Friday, 16 May 2008
Alison Davis, the leader of No Less Human, a group within SPUC, has spina bifida and several other disabling conditions. She has a letter in yesterday’s Telegraph opposing such views from both an ethical and pragmatic perspective.
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Earlier terminations are better for whom?
Are they better for young women for whom, at the end of a 'long line of non-choices', abortion becomes the only “choice”.
How many young women have been deceived by their school sex ed classes, telling them that by using contraception and being empowered by information, they would be 'safe'. There's not much recognition, in sex education, that many girls experience a power imbalance in their relationships with older, stronger, more persuasive men.
Girls are often told that sex is a normal part of teenage relationships, thereby applying the pressure of the 'norm' to give in to men. Apparently, only freaks don't have sex with their boyfriends. The fact is, girls fall in love and are eager to please and to be seen as normal.
And when teenage pregnancy is so frequently condemned by political leaders and in the media and elsewhere, who can blame a teenager for feeling shocked and unreal when she gets pregnant? Who can blame her for being completely unable to visualise herself as a mother and a happy, successful woman at the same time?
So because she can't see any path other than abortion, she may have that to grieve for her child for the rest of her life. Feeling powerless, avoiding thinking about the moral aspects of abortion, and being young will all contribute to an increased risk of psychological problems after abortion, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. And yes, this includes women who have early abortions.
And is early abortion better for the foetus? Obviously no abortion is good for any foetus.
We also doubt that rushing women through the abortion process can be an all-round good thing. A study in Sweden found that one in ten women changed her mind after seeking abortion. Lucky these women had time to back out. Ambivalence and doubt about the decision are normal - and research shows very clearly that ambivalence is a predictor of negative psychological responses to abortion. Often women are waiting for someone to show some real support (not "it's your choice" which is essentially abandoning them to their own circumstances) and to say "yes, I believe you can do this". Women need space to step back from the panic and listen to their own inner voice, not the clamour of what everyone else thinks or what our culture is telling them.
But earlier abortion might be good for some other people.
Of course, quick and early abortion might be in the interests of abortion clinics.
Maybe quick, early abortion is better for the doctors who dislike the thought of killing a foetus that can suck its thumb and do somersaults and who deny to themselves that the baby is a living, growing human being from conception/fertilisation. Perhaps removing the requirement for two signatures will allow abortion doctors to sleep a little easier at night.
Maybe quick, early abortion is easier for men who would prefer women for short-term sex rather than for long-term love and having families.
But it certainly doesn't do anything to address our culture that has made quick, early abortion the easiest option for most young women. So shame on Andrew Lansley, the Tory shadow health secretary.
But the reader has been primed. Primed for the real intent of the article, which is to make abortions easier prior to 12 weeks, and in doing so creep closer to accepting that abortion is just like any other medical procedure. When that is accepted it is a simple step to claim that, like the right to health care, abortion is likewise a right.
This is where the obfuscation begins.
The reader of
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
There are more battles we must fight over the bill in coming weeks and months.
Next week there will be debates on Monday and Tuesday. Please urge your MP to attend and vote against anti-life measures on Monday and Tuesday, and ask others to do the same. We must ask sympathetic MPs particularly to attend the abortion debate on Tuesday the 20th. MPs should be asked to VOTE AGAINST PRO-ABORTION AMENDMENTS - whatever else they do on any other amendment. The most important thing is to vote against the pro-abortion amendments. Visit http://www.spuc.org.uk/mps for how you can contact your MP. (Please also visit SPUC's HFE bill campaign page http://www.spuc.org.uk/lobbying/hfe/ )
During the debate on 12th May, the Conservative health spokesman (Andrew Lansley) indicated that he would vote to abolish the need for two doctors to authorise an abortion, and to allow nurses to provide drug-induced abortions. These amendments would lead to more abortions than ever. Although the Conservatives are not whipping MPs to support these pro-abortion amendments, the personal backing of their health spokesman is a major factor. Labour are not imposing a whip next Tuesday either, but it was already known where the Labour health secretary Alan Johnson stands. It is equally important to urge MPs of all parties to oppose the pro-abortion amendments.
After next Tuesday, letter writing and leafleting against the bill should continue.
The chances of defeating the bill are clearly slim. Please urge all people of faith to pray that it will fall. Politics is an uncertain business, and if anything happens in the next few weeks to destabilise the government any more (e.g. poor opinion poll ratings, etc), the government could become nervous of the bill, especially if people like Cardinal O'Brien and Bishop O'Donoghue keep speaking out.
Please keep fighting with us in these dark days.
Monday, 12 May 2008
MPs tonight voted for the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill during its second reading. There were 340 votes for and just 78 against. Although this is by no means the end of the matter, the outcome is disturbing.
In tonight's debate we heard yet more promises of therapies that could come from such research. In 1990 we were told that breakthroughs were imminent and yet nothing has been achieved save the destruction of countless human embryos.
There were also threats tonight from some MPs that they are prepared to use the bill to widen access to abortion. Although the government has stated that it would prefer not to have abortion amendments in the bill, it has not taken steps to stop this from happening. If pro-abortion MPs succeed in making access to abortion more widely available and imposing it on
SPUC strongly urges everyone to ask their MP to oppose pro-abortion amendments. We do not recommend asking MPs to support time limit amendments in the bill. Why not?
Some MPs are already talking in terms of a “trade off”; that is, supporting some “pro-life” amendments and other pro-abortion ones. This would be disastrous. The time limit amendment would become a bargaining chip for our opponents to use to gain support for the pro-abortion amendments.
SPUC recognises the good intentions of many who support time limit amendments, but we have consistently opposed calls for time-limit amendments in the current Parliament.
SPUC’s briefings on the bill (available from SPUC HQ or on our website) explain the objections to time-limit amendments in more detail.
Pope Benedict's ringing endorsement of Humanae Vitae – a call for action for the pro-life movement worldwide
His endorsement of the truth of the teaching of Humanae Vitae could not be more emphatic. He writes: “The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change; rather, in light of the new scientific findings, its teaching becomes even more up to date and induces reflection upon its intrinsical value.”
The pope's sense of urgency about spreading the truth of Humanae Vitae is palpable and must provide a call for action for the pro-life movement, in particular, worldwide. He says: “The concern for human life and the safeguard of the dignity of the person impose upon us not to leave anything untried so that it may be shared with all people the genuine truth of responsible conjugal love in full adherence to the law written in the heart of every person.”
See my post on 14th February to understand why I think Pope Benedict’s statement is of such supreme significance for the pro-life movement.
Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland writes: "On
“The people of
Mr Brown is, of course, at
As he received the petition as Big Ben struck , Mr Burrowes movingly recited a prayer that is inscribed on a plaque in parliament's clock tower. The words are: "All through this hour, Lord be my guide, and by thy power no foot shall slide."
The petition says: " … that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (2007) proposes to endorse the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos in the laboratory; the widening of the scope for experiments on human embryos, and the creation of human embryos for other purposes without regard for the welfare and status of such embryos.
"The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons vote against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, and urge the Government to change its policy towards endorsing the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos in the laboratory; the widening of the scope for experiments on human embryos, and the creation of human embryos for other purposes without regard for the welfare and status of such embryos."
The bill's Commons second reading begins today. It has already been passed by the House of Lords.
Pictured outside parliament today are (from left) myself, Linda Davidson, SPUC's enquiries officer, Mr David Burrowes, Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate, and Mrs Kay O'Brien, an SPUC supporter who lives in Mr Burrowes' constituency.