found] a live birth rate of 25.5 per cent, a figure that seems impressive given that in the UK the IVF success rate is about 23 per cent."
Do read the report in full. It's refreshing that sometimes light is allowed to shine out from the darkness of the anti-life mainstream media.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Gordon Brown's wife endorses the international pro-abortion lobby

Last month I blogged about Sarah Brown (pictured), wife of Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, and her participation in a conference where abortion was promoted. Mrs Brown has now gone one step further by openly endorsing some of the world's leading pro-abortion agencies. In a keynote address at the recent World Health Assembly (at which SPUC was represented), Mrs Brown praised the work of the:
Mrs Brown singled out for praise the late Dr Allan Rosenfield, former national chairman of Planned Parenthood of America (America's largest abortion provider) and a leading pioneer of population control in the developing world. Mrs Brown said that "[t]he medical and academic world lost a great figure" when he died last year.

I find Mrs Brown's endorsement of these pro-abortion groups worrying, considering that these groups shamelessly manipulate the issue of maternal mortality to promote their child-killing agenda. That said, I'm not surprised either, considering her husband's anti-life record and her work for EMILY's List, which helps elect female Labour candidates to Parliament, but only if they are pro-choice i.e. pro-abortion.

It seems, unfortunately, to have become de rigeur for British prime ministers' wives to promote pro-abortion organizations!

Wednesday 27 May 2009

UN committee calls for liberal abortion law in Northern Ireland

SPUC has criticised the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for calling for Britain's liberal abortion law to be extended to Northern Ireland.

Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland said:

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights upholds the inherent dignity and equal rights of all members of the human family, including children before birth. It is disturbing, therefore, to see how far the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has departed from the UN's founding principles.

"Abortion not only denies the fundamental human rights of children but it is deeply damaging to women. It is clear that the committee has no real concern for either women or children and knows nothing about Northern Ireland. If it did, then it would know that there is no evidence of so-called backstreet abortion in Northern Ireland and that in fact we have the best maternal mortality record in the UK.

"UN committees must be told to stop promoting abortion. It is time for pro-life politicians everywhere to call on the UN to return to its founding principles and protect the human rights of all members of the human family from the first moments of life until its natural end."

At a meeting in Geneva two weeks ago, the UN committee said in its report: "The Committee calls upon the State party to amend the abortion law of Northern Ireland to bring it in line with the 1967 Abortion Act with a view to preventing clandestine and unsafe abortions in cases of rape, incest or foetal abnormality."

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Scottish abortions "inhuman and degrading", says cardinal

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, has responded to the latest abortion statistics in Scotland, published today. I reproduce his office's brief media statement in full below:
Reacting to the release today of the latest Scottish abortion statistics showing a total of 13,817 abortions in Scotland last year Cardinal Keith O'Brien has described them as "inhuman and degrading". He said:

"The 2008 abortion statistics confirm the abject failure of the so called 'sexual health strategy' of recent years. They represent a human rights violation, in our midst, on a massive scale. We destroy 53 unborn children each day in Scotland. Were this carnage to take place among children lucky enough to have been born our outrage would be boundless. The victims of this inhuman and degrading violence are firstly the 13,817 Scottish children killed before they have been born and then the thousands of women who agree to their own off-spring being aborted."

Cardinal O'Brien added:

"[When i]n 2007 I claimed that 'we kill the equivalent of a classroom full of school children every day' many objected to the vehemence of my language. Grotesquely, since then we have seen classroom sizes in Scotland fall and abortion numbers rise. Today we abort over 50 children per day or two classrooms full. These statistics shame and debase us all."

Cardinal O'Brien concluded:

"I am haunted by the words of a surgeon who wrote to me the last time I criticised such statistics. He said: 'I feel powerless to halt the carnage and there is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing little arms and legs being sucked down a glass tube and binned for the sake of someone's lifestyle'. I hope we will all be haunted by these figures to the point where we act to halt them once and for all."

Monday 25 May 2009

Dana does not support Paschal Mooney

Dana, one of Ireland's most successful entertainers, stated today that she has not endorsed any EU candidate or political grouping in the European Parliament.

"I cannot in conscience support any candidate, political party or EU political grouping that promotes and supports the Treaty of Lisbon and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights contained within it. This Charter and the EU Constitution of which it is the foundation stone, undermines our Irish Constitution and in particular the protection afforded within it by the Irish people to Family and Life issues," said Dana.

Earlier today John Brown, Dana's assistant, said that Paschal Mooney MEP was untruly claiming that he was "good friends" with Dana and implying that she supported him and the Liberal group in Europe he is joining.

Mr Brown said: "Dana does not support Paschal Mooney, nor would she ever have anything do to with the Liberal group in Europe, nor any person or group associated with them nor those who supported or promoted issues such as abortion, euthanasia or embryo research."

In 1999, Dana was elected as a Member of the European Parliament, representing Ireland’s Connacht-Ulster constituency from 1999 to 2004. She is pictured above after leading 86,000 young people singing her composition "Totus Tuus" for Pope John Paul II in the New Orleans’s Super Dome .

