Monday 14 December 2009

Cherie Blair is working to undermine Catholic pro-life values

Cherie Blair has given an interview to Tatler, the society magazine, in which she has again attacked the Catholic Church's teaching on sexual ethics. Mrs Blair told Tatler:
"The Church says that sex is not just for procreation and does allow the natural form of contraception. Personally, I think it is better to go for contraception that works, which is quite different from abortion. Controlling our fertility has been one of the key reasons why women have been able to progress and in Africa it can mean the difference between life and death, in preventing the spread of HIV. I hope the position of the Church will change on this." 
Mrs Blair's comments are wrong in so many ways. Mrs Blair says that: "The Church says that sex is not just for procreation". Yes, the Church teaches sex is not just for procreation but it also teaches that every conjugal act must be open to the transmission of life.

Mrs Blair claims that: "The Church...allow[s] the natural form of contraception". In fact, the Church does not allow any form of contraception. Natural fertility awareness (e.g. the Billings Ovulation Method) is not contraception because, unlike contraception, nothing is done to close the conjugal act to the transmission of life.

Mrs Blair says that: "It is better to go for contraception that works." In fact, the practice of natural fertility awareness (e.g. the Billings Ovulation Method) is more effective than contraception in spacing births (better than 99%, according to clinical trials listed on the Billings Centre Canada website).

Mrs Blair claims that: " quite different from abortion." The Church teaches that contraception and abortion are chained together. As the late Pope John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae (13):
"[T]he negative values inherent in the "contraceptive mentality" which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation [to abortion] when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected ... The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious."
Is Mrs Blair trying to persuade us that she is unaware of the consequential relationship of surgical abortion to so-called contraception? Also, most birth control drugs and devices can also act abortifaciently - contraception with abortifacient back-up. If she is against surgical abortion, as distinct from chemical abortion, where is the evidence of her campaigning against surgical abortion? In fact, Mrs Blair has supported of some of the world's major pro-abortion forces:
  • in July 2003, Mrs Blair endorsed the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world’s leading promoter and provider of abortion, by hosting a private reception at 10 Downing Street (the prime minister’s residence) for IPPF’s “Lust for Life” fundraising campaign.
  • At the annual Labour party conference in September 2005, Mrs Blair celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Family Planning Association (fpa), the UK branch of IPPF, helping to cut a special birthday cake (and pictured here offering a condom to the camera-man.) Both IPPF and FPA endorsed the failed campaign to remove the Holy See from the United Nations. 
  • on her website, Mrs Blair lists Human Rights Watch as one of the charities she supports. Human Rights Watch is one of the most radically pro-abortion international NGOs (non-governmental organisations).
  • On a page in the Women of the World section of her website, Mrs Blair says: "The [United Nations] Convention [on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ... is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women". "Reproductive rights" is a term commonly used to include abortion on demand. Is Mrs Blair seriously trying to tell us to believe that she is unaware of that very well-known fact?
Mrs Blair claims that: "Controlling our fertility [through contraception] has been one of the key reasons why women have been able to progress." In contrast, Pope Benedict, in his latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate, has emphasised that the message of Humanae vitae:
  • is fundamental to achieving authentic human development
  • "delineat[es] the fully human meaning of the development that the Church proposes"
  • "indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics"
  • "essential to the context for the advancement of the culture of life."
Mrs Blair claims that: "[I]n Africa [contraception] can mean the difference between life and death, in preventing the spread of HIV". Indeed - those countries where condom use is promoted have higher rates of HIV than those countries where abstinence and fidelity are promoted, such as Uganda and The Philippines.

Mrs Blair says: "I hope the position of the Church will change on this [contraception]." Mrs Blair is being disingenuous here. She is not waiting for the Church's position to change - she is working to change the Church's position, by her own admission. In her chapter for the book "Why I am still a Catholic", Mrs Blair writes:
"Of course, like many Catholics in this country, I have doubts about some of the positions taken by the Church as an institution - for example, on contraception or the role of women. But I am not one of those who believe that the only response is to walk away because you have a different viewpoint. I have been taught that you should stay and try to change things. It’s like the Labour party in the 1980s. I wasn’t happy with the way it was going, so I tried to help change it from within. Thankfully, we won that battle.  And though the pace of change in the Catholic Church can seem slow, I believe that there are very many people in this country - and not just in the laity - who are convinced of the need for it. That message, however, is not yet fully accepted in the Vatican ... Women still do not get due respect in the Church which is why, in the opinion of many people, it get some things wrong, like its teaching on contraception."
In fact, a big, absolute "yes" to the genuine rights, health and fertility of women is behind the Church's "no" to contraception. Many of the women reformers of social standards in the 19th century pointed out that contraception results in the objectification and exploitation of women by men. One would be forgiven for thinking that Mrs Blair is more interested in promoting the culture of death than the Catholic Church's culture of life.

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