Saturday, 14 July 2012

David Cameron pits himself against the pro-life movement

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking at the London Summit on Family PlanningBelow are some quick-fire rebuttals by Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, to David Cameron's keynote speech to Melinda Gates' London Summit on Family Planning last Wednesday. Some of Anthony's other quick-fire comments on the Summit can be read via SPUC's Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/spucprolife Earlier in the week, SPUC issued a series of press releases and videos containing detailed arguments against the population control agenda behind the summit - see:
(David Cameron's words are marked DC and Anthony's words AO.)
  • DC: "We’re here for a very simple reason: women should be able to decide freely, and for themselves, whether, when and how many children they have."
  • AO: Women can do this without contraception. The summit is about convincing women that they should avoid having children.
  • DC: "This is not something nice to have. Some sort of add on to our wider development goals."
  • AO: By prioritising contraception, the Department for International Development (DFID) is neglecting real development goals e.g. food.
  • DC: "It’s absolutely fundamental to any hope of tackling poverty in our world."
  • AO: There is no proof that contraception helps to tackle poverty. There is considerable evidence that large family sizes and growing populations help lift nations out of poverty.
  • DC: "Why? Because a country can’t develop properly when its young women are dying from unintended pregnancies and when its children are dying in infancy."
  • AO: Women don’t die from pregnancies. Pregnancy is a healthy outcome of a natural process. Women die from lack of basic healthcare. Contraception can’t save children from dying in infancy. It’s healthcare not contraception that saves lives.
  • DC: "As a result of this Summit, in the next eight years we will avert an unintended pregnancy every two seconds and 212,000 fewer women and girls will die in pregnancy and childbirth. That alone, frankly, is a good enough reason for us to be here."
  • AO: These are figures made up by the abortion-contraception lobby to justify its eugenics and population control agendas.
  • DC: "But there’s another reason why family planning is so important for development. When a woman is prevented from choosing when to have children it’s not just a violation of her human rights it can fundamentally compromise her chances in life, and the opportunities for her children."
  • AO: The issue of forced pregnancy (e.g. through rape or following a forced marriage) is a separate issue from contraception. This wrong is being cynically exploited by the abortion-contraception lobby to justify its eugenics and population control agendas.
  • DC: "Without access to family planning, pregnancy will often come far too early. In Sierra Leone, for example, a UNICEF survey found that a staggering two-fifths of girls give birth for the first time between the ages of 12 and 14. These young girls are not ready physically, emotionally or financially to become mothers. They don’t want to give up school or the chance to go on and run a business and build a better life for themselves."
  • AO: The evil there is statutory rape. Providing contraception will simply allow the rapists and child-marriage criminals to further their crimes.
  • DC: "And yet suddenly their dreams are broken as they become trapped in a potentially life-threatening pregnancy. Even if they survive, many are left with catastrophic scarring."
  • AO: Again, it is irrational to depict pregnancy, a healthy outcome of a natural process, to be life-threatening. Lack of basic healthcare is life-threatening.
  • DC: "They struggle to bring up children that are healthy and educated and they are likely to have many more children than they have the resources to look after."
  • AO: I thought the point of international development was to help mothers raise healthy and educated children and provide resources for them.
  • DC: "It’s a simple fact that as countries get richer, women generally have fewer children."
  • AO: Increases in population lead to countries become richer. The improvement in health following population-driven prosperity means that fewer children die and therefore couples are less driven to achieve more pregnancies.
  • DC: "And by concentrating their resources on a smaller number of children those children are healthier, better educated and more likely get a job and build a prosperous future for themselves and their own children. Family planning helps that process along."
  • AO: It simply doesn’t work like that. Smaller families result in fewer resources, because it leads to future shortfalls in workers who create profit, pay taxes, make products, care for the elderly etc.
  • DC: "The availability of contraception enables women to decide to have fewer children."
  • AO: Contraception has a massive real-world failure-rate.
  • DC: "And as fertility rates decline, having fewer children to support can help the economy to grow."
  • AO: Not true. The 20th century proved that economies grow as population rises.
  • DC: "We should be pragmatic about what works."
  • AO: Indeed. Contraception is based instead on the ideologies of sexual liberalism and eugenics.
  • DC: "In East and Southeast Asia, this reduction in children accounted for more than two-fifths of the growth in per capita GDP between 1970 and 2000. In Matlab in Bangladesh, a twenty year study found that a family planning programme together with improved support for maternal and child health led not just to smaller, healthier families but also to women being better educated and earning more and their families owning more assets with the average value of an educated woman’s home as much as a fifth higher than for women in nearby villages where this programme hadn’t been introduced. So we know this works. So family planning works not just because smaller families can be healthier and wealthier but because empowering women is the key to growing economies and healthy open societies -unlocking what I call the golden thread of development."
