Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Pro-abortion lobbyist admits that a woman's choice does not justify an abortion

Pat Buckley - European Life Network reports that Frances Kissling (pictured), founder of the pro-abortion group Catholics (sic) for a Free Choice, has been roundly condemned by the rest of the pro-abortion lobby for concluding that sometimes a woman shouldn't be allowed to have an abortion. As Pat points out, Ms Kissling's admission undermines the major justification given for so-called abortion rights, namely choice. And as Pat also says,
[Kissling] touches upon a much concealed point about the abortion lobby. It is extreme, its ideological obsession with choice at the expense of any other rights including the right to life renders it so extreme that it would be called fanatical or fundamentalist if it were a religious organisation.
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Judicial review of Northern Ireland abortion guidance granted

The High Court in Belfast has granted an application to SPUC for a judicial review of the Northern Ireland health department's guidance on abortion.

Speaking to me from outside the court, Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland said:

"We are very grateful to have the opportunity to present the issues that were not properly examined during the consultation, particularly the recommendations of the Stormont health committee. We hope that the department will now be reasonable and redraft the guidance which were fundamentally flawed and need radical revision."

Mr Justice Weatherup allowed the application on the grounds that:

- the department has erred in law in its view of the law on abortion in Northern Ireland, as summarised in the guidance.

- the guidance is misleading and/or does not accurately portray the law on abortion in Northern Ireland.

- in publishing the guidance in its present form the Department was mistaken in:

  • failing to acknowledge properly the presumptive illegality of abortion in Northern Ireland.
  • failing to recognise properly the rights of the unborn child.
  • failing to provide guidance on, or require investigation into, whether a child which may be aborted is capable of being born alive; and failing to provide instructions for circumstances where a child is capable of being born alive or is aborted alive.
  • providing for "non-directive" counselling which is incompatible with the presumptively criminal nature of abortion in Northern Ireland.
There were also other grounds.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Monday, 29 June 2009

Northern Ireland abortion case decision due tomorrow

The High Court in Belfast has heard submissions on SPUC's application for leave to apply for a judicial review of the Northern Ireland Department of Health's guidance on abortion. Having listened to the grounds on which SPUC believes the guidance requires revision, counsel for the health department denied the guidance was improper. The Family Planning Association (FPA) was also represented at the hearing. Mr Justice Weatherup reserved his decision on the application until 10am tomorrow (Tues 30 June).

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Religious leaders' joint letter against assisted suicide

Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury (Anglican), Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster (Catholic) and Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, have written a joint letter published in today's Telegraph, opposing parliamentary moves to undermine the law against assisted suicide. Among other things, the letter states that Lord Falconer's amendment to government's Coroners and Justice bill, due to debated by the House of Lords
"would surely put vulnerable people at serious risk, especially sick people who are anxious about the burden their illness may be placing on others. Moreover, our hospice movement, an almost unique gift of this country to wider humankind, is the profound and tangible sign of another and better way to cope with the challenges faced by those who are terminally ill."
The fact that the leaders of three of Britain's main religions, representing millions of followers, have come together to sign this letter demonstrates the profound concern that exists in British society about threats to the sanctity of human life. There is widespread disquiet about a growing culture of death in Britain, with euthanasia already allowed in law in some circumstances through the Mental Capacity Act passed in 2005. The amendments proposed by Lord Falconer, Lord Joffe, Lord Alderdice and other peers will serve to threaten the vulnerable with lethal abandonment. Please forward the religious leaders' letter to members of the House of Lords when you write to them to oppose Lord Falconer's amendment - see SPUC's action alert of 6 June.

As an independent human rights organisation, SPUC supports the right of religious leaders to speak out on ethical principles. If an action, especially a public one, is incompatible with religious belief, then religious leaders must be free to point this out. Those who call this interference fail to recognise that the moral law cannot be confined only to certain spheres of activity. Morality has a universal jurisdiction.

As George Pitcher, an Anglican clergyman with a column in The Telegraph, welcoming the religious leaders' letter, points out, contrary to
"the euthanasia lobby [who] would like nothing better than to characterise the issue as a simple choice between religion and secularism"
"[m]any a secular humanist will argue that human life is uniquely to be revered and that the best answer to the terminally ill clogging up our health service isn't necessarily to help them to kill themselves."
Dignity in Dying (DID), i.e. the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES), has declared that "assisting non-terminally ill adults to die is wrong", yet Debbie Purdy - whose case DID/VES is supporting - told yesterday's Independent that
"I personally would argue for a law that provided assistance to the incurable/chronically ill who suffer unbearably and have reached the end of their tether."
Mrs Purdy goes on to say that:
"'Assisted suicide' suggests someone giving up. It is always heartbreaking when a person loses faith in her/himself, and family and friends are consumed with regret at not having done 'something'. What we are talking about is 'assisted dying', when someone facing the certainty of death or pain they cannot bear chooses to take control."
Note that Mrs Purdy defines "assisted dying" as not just when
"someones [is] facing the certainty of death"
but also
"when someone [is] facing the certainty of...pain they cannot bear"
So there we have it, de facto admissions that the term "assisted dying" is just a euphemism to replace the negative connotations suggested by the term "assisted suicide", and that non-dying people will be killed if so-called assisted dying is allowed in law.

