Saturday, 5 April 2008

Political furore in Tyneside over killing children "joke"

It has been reported that a member of North Tyneside council has resigned his seat after being suspended from his party. The furore arose because the councillor had suggested at a finance sub-committee meeting that euthanasia could be a means of cutting the cost of caring for vulnerable children.

The councillor said his remark was “misplaced humour” and that he regretted it as soon as he had said it. Even so, a statement from North Tyneside Conservatives noted that his comments were “totally unacceptable” and “out of line with the view of the party at large.” The deputy mayor, a Labour councillor, said “whether he says it was humour or whatever, it is something we cannot really, as a human being, tolerate."

Alison Davis, the leader of No Less Human, SPUC's disability division, makes the following observations about this story:
  • Such condemnation across the political spectrum, for suggesting death is a way of saving money, is in sharp contrast to the silence which greeted an announcement last month from members of Belgium’s coalition government. They stated that teenagers should be given the right to medically assisted suicide, and that the parents of terminally ill children should be given the right to choose euthanasia for them.
  • Euthanasia is already allowed on infants in Belgium, and more than half of the Belgian babies who die before they are a year old have been killed by deliberate medical intervention. Meanwhile in neighbouring Holland, newborn disabled babies, particularly those with spina bifida, are legally killed under the so-called Groningen Protocol.
  • Where is the political outcry over these equally “unacceptable” practices? Our politicians need to wake up to what is happening in our neighbouring EU countries, before the killing up to birth by abortion of disabled babies (in itself completely unacceptable), which is already allowed in the UK goes one logical step further and becomes the very thing the Tyneside politicians find so objectionable when it is merely a misplaced “joke.”

Friday, 4 April 2008

Blair in the cathedral and the “universal right to abortion”

Last night Mr Tony Blair, the former British prime minister recently received into the Catholic church, gave a talk at Westminster Cathedral, the primary Catholic cathedral in England and Wales.

The Times has the former PM describing the UN's Millennium Development Goals as the litmus test of the world's values. Mr Blair's Faith foundation, to be launched later this year, has these targets at the heart of its mission. However, the Millennium Development Goals were interpreted by the Blair government as supporting a universal right to abortion.

I have written again to Mr Blair to ask him if he will to reply to my letter of 11 January.

Amongst various other matters mentioned in my letter, I want to know whether he now repudiates his government’s commitment to the promotion of abortion on demand as a universal fundamental human right.

An SPUC colleague who was in the cathedral yesterday tells me that Mr Blair hedged everything "like a typical politician". The BBC quotes him as saying: "There is nothing I look back on now and say that as a result of my religious journey I would have done things very differently but that is expressly not to say that I got everything right." Old habits die hard.

As I said in my post of 4th February, Tony Blair has reportedly got his eye on becoming president of the EU Council. While there’s a possibility of him running for public office in any part of the world, citizens have a right and a duty to challenge him on his political record on pro-life matters. As a Catholic myself, I do not believe that politicians should be protected from public scrutiny simply by being received into the Catholic church.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

abortion for disability

Alison Davis of No Less Human, SPUC's disability rights group, spoke powerfully at Oxford last month about abortion of disabled children. Children suspected of disability can be aborted up to birth in Britain. The text of her well researched, richly annotated talk is here.

Alison's talk focuses on the ignorance of many health professionals of the facts about the disabilities for which they are screening. She details current eugenic thinking in the health profession according to which pre-natal testing and abortion are a bargain compared with the perceived burden of caring for a disabled child. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has even opened up a debate on the infanticide of newborn disabled children. Alison, herself disabled, writes: "once we give up on even one baby, however young, disabled or 'unwanted' s/he may be, we inevitably start on the slippery slope that will result in more and more killings."