Friday, 20 March 2009

URGENT Suicide amendment Monday, contact your MP now

For UK readers: Please telephone and/or email your MP and urge him/her to oppose a pro-suicide amendment tabled yesterday by Patricia Hewitt (former health minister, pictured) to the Coroners & Justice Bill.

The amendment (which is a new clause in the bill) will be debated on Monday afternoon (23 March) if selected by the Speaker. The amendment's effect would be to make it lawful to help anyone travel to a country where so-called assisted dying is legal so that they can commit suicide. Although this amendment is primarily aimed at those who are disabled or chronically ill, it applies to anyone who may be suicidal - old, young, depressed, in debt, disabled, etc. It will make all those who may be suicidal easy prey to unscrupulous people. Ask MPs to oppose and vote against the amendment.

MPs can be contacted by email via and/or by telephone through the House of Commons switchboard number 020 7219 3000.

Please tell your friends and pro-life contacts. Please ask clergy to encourage their congregations to telephone their MPs urgently.

For further information contact SPUC by email to or by telephone on 020 7820 3129.

Responding to the BBC's reportage on the amendment, and Patricia Hewitt's interview this morning on the Today programme, Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, said:

"This is a reckless and dangerous amendment that could lead to the deaths of many people if MPs do not read the text of the amendment carefully and recognise that it sanctions helping anyone to die - a teenager upset after failing exams or bullied at school, a businessman in debt, or a post-natally depressed mother. The euthanasia lobby have a track record of exploiting people who have lost hope and purpose in their lives. The appropriate response in a caring and civilised society is to help such people to regain their sense of self-worth and overcome suffering, not to tell them that they are right to want to die. But the MPs who have tabled this amendment are threatening the lives of all suicidal people whatever problem they face."

Text of amendment, tabled 19 March 2009 by Patricia Hewitt, Mr Crispin Blunt, Dr Evan Harris, Kevin Barron, Richard Ottaway and James Plaskitt:

"To move the following Clause:-

' (1) The Suicide Act 1961 (c.60) is amended as follows.

(2) After Section 2, insert -

'2ZA Acts not capable of encouraging or assisting suicide

An act by D is not to be treated as capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person ("T") if the act is done solely or principally for the purpose of enabling or assisting T to travel to a country or territory in which assisted dying is lawful.'."

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Doctor in abortion of nine-year old Brazilian girl strongly opposes Catholic teaching: BBC World Service interview

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary, heard Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque (pictured) being interviewed on the BBC World Service yesterday. He is the doctor in the tragic case of the nine-year old girl whose twins were aborted, which I have been writing about in recent days. Anthony has transcribed the interview and I publish it below.

Do pass this on. Dr Rivaldo is strongly pro-abortion and opposes church teaching on a range of issues - which throws significant light on the furore surrounding this case.
BBC World Service “Outlook” programme, Wednesday 18 March 2009

Presenter George Arney briefly describes the background to the story, then:

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: We’ve been providing services to the women and child victims of sexual violence for 13 years now. This girl had been sexually abused by her step-father since the age of six. Normally teenagers have their first period during the ages of 11 and 13 but some ovulate and menstruate earlier, especially when subject to early sexual stimulation, which was the case with this girl.

George Arney: When she came into your hospital, did she actually realise that she was pregnant, because she was so young at the time, she can’t have known very much about it?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: This girl is nine years old, and she comes from an extremely poor vilage in a rural part of our state. At all moments she behaved like a child. She had no idea about pregnancy and that she was carrying twins. She just acted like a child, she played with her toys.

George Arney: She came in, I think, complaining of stomach pains, I think. What kind of reaction did she have when she was told she was pregnant, and pregnant with twins, what’s more?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: It was the reaction of a child who doesn’t know what it means. She was perplexed and surprised with the situation, and she wanted relief from the pain that was bothering her. She didn’t associate it with becoming a mother. She never expressed that possibility. She just wanted relief from the discomfort, and never made the connection between the pain and giving birth to two children. She never expressed that opinion. She was pregnant with twins but the number of babies didn’t make any difference to her. What was bothering her was the stomach ache, that was all.

