Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Former BPAS medical director reveals the truth the UK abortion industry is trying to cover-up


Here are some excerpts from a recent interview (Daily Telegraph, 24 February) with Dr. Vincent Argent, former BPAS Medical director.
Dr Vincent Argent, who previously worked for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and is now a GP and consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, said he had “no doubt” that women were terminating pregnancies because of the sex of the baby and that he believed the practice was “fairly widespread”. This week The Daily Telegraph disclosed that women were being offered illegal abortions by doctors on the basis of the gender of the foetus. 
Dr Argent said there were “an awful lot of covert abortions for sex selection going on” where women would have a scan or blood test to find out the sex, then ask for a termination without telling the doctor the real reason. ... Dr Argent also disclosed that he believed that some colleagues had arranged terminations relating to the sex of the foetus and they felt it was reasonable to do so. “I’ve had a consultant colleague in the North who expressed a view — that consultant was from an ethnic minority … He didn’t think it was ethically wrong because he thought that the cultural reason why some communities may prefer to have four male babies is as good a reason as the, if you like, the Anglo-Saxon cultural view, 'Well I’m pregnant, I just don’t want it anyway.’

Dr Argent said aborting a baby due to its gender was “more common among some ethnic communities” but that it “happens in all communities”. He said previously that GPs routinely flouted the law by signing abortion consent forms without seeing patients. In some cases, they rubber-stamped the forms after the procedure.
As you will know by now, the current medical director of BPAS - chief abortionist - is Dr. Patricia Lohr, who describes performing abortions as "extremely gratifying".

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Abortion and Slavery - Part III

Law exists in order to promote the common good. Just laws ensure the order, freedom and security necessary for individuals to pursue authentic goods for themselves and for the society in which they belong. Therefore it is clearly necessary for men and women to obey the law and, to some extent, to conform their own actions to those laws made by legitimate authority. Throughout the western world there are societies, such as our own, that have long enjoyed the blessings of the rule of law, and consequently most people respect the law and place a high value on obeying it.

This attitude towards the law, while on the whole good and necessary, can unfortunately be harmful when individuals fail to recognise that human laws, being the creation of man, have no sure guarantee of being in conformity to the natural moral law. This is especially the case with laws that are introduced at the behest of an organised minority to further an ideologically motivated agenda, rather than being based on the surer ground of precedent and custom. Unfortunately most people, brought up to regard obeying the law as a one of the most important social virtues, often find it difficult to conceive that political, social, intellectual and economic elites could have collectively committed themselves to enshrining a grave moral evil in law. This is seen most tragically in the case of those who, while having no personal inclination to support or promote abortion, allow their consciences to be lulled, and their response to be muted, by its legality.  

What should we say to those who act as if that which is legal is always right? Or those who presume that what is sanctioned by the highest authority in a supposedly civilised nation cannot also be a grave abuse of human dignity? For convincing evidence we need look no further than the degrading treatment of those of African descent in the United States. No less a document than the Constitution of the United States was held to have enshrined slavery in law. That same document was interpreted by the Supreme Court as denying citizenship to those of African race. These federal acts were replicated by state laws across the Union. Laws of segregation persisted until the 1960s. The legality of slavery was regarded as beyond argument; the legal arguments were accepted as watertight; the right to own slaves was far more deeply enshrined than the alleged right to abortion; yet was it not wrong nonetheless?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Undercover at a pro-abortion meeting: Final Part

The final speaker at the Voice for Choice meeting (see part 1 and part 2) was another American called Marge Berer, editor of Reproductive Health Matters, herself post-abortive. The first part of her talk was a stroll through the Department of Health abortion statistics. Her entire talk was ambitious in trying to present some sort of all-encompassing strategy for abortion supporters, with copious rhetorical questions like “what do we mean by repeat abortion?” Berer seemed baffled that the abortion lobby has failed to convince the general public about how wonderful abortion is. Berer rattled off a list of "anti-choice" arguments, and in response, described the arguments as lies, without actually interacting with any of the evidence.