So congratulations to the three religous leaders for standing up to euthanasia lobby's campaign of caricature and euphemism, a campaign which threatens the vulnerable with lethal abandonment.

So again, please forward the religious leaders' letter to members of the House of Lords when you write to them to oppose Lord Falconer's amendment - see SPUC's action alert of 6 June.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Sunday, 28 June 2009

British doctors fight for the right to pray for patients

The BBC reports that at the British Medical Association this week: "Doctors are demanding that NHS staff be given a right to discuss spiritual issues with patients as well as being allowed to offer to pray for them".

Earlier this year, an NHS Trust suspended a nurse for offering to pray for a patient. She was later re-instated. By way of contrast, under the British Government's Mental Capacity Act, doctors who refuse to kill their patients, in certain circumstances, may face litigation and possibly criminal conviction; and anti-life politicians such as Evan Harris MP and Baroness Warnock are exploiting the current legal regime - in Mr Harris's case, to justify lethal dose assisted suicide and, in Baroness Warnock's case, to argue that people with disabling conditions have a duty to die prematurely. As she put it last year: "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."

British visitors to my blog who are concerned that their friends and relatives may be at risk of euthanasia by neglect should contact Patients First Network (logo, right) which seeks to enable ordinary people to mount a bedside resistance to a premature and distressing death for their loved ones.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Saturday, 27 June 2009

SPUC in high court in Belfast on Monday

SPUC is seeking leave on Monday (29 June) for a judicial review of the Northern Ireland government's guidance on abortion. The high court in Belfast may make its decision known on the same day.

We argue that the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety's guidance distorts the law and threatens unborn children.

Please pray for a good outcome.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Friday, 26 June 2009

Stunning speech on Obama "the Abortion President"

Chris Smith, the pro-life American congressman, delivered a stunning speech at the National Right to Life annual convention held last week. Do read his important address in full, but below are some key extracts.
  • "[Pro-life work is] a selfless expression of love for the disenfranchised and powerless, absolutely based on the core principles of nonviolence and malice towards none—even for those who actually dismember or chemically poison children to death and euphemistically call it choice.
  • "[The pro-life cause is] the greatest human rights struggle on earth.
  • "The bravest of all in [the pro-life] movement are the post-abortive women who are 'silent no more'. Their voice and message of hope must be heard everywhere and especially by post-abortive girls and women who suffer depression and deep emotional scaring.
  • "Mr. Obama has earned the dubious title of the Abortion President. He talks inclusion, but practices exclusion ... [I]n record time has made the White House the wholly owned subsidiary of the abortion lobby ... [H]is administration is aggressively seeking to reverse virtually every modest pro-life law ever enacted or policy promulgated since Roe v. Wade.
  • "The Abortion President is the master of the art of misdirection. From his speeches we hear soothing, pretty, mesmerizing words loftily summoning us to common ground—common burial ground that is. Obama’s talk of common ground is a trap—a snare—for the gullible and for the nominally pro-life who have emerged as the newest enablers ... pushing a few non-controversial pro-life positions like the adoption option all the while seeking to nullify authentic abortion reducing policies—the real common ground—including public funding bans, women’s right to know laws and parental notice statutes. Both the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute and pro-life advocates actually agree that prohibitions on taxpayer funding for abortion significantly reduce the number of abortions ... Clinton tried to sell common ground. Gore used it as well. And now our Abortion President is presenting it to the nation as if he invented it. It’s a trap.
  • "As a result of Obama's new policy, pro-abortion organizations are now flush with cash and will continue to get hundreds of millions of dollars annually to push abortion around the world, all of it decoupled from pro-life safeguards ... With little fanfare, the Abortion President has stuffed and is in the process of stuffing the federal bureaucracy from top to bottom with some of the most extreme pro-abortionists on the planet.
  • "[A] new, dark chapter in the Global push for unfettered abortion has commenced ... In light of his coordinated attack overseas, we must do a better job of warning nations in Africa and Latin America in Asia and even Europe that the Global War on Abortion is at their doorstep. Then there is the Obama abandonment of women in China ... Despite the fact that the UN Population Fund has actively supported, co-managed, and white-washed the most pervasive crimes against women in human history, President Obama donated $50 million to the UNFPA ... [T]here are the missing girls—about 100 million—victims of sex selection abortions. This gendercide is a direct result of the one child policy ... Population control blames children for bad governance and the misuse and misallocation of resources. If you want to know where that worldview takes us, just look at China.
  • "[The] Abortion President reversed President Bush’s ban on taxpayer-funded embryo-destroying stem cell research ... embryonic stem cells that kill the donor, are highly unstable, have a propensity to morph into tumors and are likely to be rejected by the patient unless strong anti-rejection medicines are administered...
  • "[Y]ou and I have no other option but to fight. We must be disciplined and alert and wise. And we need to redouble our efforts and recruit new activists here and around the world especially among the young. This is no time for quitters or the faint of heart."
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Powerful resistance by doctors' leader to assisted suicide push

