Saturday, 9 January 2010

Obama-Clinton administration renews commitment to bankroll abortion worldwide

Yesterday Hillary Clinton, the pro-abortion US secretary of state, gave a speech marking the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. In her speech, Mrs Clinton notably failed to remind the audience that the programme of action agreed by governments at Cairo says: "In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning". Mrs Clinton nonetheless confirmed the Obama administration's commitment to support and bankroll organisations which promote abortion as a method of family planning, notably the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Mrs Clinton frequently used the terms 'reproductive health' and 'family planning', making only one passsing reference to abortion. In April, following direct questioning by pro-life Congressman Chris Smith, Mrs Clinton was forced to admit that the Obama administration's definition of reproductive health includes abortion.

Here are some extracts from Mrs Clinton's speech yesterday, and my comments [JS] on them:
  • "What is it we will do between now and 2015? Remember what was expected of us [at Cairo]. All governments will make access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services a basic right." [JS: This means the Obama administration believes Cairo requires all governments to provide abortion and contraception.]
  • "We have made measurable progress since 1994 in improving the health and the lives of women and children, especially girls. For example, the use of modern contraceptives worldwide has increased from under 10 percent in the 1960s to 43 percent in 2008." [JS: As I blogged yesterday, contraception paves the way for abortion, and the physical and psychological damage abortion does to women.]
  • "And 15 years after the Cairo conference, far too many women still have little or no access to reproductive health services, including family planning and maternal healthcare." [JS: This shows just how extreme the Obama-Clinton administration regime is. Even though almost every country in the world allows abortion and contraception, resulting in tens of millions of abortions annually and a growing under-population crisis, the administration wants more.]
  • "More than 215 million women worldwide lack access to the modern forms of contraception, and this contributes to the nearly 20 million unsafe abortions that take place very year." [JS: I have blogged before about the pro-abortion lobby's outrageous manipulation of shaky statistics.]
  • "[W]e are working with religious leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan to increase access to information about family planning" [JS: Obama-Clinton know that the anti-life juggernaut can be stopped by religious leaders.]
  • "Uganda, where USAID works with the International Planned Parenthood Federation to provide reproductive health services" [JS: The pro-abortion lobby is determined to reverse the Ugandan government's emphasis on abstinence and fidelity, which has been successful in reducing HIV rates.]
  • "So we are rededicating ourselves to the global efforts to improve reproductive health for women and girls ... One of President Obama’s first actions in office was to overturn the Mexico City policy, which greatly limited our ability to fund family planning programs" [JS: In fact, the Mexico City policy denied millions of US federal dollars to organisations which promote abortion, not just 'family planning'.]
  • "We have pledged new funding, new programs, and a renewed commitment to achieve Millennium Development Goal Five, namely a [three-fourths] reduction in global maternal mortality, and universal access to reproductive healthcare." [JS: which means seeking to force governments to allow abortion on demand.]
  • "This year, the United States renewed funding of reproductive healthcare through the United Nations Population Fund, and more funding is on the way. The U.S. Congress recently appropriated more than $648 million in foreign assistance to family planning and reproductive health programs worldwide. That’s the largest allocation in more than a decade – since we last had a Democratic president, I might add." [JS: which is why it's essential that more pro-lifers win seats in this year's mid-term elections, and that a pro-life candidate replaces Obama in 2012.]
  • "[T]oday, the United States is proud once again to support the work of the UN Population Fund." [JS: despite that body's shameless complicity in the China's one-child policy of forced abortions.]
  • "[E]very single child in this country – boy or girl – deserves a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential." [JS: There's a good Jewish-American word for such a statement: 'chutzpah'. Under Obama-Clinton, countless more children's lives will be extinguished.]
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Friday, 8 January 2010

History teaches us we must not give an inch to the culture of death

Anne Barbeau Gardiner, an emeritus professor of English in New York, has written a stunning review of an important book entitled "Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany". Here are some extracts from her review, which I recommend you to read in full:
  • "In her research for Cultures of Abortion, Cornelie Usborne examined literary works, movies, trial documents, medical records, social workers' notes, police interviews, and newspapers from the years of the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933 ... Although [Usborne] is pro-abortion...her research is valuable because it shows how the groundwork for Adolf Hitler's eugenic-abortion policies was laid."
  • "[C]ontraception was 'big business' in Germany prior to World War I ... [I]n 1927 the law was changed to allow contraceptives to be advertised, though some of these, like the uterine coil, were also abortifacient."
  • "[T]he Weimar Republic was distinguished by 'the lowest birth rate in the Western world'"
  • "German law on abortion became 'one of the most liberal in the world' because doctors could easily convince officials that any abortion was necessary for 'health' reasons."
  • "Deceptive language about abortion was also used in the Weimar Republic by communist and socialist novelists, poets, dramatists, and filmmakers, all of whom advocated 'medical, social and/or eugenic abortion'"
  • "The 1929 play Cyankali §218, written by the socialist Fried­rich Wolf, was supposedly a docu­drama about abortion intended to rouse the audience for mass protests. Yet it was based on a lie ... [T]here [is no] evidence for the allegation in the play that 10,000 women died annually from 'back-street abortions' ... Filmed in 1930, Cyankali §218 was used by socialists and communists in their election campaigns."
  • "[W]here contraception is rife there will also be the widespread practice of abortion and a growing pressure for its full legalization ... It is crucial, then, to oppose the contraceptive mentality that makes abortion inevitable"*
  • "[T]he road to Hitler was paved with abortions. The Weimar Republic was a society committing suicide in slow motion. It could neither stop the killing of its unborn children nor control the degrading hedonism that accompanied this practice ... It was so weak it easily caved in when confronted with a fiercer form of that same culture."
This book and Professor Gardiner's review of it are very relevant to the current British government's plans for children's education. The governments which preceded and followed the Weimar Republic (the Second Reich under Bismarck and Hitler's Third Reich respectively) used laws to control and thereby undermine Catholic parent's education of their children. Under the Third Reich, a law against home-schooling - which is still being enforced today - was passed in order to ensure that children received Nazi indoctrination, including Nazi anti-life and anti-family ideas. Pope Pius XI protested against these laws, writing:
"Catholic parents'...rights and duties as educators, conferred on them by God, are at present the stake of a campaign pregnant with consequences ... [I]it will be every one's duty to sever his responsibility from the opposite camp, and free his conscience from guilty cooperation with such corruption. The more the enemies attempt to disguise their designs, the more a distrustful vigilance will be needed, in the light of bitter experience."
After the defeat of Nazism, parents' right to choose the type of education for their children was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in order to prevent such indoctrination by future governments. Many parents in Germany and Britain today wish to home-school their children because of anti-life and anti-family indoctrination in state-regulated schools. The British government's Children, Schools and Families bill seeks to weaken parents' control over their children's education by:
  • imposing sex education in all primary and secondary schools following the national curriculum, including Catholic schools, which entails anti-life and anti-family indoctrination
  • abolishing the parents' right to remove school-children of 15 years and older from sex education classes
  • establishing strict and intrusive regulation of home-schooling, including direct access by regulatory officials to home-schooling children, bypassing parents.
We must not give an inch to the culture of death. The second reading (the first main debate) on the Children, Schools and Families bill will take place in the House of Commons on Monday (11 January). Please email your MP immediately to urge them to speak out against the government's plans.

*which reminds me of the admission by Dr Judy Bury, former Director of Edinburgh Brook Advisory Centre, that: "There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate." (The Scotsman, 29 June 1981)

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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Catholic Church does not support the government's sex ed plans

The Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG), a government-established pro-abortion quango, has claimed in its latest report that:
"TPIAG commends the Government for its decision to make PSHE education, including SRE, statutory at all key stages .... We are very pleased that Church of England and Catholic Church are also supporting this move." [my emphasis]
The TPIAG is undoubtedly referring to the general  - and disgraceful - support given by the Catholic Education Service (CES) of England and Wales to the government's proposals, contained in the Children, Schools and Families (CSF) bill. The CES, however, does not comprise the Catholic Church: it is an organ of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW). Whilst it is understandable that a bishops' conference and its organs seek to speak for and on behalf of the Catholic Church, it may be illuminating to read what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) said whilst Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
"We must not forget that the episcopal conferences have no theological basis, they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be eliminated ... No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission: its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops."
Among the government's proposals is, as the TPIAG report explains, the teaching of sex and relationships education (SRE) from the start of primary school (key stage one, ages five to seven) onwards. In contrast, the Catholic Church's key teaching document on sex education, The truth and meaning of human sexuality: guidelines for education within the family (Pontifical Council for the Family, 1995), teaches that:
  • "[P]rudent formation in chaste love during this period [before puberty] should be indirect..."
  • "In some societies today, there are planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children. But, at this stage of development, children are still not capable of fully understanding the value of the affective dimension of sexuality. They cannot understand and control sexual imagery within the proper context of moral principles and, for this reason, they cannot integrate premature sexual information with moral responsibility. Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children's innocence because such attempts compromise the spiritual, moral and emotional development of growing persons who have a right to their innocence."
  • "Homosexuality should not be discussed before adolescence unless a specific serious problem has arisen in a particular situation."
  • "As regards sterilization and contraception, these should not be discussed before adolescence..."
On this point (of pre-pubescent sex education) and on other points which I have blogged about recently, it is clear that the government's proposals, and the CES's general support for them, are contrary to Catholic teaching.