Sunday 24 May 2009

The weak arguments of those denying human rights to embryos

In an extraordinarily flippant comment promoting destructive embryo research, David Norris, a Irish senator, told a press conference last month:
“Nobody takes an embryo to the zoo or the cinema or the church. Let’s be real about this.”
In response to Sen. Norris, Professor William Binchy, a Irish pro-life legal expert, wrote to the Irish Times:
"A child who shows wonderment at an elephant at the zoo delights us because of the child’s innocence, spontaneity and capacity to share experience. But no child’s rights should depend on such a fragile entitlement ... To attempt to condition the right to life on the capacity of a human being to relate to, or enthral, others is to contradict the core insight of human rights – that each of us, at all stages in our life, regardless of our particular capacities, has an equal inherent worth and dignity."
Sen. Norris confirmed the weakness of his position in a reply to Prof. Binchy:
"At 14 days or less the embryo is an undifferentiated cluster of cells. It possesses no intellect, no spinal cord, no organ development, no capacity to experience the material world, no consciousness etc."
In addition, Sen. Norris confirmed in his flippancy:
"I might also point out that nature in its own way is very cavalier indeed concerning the fate of these tiny entities, happily destroying hundreds of millions of them. Nature, that is, not man and this is all despite Prof Binchy’s quixotically amiable feelings towards them."
I've pointed out in a previous blog the cynical, self-serving, contradictory arguments for destructive embryo research, but in response to Sen. Norris, I would add the following:
  • Countless thousands of embryos, every day of the year, all over the world, go to the zoo, the cinema and to church - in their mother's wombs!
  • The embryonic stage of development ends at eight weeks after conception, not 14 days.
  • The embryo, even at its earliest stage, is not undifferentiated, as the late Professor Jerome Lejeune, the esteemed geneticist, testified 20 years ago: "[D]ifferentiation is, so to speak, prewritten in the first cell ... [I]t cannot be said that the first cell is a non-differentiated cell. It must be said now the first cell is knowing how to differentiate the progeny, the cell progeny."
  • If Sen. Norris were to be knocked unconscious, he would not be able to exercise his intellect or experience the material world. Would it therefore be alright to kill him by ripping out tissue from his body, for use in redundant medical experiments?
  • Nature is not a moral agent, but man is. Man has, throughout history, also destroyed hundreds of millions of innocent human beings, born and unborn. Is Sen. Norris saying that's alright, as long as the purpose is medical research?

Saturday 23 May 2009

Dialogue brought to "a screeching halt" by Obama, says bishop

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City has given a insightful interview regarding President Obama's Notre Dame speech. The bishop underlines the key issue regarding the issue of dialogue between the opposing sides of the abortion debate:
"[T]he President got up and said that the differences that we have on abortion – namely the Catholic Church’s staunch opposition to abortion and his staunch support of abortion were “irreconcilable.” And at that moment, it would seem to me that the dialogue came to a screeching halt ... The President shut the door on dialogue by saying that there was not going to be any change in his position on abortion and he understood that there was not going to be any change in the Church’s position on abortion. To me, that was the lesson of the day. I am glad that Mr. Obama was so clear."
Bishop Finn goes on to warn that: "I think the rug is already being pulled out from under us. If we sit back and allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of peace and cooperation in regards to [pro-life/pro-family issues], then we will lose these battles and, later, wonder why."

Do read the interview with Bishop Finn in full. Also speaking out strongly about Obama is Bryan Kemper of Stand True, who spoke at the International Student Pro-Life Conference organised by SPUC Scotland in March. Bryan writes:
"Let me ask you this. Would you be willing to find common ground with someone advocating for legalized rape? Would you be willing to find common ground with someone advocating the reinstitution of the Third Reich and Nazi policies? Of course not, these are ludicrous statements. I would also argue that finding common ground with those who advocate for the killing of fully human pre-born children is a ludicrous idea."

Friday 22 May 2009

World statistics published today show women need healthcare not abortion

Figures released today by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that improved standard health care, but not abortion, is needed to improve survival rates among mothers.

The WHO's World Health Statistics 2009 report (released today) shows that the Republic of Ireland, where abortion is banned, has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world (1 death per 100,000 live births). In contrast, the maternal mortality rate in other developed countries where abortion is almost totally unrestricted are several times higher than Ireland's (8 deaths per 100,000 live births in the UK and 11 deaths per 100,000 live births in the US).

Pat Buckley, who is currently lobbying for SPUC at the WHO's World Health Assembly in Geneva, tells me:

"Improved basic living conditions, basic health care, skilled attendants and emergency obstetrics have always been the key to decreasing maternal mortality in the developed world.

"The world statistics published today underline once again the falsehood of the claim
that saving women's lives is dependent on legal abortion. Tragically, this false claim diverts attention from women's real healthcare needs and
threatens to undermine the whole field of obstetrics and gynaecology.

"The WHO and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have focused on reducing the number of children born, rather than on making childbirth safer. This approach is fundamentally flawed, ideologically driven and ultimately responsible for the deplorable lack of progress in improving maternal mortality in developing countries.

"We are therefore calling upon the governments represented at this week's World Health Assembly to resist any moves promoting abortion under the guise of sexual and reproductive health."

Pat is pictured above (right), with
Scott Fischbach (left), chief executive of
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO) and Jeanne Head (centre) of National Right to Life (NRLC).

Encouragement and support for parents expecting a disabled child

Alison Davis of No Less Human, a group within SPUC, tells me that:
"The Washington Times has recently carried an article on alternatives to abortion for women who have discovered they are carrying a disabled baby. As in the UK, the vast majority of American babies with major disabilities are aborted, and most information available for women carrying such babies is heavily biased towards abortion.

"Nancy Mayer-Whittington's daughter Angela lived only 10 minutes after birth. Angela had Trisomy 18, a genetic condition which usually, but not always, results in a very short post-natal life. Her mother, determined to help others in a similar situation has written a book entitled 'For the Love of Angela'.

"Anna Lise 'Cubby' Lahood's son Francis had polycystic kidney disease and died a few minutes after birth, in his mother's arms. Recognising their similar experiences, the two women joined forces to develop a website ( which provides support and encouragement to parents who have discovered that their unborn child has a disabling condition.

"'Cubby' Lahood said 'the pressure from the medical community to abort was severe'. The work of these two remarkable women proves that this need not be the only so-called advice new parents receive."

