Thursday, 31 May 2012

Please respond to consultation on conscientious objection

The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued new draft guidance for doctors on "Personal beliefs and medical practice". The draft deals with the important issue of conscientious objection, and it seeks to control how doctors deal with requests for treatments which they do not in conscience provide, which may include abortion, IVF, contraception, the morning-after pill, or euthanasia.
There are serious flaws in the draft and doctor who hold pro-life values could be penalised or prevented from practising medicine as a result. The GMC has the power to strike doctors off the medical register and they warn doctors what the consequences may be:
"Serious or persistent failure to follow this guidance will put your registration at risk."

Please respond to this consultation yourself and/or ask others (especially doctors). This consultation is being conducted online only. Please visit: http://gmc.e-consultation.net/econsult/ and click on "Consultation on Personal beliefs and medical practice"

You need to register to contribute but it is free to do so. The deadline for comments is 13 June 2012.
SPUC has published a guideline brief http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/alerts/gmc_consultation_2012 to help you respond to the questions in the consultation.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Fr Kosmas, the "rubbish baby", is on fire for the unborn child

Fr Kosmas, the priest who hosted my talk on abortion at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Birmingham last night, was nicknamed "the rubbish baby" by his grandmother who had defended his right to be born. I am pictured (right) with Fr Kosmas Pavlidis, and Liliana Malla, the chairman of the Ladies Committee at the Cathedral, who organized the event at Fr Kosmas's request.

After I spoke, Fr Kosmas told the meeting the moving story of his family and of his birth in poverty in Greece 51 years ago. He was the fourth of four boys. His father had no work and he told Fr Kosmas's mum when she was pregnant for the fourth time: "We can't afford another child. You will have to take care of the situation."

Fr Kosmas's mum did not want an abortion - and his maternal grandmother was also strongly opposed. However, eventually his mother reluctantly agreed and her husband took her to a local hospital for the abortion - where he left her because he didn't like hospitals. Whilst waiting on her own for the appointment, she made up her mind not to go ahead. She went home and told her husband she had taken care of the situation - only telling him the truth a couple of months later when the secret could be kept no longer.

Fr Kosmas was born. His father accepted what had happened; and his grandmother never let her daughter, his mother, forget, that "This was your rubbish baby" - whilst confidently predicting that Kosmas would become a priest!

Fr Kosmas's simple story made a big impression on everyone, particularly his parishioners who had never heard it before.

The Orthodox tradition and Orthodox values have a huge amount to teach us in how to engage with modern society. As His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, says in Freedom and Responisbility:
"Modern society is constantly inculcating into people that religious faith is a purely private, indeed intimate affair of the human individual ... Personal ethics do indeed lie at the very heart of Christian morality. The Christian message is aimed in the first place at the individual person, seeking to elicit a personal spiritual experience and response which will open the way to the transfiguration of his or her soul. Nonetheless, these salvation-bringing changes in our inner worlds take place not in isolation from the external environment, not in special laboratory conditions, but in real and living contact with the people around us: in the first instance in our families, then with our colleagues at work, with society and, ultimately, with institutions of State. It is not possible to be a Christian inside the walls of one's own home, in one's family circle or in the solitude of one's cell and to cease to be Christian when teaching at university or in school, standing in front of a television camera, voting in Parliament or undertaking a scientific experiment".
Patriarch Kirill's words were particularly relevant for that part of my talk which addressed the powerful political and social forces, internationally and nationally, seeking to destroy conscientious objection on abortion and on other right to life issues. I cited Orthodox teaching taken from Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church which states (XII.2):
"Sin also lies with the doctor who performed the abortion. The Church calls upon the state to recognise the right of medics to refuse to procure abortion for the reasons of conscience."
and I referred to the General Medical Council's new draft guidance for doctors on Personal Beliefs and medical practice.

This latter document is so significant and, potentially, dangerous in relation to conscientious objection, I shall return to it very shortly on this blog. In the meantime, go to the home page of SPUC's website, whether or not you are a health professional, to find out what you can do.

Suffice it to say, the growing closeness between, and the shared values of, those in the Orthodox tradition and the worldwide pro-life movement are crucially important in the development of our work. In this connection, I pointed out at Birmingham Orthodox Cathedral last night the following extract (XII.3) from the teaching document I cite above:
"Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgements are applicable to the use of them as to abortion."
Fr Kosmas, the "rubbish baby", was on fire last night for the unborn child. He told me that his grandmother had played a key role - influencing his mother - in saving his life. He said that the pro-life movement needs everyone - the old as well as the young - to pitch in, to speak out, and to save lives.

May his fire continue to spread.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

New abortion figures represent "bonanza" for private abortion sector

Figures issued by the department of health today indicate that in 2011 there were almost 190,000 registered abortions on resident women in England and Wales. A further 6,000 abortions were registered on non-residents. My colleague Paul Tully (pictured), SPUC's general secretary, has issued the following statement on behalf of the Society:
“The increase in registered abortions is only slight, but every abortion represents the death of one or more unborn children. Killing on an industrial scale is routine in most western countries, and it destroys the claim of nations to uphold peace and respect human rights for all. These are figures of which any country and any government should feel profoundly ashamed."
Paul added:
“The statistics also represent an increasing bonanza for the private abortion sector, as their share of the abortion market increases and more NHS money flows into their coffers. They are looking to widen their market further by promoting flawed birth control practices and by promoting abortion as a normal part of people’s sexual health needs.

“We question the legality of promoting abortion on this footing: the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sally Davies, recently called for compliance with the terms of the Abortion Act which requires health grounds to permit an abortion. Yet in the vast majority of cases, spurious grounds are cited, and no effort is made to enforce the law.

“Vulnerable young and single women are the main target of abortion providers, and we are increasingly concerned that they are not being given full information about abortion procedures, the risks, and the alternative help available to them to go through with a pregnancy when facing problems.”



Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Sunday, 27 May 2012

SPUC Evangelicals presents award to George Verwer, a humble pro-life hero

Gillian Foster, representing the co-ordinating committee of SPUC Evangelicals, and I, had the privilege of presenting a "pro-life hero" award to George Verwer in south-east London yesterday. We made the award at a very special occasion celebrating 50 years of George's ministry in Operation Mobilisation, in the presence of hundreds of  his co-workers. Gillian, second-right, presents the award to George who asked Drena, his wife, to join him for the ceremony.

George Verwer is the Founder and former International Director of Operation Mobilisation (OM), which is a ministry of evangelism, discipleship training and church planting. George led OM for over 40 years before stepping down in August 2003.

George has a burning concern for vital, propagating and revolutionary Christianity in his own life and in those he meets. In George's modern version of the parable of the Good Samaritan, he includes the unborn in his list of seven groups of people lying at the side of the road and he challenges Christians not to ignore them. Through OM, George distributes free of charge tens of thousands of books and DVDs about the unborn around the world.

Even yesterday, when hundreds of George's co-workers in Operation Mobilisation came together to celebrate his 50 years of service to the OM mission, George Verwer was unafraid to challenge those present who may favour abortion to re-think their position. "We're not judgding you", he said - and he openly wept for his own failure to speak out for the unborn earlier on in his Christian ministry.

George continues to travel around the world preaching about Christ and about seven people lying at the side of the road which include: children at risk, abused women, the extreme poor, the HIV/Aids patient, people with impure water, the unborn, and the environment. Here's what George was saying in 2006 about the unborn:
Some estimates put the number of children who have been aborted at 500 million. The numbers are staggering, and in many ways I would rather ignore them. But I know that I cannot. I confess, when my close friend Dr. Francis Schaeffer decided to put so much effort into the pro-life movement towards the end of his life, I thought he had gone a little extreme. I no longer feel this way, and repent of my own inaction. In some countries there are more abortions than births, and the laws in some nations allow abortion until the day before birth. How can this be?

With so much abortion taking place, let us not consider it a lost cause and give up. No, many battles have been won, and every battle is a victory; every saved life a real person. I believe that there are thousands alive today who otherwise would not have been without pro-life action. Are not these saved lives worth the effort? Yes, they are!

So let us be people of vision, action and especially grace - grace for the mothers, for those in the pro-choice camp, and for fellow Christians who disagree. Recommended reading: Why Pro Life? by Randy Alcorn"
As Jan Bell, Chairman of SPUC Evangelicals, put it in her letter accompanying the award:
"For a number of years now we have been appreciative of your support for SPUC and for SPUC evangelicals in particular. You have been and are a good friend to pro-life activists and to the unborn who have no voice of their own ... We can assure you that you will continue to be in our prayers and we trust that god will continue to use you further. We know he will bless you for your diligence in proclaiming the gospel in all its fullness."
As Gillian Foster and I travelled back home from south-east London yesterday we felt privileged to have presented such a richly-deserved award to, and to count as a friend of SPUC, a humble Christian leader who's prepared to speak up for the unborn in season and out of season.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Friday, 25 May 2012

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Fri 25 May

Chen Guangcheng
Top stories:

European Parliament passes radical pro-homosexual resolution
The European Parliament has passed a resolution promoting a radical pro-homosexual agenda. The resolution was passed 430 votes in favour to 105 against. [LBGT-EU, 24 May] SPUC supporters had lobbied the parliament to reject the resolution [SPUC, 23 May]

