Friday, July 18, 2014

UK birthrate for 2013 at 1.85 TFR down 4.3% compared to 2012


The UK Office for National Statistics has released its statistical bulletin in respect of births in England and Wales for the year 2013.
  • There were 698,512 live births in England and Wales in 2013, a decrease of 4.3% from 729,674 in 2012.
  • In 2013, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) decreased to 1.85 children per woman, from 1.94 in 2012.
  • In 2013 the stillbirth rate fell to 4.7 per thousand total births, from 4.9 in 2012.
  • The average age of mothers in 2013 increased to 30.0 years, compared with 29.8 years in 2012.
  • Over a quarter (26.5%) of live births were to mothers born outside the UK; a small increase compared with 25.9% in 2012.
Summary
This bulletin presents summary statistics of live births and stillbirths in England and Wales in 2013.
The birth statistics reported include counts of live births and stillbirths, fertility rates by age of mother and by area of usual residence, and the percentage of births to mothers born outside the UK.
This is the first time that 2013 annual figures for births in England and Wales have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Live Births (Numbers and Rates)
There were 698,512 live births in England and Wales in 2013, compared with 729,674 in 2012 (a fall of 4.3%). This fall represents a change to the increasing numbers of births that has been reported each year since a low in 2001, with the exception of a 0.3% fall in 2009. Between 2001 and 2012 live births rose by 23%. The fall in live births in 2013 represents the largest percentage annual decrease since 1975.

Comment
Current UK and European policies and lifestyle are leading to depopulation, decline and eventual disaster unless there is a major change in direction. In spite of the obvious consequences of its current strategies and lifestyle the UK and indeed the rest of Europe continues relentlessly to choose policies that lead to more abortion and contraception under code-words such as reproductive rights, and reproductive health choices and services. The essential question is, are we going to remain captive to anti life ideologies which can only spell disaster? There is time to change but time is short and the consequences are of huge significance.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Will no UN member state confront the excesses of out of control UN committees?


We reported last week that Ireland was due to appear before the human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on July 14th and 15th in Geneva as part of its fourth periodic report to that committee.
The  Irish government was harangued by Committee members and pro-abortion NGO’s on the issue of availability of abortion in Ireland which they falsely claimied  violates the terms of the Convention.
One member of the Committee for example asked Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to explain how Ireland “reconciles its current laws on abortion with its obligations [under the treaty] --- which is, I may remind you --- an absolute right?"
This claim is absolute nonsense, there is no right to abortion in the ICCPR, nor is there such a right in any other UN convention. The right to life of every human being is however, protected in this treaty.
Article 6.1 and 6.5 read as follows:
1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

5. Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.
The unborn child is a member of the human family and as such deserves the full protection set out in paragraph 6. Ideologically driven reinterpretation of the treaty by the committee however, in the form of general comments, militates against the unborn.

Reinterpretation of treaties commenced in 1996 when the then High Commissioner for Human Rights, together with a representatives from UNFPA, UN treaty monitoring bodies and select NGOs met at Glen Cove in New York to develop a strategy they said would “determine how the right to abortion-on-demand could be found in universally accepted norms such as the right to life.”

 They did this by the creation of a network of ‘experts’, to re-interpret UN Treaties and Conventions. Despite the fact that the wording of each of the treaties was negotiated down to the last comma they decided that treaties are “living breathing documents” that can evolve over time and that convention provisions may be reinterpreted to establish a global right to abortion and any other so called right they would like to establish.

Treaty monitoring Committees are charged with ensuring that member states live up to treaty obligations but are not permitted to change the substance of any Treaty or Convention, only an assembly of member states can do so. Nevertheless UN committees have issued general comments expanding the intent of the treaties and conventions and have instructed many sovereign nations either to introduce or liberalize abortion.

The Committee warned that Ireland could still in breach of human rights legislation on the issue of abortion because it criminalises pregnant women who seek an abortion following a rape or due to a fatal foetal abnormality.
The committee also told the Irish delegation that, the fact Ireland’s laws have been debated in public and passed by parliament, does not prevent a dereliction of duty in terms of fulfilling the country’s human rights commitments.
Committee member Cornelis Flinterman asked the minister directly when was the last time that the Irish public has had an opportunity to vote in a referendum on the issue of abortion in light of opinion polls he says indicated supported for termination for medical reasons.

Minister Fitzgerald told the Committee that the Irish Government has “no solution” to the problem of women being unable to afford to travel overseas to undergo a termination for medical reasons and that the most recent referendum was in 2002 on the issue of suicide as a risk to the life of a pregnant woman. She added that another referendum would be required to address the issues raised by the committee but that the recent Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act had provided clarity to both doctors and women on some important issues.