Thursday 21 May 2009

Fewer Northern Ireland women seek abortions in Britain

The number of Northern Ireland women having abortions in England fell last year but pro-life campaigners are warning that it is likely to increase if abortion providers are allowed to advertise on television and radio.

Betty Gibson, chairwoman for SPUC in Northern Ireland, commented as new figures from the Department of Health in England and Wales showed that 1,173 abortions were performed on women from the province. While Mrs Gibson welcomed the fact that the number was down by 170 on the previous year, she said that a great deal more needed to be done to help women facing crisis pregnancies.
"Abortion kills children but also hurts women. Many women are never told about the physical and emotional damage which abortion can cause. It is important that women get all the help they need to care for their children. If the Advertising Standards Authority allow abortion providers to advertise on TV and radio, it will add to the pressure on vulnerable women. They will be sold abortion as a simple, safe and easy answer to their problems when it's not.

"Most people believe it is wrong that vulnerable women should be given abortion counselling by people who have a financial interest in the abortion industry. Allowing TV and radio ads will be good for the abortion business and bad for women and their unborn children. People should write to Gregory Campbell, minister for culture, arts and leisure, Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT1 7FB, and ask him to do everything he can to ensure that the restrictions on abortion adverts are not lifted."

There were 195,296 abortions in England and Wales in 2008 compared with 198,499 in 2007, a fall of 1.6%. The total number of abortions under the Abortion Act 1967 has now exceeded seven million.

SPUC has produced a briefing on the public consultation on abortion advertising which ends 19 June. Copies are available free by emailing me at

Don't be fooled by Obama's so-called common ground feint

Some media outlets, even ones usually supportive of the pro-life cause, have convinced themselves that President Obama is a moderate on abortion, who wants all sides of the abortion debate to find and stand on common ground. A recent meeting between White House staff and American pro-life groups, however, provides further evidence against that myth. Family Research Council (FRC), who were represented at the meeting, report:
"In answer to a question about reducing abortion, Obama staffers Joshua DuBois and Tina Tchen made it clear--the President's goal is not to reduce the number of abortions. It is to reduce 'the need for abortion' ... For President Obama, it's not only unacceptable to protect unborn life legally, but it is becoming clear that it is unacceptable even to influence a woman to 'choose' life ... Don't be fooled by the conciliatory rhetoric about 'common ground'. Barack Obama believes women 'need' to have abortions, and judging by his actions, he intends to make sure that they get them."
As I pointed out in my initial reactions to Obama's Notre Dame speech, while he runs his rhetorical campaign to bring people together to reduce abortions, he is ruthlessly pursuing policies which are aimed at providing more abortions and will lead to more unintended pregnancies. We cannot afford the indulgence of wishful thinking that Mr Obama is really some sort of Gandhi-like reconciler. Any such thinking by pro-lifers would result in more abortions, not least through an emasculation of the pro-life movement itself.

The scandal of government backed abortions

Last year's abortion statistics for England and Wales have just been published.

Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, said:
"The scandal of government backed abortions is reflected in these figures, which show the highest ever number of NHS-funded abortions. State provision of abortion is now a major aspect of government policy - a policy which hurts women and kills unborn children.

"For the first time, in 2008 the majority of abortions were performed in private clinics at the NHS’ expense.

"The figures show a slight drop in the total abortions registered under the Abortion Act in 2008, but the figure remains higher than the 2006 number, and more abortions than ever were funded by tax-payers. The number of NHS abortions in private clinics has increased by 11-fold in the past 17 years.

"The total number of abortions under the Abortion Act 1967 has now exceeded seven million."

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Excellent reflection on reaction to Obama's Notre Dame speech

I'm very grateful for the kind responses to my initial reactions to President Obama's speech at Notre Dame university. I had started that blog by saying that I would be posting a more extensive reflection on the speech, but I've since read an excellent reflection by Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life. Dave says what I'd like to have said (and more), so please read his column in full. Below are some extracts:
"[W]e're told by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, 'Obama's opponents seek to reignite the culture wars. He doesn't.'... How in the world can someone possibly come to that conclusion, at least with respect to abortion? Simple. They are talking about Obama's soaring rhetoric. If they can convince you (and themselves!) to look up toward the clouds, you'll never notice the grim, anti-life details of his policy proposals on the ground.

"[P]ro-life critics of Obama...cite chapter and verse what he has done already (e.g. [revoking the] Mexico City [policy]); what he has steadfastly insisted he will do; and what he is already inkling he will do. With that evidence in hand, they reach the only conclusion anyone whose head is not in the clouds could come to: this is [Planned Parenthood's] heartthrob.

"[W]hatever short-term gains there undoubtedly were for Obama, long-term the only way pro-lifers could have lost would have been had they remained mute at the travesty of the most pro-abortion President in our history being honored by the best known Catholic University in our country. For now the winds remain at Obama's back. But they won't always."

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Society's senior figures urging discrimination against the vulnerable

Yesterday evening the House of Lords debated the Coroners and Justice bill at second reading. A number of Peers made speeches on the subject of assisted suicide. Among those speaking in favour of assisted suicide were two Peers who had been senior ministers during Tony Blair's government, Lord Falconer, former Lord Chancellor, and Baroness Jay, former leader of the House of Lords. Also speaking in favour of assisted suicide was Baroness Warnock, the notorious anti-life philosopher, and a number of anti-life veterans in the Lords.

It has become clear that there is a now a concerted effort by some of society's most senior figures to undermine the law on assisted suicide. Last week, Sir Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions (DPP), Lord Bingham, former Lord Chief Justice and Sir Philip Havers QC joined together on a radio programme to argue for parliament to change the law. Sir Ken Macdonald told listeners that he would have acted in the same way as Daniel James's parents if he had been in their place, saying: "Who wouldn't have?"

