Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Petition opposing the extension of the abortion act to Northern Ireland

A petition opposing the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland which was recently launched on the Number 10 website (The official website of the UK Prime Minister Gordon Browne), has already attracted about 3500 signatures. It is extremely important that as many people as possible sign this petition as another petition supporting the extension of the act to Northern Ireland was launched by the pro-abortion Family Planning Association FPA. Whilst the extension of the abortion act to Northern Ireland would affect Ireland as a whole, signatories of the petition must either be British citizens or residents. We therefore appeal to all our British readers to sign this petition if you have not already done so.

You can access the Pro-Life petition by clicking on: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Anti-Abortion/

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where has the UNFPA been for 50 years?

The United Nations Population Fund has invented the Rhythm Method. Yes, really. The Population Research Institute reports the bewildering news that UNFPA has begun promoting a method of natural family planning. To make it look modern, they call it Cyclebeads and base the method around a string of plastic beads where days 8 to 19 are coloured white to indicate a strong possibility of fertility. It would be nice to believe that UNFPA has finally got the message about Natural Family Planning when the contraception-peddlers of this world have been sneering at NFP as 'Vatican roulette' for decades.

It certainly makes a refreshing change to hear these people singing the praises of NFP - educates women about their bodies, no side-effects, involves co-operation of men, free, acceptable to people who object to contraception - and I don't wish to be negative. Like all pro-life campaigners, I would far rather see UNFPA use its considerable resources promoting NFP than abortion and sterilisation, but as Colin Mason points out in his article, something just doesn't feel right here.

The major question we need to ask is, why on earth is UNFPA ignoring the major strides made by agencies that promote NFP and are instead promoting a method of birth spacing that has long been superceded by more efficient and user-friendly symptom-based methods? UNFPA's Cyclebeads, like the method it is based on, only works for women with a regular cycle, has a higher failure rate than modern methods of NFP and according to UNFPA's own website, is only suitable for women who have never used any method of artificial contraception or have had an abortion. In other words, it is suitable for all women... except those whose cycles are irregular and pretty much any woman who has made the mistake of taking UNFPA's advice in the past.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Disgraceful Conditions

A disturbing story in a Welsh newspaper looks at a group of women who were so traumatised by their experience at a flagship maternity hospital that they have decided not to have any more children. Reports include women being left to give birth in corridors because of a shortage of beds, being discharged from hospital too soon after a complicated delivery and being left unattended for hours whilst overstretched midwives struggle to operate in 'Third World' conditions.

In the course of my pro-life work, I have come across an alarming number of cases of women who have been traumatised by birth experiences that very nearly killed them and their babies. One woman spoke of being sent home from a crowded hospital in early labour - paramedics were called to her house shortly afterwards to find that her husband had had to deliver the baby on their living room floor. Another was sent home, frightened and in terrible pain, only to be told by a midwife at the end of the phone that the heavy bleeding she was experiencing was 'probably just a show'.

Britain's overcrowded, understaffed maternity hospitals are becoming a national disgrace. It is simply unacceptable that a country as wealthy and developed as the UK should be putting the lives of women and babies at risk by failing to provide basic care. The tragedy of women dying in childbirth belongs among the pages of a Victorian novel, not in an age of advanced obstetric care.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

World Contraception Day, What Next?

It is reported that a campaign to raise awareness of contraception and the risks of unprotected sex was launched in Dublin yesterday. The second World Contraception Day, which takes place today, according to the report, aims to promote education and awareness-raising about contraceptive use, particularly among 18-25 year olds. The campaign is supported by family planning organisations, including the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) and the Dublin Well Woman Centre, as well as the European Society of Contraception.

Aside from the obvious moral issues involved it is tragic that organisations like this persist in the promotion of contraception to teenagers despite the evident failure of similar policies in the UK and elsewhere, which have lead to increases in the level of abortion and sexually transmitted diseases there. In fact after all the years of the much lauded Teenage Pregnancy Strategy UK statistics issued earlier this year recorded the highest ever rate of child abortions. SPUC

David Paton in an important report in 2003 “The Economics of Family Planning and Underage Conception- Contradictory Evidence”, pointed out that the so called evidence used to make the case in support of making contraception available to teenagers was spurious to say the least. Paton is on record as saying: "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..." See also John Smeaton's Blog

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pro-Life Conference for Priests

Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life Conference
Wednesday 29 October 2008
St Wilfrid’s Hall, The London Oratory, Brompton Road, SW7 2RP

The Conference is open to all priests.
Deacons and seminarians are also welcome.

