12 July 2019

By Matthew McCusker

end of Hadrians wall style=float:left

Matthew McCusker, SPUC’s General Secretary, has completed his sponsored walk along the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall national trail. He was walking to raise awareness of the pro-abortion propaganda being used to promote abortion in our schools. The abortion industry has ideological and financial interests in ensuring more of our young people have abortions. SPUC is fighting hard against this propaganda.

Matthew has shared the following report of his walk:

First of all, I want to thank everybody who has so generously supported my walk – we have raised more than £50,000 so far! This is truly extraordinary generosity and every penny will be used to protect innocent human lives.

Day 1 & 2 – 15 miles & 15 miles                                                     

My walk began at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall, at the fortress of Segedunum, and the first morning took me through the suburbs of Newcastle. Little evidence of the wall remains here, other than the straight Roman road. In the afternoon the trail heads west out of the city, along the river Tyne, before turning north to the village of Heddon-on-the-Wall. It is here that you get the first glimpse of the wall since Segedunum.

Day 2 followed the course of the wall through Northumberland’s moorland. While the stone wall itself has mostly been robbed away on this stretch – or is buried beneath the “Military Road” built by General Wade during the Jacobite rising of 1745 – the vallum, the defensive ditch which accompanied it, is very clear for most of the day.

Days 3 & 4 – 21 miles & 19 miles

The terrain on these days was strikingly different. This is classic Hadrian’s wall territory. The path follows the highest points of the landscape and the wall is very often visible. On day 3 I ascended the highest point of the trail, at Winshield Crag, and passed the best-preserved fort on the wall, Housesteads. Day 4 ends at one of the most important sites -  Carlisle -  the ancient Roman fortress town of Luguvalium from which the whole wall was governed and administered.

Day 5 – 14 miles

The terrain changes again at the beginning of day 5 and the path follows a much flatter course down to the sea at Bowness-on-Solway. Very little evidence of the wall appears on this stretch, and even the vallum didn’t put in much of an appearance.

I very much enjoyed the walk but it was tough going in places. Days 1 and 2 were generally good walking weather – except for a bit of rain. The rest of the walk was much more difficult – with very hot weather and a lot of exposure to the sun. I was very glad to stumble into Bowness-on-Solway in time for the last bus back to Carlisle for a good night’s rest!

Throughout the walk I was aware of how many people were supporting my efforts with their generous donations. Thank you very much indeed: together we will defeat abortion!

Matthew 41 miles

5 July 2019

By Margaret Akers 
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What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman carries a child on behalf of another person or people. In the UK, commercial surrogacy is illegal – meaning it is illegal to pay a surrogate (although you can pay her basic expenses related to the pregnancy and the law is in fact liberally interpreted). It is also illegal to advertise that you are willing to be a surrogate or are looking for a surrogate. However, so called ‘Altruistic Surrogacy’ - where couples turn to friends and family members to act as surrogates – is legal. Once the child is born, the legal mother is the surrogate mother. A formal process of getting a parental order must be undergone to transfer parental rights to the commissioning biological parent of the child and his or her partner, if any. Many UK couples choose to pursue commercial surrogacy internationally, in order to find a surrogate more easily while avoiding potential legal problems. Surrogacy is becoming an increasingly ‘mainstream’ practice. Many celebrities have had children via a surrogate - for example, Kim Kardashian and Cristiano Ronaldo. A contestant on last year’s season of Great British Bake-Off based the decoration of his cookies on his trip to America with his same sex partner to collect his children, carried via surrogate. However, surrogacy is not only for the rich and famous – although it can be very expensive in some countries. More and more British couples are pursuing surrogacy as an alternate means of having children. The reasons are varied – for some it is because of a struggle with infertility; for others (like Kim Kardashian), it is because of complications with previous pregnancies; for male same sex couples, it provides the opportunity to have children than are genetically linked to one parent.

 

The Problems with Surrogacy

Narratives about surrogacy are being put forward in the media, without asking questions about the ethics of the issue. It has always seemed to me that using the body of another person to carry your child is inherently objectifying, reductive, and wrong. In commercial surrogacy, it is almost a certainty that the woman carrying the child will be in a lower socio-economic position than the person/people pursuing surrogacy – in other words, rich people are using the bodies of poorer people to carry their children. In altruistic surrogacy, the emotional implications of the process would be complicated to manoeuvre, to say the least. The legal complications are also significant. What if the child receives a prenatal diagnosis of disability? Who makes the decisions about continuing the pregnancy? What if the surrogate changes her mind regarding the pregnancy? There is a lot of space for (further) abuse within the system. This is all without mentioning the humanity of the unborn child – or rather, children - involved in the process. If the surrogate is not also the egg provider (in which case artificial insemination could be used), a similar process to IVF would be used to create the embryos for implantation. In this process, multiple embryos will be created – and those not used may be destroyed or frozen. That is a destruction of human life at its earliest stages. The process of surrogacy seems to commodify both women and children, and normalise using the bodies of others to serve one’s own ends. Surrogacy is not without its critics. Many, including many feminists, recognise the problems and abuses within the current system. There have been two feminist commentaries on surrogacy recently published, and each seems to come to a radically different conclusion about the practice.
 