For example, Berer ignored the largest study on the relationship between abortion and mental health, lead by Priscilla K. Coleman, which concluded that women who have an abortion experience an 81% increased risk of mental health problems. Published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry, the review also found almost 10% of all mental health problems are shown to be directly linked to abortion. Coleman and academic colleagues have recently launched the World Expert Consortium for Abortion Research and Education which contains some of the latest and most up-to-date evidence on abortion and mental health, amongst other things. Neither did Berer spend any time discussing the evidence presented by the likes of Professor Joel Brind who published his 1996 meta-analysis of 23 epidemiological studies on the abortion-breast cancer link which the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) said could not be disregarded and contained no methodological shortcomings; or the published studies of Joel Brind and Dr. Angela Lanfranchi at the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute; or the studies presented by the Coalition on Abortion-Breast Cancer.

As for ‘business’ and ‘financial gain aspects’ of the abortion industry, it’s own financial reports on the Charity Commission website and Companies House, the numerous abortion provider job adverts calling for business development mangers and so on, and the huge salaries of the top staff and abortionists, speaks for itself. Did you know that 8 members of BPAS staff earn over £70,000? Ms Berer claimed that studies unfavourable to abortion could be ‘torn limb from limb’. The sad irony was not lost on me.

Berer’s talk concluded with a call to decriminalise abortion, and called for abortion supporters to work with young people (See this shocking recent report on the abortion industry's plan for young people). Berer also drew audience attention to a recent vigil held outside a hospital in Paris - a separate post on this will appear on this blog soon. On several occasions Berer talked about the ‘violence of prayer meetings’, but provided no evidence to support this description. Like Dr. Harris, Berer was very thin on any evidence. One of the few examples given was that of a study done in Oldham on the use of contraceptives. However, during the question and answer session, Dr. Evan Harris had to correct Berer’s faulty understanding of the study, to which she could only conclude “I’ll have to go back and read the study again”. The audience also had to correct Berer on her faulty understanding of the abortion statistics and the relationship profile of mothers having abortions.

The audience were then treated to short speeches by two young women who work for Brook. Both basically said the same thing, whilst constantly using the same buzz words: signposting, access, services, rights, anti-abortion tactics, and even 'covert movement against choice' - sounds like they have been reading the same internet forums as Dr. Evan Harris. It was a stunt to give a glimmer of hope to the audience. A flat end to a private, pro-abortion talking-shop.

The Q&A provided a chance for the audience to let off some steam - most of whom seemed to worked in the abortion industry. One woman claimed it was the role of the RCOG to defend abortion, under the umbrella of treating the diseases of pregnancy. Another woman talked about the 'violence' of removing access to contraception and abortion. 

There was also a convoluted debate on whether abortion supporters should be promoting contraception, and what attitude to take towards contraception. People were frank in speaking about the serious problems with current widespread contraception strategies, and the problems of contraceptive devices themselves, particularly long acting reversable contraception (LARC). Abortion was presented by some as part of contraception, as a back-up if the condom splits, or  the woman takes her hormonal pill at the wrong time or forgets to take it. Dr. Lohr called abortion ‘part of the fertility control spectrum’, seemingly not realising that abortion doesn’t control fertility, it kills a child. Some members of the audience described the promotion of contraception as misleading, because it suggests that abortion is in some way to be avoided or a morally undesirable choice. One member of the audience argued that abortion was a way of ‘saving women from violence during pregnancy, from violent relationships, from pregnancy itself’. 

Dr Lohr said that there is a need for all medical workers to be able to direct women towards an abortion even if they consider it to be morally wrong. SPUC has recently been involved with a case in Scotland, defending the conscientious objection of two midwives to any involvement in abortion. The pro-life movement should be more confident about exercising and promoting conscientious objection for all medical staff. Not long ago the findings of a survey amongst medical students found that an increasing number are rejecting abortion. In contrast, in 2010 one major abortion organisation made their own survey disappear when 94% of respondents to an online poll said NO to the question 'Should abortion be legal in Ireland?' 

Myself and Paul Smeaton was invited to stay afterwards. There were a few jugs of water and glasses on a table in the next room. With BPAS chief executive Ann Furedi earning at least £115-120,000, I’m sure they could have at least provided tea and coffee!

LifeSiteNews recently covered part of this report

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Scandal of Maternal Mortality

I am ashamed to admit that I did not entirely appreciate how dangerous childbirth can be for both women and their babies until I became a mother myself. My eldest son, who is now five years old, would not be alive today if it were not for a skilled obstetrics team who delivered him by emergency caesarean, following a lengthy obstructed labour. My youngest child would not be alive today if it were not for skilled midwives and paediatricians who resuscitated him when he stopped breathing, and detected and treated his chest infection in a well-equipped Special Care Baby Unit, manned 24 hours a day by dedicated nurses. And I am aware that I would not be alive today to raise my children if I had not had access to excellent hospital facilities, nurses, midwives and doctors who were able to save my life when I developed complications during two out of three labours. I told somebody after my first baby was born that when, after nearly twenty-four hours of the worst agony I had ever experienced, an obstetrician entered the labour room, I felt as though I were being rescued from a torture chamber. Contrary to the opinions of some of my more acerbic critics, this was not my "fondness for hyperbole at work":  I was in fact demonstrating the great British art of understatement. The obstetrics team at the Rosie Maternity Hospital were not rescuing me from torture;  they were rescuing me and my baby from death sentences.

Here in the West I think we can all be in danger of complacency when it comes to maternal health. Mercifully, very few people reading this will know a woman who has died in childbirth and maternal mortality can feel rather like the stuff of Victorian horror stories. I remember everyone giggling during A-level English Literature classes over the number of nineteenth century novelists who introduced their heroines with the words ―her mother died in childbirth and left her an orphan and a beggar or over  the typical emotional outcry ―save the child! from the mouths of other worthy heroines. But even these Victorian melodramas should be stark reminders that not so long ago in our own history, everyone would have known some woman who had died in childbirth and the tragedy of maternal mortality – of women dying young, of children growing up orphans  – remains the reality in many countries of the world.  However, whereas in early nineteenth century Britain, there was little that could be done to save a woman facing complications such as sepsis or obstructed labour, there is no reason in 2012 why any woman should die during or as a result of giving birth.

That is the real tragedy. There is no inevitability here. Dr Robert Walley, director of the Canadian-based group of Catholic obstetricians and gynaecologists  MaterCare International describes maternal mortality rather more accurately as 'an international disgrace'.

Read more

Dr Walley will be speaking at SPUC's forthcoming conference on maternal mortality in developing countries and the pro-life response. This is a great opportunity to hear some of the world's bravest and most effective medics working in the toughest conditions in developing countries. Book now  for SPUC's "Abortion or maternal health?" conference, 20 March, The Regent Hall, London.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Abortion and Slavery - Part II

This is the second part of our series exploring the parallels between Abortion and Slavery. Read the first part here.

Systems of slavery are always open to the most horrific abuses of human dignity. The horrors of slavery in the New World were compounded by the belief that persons of African origin were racially inferior to those of European origin. When the trade began this was perhaps an implicit assumption but over the generations it hardened into a firmly held conviction and ‘scientific’ theories, such as that of Darwinian evolution, were advanced in its favour. One author claimed that ‘the Negro was exactly intermediate between the superior order of beasts such as elephant, dog and orangutan, and Europeans or white men.’[1]

This inferiority was written into law; for example in 1857, as a result of the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court of the United States judged that that those of African descent could not be considered as citizens. The Chief Justice said that the framers of the Constitution considered the negros as ‘beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect'.[2] As blacks were inferior so they could be exploited for the benefit of white men. ‘Human rights in society are relative, not absolute’ another author wrote ‘and every living creature should be entrusted with just so much liberty as is for the general good and no more.'[3]

These attitudes are clearly paralleled today by those who deny the humanity of the unborn child. Abortion advocates have created pseudo-scientific theories to deny the reality of human life in the womb. They too believe that human rights are ‘relative, not absolute’ and that thus the unborn child can be killed for almost any perceived benefit for the mother or society. They too hide the reality of abortion behind the veil of legality and a facade of respectability.

Law after law has denied the humanity of the unborn child, just as the humanity of the slave was once denied. It was the same Supreme Court of the United States that asserted that slaves were merely property that relegated the unborn child to the same status in the case of Roe vs Wade in 1973. In both cases the vote was 7–2 in favour of the denial of human dignity. Yet the fallibility of legal systems is not the only thing that remains constant; so too does the tendency of man to justify acts based on their technical legality rather than choosing the more difficult and courageous course of preferring truth and justice over mere social consensus.

[1] Richard H. Colfax, Evidence Against the Views of the Abolitionists, Consisting of Physical and Moral Proofs, of the Natural Inferiority of the Negroes (New York, 1883). 
[3] J. C. Wilkie, Abortion and Slavery, (1984)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Groundbreaking weekend for pro-lifers in London

It's been a momentous few days. David Bereit and Shawn Carney, founders of 40 Days for Life, together with Chris Slattery, founder of Expectant Mother Care who run 12 crisis pregnancy centres in New York, have been spending time with pro-lifers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. On Saturday the Helpers of God's Precious Infants (HGPI) held a large pro-life vigil at the BPAS abortuary Bedford Sq, which was very well attended by members of the Helpers, 40 Days for Life, SPUC, Good Counsel Network, and students who came all the way from Bristol! Afterwards we had a great social with refreshments and a few impromptu talks by David, Shawn, and Chris. One of the Coordinators of HGPI announced that they would be adding a brand new vigil to their calendar - Stratford East London, where BPAS have recently opened a new abortuary on the ground floor of a residential block of homes.

 The vigil opposite BPAS, praying for the unborn and their parents

 listening to some short talks and enjoying the refreshments

 David Bereit sharing an inspiring story about an abortion facility that shut down unexpectedly

 Shawn Carney telling us how he got involved in the pro-life movement

Sister Nwadike, an inspiration to pro-lifers and an experienced pro-life counsellor. Her religious order cares for mothers and babies, including housing for 8 mothers with newborns.

Students from Bristol Students for Life getting some top tips 

 David Bereit, Shawn Carney, and Chris Slattery

Saturday evening witnessed the first ever 40 days for Life London banquet, held at Westminster Cathedral hall. almost 200 guests were treated to a warm reception, a sumptuous banquet meal, including 3 choices of curry, wines and candles on the table, and several excellent speeches. Robert Colquhoun, London campaign director, spoke very well and set out his vision for the next campaign, and the increasingly strong pro-life movement in the UK. David Bereit, Shawn Carney, and Chris Slattery also spoke and inspired the guests. We all felt very lucky to have been part of this event. It was good to see people making commitments for the next 40 Days for Life, and catching up with friends.   

 The banquet hall, almost prepared and ready

 Guests chat and wait for the evening's MC Italian Mauro Iannicelli to call us to order. Mauro did an amazing job introducing the speakers, entertaining the crowd, and telling a few jokes along the way! 

 Filling up

 Mauro doing his thing at the mic

 Chris Slattery speaking about running 12 crisis pregnancy centres in NY

 Robert giving his speech to the guests

 Chris, Shawn, Robert, and David

I feel very fortunate to be able to work in the pro-life movement full time, as a researcher and campaigns officer for SPUC. I am also very lucky to be part of the 40 Days for Life London organising team since we began in September 2010. I was reminded of all this on Saturday. I've made dedicated and passionate friends, young and old, who continually step up to the plate and help make things like this happen. There are many people to thank: those who helped promote, those who did some great IT/web work, the table hosts, those who helped set-up the hall, the caterers, the people who helped clean up afterwards, and all those who have and will spend hours in prayer and fasting for the unborn during our 40 Days for Life vigil.  You know who you are!

40 Days for Life will begin on 22  February. We will have a 40 day pro-life prayer vigil opposite BPAS abortuary Bedford Sq in London. 40 Days for Life will be holding campaigns in Manchester, Birmingham, and Brighton this year, along with London. If you live in or near any of these cities please give serious thought to joining them. If there isn't pro-life activity in your area, you're the person to start it. As David Bereit says when we face doubts and trials: "do it anyway!" 

