Friday, 28 August 2009

Political leaders must not whitewash anti-life Ted Kennedy

Following the death on Tuesday of Edward "Ted" Kennedy, the American senator with one of the worst anti-life records, Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, said:
"Senator Kennedy was a figure who inspired admiration, respect and devotion, not just in America but around the world. He was a true public servant committed to the values of fairness, justice and opportunity ... [He was] a great and good man."
One has come to expect this sort of white-washing from Mr Blair, in which the deaths of countless unborn children through abortion and destructive embryo research are ignored in the name of vague ideas of social justice for those fortunate enough to be born. After all, Tony Blair has attempted to whitewash his own anti-life political record, firstly by being received into the Catholic Church and then by refusing to repudiate his record. Catholics in positions of leadership and influence do the unborn and other Catholics a disservice when they invite or otherwise honour people like Tony Blair and Ted Kennedy. That is why I am disappointed that Jim Dobbin, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (APPPLG), signed in March a parliamentary motion which read:
"[The] House [of Commons] recognises the contribution [Senator Kennedy] has made over 46 years in the US Senate to advancing the cause of human rights, universal healthcare and a more just society; and acknowledges that his contribution to public service has established him as one of the finest and most effective US senators in the history of that august body."
The pro-life movement will never make any political or other progress as long as leading Catholics treat the sanctity of human life as just another controversial issue, or an optional extra, or a personal opinion, or a private religious belief. Until the inalienable right to life of every human being, recognised by international human rights law, is irrevocably enshrined and fully implemented everywhere, the right to life is the main political issue. If one's right to life is not secured, then one's rights to healthcare, welfare, education or anything else are nebulous. That is why SPUC is supporting a new petition to the UN General Assembly launched by Amnesty for Babies. Please visit the Amnesty for Babies website today to see how you can help.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Launch of new petition against abortion adverts on TV

The Committee on Advertising Practice, which is responsible for the Advertising Standards Authority's code of practice, wants to permit abortion agencies to advertise in the broadcast media. A public consultation has been held, but the final decision on the code will rest with Ofcom, a gov­ernment quango responsible for regulating broad­cast­ing. Lifting the ban would have a profound impact on the welfare of women and on unborn children, and SPUC is laun­ching a petition to the prime minister. Here are the main reasons why SPUC is fighting against a change in the advertising code:

  • The proposals threaten to further com­mercialise the killing of unborn children.
  • It could suggest that there were no seri­ous adverse effect of abortion on women's phys­ical and mental health.
  • Abortion 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 sufficient financial resources would be able to advertise. Abortion providers can gen­er­ate financial resources for advertis­ing by charging more for abortions. Most pro-life advice services charge nothing. Thus there will be a dispro­portion­ate opportunity for abor­tion provid­ers to advance their cause.
  • Most people want the numbers of abor­tions to decrease, not increase. However, adverts for abortion ser­vices would pro­mote abortion, and thereby increase its incidence.

The indications are that overturning the ban would be unpopular among large sections of the public. The prime minister will shortly go to the country to seek election. Our petition provides an impor­tant opportunity to demon­strate to him the strength of public feeling against such a change to advertising regula­tion. Please do all you can to gather signatures at churches, on the high street, at retail parks and at popular bus and train stations. The more signatures we gather, the greater are our chances of stopping this dreadful proposal.

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

William Wilberforce would have supported an Amnesty for Babies before birth

Yesterday was the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wilberforce, the campaigner against the slave trade. I'm sure that if he were alive today, or if abortion had been legal in his time, he would have supported an Amnesty for Babies before birth - please visit the Amnesty for Babies website to find out what you can do.

The following material is taken from a leaflet published by SPUC Evangelicals entitled Who will be today's Wilberforce for unborn children? (You can order copies by emailing me):

Who was William Wilberforce?
William Wilberforce was born in 1759. An evangelical Christian and Member of Parliament, he carried on a battle against slavery for many years and finally succeeded in having it abolished throughout the British Empire. Although slavery had been abolished in Britain in 1772, it took another 61 years to eliminate slavery in the colonies. The earlier victory, led by Quakers, was due to the efforts of his friend Granville Sharp. Thomas Clarkson was another of the small group of abolitionists who fought alongside Wilberforce, and both lived to see the final victory.

Slaves were commodities
A slave 200 years ago was not considered a person, a slave could be disposed of like any commodity. Slaves could be killed at will by their owners. An unborn child today is in much the same position.

No rights
A pregnant slave could be sold and her child within the womb was part of the package. The father of her child could be sold to some other party. The child within the womb is often treated with the same contempt today. The promotion of abortion, rather than humane solutions to the difficulties faced by expectant mothers, has eroded respect for unborn children, their mothers, their fathers and the family.

Clear vision
Wilberforce could see clearly what others could not. He could see the thousands of his "brothers and sisters" and their children suffering on the coast of Africa, waiting in squalid enclosures to be transported across the Atlantic. He could see the responsibility of Parliament and its guilt in failing to end the evil practices. How many people today can see abortion in the same light?

The principal motive of the slave trade 200 years ago was profit. Captains of slave ships crammed 500 people into space for only 200 and African chiefs sold captives from neighbouring tribes into slavery for financial gain. The economic self-interest of western governments causes unborn children to be killed in developing countries today. These governments support organisations that are ideologically committed to promoting abortion in every country of the world. This destroys a nation's most precious resource -- its future citizens.

Why should slavery, which we now find intolerable, have been accepted 200 years ago? There were many arguments for slavery, some as frivolous as saying that the slave trade "nurtured sailors for time of war", which implied that it desensitised them to the horrors of war.

Slavery pleasant?
Captain Robert Norris claimed his voyages were "pleasure cruises for slaves" and the West Indian bloc in the House of Commons said that the charges of cruelty in the slave trade were mere fictions. They claimed that the happiest day in an African's life was when he was shipped away from the "barbarism" of his homeland to the Americas. Is this not like the suggestion that some unborn children (particularly those with a disability) are better off being killed than being given the chance to live?

See no evil
One speaker in Parliament went so far as to say that the wisest thing to do about the slave trade was to "shut our eyes, stop our ears and run away from the horrid sounds", without making further enquiry. Today many people choose to avoid the truth about abortion.

Fanatical dreamers
Some pro-slavery advocates said that the slave trade had been sanctioned by Parliament and they could not give it up without breaking faith. Another said, "Men who would destroy the slave trade are fanatical dreamers." The Duke of Clarence, the future king, agreed, asserting that promoters of the abolition of slavery - including Wilberforce - were "either fanatics or hypocrites". Pro-abortionists often seek to discredit the pro-life case by portraying its proponents as fanatics, rather than addressing their arguments.

Sir William Young said that the immediate abolition of slavery would lead to the loss of the colonies. He also said that other nations would simply seize the British share. Pro-abortionists persistently claim that tightening the abortion law would "drive women to the back streets", ignoring the evidence from countries such as Northern Ireland and Poland that pro-life laws protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.

The Attorney General for the Leeward Islands, John Stanley, claimed that Divine Providence intended one set of men always to be slaves of another. Does this differ very much from the idea that some humans, such as disabled children in the womb, are somehow less deserving of life? One MP, citing the positive aspects of the slave trade, drew a chilling comparison. It was not an amiable trade, he admitted, but neither was the trade of a butcher, yet a mutton chop was nevertheless a good thing.

Some pro-slavery advocates were converted by Wilberforce and his friends, but Lord Sheffield switched to being pro-slavery when he became MP for Bristol, a port that was deeply involved in the slave trade. Do not some modern politicians lack integrity when they claim to be "personally opposed" to abortion but will not vote to stop it?

Can't we keep out of politics?
Wilberforce and his friends fought for a legislative ban on slavery. Today our unjust laws have led to widespread abortion, often virtually "on demand". Some people shy away from supporting political lobbying for changes in the law; but this battle must be fought. Other areas of pro-life activity are vital, but are not sufficient on their own. Would Wilberforce have done better by concentrating purely on educating the public, or by going to the West Indies to care for enslaved people? No. Education and caring work are essential elements of the Christian response to abortion, but working in Parliament for just laws is essential too.

Protecting the helpless
All human beings are entitled to the protection of the law. Legislation is needed to save as many unborn lives as possible, and ultimately to protect all unborn children from deliberate killing. Wilberforce reminds us of the need to take a principled stand: "There is a principle above everything that is political. And when I reflect on the command that says, 'Thou shalt do no murder', believing the authority to be divine, how can I dare set up any reasonings of my own against it?" It took much talking, praying, arguing and deal making on the part of Wilberforce and his friends before slavery was outlawed. Bishop Porteus, an old friend of Wilberforce, described slavery as "the most execrable and inhuman traffic that ever disgraced the Christian world". Today, would not Bishop Porteus give abortion that description?

