Saturday, 24 December 2011

Abortion survivor produces award winning documentary in defence of life

I was very pleased to read on Patrick Buckley's blog that Melissa Ohden has released a new hour long documentary, called  A Voice for Life. Melissa's mother underwent a saline abortion when she was six months pregnant with Melissa. Here is a brief description of a saline abortion, taken from SPUC's 2002 document A Way of Life
The use of prostaglandins is the most common form of late abortion in Britain. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances which are administered to the pregnant woman either by a drip into a vein or directly into the womb. After a period of between 12 and 24 hours, prostaglandins cause the womb to contract, causing the baby to be delivered prematurely. In order to prevent the baby from being born alive, abortionists may inject urea or saline into the amniotic sac or potassium chloride into the baby.
Melissa, like Gianna Jessen who survived the same procedure, is now a powerful defender of the unborn. You can watch a summary of her story in the youtube video below.


It seems that Melissa's new documentary is set to be a great tool for the pro-life movement to help defend the lives of unborn children and their mothers. Patrick says
A Voice for Life continues to garner awards on an international level, including the Transforming Stories International Film Festival in South Africa, and the Redemptive Film Festival in Virginia Beach, where it received the highest honor. More importantly, to the creative team of A Voice for Life, Steve Feazel, Gunther Meisse, and Melissa Ohden, the pro-life film is making an impact in the world, touching hearts changing minds, and bringing hope and healing to individuals who have been devastated by abortion.
...
In addition to the 58 minute documentary, a short, 9 minute film, featuring Melissa as narrator, has also been released for pregnancy centers and other organizations that minister to abortion vulnerable women to utilize as a resource in their life-saving, life-transforming work. Melissa's powerful message to women in this video as both a survivor and a mother, herself, is beyond description. To view the trailer of the short resource video, visit www.avoiceforlife.com/trailer.html.
Any readers in the UK suffering after an abortion should contact ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline) runs a helpline: 0845 603 8501 and which can be telephoned from within the UK (calls charged at local rates). There is also an ARCH website.

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Friday, 23 December 2011

Catholic Voices rush to defend episcopal obfuscation on homosexual unions

In recent days and weeks "Catholic Voices" have been rushing to defend comments by Vincent Nichols, Catholic archbishop of Westminster, on homosexual unions.* ** Yesterday the Catholic Voices blog claimed that:
"Archbishop Nichols's position on civil partnerships is consistent with church teaching"
and:
"As the law continues to treat homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon, it is entirely consistent with church teaching for Archbishop Nichols to support the civil partnership scheme as an existing and legitimate mechanism to help give stability to committed couples of the same sex, while strenously resisting any attempt by the state to redefine marriage."
Part of Catholic Voices's defence of Archbishop Nichols' position is that the civil partnership legislation:
"does not undermine the unique position of marriage in British law as it does not presuppose that a civil partnership is a homosexual relationship."
Yet as Jacqueline Humphreys, an Anglican barrister, has said:
"[T]here can be no ambiguity that [UK civil partnerships] are intended to be sexual ... [T]he fact that some people do not engage in genital sexual activity within their marriage does not prevent marriage from being the legal regulation of an essentially sexual relationship. The same applies to civil partnerships ... [C]ivil partnerships are in all important respects the same as marriage in terms of practical legal effect. Civil partnerships also share the overwhelming majority of the conceptual understandings of marriage that exist within English law".
In fact, Ms Humphreys, who supports homosexual unions, argues that UK civil partnerships can't undermine marriage - because (she argues) they are marriages! (However, I can't emphasise strongly enough how important it is to campaign against the government's proposals for same-sex marriage, as such explicit and total legal equality with true, i.e. heterosexual, marriage would further enshrine homosexual unions in UK law as well as undermine marriage by redefining it.)

