Tuesday 3 November 2009

My talk to the Catholic chaplaincy at the University of London

Last night I spoke to 30 very attentive and supportive students at the Catholic chaplaincy to the University of London.

I pointed out that supporters of abortion and human embryo research depicted pro-life people as religious extremists. Last year, in a letter to MPs about the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now passed into law), Gordon Brown mentioned religious objections five times. In 1990, when the old Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was being debated, SPUC sent medical models of a 20-week unborn child to politicians and some MPs said it was in bad taste. Similar models could then be seen at the Natural History Museum but there were no complaints.

I said that, far from being extreme, pro-life people simply sought to uphold, for example, the Convention on the Rights of the Child which says:
“the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”
I told the students that even some of the people whose work we oppose agree with us on the humanity of the embryo. Dr Stephen Minger, a scientist working to create human-animal hybrids, last year wrote in The Scotsman:
“The fact that [hybrids] have been derived using what was originally a cow egg in no way mitigates the fact that they are human”.
Baroness Warnock's 1984 inquiry into human fertilisation and embryology had conceded:
"… biologically there is no one single identifiable stage in the development of the embryo beyond which the in vitro embryo should not be kept alive. However we agreed that this was an area in which some precise decision must be taken in order to allay public anxiety.”
In other words, they had no rational, ethical basis for a decision but they took one anyway. Lady Warnock last year conceded that the thinking behind embryo legislation was utilitarian. She now argues in favour of euthanasia, suggesting that some have a duty to die.

Anti-life measures led to the idea that disposing of certain human beings was a service to others. They caused an erosion of rights, such as medics' objection to taking part in abortion and parents' rights to care for their families. I pointed out that an article in Psychology and Health in 2005 said that between 10% and 20% of women will experience severe negative psychological complications after abortion. I also described the horrific process of abortion.

I recalled Pope Paul VI's warning in part 17 of Humanae Vitae that, once artificial contraception became tolerated, governments might favour the most effective methods and even impose them on people. The fulfilment of this prophecy could be seen not only in China, but in Britain with the government's policy of providing schoolchildren access to abortions without parental knowledge or consent and in the co-operation with that policy by the Catholic Education Service in England and Wales.

I concluded by quoting Mother Teresa who, when accepting her Nobel prize, said:
"[T]he greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion”.
I expressed the conviction that her view would prevail over the values of President Obama, another Nobel laureate, who has called for abortion on demand to be legalised throughout the world.

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