Registration at 11.15am
Keynote Speaker: Fr John Saward
(author of ‘Redeemer in the womb’, ‘The way of the Lamb’ etc) will speak on:

‘Pius XII and Preaching the Gospel of Life’

A buffet lunch will be provided.
Pro-life literature will be available.

The afternoon session will include Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (with confessions), Rosary and Benediction. Tea will be served after Benediction and the Conference will conclude by 4pm

To help with catering, please send an email to conference@apgl.org.uk if you are going to attend the conference. There is no charge but donations will be welcome.
The Oratory is next to the Victoria and Albert Museum. (Nearest tube station South Kensington.) Enter the courtyard in front of the Oratory House. St Wilfrid’s Hall is upstairs in the building on the left.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ruth Kelly Resigns

Ruth Kelly, the British Transport Secretary, has announced her resignation from the Cabinet, citing the need to spend more time with her family. However, there is considerable speculation that Mrs Kelly, a Catholic, has resigned to avoid being forced to vote in favour of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill.

Whilst it is laudable for a cabinet minister to resign on a matter of principle, it is a pity she did not make her stand clear if she is indeed resigning because of the abortion vote. It would have been an incredible act of witness for Ruth Kelly to stand before the Labour Party Conference and announce that she was standing down because she could not give her support to an immoral bill that targets the most vulnerable citizens of the country she serves.

has produced materials and information for those who wish to know more about the bill and to assist those in the UK who wish either to lobby their MP's, and to assist in raising public awareness about the HFE bill in general. Please consider making your voices heard while there is still time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Warnock and the 'duty' to die

Baroness Warnock, who will no doubt go down in history as a major architect of the culture of death, has reiterated her belief that some sections of the population have a duty to die rather than be a burden on society. She writes:
If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service.

"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

This is utilitarianism at its most callous and its most extreme. If people with dementia have no value in Baroness Warnock's eyes on the grounds of costing money and time to care for, where precisely would she draw the line? Should all people with disabilities or long-term illnesses (physical and mental) that require medical assistance and care have a duty to commit suicide? What about people who cannot find work and are reliant, through no fault of their own, on government assistance? How far would Baroness Warnock like to take her ideology? Perhaps the citizens of this country should have to fill in an assessment every year, similar to their tax returns, on their social and economic usefulness to society, to be considered by a panel of experts who could then pass judgment on them.

The kind of society Warnock is helping to build has, as we all know, been tried before. As one of the commentators at the end of the Telegraph article pointed out, Warnock's comments bear a chilling resemblance to SS general Ernst Kaltenbrunner's remarks about the mentally ill, the elderly, and the disabled in 1930's Germany being "useless eaters".

As the saying goes: "He who does not learn the lessons of the past will be condemned to relive it."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Irish Dominican Group endorses pro-abortion report

A pro abortion and pro same sex marriage report, prepared by the Irish Council of Civil Liberties has been endorsed by an Irish Dominican Group, the Dominican Justice Office (DJO) according to the Irish Catholic newspaper (July 17th). The report calls on the Irish Government to “provide a legislative framework for the provision of safe and legal abortion in Ireland”. The DJO, which is a joint initiative of the Dominican Sisters and Friars, is the only religious body named on the endorsement list of the UN report on Ireland’s obligations under the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The report is also endorsed by the pro-abortion Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) the Irish affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and other pro abortion organisations.
The group run by the Irish Dominican Order has denied that they support the demand made in the report, to legalise abortion in Ireland despite the fact that they are listed as having endorsed the report. Marian Tannam, co-ordinator of the DJO told The Irish Catholic, “The Dominican Justice Office in no way endorses the recommendation that the State should provide a legislative framework for the provision of safe and legal abortions in Ireland and this was made clear to the authors by our making it a specific condition that a waiver be included." The resultant disclaimer which appears at the front of the report states: ‘The views expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the policies and positions of each of the endorsing organisations.’

