Friday, 28 June 2013

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Young people out in force for pro-life leafleting

Our group of young men and women.We spent the day leafleting in north west London, giving our thousands of pro-life leaflets.
Several posts on this blog have been focused on leafleting. There's been posts about students leafleting. There's been posts about how leafleting has formed a key part of campaigns. There's been posts about why leafleting is important. Not long ago I wrote a post called "27,500 chances to help the unborn". There was a good response - with bundles of leaflets being sent to young adults all over the UK. It's fair to say we are on an upward curve in terms of pro-life activity amongst young adults, and it's important that this continues. If we know all the arguments, and are aware of all the educational and pastoral services on offer, but do little or nothing to spread the message, we end up creating a pro-life cottage industry.

Last week a group of us (seven in total) spent the day leafleting in north west London, together with a young man who lives in the area, who read some of the posts on this blog and leafleting and campaigns and felt inspired to do something. A few weeks earlier I went to meet him and spent just over an hour leafleting. We agreed that we'd do it again because it's vital work.

We arrived at our meeting point, distributed the maps, decided which pairs would cover which areas, and headed off. Leafleting is so simple - it's a matter of putting a leaflet through a letterbox. It means that in an hour hundreds of homes get a good quality pro-life leaflet with educational and supportive information. It means people get something pro-life that hasn't been watered-down or distorted by a biased journalist or tv channel. It means that the public realise there are people in society who are opposed to the murder of unborn children, and do not want to see more lives damaged thanks to abortionists who earn a tidy sum doing it. 

We were treated to a generous lunch, then headed out again for the final push, covering a wide area and even more homes. It was an enjoyable day and time well spent.

Thank you to those who have already contacted me and distributed leaflets. Please send me a few paragraphs and photos of your own leafleting experience. It's nice to give people recognition, and it helps encourage others out there who are doing the same.

Perhaps you are someone who hasn't done much or any leafleting. Maybe you're busy in exam season, or with other work. It would be really great if we could have even more people to bring the pro-life message to others using the simple method of leafleting.

To order leaflets and get help to organise a leafleting team in your area, email me:

Monday, 24 June 2013

Women Deliver Conference 2013: do women have a right to kill but no right to conceive?

Peter Singer: supports infanticide
The 2013 Women Deliver took place in Kuala Lumpur from 28th-30th May. It was attended by representatives of many organisations at the forefront of the culture of death, including the United Nations Population Fund, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International, the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the US administration of Barack Obama.

One of the speakers was infanticide advocate Peter Singer who suggested that rising population might make it necessary to forcibly prevent families from having children. (See here for consideration of the origins of the over-population myth.)

‘It is possible of course’ Singer told the conference ‘that we give women reproductive choices, that we meet the unmet need for contraception but that we find that the number of children that women choose to have is still such that population continues to rise in a way that causes environmental problems.’ He also suggested that it was “appropriate to consider whether women’s reproductive rights are 'fundamental' and unalterable or whether… there can be imaginable circumstances in which you may be justified in overriding them.” In other words, if abortion and contraception fail to reduce human population growth it would, in Singer’s view, be morally acceptable to forcibly prevent men and women from having children. The reality however is that population growth is already on the verge of collapsing in many parts of the world, with all the economic and social dangers which that entails, precisely because of the widespread legitimisation of abortion and contraception.

Kavita Ramdas, an Indian representative of the Ford Foundation, made similar points arguing that “you can force women to have less children [sic], you can force people to consume less”. Reversing the racism often shown by the population control movement she asserted that the United States and Europe ‘are truly putting an unsustainable load on the planet for all of us’ and suggested that ‘if Americans consume more than Africans, they should be forced into a one child policy’.

I wonder how the delegates attending the conference would have responded if a speaker had suggested that the so-called 'right' to abortion had to be overriden to deal with declining population growth? The right to kill seems to be unchallengeable but a woman's right to truly control her own fertility by conceiving children within the self-giving supportive union of marriage can be overriden to suit the political agenda of ideologues such as Singer and Ramdas.

These calls were addressed to representatives of the UN, national governments, and some of the largest NGOs in the world. The forces arrayed against the family, and especially against it’s most vulnerable member, the unborn child, are very powerful, very wealthy and very determined.

SPUC needs your help to fight back today.

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- Support SPUC’s campaigns

Friday, 21 June 2013

Yet another SPUC activist leads the way with 40 Days for Life

This year the first Welsh 40 Days for Life campaign was launched in Cardiff city, by a young woman called Rhoslyn Thomas, amongst others, who has been a longstanding activist of SPUC and a 2012 intern. Another SPUC activist, Kelechi, has also been proactive in setting up a 40 Days for Life in her hometown in Nigeria, and supporting the 40 Days for Live vigil in Milton Keynes. 
40 Days for Life Milton Keynes, with Andy (R), founder David Bereit (L) and Kelechi (L, centre)
 A little while ago Rhoslyn posted some good news on Facebook about a child spared death at the hands of an abortionist. Here is a fuller version below:
This year, we ran our very first 40 Days For Life campaign in Cardiff on St. Mary's Street. The abortion clinic is unmarked and, for the most part, unknown. It is a busy street with lots of shops, night clubs, cafes and restaurants and offices. Indeed, the clinic itself is above a restaurant and the building is shared with a number of offices. We were a few weeks in when we were approached one day by a young man who calmly asked us what we were doing. We replied that we were praying for an end to abortion, but specifically praying for everyone who entered that clinic, that they would choose life. He told us that his girlfriend was inside the clinic, discussing and planning her abortion.

He told us that she had aborted a previous baby and that they also had other children but that they were living in temporary accommodation and were being pressured by social services to abort the baby that his girlfriend was currently carrying though they wanted their baby. When I heard him say this, I was saddened but not very surprised.

Again and again we are told that this is a woman's 'right to choose', yet it seems to me that few women do choose. Yes, some do, but many do not. More often than not, there seems to be some source of coercion. As the suffragette, Mattie Brinkerhoff, wrote in 1869, "When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society - so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged" We told him that we knew of an organisation in London, the Good Counsel Network, who could help him. I told him what I knew to be the truth: if he phoned them and asked them for help, there is no way they would turn him down.

They would (not might) help them with anything they needed: money, clothes, prams, food, counselling, accommodation. He seemed glad to know this and we were hopeful that he would phone, though he declined our offer to use our phones on the spot. So, after he and his girlfriend left, all we could do was pray and pray.

Being a former intern at SPUC and having parents who have volunteered and worked for SPUC for many years, we had quite a network of people to call on for prayers! We had people up and down the country praying for this couple and many offers of a home and help for them from total strangers! I was sorry that I didn't ask for a telephone number from the couple but I felt that it was so important, at a time when they were being pressured from all sides, not to add to this pressure and to leave them in God's hands. I kept asking the people at Good Counsel over the following weeks if they had phoned or not.

Sadly, they had not but I didn't give up on them because I know that no prayer goes unanswered. 40 Days For Life ended on the 24th March this year. By then, we still hadn't heard but we didn't forget about that couple. We all slipped back into normal life until one day about a week ago I got an e-mail from a member of the vigil's 'core team' saying that they had some good news...the couple had phoned Good Counsel and they are keeping the baby!

To say this was the best news I had heard all year was an understatement! I was so thankful that we had been there so that we met that young man and gave him that little card. It was such a little thing but it saved a life! In fact, it not only saved the baby, but it saved their mother and father from another abortion and the repercussions of extinguishing that life.

I think that few reading this blog could imagine just how many people screamed and shouted at us saying that we were "intimidating women" by standing outside a building where human beings are killed and peacefully praying. I am glad that we were there and we will be back for another 40 days, so that when the next couple comes up to us needing support and love, we will be there.
Rhoslyn (L) with 40 Days for Life founders Shawn and David. Also pictured is Ann Howard, a former SPUC intern
Pro-abortion protesters oppose the prayer vigil in Cardiff

40 Days for Life vigil supporters praying

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Not all killing is abortion

Finding the rights words

You will hear the phrase "abortion kills an Innocent child". Yes, an innocent child is killed, his or her life is terminated, extinguished. He or she ceases to be a living human being on this earth. He or she ends up dead.

However, abortion is more than just only a situation in which a child is killed, a moral wrong of the gravest kind. There are different types of killing - pulling up flowers or vegetables from the ground, killing germs, killing animals for food, killing in self-defence, accidental killing, the killing of a guilty person by a legitimate state (known as the death penalty). And then there is the deliberate killing of an innocent person, which we call murder.

You may have heard someone say that it's best to avoid saying "abortion is murder" as it's too inflammatory, it'll "put people off". However, morally speaking, abortion is murder, and it should be legally considered as such. In the UK we still retain the criminal offence of child destruction. We have the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which addresses crimes such as murder and manslaughter, and also includes the offence of attempting to procure an abortion. In the USA the then government passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act 2004.  According to the pro-life organisation National Right to Life, there are currently 28 US states that recognise the unborn child as a victim of differing degrees of homicide and manslaughter. Yet to say that use of  the term "murder" should only be restricted to legal contexts would mean we couldn’t call all sorts of killings carried out the by the Nazis (or Stalinists, Maoists etc who were acting within their laws) ‘murders’ either – a morally obtuse position.

It seems fair to argue that some people are opposed to saying "abortion is murder" on tactical and oratorical  grounds - they don't want to put people off, or invoke a strong reaction from a listener. Perhaps it sounds a little too confrontational or even extreme. It might be upsetting to parents who have had an abortion. However, abortion is the murder of an innocent person, namely, the child in the womb.

Those prolifers who object to saying "abortion is murder" will often say that people who support abortion are deceptive in their choice of words and play word games that deliberately obscure the true nature of abortion. We hear phrases like "emptying the contents of the womb" and " gentle suction to remove the products of conception". 

If a person refuses to and objects to saying "abortion is murder" there is a danger they will undermine the legitimate point they want to make against the deceptive use of language by abortion supporters. To some degree, they participate in the same obsfuscation they object to in others who do the same but to support abortion.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Hitler's Struggle for Eugenics: Part II

In this post we continue our consideration of the eugenic nature of Adolf Hitler’s notorious political manifesto ‘Mein Kampf’. Part I can be read here.

Adolf Hitler
The first post in our long-running series on eugenics began with a consideration of the work of Thomas Robert Malthus because even though Malthus was not himself an advocate of eugenics his writings on over-population form one of the fundamental foundations of the movement. We have already seen that when Margaret Sanger was seeking a new ideology following her disillusionment with Marxism she turned to neo-Malthusianism. A similar sequence of events can be seen in the life of Adolf Hitler. After his failure to gain entry to Vienna’s prestigious School of Art he went through a succession of menial jobs and, according to his eugenic manifesto Mein Kampf, spent almost all his spare time reading, particularly on social and political questions. He became disillusioned with much of contempory discourse because it did not address the question of human population growth and the ‘racial quality’ of that population. “Germany” he wrote “has an annual increase in population of nearly nine hundred thousand souls. The difficulty of feeding this army of new citizens must grow greater from year to year and ultimately end in catastrophe, unless ways and means are found to forestall the danger of starvation and misery in time.”