SPUC welcomes and supports Muslims Defending Marriage (MDM)
SPUC welcomes and supports a campaign launched by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to defend marriage, including opposing the goverment's plans to allow same-sex marriage. The MCB, which is the umbrella body representing Britain’s Muslims, has launched a website called Muslims Defending Marriage (MDM), which includes an online petition and supporting material. SPUC and the MCB share the belief that it is necessary to defend the true meaning of marriage in order to protect the welfare of children. [SPUC, 24 May]

Other stories:
  • NHS performed 24 abortions on three teenage girls [Telegraph, 25 May]
  • Evidence presented at World Health Assembly that health care, not abortion, will solve maternal mortality [NRL, 24 May]
  • Finland tells UK that women in Northern Ireland should be entitled to safe legal abortion without having to travel [Pat Buckley, 24 May]
  • Spanish doctor ordered to pay child monthly maintenance after botched abortion [Telegraph, 24 May]
  • Woman removed from flight over vulgar pro-abortion t-shirt [Mail, 24 May]
Embryology
  • Post-IVF columnist says IVF for over-40s is cruel [Mail, 24 May]
Population
Sexual ethics
General
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

SPUC replies to false claims about its school talks

SPUC has today published an open letter (full text) to the British Humanist Association (BHA) and Education for Choice (EfC), replying to an open letter by those organisations attacking SPUC's schools talks. Among other things, SPUC's letter, authored by our education manager Anthony McCarthy, says:
"SPUC has made no claim that cannot be supported by the current evidence ... Unlike yourselves, we have offered an abundance of serious evidence on the issues we talk about, and have avoided the ill-informed and sweeping statements made by the abortion industry and some of its less critical supporters."
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Thursday, 24 May 2012

SPUC welcomes and supports Muslims Defending Marriage (MDM)

SPUC welcomes and supports a campaign launched today by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to defend marriage, including opposing the goverment's plans to allow same-sex marriage.

The MCB, which is the umbrella body representing Britain’s Muslims, has launched a website called Muslims Defending Marriage (MDM), which includes an online petition and supporting material.

SPUC and the MCB share the belief that it is necessary to defend the true meaning of marriage in order to protect the welfare of children. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media earlier today:
“Marriage as an institution exists to protect children, their identity and their right to know and be nurtured by both their mother and their father. Statistics show that unborn babies are four to five times more likely to be aborted outside of real marriage. As a non-denominational yet multi-faith organisation, we are very happy to support the Muslim Council of Britain's campaign to defend the common good of marriage.”
Both the MCB and SPUC are calling upon concerned citizens to respond to the government’s 12-week consultation on its proposals for same-sex marriage. The deadline for submissions to the consultation is 14 June 2012. SPUC's briefing on how to respond to the consultation can be read at http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/ssm_consult

For information about why SPUC, as a pro-life campaigning organisation, campaigns against same-sex unions, please see our position paper on same-sex marriage which follows a resolution passed by SPUC's Council last year. SPUC has also made available a background paper to be read in conjunction with the position paper and which provides some additional references and reflections.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

URGENT Urge MEPs to reject homosexual marriage resolution

We have been informed this afternoon (Wednesday 23 May) by our colleagues at European Dignity Watch of a vote tomorrow (Thursday 24 May) between 12pm and 2pm (continental time) to approve a pro-homosexual/anti-family resolution entitled "Fight against homophobia in Europe". Your urgent action – as soon as you receive this message – would be greatly appreciated. European Dignity Watch writes:
"Tomorrow [Thursday 24 May] the European Parliament will vote on a joint resolution on the fight against homophobia in Europe. As usually happens when it comes to LGBT lobbying, the resolution has been put on the agenda in a cloak-and-dagger operation during the conference of group leaders just before plenary started this Monday in Strasbourg. Supported by a wide range of political groups, among others by the EPP group, the document urges Member States to legalize same-sex registered partnerships and “marriage”. This resolution is a sweeping blow of the LGBT lobby calling upon all European Institutions to take severe action on the matter."
Please email your MEP and urge him/her to vote against the resolution. UK subjects can find their MEPs' contact-details at http://www.europarl.org.uk/view/en/your_MEPs.html Citizens of other EU member-states can find their MEPs' contact-details at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/search.html Please copy any replies you receive from MEPs to political@spuc.org.uk

Briefly explain your concerns and cite some of the points below to support your concerns.