The report also demands that the Irish Government should introduce gay marriage. “The right to marry” it says “should be extended and no difference in the treatment should exist between opposite-sex and same-sex couples”.
" Our decision to endorse the Shadow Report to the Third Periodic Report on Ireland under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" according to Marian Tannam "was made in support of the many excellent recommendations on Human Rights and the overall thrust of the report in terms of social justice.” see also LifeZine Report

Monday, September 22, 2008

Google listens to campaigners

Google and Microsoft have agreed to withdraw advertisements for sex selection products which leave unborn baby girls at risk of abortion. The decision follows a request by India's Supreme Court for the two companies, as well as Yahoo, to respond to a petition protesting against the promotion of such products.

The abortion of baby girls increased dramatically in the 1990s following the development of cheap ultrasound and there is a serious gender imbalance in many regions.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A story of courage and love

Standing on my head carries the story of a man in the United States who died trying to rescue his son who had fallen into a septic tank. Joseph Vander Woude, 20, had Down's Syndrome and was the youngest of seven children. What has happened to this family is an appalling tragedy, but as The Washington Post described it, Thomas Vander Woude, a committed Catholic and loving father, "died where he spent so much time living: at his son's side."

What is most compelling about this story is the courage and devotion Thomas showed for his family and the love there clearly was between the generations, particularly for Joseph. Reading the story, I kept thinking of the numerous disability-related websites that trot out the mantra of 'parental choice' to end the life of a child with a disability and the 90% of Down's Syndrome children who are killed before birth. Thomas Vander Woude had freedom of choice and he made the choice to protect his disabled son's life even at the cost of his own.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reaffirming Human Rights for All the Universal Declaration at 60

The UN is marking 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with a number of conferences which will culminate in a special session to be held at the UN General Assembly in New York on Dec. 10th. The Most recent preparatory conference took place in Paris from Sept 3rd to 5th at the UNESCO headquarters where the Universal Declaration was signed in 1948. Among the many contributors to this conference was Karel Vasak who was an initial contributor to the actual drafting of the Universal Declaration and a former legal advisor to UNESCO in Paris.
In a thought provoking presentation Vasak talke about three generations of human rights pointed to the importance of the indivisibility of human rights and told the assembly that not all human rights are accepted by all countries. He instanced the Economic and Social rights which he said are still not accepted by some. He also expressed concern that there is no right to petition, which he said had been discarded and people have been punished for petitioning the UN and other international institutions. Vasak said he deplored the fact that the 60th anniversary of the UDHR will not end with a universal declaration of human duties
The existing declaration has, he told the meeting, very little to say about duties. There is in fact only one article of three sections dealing with duties and it is very light.
Vasak told the meeting that there should be seven categories of human duties and then went on to set out six which he categorised as duties to self, duties to others, duties to family, duties in respect of culture, nature and environment, duties to the national community and duties to the international community. He then posed the question to the assembly what should the seventh category of human duties be. Vasek wound up his presentation by asserting that the seventh category should consist of our duty to God.
A webcast of Vasek’s full presentation may be viewed HERE

Friday, September 19, 2008

An abortion survivor speaks

A new pro-life group in the United States is running an advertising campaign drawing attention to Barack Obama's opposition to legislation intended to protect babies born alive after abortion. Born Alive Truth centres around the incredible story of Gianna Jesson, a 31-year-old who was the victim of a saline abortion at 7 1/2 months and survived 18 hours being burned in her mother's womb before being delivered alive. The abortionist was not on duty when she emerged, so a nurse called an ambulance and her life was saved. The Born Alive Truth website features Gianna's ad and a television interview and debate on Obama's position.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The ugly face of the abortion lobby

The abortion lobby is very good at portraying itself as the righteous underdog in the abortion debate, unlike the wealthy, vicious pro-life lobby imposing their 'agendas' on women. Those of us who actually work in this area know the reality behind the fiction, that the abortion lobby is well-funded by government departments, rich benefactors and the profits of private abortion mills. We also see the ugly face of the abortion lobby behind the thin veneer of compassion and altruism that the media accepts as fact.

This video, which featured on the Hermeneutic of Continuity recently, shows the vicious, hate-ridden behaviour abortion campaigners are prepared to resort to in order to get their message across. To give a little background information, this pro-abortion rally took place in Argentina and the young people praying the rosary stationed themselves in front of the cathedral to prevent the protesters storming in and desecrating the place. The video clearly shows the pro-abortion protesters screaming insults and spitting in their faces, whilst the young people calmly pray and refuse to retaliate. This is the sort of despicable action the abortion lobby seems to revel in - an unprovoked attack on innocent people at prayer- and then place blame on the pro-lifers. The ever willing media can always be counted on to cooperate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh Emma, how could you?

I was leafing through the Abortion Rights' newsletter this morning. It makes fascinating and entertaining reading, particularly when I discover how well-funded they believe the pro-life lobby is (yes, we have it on good authority that we are rolling in it) and what anti-woman monsters members of the pro-life lobby are supposed to be (including thousands of women, naturally, but why on earth would people who claim to campaign in the name of women's rights be interested in women who have the ingratitude to disagree with them?)

Then of course there were the howling errors, like muddling up Passion for Life with Precious Life but basic accuracy has never bothered these people very much...nor does it bother the C-list celebrities they are wheeling out to prop up their campaign.

According to comedian Jo Brand, "The time limit argument is a total red herring. It's the same old anti-abortionists with their anti-women agenda, making up the science as they go along. MPs must have no truck with this."

Then Emma Thompson stepped into the fold: "Those opposed to abortion are entitled to their view, but they should not be allowed to dictate to women about their own individual decisions and start chipping away at laws designed to protect the safety of women who cannot continue with a pregnancy."

Hmm, after yesterday's post on the inability of the abortion lobby to grasp basic scientific facts, I hardly need to comment on Jo Brand's take on 'the science', but is the abortion lobby clutching at straws so comprehensively that spouting this outdated jargon is the best they can do?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Abortion Threat to Northern Ireland

A friend of mine who has an interest in women's issues, contacted me this evening about a meeting she attended on women in Europe, during which the subject of abortion came up. Mary Honeyball MEP admitted that the climate has changed regarding abortion since European enlargement in 2004 with a growing bloc opposing abortion. She regarded this trend as 'very worrying' and gave the usual mantra about it basically being the fault of the Catholic Church.

Mary Honeyball and Myria Vassiliadou of the European Women's Lobby were quite open about their loathing of Anna Zaborska MEP and the hope that next year's elections would provide an opportunity to get her out of the chair of the EU women's committee.

Louise Hutchins of Abortion Rights brought up the campaign to impose the Abortion Act on the people of Northern Ireland. Mary Honeyball was apparently glad about the campaign, calling the situation in Northern Ireland 'extraordinary', 'bizarre' and 'quite wrong.' She is, however, working closely with Harriet Harman on the matter, which will be less than reassuring for the main political parties of Northern Ireland who uniformly oppose the extension of the Abortion Act. Later in the day, Myria Vassiliadou added that the Northern Ireland campaign could be pursued at the European level with letters to commissioners and questions being raised. The 'terrible situation' in Poland and Malta was also bemoaned.

One observation my friend made reminded me of Dr Sherley's comment about the 'vacation of reason' within the abortion lobby. Apparently, during one of the Q&A sessions, Mary Honeyball was asked about the rights of the unborn child and said that she couldn't think in terms of rights when it was not an unborn child it was 'not very much'. Whilst suggesting that abortion should be a last resort, she claimed that the basis of her thinking and argument was that the rights of the living were more important than something that had not yet come into existence [and yes, my friend was as confused as I am].

The junk science here is so ludicrous as to be hardly worth answering when science and technology have already done so many times over. If this is really the basis of the abortion lobby's thinking, it is in an even worse state of intellectual bankruptcy than many of us in the pro-life movement have imagined all these years.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Curse of Marie Stopes

The Daily Mail has published an article on the Marie Stopes stamp controversy. It makes for interesting reading but what gripped my attention more were some of the reader comments left in the combox. As a pro-life campaigner, I am all too aware of the eugenic mentality behind the abortion and contraception industries but they are usually quite careful to keep quiet about it and do everything possible to deny any association with eugenics. However, voxpop is less guarded and the comments were spine chilling. Here are some examples

"Why is it acceptable to selectively breed better animals but where humans are concerned, we bend over backwards to help the most lazy and unhealthy specimens to have families?"

"Just imagine what a stable, well-ordered society we'd have if compulsory sterilisation had been adopted years ago for the socially undesirable. The prisons would be almost empty, and the law-abiding majority could walk any streets without fear."

