Thursday, May 22, 2008

More pro-death statements from the 'Pro Life Group'

Briefing and comment: Dr John Pugh, a Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (APPPLG) (and another 'Catholic' like Curtis-Thomas, Alton, Widdecombe etc) said in Tuesday's night debate:

"Despite profound moral differences, there is some common ground: we all believe that the abortion rate in the UK is far too high; we would all prefer a world in which there was no abortion, nor demand for it; we all recognise that our laws are among the most permissive; and we all qualify the rights that we claim-even the Catholic Church sanctions therapeutic abortion, and even pro-choice charities object to some choices. Where we differ is over the grounds, and consequently the limits, of abortion. I argue that, irrespective of any religious view, the justification for abortion becomes enormously harder from the moment when the foetus becomes conscious or responsive to pain. I also argue that we cannot be completely certain when that moment occurs, but that a precautionary principle should apply, and, where consciousness may exist, we must act as though it does. Frankly, there is no basis for giving anything a right other than that it is conscious, and there is no more significant event in the life of any being than becoming conscious."

No! The Catholic Church does NOT sanction therapeutic abortions (abortions for the sake of the mother's health), but infallibly declares that abortion is intrinsically evil and can NEVER be justified.

And NO, gaining consciousness is NOT the most significant event in life, as it happens every morning when you wake up - or at least when waking up from general anesthesia. Perhaps Mr Pugh would not object to being murdered if he were already unconscious?

So now we have:
Jim Dobbin, Chairman of the PPPLG, has said: "I am against abortion, except in rare cases in which the mother's life is in real danger." (link to the Hansard record).

Claire Curtis-Thomas, a vice chairman of the APPPLG and supposedly a Catholic: 'I am not opposed to abortion.' See John Smeaton's blog.

Lord Alton, a prominent member of the APPPLG and supposedly a Catholic, in favour of IVF and abortion in some circumstances.

Ann Widdecombe, another prominent member of the APPLG and a convert to Catholicism, also accepts IVF. Life site News

The 'Passion for Life' campaign (website copyright to the APPLG) simply wants abortions to be earlier.

What's the problem with a 'broad church' approach? Well, the arguments don't work. The kind of stuff Pugh and the others say is simply incoherent. Pugh's argument is PRECISELY the argument used to promote euthanasia of people in a coma ('It's ok to kill him: he's unconscious.') Curtis-Thomas's argument comes straight out of the pro-choice textbook ('abortion should be safe, legal, and rare'). The Nadine Dorries approach to lowering the time-limit is based on emotion - heart-rending pictures of older embryos etc. - but the pro-abortionists can do emotion too: heart-rending stories of rape victims and disability. This stuff is not going to get pro-lifers anywhere.

We value the support of people who are not fully pro-life, insofar as they can support pro-life initiatives. But the pro-life argument must be led by people who have a coherent pro-life view, or it will immediately fall down.

In addition, Catholics politicians making public acts of apostasy in the course of claiming to defend life and the Catholic position is scandalous in the extreme. It is vital to the health of the Church that they cease to be regarded as speaking for the Church.


Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I'd say that was is even more immediately vital is that the pro-life groups in this country start getting together and figuring out in a comprehensive way what it means to be pro-life. As far as I've been able to tell, there is no pro-life movement in this country. There are a number of somewhat anti-abortion MPs who don't know what "pro-life" means. There are a number of small independent groups who hold generally pro-life and pro-family views but who do not communicate with each other, who do not communicate with the press, who do not get together and work out how to bring a comprehensive pro-life message to the public, and who are generally ill-equipped to deal effectively with the new forms of media , namely the internet.

None of this is a movement.

I could not believe when I came here that there had never been a national pro-life and pro-family conference in this country.

Where is the national conference? Where is the annual March for Life? Where are the groups going to schools to give talks on the life and family issues?

It's been forty-one years people! What have y'all been doing?

Webmaster said...

This is a *little* unfair. SPUC and LIFE are both national organisations; both have conferences and both do school visits.

In theory SPUC focuses on political lobbying (so it can't be a registered charity) and LIFE focuses on education and counselling (so it is a registered charity, and can't do political lobbying). They share many members.

This could be a perfectly sensible arrangement but in practice the two organisations disagree on tactics. LIFE has gone down a more secularist path (non-directive counselling, for example). But the biggest thing at the moment is that LIFE, with the Catholic bishops and the evangelicals, has focused on reducing the time limit on abortion as the way forward. This has enabled it to ally with a lot of dubiously pro-life people. We agree with SPUC that this is not the way forward, since the overwhelmingly pro-abortion forces in Parliament want fast-track abortions, abortion at home, abortion on demand, no counselling, and abortion up to birth for the disabled in return for lowering the time-limit by a few weeks. In this context there is no reason to imagine that lowering the time-limit will reduce the number of abortions: quite the reverse.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Indeed, if I'd known when I wrote this what I know now about the "pro-life" positions of some of the people in the pro-life movement, I would not have bothered.

There is, I'm sorry to say, little hope of anything like a movement in this country.

But for the record, I was not referring to either SPUC or LIFE.

Anthony Miller said...

Jim Dobbin, Chairman of the PPPLG, has said: "I am against abortion, except in rare cases in which the mother's life is in real danger."

Erm ... isn't that actually the position of the Church? It has never been the position of the Church that a woman should not have an abortion if her life is in real danger. Read your Cannon Law. It's no wonder you constantly fail to build any political coalition at all when you exclude even the people who agree with you.

Hercules said...

Erm, no, that isn't the teaching of the Church. Have a look at the Catechism, or Evangelium Vitae, or any of a vast number of magisterial documents. 'Direct abortion is never permitted': end of story.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen