Saturday, 19 September 2009

Council of Europe due to debate pro-abortion report on 2 October

I've just received the following alert from the European Centre for Law and Justice:

"On October 2nd, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will vote on a pro-abortion report and resolution (Doc. 11992) “Fifteen years since the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action”, drafted by Ms Christine McCafferty, (UK Soc.) [pictured] from the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee.

"This report encourages the Committee of Ministers to start developing a European convention on sexual and reproductive health, and to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights by 2015." [According to the World Health Organisation's definition "sexual and reproductive health" services includes the provision of abortion on demand.]

"Here is its official Summary:

"'2009 is the fifteenth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action; women, children and their families cannot wait any longer for the promises made fifteen years ago by leaders of 179 nations.'

"'The rapporteur thinks that funding for this programme must increase, sexual and reproductive rights must be upheld, and policies should respond to needs and not be coercive. Health systems must be strengthened, in order to improve lives and achieve the promises of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular, Goal 5 to improve maternal health.

"'A range of family planning, including emergency contraceptives, safe abortion, skilled birth attendants and obstetric emergency care, must be accessible, affordable, appropriate and acceptable to all, irrespective of age, community or country.'

"Within other aspects, the report acknowledges a connexion between climate change and population control.

"Link to the report:
http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc09/EDOC11992.pdf

Watch this space for advice from SPUC about how to take action against the report.

"This report will be voted in the context of the upcoming International Parliamentary Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action to be held in October 2009"
http://www.unfpa.org/parliamentarians/ipci/addis/docs/addis_outline_09_eng.doc

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Thursday, 17 September 2009

European Parliament in radical move against member state government

Deep concern was expressed today at the demand for a review of a European Union (EU) member-state's legislation on the protection of minors.

Pat Buckley, international spokesman for SPUC, commented from Dublin:
"The EU is not supposed to have the power to review the domestic law of member states and this represents a new departure. The European Parliament has today voted to instruct its Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) to review a new law recently passed in Lithuania. The European Parliament has been spurred to this attempt to extend its sphere of influence by the Lithuanian Parliament's move, which has not yet come into force, but which seeks to stop minority sexual groups seeking to influence children.

"The FRA is the direct successor of the body which attacked Slovakia for seeking to protect the right of conscientious objection of pro-life doctors and nurses. Since it has such a strong pro-abortion track record, we are concerned that the next target will be one of those countries such as Malta or Ireland, that uphold the right to life of the child before birth.

"What is so deeply disturbing is that, firstly, an unelected Agency is being used to interfere in issues beyond the Parliament's competence, and secondly, that that Agency seems to oppose foundational rights like the right to life of the unborn, freedom of conscience and parental rights.

"On October 2, the Irish republic is being asked to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty. Today's motion is a timely warning which gives powerful ammunition to opponents of Lisbon."
Pat paid tribute to the work of the various groups that had lobbied against the EP motion. MEPs passed the on a roll-call vote by 349 to 218 with 46 abstentions. (57%, 35.5%, 7.5%).

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Are pro-abortion doctors more concerned about abortion rights than human health?

A study has found that women who have an abortion may run an increased risk of subsequently giving birth to premature or low-weight babies. Researchers from Toronto, Canada, reviewed evidence from 37 studies from around the world between 1965 and 2001.

It seems, however, that the more evidence which emerges about the harm abortion causes, the more the supporters of abortion insist that abortion not be restricted. Dr Prakesh Shah. the study's author, said:
"I think it should not be used as a way of saying, this is bad and we should not be doing this kind of thing. There is an association which we should be aware of, and we should let mothers be aware. I don't want unintended pregnancies to increase."
And Professor Philip Steer, editor in chief of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the journal in which the study was published, said:
"The most important message is not that this should be used in any way to prevent women having a termination of pregnancy. The effect has to be balanced against the serious effects of forcing women to continue with unwanted pregnancies. Any medical procedure is likely to have side-effects."
Dr Shah and Professor Steer unwittingly highlight several key points to be made against abortion:
  • Abortion IS bad. As well as being lethal to unborn children, it is bad for mothers and bad for children born to women who previously had abortions.
  • Doctors and medical bodies often fail to make mothers aware about the dangers of abortion.
  • Abortion can't prevent unintended pregnancies. In fact, the availability of abortion may increase the number of unintended pregnancies (the phenomenon of "moral hazard", as explained by Professor David Paton)
  • Abortion is not a right - the law should (and still does in Britain, at least in some circumstances) prevent women having abortions.
  • Abortion is not merely the "termination of pregnancy" (birth is the normal termination of pregnancy) but the killing of an unborn child, an innocent member of the human family, whose equal right to life is upheld in international human rights law
  • The overwhelming majority of pregnancies are the result of consensual sexual activity. And although some pregnancies may be unwanted or unintended, and some expectant mothers may have conflicted emotions about their unborn child, no child is ever in fact unwanted. As the late Mother Teresa said: "Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted, and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child, and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortions. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents, and have grown up so full of love and joy!"
  • Abortion may be a medical(ised) procedure, but it is not medical treatment. It cures no illness and heals no wound - in fact, it creates new ones. The high risks identified in the study are not mere standard side-effects. Does Professor Steer really think the health and maybe even the lives of future generations should be airily dismissed in the name of the ideology of choice?

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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Slovak MEP defends European children against anti-family assaults

In a speech to the European Parliament, Anna Zaborska, the pro-life/pro-family Slovak MEP, has strongly defended moves by some European countries to protect both born and unborn children against elements within the European institutions. In particular, Mrs Zaborska defended the right of Lithuania to pass laws to protect children against sexualisation. Mrs Zaborka is greatly concerned, as I am, about the way that the European institutions are exceeding their remits in an attempt to impose abortion and other evils on European countries. The full text of Mrs Zaborska's brief speech is below.
"In 2006, Slovakia was condemned by the EU institutions because of a freedom of conscience clause in its national legislation.

"Today a national law from Lithuania which aims to protecting minors from sexualisation by society is condemned by the EU institutions.

"I consider our meeting to be a manipulation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This text is not a legally binding instrument.

"The EU Parliament is ignoring the legitimacy of the national Parliament of a Member State.

"The EU Parliament also requests an Opinion of the Fundamental Rights Agency, but this Agency has no mandate to assess the legal quality of a national law.

"I wonder what the Irish people will think about these procedures in advance of the upcoming referendum on the Lisbon treaty. What else can they think but that soon, Ireland also will be condemned because of its laws to protect the family and life?

"I profoundly regret that the European Parliament does not respect the basic principles of diversity and national culture, and that we question the protection of children and the right of parents to educate them."
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Let's help Ireland avoid a British-style pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Act

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland is recommending legislation which would allow euthanasia by denial of food, fluids and reasonable medical treatment. The Commission's proposals mirror almost exactly the British government's Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Blair government's claims about that Act. The Blair government's Mental Capacity Act 2005 enshrined and expanded euthanasia by neglect in English law.

The (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005 enshrined the principles of the 1992 Bland judgment in English statute law, expanded to cover a much wider range of circumstances. Tony Bland, who was severely brain-damaged, was dehydrated to death following a ruling by the Law Lords that tube-delivered food and fluids was medical treatment and could be withdrawn from him in order to cause his death. The Law Reform Commission of Ireland's proposals draw heavily on the Bland judgment, similar subsequent English court judgments and on the (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Commission's press release says:
“Under the proposed legislation, an advance care directive could include an instruction to refuse life-sustaining treatment (treatment which is intended to sustain or prolong life and that replaces or maintains the operation of vital bodily functions that are incapable of independent operation) … The Commission recommends that a statutory Code of Practice on Advance Care Directives should contain detailed guidance for health care professionals, including the circumstances in which artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) may be considered to be basic care or, as the case may be, artificial life-sustaining treatment.”
As well as advance directives or so-called living wills, the Irish Commission's proposals include powers of attorney over healthcare. In this regard, the Irish Commission's proposals may be even more radical that the pro-euthanasia (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005. Paragraph 3.100 of the Commission's report reads:
"Under the Code of Practice for the English Mental Capacity Act 2005, a person appointed under a lasting (enduring) power of attorney can only consent to or refuse life-sustaining treatment on behalf of the donor where the donor has specifically stated that they want the donor to have this authority. The Commission considers, however, that due to the importance of promoting patient autonomy, the proxy must have the power to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment."
Surely the good people of Ireland, many thousands of whom every year work to resist the repeated attempts to undermine its pro-life constitution, will not stand idly by at this attempt to import silent euthanasia? Please write to newspapers and other media outlets in the Irish Republic to:
  • alert people that the Commission's proposals mirror the English Mental Capacity Act 2005, which has entrenched and expanded euthanasia; and
  • urge the Irish government and Dail (parliament) to reject the Commission's proposals.
Fr John Fleming, SPUC's bioethical consultant, explains the (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005 as follows. The Act provides for euthanasia by omission of reasonable care, Fr Fleming says. It does this by a faulty understandings of ordinary care, autonomy and “best interests”.

Ordinary care

Fr Fleming explains Pope John Paul's teaching that the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. However, under the (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005, artificially-delivered food and fluids is seen as medical treatment.

Autonomy

Autonomy is the right to self-determination, the right to free choice. However, free choice is linked to fundamental human values and inalienable human rights such as the right to life. A person cannot exercise his autonomy by giving away his right to freedom, for example, by selling himself into slavery. Neither can he use his autonomy by denying his right to life as the (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005 permits.

Neither can my autonomy be exercised by another person. The (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005 falls prey to a false understanding of autonomy in this respect too. “Autonomy” cannot be handed on like a baton in a relay race, Fr Fleming says. You can make decisions on my behalf when I am not able to do that for myself but that is not an exercise in autonomy. It might be you acting autonomously on my behalf.

This leads to another danger: Relatives can be overcome with identifying with the patient's suffering and the problem of transference arises: "Please put grandma out of my misery".

'Best interests'

Hurt a child and the law intervenes, Fr Fleming says. The law ensures that parents' choices on behalf of their children are constrained by the child's objective “best interests”. However, the (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005 imposes no such constraint on those with power of attorney for, and doctors caring for, mentally incapacitated patients.. The patient's “best interests” in the new law are not objective but are subjectively defined.

The (English) Mental Capacity Act 2005 by enshrining in law euthanasia by neglect is the first legislative step to active euthanasia, and those behind it know that's the case, Fr Fleming says.

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

New report confirms spread of silent euthanasia policy across Britain

A national audit of 4,000 patients put on the Liverpool Care Pathway last year has found that more than a quarter of families are not told when life support is withdrawn from terminally-ill loved ones. The audit was conducted by researchers from the Royal College of Physicians and the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool. Under the Pathway, doctors can withdraw food and fluids from terminally-ill patients and sedate them continuously until death. Peter Millard, emeritus professor of geriatrics at the University of London, is quoted by today's Daily Mail:
"The risk as this is rolled out across the country is that elderly people with chronic conditions like Parkinson's or respiratory disorders may be dismissed as dying when they could still live for some time ... Only when death is unavoidable should you start withdrawing treatment."
The report confirms what we have long known at SPUC: that there is a policy of silent euthanasia being practised across Britain. Alison Davis of No Less Human shows in a recently published paper, how euthanasia has spread, starting with the 1992 Bland judgment, expanded the 2005 Mental Capacity Act and now implemented through the Liverpool Care Pathway.

Tony Bland was seriously injured in the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy of 1989, leaving him in a persistent non-responsive state – often called a “persistent vegetative state” (PVS). Alison's paper discusses his treatment and subsequent death following removal of food and fluids, with specific attention to the legal details and implications of the case.

Tony could breathe by himself and assimilate foods and fluids administered by tube, yet following a High Court application by the Airedale Hospital trust, a decision was made to remove his feeding tube. That decision was upheld on appeal and by the House of Lords. Tony died nine days after the tube was removed. Alison highlights the reinterpretation by the judiciary of the traditional medical meaning of the patient’s “best interests” to now include death by removal of food and fluids. More disturbingly, that reinterpretation represents a shift from considering the burdensomeness or futility of treatment to the burdensomeness or futility of a person’s life.