The only pro-life NGO to testify in Geneva in support of the right to life Dr. Thomas Finegan correctly told the committee, "there is no such thing as a right to abortion in international human rights law" and that the "unborn child is recognized as a human rights subject by various international human rights provisions."
He further said the committee had no legal authority to issue binding interpretations of the treaty. The chairman of the Committee, Sir Nigel Rodley, then described Finegan's testimony as, "breathtakingly arrogant."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SPUC Conference to be held from September 5th -7th

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) conference will take place at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire, from 5-7 September. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear international speakers on a range of pro-life topics, and get up to date with all SPUC’s campaigns. 

Speakers at this years conference will include:

Bishop Philip Egan, Roman Catholic bishop of Portsmouth
Dr. Greg Gardner MRCGP
Obianuju Ekeocha, Culture of Life Africa
Colin Harte, carer of the late Alison Davis
Jim Hughes, Campaign Life Coalition, Canada


See the conference programme

To book, download the booking form and return it to SPUC with the conference fee. Book before 31 July for a £20 discount

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Katherine Hampton, the conference organiser, by email to conference@spuc.org.uk or by telephone on 020 7820 3137.

Speaker profiles:

Bishop Philip Egan

Roman Catholic bishop of Portsmouth, who responded firmly to criticism from pro-abortion Catholic MPs who were appalled when he said political advocates of abortion and same-sex “marriage” should not present themselves to receive Communion. Bishop Egan spoke out against the Liverpool Care Pathway, and strongly defended doctors who respect life.  In a recent interview he said that, “Abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, [and] assisted suicide gravely degrade and undermine respect for the dignity and value of human life”. Bishop Egan issued an important statement on the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, which made clear that same-sex marriage is "the inevitable outcome" of the rejection of the intrinsic link between the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse, the link taught in Pope Paul VI's encyclical "Humanae Vitae". Bishop Egan needs our prayers and support for his courageous pro-life stand, and we are very excited that he will be speaking at the conference.

Dr. Greg Gardner MRCGP

Hon. tutor in General Practice, University of Birmingham, who will be speaking about the GMC and its tacit involvement in colluding with pre-signing of abortion consent forms. Dr. Gardner is a GP at an inner city practice in Birmingham. He is a member of the Christian Medical Fellowship and writes and speaks widely against abortion. He has been an adviser to SPUC on literature for GPs.

Obianuju Ekeocha

Runs Culture of Life Africa, an internet-based resource which monitors and publicises the attacks on the culture of life in her home continent of Africa. Obianuju organised the first ever pro-life conference in her native Nigeria in June 2013. She is outspoken against first world countries deluging the world’s poorest countries, most of them in Africa, with contraception and abortion.

Colin Harte

Carer of the late Alison Davis, who will speak on, “Suffering for what we value: the legacy of Alison Davis.” Alison was the co-ordinator of SPUC group, ‘No Less Human’.

Jim Hughes

National President of Campaign Life Coalition in Canada.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ireland to report to UN Committee


Ireland is due to appear before the human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on July 14th and 15th in Geneva as part of its fourth periodic report to that committee.
The documents available prior the hearing show that the Irish Government was given a list of questions by the Committee one of which, on the right to life is set out below together with the answers provided by the Government which sadly do not represent the real situation hat now pertains following the introduction of the legislation.
This meeting comes exactly a year since the Irish Government introduced abortion in Ireland. The Government’s misleading presentation of the law as a life-saving measure has resulted in widespread public confusion over what the new law actually involves is repeated in the answers to the questions raised.
 