The theme among the anti-life contributors to both the Lords debate and the radio programme was that parliament needs to clarify the law, starting with removing the possibility of prosecution of people who help others to commit suicide overseas. The pro-life movement has seen this strategy before, in the campaign for abortion on demand. The campaign starts with a plea to protect people in desperate circumstances, by regulating hard cases in place of an outright ban. Once this concession is obtained, however, the thin veil of a moderate reform is quickly dropped and pressure is applied for the practice to be made a right.

It is also no surprise that some of society's most senior figures have joined this campaign. The pro-life message is based upon the equality of all human beings upheld by international human rights law, which exists to protect the most vulnerable, despised and rejected. This radical message of equality jars with (at least some of) these privileged establishment personages. For example, Baroness Warnock has said: "I am not ashamed to say that some lives are more worth living than others".

So I'm grateful for the contribution of another, yet different, senior figure, the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, who said in the Lords:

"We should not accept any amendments which would relax the existing law and diminish the protection offered to those at risk of self-destruction. Such a step would be wrong in itself. It would also be totally inappropriate in the context of this Bill, which proceeds from the assumption that the existing law is right in seeking to protect life, and needs to be changed in order to do so more effectively in today’s circumstances."

Monday 18 May 2009

Callous attitude towards the disabled displayed

Saturday's Guardian newspaper published a story entitled "NHS failure on Down's screening kills healthy babies". The story reported complaints by doctors that most NHS hospitals are not using what they describe as the "best" test to screen for unborn children with Down's Syndrome. Once again we see a callous attitude displayed towards the disabled. Alison Davis of No Less Human, a group within SPUC, gave me her reaction to the story:
"Yet again we are having all sorts of so-called experts and professionals mourning the deaths, by mistake, of what they call 'normal, healthy babies' as a result of antenatal tests for disability. However, no mention is ever made of the equal tragedy of the deaths of disabled babies, which is the whole purpose of these antenatal tests. For instance Kypros Nicholaides, the well-known professor of foetal medicine at King's College, London, has said that it is 'shameful ... scandalous and disgraceful....' that healthy babies were lost in error as a direct result of these tests.

"It is well known that some degree of so-called foetal loss among 'healthy' babies is an accepted part of antenatal tests. So-called experts quibble over whether 3% or 5% loss of non-disabled babies is acceptable, and meanwhile the intended carnage among disabled babies continues apace. As a disabled person myself, I find the intended loss of disabled babies just as 'shameful, scandalous and disgraceful' as the unintended loss of those who are apparently 'healthy'."

My initial reaction to Obama’s Notre Dame speech

I will be posting a more extensive reflection on President Obama’s Notre Dame speech of yesterday, but I want to share with you some of my initial reactions to some of its content. Please see my comments in parentheses marked “JS”.

“We must decide how to save God's creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it.” (JS: Are unborn children not God's creation? The political climate you’ve intentionally created threatens to add to the 1.2 million abortions performed in America every year, and those funded by your administration overseas.) “We must seek peace at a time…when weapons in the hands of a few can destroy the many.” (JS: Yes, simple instruments in the hands of a few abortionists can destroy many unborn children.)

“[W]e must find a way to live together as one human family.” (JS: International human rights conventions include unborn children as members of the human family. Mr Obama, all your talk about inclusivity, diversity, common ground etc is rank hypocrisy as long as you exclude unborn children from protection.)

“Part of the problem, of course, lies in the imperfections of man … all the cruelties large and small that those of us in the Christian tradition understand to be rooted in original sin … The strong too often dominate the weak … And so, for all our technology and scientific advances, we see around the globe violence…that would seem sadly familiar to those in ancient times.” (JS: The Christian tradition has always regarded abortion as cruel, a domination by the strong of the weak, a violence belonging to ancient times. Mr Obama, stop trying to appropriate the Christian tradition for your own anti-life political ends.)

“Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved.” (JS: That is a patronising cariacature of the pro-life position. Pro-lifers are not opposed to stem cell research, but to embryonic stem cell research, because it kills human beings and it doesn’t work. In contrast, adult stem cell research is already being used to treat juvenile diabetes. Stop selling false hope to vulnerable families, Mr Obama.)

“So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies” (JS: But your policies, Mr Obama, will lead both to more abortions and more unintended pregnancies) "and making adoption more available" (JS: The number of children that might possibly be saved through better adoption services is small compared to the numbers of abortions that will result from your policies) "and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term" (JS: But you think abortion can be better than carrying a child to term, or as you put it, being “punished with a baby”. ) “Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause” (JS: So why have you repealed President Bush’s conscience protections and why are you threatening to abolish conscientious objection through the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)?) "and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women." (JS: Abortion and embryo research are neither ethical nor sound science nor good for women.)

"Each side [in the abortion debate] will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.” (JS: Too late, Mr Obama - you've already done it, not least in this very speech!)

“Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words.” (JS: Why is your heart closed to the unborn, the most vulnerable? Why can’t you open your mind to a world in which there is no abortion? Why do you support those who use words like “products of conception”, “blob of cells” etc to depersonalise human beings?)

“You [Notre Dame graduates] will be called…to give future generations the same chance that you had to receive an extraordinary education.” [JS: Millions will be denied a chance to be educated because your policies, Mr Obama, because they will have been aborted.]

“It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.” (JS: But we can know with certainty that God wants us to uphold the sanctity of human life and ignore the man-made ideologies which promote abortion.)

“[M]ost of all [persuade] through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds.” (JS: In what way is the killing of innocent human beings through abortion compatible with these things?)