Full Surrogacy Now?

In May 2019, Verso Books (formerly New Left Books), a radical publishing house, recently released a book called Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against the Family by Sophie Lewis. Ms Lewis is a writer and translator – whose translations include works like Communism for Kids. This will perhaps give you an idea of her political outlook. In Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against the Family, Ms Lewis argues in favour of an overhaul of the surrogacy system, so that we can realise the ‘radically collectivised, pluralised, communised gestational reality to come’. She sees pregnancy as ‘gestation work’ that should be treated as such within society. Interestingly, Ms Lewis links the problems with surrogacy to problems she perceives in the societal approach to childbearing generally. In her view, the family is ‘a huge source of unpaid labour’ – and presumably those bearing children should be compensated for their ‘gestational work’. While Ms Lewis’ approach may strike you as nonsensical, her book and videos on the subject have garnered some attention – with her book ranking #108 on Amazon of all books related to ethical issues, and #259 of books related to social and family groups after having only been in circulation for two months.

 

The Abolition of Woman

A book that I would actually recommend you read, which touches on this issue, is The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism Is Betraying Women, by Fiorella Nash. In the chapter titled ‘Outsourcing Reproduction: ART, Surrogacy and the Commodification of the Female Body’ she addresses the issues that surrogacy is fraught with. She raises concerns about women’s health, informed consent, and commodification – particularly with regard to international surrogacy. She writes: ‘Both abortion and commercial surrogacy render it necessary for one of the two human lives involved in pregnancy to become expendable in certain situations— the baby or the surrogate mother— creating an unsustainable ethical paradox which feminists of all political persuasions need to confront but instead choose to ignore’. Ms Nash explores the varied abuses surrogates are vulnerable to, while seeing no ethical means of pursuing surrogacy. She stresses the need of a compassionate response to those facing infertility, without allowing for objectifying and unethical practice. The chapter, and indeed the whole book, is well worth reading. It is time we learn the arguments against surrogacy and other forms of Assisted Reproductive Technology. Increasingly, people are choosing to pursue families using these techniques, and we need to be equipped to put the case against. For example, the Law Commission’s current consultation on surrogacy needs addressing. We need to stand up against the commodification of women and children.
28 June 2019
By Grace Browne 
 
BIG B Watching
 

This week marks the anniversary of the birthday of writer and journalist, George Orwell. Most famously remembered for his novels 1984 and Animal Farm, Orwell filled pages, bookshelves and minds with sinister suspicions and theories. Are our thoughts being manipulated and controlled? Has the truth been warped and replaced? Is Big Brother watching us? Whilst Orwell’s depictions of our future, to some, can still be viewed as wanting, it is truly unsettling to witness the stark similarities surfacing between Orwell’s malevolent depictions and the attack on the pro-life message.

 “Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper”

It is not difficult to detect the growing bias and misinformation circulating throughout our media platforms. What was intended to be a profession of truth and accuracy has contorted into a menacing corporation, brimming with misinformation and propaganda terms devised to capture reader attention and distort their view of the pro-life message.

The pro-life message is simple. It is one of peace, human dignity and the rejection of violence. Yet media platforms throughout the decades have warped the truth and the minds of their readers, referring to the pro-life movement through misleading propaganda such as ‘anti-choice’ ‘forced- birth’ or ‘pro-death.’ In February of this year, leading media outlet The Daily Telegraph published a false and severely misleading headline regarding peaceful pro-life vigils which read: “Police called in after medics attacked by anti-abortion campaigners.” In reality - abortion clinic staff had simply requested a meeting with the police. The misleading rhetoric projected out of such media outlets seems part of the relentless onslaught to warp public perception of pro-life people and tarnish their image. It can even be speculated that the unwillingness of newspapers to correctly illustrate the truth regarding pro-life people has contributed to the spree of violent attacks committed against elderly pro-life volunteers across the country earlier this year.

 “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’.”

It was undoubtedly the fabrication of statistics and information which aided in paving the way for commonplace abortion in the United Kingdom. 1960s Britain witnessed the pro-abortion lobby advocate for the implementation of the Abortion Act on the sympathetic grounds of death and injury occurring from so called ‘backstreet abortions.’ For those who know the truth, we can look back and witness the pro-abortion lobby peddle a line of deceit - a lie, which now the public believes to be an unbreakable truth.

It was repeatedly argued that in order to overcome death and injury occurring from backstreet abortions the implementation of the Abortion Act was vital. The pro-abortion lobby argued that hundreds of thousands of women were suffering from the effects of backstreet abortions. David Steel MP, the principle sponsor of the Abortion Act claimed: “I would not settle for any definite figure, but it is probably between 40,000 and 200,000 a year.” In 1966, the Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) revealed that in 1962, around 14,600 women used backstreet abortionists based on an analysis of hospital admissions. The RCOG Council stated: “It has been repeatedly stated that as many as 100,000 criminal abortions are induced in this country each year and a more recent estimate is 250,000. These are without any secure factual foundation of which we are aware.”

In reality, at the time of the implementation of the 1967 Abortion Act, maternal death rates were already steadily decreasing. This was not due to the implementation of abortion, but instead due to the growing availability of antibiotics. It is shocking but evident that the pro-abortion lobby paved the way for the Abortion Act through widespread misinformation. To further their agenda, they warped the truth and replaced it with a lie. They manipulated the heart-strings of a nation with deceit, which is now ingrained as a common truth.

“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

The pro-life message is one that has been subjected to criticism. However, in the past year we have seen it subjected to a cruel form of censorship. The pro-life position seeks to help women in crisis. It seeks to offer women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy the support, information and resources that may help them keep their baby. It is a message that many pro-abortion advocates do not want to hear.

In the April of 2018, Ealing council imposed a Public Space Protection Order, also referred to as a censorship zone, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. Richmond Council shortly followed in their decision to impose censorship zone also. The censorship zone was a direct attack on pro-life volunteers who peacefully provided information to those considering an abortion. The censorship zones not only stripped people of the basic freedoms of speech, assembly and expression, but it also very blatantly silenced a message that abortion advocates did not want to hear.

The right to freedom of speech and expression are some of the core pillars which uphold a democratic society. The infringement on such rights by Councils was an infringement on freedom itself.

 “If you want a vision of the future imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.”

Abortion kills humans. Abortion poisons, starves, suctions and dismembers innocent humans to death whilst their mothers and families are often left to suffer the mental and physical trauma alone. Through abortion, the dignity and wellbeing of humans, born and unborn is abused and violated.

Orwell’s harrowing message sadly can be seen through the 2018 abortion statistics which saw a ten - year high in abortion rates across the UK. 218, 518 innocent humans were killed last year. They were stripped of their dignity and their basic human rights. The statistics also illustrate the devastating impact abortion is having upon girls and women across the country's poorer regions. It was exposed that women from the country’s poorer regions where twice as likely to undergo an abortion compared to women from the countries wealthiest regions. Information published in evidence-based review Abortion and Women’s Health, found that women who have had an abortion are six times more likely to commit suicide compared to women who give birth, 30% more likely to suffer from depression and 25% more likely to suffer from anxiety.

Abortion represents not only the violent killing of humans, it is also a reflection upon society’s failing of women and families and the disregard of human dignity.

 “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world you were not mad”

The regime aimed at normalising abortion has truly infiltrated society. It is commonly and repeatedly referred to as ‘health-care’, ‘birth-control’, ‘human rights’ or ‘women’s rights’, all in the attempt to distract from its core aim- to end human life, and instead promote it as normality.

The determination to normalise abortion is now perversely infiltrating our school systems with materials designed to promote and encourage the killing of unborn humans to be taught to pupils aged 15 plus. Indoctrination such as this is simply part of the growing desire to raise a generation that will not question the true nature of abortion, and instead accept the lie.

Since the implementation of the Abortion Act, society has drifted further from the truth and into the arms of propaganda and misinformation. In a time where we are subjected to the normalisation of killing, it can be a challenge to cling to the one string of truth left. So, in a world that has come to hate the truth and hate those who speak it, just remember, you are not alone. You are not mad.

19 June 2019

by Alithea Williams

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This basically covers it

One of the most wounding accusations that abortion supporters like to throw at pro-lifers is that we don’t care about babies after they are born. This can range from fairly reasonable sounding questions about what we personally do to help disadvantaged children, to cries of “you’re not pro-life, just pro-birth!”, “You only want to protect the unborn, and don't give a damn about those living and suffering”, and, most disturbingly “foetus fetishist!”.

Of course, there is legitimate debate to be had about what pro-lifers can do to make things better for mothers and babies, in addition to opposing abortion (although this can often descend into categorising a whole host of political and social opinions into the “pro-life” category, in a way that makes the term far too broad to be meaningful). However, when you’re facing people throwing the above terms about, that’s not the level the discussion is at.

Red herrings

Indeed, the accusations can be so ridiculous as to be laughable. Alyssa Milano (she of sex-strike fame) said that pro-lifers who would deny migrants asylum in the US are hypocrites because “Asylum seekers have heartbeats. So take your fake ‘pro-life’ hypocrisy and shove it where the sun don’t shine.”

As commentators were quick to point out, unless she actually knows of pro-lifers who advocate killing asylum seekers with heartbeats, this is rather a red herring.

However, if you’re in a discussion with someone with slightly more sophisticated arguments than Ms Milano, there are clear answers to the “pro-lifers don’t care about children after they’re born” slur. In fact, two very easy answers. A) it isn’t relevant to the abortion debate, and B) it isn’t true.

So what?

What the pro-life position boils down to is that unborn babies are human beings, and it is wrong to kill innocent human beings. Whether or not I care about born children, and what I personally do to help them, makes not the slightest difference to this moral argument. And actually, I think most people know this. In a debate, it might even be worth asking: “Ok, let’s suppose for a minute that I’ve adopted two children, fostered dozens more, run classes for disadvantaged kids, and help at a homeless shelter. Does that change your view that it’s a woman’s right to have an abortion?” 99% of the time, it won’t. It’s just a rhetorical trick, and people should be called out on it.

However, the key point does need to be emphasised.  Whether or not I care about someone doesn’t give you the right to kill them. Perhaps there are some strange “pro-life” people out there who really only care about the unborn and couldn’t give a damn once they’re born. That makes no difference to whether it’s right to kill the unborn. It makes just as much sense to say “Unless you personally house every homeless person in the country you aren’t allowed to be against us killing homeless people in the streets.”

"I'll wait"

The second point about the “you’re just pro-birth" argument is that it just isn’t true. In fact, it’s so blatantly not true that it’s hard to know how anyone can seriously make such an argument. This was gloriously illustrated last month when a Jerusalem-based author tweeted sarcastically: “Dear Pro-Life friends: what have you *personally* done to support lower income single mothers? I’ll wait.” She clearly wasn’t expecting the question to be answered, but by the next day more than 13,000 Twitter users had chimed in giving stories of adopting, fostering, donating money, running organisations to help teen mothers, and much more. One said: “Housed and fed over 450 pregnant and parenting young moms who were homeless or in danger of becoming homeless as a result of their pregnancy. How about you?” Another replied: “I’ve adopted a special needs child, in the works to foster, give to crisis pregnancy centers, volunteer in community activities and care for women and families in my community.” (If you want to be cheered up, have a look through the thread!)

Support through pregnancy and beyond

If you want to focus closer to home, organisations across the UK provide crisis pregnancy counselling, housing, and financial support to mothers in need. The Good Counsel Network, which is constantly vilified for supposedly “harassing” women outside abortion clinics, offers heroic support to mothers and their families, not just during pregnancy, but for as long as they need. One counsellor remembers a family being supported until the baby saved from abortion was 12 years old. Good Counsel’s website and the Be Here for Me Campaign showcase the stories of dozens of women who have been helped. Betty says: “The Good Counsel went well above my expectations. Not only did they give me a home to live in, but they also helped me apply for a UK visa. Now we have a home and a visa to stay in the country.”

"My child got everything"

Another mother, from the Punjab, said: “So GCN provided me with a two bedroom house. They were paying all the rent and everything, and even they were paying for all the groceries as well and diapers and, you know, baby cots. My child got everything. I couldn’t even believe…I couldn’t afford those things and he got all the things from there. From birth to now. Whenever he needs like winter coat or anything. And I just want to add one more thing, because of my little one, my elder daughter is having a better life as well. Whenever I need something for her she gets it from them as well. No, even if I need something or my daughter, whoever in the family.”

Who's priviliged?

Recently, Emily Milne of the Alliance of Pro-Life Students debated Anna Veglio-White of Sister Supporter on Sky News. Ms Veglio-White made the astonishing claim that pro-lifers can hold a pro-life opinion because they are “privileged”. This was from the woman whose middle-class group of activists successfully lobbied to stop some of the most vulnerable women in Britain and their children being offered help by the Good Counsel Network.  

