Monday, 24 March 2008

Let’s not support charities who refuse charity to the unborn

The open letter to Members of Parliament from the Association of Medical Research Charities on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is par for the course.

They say: “We of course respect and acknowledge the sensitive feelings that surround this issue. However, public understanding of the importance of the use of early stage embryos and ensuing stem cell research remains robust; there is a real acknowledgement of its potential for those who are ill. Recent surveys by MORI and HFEA in 2003 and 2007 respectively, showed that the vast majority of the British public - 70% and 79% - support the use of human embryos for medical research to find treatments for serious diseases and for fertility research.”

In other words, however concerned they are for members of the human family who qualify to benefit from their charitable aims, the AMRC’s concern is refused to the smallest, most vulnerable members of the human family of whom the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says: "The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." (Declaration on the Rights of the Child,1959). This is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world.

Why not check the AMRC’s list of charities and see if there are any there that you, or that people you know, support?

With the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill ready to sweep away any last vestige of respect for the dignity and right to life of the human embryo, isn’t it time to draw a line in the sand and to say to charities who lack all charity for the youngest human beings, human embryos, that we will not only not support them, we will spread the word and urge others not to support them too?

So I suggest that concerned readers of this post, write to your chosen charities from the AMRC’s list, challenge them on the points in the AMRC’s open letter and if they won’t budge, make it clear that you won’t support them any longer and that you will urge others to do the same. Please let me know what responses you receive. You can find helpful information for your letters here.

For background information on the Association of Medical Research Charities, check here in SPUC’s Charities Bulletin.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

“Stop exploiting embryonic human beings”: Bishop of Lancaster plea to Gordon Brown

In a passionate Easter homily, the Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue is once again fighting strongly in defence of human life in the public forum saying: “As your bishop, I want to join my voice to that of Cardinal Keith O’Brien and others, in protesting in the strongest terms against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill”. See my blog of yesterday: Courageous Scottish Cardinal speaks out

Bishop O'Donoghue tells Gordon Brown bluntly to "stop the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill". In another passage, listing the many guises of death in Britain today, he refers to
"euthanasia through the withdrawal of food and fluids" and says "here the numbers are countless".

Last week, I blogged on the calm eloquence with which the Bishop of Lancaster stood his ground before the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee – defending not only the position of the Catholic church, but also defending human life, parental rights, and the rights of the family.

Last night, Bishop O’Donoghue preached at the Easter vigil Mass with passionate eloquence. Please write to the media supporting what he says and write to your Member of Parliament to oppose the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Full a full briefing on the Bill, click here.

Finally: Write to Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue to thank him for his clarity, and for the moral authority of his Easter message – to the Catholic faithful, to the general public, and to the British government. Write to him at bishop@lancasterrcdiocese.org.uk

Here’s an extract from his homily which I urge you to read in full:

"We must hold on to the hope of these words: Jesus conquered death! We need to hold onto this truth today because death takes on so many guises; through legalised abortion – that kills nearly 200,000 children a year, through experimentation on the unborn, that has resulted in the deaths of 2.2 million, and euthanasia through the withdrawal of food and fluids, here the numbers are countless.

"Jesus has conquered death, but the powers of death and evil still strive to overcome the light of love and life. The tragedy is that the authority and power of Government seem to be behind the greatest threat to the dignity and rights of human life.

"As your bishop, I want to join my voice to that of Cardinal Keith O’Brien and others, in protesting in the strongest terms against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. If this bill becomes the law of the land, it will allow the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos for medical experimentation.

"Supporters of this so called ‘medical’ experimentation, justify it by offering the hope that at some unknown date in the future the dissection and destruction of unborn human life will lead to cures for truly terrible diseases, such as cancers, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and M.S.

"All right thinking people will agree that we must seek to discover cures for diseases that cause so much human suffering. But compassion cannot result in us exploiting and destroying the life of unborn human beings.

"Many in government, the media and research are so strident in promoting research on embryonic humans that they forget to mention that the greatest strides in discovering cures derive from adult stem cell research - not the defenceless unborn.

"We need to ask who are these vested interests in the promotion of experimentation on embryonic humans and the creation of animal-human hybrids. I read about them but I’ve yet to find them in person.

"The Prime Minister has made it clear that he wants Britain to be the world's number one centre for genetic and stem cell research. He sees it as building up the hi-tech sector of British industry and contributing to economic growth.

"It is good to develop British industry and foster economic growth, but not through exploiting and destroying embryonic human persons.

"A society that seeks medical cures and economic development at the cost of human rights, human dignity and human life is ‘monstrous’. It is not the defenceless, human-animal embryo, that is ‘monstrous’; it is we ourselves who have become ‘monsters’ for allowing the exploitation of the unborn for our economic and medical gain.

"On this holy night when we celebrate life conquering death, I want to make two appeals as your Bishop:

"First, to the Prime Minister and his ministers. Please stop the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Stop exploiting embryonic human beings, and support adult stem cell research instead…

"…Second, I call on the Catholic community - clergy and laity - to speak with one voice and insist that parliament: protects and cherishes human life. Pray, Protest, and Petition your Member of Parliament to stop this monstrous medical experimentation on human beings.

"Never give up hope, nor allow it to be dimmed, because the light of Christ shines out in the darkness, and the darkness can never overcome Him."

The bishop also released a robust press release in advance of his homily which you can read here. His postal address is in the press release.