Margaret Sanger
There is a remarkable unanimity between Hitler’s and Sanger’s views about the inevitability and consequences of overpopulation. The solutions they proposed however were somewhat different. Sanger sought to limit population growth through the rigorous control of human reproduction, particularly of those groups deemed ‘unfit.’ Hitler however was a more consistent follower of Darwin. In Mein Kampf he rejects the view that ‘the increase of births could be artificially restricted’ because he thought it preferable to allow ‘natural selection’ to take its course; the weak would fall before the strong and the evolution of the Aryan race would continue on its course. ‘Therefore’ he wrote ‘anyone who wants to secure the existence of the German people by a self-limitation of its reproduction is robbing it of its future.’ Hitler in fact wished to see the German population grow as much possible and hoped that the ‘problem’ of over-population would be solved by conquering new territories. For Hitler’s ‘Aryan race’ over-population was not a problem; it was weaker subject races who would have to perish to make way for them. Many of us were taught at school that Hitler’s desire for lebensraum (living space) in the east was a central plank of his political programme and was one of the most important motivations behind his conquest of Poland and invasion of the Soviet Union. It is far less likely that we were informed that the basis of this Nazi policy was the Malthusian myth of overpopulation that has, for more than two centuries, had such a malign influence over all aspects of academic, political and popular culture.[1]

To be continued…

[1] In a discourse delivered before the Catholic University of Ireland John Henry Newman noted that ‘the Malthusian teaching’ had become ‘a sine qua non in a seat of learning’ and that his contemporaries thought it ‘simply ignorance not to be a Malthusian’, ‘Discourse VIII: Knowledge Viewed in Relation to Religion’, published in John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, (London, 1852).

Friday, 14 June 2013

Tenth anniversary of landmark Catholic document on homosexual unions

St Charles Lwanga and Companions
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the promulgation of Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document was published on the Feast of St Charles Lwanga and Companions who were martyred in 1886 at the command of King Mwanga II of Uganda. Mwanga had launched a brutal persecution of Catholics and Anglicans which was provoked in part by the refusal of Christians to engage in homosexual acts with him. The CDF clearly chose this date in order to emphasise the threat of intolerance and persecution faced by those who conscientiously object to such unjust actions of the state as the legalisation of civil partnerships and so-called 'same-sex marriage.'

The freedom of the pro-life movement, as well as that of ordinary men and women up and down the country, to express normative opinions about marriage and the family is being severely threatened by the intolerance of the ‘LGBT lobby.’ It is increasingly considered ‘homophobic’ simply to express beliefs that were accepted everywhere just a few years ago. This new totalitarianism is a threat to all of us but no group is more at risk than the unborn child. The family founded on the marriage of one man and one woman is the ‘natural habitat’ in which children are conceived and brought up. In the United Kingdom infants conceived outside of marriage are four to five times more likely to be aborted than those conceived within marriage. It is clear therefore that anything that undermines the traditional understanding of marriage will put unborn children at risk. This is because when the link between marriage and procreation is broken the child is more likely to be seen not as the natural and expected result of the sexual act but as a ‘problem’ to be resolved through abortion.

Since this document was published by the CDF we have seen ever increasing attacks on the traditional understanding of marriage, which, let it be said clearly and unambiguously, is the only understanding of marriage which accords with both right reason and the experience of men and women down the centuries. It will be helpful to remind ourselves of the insights contained in this document, which “since this question relates to the natural moral law…. [is] addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.” A selection of quotes from the document, under our own headings, are included below.

Marriage is only between one man and one woman

The Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.”

Homosexual unions are in no way comparable to marriage

“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity... (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”. This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition”

Homesexual unions must be opposed

“In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”

Civil laws must conform to right reason or they do not bind in conscience

“…civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience. Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person. Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.

Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour”. Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation's perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the
institution of marriage.”

Homosexual unions lack the biological complementary present in marriage

“Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. The possibility of using recently discovered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involving a grave lack of respect for human dignity, does nothing to alter this inadequacy.

Homosexual unions are also totally lacking in the conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality. Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.”

Adoption of children by homosexual couples is gravely immoral

“…the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.”

Politicians who vote for homosexual unions commit grave sin

“When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth.”


“The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself."
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