Saturday, 6 June 2009

Political leaders who've misunderstood human sexuality

It was reported recently that David Cameron, the Conservative party leader, will be the first Tory party leader to attend the London's annual Gay Pride march this summer. In a similar move, President Obama recently proclaimed June to be "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month".

These political leaders believe that they are advancing an agenda of respect for individuals relating to choice around sexuality. In this they are, unfortunately, misguided and in error: they have misunderstood the true nature and purpose of human sexuality. They also posit a false choice and a false freedom.

In Evangelium Vitae paragraph 97, Pope John Paul II taught that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in the true nature and purpose of sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their natural interconnectedness. These political leaders are also raising very profound questions which anthropologists must begin to address - in addition to the analysis and commentary given by courageous theologians, clergy and demographers.

The truth of Pope John Paul II's teaching can be understood in moves to recognize marriage between same sex couples by changing the natural and legal meaning of marriage. The achievement of such an objective necessarily involves changing the nature and understanding of sexual intercourse, so that the conception of children through sexual intercourse becomes all the more clearly an optional add-on, yet another manifestation of personal choice in the individualistic society in which we now live. In such a social environment unborn children are certain to become all the more disposable.

History shows just how quickly and comprehensively a society can move to disposing of human beings once it abandons pro-life and historical family values for centuries upheld by the world's major religions. Mr Obama himself saw proof of this when he visited (pictured) the remains of Buchenwald, the Nazi concentration camp.

Friday, 5 June 2009

SPUC in Northern Ireland goes to court to challenge abortion guidelines

SPUC in Northern Ireland is going to court to challenge government guidelines on abortion. Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland says: "The law in Northern Ireland not only safeguards the lives of unborn children but also protects women from the terrible damage which abortion can cause. By issuing guidance that distorts the law, the department of health has created a grave threat to unborn children, to the safety of women and to the rights of medical professionals." You can read more about our challenge in an SPUC press release, which includes links to relevant documents.

Nancy Pelosi's stem cell spin wins her the latest George Orwell Prize

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives has implied that embryonic stem cell research has saved lives. Paying tribute to Nancy Reagan (pictured with Pelosi), widow of Ronald Reagan, the pro-life former president, Mrs Pelosi said:
"Your support for stem cell research has made a significant difference in the lives of many American people. It has saved lives, it has found cures, it has given hope to people."
Mrs Reagan is a prominent promoter of embryonic stem cell research.

Yet, as has been pointed out repeatedly, embryonic stem cell research has yet to produce any benefits in human patients.

One suspects that Mrs Pelosi was trying to mislead people about embryonic stem cell research, just as she tried to mislead people about Catholic teaching on abortion. So for her spin I've awarded Mrs Pelosi the latest George Orwell Prize.

“Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." George Orwell

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Thanks that cardinal won't be joining Blair foundation

I've relieved to read that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the former archbishop of Westminster, will not, as previously announced, be joining the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. I've blogged before about the dangers that the Blairs and the Foundation pose to life and family. I hope the cardinal's decision marks the beginning of the end of the Blairs' campaign to inveigle themselves into high ecclesiatical places, and will help convert them into true pro-life/pro-family advocates.

Standing up for life around the world

People all around the world are prepared to stand up for life, as can be seen from the following news:
  • Legislators in the Dominican Republic vote to modify the constitution to guarantee the right to life from conception to natural death. Catholics pray that those legislators who voted against the pro-life move will "reflect upon their decision".
  • Thousands of Poles brave a torrential downpour to march for life through the centre of Warsaw, the capital (pictured).
  • Polls in Spain find that a majority of Spaniards are against the government's plan to allow abortions for children without parental consent.
So there's every reason for hope when there are so many people around the world who support pro-life values.

Video of 2nd International Student Pro-Life Conference, March 2009

In March, SPUC Scotland organised the 2nd International Student Pro-Life Conference. Attendance was up markedly on last year's well-attended conference and it was judged a great success. Do watch the video summarising the conference clicking below.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Extreme pro-abortion anti-family report presented at Human Rights Council meeting

A report into violence against women has been used to promote an extreme pro-abortion agenda at the United Nations Human Rights Council, currently meeting in Geneva. The report, by Yakin Ertürk, the council's special rapporteur on violence against women, attempts to link bans on abortion with violence against women. The report is entitled "15 Years of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (1994-2009), a critical review".