“For if there is one law that we can be most certain of, it is the law that binds people of all faiths and no faith together … It is, of course, the Golden Rule - the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love. To serve. To do what we can to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we share the same brief moment on this Earth.” (JS: Mr Obama, were you not once an unborn child in your mother’s womb? Would you prefer to have been aborted?)

“[C]ivil rights for all of God's children.” (JS: How about civil rights for the unborn?)

“Remember that each of us, endowed with the dignity possessed by all children of God, has the grace to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we all seek the same love of family and the same fulfillment of a life well-lived.” (JS: Forgetting the unborn again, Mr Obama?)

Sunday 17 May 2009

Research report on embryonic stem cells is "disingenuous and misleading"

Claims that Japanese scientists have discovered how to stop embryonic stem cells producing tumours are "disingenous and misleading" according to James L. Sherley, MD, Ph.D (pictured), senior scientist at Boston Biomedical Research Institute.

LifeNews reported last week: "Embryonic stem cells have never helped human patients in part because they produce tumors when injected as treatments in animal research ... In a new article in the current issue of Cell Transplantation (Vol. 18 No.1), a team of Japanese researchers eliminated the problem of tumor growth by co-transplanting bone marrow stem cells along with embryonic ones."

Writing to Alison Davis, the leader of No Less Human, Dr Sherley commented:

"First and foremost, it is a disingenuous (to be kind!) and misleading report. If I had been a reviewer, I would have rejected it for two reasons: 1) misrepresentation of the facts as reported; and 2) unacceptable experimental design.

Misrepresentation of the facts:

Although the title is a faithful representation, important statements in the abstract are not supported by the data in the report. To be exact, the combination of bone marrow stromal cells and mouse embryonic stem cells is no more effective for reversing the effects of the induced spinal cord injury than a compared buffered salt solution (PBS = phosphate buffered saline) that contained no cells of any type.

Unacceptable experimental design:

Here there is cause for two objections.

First, a crucial control comparison is omitted without mention. They did not evaluate the effect of the bone marrow stromal cells alone. Whether this was motivated by unethical politics or poor science, I cannot say. However, it is predicted by the studies of previous groups that the addition of bone marrow stromal cells on their own would be more effective than the buffered salt solution; and importantly, they may be more effective than the presented combination of mouse embryonic stem cells and bone marrow stromal cells.

Second, though they do report a dramatic reduction in the number of tumors produced when bone marrow stromal cells are added to mouse embryonic stem cells (versus the mouse embryonic stem cells on their own), they only waited 5 weeks and they only evaluated 15,000 cells per injection. Conventional assays to rule out tumor formation in mice use 1-10 million cells per injection and wait several months for certainty. Thus, the assay upon which their conclusion of tumor prevention rests is well below the established standards for such a determination ...

All in all though, on the more important notes of ethics and morality, even if this approach were scientifically sound, and were proven to work for human embryonic stem cells, and adult stem cells were not an alternative (as they are!), it would still be unacceptable, because it would still require the sacrifice of innocent human beings to make the embryonic stem cells."

James Sherley is a leading stem cell scientist and has travelled the world pointing out the inefficacy of embryonic stem cell research to his scientific colleagues.

Friday 15 May 2009

Joan Bakewell abuses again her government appointment to promote assisted suicide

Dame Joan Bakewell (pictured), the broadcaster, was appointed by the government to be a "Voice of Older People" in November. Soon after her appointment, she used her Times column to back assisted suicide and euthanasia, as I blogged about at the time. Today she has similarly used her Times column, this time to back Dr Philip Nitschke, the pro-suicide campaigner dubbed "Dr Death". Dame Joan writes:
"Dr Death should have been welcomed ... [The issue of assisted suicide] won't go away because we are living longer into an old age that brings with it all the humiliations of being helpless, incontinent and in pain. What’s more those now getting on are the baby-boomers, even now in their sixties, a generation of assertive and insistent individuals who won’t be willing to face their declining years with timid submission."
And who appointed Dame Joan as a "Voice of Older People"? Why, one of the most assertive and insistent anti-lifers among British baby-boomers, Harriet Harman. Perhaps a case of "jobs for the girls"? In the statement announcing Dame Joan's appointment, Ms Harman said:
“Joan is a champion in the fight against discrimination against older people and a role model for active and positive senior citizens; so I’m delighted that she’s going to contribute to the equalities agenda and be a voice for older people.”
Yet legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia will lead to more, not less discrimination against older people - fatal discrimination by those who think the lives of older people are not valuable. A true "equalities agenda" would make the equal right to life and dignity of older people its top priority.

Thursday 14 May 2009

More evidence that abstinence works

The Family Research Council (FRC), based in Washington D.C., is one of America's leading pro-life/pro-family groups. FRC has commented on President Obama's decision to transfer funding from abstinence education to contraception promotion, which I blogged about last Friday. FRC said:
"The truth is, abstinence education goes beyond pregnancy prevention to promoting holistic change in teenagers. Studies show that in addition to preventing pregnancy and disease, teens who practice abstinence are better off emotionally and are much more likely to experience marital fidelity and satisfaction. The same cannot be said of the comprehensive sex education. In a review of 119 studies, comprehensive sex education has produced no compelling evidence of sustaining a meaningful effect on protective behaviors in a school-based setting, even after three decades of implementation and evaluation."
FRC provide a link to a webpage by the National Abstinence Education Association, which details the evidence of the effectiveness of abstinence programmes.

If the mainstream media is to be believed, pro-life/pro-family activists are ignoramuses motivated by religiosity and chauvinism. The work of groups like FRC and NAEA help us to show that, in contrast, the hard facts are on our side of the argument.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Blairs' ambitions floundering, reports the Guardian

One usually expects bleak, misleading anti-life propaganda from the Guardian newspaper but today may be different. Hugh O'Shaughnessy, writing for the Guardian website today, reports that Tony Blair and his Faith Foundation are becoming something of a failure.

