A blog launched on the 41st anniversary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the first pro-life organisation in the world, established on 11 January 1967. I wrote this blog in my role as SPUC's chief executive, commenting on pro-life news, reflecting on pro-life issues and promoting SPUC's work. I retired from my post on 31st August 2021 and will therefore be adding no further posts.
"The scene late afternoon yesterday on College Green (the lawn over the road from Parliament where the media often interview MPs) was extraordinary. TV and radio crews from the mainstream media (MSM) had gathered in force to interview Debbie Purdy, who had just won her assisted suicide legal challenge in the House of Lords. For two hours they interviewed Ms Purdy, collectively and separately. She was given as much time as she wanted to say whatever she wanted. A one-on-one interview with Nina Nannar from ITN seemed to last forever. Most noticeable was the entirely undisguised joy of many of the journalists, who freely exchanged warm banter - and even embraces - with Ms Purdy and the staff of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) (now sinisterly repackaged as Dignity in Dying). The VES and one of its barristers added to the sense of fiesta with a bottle of champagne.
"I don't doubt for one moment that both individuals and even whole agencies in the MSM are genuinely in favour of assisted suicide, hence their joy - and hence the relatively little coverage given to the judgment's critics. Yet there was a sense of studied artifice about yesterday's highly-organised media scrum and the mutually-imparted exuberance, as if it was manufactured. In that way yesterday's occasion was a species of Obamania and Blairmania. The MSM knows it's onto a good thing in promoting radical social change via telegenic front-persons like Ms Purdy, providing them with an almost endless supply of stories. The House of Lords judicial committee (known as the Law Lords, the judges in the case) was also of great assistance to the MSM-VES operation, not just in totally endorsing the pro-euthanasia cause, but also in providing a high-profile historic occasion, delivering the judgment as its very last judgment before its abolition.
"To the casual observer, yesterday's press conference would have appeared as a very normal human event, people celebrating the victory of a joint cause. Yet step back a moment and reflect on what was being celebrated - assisted suicide: killing, poisoning, elimination of those who lives are deemed no longer worth living - and the celebration is revealed as danse macabre, a dance of death. Ms Purdy, who is really just as much a campaigner as a ordinary citizen - is the secular patron saint of this cult of death, the VES her acolytes and the MSM her willing hagiographers."
This afternoon the House of Lords judicial committee (also known as the Law Lords), Britain's highest court, ruled in favour of Debbie Purdy's assisted suicide legal challenge. In brief, the court said that the authorities should say more precisely in what circumstances they will or will not prosecute someone who assists another person's suicide. The judges also suggested what the policy should contain. The judges made a distinction between people in one broad category of circumstances - terminally ill, chronically sick, bereaved, depressed, distressed, mentally competent, consenting - and those in the opposite circumstances. They also made a distinction between the motives (either supposedly altruistic or ulterior) of those assisting others to commit suicide. SPUC's full press release on the judgment is available here.
In SPUC's view the judgment is dangerous. It sacrifices the value of human life in the name of choice; it fails to balance sympathy for the relatives of a suicidal person with the need to affirm the worth of people with disability; and it discriminates against certain categories of vulnerable people.
One of the judges, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, made his support for allowing assisted suicide in some circumstances quite clear:
"What to my mind is needed is a custom-built policy statement indicating the various factors for and against prosecution, many but not all of which are touched on in the James case, factors designed to distinguish between those situations in which, however tempted to assist, the prospective aider and abettor should refrain from doing so, and those situations in which he or she may fairly hope to be, if not commended, at the very least forgiven, rather than condemned, for giving assistance."
In response to the judgment, SPUC will be making representations to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) about his prosecuting policy. Also, SPUC will be lending support to conscientious doctors and nurses to oppose assisted suicide.
Assisting suicide is dangerous, unethical, and unnecessary. It's dangerous because it sends out a signal to disabled people that they have less value than others. It's unethical because it is always wrong intentionally to kill an innocent human being. And it's unnecessary because medical treatment, good palliative care and/or personal support can overcome suicidal tendencies.
Two nurses wrote in yesterday's Daily Telegraph about the lack of rationale behind the Royal College of Nursing's adoption of a neutral stance on assisted suicide. Vicky Robinson and Ray Greenwood are calling on nurses to speak up before it is too late. I urge you to spread the article far and wide.
The authors ask: "How on earth can [the college] possibly have come to this conclusion? The sample on which it is based is not only tiny but also unfair. It is not as though the College has asked a random cross section of nurses what they think about legalising assisted suicide. Instead it has received responses from a sample of nurses who have clearly defined views on the subject and who almost certainly include committed supporters of campaigning organisations on both sides of the debate. To suggest that the College’s existing stance should be changed on the evidence of views expressed by less than three out of every thousand nurses is nonsensical."
They add: "So, what exactly is going on in the Royal College of Nursing? To attempt to represent the views of a tiny fraction of nurses as those of the whole profession is egregiously unjust and unfair. To suggest that the views expressed by 0.3% of nurses represent a fair picture of what the other 99.7% think is stretching the limits of credibility too far. If the College is to shift is position on such an important issue affecting nurses, it needs far more robust evidence than this."
Today's Scottish Herald features an important letter from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Palliative Nursing Forum, protesting against the RCN Council's adoption of a self-styled "neutral" position on assisted suicide. Elaine Stevens, the forum's chairman, writes:
"AS THE experts in the field of end of life care, The RCN Palliative Nursing Forum has always openly opposed the introduction of assisted suicide in the UK for a number of reasons, which we are happy to discuss in more detail.
"We are therefore absolutely astounded that the Royal College of Nursing, which "represents nurses and nursing" in the UK, has decided to take a neutral stance on this matter, based on the opinion of 588 nurses from a total membership of around 390,000."
"To suggest that the College’s existing stance should be changed on the evidence of views expressed by less than three out of every thousand nurses is so nonsensical that one cannot help wondering what other motivation might lie behind the decision."
The government in the Chinese city of Shanghai is to encourage some parents to have a second child, according to reports. My initial reaction is to be sceptical about whatever the Chinese authorities are saying. Reports in the Western media of alleged relaxations of the one-child policy are usually propaganda by, or on behalf of, the Chinese Communist regime. In any case, even a two-child policy is a gross violation of fundamental human rights. Apart from the brutal way in which the Chinese authorities enforce population policy - forced abortions, forced sterilisations, punitive fines etc - couples have the right to have as many children as they want.
Also, just because the population controllers in one Chinese city may (I stress, may) have made a concession, doesn't mean they are repentant for the crimes they and other population controllers have committed under the 30-year one-child policy and are continuing to commit. The reported concession is for prudential, pragmatic reasons - averting a socio-economic collapse - rather than principles of human rights. The head of IPPF's affiliate in Korea is now encouraging Koreans to have more children, but has said nothing repenting of the pressure placed on Koreans in previous decades not to have children; in fact he justifies it. I pray that these population controllers will one day concede that population control is wrong and the danger of over-population is a myth - see the Population Research Institute's new website on the latter.
No Less Human (NLH), a disability rights group within SPUC, has expressed great alarm at the news that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has moved from opposing assisted suicide to taking a neutral stance on the issue.
Alison Davis, national coordinator of NLH, who has spina bifida, hydrocephalus and other disabling conditions, and is a full time wheelchair user told the media this past weekend:
"As a group for disabled people, their families and carers, many of us have reason to remember with gratitude and affection the care and treatment given us from nurses, both in the past and currently.
"However, the RCN's shift from opposition to neutrality on assisted suicide sends out to disabled people and their supporters a very subtle but worrying message that we are not now as safe in the care of our nurses as we once were.
"This is true for me personally. In the past I felt able to implicitly trust my nurses, particularly at a time I remember well some years ago when I had a settled wish to die that lasted over ten years.
"Then I recall with much gratitude the care I received from one particular nurse who refused to accept my view that I was 'better off dead' and encouraged me to regain a will to live.
"Now I will no longer be able to trust my nurses so implicitly. I will have to wonder what his/her view is on the 'worth' and 'benefit' of my life, and whether they would support any decision I might make to ask for their 'assistance' in committing suicide.
"It is a terrifying thought, made worse by the knowledge that if Debbie Purdy were to win her case (asking clarification from the Director of Public Prosecutions to publish a policy of when he will or will not prosecute suicide 'assistants') it would be but a short step to allowing nurses to 'assist' suicides in this country.
"NLH strongly urges the RCN to revert to its position, held since 2004, of opposition to assisted suicide. If the RCN does not revert to its former position, it will work against the right of sick and disabled people to equal treatment."
The battle continues over abortion advertising on TV and radio. The Advertising Standards Authority's public consultation is closed, but Ofcom, the statutory regulator for broadcasting, makes the final decision – or does it?
"Too many state actions, services and decisions are carried out by people who cannot be voted out by the public, by organisations that feel no pressure to answer for what happens – in a way that is completely unaccountable.”
Mr Cameron concludes:
“Even when power is delegated to a quango, the minister remains responsible for the outcome.”
