Saturday, 14 February 2009

Don't be fooled: Obama and Clinton are funding forced abortions in China

In a horrifying report in today's Times, Chinese women are said to be angry about China's policy of forced abortion, compulsory sterilisation and infanticide

It's a tragic irony that, reportedly, Chinese women (and possibly The Times) are pinning their hopes on the Obama administration - and specifically on Hillary Clinton, Obama's Secretary of State who's visiting China this week - to stand up for human rights and speak up for women on this issue.

One of Barack Obama's first actions as President was to restore funding to UNFPA (and other organisations promoting abortion overseas), whose involvement in the forced abortion regime in China and elsewhere is all too well documented.

  • In 1979, the very year that China introduced its brutal one-child policy, UNFPA signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Chinese government.
  • In 1983, the year commonly regarded as the worst year for coercion, UNFPA gave one of its first two Population Awards to the minister-in-charge of China’s State Family Planning Commission. (The other award that year was given to Indira Gandhi, the Indian prime minister, whose government enforced compulsory birth control including sterilisation.)
  • In 1985, Rafael Salas, UNFPA’s then executive director, told Premier Zhao Ziyang that "China should feel proud of the achievements made in her family planning program." (reported by The People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper).
  • In 1991, UNFPA's then executive director Nafis Sadik said: "China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth.” (Xinhua, 11 April 1991) In 2002 China's State Family Planning Commission gave Nafis Sadik its own Population Award.
  • In 1999, UNFPA aided and abetted "ethnic cleansing" by indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic by assisting his regime's plan "to limit or forbid the enormous increase of the birthrate in Kosovo".
  • In 2001, Thoraya Obaid, the new UNFPA executive director, said that over the past 20 years, China had seen notable achievements made in population control by implementing the family planning policy.
  • In 2001, research by the (pro-life) Population Research Institute (PRI) found that UNFPA was complicit in population control against Muslims in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
  • In 2003, UNFPA exploited the aftermath of the war in Iraq to launch a campaign to provide "reproductive health" to Iraqi refugees. ("Reproductive health" is a euphemism which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined as including abortion on demand.

In The Times report about Chinese women's growing anger we read:

" ' ... Six days before the due date, 10 strong strangers came to my house, forced me into a truck then took me to a family planning clinic, where the doctor gave me an injection,' she said.

"'The child began struggling in my womb and one of these scum even kicked me in the abdomen. Then the baby came out and they threw it into a rubbish bin. I could even see it was still moving ... '"

The Times report continues:

" ... Clinton annoyed the Chinese regime with a speech at a 1995 women's conference in Beijing in which she said: 'It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have an abortion or sterilised against their will.'

"Now Clinton is predicted to tackle Beijing on a broader range of issues than the economics-focused approach taken by the Bush administration. She has signalled that she will take a firmer stand on human rights ... "

Whatever Hillary Clinton's human rights rhetoric, the only way Chinese women can judge her real intentions is to see whether or not she disassociates herself from Barack Obama's policy spelled out clearly last month in these words: " … I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund ... "

So I say to the women of China and to The Times - Don't be fooled: As things stand, Obama and Clinton are funding the forced abortion regime in your country.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Bonuses for doctors to give contraceptive implants is financing the culture of death

The government has announced today yet another disastrous policy - bonuses for doctors to give contraceptive implants and jabs to teenage girls, in order to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate.

This has a faint echo of the global financial crisis, in which the senior management of failed banks are still being paid bonuses despite their complicity in the crisis. The government's teenage pregnancy strategy and its accompanying provision of more contraception and so-called sexual health services is an abject, manifest failure. Below are my comments (JS) on extracts from the government's document issued today.

"We are also investing £6 million over the three years 2008-09 to 2010-11 to support PCTs and further education colleges to improve information and advice on contraception to young people in further education. Over time, we expect these colleges to extend the range of health advice available, to support students in developing healthy lifestyles. Further education colleges and PCTs will be expected to forge strong links, together with other providers of health and wellbeing services, including the voluntary sector." JS: This means that once further education colleges are flooded with birth control, the government will enforce access to abortion.

"Evidence demonstrates that England compares poorly with the best-performing countries in a number of key public health areas." JS: And who has been in overall charge of public health in England since 1997? Hasn't it been the Labour government, the authors of the document?

"It is important that young people have access to consistent, evidence-based advice to support them in making healthy choices, and that society supports them in those choices. " JS: The evidence shows that using birth control and having abortions are unhealthy choices. The Government’s strategy of promoting birth control, including abortion, as some sort of panacea for society’s ills is not solving any problems - as the secular media have themselves pointed out again and again.

"Since the launch of our Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, we have reversed the previous upward trend in teenage pregnancy" JS: In fact, the latest figures show that the rate of teenage pregnancies has increased. And the record shows that the number of teenage pregnancies had already started falling before the strategy began; and the rate of decrease started to slow once the strategy began to be implemented on the ground.

"[W]hile we have seen reductions in some sexually transmitted infections (STIs), young people aged 16 to 24 still account for nearly half of STIs diagnosed despite making up only 12% of the population." JS: The rate of STIs has increased massively since the start of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. This is hardly surprising. Professor David Paton, who holds a chair in Economics at Nottingham University, has shown in a paper entitled "The economics of family planning and underage conceptions" (this paper is not available free online, but if you would like a copy please contact me) that family planning, and increased access to it, increases the likelihood that teenagers will engage in sexual activity.

"We have set out clear guidance to local areas on what works to reduce teenage pregnancy, drawn from the international evidence base and learning from areas with declining rates. Critical to accelerating progress is improving young people’s knowledge and use of effective contraception. Research in the USA found that 86% of the decline in the US teenage pregnancy rate was due to improved contraceptive use." JS: As if the government would know what works! The government only really listens to abortion and contraception providers, who have a vested interest in ensuring that the "evidence base" presented to governments suggests that governments give them more money and business opportunities. This research, on which the government relies, is no exception. A report in Science Daily about this research refers to "the study by Dr. Santelli of the Mailman School in conjunction with researchers at the Guttmacher Institute". The Guttmacher Institute is a semiautonomous division of The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the leading pro-abortion body in the United States.

JS: Indeed, Professor Paton points out in the paper to which I refer above: "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..."Elsewhere, Prof. Paton discusses a principle which in the insurance industry is called “moral hazard”. The principle is that the greater the level of coverage afforded by any insurance scheme the more likely the insurance holder will be to take chances. Applying this principle to the current debate, Prof. Paton explains: "For those youngsters who are not opposed in principle to abortion, it provides a way in which, if pregnancy occurs, birth can be avoided, i.e. if pregnancy occurs either through failed or non-use of contraception, there is a possible let out clause."

"We are therefore looking for a step change in both awareness and provision of the full range of contraception, including LARC [long acting reversible methods of contraception]." JS: "A step change" means more pressure for abortion, not least because LARCs act not just contraceptively but also abortifaciently.

"From 2009-10 onwards, GPs will be given greater incentives, through the Quality and Outcomes Framework, to provide advice on sexual health – specifically advice on contraception, particularly long acting methods. To strengthen provision of contraception at abortion services, the standard NHS contract for 2009-10 includes a new clause to ensure that abortion providers improve access to contraception." JS: This means that doctors will be paid to facilitate increased sexual activity and abortion.

"Key to ensuring that all young people get the high quality support they need is for local authorities and PCTs to work together on joint needs assessments and to jointly commission contraception and sexual health services in the health, school/college and community youth settings that meet the needs of their teenage population." JS: There is nothing here at all about the role of parents. This glaring omission is yet more evidence that the government is determined to introduce children into the abortion culture - the culture of death which they work so hard to promote.

"We will shortly be publishing best practice guidance to provide specialist advice on commissioning reproductive health services." JS: The government defines "reproductive health" as including a right to abortion on demand.

"Working with the National Children’s Bureau, we will be developing a resource pack for schools..." JS: The National Children's Bureau sounds like an impartial official body. In fact, it is a radically pro-abortion and anti-family non-governmental organisation.

"To improve young people’s awareness, the Department of Health, with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, are developing a new information campaign aimed at increasing young people’s knowledge and trust in the full range of effective contraceptive methods, to be launched later this year. " JS: Trust? How can anyone trust contraception? To use contraception is to play Russian roulette with unplanned pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease - the more one uses it, the more likely those things are to happen. There is no mention in the government's document about reducing the frequency of sexual intercourse, delaying the age of first intercourse or restricting intercourse to one long-term partner, let alone anything about abstinence. Yet it is the consistent and thorough promotion of abstinence encouragement which has been proven to work safely.

