Friday, 5 August 2016

Amber and Jenny, SPUC interns, provide hope for the future of the pro-life movement

Like me, you may be inspired to read the report from SPUC interns Amber Farquhar (left) and Jenny Wordley, both Open University students living in Wales.

Jennifer Wordley is from Tenby in Pembrokeshire and is 21 years old. Amber Farquhar is from Llangadog in Carmarthenshire and is 19.

The breadth and depth of SPUC's internship scheme is reflected in Amber's and Jenny's report, not least in their conclusion below.

Young people interested in attending the SPUC youth conference (3 - 5 March 2017) or, perhaps, joining the Society's internship scheme next year should contact Rhoslyn Thomas, the Society's youth organizer, at rhoslynthomas@spuc.org.uk or on Facebook.

13-22 July 2016

Report of the six week internship for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, detailing the different opportunities and work we were involved with, including pavement counselling, campaigning in Ireland with Youth Defence and against a Polish Medical Centre, debating prolife issues, and general administration work:

Pavement Counselling and Meetings
The first few days of the internship involved looking at the methods of pavement counselling by Msgr. Reilly, to help distressed women seeking an abortion clinic to terminate their pregnancy. The first Wednesday, and the following Wednesdays whilst in London, we put these methods into practice at the Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Whitfield street, where we witnessed and attempted to help a number of women entering and leaving the clinic before and after having an abortion.

We attended a meeting organised by Anglican Mainstream, where speakers described their work and ideas to combat issues within the Protestant Church and to preserve their traditional family morals.

We attended an excellent explanation and discussion of Humanae Vitae given by Fr. Romanus in Saint Anselm’s Church, Tooting.

Youth Defence
We spent two weeks travelling Ireland and assisting prolife campaigners from Youth Defence on their annual national roadshow. We helped with door-to-door canvassing in certain areas, distributed leaflets and discussed and spread the prolife message on the streets.

We assisted with the organisation and stewardship of the rally for life in Belfast. On our return we wrote a short anecdotal piece describing our experiences and encouraging others to join the movement for publication on Youth Defence’s website

Campaign against Tooting Medical Centre
One of the main projects we focused on was campaigning against a Polish Medical Centre in Tooting which is performing abortions. Two weeks of the internship involved visiting some of the Polish centres in London, acting as a witness by praying outside the centre, and door to door canvassing, with the purpose of making the Polish community aware of the scandal and the ways in which they can help us to stop abortion from occurring in this Centre.

General Admin, Reading, Discussions
We assisted with the updating of the database, sorting of mail, packaging mailings for postage, and other duties associated with the general running of the office.

We were provided with a generous amount of academic articles, and analyses of surveys and information which focused on the various issues which SPUC address. This was supported by informative discussions with Rhoslyn Thomas, Dr Anthony McCarthy and other staff members, and practice sessions for effectively answering questions in favour of abortion.

We had the opportunity to observe a talk given at St. John Payne’s school, and give a short presentation on why we ourselves are prolife to the students there. Afterwards we were able to take part in a short question and answer session.

Conclusion

This internship has given us the opportunity to experience the environment in which pro-life activists work. The reading provided gave us a deeper insight into all arguments used for abortion and other issues that SPUC deal with, and how to efficiently debate and defend our views.

We have been able to see the different methods in which one should communicate the pro-life argument to many people, especially women, under different circumstances. This has also given us an insight into what is needed in the pro-life movement, whether it be office work, or outside campaigning, to ensure that our message gets across to as many people as possible.

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Thursday, 4 August 2016

Theresa May on Christianity, abortion, compulsory sex education: an interview with SPUC's Anthony Ozimic by the German Catholic press

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's director of communications, was recently interviewed by Die Tagespost, a German Catholic newspaper, about Theresa May. They wanted to know the position of the new prime minister on issues of relevance to Christians:

Theresa May is the new Prime Minister of the UK. How Christian is she? And what is the role of her faith for her political work?
Anthony Ozimic: As a secular, non-denominational organisation, SPUC cannot comment precisely on her religious faith. However, we can note that she is the daughter of an Anglican vicar; and we are aware of some comments that this upbringing had had some influence on her way of approaching politics. She describes herself as a One-Nation Conservative. One-Nation Conservatism was founded by Benjamin Disraeli, the Victorian Prime Minster and Anglican convert at the height of the Church of England’s influence. It has very similar bases to Anglicanism: paternalism, pragamatism, social conscience.
Does her previous voting behavior give information about that? Where does she stand on Christian issues like Sunday Trading and assisted suicide and other Pro-Life issues?
Anthony Ozimic: Mrs May’s voting record implies a sensitivity to pro-life concerns. In 2001 and 2008, she voted against various unethical embryo research proposals. She also voted to uphold a requirement that IVF doctors consider a child's need for a father and a mother. Also in 2008 and 2015, she voted with the pro-life lobby for amendments aimed at restricting abortion. Also in 2015, she voted against assisted suicide. For her record on Christian issues, please visit www.christian.org.uk 

Will she possibly campaign for example for an amendment of the British Abortion Act?
Anthony Ozimic: I think this is very unlikely. As an individual MP, she may vote in a pro-life direction if a back-bench MP brings forward an amendment. She is, however, a pragmatist and is not committed to the pro-life cause, therefore I would be extremely surprised if she decided to ‘campaign’ to amend the Abortion Act.
Anthony Ozimic
In 2010 Theresa May told the BBC that she had changed her mind on same-sex adoption, after previously voting against the proposal to allow it. Recently, she said: “I will always stand up for the rights of LGBT people. (…) I supported Civil Partnerships in 2004, and was proud to sponsor the legislation that introduced full marriage equality in 2013 because I believe marriage should be for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. I didn’t believe the State should perpetuate discrimination and prejudice against LGBT people. That's why equal marriage was a hugely significant social reform”. What do you think about that?
Anthony Ozimic: I think it reflects her pragmatic approach. The key is her use of the word ‘social reform’, which reflects One-Nation Conservatism’s approach of organic evolution of society. Elsewhere, she has spoken about how homosexuals ‘will make marriage stronger’. Although her comments about homosexual rights, discrimination, prejudice, etc. sound ideological, I doubt that she is ideologically committed to the homosexual cause. It seems that she has a tendency to use strong rhetoric in support of a position once she has switched to it.
Will Theresa May make sex education compulsory in school?

Anthony Ozimic: I think there is a real possibility of this happening because of the appointment of Justine Greening as Education Secretary, who has a poor voting record on moral issues. Ms Greening announced to this year’s London Gay Pride march that she is a lesbian. It is speculated that both Mrs May and Ms Greening support compulsory sex education.
What will SPUC do to encourage the new cabinet to campaign for the Christian Agenda and Pro-Life issues?

Anthony Ozimic: As the world’s oldest pro-life lobbying organisation, we will do what we have been doing for almost 50 years: we will mobilise our tens of thousands of grassroots supporters to lobby MPs, and through MPs try to influence the Cabinet. The believers among our members will also be praying for Mrs May and her ministers.
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk