Saturday, 14 June 2008

Professor knighted for developing the killing of babies with spina bifida and Down's syndrome

Yesterday I blogged about pro-abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to de-restrict abortion up to 24 weeks and to empower midwives and nurses to perform abortion - and the urgent action needed to oppose these amendments.

Today we read that Professor Nicholas Wald, director of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, has been honoured by the United Kingdom for his work of identifying disabled people before they are born in order to kill them. Here's what Alison Davis, who has spina bifida, and who leads No Less Human, a division of SPUC, says about the award:

"Prof. Wald's award, for developing pre-natal tests whose sole aim is to identify disabled babies in the womb so that they can be aborted, is hardly an achievement in the eyes of disabled people. This is not 'prevention' of disability, as he maintains, and as his job title suggests, but direct and deliberate eugenic killing. It is ironic that simultaneously Prof Wald has developed the use of folic acid in pregnancy which can reduce the chance of the baby having spina bifida by 72%. He seems to see no distinction between preventing a baby from having a disability, and killing a baby because s/he has a disability. He clearly has no understanding at all of the value and dignity of people like me with disabilities. This award is highly offensive to all who live with disabling conditions, but particularly those who have conditions which he has spent his life trying to eradicate by abortion. That he is to get an award for work that directly led to killing so many who would otherwise have grown up to be like me is adding insult to injury."

Friday, 13 June 2008

New pro-abortion amendments announced, please leaflet now

Yesterday pro-abortion MPs tabled extremely damaging amendments to the Abortion Act via the HFE bill. It is critical that we act now to resist these amendments as strongly as possible.

The committee stage of the bill has now been completed and pro-abortion MPs have tabled abortion amendments to de-restrict abortions up to 24 weeks, and to empower midwives and nurses to perform abortion. Further amendments may be tabled to seek to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. More babies will die if such amendments are passed.

I know that many people have worked very hard in the fight against this bill. But today we must make a final push to stop these amendments being incorporated into it. Please order a quantity of our new leaflet "No to more abortion" http://www.spuc.org.uk/hfeabort.pdf and distribute them door-to-door, in the street and at churches. Order the leaflets by emailing lizfoody@spuc.org.uk or by phoning SPUC on 020 7091 7091. The new leaflet complements the recent one "How should human life be treated" http://www.spuc.org.uk/hfeleaflet.pdf which is still current, and both leaflets can be distributed separately or together.

Please make it your top priority to distribute as many leaflets as possible in the coming week. The bill's report stage may start at the very beginning of July, so we have to act straight away to have an impact.

It's essential for people to contact their MPs to ask them to vote against amendments extending abortion. MPs can be contacted in writing at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or by email. If you have internet access you can contact your MP (and find out your MP's name) via http://www.spuc.org.uk/mps Please copy any replies you receive to Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, either by email at political@spuc.org.uk or by post to SPUC HQ.

If you share my belief in the power of prayer, please pray for the defeat of the bill and the abortion amendments. 'Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you.'

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

David Cameron backs wider access to abortion

The office of David Cameron, the leader of the Opposition, has written to SPUC, saying that Mr Cameron regards current proposals for wider access to abortion as "practical and sensible". The relevant section of the letter from Mr Cameron's letter starts by noting that Mr Cameron voted for a “modest” reduction in the the 24 week limit for 'social' abortions. The letter goes on to say:

"David is aware of the comments made by the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley MP, in the House on the 12 May. Andrew was advocating that early, medical abortions are preferable to late, surgical ones. Therefore, Andrew was in favour of amending the requirement for two doctors to consent to an abortion being performed and for reviewing the restrictions on nurses providing medical abortions. As David is in favour of allowing women to have abortions, but supports a reduction to the abortion limit, he thinks that this is a practical and sensible proposal. However, it must be emphasized that this is currently a free vote issue."

I warned recently that certain Conservative parliamentarians prominent in the recent abortion debates see wider access to abortion and reducing the 24 week limit for 'social' abortions as two sides of the same coin.

Amendments to enact proposals for wider access to abortion could be tabled at the next stage (the ‘Report’ stage) of the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, expected early in July.

If your MP is a Conservative, please write to him/her to say that the support by Mr Cameron and Mr Lansley for wider access to abortion does no credit to the Conservative party. Other points you can make to your MP can be found on our new leaflet "No to more abortion" http://www.spuc.org.uk/hfeabort.pdf You can contact your MP (and find out your MP's name) via http://www.spuc.org.uk/mps or by writing to your MP at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. Please remember to copy any replies you receive to Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, by email at political@spuc.org.uk or by post to SPUC.

Please order a quantity of our new leaflet "No to more abortion" http://www.spuc.org.uk/hfeabort.pdf and distribute them door-to-door, in the street and at churches. You can order a quantity of leaflets by emailing lizfoody@spuc.org.uk or by telephoning SPUC on 020 7091 7091.

SPUC plans to intervene in assisted suicide case

SPUC plans to intervene in the case of Debbie Purdy (pictured), a lady with multiple sclerosis who is seeking an assurance that her husband will not be prosecuted if he assists her suicide. According to media reports, Mrs Purdy wants to know if her husband will be liable to prosecution if he helps her to travel to Europe to commit suicide. The High Court in London today agreed to grant Mrs Purdy a judicial review hearing at a later date.

SPUC has been at the forefront of the campaign against euthanasia and assisted suicide in the UK for a number of years. SPUC led an intervention in the 2002 case brought by Mrs Dianne Pretty, who was seeking automatic exoneration of her husband should he bring about her death. A number of pro-life groups, medical ethics groups and disability rights organizations supported the intervention. Mrs Pretty lost her case. She subsequently died peacefully. SPUC has also campaigned in relation to other cases where the right to life of disabled people has been undermined - such as the deliberate killing of Down's baby John Pearson in 1981 and the young brain-injured football fan, Tony Bland, who was starved by court order in 1993. SPUC is also a member of the Care Not Killing alliance, which helped defeat Lord Joffe's assisted suicide bill.

Alison Davis, co-ordinator of No Less Human, a division of SPUC, said: "Allowing assisted suicide or weakening the law against it would compromise the protection from harm every vulnerable person deserves. The assumption that dying and incurably disabled people are, in effect, right to want to die and better off dead would be confirmed. It will make all vulnerable people even more vulnerable to a form of fatal discrimination. It will divert resources from the hospice movement, which aims to achieve peaceful deaths for all, to providing deliberate killing as a solution to the challenges illness and disability pose. There is no legal or moral right for anyone to commit suicide.

Ms Davis continued: "I understand completely the despair and blackness which causes some disabled and ill people to feel suicidal, because I once felt the same. I have spina bifida and several other painful disabling conditions. I use a wheelchair full time, and am getting progressively weaker. For ten years I wanted to die and I made several serious attempts to kill myself. My friends, however, helped me to re-establish a sense of my own infinite human value, a value which isn't diminished by being severely disabled and having to depend on others. I am now grateful that assisted suicide remains illegal."

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Killing embryos who may be disabled "a miraculous and wonderful healthcare option"

Alison Davis, the leader of No Less Human, a division of SPUC, has pointed out to me how a story in the Daily Mail glosses over mention of the lethal discrimination against the disabled inherent in the practice of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

Naturally, our hearts go out to parents (pictured) who fear that their children may be affected by a hereditary disabling condition. Newspapers, however, have a responsibility to give their readers the facts, especially on such serious matters for parents and families

Instead, sadly, as is so often the case with media, the misinformation in the Daily Mail story is appalling. Headlined "Baby born free of hereditary gene peril thanks to controversial screening" the Daily Mail fails entirely to point out that embryos affected by the disabling condition are simply destroyed/discarded. Indeed, you might conclude from the Daily Mail that PGD was completely harmless to children! The mother in the story is quoted as saying: "If the technology is there and there is something that can be done that doesn't harm the child or myself, then we should go down that road".

Alison Davis writes in a letter to the Mail: "While naturally happy at the birth of any baby, I was very saddened to read in the Daily Mail that a couple decided to have pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in order to ensure that their baby did not have neurofibromatosis. While, on the face of it, it would seem laudable to prevent a baby having a disabling condition, the article failed to point out the realities of the PGD procedure.

"It is not simply a case of 'preventing' the disabling condition. In PGD, early human embryos are examined under the microscope. Those who are affected by the disabling condition in question are immediately discarded (i.e. thrown away). One of those not affected is then chosen to be implanted in the mother's womb. The eugenic philosophy behind the procedure is very clear. Those who have a disability will always be thrown away.

"This has particular resonance for me, as I have several severe disabling conditions and use a wheelchair full time. I am painfully aware that such procedures disciminate fatally against those like me who would otherwise grow up with a disability. By discarding embryos with disabling conditions we are sending out a very strong negative message to all disabled people - that we are tolerated only because the technology wasn't available to eliminate us at the embryonic stage. It also sends out a very subtle message to those like baby Ethan, who were born after the PGD procedure - that they are loved and wanted only because they are not disabled."

While we know that Alison's letter has appeared in today's printed version of the Daily Mail, the text isn't presently on their website.

Barry Gardiner MP praises China’s crimes against humanity


In last night’s Second Reading debate on the government’s Climate Change Bill, Labour MP Barry Gardiner proposed three options for dealing with climate change, including this one:

“to reduce population—something that politicians in developed countries are very reluctant to discuss, but which Governments in developing countries have already taken on board. People are very keen to accuse China, as we have heard in this debate, over their coal-fired power stations. Such people fail to commend the political initiative that has seen 400 million people not being born to create a carbon footprint in the first place. We need to take the issue of population seriously. It is the third element of the triangle, and it should be incorporated into this Bill.”

Mr Gardiner was clearly praising China’s population control programme, the core of which is a one-child policy implemented by forced abortions, forced sterilisations, compulsory fittings of abortifacient birth control devices, abandonment of children and deliberate killing of orphans through neglect. Coercion is exercised through stiff penalties which include extortionate fines, destruction of property, imprisonment and even torture. I blogged yesterday that leading environmentalist Jonathan Porritt was attempting to bully us with the threat if we don't stop procreating by choice, governments will start copying China’s one-child policy and stop us procreating by force.

The minister in charge of the Climate Change Bill, Joan Ruddock, noted Mr Gardiner’s “important contribution” on “the important issue of population”. It is a poor reflection upon the House of Commons that not one single MP objected to Mr Gardiner’s praise for China’s crimes against humanity. I do hope that MPs who weren't present at the debate will make their objections known once they read what Mr Gardiner said. Readers in the UK may like to write to their MP about the matter.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Global warming no excuse for anti-life measures

The claim that global warming is a man-made threat to the earth and its inhabitants is now being used to call for population control. Jonathon Porritt, a leading environmentalist, has called for more support for "family planning" and "reproductive health" (common euphemisms for abortion) to reduce human numbers and therefore carbon emissions. Mr Porritt has also attacked the Catholic Church for its resistance to anti-life measures, saying: "I really believe The Roman Catholic Church is undermining the future prospects for human kind." It is interesting to note Mr Porritt was appointed as chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission by Tony Blair. I have noted elsewhere Mr Blair's anti-life record in government, and his refusal to repudiate his record since his reception into the Catholic Church.

Mr Porritt is in fact more correctly titled The Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt, 2nd Baronet, one of three children of the 11th Governor-General of New Zealand. New Zealand provides a good example of why the claims of population control advocates are fanciful. Our colleagues at the Population Research Institute (PRI) last year looked at New Zealand, in a well-written essay entitled Eunuchs for the Green Kingdom. In short, not only is New Zealand's birth rate (1.95 children per woman of child-bearing age) below replacement level (2.1), but the country has one of the world's lowest population densities, amidst fertile countryside. No over-population there, though inconvenient truths don't stop some environmentalists calling for even fewer children to be born. Perhaps Jonathon Porritt would like to tell us which of his two siblings or his two children should not have been born in order to save the earth?

Whatever the evidence regarding man-made global warming, the right to life and the right to found a family are fundamental, universal human rights enshrined in legally-binding international conventions. Mr Porritt is attempting to bully us with the threat that if we don't stop procreating by choice, the government will stop us by force (in fact, Mr Porritt claims to have counted the amount of carbon emissions China's brutal one-child policy of forced abortions has prevented).