Hilary White

British pro-lifers reject UK Women’s Minister call for 20-week gestational age limit on abortion

Hilary White
Hilary White
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WESTMINSTER, October 5, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-abortion forces in Britain and their supporters in the country’s left-leaning medi, are furious at Maria Miller, the newly appointed Minister for Women and Equality. Miller told the Daily Telegraph that she would “absolutely” vote again for a motion to reduce the gestational age limit for abortion from 24 to 20 weeks.

Pro-life campaigners, however, have remained unmoved by Miller’s stand, saying that lowering gestational age limits does little to save children’s lives or spare women the agonising psychological effects of abortion, inevitably making the political situation worse.

Maria Miller was referring to her vote on a 2008 motion by Tory backbencher MP Nadine Dorries to reduce the limit. Miller said her decision was based on the recent developments in medical technologies that allow very young premature babies to be saved.

Calling herself “a very modern feminist,” Miller said, “You have got to look at these matters in a very common sense way. I looked at it from the really important stance of the impact on women and children.

“What we are trying to do here is not to put obstacles in people’s way but to reflect the way medical science has moved on,” she said.

Her comments have infuriated abortion activists within and without Parliament. Labour MP Diane Abbott, arguably the leader of the abortionist movement in the House of Commons, said Miller’s assertions are “anti-women” and “have no basis in science”. Editorials have taken up the refrain, with the New Statesman saying Miller is “no friend to women,” and the Guardian calling her stand “simplistic and dishonest.”

But pro-life campaigners in Britain say the hysteria in the liberal media is failing to take into account that calling for gestational age limits actually ignores the science. It does not make a politician pro-life, they say, except perhaps in the eyes of “ideologically fixated” radical feminists and abortion extremists.

Andrew Stephenson, the founder of the campaign group Abort ‘67, told LifeSiteNews.com that, despite the noise being made in the media, the Miller case is not very relevant to the pro-life cause. The problem, he said, is not that Miller’s science is wrong, but that she has ignored its more important findings. The science of human embryology has been unanimous for 150 years that a human being is whole and complete at the moment of fertilisation, the joining of the male and female gametes.

“Whilst we support any reduction in the violence done to unborn children,” Stephenson told LSN, “every embryology text book states that life begins at conception. If Maria Miller is concerned with science we wish she would support total ban on abortion like a large number of the general public.”

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The same Daily Telegraph article quoting Miller ran a readers’ poll asking what the legal age limit should be for abortion. The answer surprised most onlookers when by far the majority of responses were for a “total ban” on abortion.

Of a final total of 1,244 answers, 54.5 per cent wanted to outlaw abortion entirely. The next nearest was 16.48 per cent who would keep the status quo of 24 weeks, followed by 11.33 per cent for Miller’s 20 weeks, and just 5.31 per cent, or 66 votes, wanting no age restrictions at all.

Dianne Abbott, however, continues to seethe in the press, warning darkly that Miller’s appointment is a sign of a coming “right-wing push” against “abortion rights”.

“I think it’s very alarming that a minister for women should express these views. I appreciate she’s doing it in a personal capacity but the way that right-wing elements of that have latched on to that, talking about starting a campaign to lower time limits [for abortion] is not helpful,” she told The Huffington Post UK.

The Huffington Post also quoted Ann Furedi, chief executive of one of the UK’s busiest abortion groups, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), who said, “Scientific evidence does not show that survival rates before 24 weeks have improved in recent years, as the minister seems to believe.”

Abbott carried Furedi’s point, saying, “I find it troubling that a senior government politician should say things which have no basis in science. There’s been no sudden improvement in the survival rates. She should know that.”

But Stephenson, who was recently exonerated of charges that his campaign with graphic images of aborted children outside BPAS facilities was “intimidating and abusing women,” countered that “survival rates” for premature children are in fact irrelevant to the debate. “When I read Diane Abbott say that Mrs. Miller’s comments were not based in science I laughed out loud,” he said.

Stephenson recalled Abbott’s comments at a meeting in April of the Abortion Rights National Campaign, in which she urged campaigners not to “get bogged down in the facts,” because the issue was “really about women’s rights and equality”.

Stephenson also pointed to comments by Furedi who also brushed aside the findings of science in favour of a purely ideological approach.

Furedi wrote in the Independent in November 2008 that life does in fact begin at conception, but that “the question is not when does life begin but when does it begin to matter?”

Stephenson continued, “The idea that women need a medical procedure to be equal to men is a view that real feminists would recoil at. Unlike Miller and Abbott science is not confused about when human life begins, and actually neither is Ann Furedi.

“Perhaps it is just that old mistake of confusing ideology with science that liberals and progressives tend to make,” he said. “Or is it something more pernicious?”

Some Conservative Party politicians, notably Nadine Dorries, for whom it is a recurring theme, have continued to call for the lower age limit, and Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated his support.

Pro-life political observers, however, have said that the call is no more than a calculated tactic meant to pander to the conservative sensibilities of voters who remain significantly ill at ease with the current abortion law.

Gestational age limits, they say, distract from the real issue, that the overwhelming majority of unborn children are being killed in early-term abortions, anyway.

Anthony Ozimic, the communications manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said the calls are “ill-advised”.

“Every few years the tired, old refrain to reduce the upper time-limit for social abortions is heard,” he said. “Just as in 2008, any such attempts are not only likely to fail by large margins, but will provide yet another occasion for the large pro-abortion majority in Parliament to push for radical amendments to make abortion law even worse.”

“It will give the pro-abortion lobby the chance to argue that early abortions are better than late abortions, and therefore that women need new legal rights to abortion access,” Ozimic continued.

“We need a fresh perspective on what can be done to save unborn children. Mrs. Miller should instead be pushing for the government to stop its multi-million pound funding arrangements with the abortion industry, and to block broadcast advertising for abortion businesses.”

 


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Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

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Abortion group targets pro-life doctors, nurses with new website: New Zealand

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
By Michelle Kaufman

Pro-life health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres in New Zealand are the target of a new website designed to intimidate those who choose not to refer for abortion or prescribe contraception.

The website, My Decision, is created by the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ). 

The site lists health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres which they believe women should avoid.  The incomplete list includes the names of individuals or organisations, the region and town, and whether they are a doctor, nurse or other provider. 

Women are asked to submit their stories of “hostile or unhelpful health professionals.”  The stories are non-identifying and can be edited for length or clarity.  At the time of writing only two stories had been posted.

In an earlier blog post, ALRANZ mentioned that the new website, which was still under construction at the time, is “aimed at shining the light on ‘conscientious objectors’… who deny people the reproductive healthcare they want or need.”

Right to Life NZ says they believe the site is “denigrating the good name and reputations of health professionals who believe that abortion is a harmful choice.”

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Under New Zealand law, health practitioners can object to providing reproductive health services according to their conscience.  However, there is one caveat – they “must inform the person who requests the service that he or she can obtain the service from another health practitioner or from a family planning clinic.”

 “Sonscientious objection is a fundamental right and one that must be preserved if we are to continue to live in a free and civil society,” said Chris O’Brien, Vice President of Right to Life NZ. “We risk tyranny if this right is taken away.”

“There are very good doctors that appear on that website” said Dame Colleen Bayer, whose Dunedin Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre is also named.  “These doctors speak truthfully and have real care and concern for their patients.  Women do themselves a disservice to discount them based on this information.”

The resource section on the My Decision website links to ALRANZ, Family Planning (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and an abortion provider), and the website Abortion Services in New Zealand. 

The Abortion Services website is sponsored by ISTAR Ltd, a registered Charitable Trust which is the sole importer of mifepristone into New Zealand.  ISTAR also provides Manual Vacuum Aspiration equipment for early surgical abortions.

ALRANZ, was instrumental in the writing of the Greens abortion policy, which was unveiled earlier this year.  That policy aims to take abortion out of the Crimes Act making it more accessible.  The policy also targets health professionals who may conscientiously object to ensure they refer patients on to a “neutral practitioner”.

More information about freedom of conscience in healthcare 


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The government is proposing allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.
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Northern Ireland considers allowing killing disabled unborn babies: pro-lifers condemn

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned this week's announcement by Justice Minister David Ford that a consultation on changing the abortion law will be "ready by autumn." The government is considering allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.

“Abortion is a serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland,” said the director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth. “The law here protects unborn babies, and David Ford as Minister for Justice must ensure that all children are legally protected."