For Life, Daniel

Friday, 10 February 2012

Undercover at a pro-abortion meeting: Part 2

Evan Harris was the next to speak at the Voice for Choice meeting (see part 1), speaking mostly about himself and how fantastic his efforts in parliament had been. Evan Harris was a leading pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia politician during his time in Parliament. Harris began by lamenting that pro-life groups are and have been banned from universities, as this makes martyrs out of them. I’m sure students at the University of Bristol and University College London would have a few things to say about that. Harris then launched an ignorant attack on pro-lifers in the UK, making wild and unsubstantiated claims that we are seeing “American tactics, and certainly American money” pouring into the UK pro-life scene. Such a claim is laughable. Harris completely failed to provide any evidence of “American tactics and money”. However, considering that two out of the three speakers were Americans, I'm sure Harris knows a thing or two about American influence. For someone who cries “evidence based” at every opportunity, Harris failed to provide any evidence-based facts of his own.

Harris continued his non-evidence based diatribe by claiming that crisis pregnancy centres were “part of a conspiracy”! Dr. Harris, please tell us more about this exciting conspiracy you claim to know about! Perhaps Dr. Harris has been spending too much time surfing through spurious internet forums and websites. Again, there was a distinct lack of evidence-based support for his claims. When Harris finally got around to speaking about the political scene, he lamented the wasted pro-abortion majority in parliament from 1997-2010 (the Blair and Brown years). Dr Harris bemoaned the fact that we still have a 1967 Abortion Act. Harris said he wanted to see nurses doing abortions. On a related note, SPUC has been supporting the conscientious objection of two midwives to any involvement in abortion. Another important case regarding conscientious objection is that of Bayatyan v. Armenia. Pro-life lawyer Dr. Roger Kiska, who works at the major European institutions, has written about this case and its importance in the field of abortion and conscientious objection. Roger will be speaking at SPUC's forthcoming conference on abortion and maternal health, looking at the question of abortion as a 'right' in international law. Harris also wants abortions carried out in places other than abortion facilities. BPAS has been pushing for bedroom abortions for several years. After desperate attempts to have their way with the Department of Health, they decided to launch a legal challenge, which was strongly defeated last year. It's important to keep in mind the devestating impact such anti-life ideas as proposed by Harris and BPAS could further have on the abortion scene in the developing world. 

Harris was also emphatic that the “abortion in Northern Ireland ship” had well and truly sailed away and was a non-starter. SPUC has successfully campaigned on the issue for years, together with other pro-life groups at the grassroots and political level.

Harris was very keen to proclaim his influence on people who are actually members of parliament, unlike himself. As Stewart Jackson MP quipped in a recent debate: "The hon. Member for Cambridge (Dr Julian Huppert MP), who is currently fulfilling his role as Dr Evan Harris’s vicar on earth..."

Third and final part coming...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Undercover at a pro-abortion meeting: Part 1

On 22 September 2011 myself and Paul Smeaton attended the ‘Voice for Choice’ meeting hosted by Voice for Choice, a coalition of abortion advocates and providers. Voice for Choice includes: Abortion Rights, Alliance for Choice NI, Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC), BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service), Brook, Doctors for a Woman’s Choice on Abortion, Education for Choice (recently saved from extinction), fpa, Marie Stopes International, Pro-Choice Forum, and Reproductive Health Matters. These are most of the leading anti-life groups in the UK.

The aims of Voice for Choice include: 
  • Abortion to be available solely at the request of the pregnant woman within existing legal time limits 
  • Abortion services are subject to the same statutory regulations as other medical services 
  • Suitably trained nurse practitioners to be allowed to provide early medical and surgical abortions, in both the NHS and non-NHS sector 
  • The law in Northern Ireland be brought into line with the rest of the UK
  • Current legal abortion rights are to be defended 
This event was described as a 'public meeting' and so I had expected a reasonably large crowd. In total there were no more than about forty five people, including the speakers. Most attendees were older women, and clearly people already working in the abortion industry in one way or another. This 'public' meeting had more of the feel of a closed, private meeting and in reality this was little more than the abortion lobby speaking about and to itself. It was advertised through pro-abortion channels, and when I arrived there wasn't a single poster or notice directing people to the right venue. For a coalition that seems intent on the ‘de-medicalisation’ of the killing of unborn children, it came across as rather contradictory to host a meeting at The Medical Society of London.

The abortion lobby have good reason for wanting to keep these sorts of meetings as small, internal affairs. It is in these sorts of environments in which their true face and their radical anti-life agenda is revealed.

Ann Furedi, CEO of BPAS opened the meeting with a few words about Voice for Choice, and introduced the speakers. Furedi spoke about Dr. Carlos Morin whom she claims is facing 309 years in jail. Dr. Morin has been under police investigation since 2007 over his abortion practices. BPAS were sending women seeking abortions in the UK over to Dr. Morin in Spain. BPAS was subsequently investigated by the Department of Health for such practices, including serious concerns over their call centre.

Guardian journalist Libby Brooks chaired the meeting, with Dr. Patricia Lohr speaking first. 

Dr. Lohr is an American and current medical director of BPAS. Lohr spoke about her personal experience of being a medical student and how during that time she became convinced that abortion is “self-evidently moral”. Lohr explained that she came to the conclusion that she could only be truly pro-choice by committing to performing abortions.

It was chilling to hear her speak, and to sit in the same room as her. What does one say or do when faced with an abortionist proclaiming their pride at aborting babies? Lohr explained that she was not only convinced of the moral goodness of abortion, but that she found performing abortions “extremely gratifying”.

But what kind of person thinks that performing abortions is gratifying; that one’s fortunate to provide them and that abortion is a good thing? Here, as a brief reminder, is a description of a suction abortion, the most common type of abortion procedure in Britain, representing 52% of the 189,574 abortions which took place in 2010 under the Abortion Act in England and Wales:
“The cervix (the neck of the womb) must be stretched open to allow the surgeon to insert a plastic tube into the womb. Sharp-edged openings near the tip of the tube help to dismember the baby so the parts are small enough to be sucked out. The surgeon then uses the suction tube to evacuate the placenta from the womb. The remains of the baby are deposited in a jar for disposal.” 
To be continued...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Abortion and Slavery - Part I

For many centuries slavery was widespread throughout the world and underpinned many economic systems. Slavery is a broad term and can be difficult to define precisely; it might mean that one person has complete control over the productive capacity of another, while other natural rights are left intact. Often, however, it can mean that a human person is simply to be considered a form of property with no rights at all. In these systems the slave can be bought, sold, abused and even killed and all with impunity and the full protection of the law. Such systems of slavery have been seen throughout history but perhaps the most well known is the transatlantic slave trade that saw the transportion of slaves from Africa to the 'New World'. These slaves, and their descendants for many generations, would spend their entire lives labouring, frequently in dehumanising conditions, for the profit of others, and often being denied even basic human dignity; families could be seperated, physical and sexual abuse were common,and a person's whole life could be regulated in such a way as best suited the needs of the owner.

It is common to hear people today ask the question 'how could people ever think that this was acceptable?'. Yet for centuries it went largely unquestioned; the only major exception being the Catholic Church, whose voice nonetheless was often unheard.

During the Eighteenth Century opposition to this form of slavery began to grow, and a powerful movement grew from small beginnings. A series of court cases, beginning with the Somersett case in 1722 began to lay the ground for the abolition of slavery, though public opinion was slow to follow. It wasn't until May 1787 that the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was founded in London and was able to harness the growing momentum. It took more than twenty years for the trade in slaves to stop in British ships and forty years before slavery was completely abolished throughout the British Empire. It would be another generation before slavery would be abolished in the United States of America, home to so many of the planatations.Today there is almost total condemnation of this system. An abuse of human dignity that had for so long been legal and seen as perfectly acceptable has come at last to be seen in the clear light of truth, as one of the most terrible examples of human cruelty, apathy and self-deception.

There are many parallels between abortion and slavery, the pro-life movement and the anti-slavery movement - some may have struck you as you read this post. As this series progresses I hope to explore the parallels more closely in the hope that what we learn might help us to achieve what the abolitionists achieved, the complete eradication of a system founded on the destruction of human life and dignity.
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