Saturday, 7 June 2014

Nigerian village chief astonished to meet English woman with six children

Antonia Tully, along with other speakers at the International Family and Pro-Life Conference hosted by the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, visited a poor village on the outskirts of Abuja where the conference is taking place. Antonia, Pat Buckley and I are speaking at the bishops' conference on behalf of SPUC.

Here's how Antonia described her trip:
"The group was accompanied by Sister Cecilia, a Medical Missionary of Mary, who runs an outreach project to support and care for vulnerable families in the village of Dutse Alhaji.
"By western standards, Dutse Alhaji presents a shocking picture. The houses are crumbling, roughly-built brick dwellings with corrugated iron roofs. Families cook over open fires. The narrow pathways between the houses are umade dirt tracks, with open waste waterways criss-crossing the village. This is a very poor place.
"The visiting party was welcomed by the village chief, a Muslim, who invited the group into his palace - a lowly building only slightly better than the surrounding houses.
"Having removed their shoes, the other visitors and I sat on the floor while the chief presided over the gathering from his sofa, dressed in his regal robes.
"I introduced myself saying that I was married with six children and in my role at SPUC I do a lot of work with Muslim mothers in England, helping them to protect their children from immoral sex education.
"Replying to his visitors, the village chief expressed his astonishment at meeting a white woman who has six children. 'Why are we being told that we should only have two children?' he exclaimed.
"The chief spoke of the common ground tween Islam and Christianity ... that the people of both religions should strive to lead Godly lives and protect unborn children. The chief also said that he wanted to give a message to the people of his village that men and women must be faithful to their partners.
"The purpose of the visit to Dutse Alhaji was to witness at first hand the target of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the other agencies of the culture of death. 
"Yes, the villagers of Dutse Alhaji are living in very poor circumstances. Yes, every effort must be made to improve their material circumstances.
"But bribing and cajoling the villagers of Dutse Alhaji, as the population control lobby commonly does, into accepting contraception and abortion, is not the solution. Offering the poor people of villages like Dutse Alhaji contraception and abortion is not the answer to their daily hardships."
 
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Friday, 6 June 2014

Report of my address to Nigeria's Catholic bishops

Below is SPUC's press release about my address last night to Nigeria's Catholic bishops:

Nigerian bishops give standing ovation for UK pro-life leader's tough words

Abuja, Nigeria, 6 June 2014: Nigeria's Catholic bishops have given a standing ovation for tough words in a speech last night given by a veteran UK pro-life leader.

John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) www.spuc.org.uk last night addressed (full text) the bishops at a dinner in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, following a pro-life march and conference organised by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (photographs below).

Mr Smeaton started by praising Nigeria's pro-family culture:
"Compared with Nigeria, Britain is a poor nation. I am not measuring wealth by the criteria of the International Monetary Fund ... Nigeria’s true wealth, compared with Britain’s, can be found in its fertility rate, which is more than five children per woman of child-bearing age, in contrast to the UK's rate of less than two. That’s why many politicians and institutions in powerful Western nations are afraid of Nigeria and want to interfere with laws and policies in [Nigeria] which affect women and children in particular."
Mr Smeaton also praised Nigeria's Catholic bishops:
"Nigeria's wealth is also reflected in the moral leadership given by Catholic Church leaders in Nigeria. Your opposition in 2010 to the African Union’s pro-abortion Maputo Protocol, led by His Eminence John Onaiyekan, the cardinal archbishop of Abuja, reverberated around the world ... Earlier this year, you, the Catholic bishops of Nigeria publicly thanked Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria's president, for signing into law the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, 2011".
Mr Smeaton continued:
"As a pro-life leader, as a Catholic parent, I am very grateful to the Nigerian Catholic Bishops for your defence of our families. You are following the example of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions. Standing up against the worldwide homosexual agenda is crucial for the protection of children and it is a fundamental pro-life issue. Bishops around the world should follow the Nigerian bishops' lead and speak out for strong policies against the subversion of the truth and meaning of human sexuality."
Warning again about Western interference in Africa, Mr Smeaton said:
"British Prime Minister, David Cameron has threatened to withhold UK aid from poor countries that do not conform saying in connection with the homosexual rights agenda, and I quote: 'British aid should have more strings attached'." Just a few weeks ago, last April, Nigeria’s permanent representative at the UN, Ambassador Joy Ogwu, came under attack from International Planned Federation for opposing abortion on behalf of the Nigerian delegation at the UN."
Pointing out that "the pro-life movement cannot defeat the culture of death on our own", Mr Smeaton called for:
"pro-life organizations and the wider community [to] be fortified by unequivocal, unyielding voices of Catholic Church officials and bishops throughout the world. I implore all Catholic bishops throughout the world to speak out clearly and categorically that politicians who vote for and publicly support abortion legislation must publicly retract and refute the position they have adopted before receiving Jesus Christ in Holy Communion".
Mr Smeaton observed that:
"many leaders of faithful Christian and pro-life, pro-family organizations have found" absoluteness "severely lacking in Catholic leadership today ... In its place we have weakness and compromise."
This lack of absoluteness on the teaching of Humanae Vitae (Pope Paul VI's encyclical against contraception) has had a negative impact on the pro-life fight, because "the use of contraception undermines respect for the sanctity of human life from conception and makes abortion an option", said Mr Smeaton.

John Smeaton (centre, in white shirt) with student-delegates from Benin University:

Benin students 20140605
Nigeria's Catholic bishops marching for life and family:

bishops marching 20140605 #2
bishops marching 20140605 #1
Jos marching 20140605
SPUC's communications department can be contacted on:
  • email news@spuc.org.uk
  • mobile 07939 177683
  • direct dial landline 020 7820 3129
  • Twitter @spucprolife
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Thursday, 5 June 2014

Students at pro-life conference in Nigeria today

Antonia Tully, Pat Buckley, and I are speaking at the Nigerian Catholic Bishops' Pro-Life conference today in Abuja at the National Christian Ecumenical Centre. I have just been chatting to students from Benin University:


They travelled for six hours this morning to take part in the conference. That's pro-life commitment! And thank God for the Nigerian bishops!

Students and other delegates have been coming to SPUC's information desk:


Seen here manning the stall is Jean Fleuron, a SPUC volunteer from Newcastle who came independently to attend the conference. Jean is developing a pro-life outreach to Nigerian Catholics in the UK.

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Catholic knights in Nigeria do major pro-life projects

Antonia Tully, my SPUC colleague for over 30 years, and I are in Abuja, Nigeria. We are speaking at a pro-life conference organised by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria. Last night we were the guests of the Knights of St Mulumba of Nigeria and our host is Sir Alexander Bazuaye, a doctor and the Supreme Physician of the Knights of St Mulumba. We are joined by Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder of Culture of Life Africa, who is the eminence grise behind the bishops' conference. In the second picture we are joined by Professor Anthony Emeribe, chief executive officer of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria and secretary of the Knights of St Mulumba. The Knights carry out major pro-life projects, including speaking in schools about abortion, as well as pro-life marches and religious processions on the Feast of the Annunciation each year involving their 24,000 members and 202 local Councils.



I presented Sir Alexander with a letter from Ron Lynch, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of St Columba, which, like the Knights of St Mulumba, is a member of the International Association of Catholic Knights. Among other things, Ron wrote:
"I was delighted to hear that John Smeaton, who is a member of the Knights of St Columba here in Britain, will have the privilege and pleasure of meeting you during his trip this week to Abuja for the pro-life conference organised by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria.

John is also, of course, the chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the oldest pro-life group in the world, with which the Knights of St Columba works closely.

Our Order is very much aware of the huge pressures on African nations from powerful western governments - including the US and the British governments as well as the European Union, of course - to legalise abortion. We also know that abortion is anathema to Nigerians. Your love of children, your championing of the traditional family, your respect for the role of parents and grandparents, are qualities which are known throughout the world. We will be praying that your love and respect for life, for marriage and for the family will strengthen you in your resistance to abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and of classroom sex education usurping the role of parents as primary educators."
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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Three-parent embryo technique flouts global ethics

SPUC has responded to the claim reported today by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that the technique labelled "mitochondrial donation" may be safe for humans.

Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told the media earlier today:
"Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.

Gene manipulation can only be pursued by breaking several important moral rules. Those rules are not trivial. They are designed to uphold human dignity, the integrity of science and the international community. Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.

It entails creating human guinea-pigs. As Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that has approved the techniques, has himself admitted, we won't know the effects until it is actually done on children. To do this, we have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects. What if they refuse to be subjected to the long-term testing and monitoring necessary (in them and their offspring) to find any adverse long-term effects?

If the process produces any benefit it will not only be at the cost of risks for these children, but it will further undermine the British political and medical establishment as a force for ethical restraint in science around the world.

By flouting international agreements not to do this, we will lose credibility when it comes to trying to persuade other countries to observe ethical norms in fields like medical research, experiments involving children, and non-consensual procedures. Why should other countries listen to us when we make unilateral decisions to engage in abuses?

The use of these techniques shows that the advocates of IVF who claimed 25 years ago that it would not lead to human genetic manipulation were either being naïve, foolish or frankly deceitful.

The techniques will not stop here. Who is to decide what other so-called "flaws" in people's genes should be "corrected? As we have seen with the sex-selection abortion saga, what one culture regards as abhorrent and illegal, others see as the legitimate application of science to solve a problem of human suffering."
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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Job opportunity: Personal Secretary

Job opportunity: Personal Secretary to the Chief Executive

A key role in building grassroots support for the pro-life movement in the UK

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) www.spuc.org.uk is keen to recruit a Personal Secretary to the Chief Executive based at its London HQ. The post is part-time (15-25 hours per week, negotiable). Salary details available on request.

The role:

Applicants must have:
  • an absolute commitment to the pro-life cause
  • a minimum of 3 years’ experience working at director/board level
  • be able to cope with a wide range of secretarial responsibilities.
Duties will include:
  • drafting letters
  • taking dictation
  • maintaining a filing system
  • assisting in making travel arrangements
  • photocopying and printing.
Advanced word-processing and shorthand skills essential. You must enjoy working under pressure and have excellent communication and organisational skills.

The deadline for applications is Mon 7 July 2014.

For more information or to receive an application form please contact:
Patrick Kingman, SPUC, Unit B, 3 Whitacre Mews, London, SE11 4AB. Email: patrickkingman@spuc.org.uk Telephone: 020 7820 3121

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Monday, 2 June 2014

Parish priest backs new Yeovil SPUC branch

Yesterday Josephine, my wife, and I were in Yeovil in beautiful Somerset. I made an appeal for support for a new SPUC branch - strongly backed by Fr Jean-Patrice Coulon, the parish priest of the Church of the Holy Ghost. John Marsden and Mary Jordan, standing to my right, are organising the new group and we're pictured with the PP, with Josephine on my left, and with some of our new supporters. Praise God!


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