Last December, Ford revealed he would be undertaking a consultation to consider changes to the law after he heard the stories of two women, who complained that they had not been allowed to abort their babies who had been diagnosed with anencephaly. Instead, they said, they had traveled to Britain for abortions.

Abortion was refused under Northern Ireland’s laws because the diagnosis of anencephaly for the child poses no medical threat to the mother.

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On Monday Ford told the BBC that the Department of Justice would bring forward its consultation paper on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws by the fall.

However, Smyth warned that “the core ethical principle which must underpin this discussion is that every child deserves the right to life regardless of how short their life may be, and regardless of the circumstances of their conception."

She vowed that Precious Life will launch a public campaign in support of the life of all unborn babies.

“We all feel enormous sympathy for parents in these traumatic and distressing cases," Precious Life stressed in a statement. "But parents in these difficult situations deserve much more than our sympathy – they need a professional support system in place, which will provide them with help, support and resources.

"Precious Life are resolved to work towards a solution that loves and protects both mother and baby. Once again we call on the Health Minister to immediately establish perinatal hospice services for parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby,” said Smyth.

 

Contact:

Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
Stormont Estate
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BT4 3SG
Phone:(028) 9076 3000
Email: via website (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/contact-us.htm)


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80% of parents who have an unborn child with spina bifida choose abortion. But Chad Judice (pictured with Eli) knows that life is worth it.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Abortion? No way. Dad says son with spina bifida is a ‘gift’ to the family.

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By Dustin Siggins

What is the most pro-life, pro-God influence in your life? According to Catholic author and speaker Chad Judice, his five-year old, disabled son has been a tremendous source of happiness and faith for even the hardest of hearts.

In an op-ed published in The New York Post, Judice writes that when he and his wife found out their unborn son Elijah had spina bifida, they were offered the option of abortion. While they chose life, it didn't stop them from fearing the worst for their careers, eldest child, and Eli.

"That evening...Ashley cried as she read to me from the literature we’d been given," writes Judice. "It said 80 percent of parents who receive a spina bifida diagnosis choose abortion."

"And it told us that our son might have learning disabilities and be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to ever walk."

According to WemMD.com, the two most common forms of spina bifida have few, if any effects, on those who have them. However, the most rare and most aggressive form of the disability can result in significant problems for life:

  • Little or no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms, so they may not be able to move those parts of the body.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, such as leaking urine or having a hard time passing stools.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus). Even when it is treated, this may cause seizures, learning problems, or vision problems.
  • A curve in their spine, such as scoliosis.

Eli's form of spina bifida was severe, but -- as it turned out -- manageable, writes Judice. Despite surgeries and "medical challenges," he was out of the hospital within thirty days, though seizures and surgeries would continue to challenge the family. At five-and-a-half, he is entering kindergarten, learning to walk with modern technology, and "his intelligence is at or above average, and he's very talkative."

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all, Judice says, is the effect Eli has had on those who are outside of the family. His story has helped "some pregnant mothers...to reject abortion," and "rekindle the dormant faith of some...drawing them into a life with more room for God and family."

One of those rekindled Christians was a man who, after years in prison, prayed for Eli "as he recited The Lord's Prayer." According to Judice, "it was the first time he’d prayed in 30 years."

Since Eli's birth, Judice has written two books about his son and their family. "Waiting for Eli: A Father's Journey from Fear to Faith" was the first, and has received praise from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. According to Pavone, it is "an inspiring story of faith, hope, love, and the power of prayer."

"The world judges the value of human life by physical perfection, but God sees things differently. To Him, we are perfectly lovable in our imperfection. Uplifting in its reverence for human life in its most fragile stages, WAITING FOR ELI will encourage pro-life activists everywhere, from the most seasoned to the newly initiated."

Also unstinting in praise was the Chair of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, who writes for Judice's website that the book "chronicles [Judice's] spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment to the divine mercy of God’s providence."

The second book, "Eli's Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer," received the "Best Book by Small Publisher" award in 2013 by the Catholic Press Association.

"I think of Eli as God’s special gift to my family," Judice wrote in the Post. "And as I share about him, Eli’s story softens hearts and brings people to a greater appreciation of the beauty and sacredness of life."


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