Monday, 26 March 2012

The British government thinks a manual vacuum aspirator in the hands of an abortionist counts as development aid for mothers

SPUC recently held a very successful conference in London on the topic of abortion and maternal health in the developing world. You can read a full report with photos on the SPUC website. SPUC also has a briefing on these issues, and the texts of the presentations will be available shortly.

One of the key issues looked at was the funding given for promoting and doing abortions in the developing world. The Department for International Development (DFID) gives hundreds of millions to organisations like International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Marie Stopes International (MSI) and  International Projects Assistance Services (Ipas) who specialise in killing unborn children. This funding usually takes the form of a  Partnership Programme Arrangement (PPA) which lasts several years, but funding for individual and country-specific programmes can also be given under initiatives like the Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF).

The latest project launched by DFID is called Preventing Maternal Deaths from Unwanted Pregnancy (PMDUP). DFID will give £67 million pounds over 5 years from July 2011 to June 2016 via MSI and Ipas, to carry out and promote abortion and contraception in 14 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In its Business Plan (2011 – 2015) DFID committed ‘to embed in every relevant bilateral programme specific plans to take forward the promotion of choice for women over whether and when they have children’ - i.e. DFID will make sure abortion and contraception are part and parcel of any funding and aid they offer, as far as possible. 

Reading through the PMDUP business plan reveals that MSI and Ipas will be responsible for collecting the programme data, and Options - the consultancy firm wholly owned by MSI - will provide consultancy for the PMDUP programme and be linked to the impact evaluation. Options will also be involved in providing evidence to shape PMDUP implementation strategy. Not only is DFID leading the way in killing unborn children in the developing world, they are getting the abortion organisations to collect the programme data for the programmes they themselves will be carrying out, provide consultancy to DFID, and influence the impact evaluation of the programme they have been asked to do.

To use an analogy, it's a bit like a firm making landmines being given tens of millions to make and plant landmines in the developing world, and allowing that same firm making the landmines to collect data on the impact of landmines, advise the government on the safety and effectiveness of their programme to promote landmines, and then allowing the firm to evaluate themselves. The mind boggles. 

Some charts are provided in the business plan about "growth forecast" for the PMDUP programme. The 2 charts below detail the hoped for number of women having abortions and receiving contraceptive devices by MSI and Ipas. The second chart details the future increase in the number of MSI and Ipas facilities conducting abortions - usually using misoprostol or manual vacuum aspirators. 

For MSI 2,866,880 mothers are expected to undergo an abortion or post-abortion "care", and for Ipas the figure is 519,535. It's very probable that Options or MSI and Ipas themselves came up with these figures, considering how much of a free rein they have been given by DFID.

The term "post abortion care" (PAC) is deceptive. PAC is part and parcel of the abortion promotion agenda of organisations like IPPF, WHO, DFID, MSI, and Ipas who in 1993 together with IPPF founded the PAC Consortium. In 2007 pro-lifers and religious leaders rejected proposals by the Guatemalan Ministry of Health to introduce post-abortion care into public health, citing the reason that such measures are tactics to further the abortion agenda.

One of the uses of PAC is getting the abortion drug misoprostol into countries for post-abortion and incomplete abortion "services", as seen from the PAC Consortium misoprostol resources pages of their website. The devastating effect of misoprostol on a developing country has already been presented by Dr. Susan Yoshihara, following the 2010 Women Deliver Conference. Several years ago the World Health Organisation changed its policy to include misoprostol on its list of essential medicines. This move was supported by radical pro-abortion organisations such as Gynuity and MSI. This is noted by the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, and used as another prong to further abortion and avoid maternal morbidity and mortality.

PAC is a cover for introducing abortion into countries where it is illegal or highly restricted, as noted by Dr. Ideh at the SPUC maternal mortality conference. We have also seen this recently in the case of Rwanda. The radically pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute produced a study citing the lack of post-abortion care as a reason for abortion-related morbidity and lack of family planning, always discussed and offered following an abortion, as reasons for liberalising Rwanda's law on abortion. Guttmacher is supporting the lobbying efforts of Rwanda's IPPF affiliate in the country. PAC is a useful cover, as it allows abortion organisations to train people, from doctors to community health workers, to conduct abortions using MVA and misoprostol, and promote contraceptive devices, better know as post-abortion family planning. It also reinforces the canard of safe v unsafe abortion by claming that abortion is safe where post-abortion care for complications is easily available. PAC is part of a strategy which seeks to normalise abortion at the level of public opinion and medical consensus, and persuade legislators that a country's abortion laws need to be changed in favour of abortion.