One needs to ask: Cui bono? Who benefits from the government's strategy? It would seem to be abortion providers, contraceptive manufacturers, the sex industry, and those doctors and other health professionals who let down their profession by going along with the government's policy. All at the expense of young people's health and happiness and disposable unborn children.

If you are reading this in England and Wales - and if you concerned about what the Government is imposing on our children, perhaps you will organize a meeting in your area at which I, or one of the SPUC team would be happy to speak. Contact me at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Human Rights Council notes Malaysia's low maternal mortality and strict abortion law

Yesterday in Geneva, the Human Rights Council "reviewed the fulfilment of human rights obligations by Malaysia". Pat Buckley, representing the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, was present at the meeting for the presentation of Malaysia's national report which highlighted "strides made in the area of maternal health".

This is significant in view of Malaysia's comparatively strict abortion policies and the pro-abortion lobby's claim that Barack Obama's executive order to allow funding for abortion overseas is necessary in order to combat maternal mortality.

Malaysia's experience is reflected in other parts of the world with comparatively restrictive abortion legislation such as Northern Ireland where the maternal mortality rate is the lowest in the UK; and the Republic of Ireland, with its constitutional ban on abortion, which has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world, according to figures published by the World Health Organization in 2007.

Pat reports on the Holy See's intervention which praised Malaysia's achievement in these words:
"While maintaining its restrictive abortion policies, Malaysia has made great strides in achieving the [Millennium Development Goal] on maternal health. The level of maternal mortality has diminished close to that of the most developed countries, according to the UNDP [United Nations Development Programme]. A near hundred percent of births is now assisted by skilled birth attendants. Malaysia has to be commended for this achievement."
Highlighted at the Human Rights Council meeting was the World Development Report 2006, published by the World Bank, which indicated that, by making midwives widely available in rural areas, Malaysia dramatically reduced maternal mortality rates. The World Bank report states:
"Despite huge improvements in health, survival, and fertility around the world in recent decades, global maternal mortality has not declined significantly. Two exceptions are Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In Sri Lanka the maternal mortality ratio—the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births—dropped from 2,136 in 1930 to 24 in 1996. In Malaysia it dropped from 1,085 in 1933 to just 19 in 1997.

"What can account for this impressive decline? Improving access for rural and disadvantaged communities was an important part of the strategy in both countries. Sri Lanka and Malaysia made competent, professional midwives and supervisory nurse-midwives widely available in rural areas. Midwives assisted deliveries in homes and small rural hospitals and performed initial treatment in the event of complications. They were given a steady supply of appropriate drugs and equipment and supported by improved communication, transportation, and backup services. Besides reducing financial and geographic barriers, they also helped overcome cultural obstacles and allegiances to traditional practices. Because midwives were available locally and were well respected, they developed links with communities and partnerships with traditional birth attendants.

"Malaysia and Sri Lanka pursued other complementary strategies. Transportation (in Malaysia) and transportation subsidies (in Sri Lanka) were provided for emergency visits to the hospital. In Malaysia, health programs were part of integrated rural development efforts that included investment in clinics, rural roads, and rural schools. Similarly, in Sri Lanka, the government invested in free primary and secondary education, free health care, and food subsidies for all districts. The concept was that basic health care acts in synergy with education and other types of infrastructure. For example, better roads make it easier to get to rural health facilities and facilitate transportation of obstetric emergencies. By addressing the multidimensionality of equity, these countries made significant health gains. Dramatic improvements in maternal mortality are thus possible.

"Just as important, the experiences of Malaysia and Sri Lanka show that these can be attained with only modest expenditures. Since the 1950s, public expenditures on health services have hovered between 1.4 and 1.8 percent of GDP in Malaysia and averaged 1.8 percent in Sri Lanka, with spending on maternal and child health (MCH) services amounting to less than 0.4 percent of GDP in both countries. Countries with similar income levels have significantly higher health expenditures and similar, if not higher, maternal mortality ratios. Source: Pathmanathan and others (2003)." (Page 144)

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

"President Blair" of Europe and President Obama - the pro-abortionists' dream team

"Tony Blair is poised to become the first President of Europe after it was confirmed that French leader Nicolas Sarkozy is determined to help him win the post", the Daily Mail reported last week.

And about this time last month the Guardian carried an interview with Tony Blair in which he suggested he wanted to be European President.

