Friday, 15 February 2008

the rights of the unborn in international law

I was in Ireland this week with Dr John Fleming, President of Campion College, Sydney, a new Catholic university. He was speaking to priests in Galway on the rights of the unborn in international law at a meeting organized by Pat Buckley, director of European Life Network, Ireland.

Dr John Fleming is a Catholic priest, married with three children. He is a bioethicist and widely published in that field. He was a foundational member of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee, which produced the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights.

He has recently co-edited a book Common Ground, launched in Melbourne last September, which contains a chapter by Fr Fleming entitled “What rights, if any, do the unborn have under international law?”

Copies of his book are available from SPUC at £15 plus postage and packing.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Why Humanae Vitae was right about contraception

It's good to see that Janet Smith, the famous author of Humanae Vitae: A Generation later and editor of Why Humanae Vitae Was Right is speaking in Westminster Cathedral Hall on 6th March.

After 34 years working in the pro-life movement, I am convinced that the teaching of Humanae Vitae on the inseparable connection between the unitive significance and the procreative significance of the marriage act is of fundamental importance for the future of the family and for the sanctity of human life throughout the world. Furthermore, I believe that what is happening today to the family and to the sanctity of human life in Europe provides overwhelming evidence of the prophetic importance of Pope Paul VI’s words:

“The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life." Humanae Vitae, 11

In a presentation in Warsaw last May, at the World Congress of Families, I said:

Britain is witnessing the fulfilment of the prophetic message of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s historic encyclical which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year. Speaking about the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative significance of sexual intercourse he wrote: “Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone.” (Humanae Vitae 17)

Moreover, as Pope John Paul II points out in Evangelium Vitae (13), there is a close interconnection between contraception and abortion.According to the manufacturers, one of the contraceptive pill’s modes of action is to cause an early abortion.

Last year [2006], a teacher at a Catholic comprehensive school for boys and girls in Kent, England, spoke out publicly about the sex education given to her class of 13- to 14-year-old children. The teacher, a Miss McLernon, said: “I think people should be aware of what is going on in schools. I witnessed the nurse using a plastic model to show these children how to put on what she said was a chocolate flavoured condom.” She went to on to explain to her pupils that flavoured condoms had been made because prostitutes didn’t like the taste of rubber.

Miss McLernon added: “Every child in the class was given a card explaining where you could get free contraceptives and the abortion-inducing morning-after pill. The card also gave details of a website for young people explaining how a surgical abortion could be arranged. This is a Catholic school where you would expect children to be protected from this sort of thing.”

Sadly, more and more Catholic parents are telling us at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children about terrible experiences in Catholic schools, both at secondary and primary school level. Protests on the part of Catholic parents and teachers seeking to protect young people do not appear to be heard.

The full text of my talk is here. A list of resources published by Janet Smith is here.

Monday, 11 February 2008

The intrinsic wrongnesss of IVF

A story in the Sunday Telegraph points towards the intrinsic wrongnesss of IVF, proving how allowing human life to be created outside the body and inside the laboratory has led to the killing of human beings and the abuse of human dignity. The Sunday Telegraph reports that the government has admitted that in recent years there have been hundreds of accidents in which embryos have lost, damaged or destroyed by IVF centres.

It is only because legal permission for IVF has turned early human life into a commodity that the IVF centre staff involved haven't been charged with unlawful homicide. Imagine the outcry if hundreds of new-born babies were accidentally lost, damaged or destroyed by neo-natal medics.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Build peaceful pro-life resistance

In addition to developing prudent political opposition to the killing policies of the UK government and parliament, we need, I believe, to develop peaceful, pro-life resistance campaigns against such policies. My belief is reinforced by news I received this weekend.

Morning-after pill manufacturer’s admissions and evasion…

A reader forwarded me a letter sent to her friends this week by Bayer Schering Pharma, the manufacturers of the morning-after pill (which may cause an early abortion by preventing the embryo from implanting in the lining of the womb).

The Bayer Schering letter underlines three major concerns for UK citizens, especially parents:

  1. There is very limited medical evidence on the effects of the morning-after pill on girls under the age of 16. [Levonelle 1500 delivers 50 times the daily dosage of the Norgeston daily mini-pill.]
  2. Scherings carefully avoid answering the question of whether they are accountable for any ill-effects arising from the administration of the morning after pill. If Scherings isn’t accountable for the effects of their product, who is?
  3. If pregnancy occurs after taking the morning-pill, the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy should be considered.

Bayer Schering’s important letter is a reminder of the shameful teenage pregnancy policy of the government, personally introduced by Tony Blair, as Prime Minister, in June 1999. His government’s policy, amongst other things, targeted children under the age of 16 to be given the morning-after pill without the knowledge or consent of parents. Tony Blair said: “This is a comprehensive programme of action which we will put into practice straight away”.

The government pursues this policy with reckless disregard for the unknown ill-effects of the morning-after pill on the children, our children and grandchildren.

Ectopic pregnancy is a significant cause of maternal death.

Health professionals, pharmacists, teachers, school governors should be encouraged by pro-lifers to resist the government’s policy by conscientious objection. Those who make decisions on our children’s behalf – providing abortifacient birth control and abortions to children under the age of 16 and others – must be made aware that we hold them accountable for those decisions.

Contact me if you want to join SPUC’s peaceful pro-life resistance campaign.