Aims

  • To affirm, defend and promote the existence and value of human life from the moment of conception, and to defend and protect human life generally.
  • To reassert the principle laid down in the United Nations 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child that the child "needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth."
  • To defend, assist and promote the life and welfare of mothers during pregnancy and of their children from the time of conception up to, during and after birth.
  • To examine existing or proposed laws, legislation or regulations relating to abortion and to support or oppose such as appropriate.

(Note: On 19 November 2011, SPUC's national council, SPUC's policy-making body, elected by its grassroots volunteers, passed the following resolution to defend marriage: "That the Council of SPUC, noting the various proposals currently being made by the present Government and others in regard to the status and standing of marriage and its consequent effect upon family life; and further noting the higher proportionate incidence of abortion in unmarried women compared to married women, resolves to do its utmost to fight for the retention of the traditional understanding of marriage in the history, culture and law of the United Kingdom, namely the exclusive union of one man with one woman for life; and accordingly instructs its officers and executive committee to conduct a major campaign to this end, to co-operate with other persons and societies in so doing and specifically to target the Government's consultation period starting in March, 2012, in regard to (so-called) same sex marriage.")

Activities

The defence of the defenceless

SPUC represents a voice for the unborn. SPUC promotes awareness of the humanity of the unborn child to encourage more widespread recognition of the obligation to defend those with no means to defend themselves.

Political lobbying

SPUC maintains that all unborn children are entitled to the protection of the law. At constituency level, branches and individual members of SPUC lobby their members of parliament on right-to-life issues. SPUC promotes the importance of the civil right and duty to lobby elected representatives and encourages its members and the public to make representations, as appropriate, to councillors and to members of the European parliament, Scottish parliament, and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies, as well as to their MP. SPUC monitors the voting records of MPs and MEPs on abortion, embryo experimentation and euthanasia, and is thus able to inform the public of what their elected representatives have done on these issues.

SPUC encourages people who are pro-life to join the political party of their choice, since these are the fora in which individuals can work most effectively in the political field for the good of society, including the right to life of the unborn baby.

Leaflets

SPUC distributes leaflets extensively, principally through door-to-door leafleting by volunteers. These leaflets summarise the development of the unborn child, explain the lethal nature of abortion for the unborn child and the social effects of abortion on demand, and offer help to those who have suffered from an abortion. SPUC aims regularly to leaflet every household in the country to enable everyone to receive this information, of which many people would otherwise remain in ignorance. These facts have been denied to many women faced with the prospect of an abortion.

In addition to these leaflets for general distribution, SPUC also has leaflets for students, trade unionists, people with a disability and adherents of particular religious faiths.

Foetal models

The most influential project of the SPUC Educational Research Trust, SPUC's educational charity, is How You Began, a set of anatomically accurate foetal models. It has an accompanying booklet showing the child in the womb at five stages of development. The models are used extensively in schools, hospitals and crisis pregnancy centres in Britain, and attract orders from overseas. A set of the models was sent free of charge to every state secondary school in Britain in 1990, to the acclaim of many teachers.

Educational services

In addition to the fetal models project, SPUC has developed a range of educational material, primarily to meet the needs of teachers and school students examining pro-life issues as part of their curriculum. Project packs, sent free to students and teachers on request, are available on abortion, population issues, IVF and embryo experimentation, and euthanasia. Videos may be bought or hired from the society, and a list of current publications is available.

SPUC also offers schools the free services of trained speakers to give slide presentations on the humanity of the unborn child and the issue of abortion, or to show a video, or to take part in a discussion or debate. If the school wishes, a representative of the society will discuss the programme with the teacher in advance and agree the selection of visual aids to be used.

Education for members

SPUC organises conferences to disseminate information to members and supporters, providing them with the opportunity to hear expert guest speakers, and to encourage their more active participation in pro-life work. Educational events are also held for SPUC branches and trainee speakers, including events which involve media training, in addition to full-day seminars on bioethical issues.

Disability awareness

No Less Human (NLH) is a group within SPUC for disabled people, their families and carers. Disabled people are threatened throughout their lives by the mentality that says they would be better off dead. NLH campaigns to secure in law the equal right to life of disabled people from conception to natural death.

Welfare

While SPUC is primarily an educational and lobbying organisation, it also responds to requests for assistance from expectant mothers facing difficulties. We draw on our experience and extensive contacts to see that they receive the help they need to avoid abortion, often in spite of very difficult circumstances. This is primarily the responsibility of the SPUC Educational Research Trust's welfare officer.

Counselling for those harmed by abortion is provided by Abortion Recovery and Care Helpline (ARCH), a division of the SPUC Educational Research Trust, founded by women who have had abortions and are in a position to help others with the emotional difficulties they are experiencing.

Public acts of witness

SPUC organises public events to raise awareness of the loss of life and harm to women brought about under the Abortion Act. Every year, usually to mark the anniversary of the Act's coming into force on 27 April 1968, SPUC's Pro-Life Chain is held around the cities of London and Westminster and in many other locations. The Pro-Life Chain is a continuous line of volunteers silently holding placards to the view of passing traffic.

SPUC encourages acts of witness to the sanctity of life in a religious context, and makes available the Undying Flame, a commemorative light, to churches wishing to hold services centred around it.

Pro-life organisations and individuals engage in prayer vigils, demonstrations and pavement counselling outside abortion facilities. This is a courageous witness by those involved. SPUC supports the right to participate in peaceful demonstrations.

In the current climate of strong pro-abortion prejudice in many sections of the media, the press and broadcasters misrepresent such events as being violent and fanatical. Isolated acts of violence towards the staff of abortion facilities have occurred (not in the UK but mainly in the US); yet SPUC, in common with all pro-life groups, has always condemned violence, whether against abortionists or unborn babies. While those responsible have on each occasion acted as individuals (not members of any pro-life group), these actions have been used to try to discredit pro-life organisations in general. This is grossly unfair, just as it would be if the record of criminal acts which characterise some animal welfare protesters (including leading members of some groups) were used to try to discredit the arguments of the responsible elements of the animal welfare lobby.

Contributing to public debate

National and local spokespersons of the society participate frequently in interviews and debates in the press and the broadcast media. SPUC makes available referenced briefing material on all aspects of the pro-life issues as a resource for members who contribute to the letter columns of the press, including national, local and religious publications.

The society frequently arranges public meetings, provides speakers to address interested groups, and organises press conferences to promote major pro-life publications, often in collaboration with members of parliament.

Publications

The Pro-Life Times, SPUC's newspaper, reports on developments nationally and internationally, chiefly in the British parliament, the law, the media and the medical profession. The Pro-Life Times is distributed by SPUC branches and activists to promote the society's work.

SPUC also publishes its charities bulletin which reports the stated or known stance and activities of charities in relation to pro-life issues. The purpose of the bulletin is to promote a shift towards pro-life policies by encouraging readers, where charities have policies which they find unacceptable, to take up their concerns with those charities, asking them to change their policies so that they can in conscience support them.

Major publications of the SPUC Educational Research Trust include Legal Abortion Examined (1992), the first full survey in any country of two decades of abortion statistics, and ...and still they weep (1996), recounting 20 case histories of the effect of abortion on the mother and other family members.

SPUC has published Love Your Unborn Neighbour (1993), aimed primarily at Evangelical Christians, which comprehensively explores the pro-life issues.

International action

SPUC monitors developments in the European Parliament and works with MEPs to promote pro-life measures in Europe. The society makes available its advice and assistance for pro-life initiatives in other countries in collaboration with overseas colleagues.

The SPUC Educational Research Trust sends delegates to United Nations conferences to promote the right to life and to disseminate the results of research on demographic issues. Pro-life groups attending the UN monitor conference documents for language which could be used to promote abortion as a human right, and assist developing nations to oppose the imposition of abortion on their countries, contrary to their legal, ethical and religious traditions.