"The opposite of Eugenics is dysgenics. This aims to multiply the number of cripples, incompetents, idiots, criminals, murderers, whores, thieves, delinquents, drug users, stupid brutes and drunks in society. The social engineers have been successfully making our society in this mould for the last sixty years. No wonder decent people want to emigrate. This society has no hope."

A young British pro-life campaigner once told me that she sometimes wondered what would happen if the millions of men who died fighting the Nazis were to come back from the dead and see what the world looked like now? In her words, 'would they think the Nazis had won?'

I am not sure I would take things that far, but I think it is true to say that society has never learnt the terrible lessons of Nazi Germany when it comes to respect for basic human freedoms. Judging by the response to the Daily Mail article the eugenic philosophy is clearly still alive and well. Ironically, eugenics is founded on junk science, the entirely misplaced assumption that every facet of a person's physical, mental and moral development is based on their background. But more to the point, I would like to ask people who casually assert their support for eugenics, precisely whom they feel should decide which members of society has the right to have children? What criteria should they use in making such a decision? Would they accept that decision if an appointed judge were to decide that they were either too bigoted, or too heartless or perhaps even too ill-informed to be allowed a child? And ultimately, would anyone wish to live in a country where the state held such absolute power over the most intimate area of a citizen's life?

I think it was Mahatma Gandhi who said: "The best test of a civilised society is the way in which it treats its weakest members." We have failed that test.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Miss HIV Pageant

The Hermeneutic of Continuity has a post on a new film looking at both sides of the ideological battle against HIV/AIDS in Africa. The film-makers state:

Unlike any film you've ever seen on AIDS, the story takes you backstage to the Miss HIV pageant and behind the curtain on what is really happening in the war against a virus that is now the leading killer of people under 60 in the world.

The trailer is available for view at this website

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Call for “Amnesty for Babies” for World day of Peace September 21st

The United Nations will celebrate “World Day of Peace” on Sept 21st.
“World Day of Peace” was originally established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 for the purpose of commemorating and strengthening of the ideals of peace. There are of course many kinds of violence present in our world which require our urgent attention, however the most insidious and unseen violence is that which is perpetrated against the innocent and vulnerable, that which is directed against unborn babies. Every baby counts, every life is a precious and unique gift, never to be repeated. Every baby, born or before birth, has an equal right to life with all other human beings, including his or her mother. Every pregnant woman knows that the baby she carries is a new human being. Medical science has also shown beyond any doubt that from the moment of fertilization each newly formed human embryo has a unique, separate and distinct identity.

Anti life ideologies have been adopted by many governments and powerful NGOs, ideologies which are hostile to the life of the child before birth. These ideologies must be confronted and shown to be detrimental, not only to the lives of the unborn, but to their mothers, to society, to the future population of nations and thereby their economic viability. Abortion is not, and can never be a human right.

European Life Network calls on Governments throughout the world to rethink this vitally important issue and beginning on world day of peace, to declare an amnesty for babies. The word amnesty comes from the Greek word amnestos, which means ‘the forgotten ones’. Do we need to ask who the forgotten ones in our society are, who are excluded when it comes to human rights? Babies once conceived and prior to birth are so often seen as expendable and truly become the forgotten ones, the amnestos, routinely condemned to death every day. There is no trial, no judge, no jury and no appeals procedure just a death sentence. What is their crime? Babies are innocent of crime but by just being there they are targeted for being present, being a second child, being a girl, being unwanted, or simply being inconvenient. Babies need strong advocacy to bring their plight to world attention. Even convicted murderers are given a fair trial, a right to appeal and then may even have their sentences commuted on grounds of clemency. The lives of many innocent babies are daily deemed to be worthless and undeserving of the most basic of rights.

Mother Theresa in her acceptance speech when she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace told the assembly

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. […] And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love

This theme was also referred to by Pope John Paul 11 on many occasions throughout his pontificate. In his statement for World Day for Peace in 2001 Pope John Paul II pointed out that there can be no real peace without respect for the most vulnerable in our society.

