Friday, 25 October 2013

Must-read #prolife news-stories, Fri 25 Oct

Top stories:

Pro-life victory as European Parliament votes to send pro-abortion report back to committee
In a pro-life victory, the European Parliament has voted to send the pro-abortion Estrela report back to committee. Anti-family lobbyists are complaining about "intense lobbying" by pro-life/pro-family groups, so well done to all those SPUC supporters who lobbied their MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) prior to the vote. (See our action alert of 16 October for what was contained in the Estrela report.) Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told LifeSiteNews.com: "Today's set-back for the Estrela report shows that the pro-abortion lobby does not have it all its own way, even in the culture of death which is so prevalent in Europe. Forthright and intelligent lobbying by individual pro-lifers and their representative organisations can and does frustrate the designs of powerful anti-life forces. Although the pro-abortion lobby has many times the funding of the pro-life movement, pro-lifers can punch above our weight because we have the truth with us. There is all to play for, and the victory is won in terms of lives saved and families protected." [LifeSiteNews.com, 22 October]

Pro-life campaigners praise Damien Hirst's latest work
SPUC and other pro-life groups have praised the latest work of Damien Hirst, the British artist. The work, entitled "The Miraculous Journey", consists of large bronze depictions of human development from conception through to infancy. It was commissioned by the museums authority in Qatar. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told Independent Catholic News: "We congratulate the Qatari authorities on their eye-catching public initiative. It is wonderful that a popular artist has replicated on a large scale the same kind of foetal models which SPUC and other pro-life groups have been using in schools and elsewhere for many decades. Educating the public about the wonderful reality of human development from conception through to birth is a vital means of saving unborn children. We were all unborn children once, so when we look at these models, we see ourselves. We hope that these models will help dissuade women from seeking abortion and will led to improved support for pregnant women, especially in unplanned or crisis pregnancies." [Independent Catholic News, 22 October]

Other stories:

Abortion
Euthanasia
Sexual ethics
  • Openness to children and marriage go together, says Catholic Church's doctrinal prefect [John Smeaton, 24 October]
  • UK Supreme Court rejects Northern Ireland Health Minister’s appeal against gay adoption [Pink News, 22 October]
General
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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Openness to children and marriage go together, says Catholic Church's doctrinal prefect

Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written a major article in L'Osservatore Romano on the subject of the pastoral care of Catholics who have divorced and remarried. Among other things, Archbishop Müller said:
“Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children,” said Archbishop Gerhard Müller, writing in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. “Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously, because there is a lack of desire for marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, and there is too little socialization within an environment of faith.”
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told LifeSiteNews.com:
"Archbishop Müller's article gives a lucid, robust and precise account of why the Catholic Church cannot bow to liberal pressures to weaken its discipline regarding marriage. We are particularly grateful to read the archbishop's clear statement linking openness to children to the validity of marriage. As Pope Francis made clear in his first enyclical Lumen Fidei, the life-bearing potential of heterosexuality is a prerequisite of marriage. Abortion, contraception, sterilisation and same-sex relationships are all therefore incompatible with marriage. This message must be made clear to legislators and policy-makers who claim to support marriage but at the same time support practices which are closed to the gift of life."
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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pre-viability induction used as abortion method in The Netherlands

Last week Maaike Rosendal, a Dutch expatriate pro-lifer working in Canada, reported on the trend in Holland of Dutch parents choosing to abort their children diagnosed as disabled and then burying their children dainty little coffins. She writes:
"But it gets worse. A simple internet search shows that most Dutch hospitals, on their websites, accept this as the new normal. Some even recommend induction over suction curettage abortions, as this allows parents a better opportunity to “say farewell to the child” in its final moments. The “a-word” isn’t mentioned once—after all, the only thing that happened was the forced birth of a child who wasn’t able to survive outside the womb yet. Barely an abortion, right?

Wrong! An elective abortion is an action that brings about the death of the embryo or fetus who was previously alive. Call it what you want, but when a woman’s labour is induced to cause birth, while knowing that the child cannot survive that process yet, by its very definition, that is an abortion. When parents with “a preference for fetal death prior to birth” are offered a lethal injection into the fetal heart to give them a more peaceful experience when the child is “still-born,” who are we kidding? That’s an abortion. And when you force your baby to leave the place where she is naturally supposed to be, then watch her struggle to survive with tiny, undeveloped organs to finally succumb to her pre-term birth, don’t speak of a compassionate choice for a child that couldn’t live. It’s no different than saying a child died by drowning when in reality, you pushed him into the canal, knowing he couldn’t swim.

For some reason, this beautifully packaged way of killing imperfect children seems even worse than the decapitation, dismemberment, and disembowelment of similar children in Canada. At least when we see the latter, we recognize it as injustice. But when Dutch gynaecologists describe induced, pre-term birth as the most desirable way to get rid of one’s offspring—because “it causes no harm to the uterus” and “does not require anesthesia”—and counselors describe how meaningful a funeral or cremation can be to symbolize the life of the lost child—never mind that our actions actually killed it—something is utterly wrong."
Maaike Rosendal's blogpost both explains and gives evidence for the same pro-life logic which SPUC has been sharing recently, and which the Catholic Church has taught for well over a hundred years: pre-viability induction is abortion. See:
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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Pro-life victory as European Parliament votes to send pro-abortion report back to committee

In a pro-life victory, the European Parliament voted today to send the pro-abortion Estrela report back to committee. Anti-family lobbyists are complaining about "intense lobbying" by pro-life/pro-family groups, so well done to all those SPUC supporters who lobbied their MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) prior to today's vote. (See our action alert of 16 October for what was contained in the Estrela report.)

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Monday, 21 October 2013

One in four UK students contract sexually-transmitted infection in first year of university

Top stories:

One in four UK students contract sexually-transmitted infection in first year of university
Results of a survey by a student dating website suggest that a quarter of students contract a sexually-transitted infection in their first year at university. The results also suggest that the vast majority of student sexual encounters were conducted without condoms (89%) and whilst drunk. Almost half of those students who had contracted an infection could not remember which sexual partner had infected them. [Huffington Post, 17 October] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, commented: "This survey and a wealth of similar evidence shows that self-styled 'safe sex' campaigns, promoted heavily by pro-abortion groups, are a total failure in protecting students and instilling responsibility. The people who profit most from this failure are the money-hungry abortion industry, which admits that the single largest group of its customers are women who fell pregnant due to so-called 'contraceptive failure'. Condom- and -pill-pushing simply serves to promote a culture of casual sex which the pro-abortion lobby has helped create through its irresponsible promotion of sexual licence."

Other stories:

Abortion
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
  • Declining marriage rates is "only conceivable explanation of doubling of family breakdown", says pro-marriage campaigner expert [Telegraph, 21 October]
  • Planned Parenthood to teens: Nothing bad or unhealthy about having a ‘big number’ of sex partners [LifeSiteNews.com, 18 October]
  • France’s highest court rules mayors cannot refuse to perform same-sex marriages [Pink News, 18 October]
General
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Read how the Holy See speaks out strongly at the United Nations in defence of children born and unborn

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt
SPUC's men at the United Nations, Peter C. Smith and Pat Buckley, have told me that Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, who represents the Holy See (the government of the worldwide Catholic Church) at the United Nations, gave a strong pro-life/pro-family speech to the UN General Assembly on Friday. The whole speech merits reading - see below.

Intervention of Archbishop Francis Chullikatt
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of The Holy See to The UN

Third Committee of the 68th General Assembly
Item 65: Promotion and Protection of The Rights of Children

 
Mr Chairman:                                                       

This year’s Secretary General’s Report on the Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (A/68/257) helpfully draws attention to child mortality, which goes to the heart of what the Convention in article 6 enshrines as the child’s “right to life, survival and development”. Indeed, without life, all other rights are meaningless. It is a cause for encouragement that his Report concludes that the goal of ending all preventable child deaths is now within our reach.[1]

Among the key factors for achieving this goal the Report identifies maternal health.[2] This is confirmed by the logic of the Convention itself, which affords the child the right to both pre-natal and post-natal healthcare (article 24(d)). This provision has meaning only if the unborn baby is first afforded the right to life and survival. This accords with my Delegation’s understanding of the Convention’s definition of the term “child”, which article 1 addresses with an explicit terminus ad quem of 18 years and a terminus a quo implicit in the preamble’s clear reference to the child’s rights “before and after birth”.

It follows that each child must be accorded in the first place the right to be born. This is a right, moreover, which must be protected equally – without discrimination on any grounds, including those of sex or disability or policies dictated by eugenics. Thus, pre-natal diagnosis undertaken for the purpose of deciding whether or not the baby will be permitted to be born is inconsistent with the Convention, which my Delegation regards as the fundamental normative instrument on the rights of the child. The unborn baby is a member of our human family and does not belong to a “sub-category of human beings”.

Mr Chairman:

My Delegation takes a holistic view of both health and education, identified by this year’s Secretary General’s Report as fundamental to the State’s obligations. As the Secretary General acknowledged in his previous year’s Report (A/67/225, paragraph 41): health “extends beyond the physical and mental well-being of an individual to the spiritual balance and well-being of the community as a whole”. This includes the duty to take concrete steps to support parents in their proper role of raising their children, so that, as the Declaration of the Rights of the Child asserts, each child may be given “opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him [or her] to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.”

