Saturday, 22 March 2008

Courageous Scottish Cardinal speaks out

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, is courageously speaking out against the Government's Human Fertilisation and Embrology Bill.

In his Easter Sunday homily tomorrow, the Cardinal is saying:
"It is difficult to imagine a single piece of legislation which, more comprehensively, attacks the sanctity and dignity of human life than this particular bill...This bill represents a monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life. "
He was already under attack last night in the BBC studios for daring to tell the unvarnished truth.

It would be an excellent idea to send messages to the media and to Members of Parliament to explain why the Cardinal is right.

Look here for a detailed briefing when writing to the media and to MPs.

Also, drop a line to the Cardinal. Write to him at:
See also my post on Bishop Tartaglia, the bishop of Paisley in Scotland, on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Russian Orthodox leader condemns human rights trends

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kallingrad, a Russian orthodox leader, has condemned “dangerous trends” in human rights and has called for worldwide inter-religious dialogue on human rights – a concept brought into Europe by Christianity.

In a major address to the 7th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, Metropolitan Krill has condemned the monopoly on human rights of a limited number of representatives of the human species.

“…These human rights are just defending the right to choose but nothing is said about humans’ responsibilities and as a result the freedom of the individual from evil is left undefended…”, he said.

Metropolitan Krill announced that the Russian Orthodox Church was calling for worldwide inter-Christian and inter-faith dialogue in human rights and the representation of religious views on human rights at the highest councils of the United Nations.

Here are some extracts from his speech:

“The attraction [of human rights] is based on a very simple and easily accessible idea – namely, that we should be concerned about the happiness of each individual. This idea in European culture is something that was brought by Christianity which has always proclaimed access to salvation for every person irrespective of that person’s national or social origins and the unique nature and value of each individual in the Divine conception of the world has always been stressed. Christians cannot simply remain on the sidelines when it comes to the fate of this important factor even when it’s expressed in secular language…

“...Now, many Orthodox Christians, when it comes to the development and implementation of human rights today, note that there are trends which are arising now which are dangerous when it comes to the defence of these high ideals. The development of institutes of human rights is something that has become the monopoly of a limited number of representatives of the human species. International organizations frequently, when they deal with matters of human rights, draw their conclusions on the basis of the opinions of a limited group of experts or civil servants or audible, though well-organized, minorities.

“Many States are also under the influence of these forces and they are losing the ability to translate the authentic values sought by their peoples. Something which is typical is that the most widespread and most widely used concept of human rights – that is, human dignity – is something which is not broadly or clearly understood…This concept provides the key to how we understand the individual, the person that is, and therefore human rights...

“...For Orthodox Christians something which is obvious is that human dignity cannot be conceived of without a religious and spiritual and moral dimension. At the same time in order to ensure the acceptability of the concept of human rights for people of different views, very often the distance between human rights and religion is stressed. As a result religious views have become a private matter and are not seen as a source of modern law, including human rights, and this is happening despite the fact that according to widespread information some 80% of the inhabitants of the planet are religious. What is in fact happening is that there are requirements that religious views should be subject to legal norms which are based on non-religious ideas and this leads to a dominance of an agnostic or even a materialistic approach to life which causes anxiety amongst believers…

“...In addition, the woman’s right to abortion neglects the right of the embryo. And no reference is made to ethics when scientific experiments are carried out on human embryos. And it’s even more astonishing to hear that human rights should now include the right to euthanasia because human rights are based on the most fundamental right of all, that is the right to life and yet soon it might turn out that human rights are favouring death rather than life...

“...On the other hand there are serious questions when it comes to the enjoyment of human rights. One of the problems in this area is the interpretation of the idea of freedom…These human rights are just defending the right to choose but nothing is said about humans’ responsibilities and as a result the freedom of the individual from evil is left undefended.

“Before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe last year His Holiness Alexis II. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia said:

'Morality is freedom in action, that is, freedom which has already been enjoyed
as a result of a responsible choice and which restricts itself in the interests
of the good and benefit of the individual and also society'
"I’d like to recall that UN standards on which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, is based, suggests the restriction of the freedom to choose in order to satisfy the fair requirements of morality. Unfortunately the European Union’s Charter of Rights does not include such a restrictive parameter...

"…In our view human rights should not contradict moral norms…

"...A non-conflictual way out of the situation which has come about could be found in conducting an intensive dialogue. The Russian Orthodox Church is involved in a process today of developing a comprehensive approach to human rights. It is planned that the document being developed in this regard…will be adopted by the Council of bishops. On the basis of an inter-Christian and inter-religion dialogue we know that other Christian confessions and world religions have approaches to human rights and it would be appropriate to take into account these views within the context of the Human Rights Council and, all together, within the context of the United Nations..."

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

help stop Europe-wide abortion campaign

The pro-abortion lobby has launched a major new campaign against the unborn throughout Europe. The Council of Europe is due to consider a radical new report calling for every European country to remove all restrictions to abortion. The Council of Europe (which is distinct from the European Union) has a Parliamentary Assembly consisting of representatives who already sit in the legislatures of the Council's 47 member-states. Although the Parliamentary Assembly cannot pass laws, it does pass resolutions which may have significant influence on law, in particular human rights law. The report, by the Assembly's Equal Opportunities committee, calls upon the Council's member-states to:

– decriminalise abortion, if they have not already done so;

– guarantee unrestricted access to abortion;

make sex education of young people compulsory. (Most "sex education" is infected with an anti-life mentality, and compulsory sex education would undermine the role and rights of parents).

To back up its recommendations, the report makes some of the usual false pro-abortion claims - huge numbers of illegal abortions, an unmet need for more birth control to reduce abortion rates, discrimination against women, etc.

The report
will undoubtedly be used as leverage towards the creation of a right to abortion on demand in international law, which has always been the most important and ultimate goal of the worldwide pro-abortion lobby.

Please contact the representatives of your country in the Assembly immediately, urging them to reject the report when it is debated by the Assembly's plenary session, 14 - 18 April. Contact details for Assembly members can be found here.
Please remember to email any replies you receive to Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary

Click here for SPUC briefing: Abortion law and the Council of Europe
Click here for Southern Cross Bioethics Institute (SCBI) response to the report
Click here for SPUC's Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe campaign page

Monday, 17 March 2008

The danger of abortion amendments

In today’s Daily Mail, David Cameron, the Leader of the Opposition, who says that he will vote to lower one of the upper time limits for abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks, also says he will vote for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill as a whole and to retain abortion up to birth of disabled babies.

Most MPs will only consider a change in the 24-week line if abortion up to birth continues for disabled babies; and we can expect further conditions to be demanded before they allow restrictions on late-term social abortions.

These conditions could include removing restrictions to abortion on demand in early pregnancy, allowing nurses to perform certain types of abortion and extending the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

That’s why SPUC considers it dangerous to introduce upper limit or any abortion amendments in the current Parliament.

Hippocratic Oath posters and leaflets for pro-life doctors

Reading The Times this morning “Go public if you have any ethical qualms, doctors ordered by GMC” prompts the following observation: A peaceful resistance movement against abortion, euthanasia by neglect, in vitro fertilisation and embryo experimentation is an appropriate way forward for those who respect the inviolable right to life of the human person from conception till natural death in Britain’s increasingly anti-life culture.

The Times reports tells us: “Doctors must display posters or give out information leaflets detailing any ethical objections they hold on abortion or other contentious medical issues under new guidelines published today by the medical regulator… They must also set aside their own beliefs where a patient wishes it, or directly refer the patient to another doctor who does not hold the same objections.”

This is what the great pro-life leader, respected by people of all faiths and none, Pope John Paul II, said on the subject: “Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws: instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection” (Evangelium Vitae, 73, emphasis as in the original).

SPUC is offering doctors posters and leaflets promoting awareness of the Hippocratic Oath which states: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”

Tibet and genocide

The world needs to know that Communist China imposes population control upon Tibetans. The Dalai Lama said yesterday that “cultural genocide” is taking place in Tibet. And on Wednesday, it was reported that 36 Tibetan women (pictured) protested at the Chinese embassy in the Indian capital, New Delhi, demanding that the one-child policy in Tibet be stopped.

SPUC has for many years helped to voice the opposition of Tibetans to coercive birth control in Tibet, and the complicity of the UK government in its imposition:

“What is the UK doing helping to fund birth control policies in Tibet, an occupied country? With Tibetans a rapidly shrinking minority in their own land, rigid birth control - especially in conjunction with China's inhumane policies of enforced sterilisation and abortion - amounts to genocide. How is it possible that the UK can support a system where Han Chinese in Tibet are allowed more children than Tibetans? It's time the UK government behaved ethically.” (Tibet Vigil press release, 24 August 2000, quoted by SPUC 16 November 2005)

The UK government gives millions of pounds every year to UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund) and IPPF (the International Planned Parenthood Federation), who in turn help the Chinese Communist regime to manage its population control programme, the main feature of which is a one-child-per-woman policy, brutally implemented by both the threat and the practice of forced abortion.

The BBC has been airing a programme recently entitled “A year in Tibet”. The Independent Tibet Network has launched a petition which, among other things, accuses the programme’s producers of bias for claiming that the one-child policy has never been applied to ethnic Tibetans. I would add that the BBC’s reported claim would not be the first time that an attempt has been made to present a false picture about population issues in Tibet or in China-proper. (N.b. The Independent Tibet Network is strictly concerned with human rights and supporting independence for the Tibetan people. They hold no position on the issue of abortion per se, and do not endorse or oppose either side of that debate. They are concerned, however, with coercive birth control as a major human rights violation against women in Tibet, East Turkestan and China.)