Monday, 31 October 2011

Welcome baby 7 billion, says Population Research Institute president

Steve Mosher, president of Population Research Institute, has made a statement today which deserves a very wide readership:
A few seconds after midnight a baby emerged from a mother's womb, drew a first breath, and announced his or her arrival into the world with a tiny cry. This is Baby Seven Billion. Today, 31 October 2011, is this baby's birthday.

As our numbers have grown, incomes have soared. In 1800, when there were only 1 billion of us, per capita income worldwide was a mere $100. By 1927 our numbers had doubled, but incomes had already increased five times to $500. By the time we reached 3 billion in 1960, income had tripled again to $1500. Today, as we pass the 7 billion mark, per capita income has soared to $9,000.

In 2100, when the population will be between 7 and 8 billion (and falling), it is projected to be $30,000 in current dollars.

Driving the so-called "population explosion" has been a real explosion in health and longevity. As late as the 19th century, four out of every 10 children died before reaching age five. Today under-five mortality is under 6 percent and falling. Two hundred years ago, human life expectancy was under 30 years. Today it is 69 years and climbing.

As people live longer, naturally there are more of us around at any given time.

By nearly every measure of well-being, from infant mortality and life expectancy to educational level and caloric intake, life in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has been getting dramatically better. According to the World Bank, the average income in the developing world has quadrupled since 1960.

Enough grain is produced for every person on earth to consume 3,500 calories daily. There is no need for anyone to starve in the midst of this plenty.

Population has more than doubled since 1960, but crop yields per hectare have kept pace. World food and resource production has never been higher.

Economies continue to expand, productivity is up, and pollution is declining. Life spans are lengthening, poverty is down, and political freedom is growing. The human race has never been so well off.

In fact, underpopulation, not overpopulation, is the real threat that much of the world faces today. Some 80 countries representing over half the world's population suffer from below replacement fertilitydefined as less than 2.1 children per woman.

The populations of the developed nations today are static or declining. The UN predicts that, by 2050, Russia's population will have declined by 25 million people, Japan's by 21 million, Italy's by 16 million, and Germany's and Spain's by 9 million each. Europe and Japan are projected to lose half their population by 2100.

Countries with below replacement rate fertility will eventually die out. It's just a question of time.

Even in the developing world family size has shrunk, from around 5 children per woman in 1960 to less than 3 today. And the decline continues.

According to the UN's "low variant projection"historically the most accuratethe population of the world will peak at 8 plus billion in 2040 or so, and then begin to decline.

High fertility rates are becoming rare. The UN numbers for 2010 show only 10 countries with population increase rates at or above 3.0 percent.

By 2050, persons aged 65 and above will be almost twice as numerous as children 15 years and younger. The economic consequences of population aging will be closing schools, declining stock markets, and moribund economies.

Ignoring these facts, the population controllers continue to spread their myth of overpopulation.

The UNFPA and other population control organizations are loath to report the truth about falling fertility rates worldwide, since they raise funds by frightening people with the specter of overpopulation. They tell us that too many babies are being born to poor people in developing countries. This is tantamount to saying that only the wealthy should be allowed to have children, and is a new form of global racism.

We should stop funding population control programs, and instead turn our attention to real problems, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and infectious diseases. As mortality rates fall, so will birth rates.

Let us also join together in celebrating the birth of Baby Seven Billion. He or she is a sign of our future, our hope and our prosperity.

People are our greatest resource. Extraordinarily gifted people have helped to enrich civilization and lengthen life spans. But the fact is, everyone, rich or poor, is a unique creation with something priceless to offer to the rest of us.
Baby Seven Billion, boy or girl, red or yellow, black or white, is not a liability, but an asset. Not a curse, but a blessing. For all of us.
________________
Steven Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute based in Front Royal, Virginia.


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History will judge Dana's bid for the Irish presidency to have been succesful

Dana Rosemary Scallon is a person of immense courage, grace and good humour. All of these qualities were clearly in evidence at the end of her unsuccessful bid for the Irish presidency. Ireland.com reports:
Dana Rosemary Scallon congratulated Michael D Higgins on his success and said she was glad she had been part of the campaign.
... “I think I might be too old to run for president again. Oh no, maybe not, because I'd still be younger than Michael D. But however, I think, it's really great to have come through a campaign. I think all of the candidates...we all face different challenges.”

... “I really wouldn't have missed it and I don't regret standing up for what I believe and speaking out on what I think I have to speak out on and that's how I live my life and I'm just glad to be here,” she said.
In September, I gave the reasons for my delight that Dana was standing for the presidency:
At the beginning of this year, Dana joined an alliance of over thirty cross community groups calling for absolute protection for unborn children prior to the Irish general election in February. The alliance called on party leaders to sign a pledge to defend human life at all stages, from conception until natural death and that if elected:
  • They will not dismantle Ireland’s Constitution and will maintain the people’s sovereign and democratic right, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy according to the requirements of the common good.
  • They will respect and uphold the Constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on Ireland’s unique pro-life status.
  • They will not legislate for abortion and will absolutely oppose any attempt by unelected judges from the European Court of Human Rights, (ECHR) to usurp the Constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on abortion.
I pray that all Irish citizens who care about Ireland's historic defence of the sanctity of human life, and that all Irish citizens who care about defending their constitution, will get behind Dana's bid for the presidency.
Actually, from the perspective of eternity, and in the light of the values Dana stands for, I don't believe her bid for the Irish presidency will prove to have been unsuccessful.

After all, God promised Abraham that he would spare Sodom from destruction if He found a mere ten just men there. However, last Thursday, 51,220 men and women (2.9% of the total) voted for Dana and for the values she was determined to uphold - not least the right to life of unborn children which Ireland's people voted to protect in their 1983 constitutional referendum which reads:
“The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
In spite of this constitutional amendment, and with complete contempt for the will of the Irish people, in today's Irish Times, Jan O'Sullivan, the minister of State for Trade and Development, proudly refers to Ireland's membership of UNFPA's executive board.

This is the UNFPA whose executive director until last year, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, said  that China had seen notable achievements made in population control by implementing the family planning policy. This family planning policy is the notorious, well-documented,, forced abortion policy in which UNFPA has been deeply involved for over thirty years - and continues to be deeply involved.

This is the same UNFPA which ten months ago signed a memorandum of understand with Islamic Relief in order to work together to ensure that "more women and men have access to reproductive healthcare information and services, including during times of emergency … " – which entails the promotion of abortion on demand, even in the desperately unsafe environment of refugee camps.

This is the same UNFPA which in 1979, the very year that China introduced its brutal one-child policy, signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Chinese government.

This is the same UNFPA which in 1983, the year commonly regarded as the worst year for coercion, 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.)

This is the same UNFPA which in 1991, under its 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)

I'm quite sure that when the vitriolic media campaign directed against Dana subsides, including in the Catholic media, there will be many more Irish citizens who will wish they had voted for Dana - especially when they see how their government's contempt for the will of the Irish people emerges more and more clearly. When the tide turns in Ireland, as it surely will - not least because there are far, far more than the 51,220 citizens who voted for Dana who really do care for the things she cares for - Dana's courageous witness will be recognized as one of the key reasons why the Irish people kept faith in civilised human values.


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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Margaret Cuthill has changed the nature of the abortion debate in the UK

Two beautiful sisters, Marion, left, and Margaret Cuthill, right, the national co-ordinator of ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline), met in Glasgow last week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Margaret's working as a post-abortion counsellor.

ARCH, formerly known as British Victims of Abortion, is an organization which offers help for women, men and families to restore their lives and relationships after an abortion experience, as well as providing crisis pregnancy support. Its helpline, 0845 683 8501, is available during office hours, Monday to Friday, and from 7 pm to 10 pm, seven days a week. Margaret has been central to this compassionate outreach project of the SPUC Educational Research Trust for a generation.

Pictured in the background are (left to right) Philippa Forsdike and Robin Haig, trustees of the SPUC educational research trust, and Cathy McBean and Louise Shearer, Margaret's colleagues in ARCH.

I was privileged to pay tribute to Margaret at the Glasgow celebration of her great work.

For me, Margaret embodies what the pro-life movement is all about. Quite apart from her daily counselling, Margaret has devoted her life to giving a courageous, powerful, personal witness concerning her own abortions. She's the most moving speaker on abortion I've ever heard, with her simple, understated witness. Again and again, over the years, her personal witness has helped to change the nature of the abortion debate in the UK, humanizing it, removing it from the level of confrontation, and introducing people, instead, to the truth. She certainly fulfils Pope John Paul II's prophetic address, in Evangelium Vitae, to women who've had an abortion:
With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life.
On behalf of so many people you've helped and inspired, Margaret, thank you.

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Fr Mark Swires is leading from the front in east London

Fr Swires & youth at opening rally
On Thursday I blogged about the good example of a pro-life priest in Italy who rings his church bell every time an unborn child is killed by abortion at the local town hospital. Yesterday I blogged the excellent letter by Fr Leon Pereira O.P. standing up to Dr. Jon Cruddas, the pro-abortion MP. For another great example of priestly pro-life witness Londoners can look to Fr. Mark Swires of Brentwood diocese. Thomas McMahon, bishop of Brentwood, has on several occasions led prayer vigils outside abortion centre.

Fr Mark joined a group of Christians, Muslims, and local residents in Stratford, east London last week, who are trying to have a newly-established BPAS abortion centre shut down. Fr. Mark spent the whole day with the group, leading prayer at the opening rally (pictured), handing out pro-life literature, manning the street-stall (pictured), and engaging with the public. We need more and more priests to follow the example of Fr. Mark witnessing to the Gospel of Life.

Sr Rosalind (left) & street stall
Also pictured is Sister Rosalind, an Anglican and a new member of SPUC, who also spent the whole day with the group. Sr. Rosalind has since told us how keen she and others in the area are about keeping up the pro-life momentum.

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Friday, 28 October 2011

Fr Leon Pereira stands up to pro-abortion Jon Cruddas MP

Fr Leon Pereira O.P.
Fr Leon Pereira (pictured at a 40 Days for Life London vigil), a Dominican priest, has spoken out against the invitation to Dr Jon Cruddas, the pro-abortion MP, to speak at a Catholic conference at Blackfriars, the Dominican hall at Oxford university tomorrow. You can read Fr Pereira's letter on the blog Catholics: Called to be faithful, not compromise. I quote some key extracts from Fr Pereira's excellent letter below.

According to an email from Fr Richard Finn O.P. of the Las Casas Institute (the conference organisers) to Daniel Blackman, Dr Cruddas is now unable to attend the conference (Fr Finn did not cite the reason for this). Nonetheless, my son Paul and other faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics will be going ahead with a prayer vigil of reparation for the invitation to Dr Cruddas outside Blackfriars tomorrow. There is no indication that either Las Casas or Blackfriars cancelled Dr Cruddas' appearance, and therefore the purpose of praying in reparation for their invitation to Dr Cruddas remains.

From Fr Leon Pereira's letter:
"Dr Cruddas’ voting record as an MP on abortion and same sex unions is not in keeping with the teaching or mind of the Catholic Church. This matters all the more because I am given to understand that Dr Cruddas describes himself as a ‘practising Catholic’ - a designation at odds with his actions as an MP. His actions appropriate the dimension of scandal precisely because he is a public figure. Therefore what he says and does in public which is contrary to Catholic faith and morals, all the while describing himself as a ‘practising Catholic’, are a scandal to the Faithful and prone to reinforce the assumption that perhaps these things (abortion, same sex unions, etc) do not matter, and that Catholics may reasonably conform their mind to that of the age, and still somehow (mysteriously!) remain fully Catholic without incurring any penalties whatsoever. That is a grave wrong wrought against God and His Church.
...
"The invitation, although not an awards ceremony, nevertheless takes on the air of an accolade ... Is it inconceivable that he or his supporters may say that he was honoured by an invitation to Blackfriars...?"
...
"There seems to be an assumption in this country that to be Catholic is to be Labour. This naivete reached a nadir in the fawning displayed by our Church over that most reprehensible couple Tony and Cherie Blair. In Mr Blair’s case, I cannot understand how he could be received into the Church without a public abjuration of his erroneous beliefs and practices - for example, his own voting record on abortion. These were errors he committed before he became a Catholic, but they were in the public sphere, and his reception as a Catholic without any recantation is a continuing scandal."
...
"The great irony is that Dr Cruddas (who has woefully failed to stand up for the Catholic teaching on abortion by his voting) has been invited by an institute committed to ‘justice and peace’ (our normal shorthand for Catholic Social Doctrine) when the single greatest justice and peace issue in our country is abortion!"
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Thursday, 27 October 2011

I pray that God will send us more pro-life priests like Fr Emilio Salatino

Fr Emilio Salatino is the parish priest of Santa Lucia church, Cosenza, in the southern Italian region of Calabria. Don Emilio rings the bell of his church in mourning every time an abortion is performed at the local hospital. See below a video report (in Italian) about Don Emilio's beautiful witness to the sanctity of human life. On the 44th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act 1967, and during the latest 40 Days for Life campaign, I pray that God will send our world many more courageous pro-life priests like Don Emilio.


A Cosenza parroco fa suonare le campane a morto... by TMNews

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Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Thu 27 Oct

Fr Philip Bene, Holy See UN rep
Top stories:

UN ratchets up campaign to impose abortion worldwide

A new UN report which demands that every country in the world removes all legal and practical restrictions on abortion and contraception has been debated. The report was presented by Anand Grover, the UN special rapporteur on health, at the UN in New York on Monday. Fr Bene, the Holy See's representative, spoke out strongly against one of the report's most sinister aspects. He said: "The proposal of the Special Rapporteur to circumvent spousal and/or parental consent for the implementation of contraceptive and sterilizing techniques stands in stark contravention of the very nature of marriage and parenthood." [John Smeaton, 26 October] http://goo.gl/cMVg4

Teenage boyfriend's punch killed unborn boy, court hears
A British teenager has been charged with child destruction after punching his pregnant girlfriend. The unborn boy, later named Taylor,  was seven months' old. [Metro, 26 October] http://goo.gl/20rVt Anthony Ozimic of SPUC commented: "It is anomalous that an isolated act of child destruction is prosecuted whilst hundreds of other acts of child destruction are committed every day through abortion with the full backing of the law and the state."

May Fr Vincent Melia, SPUC campaigner, rest in peace
Marileine Ollerenshaw of SPUC's north-east England region reports the following sad news: "Father Vincent Melia, from St. Matthew, Ponteland, passed away last night. His body will be received into the church on Sunday evening and his funeral will be on Monday. Father Melia has been, for as long as I can remember, a strong supporter of SPUC and was, till recently, the chairman of the Ponteland branch. He kept encouraging people of all faiths and none to help the unborn and all those who have no voice. He will be sadly missed in the pro-life movement." [John Smeaton, 26 October] http://goo.gl/kuxQB

Other stories:

Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

If Catholics and others followed Bishop Hopes's lead, abortuary would close

I mentioned earlier this month that Bishop Alan Hopes, an auxiliary bishop in Westminster, is leading a pro-life vigil in London tomorrow week - on Friday, 4th November.

Ecumenical Diablog makes the prophetic observation that if 20% of practising Catholics were to follow Bishop Hopes's lead - the abortuary at which Bishops Hopes will be giving witness would close.

That's true.

Read Ecumenical Diablog and my post to find out details - whatever faith (or none) you practise.

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May Fr Vincent Melia, SPUC campaigner, rest in peace

Marileine Ollerenshaw of SPUC's north-east England region has just sent me the following sad news:
"Father Vincent Melia, from St. Matthew, Ponteland, passed away last night. His body will be received into the church on Sunday evening and his funeral will be on Monday. Father Melia has been, for as long as I can remember, a strong supporter of SPUC and was, till recently, the chairman of the Ponteland branch. He kept encouraging people of all faiths and none to help the unborn and all those who have no voice. He will be sadly missed in the pro-life movement."
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UN ratchets up campaign to impose abortion worldwide

Anand Grover
Pat Buckley, one of SPUC's representatives at the United Nations (UN), blogged yesterday about the debate on a new UN report which demands that every country in the world removes all legal and practical restrictions on abortion and contraception. This report was presented by Anand Grover (pictured), the UN special rapporteur on health, at the UN in New York on Monday. Do read Pat's blog-post in full. Fr Bene, the Holy See's representative, spoke out strongly against one of the report's most sinister aspects. He said:
"The proposal of the Special Rapporteur to circumvent spousal and/or parental consent for the implementation of contraceptive and sterilizing techniques stands in stark contravention of the very nature of marriage and parenthood."
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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 25 Oct

Blackfriars Hall, Oxford
Top stories:

Opposition to latest London abortion clinic growing
Opposition to a newly-opened British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) abortion centre is gaining momentum. Last Saturday (22 October) a large group of Christians, Muslims and local residents united to spend the day campaigning against the BPAS centre in Stratford, which has been opened secretively. 40 days for Life and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) organised the day, with support from Muslim organisations, local churches and residents. [SPUC, 25 October] http://goo.gl/kLY7i

UK Catholics to hold vigil outside talk by pro-abort Catholic MP
A group of British Catholics will hold a vigil this Saturday outside an Oxford university Catholic college where a pro-abortion Catholic MP is due to address a Catholic conference. The group, "Catholics: Called to be faithful, not compromise" will pray in reparation for the invitation to Dr Jon Cruddas. The group is calling for Blackfriars Hall (pictured) to cancel the talk. [Smeaton's Corner, 22 October] http://goo.gl/wUa0v

UK man demoted for opposing gay marriage
A Englishman has been demoted by his employer for opposing gay marriage. Adrian Smith, a Christian working as a manager for a housing association, had explained his opposition to gay marriage in a comment on Facebook. Mr Smith has now started legal action against his employer. [Mail, 23 October] http://goo.gl/t8zHd

Other stories:

Abortion
Embryology
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Opposition to latest London abortion clinic is growing

Here is a joint press release from SPUC, 40 Days for Life London, the Christian Peoples Alliance and the Islamic Medical Association UK:

Opposition to latest London abortion clinic growing

stratford20111022Residents, Christians and Muslims unite to protest over “secretive” centre near Westfield Stratford City and 2012 Olympic Park

London, 25 October 2011: Opposition to a newly-opened British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) abortion centre is gaining momentum. Last Saturday (22 October) a large group (pictured) of Christians, Muslims and local residents united to spend the day campaigning against the BPAS centre in Stratford, which has been opened secretively.

Thousands of pro-life magazines and campaign flyers, offering practical and educational help, were distributed around the busy shopping centre and newly-opened Westfield. 40 days for Life and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) organised the day, with support from Muslim organisations, local churches and residents. Alan Craig, ex-Newham councillor and former leader of Newham Christian Peoples Alliance, opened the day, saying:
“BPAS has become a large money-spinning business and this new centre in Stratford is pure commercial opportunism by them to take advantage of Westfield Stratford City and the Olympics. BPAS have a vested interest in doing as many abortions as possible. Don’t think for one moment that they are concerned with the best interests of women and children.”
Alan was joined by Dr. Majid Katme, spokesman for the Islamic Medical Association. Dr. Katme noted that: “Today is not a one-off event, but only the beginning of this campaign.” Fr. Mark Swires, a local Catholic priest, led the group in prayer outside the BPAS centre.

Plans were first uncovered by a team of researchers from SPUC led by Daniel Blackman. Following discussions with local residents, SPUC launched a public awareness campaign and local residents sent letters to Lyn Brown their MP, and to local councillors. Mr Blackman, who organised the day, said:
“This campaign is unique in that we are trying to have an abortion facility shut down before it’s even up and running. The way local residents and tenants have been treated by One Housing is disgusting. Killing unborn children is wrong and contributes nothing to preparing for the 2012 Olympics and paralympics, quite the opposite.”
In a separate move, neighbours of the abortion centre, including residents in the same building, have petitioned Mick Sweeny, chief executive of the landlord One Housing, protesting that they have been kept in the dark about the secretive and controversial move. They wrote**:
"We are extremely concerned that the ground floor at 32-36 Romford Road, Stratford E15, has been leased out to abortion-providers BPAS to carry out terminations up to, currently, 14 weeks, and furthermore that this has been done without any informed consultation.

One Housing is apparently proud of its reputation for social responsibility, offering according to your website welcome support to tenants with complex and multiple needs, to those suffering from mental ill-health, to teenage parents and to those with learning difficulties. We welcome these One Housing values that prioritise vulnerable people.

However these values are directly contradicted by BPAS who - with One Housing’s agreement - will terminate unborn and unwanted children on your premises. Furthermore BPAS’s Chief Executive has made it plain and public that she reckons mothers of disabled unborn children should be allowed to terminate their pregnancy up to full term; this of course is extremely threatening to your disabled tenants who may reasonably conclude that BPAS believes disabled children are of less intrinsic worth than unimpaired children.

Abortion is a very sensitive issue to all concerned, and we object strongly to the crass insensitive decision you have made to allow BPAS to use your premises here. Furthermore we strongly object that, in abdication of your responsibilities to us as your local tenants, you did not see fit to consult or even inform us.

We would be grateful if you would urgently reverse your decision and terminate the BPAS lease."
ENDS
  • Daniel Blackman (SPUC and 40 Days for Life) can be contacted on 07432 633427.
  • Alan Craig (Christian Peoples Alliance) can be contacted on 07939 547198.
  • Dr. Majid Katme (Islamic Medical Association UK) can be contacted on 07944 240 622.
Notes for editors:
* A high-resolution of a photograph (above) of the vigil can be downloaded at http://www.spuc.org.uk/images/stratford20111022
**Copies of the full letter to the chief executive of One Housing are available on request.

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Dad inspired by new-born son to work for the unborn

This week I had the pleasure of greeting James Croucher at SPUC HQ who's training for the Anglican ministry and who recently raised £672.59 running in the Farnham Marathon.

Not only is James a first-time marathon runner for unborn babies, he's a first-time dad of a new-born baby, Charlie - pictured below.

He told me that for he and his wife, Charlie's birth really brought home to them the reality of abortion.

Linda Davidson, SPUC's receptionist (pictured with James and me above), first heard from James last June.  She tells me:
"James was keen to see what SPUC was all about and was trying to decide to which cause to donate his time, energy and funding.  I asked him to pop in and have a chat. During our talk he said he that abortion really affected him.

"I sent him off with lots of our material to read and he came back shortly afterwards to say that he had decided on SPUC for his debut in the Farnham Marathon. He had never run a marathon before and didn't even particularly like running! He said: 'I don't enjoy running but remembering the cause should get me around."
So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, James! And thanks Charlie (and Charlie's mum, of course) for inspiring your dad to work so hard for babies and their mothers by supporting SPUC.


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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Governments have an obligation to uphold the right to life of unborn children

The San Jose Articles were launched on 6th October 2011 at the UN in New York. The articles are a declaration on the rights of the unborn child and they are designed as a challenge to claims by UN officials that there exists in international law a right to abortion.

The declaration is the latest in a series of initiatives by various organizations over recent years – including the Amnesty for Babies’ initiatives and others – which insist that international human rights agreements uphold the right to life of unborn children.

The signatories include Professor Robert George of Princeton, former US Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees, Professor John Finnis of Oxford, Professor John Haldane of the University of St. Andrews, Francisco Tatad, the former majority leader of the Philippine Senate, Javier Borrego, former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, and Professor Carter Snead of UNESCO’s international committee on bioethics.

As Professor George pointed out, they can be used to oppose the work of UN officials “who say falsely that governments are required by international law to repeal domestic laws protecting human beings in the embryonic and fetal stages of development against the violence of abortion”.

Like the Amnesty for Babies’ launch at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2006, the San Jose Articles were launched in the presence of representatives of the Holy See. The Holy See’s presence at such events witnesses to the fundamental importance of the Catholic Church – with its unequivocal defence of the value and inviolability of human life – for the pro-life movement worldwide.

History will judge the strength or otherwise of this or of that initiative. For example, the San Jose Articles can be used, with its list of distinguished signatories, to oppose the work of UN compliance committees which are seeking to put pressure on developing countries to legalize abortion by falsely representing the meaning of international agreements.

Equally, the World scientists' and physicians' declaration on human rights for nascent human beings, launched in October 2008, can be used to develop support for ethical scientific research which respects, in the words of the declaration “the inherent rights of human embryos and foetuses during our quest for beneficial knowledge, just as we respect the inviolable and inalienable rights of children and adults."

And the Amnesty for Babies petition, launched in June 2006, provides legislators with the opportunity of signing a petition to members of the United Nations general assembly. The petition calls on nations to ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child before as well as after birth; and to adopt all measures necessary to protect adequately human life and dignity in the application of life sciences.

On the other hand, reasonable disappointment has been expressed that, after three years, more scientists and physicians have not been found to support the world scientists’ and physicians’ declaration, and that, after five years, more legislators have not been found to support the unequivocal defence of the right to life expressed by the legislators’ Amnesty for Babies’ petition.

Equally, reasonable disappointment has been expressed by pro-life observers, myself included, that the San Jose articles contain a conclusion which needs to be stronger. In Article 8, it’s not sufficient to declare that laws “may and should [my emphasis] invoke treaty provisions guaranteeing the right to life as encompassing a state responsibility to protect the unborn child from abortion”.

Analogy helps in such cases. It would have been wholly inadequate for the world to have told South Africa 30 years ago that “it may and should end apartheid”. It was rightly warned by world’s nations that it must do so. "Should" is ambiguous, expressing either an obligation or an aspiration.

Proponents of the culture of death are not so inhibited. In September 2010 at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ban Ki Moon the UN Secretary General, and Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, launched a report “on discrimination against women, in law and practice, and how the issue is addressed throughout the United Nations human rights system”. In that report they called for the policing of nations worldwide to “address the refusal of physicians to perform legal abortions”.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the professional body in the UK governing pharmacists, rules that health professionals, with a conscientious objection to, say, abortifacient products, must refer patients seeking them to health professionals with no such objection.

The truth is that the obligation is exactly the other way round: the right to life must be upheld and abortions must not be facilitated. If we fail to insist on that obligation the pro-life movement will, ultimately, completely succumb to the superior force (force majeure) being used against us.


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Friday, 21 October 2011

Archbishop Nichols’s address to the RCOG was shameful

George Pinker, anti-life doctor
Last week Vincent Nichols, Catholic archbishop of Westminster, delivered the Inaugural Annual Sir George Pinker Memorial Address. The address was co-hosted by Wellbeing of Women and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). The RCOG is the professional body which (among other things) represents abortionists. Wellbeing of Women is the RCOG’s partner charity which (among other things) has funded research into “fetal screening techniques”, the use of ultrasound “to detect fetal abnormalities in early pregnancy" and “pre-natal screening being extended to Downs Syndrome”.