Mr Chairman:

My Delegation concurs with the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (A/68/275), that prevention is a key aspect for the protection of children from sale and sexual exploitation.  In this regard, the Report devotes significant attention to the indispensable role of the family for the protection of children.  Indeed, “The family represents the first layer of a protective environment”.[3] Parents, in the first instance, have the responsibility to secure the conditions of living, necessary for the child’s life, survival and development.[4]

States have the duty to protect, support and strengthen the family for the best interests of the child.  This is all the more important – as the Report observes — given that poverty, unemployment, disease, disability and difficulty in accessing social services as a result of discrimination and exclusion may affect the ability of parents to care for their children; and that mental or behavioural disorders, conflicts, substance addiction and domestic violence may weaken the ability of families to provide a harmonious and safe environment and make children more likely to engage in risky behaviours.[5]

Mr Chairman:

While protection of the rights of children begins with full respect for children themselves at all stages in their development, from conception onwards, parents, for their part, possess an indispensable role in their formation and education, and the family is the proper place for their development, as the Secretary General’s Report acknowledges.[6]Defense of the rights of the child requires, as its necessary corollary, defense of the family, for which the societal benefits are obvious: it is the family, not the State, that houses our children, feeds them, instructs them, and raises the next generation of society.

When it comes to the upbringing and education of children, therefore, the provisions of the Convention cannot disregard the specific rights and responsibilities of parents. The Convention perfectly reflects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which in its preamble privileges parents’ “prior right”   (article 26.3) in the education of their children – which is to say, a right prior to that of the State or other actors –  especially in the important arena of religious liberty which includes human sexuality, marriage and the statute of the family.

With specific regard to “physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development” (article 27, CRC), the Convention (article 18.1) similarly privileges parents with the “primary responsibility” for their children’s upbringing. These rights and responsibilities of parents in international law are the bulwark of their fundamental right to freedom of religion (art. 14, CRC) in regard to which parents are entirely entitled to choose schools “other than those established by the public authorities, [inclusive of home schooling], which conform to such minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the State and to ensure the religious and moral education of their child [] in conformity with their own convictions” (art.13.3, ICESCR).

Mr Chairman:

In light of the recent output of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, my Delegation would like to address some elements of General Comments 14 and 15. These Comments, my Delegation must point out respectfully, represent only the opinions of the Committee; they do not constitute agreed language and lack all force of judicial precedence. Whatever is contained within them that is not consistent with the normative text of the Convention and other international instruments constitutes a disservice to the best interests of children. Expressions such as “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” (General Comment No. 14 [2013], par. 55, and No. 15 [2013], par. 8)), on which no international juridical consensus exists, are used spuriously and very unfortunately in these Comments. The recommendations, for example, States submit children to education and direction on sexual health, contraception and so-called “safe” abortion (par. 31) without the consent of their parents, caregiver or guardian; abortion be promoted by States as a family planning method (par. 54, 56, 70), and so-called “sexual and reproductive health information or services” be provided by States, irrespective of providers’ conscientious objections (par. 69). Such recommendations are particularly reprehensible. No abortion is ever “safe” because it kills the life of the child and harms the mother. 

The Holy See strongly urges the Committee to revise its General Comments in conformity with its guiding international instruments: beginning with the Convention itself, which affirms the right to life of the child, “before as well as after birth” (Preamble, par. 9), the right of conscience[7], and full respect for the rights, responsibilities and duties of parents regarding their children[8]; and including also the explicit affirmation by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) that abortion should never be promoted as a family planning method (par. 7.24).

Mr Chairman:

My delegation calls upon the international community to uphold the clear principles of one of the most ratified Convention’s in international law, so that they will do their part in promoting openness to the gift and richness of life which the child represents, and thus foster the common good of all persons, the attainment of which remains “the sole reason for the existence of civil authorities”[9].  

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

[1] ad para. 68 a.
[2] ad para. 57.
[3] ad para. 36
[4] cf. articles 6 and 27 of CRC
[5] ad para. 37
[6] ad para. 61.
[7] CRC, Article 14; cf. also UDHR, Article 18 and ICCPR, Article 18
[8] CRC, Articles, 3, 5, 7, 9, 14, 18, 27, and 29, c; cf. also UDHR, Article 26,3 and ICCPR Article 18,3
[9] John XXIIII, Encyclical Pacem in terris, 54

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