An authentic dialogue between cultures cannot fail to nourish, in addition to sentiments of mutual respect, a lively sense of the value of life itself. Human life cannot be seen as an object to do with as we please, but as the most sacred and inviolable earthly reality. There can be no peace when this most basic good is not protected. It is not possible to invoke peace and despise life.[...] I am speaking of a tragic spiral of death which includes murder, suicide, abortion, euthanasia,[...] To this list we must add irresponsible practices of genetic engineering, such as the cloning and use of human embryos for research, which are justified by an illegitimate appeal to freedom, to cultural progress, to the advancement of mankind. When the weakest and most vulnerable members of society are subjected to such atrocities, the very idea of the human family, built on the value of the person, on trust, respect and mutual support, is dangerously eroded. A civilization based on love and peace must oppose these experiments, which are unworthy of man.

Euthanasia bill defeated

An attempt to introduce physician-assisted suicide into Victoria, Australia, has been defeated by the Victorian parliament. The bill was introduced by Colleen Hartland MP (Greens) but was defeated by 25 votes to 13. It will now pass to the Upper House committee for further consideration.

The Southern Cross Bioethics Institute produced an extensive briefing on euthanasia for SPUC some years ago, including a detailed analysis of the legal situation regarding euthanasia in Australia. Euthanasia was legal in the Northern Territory for a short time but the legislation was overturned, in part because of the objections of the Aboriginal people who make up 25% of the population of NT.

Friday, September 12, 2008

We are not the masters of human life

Congratulations to Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal for having the courage to follow his conscience. Mulier Fortis reports that Cardinal Turcotte, who was given the title of Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996, has returned his insignia after the Order decided to honour abortionist Dr Henry Morgentaler. In a public statement announcing his decision, he wrote:

I must admit that I had hoped that, in light of the large number of protests, the Consultative Council for the Order of Canada would revise its decision. Because it has not done so up to now and because silence on my part might be misinterpreted, I feel obliged in conscience to reaffirm my convictions regarding the respect for human life, from conception to death. We are not the masters of human life; it rests in the hands of God.

The Cardinal will inevitably face criticism for the stand he has taken, so please consider contacting his office to express your support and to thank him for his courageous witness.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is Palin really setting a bad example?

A doctor and vice-president of Canada's Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has expressed his fears that Sarah Palin's Down's Syndrome baby may deter women from having abortions. Andre Lalonde talks as though Sarah Palin is somehow setting a bad example by bringing a disabled baby into the world and making it abundantly obvious that she and her family adore him. The family's happiness and love towards the child "could have detrimental effects on women and their families", according to Dr Lalonde.

But as Krista Flint of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society commented:
"We know overwhelmingly the message families get is 'Don't have this baby, it will ruin your life,' and I don't think people would look at Sarah Palin and see a ruined life. Regardless of politics, I think it's a good example."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Palin Effect

Isn't it amazing how quickly things can change. There is clearly truth in the old adage that a week is a long time in politics. The US presidential election has taken on a new impetus and a new sense of excitement, in the space of just one week. What a difference McCain's choice of Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate has made to the race. There is no doubt that this choice and the resulting increased popularity of the republican team is seen as a 'real and present danger' by the democrats, the liberal media and the pro-abortionists.

There were immediate and sustained attempts by liberal media at character assassination of Governor Palin, which seemed to rebound on those who spread the stories, and then there was a promise by major pro-abortion organisations to pump millions of extra dollars into the campain to elect the pro-abortion democratic team of Obama and Biden.

Despite all of this, recent opinion polls show a huge swing in favour of the Mc. Cain and Palin team.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Unborn Babies Registered as Persons

The French courts have changed the law to allow couples to register their babies if they miscarry at any stage of pregnancy. This is due to the efforts of three women who fought for the right to register their unborn children when they miscarried before 22 weeks, the previous lower age limit for the registration of children in France. Abortion providers such as Marie Stopes appear to have entirely missed the point, claiming:
This move is about giving parents more choice over how they grieve over a tragic event, not giving new rights to miscarried foetuses.
They do not bother to ask the obvious question - whether the countless innocent lives they end before birth every day should also be registered.

As Paul Danon of SPUC rightly comments:
Human life starts at conception, not at birth or at some arbitrary stage in-between, and this is recognition of that fact.

'It will provide comfort to parents who have gone through the tragedy of miscarriage or stillbirth, but it needs to be taken to the next logical stage.

'Giving a name to a child which hasn't survived recognises their humanity, but that's not enough if their right to exist can still be taken away in the form of abortion.'

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ethical Stem Cell Research

Forest Murmurs reports a breakthrough in adult stem cell research which could result in new treatments for schizophrenia using cells derived from human skin.