Intrinsically evil
A large bloc in the House of Commons, led by Dundas, found slavery and the slave trade intrinsically evil but stopped short of advocating the most effective measures against it. In the meantime thousands of slaves were dying on the ships crossing to the Americas, much like the many thousands of unborn babies now dying every year because of a similar failure to pass laws giving them effective protection.

In spite of numerous attacks on him over the years from all sides, Wilberforce's campaign to end slavery in the colonies was successful. Will you be a Wilberforce today for unborn children, taking a stand for the sanctity of human life in your church, trade union or college?

Who will be today's Wilberforce for unborn children? is based on a leaflet of the same title by Frank Kennedy, published by Interim Publishing, Toronto, Canada, 1995. Sources: Robin Furneaux, William Wilberforce, Hamish Hamilton, 1974; John Pollock, William Wilberforce, Constable, 1977; Charles Colson, "Standing Against All Odds", Christianity Today, Sept.1985; The New Book of Knowledge, Grolier Inc.

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Monday, 24 August 2009

Video testimony of family support for anencephalic baby

As I blogged on Saturday, the Brazilian government wants Brazil's supreme court to allow the abortion of unborn children with anencephaly - babies missing the upper part of the brain. The court case has resulted from the story of Marcela de Jesus Galante Ferreira, a girl with anencephaly who lived for one year and eight months, much longer than most infants born with the condition.

Marcela's family and doctors have given their testimony in a two-part video made by pro-lifers in Brazil. Click on the images below to view the video. Subtitles for the video are available in English and Spanish (click on the YouTube logo to view on the YouTube site, click the tab in the bottom right-hand corner of the box and then click CC). Here are some marvellous quotes from the video:

Marcela's mother's gynaecologist:
"We had a very bad prognostic for Marcela, but I was completely against the termination of the pregnancy ... First of all, a doctor must seek life".
Marcela's mother:
"I said to my family that if someone wanted to talk to me, to give me support to help me to go on with the pregnancy, that person would be welcome. But if someone came to say that I should terminate, I would send that person away."
Marcela's sister:
"[Marcela]'s saving and still will save the lives of many other children. People see her story on TV and can have hope. Mothers can have hope."
Marcela's father:
"As [Marcela's] father...I would like to ask people to remove the possibility of abortion from your heads ... [D]on't eliminate this child, because it's very hard, the suffering will be much worse if you do it, you are going to kill a defenceless child."
The video is proof that there are many people around the world who support an amnesty for unborn children. Find out how you can join them - visit the Amnesty for Babies website today.

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Sunday, 23 August 2009

Parents expecting a disabled child made the right choice

Earlier this month The Daily Mirror published the testimony of Liz Crowter, whose daughter Heidi (both pictured) has Down's syndrome. Despite struggling to love Heidi when she was born, Liz says that she would never use a new test that detects the condition, because "because I think it could encourage abortion."

Alison Davis of No Less Human has sent me her thoughts about this story:
"It isn't uncommon for new parents to have ambivalent feelings when their child is unexpectedly found to have a disability at birth. Even those who knew about the disability before birth, having had scans, can still feel unsure about how much they love the new member of their family. It's what parents do with these feelings that matters, not the fact that they have them.

"Liz Crowter and her husband Steve had had the right instincts from the start, when they chose not to have pre-natal tests for Down's syndrome during pregnancy, and now Liz says she wouldn't accept the new maternal blood test 'because I think it could encourage abortion'.

"Liz and Steve learned to love Heidi when she was at her most vulnerable stage, and when they were faced with the possibility of her early death. It is often when we are faced with losing someone that we realise how precious that person is to us, disabled or not. Now they are able to say 'we feel privileged to have her as our daughter'.

"I felt sad, however, at Liz's comment that: 'It's natural to grieve for the perfect child you hoped for... We all hope to have a perfect baby', implying that Heidi and others like her are somehow uniquely 'imperfect'. Parents wanting a 'perfect' baby are bound to be disappointed, for no child is truly 'perfect'. However, each is infinitely precious, and each brings lessons and joys and sorrows that only she or he could bring. We reject the 'imperfect' at our peril - because if we take that philosophy to its logical conclusions, there will be nobody left."
As with the anencephalic babies I blogged about yesterday, babies with Down's syndrome, other disabilities and indeed all unborn children need an amnesty. Please visit the Amnesty for Babies website to see what you can do to help protect them.

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