  • AO: Whole swathes of Asia are now ageing rapidly with no hope in sight. Korea is a dying society, filling more graves than cradles. Japan is the most rapidly ageing society in the world, with a elderly-care crisis with no solution. China is predicted to be the world’s first developing country that will become old before it becomes rich. Yes, support for maternal and child health and for education makes societies healthier and wealthier. But contraception impoverishes.
  • DC: "The UK government is taking a whole new approach to development. We know that in the long term we cannot help countries develop just by giving them money. Development cannot be done to the poor by outsiders. It has to be driven by the people who need the change. Our role is to help the poorest countries create the building blocks of private sector growth and prosperity. These building blocks are the same the world over. No conflict, access to markets, transparency, property rights, the rule of law, the absence of corruption, a free media, free and fair elections. Together these key enablers of growth make up the golden thread that runs through all stories of successful development across the world. And they are quite simply life changing. Curbing corruption means not having to pay a bribe to lease a plot of land. Transparency means that people can monitor whether revenue from natural resources like oil is being invested in roads or wells for their villages, or wasted. The rule of law means that a woman can go to court to settle a dispute knowing that her evidence will be given the same weight as a man’s. Free and fair elections mean that every citizen has a voice in their government and the opportunity to stand for office."
  • AO: So why are you pumping hundreds of millions of pounds into contraception instead?
  • DC: "But these vital building blocks of freedom and democracy can not be laid down without a transformation in the participation of women. Why? Because where the potential and the perspective of women is locked out of the decisions that shape a society, that society remains stunted and underachieving. So enabling women to have a voice is a vital part of improving governance and achieving sustainable and equitable growth. And this isn’t just the case in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the case all over the world. A World Bank Study of 100 countries found that the greater the representation of women in parliament the lower the level of corruption. While one of the most powerful signs that real change was afoot in Egypt and Libya was when women turned up and made their voices heard, refusing to be confined to their homes while men decided their future. And one of the standards by which Egyptians will judge their new government must surely be the engagement and participation of women. Crucially, it is by empowering women that countries can unlock their economic potential. Studies show that limited education and employment opportunities for women in Africa mean annual per capita growth is almost a whole percentage point lower than it should be. Had this growth been achieved, Africa’s economies would have doubled in size over the last thirty years. Providing girls with just one extra year of schooling can increase their wages by as much as 20 per cent. And that really matters because a woman who can decide when to have children, will go to school for longer and then invest her extra money in her own family."
  • AO: But none of this has anything to do with contraception. The way to reduce teenage pregnancy is to promote abstinence, outlaw child-marriage, and enforce laws on statutory rape and the age of consent. The UK still has high rates of teenage pregnancy after decades of increasing provision of contraception.
  • DC: "When women have opportunity, resources and a voice, the benefits cascade to her children, her community and her country. So family planning is just the first step on a long journey towards growth, equality and development. But it’s an essential step – saving lives and empowering women to fulfil their potential as great leaders of change."
  • AO: Contraception doesn’t save lives; it prevents lives. It is insulting to women to tell them that they need pills, rubbers, coils etc to ‘fulfil their potential’.
  • DC: "So I am delighted that Britain is taking the lead – together with the Gates Foundation – to tackle an issue that has been ignored for so long."
  • AO: This is a complete myth. Western governments, wealthy foundations, UN agencies and abortion lobbyists have been flooding the developing world with contraception for decades.
  • DC: "Just like the money we gave last year through GAVI to immunise children against preventable diseases this aid is transparent and direct – it reaches the people who need it, and it doesn’t get caught up in bureaucracy. Last year’s vaccines summit is saving 4 million lives. This year’s family planning summit will prevent a further 3 million babies dying in their first year of life giving 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries the chance to access affordable, lifesaving contraception for the first time. And I’m proud to say that Britain will contribute over £500 million between now and 2020 – doubling our annual investment in family planning. This alone will help 24 million women and girls preventing an unintended pregnancy every 10 seconds and saving a woman’s life every two hours."
  • AO: These figures are self-serving fantasies. In many developing countries, there are not even reliable statistics about the population in general, let alone accurate figures for estimates of healthcare outcomes. Lies, damned lies and statistics.
  • DC: "Of course there are some who will oppose this. There are those who will say we can’t afford to spend money on aid at a time like this. And there are those who might accept the case for aid, but who object to supporting family planning and the empowerment of women because they think it’s not our place to tell people what to do, or interfere in other cultures. I think it’s vital that we confront these arguments head on. Let me do so. First, it is morally right to honour our promises to the poorest in the world."
  • AO: We are unaware that the Conservative or Liberal Democrat parties, either separately or in the Coalition agreement, made any promises to bankroll contraception globally.
  • DC: "Every six minutes a woman who did not want to become pregnant will die in pregnancy or childbirth. Every six minutes."
  • AO: Again, this figure is a self-serving fantasy.
  • DC: "So how many minutes do we wait? I say we don’t wait at all."
  • AO: This is tear-jerking 'Mom and apple-pie' rhetoric, cynically wheeled-out to fool the naive.
  • DC: "But there’s not just a strong moral argument for keeping our aid commitment, there’s a second, more practical argument too. If we really care about our own national interest about jobs, growth and security we shouldn’t break off our links with the countries that can hold some of the keys to that future. For if we invest in empowering women in Africa as the key to driving trade and economic growth it’s not just Africa that will grow but Britain too. And that’s why I will always defend our spending on aid."
  • AO: This is another straw-man argument. SPUC does not argue against giving aid but against wasting aid on contraception.
  • DC: "As for those who say we shouldn’t interfere let me be absolutely clear. We’re not talking about some kind of Western imposed population control, forced abortion or sterilisation."
  • AO: Wrong. The UK government has for decades given tens of millions of pounds annually to the very same organisations which support and help manage China’s population control programme of forced abortion and sterilisation. In April, it was alleged that DFID money went to a forced sterilisation programme in India (Observer, 15 April). Melinda Gates' partners, Marie Stopes International and International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF), were founded by leaders in the early eugenics and population control movements, and who were very open  that they did not like the idea of poor people of colour having children.
  • DC: "What we’re saying today is quite the opposite. We’re not telling anyone what to do. We’re giving women and girls the power to decide for themselves."
  • AO: The easy availability of contraception enables predatory men and coercive relatives to pressure vulnerable women and girls into sexual activity.
  • DC: "Yes family sizes need to come down but they come down not because we say they should but because the women who have children want them to."
  • AO: This is a reversal of the UK government’s policy under Labour which claimed it was neutral about population sizes. In any case, what is the evidence that mothers want family sizes to come down?
  • DC: "And to those who try to say it is wrong to interfere by giving a woman that power to decide I say they are the ones who are interfering, not me."
  • AO: Most women around the world, including women in the developing world, already exercise the power to decide over the size of their family. They are not in relationships in which they cannot decide, in conjunction with their spouses/partners, to limit the number of children they conceive. In those relationships in which they cannot exercise this power, this is a problem relating to the nature of the relationship, not a lack of contraception.
  • DC: "I’m not dictating who runs her country. I’m not saying how many children she should have. What jobs she can do. How she can dress. When she can speak. It’s those who are imposing their values on women who are doing the interfering. I say that every woman should be able to decide her own future. And yes I say we should stand up against those who want to decide it for her."
  • AO: Mr Cameron is cynically adopting radical feminist rhetoric in order to caricature those who uphold traditional family values. He is pitting himself against the pro-life movement.
  • DC: "Because there are no valid excuses for the denial of basic rights and freedoms for women around the world."
  • AO: There is no international treaty or convention which declares that contraception is a basic right.
  • DC: "So what we are talking about today is the beginning of a much wider battle that will define our century. A fight for female empowerment and equality that cannot be won by having special separate discussions on women every now and then but requires instead that women are at the table in every discussion on every issue. In Britain, we are scaling up and re-prioritising resources for women and girls in all of DFID’s 28 country programmes. We have made a commitment to help 6.5 million of the poorest girls in the world to go to school. We are standing up for women’s rights against horrific sexual crimes, including through the campaign to prevent sexual violence in conflict which William Hague launched in May with Angelina Jolie. We are determined to end the barbaric practice of female genital cutting making it illegal in Britain leading the way in countries like Somalia where it affects a staggering 98 per cent of women and supporting the brave leadership of the first ladies of Burkina Faso and Niger who are here today. And I will personally ensure that the fight for the empowerment of women is at the heart of the international process I am co-chairing to renew the Millennium Development Goals. Because we know today just how important that empowerment is for women, for the well-being of their families and the future growth and prosperity of the whole world."
  • AO: Mr Cameron is again expropriating feminism as a background of justification for flooding the developing world with contraception. Women do not need contraception in order to be empowered, equal and protected. Indeed, contraception often degrades vulnerable women to the level of sex objects.
  • DC: "Just before I came onto this stage today I met Aslefe. Aslefe is an inspiring young woman from Ethiopia. She told me she is the captain of her village football team. She uses football matches to distribute materials, contraceptives and HIV prevention methods. She wants every woman and girl to have access to family planning and wants improved health systems in Ethiopia so girls her age no longer have to suffer."
  • AO: I think the vast majority of both children and parents in the world think that what Aslefe is doing is strange and that the normal thing for her to do would be to stick to sport.
  • DC: "She has hope in her eyes. She has ambition in her voice. She gives you that sense that she believes things really can change. Today we are investing in that hope for Aslefe and for girls like her all over the world. Their future will determine our future. And we will help them fight for it. Today and every day until that battle is won. Thank you."
  • AO: Mr Cameron has now overdone the tear-jerking, heartstring-tugging rhetoric here. More arguments and less Walt Disney please.
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Friday, 13 July 2012

Today marks a tragic anniversary in the history of abortion in the UK and worldwide

13th July 2012 marks a tragic anniversary.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the passage by the House of Commons of David Steel’s (pictured) Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill (later to become the Abortion Act 1967). Two days of government time had been provided, one on 29 June and the other on 13 July - for the Bill's Third Reading.

The first day of the additional Parliamentary time provided by the then (Labour) Government proved to be insufficient and the sponsors of the Bill went cap in hand again to the Leader of the House, Richard Crossman seeking further time. The Labour Cabinet met again to discuss this matter on Thursday, 6th July, 1967: i.e. to discuss whether further Parliamentary time should be provided. Once again, the pro-abortion lobby were not to be disappointed.

See below the note of this Cabinet discussion. There seemed to be a concern in Cabinet that for the Government to allow yet further time for this Bill would be taken by the public as implying a degree of governmental support for it. However, after a full discussion, the Cabinet “agreed that further Parliamentary time should be provided by the Government for the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, on the basis that this time was allowed solely in order to enable Parliament to reach a conclusion on a Bill which had attracted considerable Parliamentary support.”

As a result, on Thursday 13th July 1967, John Silkin, the Government Chief Whip (and son of Lord Silkin, who would subsequently sponsor the Bill during its passage through the House of Lords) moved that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill may be proceeded with though opposed until any hour ie another open ended debate. This motion was agreed to by 303 votes to 202.

