After 50 years of legal abortion, Professor tells conference that society holds conflicting attitudes on the value of life
18 September 2017
Professor John Wyatt, Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics this weekend (15-17 September) wowed delegates at the SPUC National Conference with his insights on human life, gained from his long career of caring for premature and desperately sick babies.
Professor Wyatt gave the talk at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)’s National Conference, held at the Hayes Conference Centre. The Society was celebrating 50 years of existence, as well as commemorating the nearly 9 million lives lost to abortion since the 1967 Abortion Act.
The professor began by describing the “revolution” that has taken place in the care of premature babies in the last 50 years. In the unit he worked at, the survival rate of babies born at 23 weeks gestation is now approaching 50%. And they are not just surviving, but thriving; to applause, Prof Wyatt related: “I’ve just heard that one of the 23 week babies I cared for got three As at A level and is heading to university”.
Perhaps his most powerful point was that whereas in his unit, thousands of pounds is being spent to keep premature babies alive, just a floor away, genetic screening for conditions like Down’s syndrome is being carried out – and about 92% of those babies diagnosed are being aborted. On one hand, he said, “we live in a culture that really believes that these tiny lives are precious” and reflected that the babies in the wombs of the women he was counselling about genetic conditions were often bigger and stronger than the premature babies he was caring for downstairs.
He also spoke very movingly of his experience in caring for dying babies, and shared how the outcomes for parents who choose to give birth to a baby with a life-limiting condition and receive palliative care are better than those who abort.
Other speakers at the conference included Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who spoke movingly on the need to recall that humans exist in community, and to bear one another’s burdens. Delegates also heard from popular speaker on African issues, Obianuju Ekeocha, and from John-Henry Westen of the international pro-life news service LifeSiteNews.
The theme of the conference was “We Care About Women” and SPUC staff spoke of current campaigns to oppose the move to decriminalise abortion completely in the UK- a move which would leave women more vulnerable to the unscrupulous abortion industry in this country.
John Smeaton, the Chief Executive of SPUC summed up the work of the Society, saying: "What SPUC has been endeavouring to do for 50 years is to tell the truth".
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