Professor Steve Field (pictured), chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), has offered powerful resistance to the push for assisted suicide. In an article in The Guardian, he writes:
"I do not believe that assisted suicide has a place in the UK. My argument is not based on a religious belief in the sanctity of life but on a strong belief in the ethical basis of medicine, which is my vocation ...

"If we doctors take on the additional role of taking life, while at the same time treating the patient and protecting their life, it would undermine our credibility, undermine the trust between the patient and doctor and adversely affect the doctor-patient relationship ...

"[A]ssisted suicide is not the answer to the ills of our health system.

"My concern is that the NHS could have an incentive to deny treatment to people who may be deemed too costly."
It is refreshing to read Prof. Field's article, as so often the leaders of the medical profession go along with the anti-life tenor in parliament and the media. It's also refreshing to hear that the Swiss government is considering banning or restricting organised suicide assistance, such as Dignitas. Please forward these two stories to members of the House of Lords, who are due (though delayed) to consider amendments on assisted suicide to the government's Coroners and Justice bill - see SPUC's action alert of 6 June.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Nixon comments highlight abortion-racism connection

According to recently transcribed audio recordings, Richard Nixon, the late former American president, said that abortion was justified if the unborn child had one black and one white parent. The general public is unaware that racist population control was actually the policy of the Nixon administration. Henry Kissinger, Nixon's Secretary of State, was the author of the infamous NSSM 200 (National Security Study Memorandum 200), which recommended that the United States should promote population control in the developing world in order to secure American interests.

Racism has always been connected with support for abortion. In a letter in December 1939, Margaret Sanger, the founder of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), said:
"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
Lothrop Stoddard, one of Sanger's deputies, was a famous white supremacist. Marie Stopes, the founder of the birth control movement, said that if she had the power she "would legislate compulsory sterilization ... of half-castes."

Racism is present today in the activities of the abortion industry. The higher abortion rate among black Americans may have eugenic implications. I'm therefore delighted that the Reverend Arnold M Culbreath will be speaking at this year's SPUC national conference in September. Rev Culbreath, a Baptist, who is urban outreach director of Life Issues Institute, runs Protecting Black Life, which takes the pro-life message to the black community.

Richard Nixon's comments highlight the connection between abortion and racism. Of all people, President Obama, son of a black father and a white mother, should take the publication of Richard Nixon's comments as an opportunity to reflect upon his support for the killing of the unborn.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The euphemisms of euthanasia

I am grateful to Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, for his reflections on the news that the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES), rebranding itself Dignity in Dying, now claims that does not campaign for euthanasia or suicide. Anthony writes:
Sarah Wootton (pictured), the VES' chief executive, writing in yesterday's Guardian, claims that:

"[W]e campaign for the choice of assisted dying for the terminally ill within strict safeguards. Not euthanasia. Not suicide ... but the choice of assistance to die for those who are suffering, competent to make the decision and are already dying."

In recent years, the VES' strategy has been to narrow its campaigning targets and soft-soap its public face, in order to allay opposition and thereby get some movement towards the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia. That is the real reason why the VES now calls itself Dignity in Dying, not because it no longer supports euthanasia. The VES' name-change mirrors the name-change of the Hemlock Society in America to "Compassion and Choices".

The duplicity of the VES campaign is further seen in their support of Debbie Purdy's legal challenge. Mrs Purdy's stated aim is to find out how likely it is that her husband will be prosecuted if he assists her to travel to Dignitas in Switzerland. The VES claims that she "would like the option of an assisted death should her suffering become unbearable". Mrs Purdy herself is more explicit:

"Since the 1961 Suicide Act was introduced we have legalised homosexuality and abortion without making them compulsory. We need to look at the law on assisted suicide again and think about how that could be legalised too with proper safeguards in place." [AO: my emphasis]

And Mrs Purdy, who has multiple sclerosis, is not dying, as multiple sclerosis is not a terminal illness. So why is the VES - which has declared that "assisting non-terminally ill adults to die is wrong" - supporting her case? The immediate reason is that the VES is using the case as a lever for the legalisation in the UK of assisted suicide and euthanasia, for both terminally-ill and non-terminally ill persons. The truth of this immediate reason is confirmed by the VES' boast that that it was "involved in drafting the Mental Capacity Act 2005", which enshrined in English law euthanasia by neglect of non-dying, non-competent and non-consenting adults.

The deeper reason for the VES's support for Mrs Purdy's case (and for euthanasia generally) is only hinted at by Mrs Purdy's analogy with legal abortion, but made more explicit in the words and person of Sarah Wootton herself. In her Guardian piece Ms Wootton has described the opposition to so-called assisted dying as "the anti-choice lobby". Dig a bit deeper elsewhere and one discovers that, before coming to the VES, Ms Wootton worked for the pro-abortion Family Planning Association (FPA) and was a founding trustee of Abortion Rights.

So now we know exactly where we are - in the dark world of anti-life euphemism, the hall of smoke and mirrors where unborn babies are re-labelled "products of conception" and killing them is called "terminating an unwanted pregnancy".
So I have no hesitation in awarding Ms Wootton our 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

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Monday, 22 June 2009

Pro-lifers hold sponsored vigil against TV abortion ads

SPUC members held a vigil outside the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in London on Friday to show their concern at proposals to advertise abortion on television. Sponsorship for the vigil will go towards SPUC's campaign against the ASA's proposal. Participants were led by Anne Fearon of Crosby, Merseyside, who said:
"SPUC members from all over the country are anxious to have their voice heard. We do not want adverts for abortion services on TV and radio. This would only lead to more abortions, and there are already around 200,000 every year. Women deserve better than abortion. Whilst abortion providers would have plenty of money to pay for advertising, the pro-life groups would not be able to afford to advertise the alternatives to abortion."
Anne was joined by Peter, her husband, and James and Catherine, their twin son and daughter aged 16. SPUC supporters from London and Oxfordshire also took part, as well as members of SPUC staff, including myself.

A full report by Anne of the vigil, as well as photographs, can been seen on the SPUC website here.

During the vigil, Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, presented SPUC's submission to the authority's consultation on advertising abortion.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Catholic organisations should not invite Cherie Blair

Last Thursday the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS), a Catholic charity for seafarers, invited Cherie Blair (pictured) to launch its annual appeal. The AOS' invitation to Mrs Blair is to be lamented, considering that, in the very same week as Mrs Blair launched the AoS appeal, she continued her campaign against Catholic teaching on the culture of life. In an interview in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph, Mrs Blair said:
"[T]hough I like to think of myself as a good Catholic, I couldn't have had the career I had without contraception. The fact is, even in Spain, France and Italy there must be a lot of Catholics who bend the rules."
And in today's Independent newspaper, Mrs Blair endorses ActionAid, a charity which calls for access to abortion.

I will be writing to AoS about their invitation to Mrs Blair to launch their appeal. You may wish to join to me. Please write to: Captain Paul Quinn, O.B.E, National Director, Apostleship of the Sea, by email paulquinn@apostleshipofthesea.org.uk or by post to Herald House, 15 Lambs Passage, Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8LE.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The right and duty of parents to protect their children's morality

An excellent letter has been published in this weekend's Catholic Herald, from Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs of the archdiocese of Westminster. The substance of the letter reads:
"[The] legal right [of parents] to withdraw their children from sex education classes where content [i]s at odds with their moral convictions ... is protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and defended vigorously in Church teaching.

The similarities are striking between the stealthy undermining of parental authority by the state today (particularly the authority of Christian parents) and the aggressive subversion of the same in National Socialist Germany in the 1930s. In paragraph 39 of the encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge ("With Burning Sorrow") - which left Hitler so beside himself that for three days he did not want to see anyone - Pius XI [JS: pictured] reminds German Catholic parents that "their rights and duties as educators, conferred on them by God, are at present the stake of a campaign pregnant with consequences."

Those rights include what John Paul II called "an unrenounceable duty" of parents to protect their children's morality. In jurisprudence this is a fiduciary principle, which means one must exercise this duty beyond the bare minimum.
Mr Adamus's letter articulates for me why I and other parents are right to object to the cooperation of Catholic Education Service (CES) with the government's plan for compulsory sex education.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Saturday, 20 June 2009

So-called human rights experts out of touch with human values

Among the many things discussed at last week's session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, was the Yogyakarta principles, something which I've blogged on 29 April this year and 22 November last year. The Yogyakarta principles, amongst other things, call on States to "ensure that all sexual and reproductive health, education, prevention, care and treatment programmes and services respect the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities, and are equally available to all without discrimination"; according to the World Health Organisation's definition "sexual and reproductive health" services includes the provision of abortion on demand.

As usual, British politicians are already implementing such radical re-engineering of human relations. The government is, through its Equality bill and its Coroners and Justice bill, are seeking to suppress any dissent from its anti-life agenda. The Conservative party, Britain's main opposition party, are also working against family values, with David Cameron, the party leader, due to join this year's annual Gay Pride march, and with the Conservative party annual conference due to host its first-ever "gay pride" social event.

Earlier this month I blogged about how these political leaders have misunderstood human sexuality, and the impossibility of protecting unborn children effectively where such a misunderstanding is present. I also think that the so-called human rights experts who advise those political leaders are deeply out of touch with human values. Pat Buckley, representing SPUC at Geneva, reports that one of the so-called expert speaker, Neha Sood of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
"told the meeting that she assumed everyone present were feminists, otherwise they could not claim to support human rights. She also told the meeting that the real problem in society is Patriarchy and it was responsible for making women second class citizens and creating the discriminatory institution of marriage an institution."
That such outdated Marxist dialectics are being allowed to be promoted at UN meetings suggests that it is the pro-life movement, and not these anti-life ideologues, which actually upholds authentic human goods - life, love and children.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Friday, 19 June 2009

Amnesty Int'l reveals an Achilles' heel of the anti-life lobby

Amnesty International, the human rights group, has criticised the Dominican Republic for moves to ban abortion. The country's congress is considering a new constitutional provision to guarantee the right to life from conception to natural death. Amnesty claims that banning abortion "could lead to violations of women's human rights", even though it admitted that "international human rights law...already protects prenatal life".

That admission is very revealing, because other pro-abortion groups won't admit such an unpalatable (to them) truth. It is an Achilles' heel in the anti-life lobby's campaign to get the United Nations to declare abortion to be a human right. That is why SPUC is developing the Amnesty for Babies campaign, so that legislators will declare that international law in fact protects the unborn from intentional killing from conception onwards.

Amnesty's 2009 report on the state of the world's human rights also contains attacks on other Latin American countries for restricting abortion. Amnesty's main concern would seem to be the provision of abortion for rape victims. That contradicts one of Amnesty's core principles: that the innocent should not be killed or punished. In what way does any unborn child, a member of the human family, deserve death? Amnesty should remind itself of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), article 6(5), which forbids the death penalty to be carried out on a pregnant woman. The covenant's travaux préparatoires (preparatory works) state that the express intention of this article was inspired by humanitarian considerations, and by consideration of the interests of the unborn child. Indeed, the innocent ought not to die with the guilty.

Amnesty must return to its core principles and reject the injustice of abortion.

Pro-lifers holding sponsored vigil against TV abortion ads

Today SPUC members are holding an all-day silent vigil outside the offices of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA is considering allowing abortion providers to advertise on television and radio. Sponsorship for the vigil will go towards SPUC's campaign against the ASA's proposal and to educate the public on abortion.

Pete and Anne Fearon (pictured, with their children Catherine and James) of SPUC Merseyside are leading the vigil. They have been married for 25 years and have six children, including two sets of twins. Anne says:
"Bringing up children these days is hard enough without the abortion industry targeting our sons and daughters and sending out the message that casual sex and abortion are perfectly okay. That's why I'm strongly in favour of SPUC's policy of reaching out to young people in their schools and I'm hoping the money we raise at the sponsored vigil will help them expand this vital service.

"The whole family feel very strongly that allowing abortion to be advertised on TV will have a harmful effect on society in general and will lead to more unborn babies being destroyed and more women and girls suffering the after effects of abortion.

"We will do all that we can to support SPUC's campaign to stop abortion adverts invading our homes.

"We have supported SPUC for longer than we care to remember but I started going to Crosby branch meetings about 17 years ago. After a few years I found myself branch secretary and began attending Merseyside regional meetings and then SPUC's National Council meetings (the Society's governing body). I am also chairman of Merseyside region.

"Pete is a science teacher. He was head of science for many years in a large Catholic school in Liverpool before retiring last year and now does supply teaching.

"James and Catherine have just turned sixteen and are the youngest of our six children. They will have just completed their GCSE exams a couple of days before the sponsored event. As you can imagine, things are a bit tense in our household at the moment with all that last minute cramming!

"As a family we always try to support SPUC's fundraising in any way we can and this particular event is very important to us. Last year my daughter, Siobhan, took part in SPUC's sponsored skydive parachute event."
People wishing to sponsor the vigil can donate securely online here

For many years a committed team of SPUC staff has provided regular pro-life news services via the SPUC website and email, and more latterly this blog, the SPUC Facebook group and now Twitter. While delivering news and comment in this way incurs a financial cost, we have made it our policy not to appeal directly to our readers to meet these costs. However, should you wish to do so, you can help support SPUC’s news services by sponsoring the vigil (see above). Appeal contributions will help defray the costs of SPUC's news services and our campaigning, education and caring work. What’s most important to us, though, is that you continue to have access to good quality information which leaves you better informed about pro-life matters. Whatever you decide to do, please consider forwarding this page to anyone you think may benefit from SPUC's news services (one way of forwarding this page is to click on the mail icon below).

Thursday, 18 June 2009

SPUC's submission on TV abortion ads

SPUC has published its submission to the public consultation about allowing abortion agencies to advertise on television and radio. You can read SPUC's submission in full here, but below are are selection of points SPUC has made objecting to the proposal.
  • "It is likely, in our view, that the public will be exposed directly to television and radio advertising which promotes abortion services.
  • Both of the proposals relating to abortion advertising (permitting it on broadcast media, and imposing a special requirement on non-abortion providers) amount to unfair commercial practices. Promoting abortion providers is exploitative of several vulnerable groups: expectant mothers, women who are uncertain whether they are pregnant, unborn children and particularly unborn children with disabilities.
  • Abortion also remains a criminal offence on the statute book. Advertising of illegal procedures is contrary to the public interest, advertising codes, and the law.
  • Only those agencies with the financial resources would be able to advertise. Abortion providers can generate financial resources for advertising by charging more for abortions, whereas most pro-life advice services do not charge clients (or the NHS) for their services. Thus there will be a disproportionate opportunity for abortion providers to advance their cause.
  • Advertising has the power to be subtly constructed so as to direct vulnerable women to these agencies where abortion may be promoted as the “best option”.
  • Advertising should not be misleading, harmful or offensive.
  • Abortion causes immense harm.
  • Such advertisements by their nature would be objectively offensive to moral and religious principles.
  • The highly contentious nature of abortion and its deep moral significance would suggest that minors not be subject to its promotion via advertising, which would undoubtedly occur if this proposal were permitted.
  • Family planning centres and pregnancy advice agencies which refer women for abortion but offer no alternatives, are not required to mention the limits of their services.
  • The strongly predominant wish in the community is for the numbers of abortions to decrease, not increase. However, advertising of abortion services would promote abortion, increase its incidence and thereby increase harm to all involved."
Tomorrow SPUC supporters will be holding a sponsored vigil outside the offices of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Doctor-bioethicist highlights Dutch involuntary euthanasia

On Tuesday the Times published a letter from an American doctor and bioethicist which highlights the incidence of involuntary euthanasia in the Netherlands. Dr William Reichels of the Centre for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown university, writes:
"I am a physician who has studied physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia since 1988, especially in the Netherlands ... Although the law calls for performing assisted suicide and euthanasia with the patient’s consent, it is often involuntary. The law also calls for obtaining a second opinion of another physician, but this is often never done. By 1991 the Remmelink report showed that 1,040 people (an average of three per day) were actively killed by Dutch doctors without the patient’s knowledge or consent."
SPUC has pointed out that the Remmelink Report also found that the doctor was often the person who first raised the subject of euthanasia with the patient.

A total ban on assisted suicide is necessary to protect vulnerable patients and to ensure that the law upholds the intrinsic value of human life. Please tell members of the House of Lords about Dr Reichels's letter and the facts about Dutch involuntary euthanasia - please read immediately SPUC's action alerts of 29 May and 6 June on the Coroners and Justice bill.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

UN resolution saved from pro-abortion agenda

As I blogged previously, the UN Human Rights Council is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. In my previous blog, I mentioned an extreme pro-abortion anti-family report on violence against women. However, another resolution* relevant to pro-life issues has also been discussed at Geneva, a resolution on maternal mortality. As is often the case at these UN meetings, the early drafts of the resolution had strong pro-abortion language. Thanks, however, to communication between sympathetic national delegations and the pro-life/pro-family coalition, the wording has been subtly yet significantly changed in many ways. The content of the resolution's final version, whilst still containing some concerning aspects, nonetheless denies the anti-life lobby its main goals. So congratulations to Pat Buckley, who represents SPUC at the UN, and to the other pro-life/pro-family lobbyists at Geneva for their vital work in preventing abortion being declared to be a human right.

* The resolution is entitled "Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development", and the relevant part is "11. Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights".

Monday, 15 June 2009

Pro-life vigil, Maidstone, Kent, this Wednesday 17 June

"A great prayer for life is urgently needed … prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil." Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae.

The Helpers of God's Precious Infants is an international pro-life group founded by Monsignor Philip Reilly under the direction of Bishop Thomas Daily of New York. Its main work is prayer vigils at abortion facilities. To date, 5 cardinals and over 100 bishops worldwide participate, including Bishop Bernard Longley of Westminster, Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood, Bishop John Hine of Southwark and Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds. The spirituality is one of solidarity with Jesus in the person of the forgotten poor: “Whatever you do for the least of these my brethren, you do for me.” (Matt.25:40).

The Helpers will be holding a vigil, with full police co-operation, this coming Wednesday 17 June at the Marie Stopes abortion facility, Brewer Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1RV. The proceedings will start at 10.00am with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at St Francis’ Church, Week Street, ME14 1RH led by Father Tadeusz Dec.
10.30am: prayerful and peaceful procession to Marie Stopes abortion facility, processing with image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Holy Rosary & hymns.
12.00pm: return procession and blessing. Refreshments in parish centre (please bring a packed lunch).

Directions: Connex South East runs a direct line from Victoria to Maidstone East Station, which is directly opposite St. Francis Church.
By road: The M20 – come off at Junction 6. Follow signs to town centre then to Maidstone East station. There is a car park at the station and also two car parks in Brewer Street and one in Wheeler Street, both of which are accessed by Lower Boxley Well road. The shaded areas on the map are pedestrian areas only.

For further information contact:
The Helpers Of God’s Precious Infants, P.O. Box 26601, LONDON, N14 7WH
Telephone: 020 8252 3109 E-mail: info@hgpi.co.uk Web: www.hgpi.co.uk

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Rally for Life, Dublin, Saturday 4 July

Below is a message on behalf of http://www.rallyforlife.net
Against all odds, and because Irish people have made their pro-life views heard, Ireland remains one of the only EU countries that protects its unborn children from abortion. Under constant pressure from the EU and the powerful pro-abortion lobby, the Irish people have maintained their pro-life ethos. But we need to act to keep it that way, and to ensure that we also speak up against the anti-life threats of euthanasia and stem cell research.

We invite you to join with thousands of others to speak up for the right to life. As pro-life people we say no to abortion. On 4 July let's do it together!

Day programme:
1pm Mass at St Saviour’s Church, Dominic Street, Dublin 1.
2pm Rally for Life, Garden of Remembrance.

Bring your family and friends for a great day out, with a powerful message. Hear great speakers including Dr Eoghan de Faoite, Fr Brian McKevitt (editor, Alive paper), Bernadette Smyth, and more, including some surprise guests!

Evening programme:
8pm Celebrate Life Reception and Guest speaker, Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay, Dublin 1.

Contact 01 8730465 (Republic of Ireland) and 028 90278484 (Northern Ireland) or email info@rallyforlife.net for more information.

Rally for Life is under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patroness of the Unborn. Rally is supported by Life Institute, Precious Life, Ultrasound - Students for Life, Youth Defence, Family First, Cóir and more.

Speak up for unborn babies. Keep Ireland abortion free.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Ed Balls contradicts health department report on teenage pregnancies

Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, has contradicted the department of health by claiming that teenage pregnancies "have come down substantially" nationally. He made the comments as he announced that his department is helping fund a Birmingham school to open its own centre offering "a full range of sexual health services". The department of health's annual report, published yesterday, admits that "the most recent quarterly data from 2007 indicates a worrying reversal of this downward trend." It also admits that more teenage pregnancies are ending in abortion.

Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary has responded to Mr Balls's claims:
"Mr Balls, the minister for one department, has contradicted another department in making this claim, and at the same time he has contradicted academic research and official health data. Mr Balls should retract his claim immediately. The latest data shows that, with respect to under-16s, pregnancy and abortion rates are actually higher now than when the government's teenage pregnancy strategy was published in 1999. The records show that the number of teenage pregnancies had already started falling before the strategy began; and the rate of decrease started to slow once the strategy began to be implemented on the ground.

"Mr Balls should also retract his claim that "The places where we have got teenage pregnancies down faster are where you've had a much closer working of schools and health services." In fact the Association of Public Health Observatories (APHO) has published data showing that the region with the lowest rate of under-18 conceptions (32.8 per 1000 girls) - which also had the lowest abortion rate (14.8 per 1000 girls) - was the East of England. The APHO report also found that when questioned, East of England school children were the least likely to say they relied on schools for sex information and the least likely to know about local sexual health services. This region also had the fewest young women approaching family planning clinics for contraception.

"Academic studies indicate that abstinence-promotion, parental involvement, higher general educational standards and improved social conditions reduce teenage pregnancies. Professor David Paton of Nottingham university has argued this convincingly in published research.

"The contradiction between Mr Balls and the department of health, as well as the government's increasingly radical gimmicks, is yet further evidence that the government's strategy is in disarray. It should be scrapped immediately."
Considering this shocking new example of Mr Ball's blind promotion of anti-life and anti-family policy, and considering his determined and well established policy commitments in this area, I am very concerned about the cooperation between the Catholic authorities and Mr Balls's department.

Extreme pro-abortion ideologue appointed head of government-backed family institute

I am grateful to Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications officer, for spotting this and carrying out some research on the Family and Parenting Institute.

Dr Katherine Rake (pictured) has been chosen as the new head of the Family and Parenting Institute, a government-funded body. Dr Rake is an extreme pro-abortion ideologue. Here's just a sample of her views on abortion:
"The right to an abortion is vital in itself ... We must continue fighting to ensure that these rights are built upon, not eroded, in the coming years."
Among the Family and Parenting Institute's trustees is Anne Weyman, formerly head of the Family Planning Association (FPA), the UK affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest abortion promoter. In 2002, Anne Weyman told a parliamentary committee that she "found the concept of 'children's innocence' to be a strange one, because why should sex be associated with guilt?"