Westminster archdiocese’s website says that (my emphases in bold):
“The objectives of the Annual Address are to celebrate and remember the enormous contribution Sir George Pinker made to the medical profession ... Sir George Pinker, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, died in 2007 at the age of 83. He enjoyed a long and highly distinguished career...”
The archbishop's address started with:
"I never had the privilege of meeting Sir George Pinker ... I was particularly struck by [Roger Marwood's] description of what [Marwood] had learned from [Pinker] as a doctor: ‘I learnt from him always to keep the patient at the centre of any clinical situation – especially when teaching. He gave his patients his absolute individual attention and treated all women with the same dignity and respect whatever their circumstances...’ That moral principle – that all women – indeed every human being - should be treated with the same dignity and respect whatever their circumstances - is the basis of what I want to speak about this evening ... [T]he extraordinary advances in your own specialism, which George Pinker did so much to promote and sustain, have helped dramatically to reduce the risks [of maternal mortality or morbidity] in this and other developed countries."
Yet Sir George Pinker supported both abortion and IVF. His obituaries in 2007 make clear his support for IVF; for example in The Telegraph:
"In 1978 he gave his full backing to the world's first test-tube baby, Louise Brown. On Woman's Hour he said he thought there were no ethical problems and offered his whole-hearted support to the technique".
In 1990, Sir George, then the RCOG's president, wrote to an MP to support recommendations (subsequently passed) that abortion be allowed up to birth. Sir George also believed that:
"family planning is a human right and social need, and that it is unethical to deny any couple contraceptive advice"
and
"sterilisation ... unethical surely not."
The latter half of the archbishop's address said (among other things):
"[T]he Church starts from some very clear and unambiguous principles, founded on the utmost respect for human life from the time of its conception. Such a principle unfolds into all sorts of areas and in ways with which some of you will not agree ... I very much welcome the fact that, as your President told me, the College fully accommodates [the right of conscience] ...The prestige and leverage of this Royal College puts it in a unique and crucial position in driving forward efforts among professional associations around the world in saving and improving the lives of so many mothers and babies."
Firstly, the archbishop's reference to "some of you" is most curious. Members of the RCOG who concur with Catholic teaching must be as rare as hen's teeth. The RCOG's policy is that:
"abortion and contraception are an integral part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services."
Secondly, the RCOG does not "fully accommodate[ the right of conscience]". The RCOG's policy is that:
"Practitioners cannot claim exemption from giving advice or performing the preparatory steps to arrange an abortion where the request meets the legal requirements. Such steps include referral to another doctor, as appropriate."
Some quick, basic research by the archbishop's staff would have provided all this information about Sir George and the RCOG.

The RCOG can have no "prestige" in Catholic eyes: it presides over the killing of 200,000 unborn children every year. The archbishop's address was shameful.

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Support big day of pro-life outreach in east London this Saturday

Meet at Stratford tube station, 11am
This Saturday SPUC together with 40 Days for Life, and various local churches and mosques, will gather in Stratford, east London for what 40 Days for Life are calling “the biggest day of pro-life outreach in decades.” The day is being organised by Daniel Blackman, a research officer for SPUC and member of the 40 Days for Life London organising team.

This day of pro-life outreach with 40 Days for Life coincides with a larger campaign by SPUC to have a newly-opened BPAS abortion facility shut down before it starts doing abortions. Shockingly, BPAS has been opened on the ground floor of a residential block of flats. Having spoken to the residents several times, it is appalling that it appears that One Housing, the responsible housing association, did not inform or consult their own tenants. Newham Council only sent one standard letter briefly mentioning a proposed “clinic”.

Major concerns surround the location: the seemingly secretive way BPAS has been allowed to open, issues surrounding “clinical waste”, and of course the killing of unborn children in an area that already has the highest abortion rate in Britain. Stratford will be one of the key areas hosting the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, events celebrating life, whilst BPAS in the same area will be aiming to extinguish life.

The day starts at 11am, with pro-lifers meeting outside the main entrance of Stratford tube station. They will then head over to the BPAS centre, where Alan Craig, former Christian Peoples Alliance leader and ex-Newham councillor, will say a few words to help launch the day. Fr. Mark Swires of the Catholic diocese of Brentwood will lead the group in prayer. Also, many Muslims from east London are expected, following efforts by Dr. Majid Katme of SPUC Muslims, who has written to dozens of mosques and Islamic centres calling on Muslims to take a stand for the unborn. The day ends at 2.30pm.

Contact Daniel Blackman for more details about the day and the campaign: danielblackman@spuc.org.uk or 07738 714201.

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Wed 19 Oct

Chinese woman six months pregnant dies from forced abortion
Organisations opposing the Chinese one-child policy have obtained information that on 12 October, 2011, a woman died during a forced abortion.  She was six months pregnant at the time. Jihong Ma from Lijing County in Shandong Province was seized by Family Planning Officials for a forced abortion, having violated the One Child Policy. [ICN, 18 Octoberhttp://goo.gl/t7gOP


Researchers say false miscarriage diagnoses are resulting in abortions
A study led by Professor Tom Bourne from Imperial College London has found that hundreds of pregnancies may be lost every year due to ‘inadequate’ miscarriage guidelines. The research has led to claims that up to 400 'healthy'* fetuses may be aborted every 12 months. Professor Bourne said "We hope our work means that the guidelines to define miscarriage are made as watertight as we would expect for defining death at any other stage of life" and called for the guidelines to be reviewed so that "inadvertent termination of wanted pregnancies cannot happen". [rcm.org.uk, 14 Octoberhttp://goo.gl/SXquf *John Smeaton, SPUC’s chief executive, commented: “Tragically, all too often, the adjective “healthy” is used in such contexts to refer to a baby who does not appear to have a disability – with the implication that it would be OK to abort disabled babies. This eugenic attitude is the foundation of the culture of death and must be opposed whenever it emerges.”


NHS records show patients left to die by secret use of do not resuscitate orders
Do not resuscitate orders are frequently being applied without the knowledge of the patient or their relatives. Spot checks of one hundred hospitals undertaken by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), earlier this year found that the orders were frequently issued without informing either patients or relatives. Under medical guidelines, the orders should only be issued after senior staff have discussed the matter with the patient's family. [Telegraph, 15 Octoberhttp://goo.gl/UPy0s


Other stories:


Embryology
Euthanasia
Sexual ethics
General
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Parents, the primary educators, "are the most dangerous people of all"

Last week I wrote about my address to the ninth annual session of the Rhodes Forum: "Dialogue of Civilizations". I am very pleased to share with readers a talk given by Dr Thomas Ward (pictured) at the same conference. Dr Ward is a retired general practitioner, is the founder and former president of The National Association for Catholic Families (NACF) and a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He is married to Dr Mary Ward who are proud parents and grandparents.