Pro-life MPs fought against all the odds to prevent the passage of this Bill. Norman St John-Stevas had circulated a letter asking pro-life MPs to filibuster. Sadly, the sponsors – using a whole host of untruths and exaggerations – persuaded the House of Commons to support the Bill. However, it still took a further all night sitting for the Bill to complete its Report stage. At 11.45 am on Friday 14th July, MPs voted by 167 votes to 83 to give the Bill a Third Reading.

The full debate, beginning with the Business of the House motion can be seen here.

Under the tragic legislation over 7,500,000 babies have now been killed - and the legislation has been a model for countries worldwide.

Note of Cabinet discussion on whether further Parliamentary time should be given to Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill (later, the Abortion Act 1967)

The Lord President (Richard Crossman) said that, despite the provision of additional time by the Government for the debate of Mr. Steel's Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, the House of Commons had failed to reach a conclusion on it. It was for consideration whether further Parliamentary time should be provided by the Government to enable the House to reach a decision on the Bill before the Summer Recess. It was clear from the amount of support which the Bill received that if it failed in this Session it would be revived in subsequent Sessions until the House reached a decision and from the point of view of Parliamentary business there was therefore a strong argument in favour of allowing finality to be reached this time. Furthermore, it was arguable that, in the case of a Bill which attracted this degree of support, time should as a matter of principle be provided to enable Parliament to reach a conclusion. In these circumstances the balance of advantage appeared to lie in providing further limited time for debate on the Bill.

In discussion it was urged that for the Government to allow yet further time for this Bill would be taken by the public as implying a degree of governmental support for it. The Cabinet had not debated the Bill on merits and in view of its highly controversial nature it would be unfortunate if without such discussion the Government were publicly assumed to have taken a decision to support it. It was, however, the general view that the question of governmental support was neither at issue nor would be seen to be implied. The basic principle was that of enabling Parliament to reach a conclusion on a measure which attracted such a wide measure of support. The Governments neutrality on the merits of the Bill could be demonstrated, more particularly if in the event some Ministers were to vote in favour of the Bill and some against it. In these circumstances, further Parliamentary time should
be allowed and it was indeed questionable whether it should not be made clear, in order to forestall further filibustering, that the additional time wouk not be limited, but would be sufficient to enable Parliament to reach a decision one way or another. This could be achieved by making it clear that the debate could continue over the night of Thursday, 13th July and throughout the following Friday (or indeed Saturday) if necessary. This course was, however,
open to the objection that it would involve the sacrifice of Government business on the Friday and though on this occasion the business in question was only of minor importance, its sacrifice might be taken as prejudicing the Governments neutrality on the substance of the Bill.

In further discussion it was urged that consideration should be given to the possibility of changes in Parliamentary procedure which would provide better opportunity for Parliament to reach conclusions on Bills of this nature. This might involve the appointment of a Standing Committee for the preparation of legislation. This and other suggestions could well be considered by the Ministerial Committee on Parliamentary Procedure.

The Cabinet—

(1) Agreed that further Parliamentary time should be provided by the Government for the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, on the basis that this time was allowed solely in order to enable Parliament to reach a conclusion on a Bill which had attracted considerable Parliamentary support.

(2) Invited the Lord President of the Council to consider in the light of the discussion the extent to which the statement of the Governments intention to provide further
Parliamentary time for this purpose should indicate that the time would be limited.

(3) Invited the Lord President of the Council to arrange for the Ministerial Committee on Parliamentary Procedure to consider, in the light of their discussion, Parliamentary arrangements for facilitating Private Members' Bills.

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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Minister confirms that schools are not required to teach children about sex in science lessons

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has confirmed that primary schools are not required to teach children about sex in National Curriculum science lessons.