So, next time someone accuses pro-lifers of not caring about born children, don’t be fazed. It isn’t true, and even if it was, does that give your accuser the right to kill babies or defend that? 

13 June 2019

by Margaret Akers

Jerome Lejeune

"Even the most disinherited belongs to our kin, because these victims are poorer than the poorest, and because the sorrow of the parents cannot be consoled by science. But should we capitulate in the face of our own ignorance and propose to eliminate those we cannot help?"

-Jerome Lejeune

Dr. Lejeune’s Discoveries

June 13 marks the birthday of the late French geneticist and pro-life advocate Jerome Lejeune. He is best known for his discovery that Down’s syndrome is linked to chromosomal abnormalities. He also discovered that chromosomal abnormalities cause various other disabilities (including Cri-du-chat syndrome and 18q-syndrome).  These discoveries had a huge impact in the fields of medicine and genetics – strengthening our understanding of these disabilities. The discoveries also paved the way for prenatal diagnoses of these abnormalities. Unfortunately, this has led to countless abortions of unborn children with disabilities.

Prenatal Genetic Testing

Today, expectant parents have access to NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing), which examines fetal DNA by taking a blood sample from the pregnant woman. Previous forms of genetic testing were more invasive, and carried with them greater risks. Many hope that NIPT will make prenatal genetic testing safer and more accessible.

But, prenatal testing has a darker side. Already in the UK, 90% of unborn babies who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome are aborted. In Iceland and Denmark, that percentage is closer 100%. Parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome are under tremendous pressure to abort their children – from friends, family, and even medical professionals.

Disability advocacy groups have spoken out about NIPT and other prenatal genetic testing. Most notably, the organization Don’t Screen Us Out was set up in the UK in order to campaign against NHS funding for screening for disability.

Incorrect Results

NIPT and other forms of prenatal screening also carry the risk of false positive and incorrect results. Recently, an Irish couple had an abortion when they received a prenatal diagnosis for Edwards Syndrome – a serious chromosomal disorder often described by the dehumanizing and medically inaccurate term “fatal foetal abnormality”. But, a procedure they had after the abortion showed that this previous diagnosis was incorrect, and in fact their baby had not been disabled. This particular case has been the cause of a review of procedure at the National Maternity Hospital.

On the other end of the spectrum, a couple in Australia intends to sue the Gold Coast Hospital for failing to prenatally diagnose their daughter with Down’s syndrome. They say they would have aborted her, had they known. They are seeking damages for the costs of raising their daughter, who is now four-years old.

Protecting the Vulnerable

Of course, the problem with prenatal screening is not just that sometimes it is incorrect. It is that it is being used to target and discriminate against the disabled. It suggests that those with genetic disability have lives that are less worth living – that they are too much of a burden. It perpetuates a culture which devalues those most vulnerable and precious members of our communities.  

This was not lost on Jerome Lejeune. Dr. Lejeune was incredibly distressed that his discoveries could have opened the door to discriminatory abortion practices, or any abortion for that matter. He became an out-spoken pro-life advocate. Upon receiving the William Allen Memorial Award, he took the opportunity to stand up in defense of the unborn, saying, “For thousands of years, medicine has striven to fight for life and health against disease and death. Any reversal of this order would entirely change medicine itself.”

He was not without compassion and care for those families who received difficult, and often fatal, prenatal diagnoses. Writing about this experience of healthcare professionals, he said:

"...I believe our response must be guided by two sentiments only – humility and compassion. Humility because we must recognize we have no ready-made answers, because geneticists have not broken the secret of the human condition, and because scientific arguments are of little help in ethical issues; compassion because even the most disinherited belongs to our kin, because these victims are poorer than the poorest, and because the sorrow of the parents cannot be consoled by science. But should we capitulate in the face of our own ignorance and propose to eliminate those we cannot help?"

Jerome Lejeune served as President of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, and attended and spoke at many SPUC events and conferences. Dr. Lejeune also served as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which he was instrumental in setting up. But, he was only in the position for a few weeks before his death. He died of lung cancer in April 1994

Jerome Lejeune’s Legacy

Jerome Lejuene has been named ‘Servant of God’ by the Catholic Church. This is the first step in the long process of being canonized a Saint.

Dr. Lejeune teaches us that science, compassion, and humanity can walk hand-in-hand when correctly balanced. Simply because science can lead us to new discoveries, does not mean we should allow people to do whatever they wish with that information. It is the duty of all of us to defend the most vulnerable members of our communities, both before and after they are born.