The Bland case acted as a precedent for other changes that would undermine respect for human life in such vulnerable circumstances. Alison cites the 1999 British Medical Association’s guidelines which extend the circumstances under which a feeding tube may be removed to include non-PVS patients, possibly meaning those with serious stroke or severe dementia. More seriously, the 2005 Mental Capacity Act formally defined the provision of food and fluids by tube as medical treatment, not only making their provision more easily denied, but also making it possible for patients, through an advance directive, to have food and fluids removed upon becoming incompetent. Alison also identifies the “Liverpool Care Pathway” as an avenue for the same risk to patients’ lives.

Finally, Alison joins the dots and points to the link between these changes and assisted suicide and euthanasia. Once it is accepted that death can be intended and brought about by the removal of sustenance, it is that much easier to intend death by direct means such as lethal injection.

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Vatican newspaper should not have given Tony Blair an easy ride

Today's Guardian reports on a double-page spread interview with Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's newspaper. The Guardian says:
"Weeks after a packed Catholic conference in Italy gave Blair an ovation for his words about the universality of Catholicism, the pope's newspaper was equally effusive, calling the convert 'a gentleman, educated, smiley, courteous in a way few know how to be'.

"Letting slip the Vatican's possible ambition for Blair, the paper also described him as 'a probable future president of the European Union'.

"With a double page spread at his disposal, Blair served up a mix of anecdotes about his conversion and strong indications of how faith is at the heart of every step he takes."
I pose the question: Are there subversive elements at work within the Vatican who are intent on appeasing Barack Obama and Tony Blair and their anti-life policies? Imagine if Obama and Blair were committed racists rather than being committed to their anti-life and anti-family policies. Would L'Osservatore Romano afford them such a generous platform? I hope not. But surely this same standard should apply to attacks on the sanctity of human life. As Michel Schooyans, one of the Vatican's leading scholars has pointed out in a masterly analysis, Obama and Blair, with their anti-life, anti-family agenda, are seeking to undermine both law and religion respectively.

Tony Blair has refused to repudiate his anti-life, anti-family record and he has also attacked the Catholic Church's teaching on pro-family issues. In my letter to Tony Blair (11 January 2008), I wrote:
"We would...be most grateful if, in the light of your reception into the Catholic Church, you would tell us if you now repudiate:
• voting in 1990 for abortion up to birth three times during Parliamentary debates on what became the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990;
• personally endorsing your government’s policy of supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parental knowledge or consent;
• your government introducing legislation which has led to a law which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and dehydrate to death vulnerable patients;
• your government’s commitment to the promotion of abortion on demand as a universal fundamental human right.
• personally championing destructive experiments on human embryos."
The reply I received from Mr Blair's office - in fact, from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation - refused point-blank to answer any of the questions that I had put.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Monthly national day of prayer & fasting for life, 29 September

From the Good Counsel Network:

Monthly national day of prayer & fasting for life, Tuesday 29 September, feast of St Michael, archangel.

A great prayer for life is urgently needed. Pope John Paul II

Join us in:
  • fasting: Fast from all food except bread and water for the day or fast from a particular food or luxury, e.g. chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, TV. Fast from whatever you can given your state of health etc, but make sure it is something that involves a sacrifice to yourself.
  • prayer: We are asking people to say a Rosary (or an extra Rosary if you say it daily already). You could also offer an extra effort such as going to Mass (or an extra Mass) on the day, or going to Adoration. You can even pray before a closed tabernacle if Adoration is not available near you.
And He said to them; This kind (of demon) can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (Gospel of Mark 9:29)

On 29th September please pray and fast for the end of abortion and euthanasia. Your prayer and fasting is urgently needed.

For information on the day of prayer and fasting contact The Good Counsel Network on 020 7723 1740.

And the people of Ninevah believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least…God saw their efforts to renounce their evil ways. And God relented about the disaster which He had threatened to bring on them, and He did not bring it. (Jonah 3:5,10)

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Father regrets abortion in powerful music video

I've just been sent a video called "Happy Birthday". It's a rap/R&B music single by the group Flipsyde. The single was very popular when it was released in 2006, topping the music charts in several countries. The song is a man's regret over his involvement in abortion. The lyrics are very powerful, and they confirm the message of the Silent No More campaign that abortion hurts men as well as women. Click below to view the video (which has the lyrics subtitled, which I've also included below).