It might seem a distant prospect ... but if Blair became President of Europe during Obama's presidency of the US, it would be the pro-abortionists' dream team.

Tony Blair, the UK’s former Prime Minister is one of the world’s leading architects of the culture of death. Since being received into the Catholic Church he has refused to repudiate the anti-life laws and policies he steadfastly pursued throughout his political career. Indeed he's reportedly determined to continue his anti-life, anti-family agenda.

As for Obama - just check his record on the US National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) website "A closer look at Senator Obama's position on abortion" And last month, in one of his first Presidential actions, he signed an order "that will put hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into the hands of organizations that aggressively promote abortion as a population-control tool in the developing world" according to NRLC.

Obama's executive order to abort the world's poor represents a policy pursued relentlessly by Tony Blair's government and is a policy with which he remains closely associated through the Faiths Act Fellowship, an initiative of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, on which I blogged recently. It's also a policy closely associated with Tony Blair's wife Cherie Blair, also a Catholic, who endorses the work of CEDAW committee (as well as other radical pro-abortion groups) - and specifically its work on "reproductive rights". The CEDAW committee is notorious among pro-lifers for using the CEDAW convention to bully countries into allowing abortion, even though the convention doesn't mention abortion.

Earlier this week, I reported on LifeSite's interview with Archbishop Burke who said: "There's not a question that a Catholic who publicly, and after admonition, supports pro-abortion legislation is not to receive Holy Communion and is not to be given Holy Communion". I made the point that it would be good to obtain further advice from the archbishop as to what ordinary Catholics can do to assist their priests and bishops in doing "their duty", as he puts it, in this regard. With Tony Blair's interest in the European presidency reportedly powerfully backed by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French leader, that advice is now more urgently needed.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Family doctors oppose early medical abortion which politicians want

The pro-life movement in Britain and Northern Ireland will be encouraged to hear of the report in today's GP Newspaper Online about a high level of opposition to abortion amongst GPs.

The report states:
"61% of GPs who responded to this newspaper’s GP Attitudes survey did not believe that practices should be offering [early medical abortions] at all."
GP Newspaper Online goes on to say that more than half of GPs believe that offering early medical abortions will increase the overall abortion rate.

This is significant in view of the Government's recommendation to primary care trusts to "establish an early medical abortion service and also a local abortion service where there is none currently ... "

In addition, my readers may recall that David Cameron MP, the leader of the Conservative Party, and Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, are on record as supporting early medical abortions and for reviewing the (legal) restritions on nurses providing medical abortions.

All of this tells us not to lose heart. There is a lot of support in the community for pro-life values - and opposition to abortion - and we must keep up the fight, not least by reaching out to doctors and nurses with our campaigns, and keeping up the pressure on our politicians. In this connection, let me know if you want to help in SPUC's general election campaign. Contact me at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Monday, 9 February 2009

The end of human cloning

"We got beautiful little hybrid embryos, but it didn't work no matter how hard we tried", said Dr. Robert Lanza of Massachusetts-based Advanced Cell Technology, one of the authors of a study* which shows (as Reuters puts it): Animal-human clones don't work.

James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. from the US (pictured), a leading stem cell scientist, senior scientist at Boston Biomedical Research Institute, who has travelled the world pointing out the inefficacy of embryonic stem cell research to his scientific colleagues, says:
"What should we, the people, think, when the experts disagree on an issue that affects us all deeply and in ramifying ways? And, more importantly, what should we expect from our elected representatives when they consider the cooing of their bevies of famous experts to be above the earnest contention of moral experts? Well, we could passively wait to see if either side proves to be right long after irreparable harm has been done to ourselves and to our fellows. We could resign ourselves to a condition in which many of our elected representatives rarely represent the rights of any but those who are the strongest economically and politically. Or, we could use our common sense to decry deception when we see it and reject such a state of affairs. Moreover, we should demand no less from our representatives, no matter how high their rank.