O'Shaughnessy cites, as well as other matters. the conference at which Mgr Michel Schooyans delivered his masterly analysis of the Obama-Blair agenda for law and religion, which I blogged about last Sunday.

Particularly welcome is Mr O'Shaughnessy's opinion that:
"The hostility – and ridicule – that the Blairs and their associates stir up mean he is increasingly unlikely to achieve his ambition of becoming president of the EU."
The frustration of Tony & Cherie Blair's post-Downing St ambitions would be a great relief to the worldwide pro-life/pro-family movement. Their anti-life/anti-family record is lengthy and their acceptance in certain prominent Catholic milieu is disturbing. Please join me in praying that the threat they pose to life and family will be averted, and that they will become truly pro-life.

We have proof, hope and duty to spur us to daily pro-life action

It's great to read that the Mexican state of Guanajuato (coat of arms pictured) has amended its constitution to protect "all human beings from conception to natural death”. At least nine other Mexican states have enshrined similar protection. In the midst of frequent, even daily, setbacks experienced in the fight against the culture of death, pro-lifers often overlook the reality that pro-life lobbying and complementary efforts actually work. Here is a list, in no particular order and by no means complete, of some other pro-life victories in recent years:
As well as the solid grounds for hope which the pro-life victories in Mexico and elsewhere provide, those who defend the sanctity of human life also have the call of duty to spur us on. Archbishop Raymond Burke, a fearless pro-life advocate, spoke recently of:
"our responsibility as citizens to work tirelessly to change unjust programs, policies and laws ... In the present situation of our nation, a serious question has arisen about the moral work for the overturning of the Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. There are those who would tell us that such work is futile and, therefore, is to be abandoned, so that we can devote ourselves to help prevent individuals from choosing abortion. [W]e can never cease to work for the correction of gravely unjust laws. Law is a fundamental expression of our culture and implicitly teaches citizens what is morally acceptable. Our efforts to assist those who are tempted to do what is always and everywhere wrong or are suffering from the effects of having committed a gravely immoral act, which are essential expressions of the charity which unites us as citizens of the nation, ultimately make little sense, if we remain idle regarding unjust laws and decisions of the courts regarding the same intrinsic evils. We are never justified in abandoning the work of changing legislation and of reversing decisions of the courts which are anti-life and anti-family."
So we have proof, hope and duty to spur us to daily pro-life action.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

CNN's Ted Turner says Chinese one-child policy is not draconian

Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, said in a radio interview last week that the Chinese Communist regime has not used draconian means to limit China's population. (You can listen to the relevant part of the interview below.) The interviewer did next-to-nothing to query Turner's outrageous and ridiculous claim. This is yet another indication of just how pliant and supine is the mainstream media towards the anti-life movement.

The Chinese regime's 30-year record of infanticide, forced abortion, forced sterilisation, torture, imprisonment and other crimes is so voluminous that Turner's comments are analogous to denying the Holocaust. (Please see my blogs of 10 April and 14 February this year, and 25 April and 17 March last year; Fr Timothy Finigan's blog of 22 January 2007; and SPUC's 2004 submission to Parliament.)

Turner, and the population control movement which he supports, claims that:
  • the world is over-populated, and so couples should limit themselves to one child
  • China is too densely populated
  • developing countries don't have enough suitable land to feed and sustain their growing populations.
Perhaps Mr Turner could answer for us the following questions:
  • Which four of your five children would it have been better for the planet not to have been born?
  • Are you, an American, aware that large numbers of consumers of your various services live in American states (New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, New York) and developed countries (e.g. UK, Israel, Italy, Germany) which are more densely populated than China?
  • How much of the 2 million acres of rural land and 50,000 bison you own are you willing to share with the world's poor?

Monday 11 May 2009

The extremists who call killing babies "positive", even "a blessing"

The first morning back at work after the weekend or other period of absence can sometimes naturally be a jolt to one's system, but, courtesy of two pro-abortion extremists, a jolt today was guaranteed. In response to today's report that half of all teenage pregnancies in Britain now end in abortion, Ann Furedi (pictured top-right) of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) commented:
"The fact that teenagers felt able to end their pregnancy in abortion is actually a positive sign."
I was also presented this morning with a blog post by Kathleen Ragsdale (pictured bottom-right), an American Episcopalian minister, who wrote:
"Abortion is a blessing ... [W]hen a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight -- only blessing.
Let's remind ourselves of what abortion is. A human being (a fact confirmed by every embryological textbook) in his or her mother's womb is intentionally killed, usually either by chemical means or by dismemberment. Every day, innocent children, male and female, from every race and class, are killed by abortion (550 every day in Britain; 3,300 every day in America.) Women all over the world report physical and psychological harm from abortion.

Certain populist, polemical commentators (sometimes called "shock-jocks") make extreme, generalised statements, aimed at attracting publicity or to vent their spleen. The sad thing is that Ms Furedi and Ms Ragsdale are entirely serious in their opinions. Even more sad is abortion itself, a truly inhuman way to (try and fail to) solve human problems. Let's put human compassion at the heart of our response to the needs of women instead.

Sunday 10 May 2009

Obama-Blair agenda "unprecedented form of political-legal terrorism", says priest-expert

Monsignor Michel Schooyans* is one of the Vatican's leading scholars. In a masterly analysis of Barack Obama and Tony Blair, he explains with devestating insight their anti-life/anti-family agenda to undermine both law and religion respectively. His anaylsis gives significant intellectual weight to the warnings of the pro-life/pro-family movement about the Obama-Blair threat (e.g. see my blogs of 8 May and 9 April). He was speaking at the plenary assembly of the pontifical academy of social sciences was held on the theme "Catholic social teaching and human rights."