Happy Birthday...so make a wish

Verse 1:
Please accept my apologies, wonder what would have been
Would you've been a little angel or an angel of sin?
Tom-boy running around, hanging with all the guys.
Or a little tough boy with beautiful brown eyes?
I payed for the murder before they determined the sex
Choosing our life over your life meant your death
And you never got'a chance to even open your eyes
Sometimes I wonder as a foetus if you faught for your life?
Would you have been a little genius in love with math?
Would you have played in your school clothes and made me mad?
Would you have been a little rapper like your papa da Piper?
Would you have made me quit smokin' by finding one of my lighters?
I wonder about your skintone and shape of your nose?
And the way you would have laughed and talked fast or slow?
Think about it every year, so I picked up a pen
Happy birthday, love you whoever you woulda been
Happy birthday...

Chorus:
what I thought was a dream (make a wish)
Was as real as it seemed (happy birthday)
What I thought was a dream (make a wish)
Was as real as it seemed

I made a mistake!

Verse 2:
I've got a millon excuses to why you died
Bet the people got their own reasons for homicide
Who's to say it woulda worked, and who's to say it wouldn't have?
I was young and strugglin' but old enough to be your dad
The fear of being my father has never disappeared
Pondering frequently while I'm sippin' on my beer
My vision of a family was artificial and fake
So when it came time to create I made a mistake
Now you've got a little brother maybe he's really you?
Maybe you really forgave us knowin' we was confused?
Maybe everytime that he smiles it's you proudly knowin' that your father's doin' the right thing now?
I never tell a woman what to do with her body
But if she don't love children then we can't party
Think about it every year, so I picked up a pen
Happy birthday, love you whoever you woulda been
Happy birthday...

[Chorus]

And from the heavens to the womb to the heavens again
From the endin' to the endin', never got to begin
Maybe one day we could meet face to face?
In a place without time and space
Happy birthday...

From the heavens to the womb to the heavens again
From the endin' to the endin', never got to begin
Maybe one day we could meet face to face?
In a place without time and space

Happy birthday...

[Chorus]

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Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Obama-Blair culture of death will not prevail

A headline in the Financial Times (FT) last week "Obama to seal US-UN relationship" provides a timely reminder of the serious danger President Barack Obama poses to the building an "authentic civilization of truth and love" (as Pope John Paul II put it in Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 6).

The FT story begins: "Barack Obama will cement the new co-operative relationship between the US and the United Nations this month when he becomes the first American president to chair its 15-member Security Council".

A major aspect of this "new co-operative relationship" is funding of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) - funding that was cut under President Bush. One of Barack Obama's first actions as President was to restore funding to UNFPA which  is complicit in the promotion of the right to abortion throughout the world and in the forced-abortion, one-child policy, in China.

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in Berlin this month: "We're sure happy that the US will come back as an active member in support of the UNFPA".

In connection with Obama's chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council, it's relevant to recall that earlier this year Dr Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State, called on Barack Obama to "develop an overall strategy for America when, really, new world order can be created". Henry Kissinger, as US President Nixon's Secretary of State, was the author of the infamous NSSM 200 (National Security Study Memorandum 200), which recommended that the United States should promote population control in the developing world in order to secure American interests.

In addition, as Monsignor Michel Schooyans, one of the Vatican's leading scholars, has said, Barack Obama  can count on support for his worldwide promotion of the culture of death from Tony Blair, the UK's former prime minister, and his wife Cherie Booth: " ... This plan cannot be realized except at the price of the sacrifice of religious freedom, of the imposition of a 'politically correct' interpretation of the Sacred Scriptiures, and of the sabotage of the natural foundations of law ... ", Monsignor Schooyans has pointed out in a masterly analysis in which he describes the Obama-Blair agenda as an "unprecendented form of political-legal terrorism".

However, as I said at SPUC's national conference last week, the pro-life movement will prevail. For all their power and money, the leaders of the culture of death, have completely failed to change the universal consensus on the right to life expressed in human rights instruments agreed at the United Nations. And one of the greatest achievements of the worldwide pro-life movement is that we exist. We’re here; we’re growing; we’re passing on our experiences of failures and successes to the next generation who are beginning to join us in growing numbers. These present terrors will pass and our pro-life work, which already contains many signs of hope and encouragement, will succeed.


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