The research is being carried out at Dr Ian Wilmut's lab, which famously cloned Dolly the Sheep. Ian Wilmut abandoned work on embryonic stem cells in favour of adult stem cells, but curiously, Professor Hans Schoeler from Germany, was quoted in the article as claiming that "the stage has not yet been reached where pluripotent stem cells can replace embryonic stem cells." This seems a little odd given that adult stem cells are producing results and are already being used to treat many human diseases (bone marrow transplant to treat leukaemia, for example) . The production of human embryonic stem cells is completely unacceptable in that it involves killing human embryos. As far as I am aware there are no clinical trials currently being carried out involving human embryonic stem cells. The use of animal embryonic stem cells in mice proved most unsatisfactory as the undifferentiated cells proved to be incapable of producing any result other than the growth of tumours.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Vacation of Reason

The SPUC conference ended today with a talk by Dr James Sherley entitled: From abortion to human embryonic stem cell research: a vacation of reason. Dr Sherley is a senior scientist and leader of the human adult stem cell research laboratory in the Programs in Cancer and Regenerative Biology, at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute.

One of the central points of his talk is that life is 'one continuum' from conception to natural death and that it is only through a 'vacation of reason' that unborn human life is not protected in either the US or the UK. He clarified what pro-lifers have been saying for years, that embryo research will never produce the cures promised in the media, unlike adult stem cell research which is already producing results.

He spoke about irrational legal positions taken in the past that have dehumanised certain sections of the population, such as black slaves in America. Unlike a slave, he said, an embryo in a dish cannot run away, a foetus being aborted cannot protest and the unborn have fewer advocates than other persecuted members of the human family. Dr Sherley concluded by challenging the audience to educate the public about the humanity of the unborn, an irrefutable fact backed up by science.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Conscientious Objection - Right or Duty?

Day two of the SPUC conference saw Dr Jakob Cornides, a lawyer and human rights expert, delivering a scholarly talk on the question of whether conscientious Objection is a right or a duty. He looked at the areas of the law where conscientious objection is sometimes permitted, namely matters of religion, involvement in the armed forces and participation in abortion.

He looked at the potential conflict between freedom of conscience and the duty to obey national laws, stating that it would not be possible or desirable for citizens to exercise complete freedom over which laws they chose to obey, for obvious reasons, but that just laws, rooted in natural law should not place a citizen in a situation where his own conscience would conflict with the law. The fact that the abortion lobby attacks the right to conscientious objection (ironically in the name of choice) is less motivated by a fear that abortion will not be so readily available if physicians can choose not to perform them, but because conscientious objection clauses draw attention to the inherently unjust nature of legal abortion - a just law does not need such provisions.

Cornides made the point that conscience is not just a matter of a person doing what he wants, conscience must be formed and (quoting C.S. Lewis) he suggested that what separated sincere obedience to conscience from sanctimonious self-justification was a person being prepared to accept the dire consequences of that decision, including loss of career and imprisonment.

The abortion lobby places the right to an abortion above the right of doctors and nurses to refuse to commit an act of killing, but in the end the fundamental point regarding abortion and human rights is that an action that deliberately ends the life of an innocent human being cannot be anyone's right since it constitutes the most serious breach of human rights possible.
I previously posted on Dr Cornides' paper Human Rights Pitted Against Man which was published in the International Journal of Human Rights.

Friday, September 5, 2008

SPUC Conference begins

SPUC's annual conference opened this evening with a superb presentation on foetal sentience by Jeronima Teixeira, professor and consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She presented her groundbreaking research into foetal sentience, specifically the capacity of the unborn baby to experience pain. Her research is the first of its kind and provides compelling evidence that the unborn baby is capable of feeling pain from as early as six weeks gestation.

A renowned expert in foetal medicine, Professor Teixeira has also published on the impact of maternal anxiety on foetal development.

One of the most chilling comments she made during her presentation was that in the UK animal foetuses enjoy better legal protection than unborn children. It was easier for her team to gain permission to conduct research on unborn children (as part of legitimate medical treatment) than to gain permission to experiment on animal foetuses, so much so that her team had to conduct its animal research in Australia. She made the point that animals are by definition not conscious and yet enjoy protection. On the other hand, consciousness is often used as a justification for offering no protection to unborn children. It says a great deal about the sort of country Britain has become that animals are more valued than unborn children.

Call for Europe-wide Referendum

Declan Ganley, leader of the Irish NO campaign, has called again for a Europe-wide referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. As he said during a debate in the European Parliament:
"I can tell you as a citizen having read the Treaty and campaigned on it, it is undemocratic and unacceptable to the majority of my country. Nor do I believe it is acceptable to the majority of the citizens in other countries."

Both the president of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering and French president Nicolas Sarkozy have used the outbreak of the Georgia war to argue for a speedy ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, prompting criticisms that a humanitarian crisis is being used to force through a treaty the majority of Irish people have already rejected.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Reaffirming Human Rights for All

I am in Paris attending the conference on human rights Reaffirming Human Rights for All: the Universal Declaration at 60. The conference was introduced by the UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura and the keynote speaker was Simone Veil. UN Director General Ban Ki Moon addressed the conference by video link.

This conference is a lead-in conference to the UN special conference. The choice of Paris as the location of this conference is symbolic as it was here that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agreed 60 years ago. Simone Veil reminded the assembly that the UDHR was negotiated as a reaction to the horrors of the preceding Nazi period and the annihilation of six million Jews and said that NGOs have a vocation to focus on the rights of those who are not recognised, which of course is the reason I am here. The one group of people whose rights are consistently denied are children who are yet unborn and sadly the figures have now reached countless millions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

IVF, Eugenics and Dr Edwards

Some 30,000 women seek IVF treatment every year, even though the success rate is only about 15% and the treatment itself places a huge burden on the woman. Besides the serious health risks involved such as Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, the emotional and financial strain causes many couples to abandon treatment prematurely.

Behind the pictures of smiling IVF practitioners cuddling newborn babies, there is the little-told story of the greed, power and callous indifference of many practitioners to their patients. An article in the Independent published shorly after Louise Brown's 25th birthday stated:
"It is interesting to note that almost all the big names in this business are male. I found only four women IVF doctors, and two of them agreed that the inordinate power of some practitioners was making proper regulation almost impossible. Embryologists and other specialists have, off the record, told me that many disallowed techniques were being used in some clinics, and that this information was concealed during HFEA inspections."

As to the patients themselves, "they were scathing about the commercialisation, ruthless speed, motives and lack of care during and after procedures."

It is sad but not surprising in the current climate, that there are calls for the father of this exploitative and unethical industry, Professor Robert Edwards, to be given a special honour for his part in the killing of millions of human embryos and the pain and emotional distress caused to thousands of women. This is a man who has claimed that it will soon be 'a sin' for a woman to give birth to a disabled child and 'burden society'.

However, with the exception of No Less Human, I have not heard any disability rights groups denounce Dr Edwards' eugenicist comments, just as remarkably few journalists have the courage to investigate and challenge the public image of IVF practitioners as caring, altruistic and responsible. It therefore falls to the humble blogger to circulate the information the media and the medical establishment do to have the courage to release.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

By Their Fruits

On the subject of eugenics, Ann Farmer has published a new book entitled By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control and the Abortion Movement, examining the history of the abortion movement and the link between population control and eugenics.

This book is a timely work of revisionism which challenges the received wisdom that the population control and abortion movements have ever been altruistic or pro-woman in their ethos.

Monday, September 1, 2008

More on Marie Stopes

The news that Marie Stopes is to appear on a Royal Mail stamp has caused outrage among Catholic bloggers. Catholic Perspective,The Hermeneutic of Continuity and Saint Mary Magdalen to name just three have all carried the story of Marie Stopes and her racist, eugenicist ideology.

Just out of interest, I looked up the Marie Stopes International website to see what they have to say about their founder. The timeline of her life has a large gap in it between 1930 and 1958 when she died, which is a pity as they could have informed people about such significant events as Dr Stopes' appearance at the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin, held under the auspices of the Third Reich [1935].

The Marie Stopes website describes Stopes and her fellows as having "played a major role in breaking down taboos about sex and increasing knowledge, pleasure and improved sexual and reproductive health." Of her anti-Catholic, anti-semitic views and her promotion of eugenics, they have not a word to say. Oddly enough, I could not find any links to her publications either. This is surely an unfortunate oversight on the part of the MSI directors - why else would they deprive the public of the opportunity to appreciate Dr Stopes' love poems dedicated to Adolph Hitler?