Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Amendment against sex-selective abortion defeated in Parliament

Fiona Bruce MP
British MPs voted yesterday to reject an amendment put forward by Fiona Bruce MP to clarify the law regarding sex-selective abortion. The Conservative MP said that her amendment would "clarify beyond doubt in statute that sex selective abortion is illegal in UK law". The amendment was defeated by 292 votes to 201. Opponents said that the amendment might "confer personhood on the foetus". [BBC, 24 February]

House of Lords passes of three-parent embryo regulations
The House of Lords has passed regulations to allow the creation of three-parent embryos. Peers rejected a motion against the regulations by 280 votes to 48. The regulations will now become law, making the UK the first country to allow the technique. [BBC, 24 February] Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, said: "Legislators have been consistently misled in the past about the prospects of success and the future intentions of those who want to use the tiniest humans - human embryos - for experiments." [SPUC, 24 February]

Finland legalises gender-neutral marriage
The President of Finland has signed legislation to legalise gender-neutral marriage. Sauli Niinist√∂ confirmed the new law which will come into effect on March 1, 2017. The law has been described as historic because it is the first law to be brought to the Finnish parliament as a citizen’s initiative, signed by 167,000 Finnish voters. [Yie, 20 February]

Irish PM pledges support for same-sex ‘marriage’
Enda Kenny, Ireland's prime minister, has declared his support for same-sex 'marriage', despite previously being opposed to it. Mr Kenny made the declaration in a speech to Fine Gael supporters. A referendum on same-sex ‘marriage’ will be held in Ireland in May 2015. [Journal, 23 February]

Other issues:

Abortion:
Embryology
  • Human egg and sperm cells could be created using skins from two adults of the same sex [February 23, International Business Times]
Family issues:
Pregnancy:
Baby is born in an intact amniotic sack [Essential Baby, 18 February]

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Young pro-lifers should book now for SPUC's youth conference

Rhoslyn is busy spreading the word about the upcoming Youth Conference in Southport (6-8 March) where another excellent line-up of speakers will help to form the next generation of pro-life activists. The talks given at that conference will be published on this blog over the coming weeks.

Once again, Rhoslyn has sent me an item about last year's youth conference - with a view to encouraging young people to attend this year's  exciting event ... Young people interested in attending should write to Rhoslyn at rhoslynthomas@spuc.org.uk:
Below are the next two presentations from last year’s youth conference, held in Telford.

The videos show Fiorella Nash’s talk ‘Men and Abortion’ and the closing address, delivered by SPUC’s Director, John Smeaton.

At a time when Feminism has become intimately connected with support for abortion on demand, pro-life feminists, such as Fiorella Nash, are few and far between.

Fiorella’s talks are always popular at the youth conference, perhaps because the youth of today crave arguments which incorporate an emphasis on the equality (and complimentarity) of the sexes with an equal emphasis on the sanctity of motherhood and children.

John Smeaton, SPUC's chief executive, gave a rousing talk to close another excellent conference, imbuing attendees with a sense of the urgency of the situation, whilst inspiring them to continue with their endeavours to protect human life from conception to natural death.




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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Lords should reject 3-parent embryo regulations

House of Lords
SPUC has called on members of the House of Lords is to reject the so-called "three-parent" embryo regulations being debated in the upper chamber today. The procedure is said to be necessary to help families affected by rare mitochondrial diseases.

These regulations (the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations) are designed to usher in the cloning of human embryos. The manipulation of the human germ line would be permitted for the first time, contrary to modern international biomedicine agreements and long-standing ethical principles.

Commenting on the background to today's debate, Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told the media today:
"The 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was not intended to permit human cloning, and so the alteration of germ-line genetic material was forbidden. The restrictions have been repeatedly weakened, however, and this is a further stage in dismantling the so-called safeguards of the embryology law.

It is often supposed that the objection to germ-line modification is that it will lead to the creation of either 'monsters' or super-humans. Neither outcome is likely. Instead, many embryos will die in the efforts to restructure their genetic make-up.

The reality is that we know far too little about mitochondria to know what impact the cloning process would have on mitochondrial disease. It is true that the mitochondria carry very few genes but scores of other genes needed by mitochondria are stored in the cell nucleus. Transferring the nucleus of an ovum or an embryo to another cell cannot be predicted to have any certain benefit.

The proponents of embryo research have repeatedly held out promises of cures and medical advances in the field of inherited conditions. But the benefits have always failed to materialise, and we suspect that the same is happening again here. The parents of children affected by mitochondrial disease are being exploited to support unethical experiments, based on the false hope that their children will benefit.

Legislators have been consistently misled in the past about the prospects of success and the future intentions of those who want to use the tiniest humans - human embryos - for experiments. They should reject today's proposals."
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Monday, 23 February 2015

No pro-life leader will match Dr Jack Willke's worldwide educational impact: May he rest in peace!



Pictured above left to right in September 2009 at SPUC's London office are:
Dr Jack Willke, the father of the worldwide pro-life movement, who died last Friday, has been a friend and collaborator of SPUC's for over 40 years. He was 89. May he rest in peace.

To understand something of the full significance of Jack's life and work - shared by Barbara his beloved wife - read the obituaries in the National Review Online, and the Washington Post.

No other pro-life leader or organisation will match the solid educational work done by Jack and Barbara Willke through their books and lectures. And for virtually the whole of their active pro-life service, they did it without the aid of the worldwide web.

Their title Handbook on Abortion, the New York Times tells us, sold a million and a half copies - and there were so many other titles besides ... Other significant publications included: Abortion and Slavery, History Repeats and Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia, Past & Present and they co-authored six other books on human sexuality which have been translated into 30 languages. Five years ago they had clocked up 87 countries in which they had lectured ... and rising ... He also broadcast on 400 radio stations - one-minute pro-life messages in a programme entitled "Life Jewels". Jack was a pro-life marketing genius. Brad Mattes, his successor (see below) has kept up this remarkable broadcasting output since Jack stepped back a few years ago. His legacy is alive and very well.

SPUC's presentation in schools, albeit updated with the latest research and delivered with the aid of all that modern technology provides, is fundamentally based on the Willke slide presentation which I personally watched them present in The Philippines, in the UK, in Kenya and elsewhere.

I had the honour of serving as joint vice-president of International Right to Life Federation, with Jim Hughes, Canada's Campaign Life Coalition national president, during the final years of Jack's presidency - now succeeded by Brad Mattes who also succeeded Jack as president of Life Issues Institute.

During Jack's visit to the UK in September 2009 (see picture above), Jack delivered a message of hope to SPUC's national conference in which he said: “We must keep doing what we’re doing. It’s slow but we shall win in the end.” One could not lose the argument, he said, when one advanced the case that abortion killed babies.

On behalf of my colleagues in SPUC, and our thousands of supporters, I sent heartfelt condolences and a promise of prayers to Jack's family, his six children and 22 grandchildren. May he rest in peace.

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