"In 2008, ignoring many voices of morality, ethics, and scientific reason, the British Parliament approved the controversial HFE bill, which included allowances for scientists to produce and destroy animal-human hybrid embryos. Approving MPs wrapped themselves tightly in the deceptive cloaks of “necessary and desirable” and dispatched underneath them the true principles at issue, ethical and sound. When experts disagree, we the people, and our representatives, must look beyond what is being said, to who is saying it, and why. Gentle UK scientists, of ethical bearing, with expert knowledge, and nothing to gain, courageously risked their station in their profession to object that making animal-human hybrid embryos was not only unethical, but also unsound scientifically. Not only did they adamantly predict that it would not work and, therefore, waste the people’s resources, but they also knew that it could not work. These scientists stepped forward to protect embryonic persons and the people’s resources from their noted colleagues, who called their protests rubbish, who misled the desperate hopes of the sick and injured, and who had everything to gain, starting with the people’s research funds. Where conflict of interest lives, there also live impropriety and dishonesty.

"So, here we are now, less than a year later, and the UK now has the benefit of a report from a prominent U.S. stem cell company announcing sheepishly that animal-human hybrid embryos are [rubbish] (Chung et al., 2009, Reprogramming of Human Somatic Cells Using Human and Animal Oocytes. Cloning and Stem Cells 11, 1-11). For those trained in the science, this is not news, but instead a completed fate that was known from the beginning. If those UK scientists and selected MPs, who insisted on this research so that they might obtain [government] funds and other gains, were in fact genuine in their stated motivation, then we know now that, at a minimum, they are not 'experts' at all.

"Those who did and who continue to speak out against HFEA-sponsored human embryo research should not overlook a much more important revelation of the new Chung report that the news media missed as the more important finding. This report also discloses the first detailed analyses of human-human cloned embryos. Difficulty obtaining sufficient human eggs to conceive these human clones was the basis for pursuing animal-human hybrid embryo cloning in the first place. The report clearly shows that, for their promised use for new human therapies, cloned human embryos are also too defective. So, the big story that needs to be reported is that the Chung report discloses that human cloning itself is dead on arrival.

"We the people must also not overlook the human tragedy of the Chung study. It reports the in vitro conception of 49 cloned human embryos and 135 animal-human hybrid embryos. Though even honorable scientific experts might debate the humanity of the 135, there is no doubt that 49 human beings died senselessly and avoidably for this research, which yielded what was already known with a high degree of certainty. In the future, we the people, and more importantly our government representatives, must do better to listen to the experts who have nothing to gain but the honorable protection of innocent human lives."
* Young Chung, Colin E. Bishop, Nathan R. Treff, Stephen J. Walker, Vladislav M. Sandler, Sandy Becker, Irina Klimanskaya, Wan-Song Wun, Randall Dunn, Rebecca M. Hall, Jing Su, Shi-Jiang Lu, Marc Maserati, Young-Ho Choi, Richard Scott, Anthony Atala, Ralph Dittman, Robert Lanza. Reprogramming of Human Somatic Cells Using Human and Animal Oocytes. Cloning and Stem Cells, February 2009 DOI: 10.1089/clo.2009.0004

Sunday, 8 February 2009

More advice needed from Archbishop Burke

Archbishop Raymond Burke (pictured), the head of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church's top canonical court, has said regarding Catholics who support pro-abortion legislation: "There's not a question that a Catholic who publicly, and after admonition, supports pro-abortion legislation is not to receive Holy Communion and is not to be given Holy Communion" (LifeSiteNews reports).

Archbishop Burke continues:

"The Church's law is very clear. The person who persists publicly in grave sin is to be denied Holy Communion, and it [Canon Law] doesn't say that the bishop shall decide this. It's an absolute."

He says: "I don't understand the continual debate that goes on about it."

This is an interesting and important statement about church law, in my view. It reflects, after all, what an awful lot of Catholics and non-Catholics are thinking who are a considerably less qualified in canon law.

Archbishop Burke offers clear guidance as to how bishops and priests must proceed with regard to prominent Catholics who support pro-abortion legislation. The archbishop says: "There's not a question that a Catholic who publicly, and after admonition, supports pro-abortion legislation is not to receive Holy Communion and is not to be given Holy Communion" (My emphasis).

LifeSite's report continues: "When asked what the solution was, [Archbishop Burke] responded, "Individual bishops and priests simply have to do their duty. They have to confront politicians, Catholic politicians, who are sinning gravely and publicly in this regard. And that's their duty. And if they carry it out, not only can they not be reproached for that, but they should be praised for confronting this situation."

It would be good to obtain further advice from the archbishop as to what ordinary Catholics can do to assist their priests and bishops in doing "their duty" as he puts it.