weekly update, 27 June to 3 July
3 July 2007
weekly update, 27 June to 3 July SPUC has warned that Mr Gordon Brown's new British government may be as anti-life as that of Mr Tony Blair, his predecessor as prime minister. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "Mr Brown has voted consistently in favour of abortion. In 1990, he voted with the pro-abortion lobby no fewer than 16 times - three times for abortion up to birth, including for disabled babies; twice for abortion on demand in early pregnancy; once to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland; once for selective foeticide in multiple pregnancies; once to facilitate RU486; once to suppress information about abortions on disabled babies; and seven times for other pro-abortion positions. He also voted five times to promote destructive embryo experimentation. More recently, Mr Brown launched the International Finance Facility to raise money for the Millennium Development Goals, goals which the Labour government interprets as including a universal human right to abortion on demand." Mr Blair endorsed government policy of supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parental knowledge or consent. His government introduced legislation which has led to the Mental Capacity Act which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and dehydrate vulnerable patients to death. Mr Blair, as prime minister, personally championed destructive experiments on human embryos. In 1990, he voted for abortion up to birth three times during parliamentary debates on what became the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. [SPUC, 27 June ] SPUC fears that Mr Alan Johnson MP, the new UK health secretary, will support wider provision of abortion and other anti-life practices. Soon after becoming a member of parliament in 1997, Mr Johnson signed two parliamentary motions, one defending an alleged "woman's right to choose" abortion and another condemning "restrictive abortion laws". In 2000, Mr Johnson voted in favour of destructive stem cell research on cloned embryonic children. In 2004, Mr Johnson voted against pro-life amendments to the Mental Capacity Act, which enshrined in statute law euthanasia by omission. Anthony Ozimic commented: "We fear that, if abortion is introduced into the debate when the government's draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill comes before parliament, the government will give at least tacit support to amendments to extend abortion provision. Whether or not the government grants a free vote to backbench MPs, past parliamentary experience proves that signals of the government's opinion heavily influences the way backbench MPs vote. Pro-life parliamentarians should therefore not attempt to open up the abortion law on the floor of Parliament whilst a government-backed pro-abortion majority holds sway, lest there be a repeat of the 1990 defeat of the pro-life lobby." [SPUC, 28 June ] Mr Brown has also appointed several pro-abortion ministers to life-related portfolios in his new UK government, a move which means any reform of the abortion law is likely to lead to more abortions. Ms Dawn Primarolo MP, appointed a minister of state for health, has voted for abortion on demand and for the Abortion Act to be extended to Northern Ireland. Mr Ben Bradshaw MP, also appointed a minister of state for health, supports the Abortion Act 1967. Mrs Ann Keen MP, appointed a parliamentary under-secretary of state for health, believes in a woman's right to choose abortion. Mr Jim Knight MP, appointed a minister of state for children, families and schools, signed in 2002 a parliamentary motion calling for "universal access to comprehensive reproductive health services", a phrase normally understood to include abortion on demand. Beverley Hughes, also appointed a minister of state for children, families and schools, signed parliamentary motions in 1997 calling for abortion on demand and for the Abortion Act 1967 to be extended to Northern Ireland. Gareth Thomas, appointed a parliamentary under-secretary of state for international development, is one of parliament's leading promoters of abortion on demand and population control. [SPUC, 2 July ] A doctors' representative body has voted in favour of a reduction in the number of physicians needed to approve abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The British Medical Association approved a call for just one doctor to need to sign the form instead of two as at present. The association's annual conference in Devon rejected a proposal that midwives and nurses should do abortions. [BBC, 27 June ] Anthony Ozimic commented: "The call for abortion to be made more freely available in early pregnancy is inept. This would lead to even greater pressure on women, with less opportunity for them to reflect before making a decision, and therefore will lead to greater numbers of abortions. Most people agree that there are too many abortions already. We call on the government, the medical profession and all those concerned to reverse the current policies which encourage abortions." SPUC was concerned about the procedural propriety of the BMA's vote. Mrs Christine Hudson of SPUC's south-west region, who lobbied delegates at the BMA meeting, said: "Why were the pro-abortion motions prioritised, and other motions that raise questions about abortion safety, conscientious objection and discriminatory abortion of disabled babies sidelined?" [SPUC, 27 June ] The leaders of 10 African countries have called for the legalisation of abortion. Representatives from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia attended a three day conference in Nairobi which discussed maternal mortality. 21 African countries have now signed a protocol on women's rights that endorses legal abortions in the case of rape, incest and when the pregnancy threatens the life or health of the woman or the embryo. Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori, who is a Catholic, said: "The ratification of the protocol is high on Kenya's agenda. It is sad to learn that 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion each year and, out of these, 30,000 are in Africa. We could simply say there is one unsafe abortion for every seven live births in Africa." [LifeSite, 28 June ] Patrick Buckley, SPUC's UN lobbyist, said: "This is yet another grave consequence of the Maputo Protocol which consists of a blatant attempt by the African Union to force all its member states to legalise abortion under the guise of reducing maternal mortality."