Thursday, 3 May 2012

There's hope for unborn children in the Faroe Islands

Jógvan á Lakjuni and Karsten Hansen
I returned on Tuesday from the Faroe Islands where I was speaking at the weekend at a national meeting of ProVita, a pro-life group established there twenty years ago. The title of my talk was Protect women, men and unborn children from abortion.

On average, there are, 45 abortions annually in the Faroes. In a nation of 50,000 people, that’s 45 unborn children too many. A roughly equivalent number in Britain would be 54,000 abortions annually, or over 1,000 babies killed in the womb each week.
The fertility rate there is between 2.4 and 2.6 live births per woman, significantly higher than other countries in Europe. Prams are very much in evidence in Torshavn, the capital city, and in the other little villages, nestling beside the north Atlantic sea, which I visited. Somehow, this made the annual killing of 45 Faroese babies all the more poignant.

The Faroes is a largely self-governing dependency within the kingdom of Denmark and, although its population is tiny, it has virtually all the characteristics of a nation state, including its own Parliament, Prime Minister and ministers. Unlike Denmark, the Faroe Islands is not part of the European Union. The Faroese Parliament, or Løgting, can be traced back to the first Norse settlement of the Faroes in the year 800.

Hilda Videro and Jógvan á Lakjuni
I was encouraged to find that many of the Faroe Islands’ 33 Members of Parliament oppose abortion. Three Members of Parliament attended my talk. They were Karsten Hansen, the minister of health affairs, Jógvan á Lakjuni, the Speaker of the Parliament, and Dr. Jenis av Rana, a general practitioner as well as being an active Member of Parliament.

I was also encouraged to learn that it's government policy in the Faroe Islands to reduce the incidence of abortion.

My talk focused firstly on the worldwide powerful political forces promoting abortion on demand in every nation of the world, not least Barack Obama, the US president, and Hilary Clinton, the US Secretary of State – who have proclaimed their worldwide pro-abortion policy for all the world to hear. (By the way, our meeting began with a traditional Faroese song of which there are very many. Our song had ten verses to a simple tune in praise of God and the beauty of creation. When the Faroese visit each others' homes it's usual for them to sing. They love singing.)

I told them:
  • that top United Nations officials have called for the policing of nations worldwide to “address the refusal of physicians to perform legal abortions”
  • that the UNFPA's involvement in China’s forced abortion regime is very well-documented
  • that these pro-abortion forces are substantially supported by Denmark which is the fifth largest country donor in the world to the UNFPA
  • that the Faroe Islands has a reputation of championing the best interests of its people, not least in a recent fishing dispute with the European Union and other nations
  • that they should show the same David versus Goliath spirit in defying any pressures to make abortion even more widely available 
I urged this tiny nation to give the world a lead in changing the nature of the abortion debate; to bring about a paradigm shift in the national and global battle for the right to life of unborn children. I explained:
  • that humanity’s consensus, as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other documents, upholds the right to life of unborn children from conception, and that the intentional killing of unborn children runs contrary to international human rights agreements
  • that just as all patients have a right to information about any medical procedure they are considering, this is even more the case with abortion: women and men have the right to information about the development of the baby, the nature of abortion, and its impact on the health of both women and men
  • that abortion is unlike any other procedure in that it involves always killing one person and possibly injuring another, the mother, who is otherwise usually completely healthy
  • that there is not one scientifically proven medical benefit of abortion but hundreds of studies linking it to a range of physical and emotional problems
  • that abortion is strongly associated with domestic violence and the abuse of women*
  • that ambivalence in women who may be considering abortion is common and ambivalence is related to post-abortion distress in the medico-scientific literature*
  • that there is a solid body of evidence showing that when an abortion is undertaken for reasons of foetal abnormality the after-effects can be particularly traumatic - for both women and men*
  • that it’s time to oppose the ideological agenda of Obama/Clinton - who shamefully mislead the public, doctors and politicians worldwide with their mantra that abortion must be safe, legal and rare
  • that Ireland, where there's historically a constitutional ban on abortion has had, over a number of years, either the lowest rate, or amongst the lowest rates of maternal mortality in the world; that Malta, where abortion is prohibited under the criminal code, has a very low maternal mortality rate; that Chile where abortion is illegal has the lowest maternal mortality in the whole of South America
  • that it's time to oppose the ideological agenda of influential bodies around the world like the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Britain, who have recently advised doctors in Britain to stress that induced abortion is a safe procedure and that this should be repeatedly emphasised to women
  • that it should be a matter of public policy for government and parliamentarians, a matter of medical ethics for doctors, and a matter of educational policy on the part of ProVita to tell the public and, especially, mothers-to-be the real truth about what abortion involves.
Sofus Gregersen
Whilst in the Faroes Islands Sofus Gregersen, leader of ProVita Faroes, and I visited the Parliament for a meeting with Karsten Hansen, the minister of health affairs, who had attended the ProVita meeting.

We also met Dr. Jenis av Rana, a GP and a Member of Parliament (also at Saturday's ProVita meeting). Dr Jenis av Rana showed us around the historic Parliament building - providing me with another memorable highlight of my visit to this remarkable, beautiful, hospitable, independent nation.

Dr. Jenis av Rana
Dr Rana told us that amongst his patients there were children who might have been aborted. However, instead of saying to their mothers: "Yes, with your problem, I will refer you for an abortion" he would say: "Yes. I can see you have a real problem. Let's see how I can help you."

This is truly enlightened, compassionate and appropriate medical care in the light of the evidence that ambivalence about an abortion decision is common and that ambivalence is related to post-abortion distress.* I really feel there's hope for unborn children in the Faroe Islands.

*For a copy of Abortion and Women's Health compiled by Dr Gregory J Pike of the Southern Cross Bioethics Centre, please email me at

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