I extract below some key points from Mgr Schooyans's anaylsis:
"President Obama can count on support for these programs from Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Booth ... This plan cannot be realized except at the price of the sacrifice of religious freedom, of the imposition of a 'politically correct' interpretation of the Sacred Scriptiures, and of the sabotage of the natural foundations of law ...

"The fresh "convert" [Blair] does not hesitate to explain to the pope not only what he must do, but also what he must believe! ... So now we are back in the time of Hobbes, if not of Cromwell: it is civil power that defines what one must believe ...

"The rights of man as understood in the realist tradition are here put to the sword. Everything is relative ...

"In the case of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, this is also a matter of promoting one and only one religious confession, which a universal, global political power would impose on the entire world ...

"What the analysis of Barack Obama's decisions and Tony Blair's project reveals is that an alliance is coming between two converging intentions, one aimed at subjugating law and the other at subjugating religion ... [W]e are witnessing the emergence of an unprecedented form of political-legal terrorism ...

"[I]t is the Church's duty to appeal to all men and women of good will to unite for the purpose of creating a single front to defend the life of every human being. The first attitude required of all, according to the responsibilities of each one, is conscientious objection, which Obama is trying to circumscribe ... "
In Sandro Magister's report covering Monsignor Schooyan's address he writes: "Michel Schooyans, a Belgian priest, is professor emeritus of the Catholic University of Louvain. He is a leading specialist in anthropology, political philosophy, bioethics, and demographics. He is a member of three pontifical academies: the one for social sciences, the one for life, and the one named after St. Thomas Aquinas. One of his books, published in 2006, is entitled 'Le terrorisme à visage humaine [The human face of terrorism],' and has many points in common with the address he gave at the Vatican last May 1. His latest publication in Italy, printed by Cantagalli in 2008, is entitled 'La profezia di Paolo VI [The prophecy of Paul VI],' and is a vigorous defense of the encyclical 'Humanae Vitae.'"

Friday 8 May 2009

Obama follows IPPF orders

President Obama's health budget proposals include abolishing funding for abstinence-only programmes. According to Reuters, these programmes have received about US$1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s. Mr Obama's move is straight from the agenda set for him before his inauguration in “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration,” a memorandum signed by 60 or so pro-abortion organisations, including International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the biggest promoter of abortion in the world. The memorandum called for abstinence-only programmes to be de-funded (whilst bankrolling the abortion industry and population control agencies.)

The Obama administration and its anti-life mentors claim that abstinence promotion only works when done in conjunction with the promotion of contraception - what they called comprehensive sex education (CSE). The Abstinence Clearinghouse, an American organisation, links to a document by the Institute for Research & Evaluation, Utah, which provides evidence against this claim. The Institute found the following:
"1. Comprehensive sex education purports to promote both abstinence and condom use, yet we see no evidence that school-based CSE programs are effective at improving both of these outcomes.
2. School-based CSE programs have shown no evidence of effectiveness at decreasing teen pregnancy or STDs, or increasing consistent condom use.
3. Only a few school-based CSE programs have increased any type of condom use (e.g., at first or last intercourse) for a significant period of time.
4. Four school-based abstinence programs have produced broad-based and sustained increases in the percentage of youth who remain sexually abstinent."
In other words, Obama-style sex education is a failure, even in its own terms. This conclusion squares with the work of Professor David Paton, chair of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School. Unfortunately you probably won't hear the truth about abstinence through mainstream media outlets such as Reuters - though you will on this blog!

Thursday 7 May 2009

Suicide devalues the lives of the terminally-ill

Chris Woodhead (pictured), the former chief schools' inspector, has said that he plans to commit suicide at some point during the progression of his motor neurone disease (MND). He has said the dependency and loss of control entailed by the disease is intolerable and humilitating. He believes his life will cease to be worth living within a few years.

The Daily Mail report says:
[Mr Woodhead] said that he 'might need help to die' but that he was determined not to involve his wife or daughter Tamsin, because they could be jailed for up to 14 years if they assisted his suicide. Referring to the unsuccessful legal battle fought by fellow MND sufferer Diane Pretty to allow her husband to help her die, Mr Woodhead added: 'I don't believe that politicians will have the courage to alter the law.'
I accept, of course, that MND is a particularly severe and frightening illness, and Mr Woodhead has my heartfelt sympathy. But the consequences of legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia would be even more severe and frightening, and not just for people with MND. For example, when assisted suicide was legalised briefly in the Northern Territory, Australia, aborginals feared going to doctors or hospitals for fear of being killed.

Allowing assisted suicide would undermine protection for everyone, both the vulnerable and those of us not currently vulnerable, by lessening the value of human life. Assisted suicide sends a message to the terminally ill that caring for them is a waste of time, that their lives are no longer worth living and that they are better off dead.

