Wednesday November 3, 2010

UK Pro-Life Leader: “This is World War III”

By Patrick B. Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, November 3, 2010 ( – The pro-life movement must promote a true understanding of the transmission of human life to confront the all-out attack against the family being waged by the worldly powers in Europe, North America, and throughout the world, said John Smeaton, national director of the U.K.’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), at the International Pro-Life Conference in Ottawa, Ontario.

“This is World War Three,” he declared Friday morning in a wide-ranging and hard-hitting address. “It’s primarily a war on the unborn and on parents as the primary educators of their children.”

“Sadly, the situation is made even worse by church leaders who appear to have imbibed the spirit of the age,” he added. (Find more coverage of Smeaton’s comments on Church leaders.)

Smeaton, who also serves as vice president of the International Right to Life Federation, has worked full-time in the pro-life movement for over 30 years. He’s been national director of SPUC, founded in 1966 as the world’s first pro-life organization, since 1996. The group boasts 130 branches, 30,000 members, and 30 full-time staff.

Countries such as Britain, Spain, and Portugal are promoting abortion and contraception in the classroom without parental consent, he said, in clear opposition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR, adopted in 1948 in the wake of the great atrocities of World War II, insisted on the primacy of parents as the educators of their children, he noted, because of the Nazi’s use of the education system to indoctrinate children.

He also enlightened the hundreds gathered in Ottawa on how the United Nations and governments in Europe and North America are campaigning against pro-life laws around the world, and attacking the right of doctors to refuse participation or referrals for abortion.

He pointed out, for example, that the Human Rights Council at the UN issued a report this fall calling for the policing of nations worldwide to “address the refusal of physicians to perform legal abortions”. He also noted that a debate was held last month on conscientious objection at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which fortunately resulted in a pro-life victory.

Smeaton said the pro-life movement must engage in “great campaigns” to promote conscientious objection, and must make it very clear that abortion, euthanasia, IVF and human embryo research “are not examples of medical care.” “When medical professionals kill human beings at the beginning of life or at a vulnerable moment later in life, they are not practising medical care,” he said.

Rather than imposing religious beliefs, such campaigns are merely expressing humanity’s consensus on the right to life, he emphasized, pointing out that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes this right as primary. He noted also that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specifically recognizes the child’s need for legal protection “before as well as after birth.”

Smeaton described the awful campaign being waged in Ireland to topple that country’s historic and constitutional protection for the unborn. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will decide by the end of this year, in the case of A, B, & C v. Ireland, whether Ireland’s constitutional protection for the unborn violates a “right” to abortion.

“If the [ECHR] rules against Ireland, then no country in the world would be safe from the international abortion lobby,” he said. “So this case is also a threat to the right of sovereign, democratic nations to govern themselves.”

Smeaton called on the pro-life movement to demonstrate “an unequivocal and absolute defence of the right to life,” but also “a clear understanding of the relationship of the right to life to the truth about the conjugal act and its essentially procreative nature.”

He quoted Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court, who explains how the attack on life is based on an “erroneous” view of human sexuality that robs the conjugal act of its procreative nature. “The artificial separation of the unitive and procreative elements of sexual intercourse is not only the basis of contraception, it’s also the basis of early abortion and in vitro fertilisation,” said Smeaton. “It underpins today’s culture of death.”

This linking of the right to life with the truth about the transmission of human life “must become the foundation stone of the pro-life movement worldwide,” he emphasized.

Smeaton said that Catholics’ widespread use of contraception “is draining the pro-life movement of the support of the community most likely to support the battle against abortion.” “Couples who may be turning a blind eye to the practice of abortifacient birth control in the intimacy of their married lives may well find it difficult to support our unequivocal campaigns against abortion, IVF, human embryo research and euthanasia,” he explained.

He praised Cardinal-designate Burke for recognizing the great importance of the pro-life movement in a powerful address last month at Human Life International’s World Prayer Congress for Life. While Archbishop Burke’s recognition of the pro-life movement may seem inconsequential, he said, it is “one small significant step towards the pro-life movement’s goal of getting church leaders and religious leaders of good will in every country around the world on the side of the pro-life fight.”

“The pro-life movement cannot win the pro-life battle on its own,” he added.

See the complete text of Smeaton’s talk.

| Send Letter to Editor