In other words, according to David Cameron’s theory, the government will be responsible if Ofcom authorises abortion agencies to advertise on radio and TV. Lord Carter, the Government’s broadcasting minister, in a letter received by an SPUC supporter, has written in a way that seems sympathetic to abortion advertising on the broadcast media.
SPUC is non party-political and no-one knows where the Tories or other parties stand on this issue, the outcome of which will have a profound impact on the welfare of women and on unborn children. Let’s not forget:
The Advertising Standards Authority’s proposal threatens to further commercialise the killing of unborn children.
It would completely disregard the adverse effect of abortion on women's health.
Abortion remains a criminal offence on the statute book. Advertising of illegal procedures is contrary to the public interest, advertising codes, and the law.
Only those agencies with sufficient financial resources would be able to advertise. Abortion providers can generate financial resources for advertising by charging more for abortions, whereas most pro-life advice services do not charge clients (or the NHS) for their services. Thus there will be a disproportionate opportunity for abortion providers to advance their cause.
The predominant wish in the community is for the numbers of abortions to decrease, not increase. However, advertising of abortion services would promote abortion, increase its incidence and thereby increase the harm to all involved.
Please join me in writing now to our MPs, to the prime minister and to party political leaders to oppose lifting the ban on abortion agencies advertising through the broadcast media. You can email your MP from here and contact Mr Brown here. SPUC's submission on the proposed changes in relation to abortion is here.
It's important to come to this year's SPUC's national conference, 4 to 6 September, in beautiful Derbyshire. You can download the full programme here and the booking form here. Come and bring the family!
Conference topics include:
youth pro-life activism;
the dangers of the Obama presidency;
how to combat the British government's sex and relationships education proposals (including their drive to provide children under the age of sixteen with abortion and birth control drugs and devices without parental knowledge or consent)
the history and the growth of medical killing - for example, euthanasia by neglect - in Britain; and
SPUC's pro-life general election campaign.
The battle against abortion in Northern Ireland takes centre-stage at the conference with leading Northern Irish politicians speaking on Saturday.
Also speaking will be Bobby Schindler from the US, about his sister Terry Schiavo, who died in March 2005, from severe dehydration, allowed by the courts. This case mirrors the landmark decision in the case of Tony Bland who, like Terry Schiavo, was said to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) (better described as a persistent non-responsive state). The judges let doctors stop giving him food and fluids by tube, and thus allowed intentional killing by neglect for the first time in English law.
The Reverend Arnold Culbreath, a Baptist minister, who runs Protecting Black Life in Cincinnatti, is speaking at SPUC's conference about the dangers of the Obama presidency. As Monsignor Michel Schooyans put it recently at a Vatican conference, under President Obama, racism has been restored to the US in its pre-natal version.
Also speaking in Derbyshire at SPUC's conference will be Dr Jack Willke, the father of the US pro-life movement, on signs of hope in the worldwide pro-life movement. There's much else besides, including good fun for the young and the not-quite so young.
Zenit reports that Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is amongst the speakers at next month’s Rimini meeting on “knowledge and faith” organized by the Communion and Liberation movement. Previous visitors to the meeting include Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
A core of 14 people work full-time on the organization of the Rimini meeting. I am sending each of them the open letter below. I suggest that others write to them too – including concerned Catholics, pro-life people of all denominations and none, and everyone whose family lives are threatened or damaged by the anti-life/anti-family legislation supported by Tony Blair whilst in parliament and by his continuing positions. You can write to them from here
Remember: This is the man favoured by the British Government to become president of the European Union (EU). An Obama-Blair alliance imposing its “pro-choice” culture of death worldwide has been described thus by leading Vatican scholar Monsignor Michel Schooyans:
“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. This is the new version of the two-headed eagle. Law and religion are exploited to 'legitimize' anything at all.”
Open letter to 30th Rimini meeting organizers
My dear friends and fellow Catholics,
Zenit has alerted me to your meeting next month in Rimini on knowledge and faith at which Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is among the speakers.
Firstly, I wish to congratulate you on the impressive history of your Rimini meetings which have been attended in the past by John Paul II, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now our Holy Father. As Pope Benedict XVI, he called on your meeting last year to consider the question: " ... What makes a person unmistakable and guarantees his/her existence full dignity? ... "
The theme of your meeting this year is equally lofty and challenging: Mankind's search for the truth, in an uncertain world, through "reason and love ... profoundly united in the dynamics of knowledge ... " as you express it. You explain on your website: "Without the mediation of witnesses (my emphasis) there would not be the growth of knowledge, there would not be civilization and culture, and there would not be history."