So we have anti-family and anti-parenting campaigners appointed to a body ostensibly set up to promote family and parenting. Such euphemistic tactics reminds me of the Communist Chinese regime's petition offices, ostensibly set up to promote citizens' rights, but in reality used to identify people the regime would like to lock up.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Brazilian archbishop thanks SPUC and others for their support

I have received a letter of thanks from Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife (pictured), thanking SPUC and others for their support of his actions in the case of the nine-year old girl whose twins were aborted in March this year, which I blogged about on 7 March and 18 March. I reproduce a translation of the archbishop's letter in full below:
"After have received messages of solidarity and congratulation from several national and international organizations and mainly from hundreds of brothers and sisters – from Brazil as well as from various other countries - due to my position in relation to the recent clamorous event which has happened in the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife (i.e., the violation of canon law – on abortion) – when I publicly mentioned the legal position of Our Holy Church, which establishes the application of automatic excommunication – I wish to express my profound gratitude to each and everyone, invoking upon you the many blessings of Our Saviour Jesus Christ who has “come so all would have life and have it abundantly” [John 10:10].

"The application of canon law penalties is a way used by our Holy Church, since the apostles’ time, to lead Christians to follow God’s law and to eternal salvation. “God wants all be saved” [1Tm 2:4] , and for this, conversion is necessary, in other words a behaviour change, of no longer practicing evil and conforming one’s life to God’s laws. Mercy is not a connivance with evil, of violations of God’s laws.

"Article 1398 of the Code of Canon Law is a current law of our Holy Church, approved by the Vicar of Christ on earth, the servant of God John Paul II (He promulgated the new Code in 1983). This law aims to help spiritually all Church members to avoid a very grave violation of the 5th commandment of the Decalogue, the suppression of defenceless and innocent lives. It is a spiritual “medicine” (“remedy”) used by the church to lead a sinner to conversion, to lead him to change his behaviour. To ignore this automatic penalty – or even worse, to wish its abolition is a great evil to the common good of ecclesiastic society and the eternal salvation of God’s children.

"To lead his disciples to do good, by conforming their lives to the demands of the Law of God, Jesus Christ himself clearly talked about the real dangers of eternal damnation (Mt 11:23; 13:41-42; 25:31-46; Mc 9:43-48; Lc 16:19-31). This is the aim of the penalties established by the Church.

"We have ample proof that the great publicity of the event which happened in our archdiocese is producing very good fruits in the spiritual lives of many individuals.

"I would , therefore, like to repeat my profound gratitude first of all to the Author of Life, “the Father of light from who comes all perfect gifts” [ 1 John 1:14]. I also thank all my brothers and sisters who sent me messages of solidarity which witness their total fidelity to God’s Law and the Canon Law of our Holy Church.

"May God grant us, all, the grace of continuing to work together in defence of life."

Recife, May 19, 2009


Dom José Cardoso Sobrinho
Archbishop of Olinda-Recife

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A tribute to Kathy Sinnott

Kathy Sinnott, the pro-life politician, failed narrowly to be re-elected as member of the European Parliament for Ireland South last weekend.

Pat Buckley of the European Life Network, said: "The outcome of the election was greatly influenced by the current economic crisis and Kathy was the target of a deliberate smear campaign which cost her critical support."

SPUC wishes to pay tribute to Kathy's sterling witness for the pro-life and pro-family cause as an MEP. A captivating speaker and tireless worker, she was always seeking to promote new, dynamic ways to promote the cause of life, such as Amnesty for Babies. On behalf of SPUC, I thank Kathy for her support of SPUC and wish her all the best in the future.

True love of relatives shows why assisted suicide is unnatural

A British television presenter has written how caring for his sick mother has led to his opposition to euthanasia. Charles Ottley has cared for 14 years for his mother, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Mr Ottley wrote:
"I can tell you that after years of caring for my grievously ill mother, I am more opposed to euthanasia than ever ... Mum devoted 18 years of her existence to me when I was growing up. Life may deal us some tough choices, but putting my life on hold to care for my mother has never been one of them."
It is a tribute to Mr Ottley that he has the wisdom and maturity to understand and follow our human nature. While our first instincts are often to flinch at the burdens of suffering, our deeper instincts move us to sacrifice some of the control we have over our lives. Assisted suicide and euthanasia fail at the first hurdle of suffering, by abandoning the vulnerable and rejecting true compassion. "Compassion" comes from the Latin words cum pati, which mean "to suffer with".

So please show your solidarity with the vulnerable and your belief in true compassion by contacting members of the House of Lords today, urging them to reject pro-suicide amendments to the Coroners and Justice bill. Please read and act upon SPUC's action alerts of 29 May and 5 June.