Ms Humphreys has explained in detail how the Civil Partnerships Act has numerous aspects which mirror UK marriage law. There are so many of these aspects, so I won't list them all here, but here are some of the main ones [my emphases in bold]:
  • "Like marriage, a civil partnership ends only on death, dissolution or annulment"
  • "[C]ivil partners are to be treated by law in the same way as married couples in respect to property disputes" etc.
  • "Civil partnerships are also designed to be monogamous ...  This mutual exclusivity of marriage and civil partnership has the effect of putting civil partnerships firmly in a position equivalent to marriage."
  • "[T]he range of persons within prohibited degrees of relationship with whom it is not possible to enter a civil partnership...is the equivalent to that for marriage ... If civil partnerships are not assumed to be sexual, there can be no reason to restrict close family members from entering them. But because they are presumed to be sexual, it would not be appropriate for the law to legitimise 'incestuous' relationships."
  • "[T]he term 'in-law' where it appears in legislation also includes relationship by reason of civil partnership in addition to relationship by marriage and that `step-parent' and 'step­child' relationships are also recognised for civil partners as they would be for spouses."
  • "A civil partnership is voidable on the ground that at the time of its formation the respondent was pregnant by some person other than the applicant."
  • "[M]any of the details of the 2004 Act anticipate that children will be a feature of the family life of some civil partnerships"
  • [T]he Act recognises same-sex marriages in other countries as civil partnerships.
Ms Humphreys explains that it is for technical legal reasons that adultery is absent as a ground for dissolution, and not because civil partnerships are not intended to be sexual. She concludes that the only significant difference between UK civil partnerships and UK marriages is the obvious - the former are same-sex only, the latter opposite-sex only.

Even Archbishop Nichols's spokesman admitted [my emphasis in bold] that:
"the archbishop acknowledged the existence of 'civil partnership' between persons of the same sex that already offer the same legal framework of marriage". 
So it is absurd for Catholic Voices to claim that the Civil Partnerships Act 2004:
"denies homosexual unions a parliamentary imprimatur and does not enshrine them as institutions within the legal structure of the United Kingdom."
Catholic Voices did state correctly that:
"Civil partnerships...come into effect through the signing of a civil partnership document rather than via publicly-made promises in a civil ceremony, as...with marriage."
Yet everyone knows that civil partnerships are in practice celebrated like civil marriages:
  • conducted at registry offices, witnessed and registered by the same government officials who witness and register marriages
  • celebrated with much of the traditional panoply of weddings (rings, kisses, formal attire, receptions etc)
  • referred to in common parlance as "weddings" and the partners referred to as "husbands" or "wives".
Here are Elton John and David Furnish in wedding attire as they celebrate their civil partnership at Windsor Guildhall, famous for the civil marriage of HRH the Prince of Wales, on the first day that the civil partnership legislation came into effect:


Also on the first day of civil partnership legislation, here are two lesbians in (modern) wedding attire at their civil partnership ceremony at Brighton Town Hall:

And again on the same day, two homosexual actors proudly display their exchange of rings - the most traditional, public and permanent of material symbols of marital fidelity - at their civil partnership ceremony at Islington Town Hall:

Catholic Voices' scramble to defend Archbishop Nichols is the latest evidence confirming that Catholic Voices has been established to defend the Catholic bishops of England & Wales against accusations of dissent from Catholic pro-life/pro-family teaching. For example:
What we need are real voices of Catholics as distinct from the highly-compromised establishment mouthpieces called "Catholic Voices".

*SPUC's national council, which is SPUC's policy-making body, elected by its grassroots volunteers, last month passed the following resolution to defend marriage:

"That the Council of SPUC, noting the various proposals currently being made by the present Government and others in regard to the status and standing of marriage and its consequent effect upon family life; and further noting the higher proportionate incidence of abortion in unmarried women compared to married women, resolves to do its utmost to fight for the retention of the traditional understanding of marriage in the history, culture and law of the United Kingdom, namely the exclusive union of one man with one woman for life; and accordingly instructs its officers and executive committee to conduct a major campaign to this end, to co-operate with other persons and societies in so doing and specifically to target the Government's consultation period starting in March, 2012, in regard to (so-called) same sex marriage."
**Why is marriage (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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Thursday, 22 December 2011

This Christmas, help free Chen Guangcheng, persecuted opponent of China's one-child policy

As we in the UK start our Christmas celebrations, we are safe in the knowledge that our family lives will not be interrupted by arbitrary imprisonment or torture. We can (at least for now) speak out freely against pressure upon women to end the lives of their children through abortion. Chen Guangcheng has no such safety or freedom. Since speaking out against forced abortions and sterilisations in Linyi in 2005, the Chinese Communist authorities have subjected him to years of imprisonment, torture, neglect and harrassment. He is currently under house arrest. Christian Bale, the Hollywood actor, tried recently to visit him but was roughed up by officials instead.

