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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

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