In a letter (full text) to SPUC which runs the Safe at School campaign, Mr Gibb stated:
"I can confirm that neither the current National Curriculum nor the new draft programme of study requires the naming of internal or external body parts with reference to reproduction. The current National Curriculum level descriptions and the new draft notes and guidance make clear that this is not included when pupils are taught to name the main body parts in KS1/Year 1".
Mr Gibb's letter continues:
"Whilst the new draft includes a little more detail about reproductive processes than the current curriculum; it requires a pupil in Year 6 to be taught to compare the life process of reproduction in plants and animals; the programme of study itself does not require pupils to be taught about the mechanisms by which fertilisation takes place."
Antonia Tully of the Safe at School campaign said:
"This clarification from Mr Gibb is very welcome. Parents from around the country have reported to me that their children are being taught about sex in statutory science lessons from which they cannot withdraw their children.

Teaching children about their sexual organs and sexual intercourse in science lessons completely undermines the legal right of parents to withdraw their children from sex education which they feel is too explicit or not age-appropriate. Sex education is part of non-compulsory Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) which means that schools can choose not to teach sex education and parents can choose to withdraw their children from the lessons."
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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

New Portsmouth bishop argues that Humanae Vitae is infallible

Good news today with the announcement that Monsignor Philip Egan, the vicar-general of the Catholic diocese of Shrewsbury, has been appointed the new bishop of Portsmouth, succeeding Bishop Crispian Hollis. In a lecture at St. Patrick's church, Soho, for the book launch of 'A Pure Heart Create for Me' (Family Publications 2009), Mgr Egan says that:
"[I]t seems to me that there is a persuasive case for believing that the doctrine of Humanae Vitae, regardless of the pastoral difficulty it causes, regardless of the philosophical and theological arguments thrown against it, regardless of the historical conditioning of its neo-scholastic framework, has been, and is being taught infallibly, that is, irreversibly and without error, by the Church's ordinary universal magisterium."
See my blog of 20 November 2009 for why the teaching of Humanae Vitae is crucial for the pro-life movement.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Microsoft first lady partners pro-abortion leaders

Melinda Gates, the “first lady of Microsoft”, who is giving US$4 billion to reduce births in poorer countries, is due to attend a summit with world abortion leaders on 11 July. Mrs Gates has said she does not want to fund and support abortion. SPUC challenges the suggestion that the money will not help promote abortions.

Mrs Gates wants to focus on contraceptives. In a recent interview she said: 'From the very beginning, we said that as a foundation [the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] we will not support abortion, because we don’t believe in funding it'.  She is expected to reiterate this at the family planning summit in London this week.  Fiorella Nash, a SPUC researcher, responds in this video and asks whether Mrs Gates’ intervention will save lives or cost lives:



SPUC believes that efforts to elevate abortion as a human right will be a key policy aim of the summit, which is expected to be dominated by pro-abortion organisations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), certain UN agencies, Marie Stopes International (MSI), and Ipas, the hand-operated abortion-device company.
  • Key stakeholders such as the British and US governments, IPPF, MSI, and Ipas are committed to pro-abortion policies and practices. These governments and groups include contraception and abortion in the same healthcare packages that they export to the developing world. Abortion and contraception are seen as part and parcel of family planning and so-called reproductive rights.
  • Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said that you cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. ‘Reproductive health’ includes abortion. Pro-abortion governments such as the UK refuse to differentiate between money spent on abortion and contraception overseas. 
  • Melinda Gates will be funding all types of hormonal contraception – pills, injections, implants, patches, IUDs, rings etc. Each of these has the potential to cause an abortion by preventing the human embryo implanting in the womb of his or her mother. Women are rarely told this when being given such drugs.
  • When 'contraceptive failure' occurs, and a baby is conceived, family planning NGOs will promote chemical or surgical abortion as a back-up. Far from avoiding abortions, the Gates family planning summit may increase the number. Increasing contraceptive prevalence may often increase abortion rates, contrary to expectations.
  • In a letter to The Financial Times, IPPF and Marie Stopes International say: “This initiative is invigorating the international sexual and reproductive health and rights community.” It is naive of Mrs Gates to think she can ring-fence the funding of contraception with these partners. 
  • In June 2011 Mark Pritchard MP asked the Secretary of State for International Development to look into how much the DFID spent on abortion. Andrew Mitchell replied that: “the Government have no such plans. It is not possible to disaggregate UK aid spending for safe abortion from wider expenditure on areas such as reproductive health care, maternal and neonatal health and health personnel development.”  
  • IPPF and allied groups refused to accept US government funds under the Bush administration when the funds were restricted to non-abortion family planning projects. 
  • In 2008, the Gates Foundation gave over US$2.4 million dollars to IPPF Europe Network, and over US$6 million dollars in 2009.
  • The Marie Stopes International Global Impact Report for 2010 estimated that MSI had performed 1.3 million abortion and post-abortion procedures.
  • The latest project launched by DFID is called Preventing Maternal Deaths from Unwanted Pregnancy (PMDUP). DFID will give £67 million pounds over 5 years from July 2011 to June 2016 via MSI and Ipas, to carry out and promote abortion and contraception in 14 countries.
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Monday, 9 July 2012

Food not contraception saves lives

Food not contraception saves live, says SPUC in the run-up to Melinda Gates' London Summit on Family Planning on 11 July.

Recently, Save the Children has announced that family planning 'saves lives' of both women and babies. It has called for aid money to be spent on contraception, claiming that it is a good investment, cheaper than saving children from death by disease or starvation after they are born.  These claims are due to be rehashed in a letter to The Financial Times this week.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC’s communications manager, examines in this video why money is being spent on contraception when people are starving:



In promoting contraception, Save the Children is echoing agencies that promote abortion and population control for poorer countries. The popular face of this campaign is a call to address the alleged 'unmet need for contraception' among the world’s poorest women. Although Save the Children says this would cost only one pound per woman per year, the UK government, the EU, the US, the Gates Foundation and others are proposing to give many billions of pounds more to stop around 0.2 billion poor women bearing children.

Save the Children make specious claims such as '570,000 newborn children will be saved if family planning needs are met'. In a forthcoming letter in The Financial Times, NGOs Beyond 2014, an alliance of pro-abortion organisations, plan to claim the summit will help progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4 (reduce child mortality). There are real and urgent needs that newborns and young child need help with, and these should be the priority of Save the Children, not pushing contraceptives to stop future children existing.

A report by The Economist (May 2012) concluded that the link between mortality and broader demographic change seems weak.  This contradicts the claims of Save the Children and NGOs beyond 2014. 16 of the 20 African countries which have had detailed surveys of living conditions since 2005 reported falls in their child-mortality rates (this rate is the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births). 12 countries had falls of over 4.4% a year, which is the rate of decline that is needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of cutting by two-thirds the child-mortality rate between 1990 and 2015. The report notes that countries which reduced their birth rates the most would be expected to have cut child mortality most. This is because such countries have moved furthest in the transition from poor, high-fertility status to richer, low-fertility status. But it turns out that while Senegal, Ethiopia and Ghana reduced both fertility and child mortality a lot, others like Kenya and Uganda also reduced child deaths, though their fertility declines have stalled in recent years. Lower birth rates are not the only factor. Liberia, where fertility remains high, did badly on child mortality—but so did low-fertility places such as Namibia and Lesotho.

Some further facts:
  • Under-nutrition contributes to five million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries. (Source: Under-five deaths by cause, UNICEF, 2006)
  • One out of four children - roughly 146 million - in developing countries is underweight (Source: The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  • 10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths (Source: The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  • According to charity Mary’s Meals, 78% of malnourished children live in countries that have a surplus of food and there is enough food being produced in the world today to feed every person 2,720 kcals each day
  • According to the charity Nothing But Nets, malaria causes 200 million instances of  illness per year and kills 600,000 people, mostly children under the age of five. Malaria is both preventable and treatable. Anti-malarial drugs, such as artemisinin and other combination therapies (if used early enough) can be used to treat malaria once it is contracted.
Below is table of leading causes of death of neonates and children under five. A condom, or a hormonal pill or injection will not cure a child of any of the following in the table. Deaths from these causes are extremely rare in the developed world.

whotable2010

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