One of the witnesses you have chosen as a speaker at your meeting is Tony Blair, the former British prime minister. Here I must express - and provide reasons for - my intense disappointment and deep concern:
Only last April, in a homosexual magazine, Tony Blair, who has recently been received into the Catholic Church, attacked papal teaching on homosexuality, telling the Church it must change its "entrenched attitudes" to homosexuality.
As a British member of parliament and prime minister, history shows that Tony Blair is one of world's major architects of the culture of death. Since becoming a Catholic he has refused to repudiate the anti-life policies and legislation he pursued, and succeeded in enacting, throughout his political career. These include: voting for abortion up to birth three times; personally endorsing his government's policy of supplying abortion and abortifacient birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parental knowledge or consent; his government’s commitment to the promotion of abortion on demand as a universal fundamental human right; personally championing destructive experiments on human embryos; his government's legislation which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and dehydrate to death vulnerable patients; bringing down the force of the law upon doctors who refuse to refer women to other doctors for abortion, and upon Catholic adoption agencies who refuse to hand over children to homosexual couples.
Naturally, I can and I will send you in the post all the evidence to support the reasons I give above - which you can also find on my blog http://spuc-director.blogspot.com/ It's important to note that Tony Blair's public record (of attacking Catholic teaching and pursuing public policies undermining the family and the sanctity of life) are not historical curiosities. Unlike St. Paul, he has had no road to Damascus conversion. As I say above, he has refused to repudiate the anti-life policies and legislation he has pursued throughout his political career. He continues to nurture ambitions to become a future EU president, and he is the favoured candidate for this post of the British government.
Monsignor Michel Schooyans, a leading Vatican scholar, has delivered in Rome a masterly analysis of Tony Blair and Barack Obama, in which he explains with devastating insight their anti-life/anti-family agenda to undermine both law and religion respectively. I do urge that you study what he says carefully, review the evidence to which I refer above, and cancel your invitation to Tony Blair to speak at the celebrated Rimini meeting next month. His participation in your event effectively provides a platform for a politician who is intent on continuing his influence and power in order to attack the Church's teaching, the family based on the marriage of man and woman, and countless vulnerable human lives - the unborn, the sick and the elderly.
Thank you in advance for giving urgent consideration to my request.
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)
The council of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has adopted a neutral position on the subject of assisted suicide. Its revised position is a shameful manoeuvre which serves the interests of the euthanasia lobby and does not help patients or nurses.
Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, told the media this evening:
“Assisting or encouraging a person to commit suicide is a criminal offence. It is irresponsible for a professional body of carers to adopt a posture that helping a person to commit suicide is a reasonable thing to do.
“For hundreds of years western civilisation has regarded suicide as morally disordered. When suicide ceased to be a crime in 1961, it was made clear by the government that the change was not intended to give any sense of moral approval to suicide. It was from a motive of compassion to families and to survivors of suicide attempts.
“In recent years media coverage of suicide has been distorted by an intensive focus on a tiny handful of untypical cases selected by the pro-euthanasia lobby. While these cases are presented as reasonable people – often terminally ill - doing a reasonable thing, over 5,000 tragic suicides are reported by the Office for National Statistics each year. Typically these are young men (aged 15-44) and are often depressed or emotionally disturbed – but not terminally ill.
“The RCN’s Council have based their change on a consultation exercise in which only a fraction of one percent of their members took part. They clearly have no mandate from nurses as a whole for this move.”
Fr Michael Seed (pictured with Cherie Blair), a Franciscan priest well-known for his relations with prominent people, has claimed in an interview with France 24 that Tony Blair "has a very intense and very deep faith", adding that Mr Blair has been an "honorary Catholic" (implying a de facto Catholic) since his marriage to Cherie in 1980. I think Fr Seed needs to ask both himself and Mr Blair: How does Mr Blair square his 30-year-old purported Catholic faith with his almost equally long public record of attacking Catholic teaching on pro-life and pro-family issues? Since Mr Blair's reception into the Catholic Church, not only has he refused to repudiate his anti-life/anti-family political record, he has also attacked the Catholic Church's teaching on pro-family issues.
Elsewhere in the interview Fr Seed referred in passing to 19th century anti-Catholic laws (largely dormant) under which Catholics can in certain circumstances be jailed for witnessing to their Catholic faith in public. What Fr Seed neglected to mention was that because of the laws, policies and practices supported by Mr Blair whilst in parliament, additional rules now apply to Catholics, bringing down the force of the law upon:
If Tony Blair had voted for laws permitting the killing specifically of Franciscans or Jews or people from ethnic minorities, and refused to repudiate such laws, would Fr Seed still then say that Tony Blair has "has a very intense and very deep faith"? I suggest that Fr Seed read the masterly analysis of Tony Blair's faith by Monsignor Michel Schooyans, one of the Vatican's leading scholars.
"Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Primary Care Trust has launched a magazine for teenage girls and young women called Mint. The magazine's main purpose is to promote contraception in order to reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections. Mint will be distributed free outside schools and colleges - and outside the control of parents, teachers or clergy.
"Mint is depressing reading for anyone wanting to protect teenage girls and young women from the modern adult culture of promiscuity. As well as tips on tanning, clothes-shopping and other girly pursuits, Mint gives explicit advice about the mechanics of sexual intercourse and a whole range of false and dangerous misleading information.
"Mint claims that it is 'rubbish, a 'fairy story' and a 'myth' that the birth control pill 'builds up in your body and causes side effects'. Yet anyone even vaguely familiar with any medication knows that it can cause side effects. The NHS lists a number of side effects of the birth control pill. It is therefore sinister that the Newcastle Primary Care Trust - a part of the NHS - has published a magazine which denies these facts, vital to patient safety. (See the work of Professor David Paton for another list of side-effects of the birth control pill.)
"Mint makes a similarly dangerous false claim that: 'You should always use a condom...to protect you against all the sexually transmitted diseases out there'. But condoms don't protect users against a number of sexually transmitted diseases. Again, why is Newcastle Primary Care Trust spreading such dangerous medical misinformation?
"Mint claims that 'The only way to avoid getting pregnant is to use contraception'. Really? How about not having sex at all?
"Another piece of Mint's advice to young females is: 'If your mate wants to go and get contraception, go with her. It's a lot easier when you've got someone there to support you.' Not 'Ask your friend why she wants contraception' or 'Suggest that your friend consider not having sex', but (in effect) 'Make sure your friend doesn't have a baby!'
Mint's advice given in response to the question 'Help! We had unprotected sex. What should I do?' is 'You need emergency contraception'. Not 'You should check if you're pregnant' or 'You should ask yourself whether you should be having sex at all', but (in effect) 'Make sure no unborn child is allowed to be born!' It should be remembered that the morning-after pill manufacturers say that it can affect the lining of the womb so that embryos can't implant, thereby causing an early abortion. (It's important to note that other contraceptive drugs and devices also cause early abortions.)
"Mint's response to another of its hypothetical questions, 'Think you might be lesbian or bi-sexual?' is "Remember - whatever you are, it's completely normal." In that case, does Mint think paedophilia and other minority psycho-sexual disorders are also 'completely normal'?
"Mint represents a truly evil assault upon our nation's children."
I would add to Anthony's comments that we must not forget that such assaults are occuring continuously, as you read this blogpost, institutionally: inside schools, including inside Catholic schools, and even with the co-operation of the official Catholic educational authorities. I have blogged before about how the Catholic Education Service of England & Wales (CES) has welcomed into Catholic schools Connexions, a government agency committed to promoting the culture of death amongst schoolchildren, despite their transparently worthless assurances to Catholic officials. 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.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest abortion promoter, has publicised a study by a Dr Suzanne Belton, a researcher at Charles Darwin University, Australia. The study claims that "[w]omen in East Timor are forced into potentially fatal abortions because they cannot legally terminate a pregnancy". The study was funded and commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), one of the world's major anti-life agencies. The goal behind the so-called research is clear, as Dr Belton herself describes it: "investigating and canvassing a way forward" - in other words, how to legalize abortion in East Timor. The flaws in the research are immediately apparent - Dr Belton admits that "there were no figures on the number of unsafe abortions" in East Timor.
"The lack of modern medicine and quality health care, not the prohibition of abortion, results in high maternal mortality rates. Legalized abortion actually leads to more abortions—and in the developing world, where maternal health care is poor, this would increase the number of women who die or are harmed by abortion."
"Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former leading abortionist and co-founder of NARAL Pro-Choice America, wrote in 1979 that the argument that women could die from dangerous, illegal abortions in the United States “is now wholly invalid and obsolete” because “antibiotics and other advances [have] dramatically lowered the abortion death rate."
"In England and Wales, the maternal mortality rate fell from a high of over 550 (maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) in 1931 to less than 50 by 1960. The steep fall corresponded with the use of antibiotics, blood transfusions, and the management of hypertensive pregnancy disorders."
"[L]egalized abortion does nothing to solve the underlying problem of poor medical care in the developing world."
"Nations with strong abortion restrictions actually have lower maternal death rates than countries that permit abortion on demand."
"The evidence shows that a country’s maternal mortality rate is determined to a much greater extent by the quality of medical care than by the legal status of abortion."
LifeSiteNews.com has reported that 20,000 people have staged a pro-life march in the African country of Cameroon. The march was organised in opposition to the Maputo protocol, which seeks to force all 53-member states of the African Union to legalise abortion. Some extracts from the LifeSiteNews.com report:
"The march was led Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, Archbishop of Douala, on the sixth anniversary of the adoption of the Protocol".
"An interreligious delegation of Catholics, Protestants and Muslims also handed a letter and petition to the Governor, to be presented to the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, with 30,000 signatures, petitioning an end to legal abortion."
"The coadjutor Archbishop of the Douala Archdiocese, Samuel Kleda said in the homily during the Mass, '[W]e cannot pretend to defend women by proposing that they have an abortion and use contraception, which threatens their dignity and nuclear family. No reason can be used to justify abortion or infanticide.'"
"Chief A.S. Ngwana, leader of the Cardinal Democratic Party (CDP) said legalizing abortion was 'a ploy from the West to check the African population.'"
This resistance by Cameroonians to the Maputo protocol is yet another reason why pro-lifers should be hopeful about the future.
Choi Seon-jeong is the president of the Planned Population Federation of Korea. His organisation is the national affiliate in South Korea of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest abortion and population control promoter. One is therefore stunned to read what Choi Seon-jeong wrote recently:
"Religious groups need to advocate respect for life, abortion prevention and positive values on marriage and parenthood, encouraging the younger generation to form families and have children."
His advocacy of pro-natalism - the promotion of an increase in births - is in response to South Korea’s plunging fertility rate, which threatens socio-economic stagnation. Do read his article in full, as well as a subsequent interview by Mercator.net, an online ethics journal.
One would like to hope that this marks the beginning of a split within IPPF, with those more open to honest facts starting to speak out against IPPF's anti-natalist ideology. Stunning conversions of prominent anti-lifers have occurred - Dr Bernard Nathanson and Norma McCorvey a.k.a. Roe of Roe v Wade being the two most prominent.
Recipients of SPUC's news summary have, until now, received several times a week an email with stories, each one summarised in a brief paragraph. We are now trialling a change in this service, the first edition of which can be seen here. It consists of:
a daily email of headlines, web-links plus brief related information which you can receive normally every weekday morning no later than 9am UK time
a weekly email of the past week's most important stories, with each story summarised in a brief paragraph.
We will thus provide recipients with a wider number of headlines plus an improved news summary once a week.
If you are already a subscriber, you don't need to do anything to receive the new service. If, however, you are a subscriber and prefer not to receive the daily headline service but only the weekly email of summarised top stories, please visit the web-link at the bottom of the latest (or a recent) email from SPUC and change your preferences, unticking "News" and making sure that "Weekly news update" list is ticked. (You can also take the opportunity to sign up to other SPUC email services.) If you are not yet subscribed, please click here
Please note that this change is being trialled. Do feel free to email us with your feedback.
Baroness (Glenys) Kinnock, the anti-life minister for Europe, has announced that the British government is backing Tony Blair to be president of the European Union (EU), a role which would be created if the Lisbon treaty is passed.
Pro-life/pro-family supporters must make it clear to their political representatives that Mr Blair's nomination is totally unacceptable. People in the UK can contact their MP via http://www.spuc.org.uk/mps Click here for my previous blogs on Tony & Cherie Blair and their anti-life/anti-family record. In particular, click here for a masterly analysis of the Obama-Blair anti-life/anti-family agenda to undermine both law and religion respectively.
Richard Greene of Coir, a group campaigning against the EU's Lisbon treaty, argues in today's Irish Times why Irish pro-lifers should vote against the treaty. Here are a few points of Mr Greene's key points:
"This Lisbon Treaty will remain unchanged by any assurances obtained by the Government on any issue."
"Neither are these “guarantees” legally binding on the European Union ... In fact, they are merely political promises".
"[T]he Charter of Rights attached to the treaty [will] become legally binding on all EU member states if Lisbon is passed."
"That charter ... will be the basis of a legal challenge to Ireland’s abortion laws which will surely be brought before the European Court of Justice. This court would have enormously enhanced powers to decide on social and moral issues, such as abortion, under the Lisbon Treaty."
"Any protocol on the right to life (or on family law) can come into conflict with the charter – and the European Court of Justice can use the charter to overrule the conflicting protocol and impose abortion on the Irish people."
"[T]he matter will still be in the hands of the European Court of Justice, not the Irish people, if the Lisbon Treaty is passed."
The vote to stop the practice of infanticide among indigenous tribes of Brazil, about which I wrote last Wednesday, is expected this week, according to American pro-life leaders.
Supporters of Muwaji’s Law suggest simply sending the following message in Portuguese to the 15 members of the Congressional Human Rights Commission listed below.
The English translation, with grateful thanks to one of the visitors to my blog, is: "It is the duty of every government body to protect and celebrate each native culture, in the way that it develops. However, if certain traditional cultures are damaging to life - a basic right of each human being, regardless of race - then that native culture must give way to the right to life. The Muwaji Law does not menace the preservation of native cultures; it simply promotes education amongst tribes concerning options for an indigenous family which do not include infanticide. This was a cause initiated and supported by hundreds of indigenous families in the whole of Brazil. Because of this we respectfully ask for your support for this legislation which in the long term will be of great benefit to the Brazilian nation."
Supporters hope for a vote this week before the Congress goes on a 15 day break.
You can read more about infanticide in Brazil at the Hakani website.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Prezado Sr(a). Deputado(a), É dever de todo corpo governamental proteger e celebrar cada cultura nativa, a medida que esta se desenvolve. Contudo, se certas tradições culturais são nocivas à vida -- um direito básico de cada ser humano, independente de raça -- então a cultura nativa deve ceder ao direito à vida. A Lei Muwaji não ameaça a preservação de culturas nativas; simplesmente promove a educação nas tribos sobre opções para a família indígena que não seja o infanticídio. Esta foi uma causa iniciada e apoiada por centenas de famílias indígenas de todo o Brasil. Por isso respeitosamente pedimos o seu apoio a esta legislação que ao longo prazo será de grande benefício à nação Brasileira. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Today is the forty-second anniversary of the passage by the House of Commons of David Steel’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy, which became the Abortion Act 1967. The first day of parliamentary time provided by the Labour government led to an all-night sitting when pro-life MPs fought to defeat the bill, or at least to curtail some of its more extreme provisions. This time proved to be insufficient, and so the Labour Cabinet met again on Thursday 6 July 1967 to discuss whether further Parliamentary time should be provided.
According to the note of the cabinet discussion, there seemed to be a concern, that for the government to allow yet further time for this bill would be taken by the public as implying a degree of government support for it. However, after a full discussion, the cabinet
“agreed that further Parliamentary time should be provided by the Government for the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, on the basis that this time was allowed solely in order to enable Parliament to reach a conclusion on a Bill which had attracted considerable Parliamentary support.”
As a result, on Thursday 13 July, John Silkin, the government chief whip (and son of Lord Silkin, who would subsequently sponsor the bill during its passage through the House of Lords) moved that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy bill may be proceeded with (though opposed) until any hour i.e. another open-ended debate. This motion was agreed to by 303 votes to 202.
Once again, pro-life MPs fought against all the odds to prevent the passage of this bill. Norman St John-Stevas had circulated a letter asking pro-life MPs to filibuster. Sadly, the sponsors – using a whole host of untruths and exaggerations – persuaded the House of Commons to support the bill. However, it still took an all-night sitting for the bill to complete its Report stage. At 11.45 am on Friday 14 July, MPs voted by 167 votes to 83 to give the bill a Third Reading.
The Daily Mail and The Telegraph have featured Baroness (Jane) Campbell, the disabled peer who played a major role in defeating Lord Falconer's attempt to undermine the ban on assisted suicide last week. In the Daily Mail, she writes:
"Not a single organisation representing disabled people, terminally ill patients or those who are old supports euthanasia-legislation. They understand its likely consequences ... I hope too that my experience of disability and terminal illness helps others to see beyond the wheelchair to the person sitting in it. And to understand that fear of disability or illness should never be allowed to undermine our respect for human life."
"[Y]es, it's true that within a year or so I will likely be on a ventilator full time. Probably won't be able to swallow either. But, believe me, I absolutely love my life. You take the hand you were dealt. And believe me, if you said to me that I could be born tomorrow without my condition I would say no thanks. Because I am me because of my condition, not despite it.''
Do read the two feature articles in full, and use them when writing to parliamentarians and the media to oppose assisted suicide.
How fitting then that the Vatican should choose the day, when news of the meeting of Barack Obama (the USA's abortion president) with Pope Benedict is flashing around the world, to clarify Catholic teaching on the "grave sin" of "formal co-operation with abortion".
In an article in Osservatore Romano, released yesterday, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made a point of praising the role of His Excellency Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho, the former archbishop of Olinda and Recife, for giving every pastoral care to a nine year old girl who had an abortion when it was found she was expecting twins, and her family. Last March I wrote about the courage and compassion of the greatly vilified Archbishop Sobrinho who announced publicly that all those involved in the abortion have incurred in excommunication latae sententiae (automatically) "except for the little girl, who is not morally responsible for this tragic act."