There can be no doubt the government will use the bill, if passed, to promote abortion in schools. The bill's principles will be used to ensure that pro-abortion propaganda dominates the content of sex education. Schoolgirls will be told that they have a right to abortion, that abortion is virtually harmless and that pro-abortion agencies provide good sexual health services. 'Equality' and 'diversity' will be used to suppress opposition to abortion. The abolition of parents' right to withdraw older children from sex education classes will ensure that no child leaves state schooling without having been brainwashed with an pro-abortion mentality.

It is therefore imperative that Catholics put the record straight by speaking out against the government's plans so disgracefully supported by the CES.

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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Humans, not dolphins, have rights needing to be upheld

Some scientists are calling for dolphins to be given the same respect as humans, on account of their supposedly relatively high intelligence. The scientists claim that dolphins are more intelligent than chimpanzees, based on brain size and behavioural observations. There is a push by anti-life academics such as Peter Singer and Richard Dawkins to accord human-style rights to chimpanzees and other apes.

Let us look, however, at the differences between humans and animals. Dr Armand Leroi, an evolutionary biologist at Imperial College London, has said that, although the genes of humans and chimpanzees are
"pretty much the same"
humans are
"so much better at imitation, language and culture ... [P]rimates simply don't have the social skills we humans take for granted."
Dr Leroi cited behavioural observation experiments at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, which found that chimpanzees
"can't understand the intentions of [human] adults. Human children, by contrast, are naturally very good at understanding the intentions of others."
Dr Leroi interviewed a psychologist who has used Shakespeare's Othello as a key to understanding human interaction. The psychologist said that
"chimpanzee[s] could never understand a play by Shakespeare, even if they could understand language. Their minds are limited to second-order intentionality at best, which means they simply couldn't even follow the plot."
Dr Leroi concludes that:
"We alone among the animals can step beyond our biology. Perhaps it is this that truly makes us human."
The proposal to accord personhood status to dolphins and apes takes animal welfare into the realms of rights. This runs contrary to the widely-held beliefs that animals are not persons and that only persons are capable of possessing rights. Indeed, permission for abortion, embryo experimentation and (in certain cases) euthanasia is often predicated on the erroneous belief that unborn children and the severely mentally incapacitated are not persons.

The proper treatment of animals is a legitimate concern. We need to treat all aspects of our world responsibly, and it's wrong to abuse any creature even if it's not human. It would be a tragic irony if society affords extra dignity to dolphins and apes while continuing to deprive some of its most vulnerable human inhabitants of every possible dignity by killing them in abortion, embryo experimentation and euthanasia.

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Monday, 4 January 2010

Filipino bishops' conference leads the way with pro-life election catechism

The Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines have issued a particularly solid "Catechism on Family and Life" for this year's elections in the Philippines. Here are some key points from the catechism:
  • "The Church has the duty to teach Catholics about the importance of taking their Faith with them in all their endeavors, including voting."
  • "[T]he dignity of the human person and the sacredness of human life...are at the very core of the Catholic moral and social teaching. Because we are people of both faith and reason, it is appropriate and necessary for us to bring this essential truth about human life and dignity to the public square. Church authorities exercise their teaching function also by reminding Catholic civil leaders of their moral obligations, especially in matters related to family and life."
  • "Our manner of active involvement in the democratic process means that we will use the power of the vote, as citizens of the Republic, to elect political leaders who will uphold and promote the dignity of human life and the sanctity of family and marriage."
  • "[A]bortion is always a most violent, unjust and inhumane act committed against the most harmless, defenseless, and weakest member of our society –the baby– and committed by those who have the greatest duty to care for, love and defend him or her most –the mother, father, doctors and other health care professionals."
  • "[R]esponsible parenthood has nothing to do with encouraging individuals to use contraceptives as what reproductive health programs do."
  • "[C]ontraception makes the conjugal act a lie. It expresses not a total love, but rather a merely conditional or partial love."
  • "[R]eproductive health necessarily presupposes access to contraception and abortion."
  • "[T]he Reproductive Health bill (House Bill 5043), which carries the same definition of reproductive health, will penalize with one to six months imprisonment, and/or 10-50 thousand pesos fine, parents who for example prevent their grade school and high school children from using contraceptives, and having satisfying and safe sex."
I blogged in August about the Reproductive Health bill. I also blogged in September on the speech of Kit & Fenny Tatad, senior Filipino pro-life figures, to SPUC's annual national conference.

I give thanks to the good Lord that the Philippines has such strong voices in defence of life and family, especially in the lead-up to elections. I hope that the bishops of England and Wales will speak out with equal strength and clarity before this year's UK general election.

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