Problems with the resolution include that it:
  • calls on other EU member-states to consider giving legal recognition to homosexual relationships
  • uses the highly-politicised terms 'homophobia' and 'hate speech'
  • likens so-called 'homophobia' to racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism 
  • cites education as a key method of tackling so-called 'homophobia'. Such education is likely to include education given to children in school, presenting and promoting homosexual relationships as equal to real marriage. This will be a further assault on the innocence of children and the prior right of parents who are the primary educators of their children. Problems of conscience may also arise for teachers. 
Arguments you can use to support your concerns:
  • Homosexual marriage lacks basic elements of true marriage e.g. the complementary sexual difference between spouses necessary for the procreation and healthy upbringing of children
  • It is not 'neutral' for governments to regulate (and therefore endorse) homosexual partnerships. Rather it is governments taking a highly-politicised view of the nature and purpose of marriage. Governments are thus effectively seeking to dilute, denature and completely redefine what is in fact a natural and primary institution
  • The fundamental group unit of society is not government; it is the family based upon the marriage of a man and a woman. Governments have a duty to serve and protect natural marriage and recognise its primacy, not redefine it
  • Once homosexual civil partnerships and homosexual marriage have been accepted, calls for and attempts to legislate for polygamy could follow. Research shows the polygamy is harmful for the adults and children involved, and wider society 
  • The financial costs of amending legislation and civil procedures to accommodate homosexual unions will run into billions: a staggering amount at a time of serious financial concerns across the EU 
  • Neither the Universal Declaration of Human Rights nor the European Convention on Human Rights make any mention of 'sexual orientation' or 'gender identity'
  • Only a small number of governments around the world recognise homosexual marriages, registered partnerships, cohabitation, adoption or fertility assistance
  • The European Court of Human Rights has held that there is no right to, nor obligation on European countries to permit, homosexual marriage
  • The resolution's timing could unduly influence pending cases at the European Court of Human Rights
  • Serious concerns have been raised about EU Commission funding of ILGA-Europe (the International Lesbian and Gay Association), which has received around 80% of its funding from the EU Commission
  • Approval of homosexual marriage will lead to court cases against religious bodies who refuse to bless homosexual unions.
For information about why SPUC, as a pro-life campaigning organisation, campaigns against same-sex unions, please see our position paper on same-sex marriage which follows a resolution passed by SPUC's Council last year. SPUC has also made available a background paper to be read in conjunction with the position paper and which provides some additional references and reflections.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 22 May

New pro-life hospital, Kenya
Top stories:

SPUC rebuts UK govt claim to be world-leader for disabled people
SPUC has rebutted a claim made by the UK government that it is a world-leader for disabled people. The Twitter account of the British embassy to the Holy See tweeted: "The UK is a world leader in the way it responds to disability, both as society but also at government level." SPUC responded by tweeting: "Wrong. [The] UK aborts disabled babies up to birth; kills disabled children at [the] embryonic stage [and] kills [the] mentally incapacitated. [Twitter, 21 May]

Same-sex couples to get free IVF on NHS
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has suggested that same-sex couples should receive IVF free on the NHS, regardless of whether one or other partner has fertility problems. The recommendations are part of draft guidelines currently under consultation. Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) commented: "[J]ust because someone's sexual persuasion does not allow them to have children does not mean we have to kowtow to political correctness." [Sky, 22 May]

Other stories:

Abortion
Embryology
  • Rise in surrogate pregnancies raises ethical concerns [CNA, 19 May]
Population
Sexual ethics
General
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Monday, 21 May 2012

Look out for prize-winning pro-life film "Doonby" later this year

Earlier this month, the pro-life film "Doonby" (official website) was given an award at the 2nd annual International Life Fest Film Festival in Los Angeles. The theme of the movie is : "A story worth telling. A life worth living". Interest in "Doonby" is growing, not least since Gianfranco Grieco, office head at the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome praised the film in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. The film is due for general release later this year. Do watch the trailer below or on YouTube.



Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Mon 21 May

Pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius

Top stories

SPUC launches briefing to guide submissions to same-sex marriage consultation
SPUC has launched a briefing document to help supporters make submissions to the government's consultation on same-sex marriage. The document can be read and downloaded at http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/ssm_consult The deadline for submissions to the consultation is 14 June. SPUC's concern is to protect marriage because marriage, as the life-long exclusive union of a husband and wife, protects unborn children and helps families to flourish. Marriage is not owned by the state – it belongs to mankind. The proposals for same-sex marriage (or “equal civil marriage” as officialdom describes it), were not included in the Queen’s Speech, but this does not mean the plans have been dropped: far from it. [SPUC, 17 May]

Tower Hamlets parents to launch petition against sexually-explicit school teaching
Parents in Tower Hamlets are launching a petition to stop sexually-explicit teaching in local schools. Tower Hamlets Parents' Action Group on SRE (THPAG-SRE), who are launching the petition, is a group of concerned Muslim parents with children at school in the borough. The group is supported by SPUC's Safe at School campaign. [SPUC, 18 May]

Cardiff public meeting to warn parents about explicit sex ed
A public meeting to be held in Cardiff next Wednesday (23 May) will warn parents about explicit sex education in primary schools. The meeting will be addressed by Antonia Tully of SPUC's Safe at School campaign. Mrs Tully will explain that many parents around the country are disturbed that graphic teaching programmes, such as Channel Four's "Living and Growing", are being shown to children as young as seven in primary schools. [SPUC, 17 May]

Other stories

Abortion

Embryology
  • Michael J. Fox: "Answer Probably Not Coming from Embryonic Stem Cells" [Vital Signs, 18 May]
  • Would-be grandparents paying for adult daughters to freeze eggs to have babies later [Mail, 14 May]

Sexual ethics

Population
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Friday, 18 May 2012

Tower Hamlets parents to launch petition against sexually-explicit school teaching

Christoper Winter Project opposed by parents
Parents in Tower Hamlets are launching a petition to stop sexually-explicit teaching in local schools.
Tower Hamlets Parents' Action Group on SRE (THPAG-SRE), who are launching the petition, is a group of concerned Muslim parents with children at school in the borough. The group is supported by SPUC's Safe at School campaign.

These parents are angry that more than £80,000 of taxpayers' money has been spent on the Christopher Winter Project (CWP), a sexually-explicit teaching programme for schools in the borough. Tower Hamlets Council spent £2,277 on CWP and the NHS Primary Care Trust paid £78,000 to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to train teachers to use the resource. Teachers in 33 schools have been trained by CWP. These are mainly primary schools and include both Anglican and Catholic primary schools.

The parents are also unhappy that the Local Authority introduced this programme with no consultation with parents. Government guidelines on non-statutory sex and relationships education (SRE) stress repeatedly that parents must be involved in SRE. In addition, local authorities have a very limited role in the provision of sex education in schools. (See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/32/section/79 )

Tower Hamlets Parents' Action Group on SRE (THPAG-SRE) is therefore launching a borough-wide petition on Monday 21 May, calling on the Tower Hamlets Council and the Healthy Lives Team to stop all funding of CWP and allow schools to decide on SRE free from Local Authority interference. The petition can be read and downloaded at:
http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/safeatschool/towerhamletspetition20120521

The parents have also organised five meetings around the borough:
  • Monday 21 May 2012: London Muslim Centre, 46 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1JX, when the petition will be launched, 7pm to 9pm
  • Tuesday 22 May 2012: 55 Club, Manchester Rd, E14 3JF, 7.30pm to 9pm
  • Wednesday 23 May 2012: Harford St Multicentre, 115 Harford St, E1 4FG, 6pm to 8pm
  • Thursday 24 May 2012: Kingsley Hall, Powis Rd, E3 3HJ, 7pm to 9pm
  • Friday 25 May 2012: St Hilda's Community Centre, 18 Club Row, E2 7EY, 7pm to 9pm.
Tower Hamlets Parents' Action Group on SRE (THPAG-SRE) is supported by:
  • Tower Hamlets Council of Mosques
  • SREIslamic
  • East London Mosque
  • Da'watul Islam UK and Eire
  • Association of Muslim Governors
  • Muslim Teachers and Educators Committee
  • SPUC's Safe at School campaign.
For more information, please contact:
  • Yusuf Patel, SREIslamic, mobile 07783 027067
  • Antonia Tully, Safe at School, 020 84073463
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Thursday, 17 May 2012

SPUC launches briefing to guide submissions to same-sex marriage consultation

SPUC has launched a briefing document to help supporters make submissions to the government's consultation on same-sex marriage. The document can be read and downloaded at http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/ssm_consult The deadline for submissions to the consultation is 14 June.

SPUC's concern is to protect marriage because marriage, as the life-long exclusive union of a husband and wife, protects unborn children and helps families to flourish. Marriage is not owned by the state – it belongs to mankind.

The proposals for same-sex marriage (or “equal civil marriage” as officialdom describes it), were not included in the Queen’s Speech last week, but this does not mean the plans have been dropped: far from it. The Home Office is continuing with its plans to redefine marriage, and with the present consultation exercise. The Coalition for Marriage petition, supported by SPUC, is very significant (500,000 signatures and growing), but the consultation process - the official channel - must not be ignored.

In addition to SPUC's briefing, other helpful resources for those making submissions are:
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Cardiff public meeting to warn parents about explicit sex ed

Cardiff
A public meeting to be held in Cardiff next Wednesday (23 May) will warn parents about explicit sex education in primary schools.

The meeting will be addressed by Antonia Tully of SPUC's Safe at School campaign. Mrs Tully will explain that many parents around the country are disturbed that graphic teaching programmes, such as Channel Four's "Living and Growing", are being shown to children as young as seven in primary schools.

"Living and Growing" contains cartoons showing sexual intercourse. Many parents are concerned that this is priming children for teenage sex. Parents who object to it are often told that primary schools are under a legal obligation to deliver sex education - this is untrue.

All parents of primary-age children are particularly encouraged to attend Wednesday's meeting. The meeting will:
  • see extracts from "Living and Growing"
  • hear the case against explicit sex education for young children
  • uphold the rights of parents to protect their children.
The meeting will be held at "The Bute Suite", Sport Wales National, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff CF11 9SW and go from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

For more information about this meeting or the national campaign please contact SPUC on telephone 020 7091 7091 or email safeatschool@spuc.org.uk

Visit our website at: http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/safeatschool

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Forced abortion in China: how it works

The Economist's illustration
The latest version of The Economist magazine has a fascinating insight into how China's system of forced abortion is managed, entitled: "Suppressing dissent: The emperor does know" and subtitled "How the system rewards repression, in the name of maintaining stability". The article says:
"[U]nder the Communist Party’s system of cadre evaluations, local officials are graded on the basis of a series of internal targets that have little to do with the rule of law. The targets are meant for internal use, but local governments have sometimes published them on websites, and foreign scholars have also seen copies. The most important measures are maintaining social stability, achieving economic growth and, in many areas, enforcing population controls. Cadres sign contracts that spell out their responsibilities. Failure to meet targets can end a cadre’s career. Fulfilling them, even if it means trampling laws to do so, can mean career advancement and financial bonuses."
The Economist's insight confirms what SPUC pointed out ten years ago almost to the day:
"Chinese officials [have] admitted that even they themselves are often coerced to meet birth control quotas ... The system of punishments for local political and family planning leaders who fail to fulfill their state-assigned targets is still official policy."
It is important for anyone concerned with the brutal anti-life nature of the one-child policy to read The Economist's article to understand how the system is enforced. What the strongly pro-abortion Economist doesn't point out, however, is that the China Family Planning Association, the state-run body responsible for ensuring the policy's implementation, is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest pro-abortion organisation (see section 27 of SPUC's 2005 submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee). The UK government and other Western governments give millions of pounds annually to IPPF.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 15 May

Clock showing Japanese population decline
Top stories:

Repeat abortions figures are disturbing and reveal flouting of law, says SPUC
Figures which show a high incidence of multiple repeat abortions in England and Wales [Mail, 14 May] are deeply disturbing and underline how the Abortion Act is being systematically abused across the country, says SPUC. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said: "The figures indicate wide differences around the country for repeat abortions, but regional and local variations also suggest that in many areas abortion is being used unlawfully to try to cut the birth-rate among minority and low-income groups more likely to claim benefits." [SPUC, 14 May]

Cambridge students targeted by firm offering £750 to egg donors
A company has leafleted thousands of students at Cambridge university, offering them £750 to 'donate' their eggs. [Mail, 13 May] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media yesterday that: "Such advertising represents an unacceptable commodification of procreation, violating international norms against the commercialisation of the human body, its tissues and organs. It exploits cash-strapped students at a formative time (late teens/early 20s) in their adult development and in their values, hopes and feelings about parenthood. And it serves the vested interests of the IVF industry, which puts profits and kudos above the welfare of patients." [John Smeaton, 13 May]

Other stories:
Embryology
  • London IVF clinic makes £25 million annual profit [Mail, 14 May]
  • MPs demand inquiry into risks of most popular IVF after it has been linked with higher risks of birth defects [Mail, 13 May]
  • Geneticist claims that weeding out embryos with severe genetic abnormalities is ‘a tremendous blessing and a wonderful thing’ [Peter Saunders, 13 May]
  • 'Biological Clock' cannot be rewound [Pat Buckley, 11 May]
  • Storm as Law Society bans conference debating gay marriage [Telegraph, 11 May]
Population
  • Falling birth rates (pictured) mean Japan 'won't have any children under 15 by 3011' [Mail, 14 May]
Sexual ethics
General
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Monday, 14 May 2012

Repeat abortions figures are disturbing and reveal flouting of law

Figures which show a high incidence of multiple repeat abortions in England and Wales (Mail, 14 May) are deeply disturbing and underline how the Abortion Act is being systematically abused across the country.

Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, told the media today:
"The figures indicate wide differences around the country for repeat abortions, but regional and local variations also suggest that in many areas abortion is being used unlawfully to try to cut the birth-rate among minority and low-income groups more likely to claim benefits.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, issued a directive in February instructing abortion providers and NHS medical directors to comply fully with the medical conditions required for abortions in the Abortion Act 1967.

We suspect that Professor Davies' letter is being totally ignored by both NHS trusts and private abortion clinics. Our belief is that the Sexual Health Team at the Department of Health is continuing to tell doctors and hospitals to provide abortion on demand, and that they are telling abortion providers that there is no political appetite to take action against them for breaking the law.

There is no evidence of any change in policy by the major private abortion clinics which have lucrative contracts to do NHS abortions. They are doing no fewer illegal abortions than hitherto. The legal grounds for abortion are not fulfilled in 99% of cases."
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Sunday, 13 May 2012

SPUC comment on Cambridge cash-for-eggs story

The leaflet
The British media have reported this weekend that a company leafleted thousands of students at Cambridge university, offering them £750 to 'donate' their eggs - see yesterday's Daily Mail for more detail. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media yesterday that such advertising:
  • represents an unacceptable commodification of procreation, violating international norms against the commercialisation of the human body, its tissues and organs
  • exploits cash-strapped students at a formative time (late teens/early 20s) in their adult development and in their values, hopes and feelings about parenthood
  • serves the vested interests of the IVF industry, which puts profits and kudos above the welfare of patients.
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Thu 10 May

The Queen's Speech
Top story:

Same-sex marriage left out of UK government's legislative programme
Legislation to redefine marriage in English law to include homosexuals has been omitted from the Queen's Speech, the annual announcement of forthcoming legislation. Some commentators believe the omission is partly due to widespread opposition to the proposals, including a ongoing petition which has already collected half-a-million signatures. [BBC, 9 May] John Smeaton, SPUC director, commented: "We must not be complacent. The government is continuing with its consultation on the details of future legislation and remains committed to legislate for same-sex marriage before the next general election. We must move forward quickly to bury the government's proposals."

Other stories:

Abortion
  • Chilean study shows better health care, other factors reduce maternal mortality — not legal abortion [NRL, 9 May]
  • Coil more effective form of so-called 'emergency contraception' than morning-after pill, scientists say [Metro, 9 May]
  • "We had a whole plan to sell abortion, and it was called sex education" (Part 1) [SPUC youth blog, 9 May]
  • Compelling new video says history is on the side of unborn children [John Smeaton, 9 May]
  • UK child sex ring victim had abortion [Guardian, 8 May]
  • US charity's 'bowl-a-thon' paid for 14-year-old's abortion [Mail, 8 May]
  • Thousands of pills filled with powdered human baby flesh discovered by customs officials in South Korea [Mail, 7 May]
Sexual ethics
  • House of Commons speaker to push for gay rights in Commonwealth [Pink News, 9 May]
  • Tory MP issues fresh polygamy warning over marriage equality for gays [Pink News, 9 May]
  • Obama endorses gay ‘marriage’: says support based on Jesus, Golden Rule [LifeSiteNews.com, 9 May]
  • North Carolina voters pass amendment to ban gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships [Pink News, 9 May]
  • Row over 'insulting' New Zealand contraception plans [BBC, 8 May]
  • US vice-president comes out in support of gay marriage [Pink Paper, 7 May]
General
  • Pro-abortion, pro-gay ‘marriage’ socialist Francois Hollande wins French election [LifeSiteNews.com, 7 May]
  • Supporters of euthanasia and abortion 'use the same arguments as the Nazi's did to promote genocide', says Vatican newspaper [Mail, 5 May]
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Compelling new video says history is on the side of unborn children

ProLife Wisconsin has produced a compelling new video linking the civil rights struggles of past generations with today's struggle for the civil rights of unborn children. Do watch the video below or on YouTube and help it to be very widely seen.



Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 8 May

Top story:

SPUC expresses sadness at the death of Phyllis Bowman
SPUC has expressed its sadness at the death of Phyllis Bowman, the Society’s first national director. In a joint statement, SPUC’s leading national officers said: “We regret to learn of the death on Monday 7 May 2012 of Mrs Phyllis Bowman, SPUC's former National Director. Phyllis Bowman inspired and led the growth of SPUC, the world’s first pro-life organisation of its kind, from its foundation in 1967 until she stepped down as national director in 1996. She was present, and as a successful journalist was appointed press secretary, at the founding meeting of SPUC at the Wig and Pen Club, on 11 January 1967. She became SPUC’s first national director in the early 1970s. We will always remember and be grateful for her energetic and inspiring pro-life leadership over three decades in Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as for her leading role in the development of the pro-life movement internationally. We extend our deep sympathy to Jerry, her husband, who always supported Phyllis in her pro-life work, and to her family.”

Other stories:

Clare Short
Abortion
Embryology
Sexual ethics
General
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

SPUC expresses sadness at the death of Phyllis Bowman

SPUC has expressed its sadness at the death of Phyllis Bowman, the Society’s first national director.