George Arney: Did she give her consent to the abortion? She must have presumably realised that she was pregnant before the procedure was carried out?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: Yes, she wanted to be free from the discomfort she was feeling. At all times her mother was with her, and she was being informed, and agreed with the procedures. Her womb was so large because she was carrying twins, and she’s such a small girl herself. If the doctors had allowed this pregnancy to develop, we would risk losing the child and the foetuses. In cases of rape of such a young girl, this kind of decision would require the parent’s consent. As well as the risk of death, the decision is with the doctors. In this case, it was made by the mother and the medical team.

George Arney: So what went through your mind, Dr Rivaldo? You could see that this girl was very young, she was in danger, but did you have to wrestle with your conscience before going ahead with the abortion, as you yourself are a Catholic, and you know full well that abortion is not permitted by the Catholic Church?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: I’m an active Catholic, but in this case I found myself before a nine-year-old girl who risked dying for being sexually abused. From the legal point of view the Brazilian law allows us to stop pregnancy resulting from rape or where there’s a risk of death. From the moral point of view, what we did was acceptable, something I would do to anyone close to me, even a relative. And from the religious point of view, our intention was to promote good. Despite the strict codes of the Catholic Church, we didn’t feel intimidated by these codes, so we acted to save the life of the child, which was most important. The religious laws were written by the clerics, and do not translate God’s words exactly. That gave us peace of mind, and we recognised that the Catholic Church has made, and continues to make, mistakes, and especially with regards to women’s rights in Brazil and the rest of the world. The Church is meddling inappropriately into these rights, which are internationally recognised human rights.

George Arney: That’s quite a strong criticism of the Catholic Church. Did you realise that when you decided to go ahead with the procedure that you might be excommunicated?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: I didn’t, never. But in fact, it isn’t the first time we’ve been excommunicated. When we started providing services to women victims of sexual violence, and offering them abortions 13 years ago, we were excommunicated then. But being excommunicated has never made me feel distant from God, and from my moral, legal and ethical principles. It’s a hard situation, but I didn’t feel threatened by God. I felt threatened by men.

George Arney: So how has this confrontation you’ve been having with the Church over these past 13 years impacted upon your own faith? It must be very difficult being at loggerheads with the Church and with the Vatican?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: Well, as a Catholic, I believe in God and see the mistakes by men in the name of God. Some positions of the Catholic Church, on birth control, against abortion, against homosexuality, in defence of celibacy, and other examples, only reinforce that the Church seems to be out of tune with people’s thinking, and people’s will, not God’s will, for God never mentioned any of that. Men wrote about that, and said it came from God.

George Arney: This whole business has caused quite a stir internationally as well as in Brazil, and even President Lula has condemned the Church for excommunicating you. What kind of reaction from the public have you had?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: We received thousands of messages of support from Brazil and abroad, and opinions polls conducted in the last weeks shows that the Brazilian society sided with this child and with the medical team. That showed that the question of abortion is a matter of public health in Brazil, and must be considered case-by-case. Restrictive laws do not improve public health, particularly women’s health.

George Arney: In this particular case, the outcry stems, doesn’t it, from the fact that the girl who was pregnant was so young and that she was raped by her step-father allegedly?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: In this particular case, it was the bishop’s attitude, by promptly excommunicating the mother and the medical team. We would expect him to show compassion towards the child, and try to understand the reasons underpinning the doctor’s decisions to carry out the abortion. I believe this is the reason why the public sided with the child and rejected the bishop’s reaction.

George Arney: What’s happened to the girl now, Dr Rivaldo, and what sort of impact do you think this is likely to have on her future life and on the life of her family?

Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque: The child is now being assisted by social workers, doctors and psychologists. I have the impression that the psychological harm caused the sexual abuse will never be reversed. I’m very concerned that this child may return to the life of poverty in which she lived with her mother and her sister, and she may again become the victim of renewed violence.

George Arney: Dr Rivaldo Mendes de Albuquerque, firm in his faith, despite being excommunicated by the Catholic Church.


Pro-abortion "Catholic" US Health Secretary's dilemma

The Kansas State Senate has passed a bill that would require that women seeking abortions be allowed to see an ultrasound image of their baby at least 30 minutes before the abortion.

Won't it be interesting to see how Kathleen Sebelius (pictured), the Kansas State Governor and President Obama's Secretary of State for health and human services, responds to this bill? She is a professed Catholic who supports abortion - or, as the pro-abortion lobby likes to put it, she supports "the woman's right to choose".

According to ChristianNewsWire: "Sebelius vetoed a similar bill last year. However, this time the bill passed both houses with a veto-proof majority. For her to oppose the legislation is to invite a rare veto override and challenge to her political power. "

Will pro-abortion "Catholic", Kathleen Sebelius, support a bill requiring health professionals to provide women with all the information possible before having an abortion? Watch this space.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Declaration of the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife on Brazilian abortion case

I blogged earlier this week on the real issues in the tragic case of the nine-year old girl in Brazil whose twins were aborted and last week when the news broke .

Today, in Rorate Caeli, those most closely involved with the pastoral care of the little girl at the centre of this case have made a statement.

I think it's important to read it in order to obtain a more balanced picture of how the Catholic Church acted in this matter.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Nine-year old's abortion: the real issue

In all the furore about the heartbreaking case of the nine-year girl whose twins were aborted, on which I blogged last week, let's remember the real issue.

The fundamental issue for humanity is that two babies have been killed: the right to life of the twins in the womb of this poor Brazilian girl has been denied by all those participating in the abortion, and all those approving of the abortion (neither of which category, of course, includes the nine-year-old mother). Once the right to life can, in certain circumstances, be swept aside, no unborn child is safe - any unborn baby can be killed. The truth of the case against abortion becomes obscured by pragmatic considerations. The pro-abortion lobby understands this as well as anybody - and better than most.

Also, as I said before, the little girl at the centre of this tragic situation has suffered not only the violence of rape but also the violence of abortion, which carries with it the risk of long-term harm including a seriously increased risk of suicide. Objectively speaking this homicide, which is never an act of compassion, is lacking in compassion to the child-mother as well as to her twins.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Human Rights Council ignores slaughter of the unborn

The Human Rights Council (HRC) marked the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child last week by ignoring the slaughter of the unborn which is occurring throughout the world in contravention of international law.

"The HRC panels comprehensively considered all the major issues on the topic of children’s rights except the 'elephant in the room' the abortion question which was studiously ignored by all," Pat Buckley told me from Geneva, where he was lobbying at the Human Rights Council on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

The bitter irony of the event was best summed up by the contribution of Maud de Boer-Buquichio, Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, who highlighted the Council of Europe's efforts to promote and protect children’s rights. (A resolution calling for unlimited access to abortion throughout Europe [see my blogs of 18th March and 6th April] was rushed through the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 16th April last year.)

She said: “The starting point for our work is in recognizing that children are not mini-persons with mini-human rights –- in fact they need more protection, not less,” she said, and that “adults want children to grow up and respect the world they are born in. It is high time that our adult world also respect children's rights."

Given that the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises that a child needs appropriate legal protection before, as well as after birth, and given that tens of millions of unborn children are denied such legal protection by being dismembered, killed by being sucked through a tube with sharp-edged openings near the tip of the tube, or killed by being prevented from implanting in the lining of the womb by making it unreceptive to the newly-conceived embryo ... on what grounds are these children's rights being totally ignored by the Human Rights Council?

This would be an interesting question for politicians to pursue with their various governments around the world.