Friday 15 January 2010

Let's call on young people to face today's pro-life challenges

On Wednesday, David Burrowes MP presented the 2009 Robin McNair Prize in the Houses of Parliament (pictured). Student-contestants wrote essays on bioethical issues including abortion, human embryos and the rights of the disabled. A full report and photos of the event can be seen on the SPUC website.

Kirsty Jones, 17, of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, won first prize. She answered the question: "Is abortion justified if the unborn baby is disabled?" She pointed out that five babies are aborted every day because of their disability, at a time when medicine and therapy are actually improving and extending the lives of many disabled people. Kirsty cites United Nations documents which defend the rights of the unborn. She concluded:
"As mere individuals we cannot cure disability, but [we] can cure the world of its attitudes towards [disabled people]."
Emily Nightingale, 15, of Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, won second prize. Like Kirsty, she wrote about abortion of disabled children. She pointed out that British law allows abortion of disabled children at any stage in the pregnancy. She wrote:
"There are thousands of disabled people living happy, successful lives and I think that aborting a child because of a disability is very offensive to all of those people."
Emily described how abortion has helped bring about a cult of perfection and a sort of "un-natural selection process".

Dexter Leung, 16, of Eton College, won third prize for his essay which answered the question: "Is the human embryo a potential human life or a human life with potential?" Dexter pointed out that the start of human life isn't just a religious matter but can also be determined by science. He described how modern genetics is reinforcing the fact that early human life is unique and truly human.

Mr Burrowes explained that it had been his involvement with SPUC at university that had encouraged him to enter politics. He said that there was a need of people who will speak with "passion and depth" about respect for the sanctity of human life.

I opened the event by thanking our host for his staunch defence of the right to life since his election in 2005. I pointed out, however, that all is not well:
"On Monday, the House of Commons gave a second reading to the government's Children, Schools and Families bill. This measure includes provisions to make sex education part of the national curriculum for England. Schools would have to teach it from the age of five. School-based sex lessons have a reputation for worsening, not improving, indicators such as teenage pregnancy ... "

"The bill's proposals for compulsory sex education have been framed by the pro-abortion lobby and will help to keep abortion rates high. Not since the Abortion Act 1967 has there been such a determined effort to promote universal access to abortion. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we call upon MPs to speak out against the bill's proposals."
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