Pat Buckley, representing SPUC at the council meeting, commented:
"Irrespective of what the report says, there is not and never can be a human right to abortion. The idea of trying to create a right to terminate the life of the most vulnerable human beings, by tearing them from their mothers' wombs, is in fact the very essence of violence against women and their babies."
The report refers to "violations related to reproductive rights pertain[ing] to violence occurring directly and indirectly as a result of State action/inaction in the context of reproductive health policy", such as "criminal sanctions against all forms of abortions".

The report has yet to be approved by the council, which will meet until 19 June. SPUC is urging government representatives to study the report carefully, as it appears to contain many unacceptable and disturbing claims against the value of human life, the status of the family and the dignity of women.

Culture of neglect of the elderly will add to assisted suicide death-toll

An inquest into the death of Harry Denton (pictured), an elderly man with Alzheimer's, has heard claims that carers left him alone at home without food or drink for five days before he died in hospital of pneumonia. As the case is currently under inquest, I don't propose to comment further on the reported claims. What I wish to underscore is that there is evidence of a culture of neglect in Britain of elderly, disabled and vulnerable people; and that such neglect will become more common if assisted suicide is allowed.

People with degenerative diseases, or in advanced age, will feel under pressure to agree to an assisted suicide, with the implicit or even explicit message that it's better that they agree to die before they become too much of a burden. As Baroness Warnock said in September:
"If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service ... [I]f somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die ... [T]here's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself."
Dame Joan Bakewell, the anti-life broadcaster appointed by Harriet Harman to be a 'Voice for Older People', has referred sinisterly to "an old age that brings with it all the humiliations of being helpless, incontinent and in pain."

And in a parliamentary debate in November, Baroness Greengross spoke of people "losing their dignity at the end of life".

So some of the most prominent and senior figures in our society are already trying to convince the vulnerable that they would be better off dead, shamelessly exploiting them for political capital in the parliamentary campaign to legalise assisted suicide. Let's stop that campaign in its tracks - please see and act today upon SPUC's action alert on the Coroners and Justice bill.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Anniversary highlights government role in abortion history

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the first day of the Report stage of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, the bill authored by David Steel which became the Abortion Act 1967. The bill was effectively talked out by a small group of dedicated pro-life MPs, who easily managed to keep the debate going until 4pm. Had the Labour government of the day not been persuaded by Roy Jenkins MP, the anti-life Home Secretary, to provide additional parliamentary time, the bill would have fallen on this day. (The full debate can be found here.)

SPUC in assisted suicide case in Lords today

SPUC will today be represented in a House of Lords hearing which concerns assisted suicide.

SPUC is the intervenor in Ms Debbie Purdy's appeal concerning whether her husband will be prosecuted if he takes her overseas to commit suicide.

SPUC argues against weakening the law which prohibits assisted suicide, as this would seriously undermine legal protection of the right to life. One result of this would be to threaten vulnerable people.

The principal issue is whether the Law Lords will overturn the ruling of the High Court and the Court of Appeal that the Director of Public Prosecutions is not required to issue a prosecuting policy on assisted suicide. The judges have so far held that the way the existing law is applied is sufficiently clear to enable Ms Purdy and her husband to know the likely outcome of their proposed actions.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Surprising support from the green left on population control

Further to my blog on the threat of population control in Australia, an interesting article has appeared on an Australian website called Green Left Online. Simon Butler, the author, starts by arguing that man-made climate change is a great danger. Unlike David Attenborough, however, Mr Butler gives ten reasons why population control is not the answer. Below are the ten reasons, but do read the arguments for them in full. I don't agree with some of the article's points, not least because not all them are pro-life/pro-family, but it is refreshing that some people on the green left are opposed to population control.

From "Ten reasons why population control can’t stop climate change", Simon Butler, Green Left Online, 31 May 2009:

1. Population does not cause climate change
2. The world is not 'full'
3. Social justice and women’s equality are the best contraception (JS: though, of course, actual contraception and a contraceptive mentality are, as I've argued before, bad for humanity.)
4. The climate emergency demands immediate, transformative action now
5. Population arguments wrongly downplay the potential to win
6. Population control is an old argument tacked onto a new issue
7. Arguing for tighter migration restrictions in Australia is a dangerous policy
8. Population control has a disturbing history
9. People in the global South are part of the solution, not the problem
10. Who holds political power is the real ‘population’ issue

Life is not a disposable consumer product

George Pitcher, the religion editor of the Daily Telegraph, has an excellent article on why assisted suicide is wrong. Among other things, he says:
"Fear leads us to consider that life can be treated as a consumer product, to be disposed of when it turns rotten, and to kid ourselves that there is 'dignity' in doing so ... The mistake is in thinking that our life is our own, to do with as we wish, when actually it is only defined in relationship to those around us. To commoditise life is to disown it and to deny others their duty of care."
It is therefore disturbing to read in the Guardian that there are almost 800 British members of Dignitas, the Swiss suicide company, with 34 of them ready to travel to Zurich and take a lethal drug overdose.