The article in Osservatore Romano explains the inappropriateness of the term "therapeutic" abortion, saying: "As for the problem of certain medical treatments with the end of preserving the health of the mother, two different cases should be distinguished: on one hand, a procedure which directly causes the death of the fetus, often called inappropriately a 'therapeutic' abortion, cannot be any more licit than the direct murder of an innocent human being; on the other hand, a procedure which is not itself abortive may have, as a collateral consequence, the death of the child: 'If, for instance, saving the life of the future mother, regardless of her state of pregnancy, would urgently demand a surgical procedure, or other therapeutic measure, which could have, as an accessory consequence, in no way willed by itself, but unavoidably, the death of the fetus, such act could not be called a direct attack against innocent life. In such conditions, the procedure may be considered licit, as other similar medical interventions, as long as a good of great worth, such as life, is involved, and it is not possible to postpone it until after the birth of the child, nor to resort to another efficacious remedy' (Pius XII, Address to the 'Fronte alla Famiglia' and the Associazione Famiglie Numerose, November 27, 1951)."
Finally, in a paragraph which may well be taken to refer to the strongly pro-abortion doctor who carried out the abortion on the nine-year old Brazilian girl, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reminds the world:
"Regarding the responsibility of health-care personnel, the words of Pope John Paul II should be recalled: 'Their profession calls for them to be guardians and servants of human life. In today's cultural and social context, in which science and the practice of medicine risk losing sight of their inherent ethical dimension, health-care professionals can be strongly tempted at times to become manipulators of life, or even agents of death. In the face of this temptation their responsibility today is greatly increased. Its deepest inspiration and strongest support lie in the intrinsic and undeniable ethical dimension of the health-care profession, something already recognized by the ancient and still relevant Hippocratic Oath, which requires every doctor to commit himself to absolute respect for human life and its sacredness' (Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, n. 89)."
Like millions of other pro-lifers around the world, I am delighted that the Vatican has vindicated the pastoral actions of the great Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho in the tragic case of the nine year old Brazilian girl - and I am grateful for the providential timing of the publication of this article in light of yesterday's meeting between Pope Benedict, and the US president who is so assiduously promoting abortion around the world as well as in the US.
Fr John Fleming has drawn my attention to a letter on abortion by Archbishop John Hepworth (pictured), the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, in The Messenger Journal.
It powerfully states both Christian opposition to abortion and Christian love for those who have had an abortion. Amongst other things, the archbishop says:
"Let us be quite clear about this. To procure the death of an unborn child is a heinous crime against the most defenceless person. It is of its very nature so deeply sinful that is severs the relationship with God. Like the first humans, who turned their backs on the source of goodness and truth, and chose to hide from God, it is a sin that drives a person from the Garden of God. As of old, the gates of Paradise are shut, and we are powerless to open them and let ourselves in. Only the Son of God had that power, and He only succeeded after a titanic and brutal battle with the powers of darkness, in which the Cross was his weapon. In so many parts of today's Church, the awesome reality of sin has been lost. In almost every part of the world, the destruction of unborn life is argued over as if it were a policy debate of government. But it is a matter with consequences in eternity, as well as brutal consequences for our own world, as the once Christian nations depopulate an entire generation.
"In new ways, in the artificial creation of embryos for research and pharmaceutical manufacturing, we are extending the frontiers of risk to the unborn. And Christians are losing the battle in our parliaments and bureaucracies in almost every place. And from the Holy Father down to the merest person who dares to stand in defiance, ridicule is heaped on the defenders of life.
"Our task is made more difficult by the love we owe to those who are driven to abortion. Jesus clearly told those who stood with stones ready to only begin the execution of the woman before Him if they were without sin. They dropped their stones, one by one, and slunk off. The woman He commanded to 'sin no more'. So must we drop the stones, and show the love of a Christian people to those who have been driven to do evil by a world that puts a higher value on convenience and appearances and finances than on life. For men whose power forces women to abortion, a deeper alienation from God lies in wait."
Spiked is an online magazine and the successor to Living Marxism. One would therefore expect the editorial line of a magazine of the political left to be solidly against pro-life concerns, in the same way as The Guardian. In fact, some of the main contributors to Spiked have over the years published a number of articles arguing cogently against the population control agenda, especially its promotion by environmentalists such as Jonathan Porritt. Do visit Spikedhere for a list of some of those articles (additional relevant articles can be found web-linked at the bottom of each article).