Chen, who is blind, has become a icon for freedom, instantly recognisable in his dark glasses. Chen's supporters have started a Dark Glasses campaign to pressure the Communist government to release him. Anyone can join this campaign - simply take a photo of yourself wearing dark glasses, with a message of support for Chen, and email it to Women's Rights Without Frontiers - full details are available on their website. Here is the photo I'll be sending:


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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 20 Dec

Garik Hayrapetyan, UNFPA Armenia
Top stories:

Selective abortion of girls increases in Armenia, says UN Population Fund
The Armenian representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has warned of a rise in unborn girls being aborted in Armenia. Garik Hayrapetyan (pictured) told a news conference that: "In ten to 20 years, we will face a deficit of women -- that means, of potential mothers". [AFP via Yahoo!, 19 December] Anthony Ozimic of SPUC  commented: "UNFPA's words of concern about sex-selective abortion are empty, considering that UNFPA has for decades been complicit in China's forced abortion programme, which is largely responsible for China's massive gender imbalance."

Other stories:

Embryology
Sexual ethics
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Monday, 19 December 2011

British Heart Foundation funds destructive embryo research

SPUC has re-launched its information on charities as an online index, with new entries and updated information added as and when new information is received. Today's charity is the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

In a letter SPUC dated 22 October 2010, Betty McBride, BHF's director of policy and communications, said that the BHF:
  • currently funds more than £12 million of stem cell research using both embryonic and adult stem cells. SPUC comment: Human embryos are human beings from the moment of their conception (fertilisation or an analogous form of creation such as cloning). Removing stem cells from them abuses and usually kills them.
  • does not have a policy on pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) but added that the more "...we learn about the genetic causes of cardiovascular disease, it may become possible for PGD to be used."
  • does not fund research into prenatal diagnosis of disability or provide advice on where such tests can be obtained
  • funds training for ultrasonographers who undertake foetal scans in early pregnancy to identify congenital heart disease. SPUC comment: One possible purpose of discovering heart disease in the unborn is to enable parents to choose to abort their affected child.
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A book to help parents fulfil their role as the primary educators of their children in sexual matters

Edmund Adamus, the director of pastoral affairs in the Catholic archdiocese of Westminster, has written an inspiring article on sex education which has just been published in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. Edmund's article promotes a new book entitled "As I Have Loved You" by Dr Gerard O'Shea of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, Australia. The book provides a programme and materials which help parents fulfil their role as the primary educators of their children in sexual matters. It would be wrong, however, to think that the book pits parents against schools: in fact, the work was produced after a long period of "careful consultation with teachers, parents and experts in the field". Edmund writes:
"Conscientious Catholic teachers and educators [all too often unduly burdened with the increasingly aggressive civil demands for explicit sex education, even at primary age-levels] know just how the more intimate aspects of the topic are best handled through a personalised one-to-one dialogue.

They also know [as they are often parents themselves] that those best placed to deliver this kind of one-to-one formation, are in fact parents. For countless decades, Catholic parents have appropriated the habit of delegating their unrenounceable and irreplaceable educative role in this arena to the Catholic school, and then largely forgetting about it. Now they need to be formed as moral educators of their children."
An aim of SPUC's Safe at School campaign is also to remove a source of conflict between schools and parents, by stopping the intrusion of pornographic sex education programmes into schools.

"As I Have Loved You" is published by Gracewing Publishing in Great Britain and Connor Court in Australia.

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Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Mon 19 Dec

Christian Bale: tried to visit Chen Guangcheng
Top stories:

UK prime minister says UK should return to Christian moral values
David Cameron, the British prime minister, has called for British society to return to traditional Christian moral values. In a speech to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Mr Cameron said: "moral neutrality is not going to cut it any more". [Telegraph, 17 December] John Smeaton, SPUC director said: "It is hypocritical for Mr Cameron to promote traditional morality when his government is bank-rolling abortion, contraception and homosexuality at home and abroad."

Dutch pro-lifers say: campaign for abortion abolition, not stricter rules
The annual Dutch March for Life took place on Saturday 10 December. It is estimated that 1,400 people took part in the march, which is almost double last year's attendance. Dr Bert P. Dorenbos, President of Cry for Life and the chief organiser of the march, said: "We're not going for stricter rules, but we are called to advocate the abolition of abortion." John Smeaton, SPUC director, commented: "Dr Dorenbos’s comment is particularly applicable to the UK and misguided parliamentary moves, e.g. trying to lower the 24-week upper time-limit on most social abortions." [John Smeaton, 15 December]

Other stories:

Abortion
Euthanasia
Population
  • Hollywood star (pictured) assaulted in bid to visit Chinese forced abortion opponent [Reuters, 16 December]
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