We have seen how abortion and IVF are now regarded are public services, with a focus by government on waiting times, waiting lists, equitable provision in all regions, etc. Without a prohibition on assisted suicide, the culture of death will spread yet further from the unborn to the born. This is something which is already happening in various ways, of course, but it will acclerate if an amendment is passed to the Coroners and Justice bill next week - please see and act today upon SPUC's action alert.

SPUC condemns shooting of Dr George Tiller

SPUC has condemned the shooting in Kansas, USA of George Tiller, a prominent abortion provider.

Although the motivation behind the killing of Dr Tiller has yet to be established, SPUC, in common with other pro-life groups, condemns his killing as a crime against life. SPUC has always condemned violence, whether against abortionists or unborn babies. Acts of violence towards the staff of abortion facilities are isolated. Those responsible have on each occasion acted as individuals, and not members of any pro-life group.

Our sympathy goes out to Dr Tiller's family.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Right response to pro-abortion policies is strong condemnation and resistance

Who could possibly take issue with The Tablet's editorial this weekend and its appreciative reference to Obama's speech at Notre Dame University calling for "respectful mutual comprehension" in relation to his anti-life policies?

I do.

The Tablet* writes:
Archbishop Nichols' words [at his installation sermon at Westminster Cathedral] might be construed as calling for the Catholic Church to be given a fair hearing, whereas Mr Obama was implicitly addressing his critics within the Catholic Church in America who condemn him as pro-abortion (and therefore condemn Notre Dame for honouring him). But Archbishop Nichols goes on to say: 'In these matters we ourselves in the Churches have so much to learn and do.' This sounds more like an appeal to his fellow Catholics to consider how they themselves engage in public controversy, in which case he is implicitly reinfor­cing Mr Obama's plea for respectful mutual comprehension."

I completely disagree with The Tablet. The right response to Barack Obama and his unprecedented execution of pro-abortion policies since being elected President is strong condemnation and peaceful resistance. As Father Frank Pavone (pictured), the national director of the US's Priests for Life puts it: "We have to stop trivialising abortion". Speaking about the students protesting against Notre Dame's honouring of Obama, Fr Frank writes:

"Everyone can imagine people they would protest speaking at a commencement: an avowed racist, anti-Semite, or advocate of terrorism. So the failure to object to one who is unwilling to call for an end to abortion is the failure to see that abortion is as bad or worse than those other evils. We have to stop trivializing abortion.

"Moreover, the university gave the President an honorary law degree. Law exists to protect human rights; but this president has admitted that he doesn’t know when a child receives human rights. How can he defend human rights when he doesn’t know who has them? ...

" ... Now dialogue with our opponents on this issue is something we at Priests for Life specialize in. I maintain friendships with abortion advocates and practicing abortionists. The clarity of our own convictions never means we despise, demonize, or shut out other people. And yes, we are willing to collaborate with others in morally legitimate ways to reduce the numbers of abortions.

"But the President’s remarks had a glaring omission. While willing to dialogue and to promote adoption, he gave no indication of any willingness to protect the children in the womb. And that’s the crux of the issue. In his remarks, he referred to the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation. Certainly, his call for open minds does not include openness to reconsider the segregation issue. There’s a right answer to it, period.

"So it is with the protection of the unborn."

The latter part of 20th century history shows again and again that the appropriate response to fundamental human rights abuses on the part of the State is organized peaceful resistance on the part of citizens - and strong condemnation on the part of the Church, as Pope John Paul II reminded us in Evangelium Vitae:

"The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: 'Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator'." (EV, 3)

*The Tablet describes itself as an international Catholic weekly but, editorially, it opposes Church teaching on fundamental issues relating to the sanctity of human life.

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Good news from Mexico and on adult stem cells

I've been drawn to some recent news stories which provide hope for the sanctity of human life:
These successes prove that pro-life work in the fields of lobbying, education and medicine has tangible results. There's no reason for apathy in pro-life work, not least because inaction means that not only opportunities, but lives, will be lost.