Under the heading the Right to life (arts. 6, 7 and 17) the Committee asked:
            12.            Please provide information on:
(a)            How the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 is in compliance with articles 6 and 7 of the Covenant and the Committee’s previous recommendations;
(b)            Concrete measures that are being taken or envisaged to clarify what a “real and substantial risk” to the pregnant women’s life means in practice, in order to provide legal and clinical clarity for health providers and certainty for women experiencing potentially life-threatening pregnancies;
(c)            Whether the State party intends to introduce measures to broaden access to abortion to guarantee women’s rights under the Covenant, including when the pregnancy poses a risk to the health of the pregnant woman, where the pregnancy is the result of a crime, such as rape or incest, cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or when it is established that the foetus will not survive outside the womb; and
(d)            Circumstances in which the Director of Public Prosecutions may authorize prosecutions, and against whom, under section 22 of the Act.
The following are the Irish Government replies:
Reply to question 12 (a)
65.            The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 regulates access to lawful termination of pregnancy in accordance with the X case and the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case. Its purpose is to confer procedural rights on a woman who believes she has a life-threatening condition, so that she can have certainty as to whether she requires this treatment or not.
66.            The Act upholds the right to life of the unborn where practicable, and the right to life of a pregnant woman whose life is threatened by her pregnancy, as required by Article 40.3.3. The Act also creates procedures which apply to the lawful termination of pregnancy. The objectives of these procedures are, firstly, to ensure that, where lawful termination of pregnancy is under consideration, the right to life of both the unborn and the mother are respected and afforded protection, in accordance with constitutional requirements, and secondly to ensure that a woman can ascertain by means of a clear process whether she is entitled to medical treatment to which the Act applies.
Reply to question 12 (b)
67.            A Guidance Document to assist health professionals in the implementation of the Act is being prepared and is due to be finalised early in 2014. The Guidance will include identifying referral pathways to fulfil the requirement of the Act and other relevant operational matters.
68.            The relevant professional bodies continue to be responsible for issuing clinical guidelines to their members in relation to medical conditions that might be relevant to the Act.
69.            In addition, the Health Service Executive’s National Clinical Care Programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology was established two years ago, with the overall aim of improving choices in women’s healthcare. A key area of work for the Programme is the development and implementation of national clinical guidelines, with the aim of ensuring consistency in clinical practice nationally.
Reply to question 12 (c)
70.            There are currently no proposals to amend Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.
71.            The Health Service Executive, through its Crisis Pregnancy Programme, supports the provision of counselling services, medical services and such other health services for the purpose of providing support during and after any type of crisis pregnancy. The Programme is due to meet a group representing women who have received a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality in relation to relevant crisis pregnancy counselling and post-abortion counselling options currently available and ways to improve the standard of service nationwide.
Reply to question 12 (d)
72.            It will be a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether to proceed with a prosecution and this decision will be based on the facts of each case.
73.            Penalties may apply to any person in breach of the Act. While it is recognised that the potential criminalisation of a pregnant woman is a very difficult and sensitive matter, this provision reflects the State’s constitutional obligation arising from Article 40.3.3. The sentence to be applied in any particular case is a matter for the Court involved.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

ADFAM statement expresses support for stance made by Ashers Bakery


The Alliance for the Family and Marriage [ADFAM], www.adfam.ie, an organization set up to defend marriage, and to oppose the legalization of same sex “marriage” has expressed support for Daniel McArthur of Ashers’ Bakery in Antrim who face legal action because of their refusal to bake a cake for a homosexual couple.

 ADFAM has also indicated opposition to the adoption of children by non marital couples, including same-sex couples, and are accordingly opposed to the Irish Government’s General Scheme of a Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014, for that reason, and for several other reasons..
The ADFAM statement reads:
            We wish to express our alarm that a Christian baker in Antrim, Daniel McArthur of Ashers’ Bakery Antrim, is being threatened with law by the Equality Commission there for refusing to bake a cake with a motto expressing support for the homosexualist agenda.
            We strongly condemn this attempt at persecution on religious grounds of Mr McArthur. We draw attention to the fact that it is illegal to discriminate unjustly against persons on the basis of their religious affiliation, and that is exactly what is being attempted in this case. Christians have civil rights as well.
            We’d like to point out that same-sex “marriage” is illegal both North and South. We believe that this attempt at persecution of Mr McArthur is a gross violation of his human rights to freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.
            We wish to warn voters from all parts of Ireland that this type of persecution of persons because of their religious beliefs is likely to increase if same-sex “marriage” is accepted by voters in the South next year, or by a vote in the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly some time in the future. This type of persecution has already started in England and Scotland, and in the United States. Brendan Eich of Firefox Mozilla in California was forced out of his job recently when it became public that he made a financial contribution in favour of Proposition 8, a proposition to recognize marriage in law as between one man and one woman.
            We condemn all acts of abuse or violence against homosexual persons. We also condemn all attempts at persecution of persons because of the religious views they hold.
            We urge all voters, North and South, to contact their Local Councillors, MLAs, TDs and Senators, in order to express their opposition to this persecution.

Yours sincerely,
Richard Greene,
Spokesman,
Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage [ADFAM]

Monday, July 7, 2014

All Ireland Rally for Life 2014

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The 2014 all Ireland rally for life held in Belfast on Saturday July 5th was the largest pro-life demonstration held in that city to date. Estimates suggest the attendance was in the region of 8000 and included pro-lifers from all over Ireland. The Rally was addressed by a number of speakers including Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life, Niamh Ui Bhrian of the Life Institute and Former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon. All the main pro-life organizations were in attendance and marched from Custom House Square to the city hall and back.