Towards a new Civilisation of Life: Parents the Primary Educators and Protectors of their children

Madam Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen our Forum’s invitation to analyse the viability of global civilisation is timely. The word viability is from the French vie, life and able capable of – so capable of life. Of course, a viable civilisation depends upon the viability of its basic units, its families. My topic is the viability of the current paradigm of Western √©lites for the families of the world.

Alexandra Kollontai, (1872 –1952) the first Soviet People’s Commissar for Social Welfare wrote in 1920:
Communist society will take upon itself all the duties involved in the education of the child  Kommunistka (1920) Communism and the Family.
In 1922 Lenin called a meeting of Marxist intellectuals to study why the Bolshevik Revolution had not spread to the West. According to the major conservative thinker Ralph de Toledano “this meeting was perhaps more harmful to Western civilization than the Bolshevik Revolution itself'”. The two key strategic objectives decided upon at the meeting were:

• Judeo-Christian belief was to be erased by the use of sexual instinct.
• The family and its rights over education were to be eradicated.

These intellectuals moved to Frankfurt becoming known as the 'Frankfurt School' and then to the United States where they used Ameriacn commercial, academic and media resources to spread their silent world revolution.

This silent revolution in the West has never stopped. For example Saul Alinsky who died in 1972 was an American transitional Marxist. He supported the Frankfurt School’s “long march through the institutions ”, churches, trade unions and existing political parties. He dedicated his creed in Rules for Radicals to Lucifer, whom he called the "first radical". His two best known disciples are Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. In 2010 our U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, claimed Alinsky as the inspiration for his Government’s present agenda for Britain. This agenda was promoted in my own parish a few weeks ago.

Dr Brock Chisholm (1896 –1971) the first Director of the World Health Organisation in 1948 wrote:
Children have to be freed from.. .. religious and other cultural “prejudices” forced upon them by parents and religious authorities…
He went on to explain how:
…sex education should be introduced in the 4th grade, (i.e. for nine to ten year olds) eliminating “the ways of elders” if necessary by force. (ref: Valerie Riches, Sex & Social Engineering, 1986) 
A Family Planning Association spokeswoman:
Parents – they’re the most dangerous people of all - (The Times, 5 April 1974, ref: Valerie Riches, Sex & Social Engineering, 1986) 
Lady Helen Brook, (1907-1998) who was the successor to Marie Stopes and the first to make contraceptives generally available to the young in the United Kingdom, wrote in 1980:
It is now the privilege of the Parental State to take major decisions - objective, unemotional, the State weighs up what is best for the child.... (The Times, 16 February 1980)
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest abortion provider, say in their document 'FAQs on young people, their sexuality and their rights'
Parents ……do not have ‘rights’ over their children
And in their Youth Manifesto for the 21st Century they say
All young people (from the age of ten)* must have information and education on sexuality and the best possible sexual and reproductive health services (including contraceptives).

All young people must be able to choose from a full range of contraceptives including the latest advances in contraception.
In Germany in 2006, in the case Konrad v.Germany the European Court of Human Rights ruled that German Christians did not have the right to home school because it believed that it would set up “parallel societies”.

Again in Germany, in 2009 ten Christian parents who refused to allow their ten year old children to attend compulsory sex classes have now completed a second prison term (forty-three days) during which the State exercised even greater control over their children.

In Spain there are currently:

• 50, 000 parents formally complained to the government asking for the option to remove their children from classes promoting blasphemy against Our Lord, homosexual** behaviour and Communism. The Government refused.
• 2,000 parents brought law suits to obtain this opt out. The Government refused.
• 305 parents asked the European Court of Human Rights for this opt out. The judgement is awaited.

But the corpus of law protecting your rights as parents is overwhelming, particularly in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, which starts:
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind
And later continues:
The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. Article 16 (3)
Because Hitler had used the educational system to indoctrinate children the drafting committee added:
Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. Article 16 (3)
This prior right to educate ones children with the support of society and the state is a fundamental human right which should be enshrined in every national constitution in the world.

How was this prior right removed in England?

English clerical liberalism has been an essential ally of the birth control lobby. The crucial year was 1930 when, for the first time in Christian history, the Church of England morally sanctioned contraceptives in marriage. This gave the Anglo-Saxon world, the dominant world culture, the moral justification for contraception. Contraception has been the locomotive of the sexual revolution.

The current head of the Anglican Church teaches that since non pro-creative sex is acceptable in contraception it must logically follow that homosexual acts are justifiable.

An affiliate of IPPF started the provision of contraceptives for the young. The international headquarters of IPPF are in London. Contraceptive provision and indoctrination in schools have been the locomotive of the removal of parents’ rights. This indoctrination now includes the promotion of homosexuality.

In 1974 in the U.K parental rights were removed on contraception based on advice given by an affiliate of IPPF. As direct legal consequences in 1985 parental rights to consent to general medical treatment were greatly diminished and in 2004 parental rights on abortion were removed. This May the last Catholic adoption agency was closed down by law because it refused to sanction homosexual adoptions. Currently the website of the British Foreign Office provides a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual toolkit to promote these legal changes worldwide. Such changes bring a real risk that parents throughout the world who try to protect their children from homosexual indoctrination could themselves be charged with indoctrinating the “hate crime” of homophobia. There would then be possibility of their children being put into care. The parents would have no legal recourse if the carers appointed were homosexuals.

Some of the consequence of our broken society are:

• marriages down by 50%
• the mean number of sexual partners for adults is nine
• 45% of children illegitimate
• 40% of children aged fifteen or younger having sexual intercourse
• the subjective well being of our young people is the worst of the thirty-four states of the OECD
• Family breakdown costs £20 billion yearly.

Our Prime Minister speaking after the riots confirmed that our society is broken, immoral and irresponsible. He said:
If we want to have any hope of mending our broken society, family and parenting is where we’ve got to start... 
He continued:
The potential consequences of neglect and immorality on this scale have been clear for too long...Children without fathers; schools without discipline...crime without punishment; rights without responsibilities... 
So our Culture of Death is dying. We the Christians of East and West, both of the lungs of Europe, must replace it with God’s Civilization, the Civilization of Life based on love within the family. The Holy Church of God cannot accomplish its mission in society except through the family and its mission. Ladies and gentlemen, we have to go to the entire world to tell everyone that social, cultural, economic and political life must be for the family, and no longer at the cost of the family.

The first step towards this new civilization is to restore to parents their right to educate and protect their children in conformity with their moral and religious convictions. Parents are the primary educators of their children. This right is God given in the Commandment. “Honour your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12). It is affirmed by Our Lord in His teaching and in his His life. “He went down with them to Nazareth, and lived there in subjection to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And so Jesus advanced in wisdom with the years.” (Luke 2: 51-52)

This right is fundamental. It is founded upon parental transmission of life to and love for their child. The Social Doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church teaches “Children become fruits of their love and communion, and their birth and upbringing belong, according to the Orthodox teaching, to one of the most important goals of marriage.”

This right is inalienable. It is irreplaceable. Again as the Social Doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church teaches: “The role of family in the formation of the personality is exceptional; no other social institution can replace it”.

As a family doctor and a Christian father of seven children and nine grand children I will share with you my own thoughts on family life. Your homes where your children learn to love by knowing that you love them are the cradles of the new civilization. Your example as good Christian parents provides the role model for the next generation. Children will naturally absorb sound attitudes on love, marriage and the true meaning of sexuality from good parents.

Confidently forbid any damaging sex instruction. Teach each child individually the beauty of chastity, modesty and sexuality as appropriate to his or her maturity. Only you are in the position to know what, when and how. Form associations of families. Encourage your children to intensify their Christian lives through family prayer and closeness to the Church. Such beautiful families are the Civilization of Life

In conclusion: a new Civilization of Life is dawning. The Civilization of Life is God’s civilization. It is your civilisation.

*The words "from the age of ten" do not appear in the body of the text in the linked to document. However if you hover your cursor over the words "Young people" you will see that IPPF mean "[t]hose who are aged between 10-24 years". Interestingly, just above that the same device is used to provide the definition of "youth". You will see there that "The World Health Organization refers to those in the 15-24 age range as youth". I have used a bracket in my quote because that is the effect of this device, although on the webpage the information that IPPF think that all ten year old children must have sex education and access to contraception is not immediately apparent to the reader. I wonder why?

** Why is the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality (and sexual ethics generally) important specifically for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in no. 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Vatican Radio should set the record straight about Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair, condom and pro-aborts
Vatican Radio has just broadcast (printed summary and full audio) a fawning profile of, and interview with, Cherie Blair (replete with pleasant meditative incidental music), describing her as "a devout Catholic". The interview included a discussion of how Mrs Blair met charities on a weekly basis at No.10 Downing Street when her husband Tony was prime minister. The interview made no mention of the private reception at No.10 Mrs Blair hosted in July 2003 for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world’s leading promoter and provider of abortion, and its “Lust for Life” fundraising campaign. The interview also failed to mention that, at the annual Labour party conference in September 2005, Mrs Blair celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Family Planning Association (fpa), the UK branch of IPPF, helping to cut a special birthday cake (and pictured here jokingly offering a condom to the camera-man.) Both IPPF and FPA endorsed the failed campaign to remove the Holy See from the United Nations.

The interview focused on Mrs Blair's work on women's issues; yet made no mention that she is notorious for claiming that her career success would not have been possible if not for contraception. In December 2009 she claimed that:
"Controlling our fertility has been one of the key reasons why women have been able to progress".
On her website, in the section "About this site", Mrs Blair writes:
"This website is dedicated to the issues that concern me, to helping improve the position of women throughout the world by sharing information and by safeguarding and promoting human rights. At the heart of the website is the Women of the World section."
On a page in the Women of the World section, Mrs Blair says:
"The [United Nations] Convention [on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ... is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women".
"Reproductive rights" is a term commonly used to include abortion on demand.

The page ends by linking to the CEDAW committee, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the CEDAW convention. The CEDAW committee uses the CEDAW convention to bully countries into allowing abortion, even though the convention doesn't mention abortion. The CEDAW committee issued a report calling upon the UK government to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

The Vatican Radio interview was conducted "after she spoke to participants at a recent conference in Rome organized by the Women’s Studies Institute at the Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum". Both Vatican Radio and Regina Apostolorum should know better than to have given Mrs Blair a platform. In 2004 the U.S. bishops approved a policy stating, in part:
“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
"[P]latforms which would suggest support for their actions" has been interpreted to mean "speaking invitations, as these invitations would suggest support for their actions." In February 2008 a number of prominent US Catholic leaders signed a joint letter which:
"urge[d] our fellow leaders of Catholic schools, universities, hospitals, charitable organizations, advocacy groups, media and other institutions to refrain from all activities that provide a public platform to, or imply support or even neutrality toward, political leaders and candidates who advocate positions on serious moral issues that are clearly contrary to Catholic teaching, most especially the Church’s reverence for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death."
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