Saturday, 10 December 2011

The worst sexualisation of children is happening in schools

Lynette Burrows(pictured), an author on children’s rights, family campaigner and mother of six children said in October this year on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live show:
“I think parents have the absolute right to protect their children from this sort of education which is so unhelpfully obsessed with destroying childhood innocence, in a way that's reminiscent of paedophilia. To me, anyone who wants to talk dirty to little children is a danger to them."
Last week Mrs Burrows spoke at SPUC's Safe at School "Sex education as sexual sabotage" meeting in Westminster, after which our 47,000 strong petition against explicit sex DVDs in primary schools was presented to Michael Gove and the Department for Education by parents joined by Jonathan Evans, MP for Cardiff North, and Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire.

I am delighted that Mrs Burrows has allowed me to publish her talk, in full, on this blog.

Talk for SPUC on 1st December 2011 by Lynette Burrows

First of all, I want to say what a pleasure and a privilege it is to speak on the same platform as Dr. Reisman; a person that I have long admired – and quoted from, on innumerable occasions. Her courage in saying what she has – and being damned by the pundits for saying it, is a useful lesson to us all, in how any individual speaking the truth these days, and sticking to their guns, can expect to be treated. There is nobody more bigoted and hostile than a liberal whose method or opinion is questioned, and one has to be prepared to stand up to all the misrepresentation and insults they throw.

The British, though not a cowardly people, are very easy to embarrass and we often flinch from confrontation rather than ‘speaking the truth and shaming the Devil’ as the nuns who taught me used to say. I was invited to be on the panel to assess the Sex Education forum hosted by ITV in 2008 where, I think, the current crop of horribly unsuitable films were previewed to a warmly appreciative audience of teachers, educationalists, social workers etc, etc. They were graphic and ugly and the only thing that saved them being the sort of material shown by fundamentalist religious groups depicting sex as the work of the Devil was the relentlessly jokey tone and the way deeply shocking images were shown as being perfectly normal and commonplace. This is quite a marketing device actually – to normalize the circumstances surrounding what you want to sell, however counter-cultural and offensive they are to what are essentially community and family values.

I was the last of the panel to give my opinion of the films and said, in my usual kindly and inoffensive way that it reminded me of the policy of the Nigerian govt 30 years ago, when they gave out bomb-proof pills to protect the army in their civil war. ‘They didn’t work of course but hey, who cares, they were a good idea and people bought them! Not everybody died anyway. ‘Wear a condom and you’ll be safe’ – that’s all. Never mind the casualties!’ It didn’t go down well, and even worse, my opinion that the material was put together by crazed paedophiles, drunk with the freedom to talk dirty to young people.

Really, there was pandemonium – and a man stood up and said that I was a dinosaur who thought all sex was dirty even though it was perfectly normal and decent and no-one should have any inhibitions about the body because it was natural and lovely. ‘OK, I said, show us your willy then’! If it’s so normal and as un-shocking as a tattoo or a scar, show us what you are so happy to show crowds of strangers without embarrassment. You show us yours – just to demonstrate that, used as a teaching aid, it is as easy and without implication as you claim. ‘Disgraceful’, he thundered, and sat down whereupon a teacher who, she said, had brought her six-form with her, announced that she was leaving because she didn’t want her pupils to listen to such ignorant, backward rubbish. Alas for her, a tall black girl, who seemed typical of the rest of the class, said that she had never heard any other opinion upon the subject and she wanted to hear more – so she stayed and so did the class, leaving the teacher to stalk out alone with something less than authority.

These films were designed for teenagers and what was unacceptable about them as a means of instructing the young was principally their crudity, insensitivity and assumption of a hard-boiled, quasi- medical approach to human relations but, more importantly, their glossing over important facts such as the failure-rate of all contraceptives, particularly among the young, but also with adult, married couples and the risk involved in promiscuous sex for young people. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were always referred to as being ‘treatable’ despite many of them being, in fact, incurable – an old trick that is invariably used by the media particularly the BBC.

The reality of treatment that goes on for years, or all your life, is never spelled out for them; nor the fact that even the Romans had treatment, in the form of herbs, potions and carrying a rabbit’s foot in your pocket – but the disease itself was not cured. It’s true they now have a vaccine that targets two of the most common forms of HPV – but there are other strains of the disease which it doesn’t touch. What about if you encounter one of those?

I cannot see the current sex education programme as being anything but ‘marketing’. Never mind the pious talk of ‘only if you want to do it’, the reality is that they fixate on sex as a way of selling it and grooming young people to be sexually active from as early as possible. As long ago as 1975 the Monopolies Commission reported that the Family Planning Assocation's (FPA) educational activities had ‘widened the market for contraceptives’. You bet they have – otherwise they would have been abandoned long ago.

They are still involved in probably most of the sex-education in schools and have managed to put up the number of illegitimate children born to young mothers enormously. In the reign of Elizabeth I in the sixteenth century until the accession of Elizabeth XI in the twentieth century the illegitimacy rate was more or less stable at 10%. Once the FPA got access to young people, that changed and we now have an illegitimacy rate that is not far off 50% and still rising.

The rather remarkable thing is that all their tendentious advice is given with the one prescriptive proviso that, should they catch an STI, they must not sleep with anyone else until they are considered safe. This is the first and only mention of the fact that it is possible to be abstinent when it comes to sex. Apart from this one instant, young people are supposed to be like rabbits, instinctively programmed to copulate most of the time.
It seems a bit strange to me that they should consider young people altruistic enough to abstain only for the sake of protecting others and not themselves! Talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

The subject of sex education for primary schools is another ball-game, as they say. I do believe that all ‘sex-education’ as practiced today is wicked because it has, in terms of human misery, an unacceptable number of casualties. All of which can be re- used as further propaganda for the necessity of their product.

With little children, however, we are on holy ground and Christ Himself warned that those who lead children astray would deserve hideous punishment. ‘Better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea’. We often refer to protecting their innocence – but what do we mean by it? Is innocence simply the absence of useful information; is it simply not knowing something or other?

I don’t think so. I think it is something much more vital and akin to a mental immune system that operates in young children for as long as they need it for their growth and development and for the protection of their mental well-being. I don’t believe they can grow up healthily without certain areas that they have not got the emotional maturity to understand or deal with, being veiled from them.

In fact, the filtering out of pre-mature information is intrinsic to the child and does not have to be enforced. Children just don’t notice things that they don’t understand; it doesn’t register with them - as has often been noted in the millions of children that used to share a bedroom with their parents when there was no other space available or, as in the Old Testament, they were all tent dwellers. Children made their own privacy around them that mere events couldn’t penetrate.

To force sex-ed on to them, before they are ready is therefore to enact mental violence on them for some theoretical reason that is far closer to paedophilia than anything else. We see the beginning of the theory, I think, in the 1970 booklet, recommended by the FPA, Boy, Girl, Man, Woman in which paedophiles were described as ‘enticers’. Here is the quote: ‘Enticers are kindly people who treat children tenderly and affectionately’. The writer went on to suggest the ‘the child’s natural sexual curiosity may find an outlet in the company of paedophiles’.

So here we have the theory laid out for public approval. Since sexual curiosity is natural to a child therefore it is alright to allow adults, who have another agenda entirely, to have sexual access to educate them in it. They say, and they are experts, that children need a ‘sexual outlet’ and they are the people to facilitate satisfying this ‘natural’ need. Most people recoil in horror from such a suggestion – and they are right. But the fact is that the material produced now for the innocent eyes of young children is doing just that.

Of course all parents know the fascination that the body holds for little children. The fact that not only rude noises, but pee and poo is produced from within themselves and without their direct control, is very fascinating to them and the source of much innocent humour. But this is a healthy interest in their bodily functions which is not coprophilia, or any other perversion, and any attempt to emphasize and educate a child in it, would rightly be considered child-abuse.

So, I stand by my original opinion that the increase in talking graphically about sex to young children is essentially paedophilic in nature. It is increasing the number of people who are allowed to ‘talk dirty’ to children, and so to breach the protective armour of their innocence. Thus it is widening the scope for paedophiles to target children. Warning children with slimy, disclaimers about ‘inappropriate touching’, is simply token and meaningless to a child. How can they recognize the danger signals from those who wish to exploit them if such a large number of adults are implicated in the same ‘dirty talk’’?

To me, the shamelessness of showing children graphic sex should act as a warning signal to us to beware of the adults who provide it. They are either a danger to children themselves or, more likely, are too stupid to see the danger inherent in demolishing the taboo that protects children from predators.

We now know, how the attitude of the FPA in 1970 helped to make respectable the whole idea of paedophile ‘enticers’ that culminated in the National Council for Civil Liberties, with two later cabinet Ministers in the Labour Government on the board, inviting two openly paedophile groups to affiliate to them later in the 1970s as examples of minority rights. We also know that it gave rise to what a police chief described as the ‘staggering scale’ of paedophilia in children’s homes in the 1970s where, according to the North Wales Tribunal of Enquiry in 1997, twelve boys had committed suicide over a twenty two year period, in order to escape their paedophile tormentors.

Schools and churches of many different faiths produced far fewer numbers of men who acted upon this theory of benign enticers, but they have got all the publicity in the last few years. The scandal of the previous two decades have been expunged from the public mind. Once homosexuals had set their sights on gaining full equality in civil society - even subverting the institution of marriage itself - those in the media would never permit any hint of this dark history to appear in any programmes or discussions.

That vile theory has now gone, buried so deep that no-one ever refers to it or the reason why so much of the ‘child abuse’ now featured in our newspapers, occurred during the 1970’s, even though it definitely calls for explanation or, at least, comment. But, the Devil never sleeps and this latest manifestation of a cruel desire to deprive children of something natural and wholesome has reappeared in another form.

Fortunately, this government has re-stated parents’ right to withdraw their children from sex-education but many schools are used to by-passing or ignoring pesky parents. Parents have every right to know what material the school proposes to use and to watch it in advance. They must exercise their rights and churches, of every denomination, should act themselves to view the material, to warn parents and inform them of their rights. Personally, I would withdraw my children from any class described as being about ‘sex-education’. They don’t need it and parents can supply all they need to know from their knowledge of the child, from their own instincts and in the context of their family.

I have never believed the oft-repeated propaganda from the ‘sexualizers’ that ordinary families are incapable of talking to their children about the facts of life. They have managed it alright throughout all the ages - long before the Family Planning Association appeared as a tool for selling something they could simultaneously make both irresistible and beneficial. The increase in everything sexually damaging to young people can be fairly placed at their door and not at the doors of ordinary people; who though aware of the danger to their children of drug-pushers, pimps and crooks, do not expect harm to come to them via the classroom. The so-called sexualization of children is a modish, current cause for concern, deplored by many, including in government – they should face the reality that by far the worst aspect of it begins and is continued under our noses in our schools.

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Friday, 9 December 2011

Same sex marriage is opposed by SPUC Scotland

Yesterday I reported that SPUC's Council, the Society's policy-making body(elected by its grassroots volunteers), passed a resolution last month defending marriage.*

Today, SPUC Scotland told the Scottish government that allowing same sex marriage would damage society and would put the unborn child at a far higher risk of being aborted. The following statement was issued:
SPUC Scotland, responding to the Scottish government’s consultation on the registration of civil partnership and same sex marriage, has said that allowing civil partnerships to be registered through religious ceremonies would give the false impression that such unions are marriages, be damaging to society and ultimately increase the threat to unborn children.

SPUC Scotland said that same sex marriage is also damaging to society, promoting the false view that the complementary sexual difference of men and women with its natural link to procreation is irrelevant to the idea of marriage. A marriage is not a ‘mere’ deep friendship (which the State does not regulate, and which need not be permanent or exclusive) but is something more. It does not merely concern the sexual choices or emotions of adults, but concerns children and society. Marriage as an institution exists to protect the identity of children and their right to know and be nurtured by both their mother and their father. There is no direct relationship between any same sex union and a child – any more than between a non-sexual union (for example, a union of friends or siblings) and a child. Necessarily, one or both parents will come from outside the union.

Societies throughout history have recognised the importance of traditional marriage and understood it as a unique bond between man and woman. To recognise the unique nature of marriage and treat it accordingly does no injustice to anyone, whereas redefining marriage by fiat would radically alter the nature and meaning of a fundamental institution – an institution which, by any measure, has been proven to provide the best environment for the rearing of children.

SPUC Scotland has a particular interest in moves that dilute or weaken the meaning and social status of traditional marriage, not least because it is demonstrable that an unborn child has a far higher risk of being aborted when in the womb of an unmarried mother than a married one. To move ahead in the face of this fact and allow same sex partnerships to be effected by religious ceremonies would be to worsen a situation in regard to abortion which many accept is already very grave.
* Why is marriage (and sexual ethics generally) important specifically for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in no. 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae 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 sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

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Pray for the unborn on Monday evening in Harrow

Next Monday 12th December I will be speaking at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Harrow Weald (pictured), at An Evening with Our Lady organised by some local parishioners to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Gaudalupe, patroness of  the unborn.

The evening will be led by Fr Pat Foley, parish priest at St. Helen's, Watford. It starts with the Rosary, followed by Mass. I speak after Mass and after my talk there will a recitation of the the Divine Mercy chaplet and Eucharistic Adoration. T

The evening begins at 6.45pm and finishes at 9.30 pm. For further details contact Ian Walker on 020 8863 3635.

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Claim that abortion doesn't harm mental health is predictable

SPUC has dismissed as "predictable" a review denying the negative effect of abortion on mental health.

The review was commissioned by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AOMRC) and carried out by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Dr Roch Cantwell, chairman of the review's steering group, has claimed that the review
"shows that abortion is not associated with an increase in mental health problems."
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media:
"The NCCMH's assertions are predictable - the NCCMH's draft review document published in April ignored many important studies and thus failed to treat the problem with the seriousness it deserves. Clinical case studies* and stories written and told by many women confirm empirical findings of the psychological harms of abortion. Prior mental health may influence mental health after abortion, but does not begin to account for all of the effect. Abortion is associated with severe negative psychological complications for some women. SPUC will, of course, continue scrupulously to review the data in this area, firmly keeping in mind the difference between the violent intrusion of abortion and the fulfilment of a woman’s fertile capacity in childbirth."
* See list of studies in notes below.

SPUC's quotable notes on abortion and mental health:

Stories written and told by many women confirm that abortion can be very damaging to their emotional health. Also, there are studies with empirical findings of the psychological harms of abortion:
  • Women experience a range of negative emotions after abortion including sadness, loneliness, shame, guilt, grief, doubt and regret. Even women who are initially relieved after their abortions may well go on to experience these emotions.
  • Abortion may trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in some women.
  • Many more women experience emotional distress immediately after the abortion and in the months and years following.
  • Prior mental health may influence mental health after abortion, but does not begin to account for all of the effect.
  • Risk factors for psychological harm from abortion include a lack of emotional and social support, ambivalence and difficulty making the decision to abort, relationship violence, and a history of psychiatric illness.
  • Abortion is associated with severe negative psychological complications for some women, including an increased risk of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, neurotic depression, depressive psychosis and schizophrenia
  • Women who have experienced abortion also have an increased risk of substance abuse and self-harm. This is particularly true during a subsequent pregnancy.
  • Abortion for foetal disability is particularly traumatic and can be psychologically damaging for women.
Studies which suggest these findings include:
  • Casey PR (2010) Abortion among young women and subsequent life outcomes. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology 24:491-502.
  • Coleman PK & Nelson ES (1998) The quality of abortion decisions and college students’ reports of post-abortion emotional sequelae and abortion attitudes.  J Social and Clinical Psychology 17(4):425-442.
  • Coleman PK, Reardon DC, Rue V & Cougle J (2002) State-funded abortions vs deliveries: a comparison of outpatient mental health claims over four years.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 72:141-152 Coleman PK, Reardon DC, Rue VM & Cougle JR (2002) A history of induced abortion in relation to substance use during subsequent pregnancies carried to term.  American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 187:1673-8.
  • Coleman PK (2005) Induced abortion and increased risk of substance abuse: a review of the evidence.  Current Women’s Health Review 1(1):21-34.
  • Coleman PK, Reardon DC & Cougle JR (2005) Substance use among pregnant women in the context of previous reproductive loss and desire for current pregnancy.  British Journal of Health Psychology 10:255-268.
  • Coleman PK, Reardon DC, Strahan T & Cougle JR (2005) The psychology of abortion: a review and suggestions for future research.  Psychology and Health 20(2):237-271.
  • Coleman PK, Maxey CD, Spence M & Nixon CL (2009) Predictors and Correlates of Abortion in the Fragile Families and Well-Being Study: Paternal Behavior, Substance Use, and Partner Violence. Int J Health Addiction 7:405-422.
  • Coleman PK, Rue VM & Coyle CT (2009) Induced abortion and intimate relationship quality in the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey.  Public Health 123:331-338.
  • Coleman PK, Coyle CT, Shuping M & Rue VM (2009) Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating the effects of abortion in the national comorbidity survey.  Journal of Psychiatric Research 43:770-776.
  • Coleman PK, Coyle CT & Rue VM (2010) Late-Term Elective Abortion and Susceptibility to Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms. Journal of Pregnancy 2010:1-10 Coleman PK (2011) Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009.  The British Journal of Psychiatry 199(03):180-186.
  • Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ & Ridder EM (2006) Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health.  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47(1):16-24.
  • Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ & Boden JM (2008) Abortion and mental health disorders: evidence from a 30-year longitudinal study.  British Journal of Psychiatry 193(6):444-451.
  • Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ & Boden JM (2009)  Reactions to abortion and subsequent mental health. The British Journal of Psychiatry 195:420-426.
  • Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ & Boden JM (2011) A further meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry 199 doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077230Fischer M (2005) Fatal toxic shock syndrome associated with Clostridium sordellii after medical abortion. N Engl J Med 353:2352–60.
  • Gissler M, Berg C, Bouvier-Colle MH & Buekens P (2004) Pregnancy-associated mortality after birth, spontaneous abortion, or induced abortion in Finland, 1987-2000.  American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 190(2):422-7.
  • Gissler M, Hemminki E & Lönnqvist J (1996) Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987-94: register linkage study.  British Medical Journal 313:1431-4.
  • Gissler M, Kaupplia R, Merilainen J, Toukomaa H & Hemminki E (1997) Pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland 1987-1994 – definition problems and benefits of record linkage.  Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 76:91-97 Gissler M, Artama M, Ritvanen A & Wahlbeck K (2010) Use of psychotropic drugs before pregnancy and the risk for induced abortion: population-based register-data from Finland 1996-2006. BMC Public Health 383:1-10.
  • Reardon D, Makimaa J & Sobie A (eds) (2000)  Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault.  Acorn Books.
  • Reardon D (2005)  Study fails to address our previous findings and subject to misleading interpretations.  British Medical Journal Rapid Responses, 1 November.
  • Reardon DC & Coleman PK (2005)  Relative treatment rates for sleep disorders and sleep disturbances following abortion and childbirth: a prospective record-based study.  Sleep 28(12):1293-1294.
  • Reardon DC & Cougle JR (2002)  Depression and unintended pregnancy in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth: a cohort study.  British Medical Journal 324:151-2.
  • Reardon DC, Coleman PK & Cougle JR (2004) Substance use associated with unintended pregnancy outcomes in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.  American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 30(2):369-83.
  • Reardon DC, Cougle JR, Rue VM, Shuping MW, Coleman PK & Ney PG (2003) Psychiatric admissions of low-income women following abortion and childbirth.  Canadian Medical Association Journal 168(10):1253-6.
  • Reardon DC, Ney PG, Scheuren F, Cougle J, Coleman PK & Strahan TW (2002) Deaths associated with pregnancy outcome: a record linkage study of low income women.  Southern Medical Journal August 95(8):834-841 Rue VM, Coleman PK, Rue JJ & Reardon DC (2004) Induced abortion and traumatic stress: a preliminary comparison of American and Russian women.  Medical Science Monitor 10(10):SR5-16.
  • Tankard Reist M (2000)  Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s stories of grief after abortion.  Duffy & Snellgrove, Sydney.
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Thursday, 8 December 2011

SPUC Council passes resolution to defend marriage

SPUC's national council, which is SPUC's policy-making body, elected by its grassroots volunteers, last month passed the following resolution to defend marriage*:
"That the Council of SPUC, noting the various proposals currently being made by the present Government and others in regard to the status and standing of marriage and its consequent effect upon family life; and further noting the higher proportionate incidence of abortion in unmarried women compared to married women, resolves to do its utmost to fight for the retention of the traditional understanding of marriage in the history, culture and law of the United Kingdom, namely the exclusive union of one man with one woman for life; and accordingly instructs its officers and executive committee to conduct a major campaign to this end, to co-operate with other persons and societies in so doing and specifically to target the Government's consultation period starting in March, 2012, in regard to (so-called) same sex marriage."
* Why is marriage (and sexual ethics generally) important specifically for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in no. 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae 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 sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Wed 7 Dec

Phanuel Dartey
Morning-after pill scheme is gift of death for Christmas, says SPUC
A Christmas promotion to supply morning-after pills following telephone consultations has been condemned as "the gift of death" by SPUC. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), one of the UK's main abortion providers, has launched the scheme, which it is promoting with offensive advertisements which read: "Sex: getting 'turned on' this Christmas?" Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, commented: "Christmas is about the gift of life, yet BPAS are offering instead the gift of death. According to the manufacturers, morning-after pills can kill newly-conceived human embryos". [SPUC, 6 December

MPs support parents in fight against pornographic sex education
Members of Parliament joined parents and experts at Westminster to support a campaign against pornographic sex education programmes in schools. SPUC's Safe at School campaign organised a packed meeting entitled “Sex education as sexual sabotage”. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP said that the meeting was “terrifically important. SPUC’s work is of overwhelming importance for our society.” Dr Judith Reisman, the global expert on sexology pioneer Dr Alfred Kinsey, took delegates back in time to explain why sex education in schools is so explicit today. Mrs Lynette Burrows, a leading commentator on the family and a mother of six children, said: “Sex education has an unaaceptable number of casualties”. Emma Clarke, a Northampton mother of three, said that her son’s behaviour changed radically for the worse after he was exposed to sex education at school. After the meeting, Jonathan Evans MP and Andrea Leadsom MP joined parents in delivering to the Department of Education a 47,000-signature petition to Michael Gove, the education secretary, calling for sex DVDs to be banned from UK primary schools. [SPUC, 1 December
Related stories:
Other stories:

Sexual ethics
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Reflections on the latest series on abortion, a moral and ethical opinions production of Channel 4, has recently focused on the theme "Should abortion clinics be stopped from providing counselling". You can view all of the episodes focusing on this theme on the website. Each episode of shows one person offering their view on a particular moral issue. That person is asked numerous questions and filmed for over an hour and the production team then produce a show of approximately ninety seconds. In November 2010 I spoke on the theme "Is abortion ever justified?" and earlier this year Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, spoke about the dangers of opt-out organ donation systems. Our experience is that the team is fair and impartial.

Paul Smeaton, my son, has sent me the following observations on the series: ask "Should abortion providers be stopped from providing counselling?" ~ Analysis by Paul Smeaton

Seven people were interviewed on the theme "Should abortion providers be stopped from providing counselling?" They were
  • Tanya Ray - a woman who says she regrets the abortion she had at fifteen
  • Kate Cooper - mother of four living children, who had an abortion twenty years ago which she says she doesn't regret
  • Mara Clarke - employee of the Abortion Support Network, which assists women in The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to travel overseas to procure abortions. She describes herself as "a mum and an abortion activist"
  • Dr. Evan Harris - radically pro-abortion former Liberal Democrat MP who lost his seat at the last general election and is now an unelected health adviser to the coalition government
  • Edward Rennie  - clerk to the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and member of "Catholic Voices"
  • Matt O'Connor - founder of Fathers 4 Justice
  • Obadah Ghannam - a Muslim and fifth year medical student.
Tanya Ray's interview is very moving. Tanya was 15 when she had a late-term abortion and painfully describes sitting on the toilet surrounded by abortion professionals as she delivered her dead child.

The short biography given on the website says that:
"Tanya now works educating girls on the seriousness of contraception and believes that abortion clinics put women under unfair pressure to have an abortion".

I was unable to ascertain whether or not Tanya works for the sort of organisation that promotes contraception in schools, or whether she is aware of the intimate link between contraception and abortion. As those doing the former are more numerous than the latter it seems likely that, unfortunately, Tanya works promoting contraceptives. If this isn't the case then I apologise unreservedly. It is clear from the interview that Tanya is aware that what is most heavily promoted by society is not necessarily what is best for women. If she doesn't already know, it would be worth her noting that the manufacturers of contraceptive drugs and devices acknowledge that their products may, as one of their modes of action, kill a developing embryo by preventing him or her from implanting in the lining of the womb.

This blog has pointed out several times before that there is hard evidence that pushing contraception onto children does not reduce teenage pregnancies or abortion. Professor David Paton, who holds a chair in Economics at Nottingham University, has shown in a paper entitled "The economics of family planning and underage conceptions" (this paper is not available free online, but if you would like a copy please contact John Smeaton) that so-called "family planning", and increased access to it, increases the likelihood that teenagers will engage in sexual activity. Professor Paton says:
"I find no evidence that greater access to family planning has reduced underage conceptions or abortions. Indeed, there is some evidence that greater access is associated with an increase in underage conceptions..."
Kate Cooper was 20 and a student when she had an abortion. Ms Cooper said that she was never morally troubled by her abortion and that she remains happy about the decision to this day. Ms Cooper said that she would advise her daughter to have an abortion if she became pregnant at an inconvenient time and seemed genuinely mystified by the notion that anyone might object to abortion. Here, as a brief reminder, is a description of a suction abortion, the most common type of abortion procedure in Britain, representing 52% of the 189,574 abortions which took place last year under the Abortion Act in England and Wales:
"The cervix (the neck of the womb) must be stretched open to allow the surgeon to insert a plastic tube into the womb. Sharp-edged openings near the tip of the tube help to dismember the baby so the parts are small enough to be sucked out. The surgeon then uses the suction tube to evacuate the placenta from the womb. The remains of the baby are deposited in a jar for disposal."
Mara Clarke is a self-described "abortion activist" and is openly committed to the promotion of abortion. It would seem that Mara finds nothing morally problematic with abortions, but does with the idea that abortion is illegal in Ireland. This makes her claim at the end of the interview that "you cannot legislate morality" particularly surprising. Most people would agree that much of our legislation is based on objective principles of morality and rightly so. Most people would agree that the illegality of child abuse and rape is a good thing and something that should be upheld. It is also clear that Mara finds it morally reprehensible that women don't have easy access to abortion in Ireland. What Mara is advocating, therefore, isn't for legislation which ignores morality, but for legislation which corresponds with her own moral views, which include the belief that it is morally acceptable to kill an unborn child.

Dr. Evan Harris begins with the deliberate use of rhetorical language which aims to both demonise and belittle pro-life pregnancy counsellors. He says:
"You cannot allow women who are seeking abortions to be encouraged into the clutches of those who would claim, for example, that abortion causes cancer. It has been well established by science that it doesn't." 
Notwithstanding the ridiculous and insulting description of pro-life counsellors as having "clutches", Harris uses the well-known tactic of employing a straw-man argument by suggesting that pro-life counsellors unequivocally claim that abortion causes cancer. What pro-life counsellors might well inform women about, and what Harris refuses to acknowledge, is that there are numerous studies which suggest a link between abortion and breast cancer. These studies included (but are not limited to) the work of Professor Joel Brind, who in 1996 published a meta-analysis of 23 epidemiologic studies; Dr. Angela Lanfranchi’s research at the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute; or the 2003 paper by Karen Malec in the professional journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, which states that:
"[T]hirty-eight epidemiological studies exploring an independent link between abortion and breast cancer have been published. Twenty-nine of these report risk elevations. Thirteen out of 15 American studies found risk elevations. Seventeen studies are statistically significant, 16 of which report increased risk. Biological evidence provides a plausible mechanism for this statistical association".
I am not aware of a single pro-life organisation in the UK which claims that the evidence linking abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer is conclusive. In order to depict pro-life counsellors as scare-mongering, conspiracy theorists (possibly with claws instead of fingers), Dr Harris utterly dismisses the existence of scientific evidence which suggests there may be a link. He is not concerned with providing women with truthful information, but solely with promoting abortion.

At the conclusion of the episode Dr Harris gives the lie to the claim that abortion promoters don't put women under pressure to have abortions:
"If someone finds they're pregnant when they weren't intending to be and they're not sure if they want to continue the pregnancy it's in a woman's best interest to have rapid access to abortion if that's what she's going to have because the later one leaves it the more dangerous it is and for those people who have ethical concerns about abortion the more problematic it is for later stage abortions".
According to Dr Harris, women considering abortions should be seen by abortion providers as soon as possible, since any delay would make things more difficult and potentially more ethically problematic. It is somewhat surprising that Dr Harris is even prepared to accept that abortions are genuinely dangerous for women. It was reported only last Friday that a London-based abortionist has been fired after leaving an Irishwoman fighting for her life after he botched the abortion. Dr Harris even uses what he describes as the ethical concerns of those opposed to abortion to advocate for abortion as quickly as possible! Abortion at any stage of a child's development is the destruction of an innocent human being and any distinction between human beings is prejudiced and arbitrary.

Matt O’Connor, the founder of Fathers 4 Justice, made a number of interesting points in his interview. Mr O'Connor pointed out that abortion providers have a vested interested in promoting abortion for financial gain. As one would expect, Mr O'Connor's concern is principally representing the rights of fathers, but he has also penetrated a number of the myths promoted by the abortion lobby. He rightly pointed out that abortion is not solely a women's issue, as it involves the life of another - the unborn child. He also identified as an injustice children aborted without their father's knowledge or consent.

Obadah Ghannam, a Muslim and a medical student, said he felt challenged by what he considered to be a conflict between medical ethics and his understanding that his religion said abortion, generally speaking, isn't correct. Mr Ghannam said:
"If a fourteen year old Muslim girl came up to me and I was a GP in the clinic and she said to me 'I'm pregnant. I want an abortion.' The question is: what would I do? And there are two conflicting things here. On the one side I'm having to think about my professional obligations about how we would deal with this situation and what's best for the patient." 
Mr Ghannam seems unaware that doctors are not under any obligation to refer women for abortions. It is  worrying that he seems to think they are.

Edward Rennie, clerk to the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, is a member of "Catholic Voices" and is described on the website as a "Catholic pro-life activist". His interview concludes on the positive note that we need to "reclaim our responsibilities" and Mr Rennie suggests that society needs to re-examine our root attitudes to sex, relationships, marriage and raising children. However, a number of his comments preceding this are troubling. At the beginning of the episode, he says:
"In the United Kingdom as a whole we're still left with over five-hundred abortions a day and I think that pro-choicers and pro-lifers can agree that that's just far too high".
This begs the question: how many abortions does Mr Rennie think is too many?

Mr Rennie is not correct in thinking that he will find such common ground with so-called 'pro-choicers'. At a recent Voice for Choice public meeting in central London, BPAS's medical director said that: "it's crucial for abortionists to talk about abortion as a good thing" and that she finds performing abortions "gratifying". At the same meeting the idea that there is such a thing as too many abortions was held up to general ridicule by Marge Berer, a veteran abortion activist and editor of the magazine Reproductive Health Matters. She described abortion as a normal part of life and simply a part of a whole sex - contraception - abortion cycle.

Mr Rennie later said that:
"I think pregnancy counselling should be offered from many sources and it shouldn't be offered solely from those who provide abortion".
The suggestion here is that abortion providers should be one of many different groups offering pregnancy counselling, but surely as a Catholic and self-proclaimed pro-lifer he is opposed to abortion providers offering pregnancy counselling at all?

Mr Rennie then goes on to state:
"[W]hatever angle you're coming from, whether you're pro-life or very strongly pro-choice, in terms of the counselling it needs to be non-directional to allow a pregnant woman to come to her own view of what she wants to do".
To suggest that counselling "needs to be" non-directional is to undermine the vital and life-saving work of those organisations who offer explicitly pro-life 'directional' counselling. To suggest that the moral legitimacy of pregnancy counselling is based on the counselling providing no direction, rather than providing a morally good direction, is to suggest that abortion may be an acceptable choice for a mother to make, so long as it is a choice she arrives at independent of persuasive counsel.

-- Paul Smeaton's analysis ends --

I confess that even after decades of working in the pro-life movement I continue to find it alarming that individuals such as Evan Harris, Kate Cooper and Mara Clarke are given a public platform to promote the killing of unborn children. However, in the context of the culture of death appear to have done their best to provide what they would consider to be a balanced and varied selection of guests. What is especially disappointing is that, despite the presence of a "pro-life activist" among those interviewed, the right to life of unborn children was not clearly and comprehensively defended by any of last week's participants.

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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Morning-after pill scheme is gift of death for Christmas

SPUC has condemned as "the gift of death" a Christmas promotion to supply morning-after pills following telephone consultations.

SPUC was commenting after the announcement that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), one of the UK's main abortion providers, has launched the scheme, which it is promoting with offensive advertisements which read: "Sex: getting 'turned on' this Christmas?" (pictured)

Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, told the media earlier this morning:
"Christmas is about the gift of life, yet BPAS are offering instead the gift of death. According to the manufacturers, morning-after pills can kill newly-conceived human embryos by making the womb's lining hostile. It is a sick idea, and an appalling reflection on society, that an abortion-inducing drug can be supplied over the phone as a Christmas promotion.

"BPAS is a money-grabbing organisation which has a vested interest in increasing the irresponsible sexual activity which often leads to abortion. BPAS wants a greater share of the multi-million pound government contracts in state-funded abortion and birth control. BPAS is advertising the scheme as free, when in fact it will be taxpayers who foot the bill via the government's business deal with BPAS.

"Despite massive promotion of the morning-after pill over the past two decades, the rate of registered abortions, both surgical and by other abortion drugs, has trended upwards. There has also been an explosion in the rates of sexually-transmitted infections, not least because morning-after pills offer no protection against them.

"We call upon the government to end its association with BPAS and its sick advertising campaigns".
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