The late Pope John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae ("The Gospel of Life"):
"[A]ny State which made such a request legitimate and authorized it to be carried out would be legalizing a case of suicide-murder, contrary to the fundamental principles of absolute respect for life and of the protection of every innocent life. In this way the State contributes to lessening respect for life and opens the door to ways of acting which are destructive of trust in relations between people." (paragragh 72) (my emphasis)
Many people, including patients themselves, often don't know that palliative care is highly successful in alleviating the symptoms of MND. Mr Woodhead's fears about his quality of life and the effect on his family can be properly addressed with correct medical advice and full personal support. Here are some points from "The Case of Diane Pretty" by Alison Davis of No Less Human (NLH).
  • The claim by the pro-euthanasia lobby in such cases that people with MND inevitably die by choking or suffocation is completely untrue.
  • George Levvy, chief executive of Motor Neurone Disease Society, has said: "This is not the case. The majority of people with MND die from respiratory failure and the death is usually very peaceful and usually when the person is asleep. With the correct palliative care it is very rare for someone to die from choking."
  • Dr. Sykes, a hospice doctor, with experience of over 300 MND patients has stated that he does not know of a single patient who choked to death.
  • Dr. Rysz Bietzk, Head of Medical Services at the Pasque hospice, who actually cared for Diane Pretty during the last few days of her life, said “Diane died peacefully … choking or suffocation was never an issue for her.”
  • 80% of people with MND at St. Christopher’s Hospice who reported breathlessness as a problem responded well to the use of morphine and other drugs.
  • Recently there have been advances in the use of portable ventilators for people with MND, which have proved highly effective.
  • The problem of communication can nowadays be overcome with computerised speech .(Many readers will have heard on TV or radio the computerised “voice” of Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist who has MND.)
  • Overcoming the problem with swallowing and the resulting inability to take in food and drink can be easily and discreetly done by means of a gastrostomy tube – a tube leading directly into the stomach, through which food and water can be given.
  • Legalising assisted suicide would divert resources from the hospice movement, which aims to achieve peaceful deaths for all, to providing death as a solution to the challenges illness and disability pose.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Radio debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide tomorrow

Mrs Dominica Roberts of the ProLife Alliance will, on present plan, take part in a broadcast debate tomorrow (Thursday 7 May) with Dr Philip Nitschke, the Australian advocate of assisted suicide and euthanasia. The programme is Breakfast on Radio 5 Live which, as well as being broadcast on the radio and various digital TV systems, can be heard online. You can read about the case against euthanasia on SPUC's website. We understand that the programme will include an opportunity for the public to take part by telephone. The number, at least for people in the UK, is 03700 100 500. The programme runs from 9 am till 10 am. The BBC tell us that the news-agenda can shift and, thus, the subject of the debate can change, but it looks as though Dr Nitschke and Mrs Roberts will be discussing these issues tomorrow.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

The White Ribbon Alliance should not be supported

The Scottish Herald reports today that midwives in Scotland are calling for more action to prevent maternal mortality in developing world. The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood is supporting the midwives' call. A closer look at the White Ribbon Alliance reveals some disturbing facts.

Among the Alliance's members are the world's leading anti-life organisations: the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Marie Stopes International (MSI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Alliance's material claims that these organisations "promote safe motherhood" - when in fact they promote abortion, the antithesis of motherhood.

The Alliance uses the usual anti-life euphemisms: "sexual and reproductive health", "informed choices", "expanding choices", "family planning" etc. It promotes contraception, claiming that there is a massive unmet need for contraceptive services. (As we know, most methods of contraception can also act abortifaciently.) And the Alliance wants "health care systems [to] [p]rovide reproductive health education and services for adolescents." (page 19 in the document, page 30 of the PDF). This almost certainly means secret abortion, without the knowledge or consent of parents.

Providing abortion and contraception does not help maternal health. Abortion is banned in the Republic of Ireland, yet that country has the world's best maternal health statistics. Providing contraception on a mass scale appears to lead to an increase in irresponsible sexual behaviour, which in turn leads to sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies (which often end in abortion).

It is also worrying that some Christian organisations are also members of the Alliance, including several Catholic dioceses and several branches of Caritas, the Catholic Church's leading aid agency. I feel sure that their membership of the Alliance is due to ignorance of its anti-life associations. I will be writing to them to urge them to leave the Alliance.

Sunday 3 May 2009

UN children's agency promotes abortion

The United Nations has reportedly been trying to stop the Dominican Republic from adopting a constitution which would protect human life from conception. In March Mr Nils Kastberg (left), the UN children’s fund’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, asked legislators to liberalise abortion. The Swede used the customary argument that banning terminations led to women’s doing unsafe things. Happily, lawmakers of all parties seem to be ignoring his pleas and the measure is making good progress. It’s tragic that, of all UN bodies, the supposedly pro-child agency should be promoting the destruction of the unborn.

Saturday 2 May 2009

False claims in mercy-killer's case

Supporters of euthanasia make an untrue assertion as they advance their arguments, Pat Buckley (left) of European Life Network writes. They use the lack of palliative care as grounds for killing people. Pat is writing in the context of an article in the Irish Times by Professor Len Doyal, the British-based bioethicist. The latter is quoted as writing: “Why allow any vulnerable patient to suffer a slow death when a quick and painless one could easily be provided were non-voluntary euthanasia to be legalised?”

Note here the non-voluntary aspect: Professor Doyal would appear to want it to be possible for people (medics, family, hospital managers, social workers?) to decide that patients can be killed. Pat replies to the professor: “Where palliative care is unavailable, the focus of any humane campaign must be to make it available, not to promote killing as an alternative.”

Friday 1 May 2009

Please sponsor a young man's pro-life walk

Many of you will know the Good Counsel Network. They are one of the few entirely Catholic pro-life groups in Britain. They work with women who have decided to have an abortion. Instead of abortion, they offer counselling, advice and support. This includes housing, childcare, regular financial support, baby goods such as clothes, food, baby milk, prams and toys. The network helps the girls and women to get their life back on track which, in turn, benefits the baby before and after birth. Approximately 70% of the women and girls whom Good Counsel see choose life for their babies.

Mr Conor Carroll, (pictured right, 21), who works for the network, will soon be taking part in a 75-mile, two-day religious walk across France known as the Chartres Pilgrimage. He is seeking sponsorship for his part in the walk (from Paris to Chartres) and he promises to pray for those who sponsor him.

There is an online way of sponsoring him at