What this chart above sets out is the increased number of abortion and contraception facilities that MSI and Ipas hope to establish by 2016. The total for MSI is 2563 and 1024 for Ipas.

These are desperate times for mothers, babies, and families in the developing world, where our taxes are being used to kill unborn children and harm the health of mothers. Money is being diverted away from the real causes of maternal morbidity and mortality, and instead being used to serve the ideological agenda of DFID and its partners IPPF, MSI, and Ipas. We now live in a world where the manual vacuum aspirator in the hands of an abortionist counts as aid to developing countries. 

"international aid for the poor"

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Happy World Down's Syndrome Day 2012

Today, March 21, is the first World Down's Syndrome Day. This day is also recognised as a World Day by the UN, along with other World Days such as women, mental health, and AIDS. Previously, this was celebrated locally in countries around the world. The Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, has released a short statement to mark the day. In it he said
For too long, persons with Down syndrome, including children, have been left on the margins of society. In many countries, they continue to face stigma and discrimination as well as legal, attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their  participation in their communities. Discrimination can be as invidious as forced sterilization or as subtle as segregation and isolation through both physical and social barriers.  Persons with Down syndrome are often denied the right to equal recognition before the law...On this day, let us reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
As we know, the first and fundamental right is the right to life from conception, which is recognised and upheld in the UN human rights conventions. However, the right to life has been and continues to be attacked, rejected, and trampled on throughout the world, by the medical and legal professions, and the politicians.

Below are some facts, figures, and tables you can use in letters, articles, radio phone-in, Facebook status updates, essays, Twitter etc.
  • Down's syndrome is a Trisomy - meaning there are 3 copies, instead of 2, of any given chromosome. Medically Down's syndrome is known as Trisomy 21 because it's the 21st chromosome that is affected; it's also the most common type of trisomy. Down's syndrome is not a disease. 
  • While Dr. John Langdon Down first described the common characteristics of people with Down's syndrome, it was actually Dr Jerome Lejeune who first identified it as a chromosome 21 trisomy in 1959. 
  • Down's syndrome is not related to race, nationality, religion or socio-economic status.
  • In the UK, screening for Down's syndrome normally consists of an ultrasound scan called the nuchal translucency (NT) scan, usually between 11 weeks and 13 weeks plus six days pregnant
  •  A blood test between 10 weeks and 13 weeks plus six days pregnant may also be done. The blood test measures two substances passed from  baby to mother: human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein (PAPP-A)
  • There are two types of diagnostic test that are used following screening: amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). The former carries a 1% risk of miscarriage.
  • There are serious ethical problems with screening that is done for the sole purpose of detecting fetal disability with a view to suggesting and encouraing the killing of that child by abortion. Mothers and fathers report experiencing considerable pressure to abort, lack of support by medical professionals, and being given a very pessimisic view of raising a child with Down's. Parents can be given a hard time for refusing screening in the first place.
  • There is a wide variation in cognitive abilities, behaviour and physical development in individuals with Down's syndrome. Each individual has his/her own unique personality, capabilities and talents. In other words, people with Down's syndrome are not all the same; just like individuals in the typical population are not all the same.
  • Life expectancy for people with Down's syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 in 1983 to 56 today.
  • In the UK there are about 60,000 people living with Down's syndrome.
  • 92% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down's syndrome are killed by abortion. This has remained consist since 1989 when the The National Down's Syndrome Cytogenetic Register began.
  • Under the UK Abortion Act, a child with Down's syndrome can be aborted up to birth. 
  • Department of Health statistics on abortion of the disabled can be viewed here
Below are three tables taken from the the National Down's Syndrome Cytogenetic Register for England and Wales 2010 Annual Report.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Thomas Robert Malthus and the Myth of Overpopulation

It is very common to hear abortion justified on the grounds that we are suffering from overpopulation. It is argued that there are too many people living on the planet in relation to the resources available to support them. We are told that abortion and artificial birth control are therefore necessary if the population is to be kept within sustainable limits. Unfortunately only one part of this argument is correct, namely that we are suffering from a population crisis. The birth rate is in fact far below replacement level in many western nations, and countries such as China and India, which have imposed upon their people brutal ‘population control’ policies (including forced abortion and sterilisation) are suffering from a serious population imbalance due to the killing of infant girls either before or after birth. The world is threatened by a crisis of under population and not by overpopulation.
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834)
This blog intends to look at these issues in more depth over the coming months. We will begin by looking at the origins of the overpopulation myth in the writings of an Anglican clergyman named Thomas Robert Malthus. In 1798 he published his anonymous work the Essay on the Principle of Population. This argued that population always increases at a faster rate than food production and that famine and civil unrest are therefore the inevitable result of population growth. The birth of too many children is thus seen as a threat to the prosperity of any given nation. This was a reversal of the traditional view that population growth indicated a healthy and thriving society.

Malthus thought that the system of Poor Law, which provided limited amounts of charity to the poorest in society, was dangerous because it enabled the poor to have children that they could not support. He predicted that as population increased the quality of living for the majority must necessarily decrease. We must therefore learn the lesson taught by nature, ‘the great mistress of the feast’, who ‘wishing that all guests should have plenty, and knowing she could not provide for unlimited numbers, humanely refused to admit fresh comers when her table was already full.’

Malthus regarded contraception and abortion as serious sins and proposed sexual abstinence as the best way of ensuring that the numbers of the poor did not increase beyond society’s capacity to provide for them. Nonetheless it was Malthus’s theories that gave many early advocates of abortion and birth control the assurance that the world faced a crisis of overpopulation. Increasing numbers of people would come to feel that a new child was not always a blessing to be welcomed but rather a problem to be solved. It is these successors of Malthus then that we must study next if we are to understand the further development of this ideology, which has done so much to legitimise the killing of unborn children.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Pro-life in East London: a landmark occasion

Saturday 10th March was, in my opinion, a landmark occasion. It marked a new milestone for pro-life groups and local residents in Stratford, East London, who have been campaigning against a newly opened Bpas abortion facility since August 2011. If you're not up-to-date with what has been happening, please check out the links below:

Saturday 10th March saw 170-200 people publicly witnessing to the dignity of human life from conception, and opposing the evil of abortion. The group was made up mostly of local residents from Stratford, East London, as well as 10 Catholic priests including the bishop's representative, 10 religious brothers and sisters, and people coming from as far away as Colchester and Bournemouth. Many people in East London - locals of all religions and none - want Bpas shut down, and replaced by real practical support offered to mothers and fathers in need. 

The procession and vigil was organised by the Helpers of God's Precious Infants UK, a Roman Catholic pro-life group, with the full support of local churches in the area, and SPUC. The day was open to all, which was reflected in the wide variety of people who joined us.

During the opening Mass, Monsignor John Armitage, the official representative of local Catholic Bishop Thomas McMahon, read out a special letter of support. Bishop Thomas told us we had his full support, and lamented the tragedy of more than 200,000 abortions in the UK every year. Monsignor Armitage also spoke, and reminded us that we have recently seen renewed attacks upon human life in the form of gendercide, articles promoting infanticide, daily abortions, and attacks upon conscientious objection

                                                                    Monsignor Armitage

After Mass we processed to the Bpas abortion facility, praying as we walked. The procession is lead by the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This image has special significance for many Catholic prolifers all over the world. Monsignor Armitage reminded us that this was a peaceful and prayerful act of witness, but also a political act. Not party-political, but political, because we are not only Christians praying, we are citizens and have a voice in the public square. Below are some photos of the procession and prayer vigil. Everything was cleared by the police and council beforehand. Stewards are used to guide the group, supervise road-crossings, and make sure no pavements or roads are blocked.

                                        processing from the church to the abortion facility

                        Kneeling in prayer opposite is the Bpas abortion facility (the facility was closed)

Participants prayed and there were moments of silence throughout the vigil. Others were on hand to explain what we were doing and why to any passersby that asked. They did a good job - the entire stock of literature was given out in the space of 2 hours. We then processed back to the church hall for refreshments, discussions, and made plans for the future.

The Helpers very kindly provide buffet and drinks after every vigil, which always goes down well. It was encouraging to chat to people afterwards - a real mix of longstanding prolifers and many who had come along for the first time. We heard short talks from people who had the job of talking to passersby who wanted to know what we were doing and why. I also had the opportunity to briefly explain the SPUC campaign up to now, and what we could do for the future. I also mentioned SPUC's new campaign around the 2012 London Olympics, which consists of educational and practical literature dissemination, and public acts of witness.

Group photo with the priests and religious brothers and sisters who joined us on the day, around the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Many thanks for their support and leadership!

So, there we have it. An excellent and very well attended event, with many more to come. There are plans underway to build on the commitments and good-will of local people, various pro-life groups, and the local parishes.

  • Send an email or letter of support to Bishop Thomas and Monsignor Armitage
  • Join the Helpers at their vigils, and perhaps start one in your area
  • Complain to One Housing CEO Mike Sweeny, who gave Bpas the lease. Ask One Housing to withdraw the lease: or send a letter to CEO Mike Sweeny at One Housing HQ Chalk Farm, London.
  • If you like to be involved with the East London Campaign, email me There is so much more we can do to make an effective impact.

Friday, 9 March 2012

5th International Pro-Life Youth Conference

Last weekend over one hundred young people took part in the 5th International Youth Pro-Life  Conference which was held near Rotherham in Yorkshire. The conference was organised by SPUC with the assistance of committed local activists from the SPUC Rotherham branch.

The conference provided the young people present with the opportunity to hear highly qualified speakers share their expertise in a wide variety of fields, all of which are connected with defending human life in its most vulnerable states. The conference began with a reminder that grave threats to human life and dignity arise in every generation in the form of the film Sophie Scholl about the heroic resistance offered by the White Rose movement to National Socialism in Germany.

The first speaker on Saturday morning was Rev. Andrew Pinsent, of the Ian Ramsay Centre at the University of Oxford, who spoke about the fundamental dignity possessed by every human person.

Lynette Burrows then addressed the difficult issue of modern sex education methods while keeping the delegates entertained with humorous anecdotes. Dr Phillip Howard and Dr Jacqueline Lang each spoke about the threats to human life faced by those who are disabled, mentally incapacitated, or terminally ill. SPUC's Fiorella Nash's, with her typically engaging style, challenged the audience to see through the propaganda of the abortion industry and see that the real needs of women are very different to those presented by the so-called 'pro-choice' lobby.

Fr Fleming and National Director John Smeaton with delegates

Rev Dr John Fleming, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, explained why the attempted redefinition of marriage to include ‘same sex unions’ will further undermine the struggle for human life and authentic human dignity. (See SPUC's background paper for more information.)

Other speakers included Dr Anne Carus who spoke about her work with the Life Fertility Programme, Anthony Ozimic who discussed the psychological impact of abortion on abortionists, and Joe Lee who spoke about the legal status of the human embryo.

Many of the speakers expressed their joy at seeing so many young people committing themselves to the defence of the unborn and vulnerable in our society.

Professor David Paton
Professor David Paton, who presented to the conference the results of his statistical analysis on issues related to teenage pregnancy and abortion, spoke about his own experiences as a young pro-life activist and urged the young people present to be courageous and to make use of whatever particular talents they possess.

There were individuals and groups from across the British Isles and even from as far afield as Spain and the Faroe Islands. The Spanish group were just one of the many acts that performed at the talent show on Saturday evening and they were delighted to take the trophy back to Barcelona!

The Spanish delegates
The 5th International Youth Pro-life Conference was a great success and demonstrates that the next generation is ready to stand up for human life against the contrary pressures at work in our modern society.

SPUC would like to thank all the delegates both for their enthusiasm and for their many and various contributions to the success of the weekend. We look forward to seeing you all next year at the 6th International Youth Pro-life Conference.

World expert on maternal health Professor Robert Walley

Pictured (L to R): Paul Tully, Professor Robert Walley, and Fiorella Nash. Robert landed in London from Canada, enroute to Kenya. Robert stopped by our offices in London for a quick visit and lunch with Paul and Fiorella.

Robert is the founder and executive director of MaterCare International, and an emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists of England, and has a Masters degree in International Health from Harvard University.

Robert has done, and is doing, some amazing things to help mothers and babies all over the world. Check out the MaterCare website for examples of where they work and what they're doing. 

Robert and his team have just built a hospital especially for pregnant mothers and newborns in a remote part of Kenya. We wish Rob all the best, and look forward to his updates when he returns to speak in London.

We're very Lucky to have Robert as our headline speaker at our forthcoming conference "Abortion or Maternal Health: what should the British government be funding in developing countries?" Tuesday 20 march 2012, London. This is an event not to be missed. Get booking!
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