Bernadette Smyth, told the assembled crowd that they were sending a clear message to both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and to David Ford the North’s justice minister “that the lives of the unborn must be protected” at all stages.
Ms Smyth said that the rally was a clear demonstration that the majority of people in the Republic did not want any moves that would liberalise abortion legislation. “Our clear message to the Taoiseach is that people will not be silenced when the lives of unborn children are at risk,” she said.
Ms Smyth added that the rally was also telling the North’s justice minister, Alliance leader David Ford that he should not attempt to bring in legislation that would allow for abortion in cases of foetal abnormality.

Niamh Ui­ Bhriain told the gathering that “abortion campaigners seek to broaden abortion laws by using the distress felt by every family facing such tragic news and such a distressing diagnosis”.
“Seeking to push abortion on vulnerable families really is the worst form of discrimination, and for these unborn children, who are severely disabled, this is a lethal form of discrimination,” she said.
Ms Ui Bhriain continued by saying that the voices of the majority of parents were being ignored in the debate surrounding abortion for babies with disabilities, and that the rally was providing these families with a voice.
“We’re seeking to support families who need compassion and real help, and both governments, North and South, must listen to parents in these situations who want a better answer than abortion,” she added.

Dana Rosemary Scallon told the crowd that there existed a “secular humanist global agenda which has no respect for the sovereignty of nations” and which sought to bring in widespread abortion. “We must stand up for life,” she said.

Once again questions need to be asked about how such an event is reported. Why for example is the print and broadcasting media so biased against unborn life? And why do they persist in championing abortion and pushing it at every opportunity?
According to a BBC report thousands of pro-lifers took to the streets of Belfast city centre in the Rally for Life demonstration, which they then depict negatively as an anti-abortion rally, rather than one that celebrates and upholds the lives of the unborn in Northern Ireland. The pro-abortion Irish Times as expected underestimated the attendance putting it at only 4000.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fertility timebomb found in drinking water


The Daily Mail in a recent article reported on the pollution of our drinking water by oestrogen, which is causing grave environmental damage to fish stocks and could also be placing male fertility at risk.
According to the article the fertility of a generation of men is being put at risk because a hormone found in the Pill is getting into drinking water, scientists fear.
Pollution due to the chemical, a powerful form of oestrogen, is causing up to half the male fish in our lowland rivers to change sex, research shows.
Experts believe the hormone could be getting into drinking water and affecting men's sperm counts. They say sewage treatment does not remove the chemical entirely from drinking supplies, although the water industry insists there is no evidence of a risk to health.
A study to be published by the Environment Agency later this month says entire fish stocks in some stretches of water are irreversibly affected. Scientists believe the synthetic oestrogen can feminise-fish at levels as low as one part per billion.
Professor Charles Tyler, one of the leaders of the research, told BBC1's Countryfile: 'Some of the concentrations where we are seeing effects on fish are below the detection limit in place for testing our drinking water. So we cannot be sure that some of these compounds aren't getting into our drinking water.'
The study on roach stocks from ten rivers found nearly half of male fish had eggs in their testes or female reproductive ducts. A tenth were sterile and another quarter had damaged sperm.
Dr Susan Jobling, from the research team, said: 'There are very real reasons to be worried about whether male reproductive health could also be affected.'
The discovery that half the male fish in Britain's rivers are changing sex - and that the hormone responsible may be getting into drinking water - is just the latest example of how nature can give us nasty surprises.
For, despite our frequent boast that we have conquered the natural world, it has a habit of striking back in ways we least expect.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Release of detailed guidelines on legal abortion in Ireland: Irish Times report


The Irish Times reports today July 3rd 2014 that detailed abortion guidelines have been circulated to a number of health professionals. It appears from a search of their websites however that no formal announcement has yet been made, either by the HSE or the Department of Health and Children, to the effect that the guidelines have been published.
Detailed guidance on the circumstances in which a woman may legally have an abortion – when there is a real and substantial threat to her life – have been circulated to some health professionals.
The guidelines, on implementing the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, were drawn up by the Department of Health and are for all clinicians who may be involved in managing pregnant women.
The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act came into force on January 1st, setting out for the first time the circumstances in which a woman may legally access an abortion.
However, there were mounting concerns among health professionals as to how the legislation could be used in practice without clear guidelines. An implementation committee was appointed last year by the department to draw up guidelines on how the legislation would work in practice.
The new guidelines outline procedures to be adhered to by clinicians, including GPs, midwives, psychiatrists and obstetricians when there is a real threat to a pregnant woman’s life that can only be averted by a termination of pregnancy. The threat can be physical, a physical emergency or by suicide.
The guidelines go into great detail on when a woman is pregnant and suicidal. They say when there is suicidal intent, a termination is legal where three doctors have examined the woman and “have jointly certified in good faith that:
a) “there is a real and substantial risk of loss of the woman’s life
b) this risk is one that can only be averted by a termination of pregnancy, and
c) the medical practitioners have, in good faith, had regard to the need to preserve unborn human life where practicable”.
One of the doctors must be an obstetrician-gynaecologist and two must be psychiatrists.
When a woman completes her first assessment with a psychiatrist and he or she is of the opinion that she is suicidal and requires a termination to avert suicide, he or she “will certify on the prescribed form and seek a second psychiatric assessment for the patient”.

Assessment
“If a woman has completed her first assessment with a psychiatrist and [is] found to satisfy the requirements of the Act, but the second psychiatrist disagrees or does not give an opinion, then the second psychiatrist must inform the woman in writing that she has a right to apply for a formal review of her case.”
If both psychiatrists agree she needs a termination she will then be referred to an appropriate obstetrician/ gynaecologist for the procedure.
The guidelines say that “where practicable” the woman’s GP should be consulted. “However, this consultation can only take place if the woman consents to it,” they say.
The guidelines say decisions should be made expeditiously and relayed to the patient. If the psychiatrists do not believe the woman needs a termination to save her life they will set out other options.
Clinicians will not have to assist in or carry out terminations if they object on conscientious grounds. However: “Conscientious objection is not applicable in emergencies where the woman’s life is at immediate risk.”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

'Protection of the Family' resolution approved by the Human Rights Council


The Human Rights Council approved a procedural but nevertheless ground breaking resolution on the protection of the family, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, on Thursday June 26th.
The resolution instructs the Human Rights Council to convene a panel discussion, during its September session, on the status of the family and calls on the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the proceedings of the panel.
The resolution reaffirms article 16.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that ‘the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State’ and it also recognizes that the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children and that children, for the full and harmonious development of their personality, should grow up in a family environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.
The resolution also says that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,

A number of western nations, mostly EU countries and the US, first attempted to broaden the scope of the resolution to include controversial ‘diversity’ language that has been interpreted as giving approval to so called same sex marriage.
When the strategy to include the controversial language in the text failed, during the negotiations, Chile, Uruguay, Ireland and France tabled an amendment to the resolution, which included the phrase;
[…] bearing in mind that, in different cultural, political and social systems, various forms of the family exist;
 A counter amendment was proposed by Pakistan, to the effect that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, to balance the text in the event that the diversity language was approved.

The Russian Federation, much to the annoyance of the anti family cohort, proposed a no action motion on the amendment relating to various forms of the family. The Russian motion was approved by 22 votes to16 and the second amendment proposed by Pakistan was therefore withdrawn.

The main resolution was then approved by 26 votes to 14 with 7 abstentions.
Following the vote the UK delegate was scathing about those who voted against the diversity language claiming that the final wording excludes various groupings along with those headed by same-sex couples.

The hostility towards this resolution signifies an attempt by western nations to sideline the family friendly article in the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' (UDHR), that affirms the role of family in society and the duty of States to protect it. It is crucial to preserve the universality of Human Rights by rejecting attempts to ignore hard law agreements such as the UDHR and the Covenents that form the bill of rights, or to overrule them by citation of soft law conference documents. 
The vote also reflects widespread opposition to efforts by the US, the EU and other member states to promote so called Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender ‘rights’ in diplomatic agreements, which many countries view as being pushed on them contrary to their values and their culture.

Surprisingly, some Member States such as Ireland voted against the resolution despite the fact that its Constitution contains an article recognizing the importance of the family and the necessity to offer it support and protection. Article 41.1 and 41.2 read as follows.
ARTICLE 41.1 1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.
2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.
The Irish delegate in an explanation of vote ignored the powerful statement in the Irish Constitution that the family is ‘a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law’, and lamely told the Council that Ireland would vote against the resolution because they claimed it did not recognize so called ‘diversity’.
A family is a living, dynamic entity, and can take many forms. We believe that we must all recognise this diversity, and indeed we have done consistently over many years in many UN resolutions which recognise that in different cultural, political and social systems, various forms of the family exist. We regret that the resolution before us today fails to take account of the various forms of families, which are a vital part of all of our societies.
Sadly ideology and political correctness seems to overrule everything.