In a joint statement, SPUC’s leading national officers said:
“We regret to learn of the death on Monday 7 May 2012 of Mrs Phyllis Bowman, SPUC's former National Director. Phyllis Bowman inspired and led the growth of SPUC, the world’s first pro-life organisation of its kind, from its foundation in 1967 until she stepped down as national director in 1996. She was present, and as a successful journalist was appointed press secretary, at the founding meeting of SPUC at the Wig and Pen Club, on 11 January 1967. She became SPUC’s first national director in the early 1970s. We will always remember and be grateful for her energetic and inspiring pro-life leadership over three decades in Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as for her leading role in the development of the pro-life movement internationally. We extend our deep sympathy to Jerry, her husband, who always supported Phyllis in her pro-life work, and to her family.”
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sheffield pro-lifers hold roadside vigil

Pro-lifers have held a roadside vigil in Sheffield highlighting the truth about abortion (see photos below). 30 SPUC members from Sheffield and Rotherham gathered on the approach road to Meadowhall Shopping Centre on Saturday. They formed a chain, standing along the kerbside at intervals holding placards which bring home the reality of abortion.

Michael Hill, SPUC's vice-chairman who was present at the vigil, said:
"The two-hour vigil received many 'thumbs-up' signs of support from passing vehicles, along with a relatively small number of less supportive 'gestures'.

This year's event was made all the more challenging by the presence of a group of university students intent on holding a counter-demonstration in support of abortion. Unfortunately for them, their whistles and shouts were lost on passengers in cars unable to hear them! Despite their presence at no point did we feel intimidated, rather we took the opportunity to engage with some of the students, and were able to present the pro-life view in mutually-respectful discussion.

All things considered, this year's event was arguably the most effective roadside witness ever held here in Sheffield, and I know that a number of those young people went away with much to think about, even, perhaps with the seeds of a very different view point."
The Abortion Act 1967 came into effect on 27 April 1968. Since then well over seven-and-a-half million unborn children have been killed through registered abortion in Britain. This figure does not include abortions which may be caused by birth control drugs and devices. Nor does it include the number of embryos destroyed or discarded during and after in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

A local SPUC supporter:
amy20120428

Two more local SPUC supporters:
kathleen20120428

SPUC supporters discuss with university students:
william20120428

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Some further thoughts on Lynne Featherstone and George Orwell

Following my blogpost on Lynne Featherstone's absurd literary gaffe about same-sex marriage, I've received two particuarly observant responses. Ann Farmer, the pro-life author, said:
"Government proposals for same-sex 'marriage', by marginalising those who disagree, do indeed suggest that all will be equal, but that those who agree with the move will be more equal than others. And speaking of Orwell, Ms Featherstone's remark is also redolent of 1984 - a fine example of state-imposed 'doublethink'."
And Fr Brendan Gerard, who served on SPUC's staff as a researcher and writer in the 1990s, said:
"The mere fact there is an "equalities minister" already tells us everything we need to know!"
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Friday, 4 May 2012

Upbeat report from SPUC's pro-life chain at Bath

Below is an upbeat report from Fr Bill, O.S.M., a parish priest and university chaplain in Bath, of SPUC's Pro-Life Chain last weekend in Bath:
"There was a brave SPUC presence in Bath – thirty-five + seven children – silently witnessing on Saturday 28 April along with countless others up and down the land. It rather resonated with the escape on Saturday from house arrest of the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng  a self-schooled legal activist who is known for revealing rights abuses under China's one-child policy and has accused officials in Shandong province of forcing 7,000 women into abortions or sterilisations. How quickly abortion moved there from an encouraged action to an obligation enforced by the political power of the State.

SPUC ‘s annual Pro Life Chain Day on Saturday 28 April at 11am to 1.00pm - marking the 44th Anniversary of the implementation of the Abortion Act -  saw SPUC supporters standing with courage at the London Road Junction (where it adjoins Cleveland Bridge) Those witnessing silently were safe from traffic and passers by. The signs ... included a helpline number. Gail Mills, chairman of Bath and Wansdyke SPUC group, was heartened by the presence of a very good number on a rainy morning.

Gail said she had been a little anxious about an imagined 100 opponents who were said to be coming to give 'a drubbing' to the pro-lifers after much incitement in the local paper and radio publicity. In the event only a small opposition group of 12 turned up who tried to oppose ...

Gail expressed grateful thanks to all who supported SPUC with their prayers, time, and encouragement and especially the priests of the Bath Deanery who were supportive of SPUC’s efforts. Gail can be contacted along with the Bath SPUC group on 01225 833224. Be a voice for the voiceless!"
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy