Comment and analysis from a pro-life perspective
Other news and comment here
Tuesday, 31st May 2011
"More people, please: don't worry about the booming global population -- celebrate it"!
Very enjoyable article from the magazine "Foreign Policy" about the benefits and opportunities of a larger global population. I don't think pro-lifers could endorse all of what the writer says about family planning in the third world, but the central point is very important. An extract:
"...In Bangladesh, despite low incomes and poor health, 85 percent of the population suggests they are happy, and in Nigeria and China that number is nearly three quarters. Simply put, having the opportunity to be alive is a good thing, and the more such opportunity exists, the better. (Another bit of good news from the U.N. projections -- average global life expectancy will rise from around 68 years today to 81 in 2100, so we'll all have a little bit longer to enjoy it.)"
Tuesday, 24th May 2011
Abortion numbers remain too high; women must be offered more and better alternatives, says LIFE
Following the release today of the abortion statistics for 2010, LIFE released the following press release:
"The crisis pregnancy care and educational charity LIFE has repeated its call for better alternatives to abortion for women in crisis pregnancy. Abortions carried out in England and Wales rose slightly in 2010. This is a disappointing rise after significant falls in 2008 and 2009.
Michaela Aston, a LIFE spokeswoman, said: "At LIFE we see every abortion as a tragedy, and we work hard to provide positive alternatives for women and their families who find themselves in what seem like impossible situations. The rise in abortions in 2010 is a sign that society is still failing to meet the needs of women in crisis pregnancy.
“We are concerned that women are being rushed into abortion, as more and more women are having abortions earlier in pregnancy. It is vital that women are given time to think through their options, especially since data from other countries suggests that the introduction of “cooling off” periods before abortion can play an important role in reducing abortion rates, as women and their partners or families have more time to look at all their choices.
“We hope too that the government will resist pressure to liberalise the law on home abortions; such a move would further isolate women from networks of support, and risks trivialising abortion still further.
“It would also be a further indication that health authorities are not taking seriously the serious emotional and psychological consequences that many women experience after abortion.
“We are also worried by the small but noteworthy rise in abortion for disability, which is part of a long-term upward trend. Allowing abortion for disability right up to birth is something that many people rightly find unacceptable.
"Our hope for the future is that more women with crisis pregnancies are able to access LIFE's services - supported housing, life skills training and emotional support - and find out about the many different options available to them, options that respect the dignity and value of everyone involved in the situation, whether parent or unborn child."
Friday, 20th May 2011
LIFE's vision for young adults finds voice in Parliament as new Sex and Relationships Education Council is launched
LIFE is thrilled to be a founding member of the new Sex and Relationships Council, launched in Parliament this week. This new umbrella body, representing value-based, parent-centred sex and relationships education (SRE) providers, will bring a much needed voice to policy discussions on the future of SRE in schools.
The Council has been formed to promote the best possible SRE both at home and at school, recognising the particular importance of enhancing the role played by parents in SRE. It is designed to improve connections between SRE providers - who have significant expertise and experience working at the sharp end of service provision - and parliamentarians, government and civil servants.
Dan Boucher who spoke at the launch said, ‘We are delighted to be launching the SRE Council today and look forward to working closely with the government in the context of its review of SRE as part of its broader review of PSHE. There is much work to be done both in relation to our high levels of teenage pregnancy and STIs.'
Monday, 9th May 2011
Nadine Dorries' plans for sex education are brave and different and deserve a fair hearing
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has brought forward a Bill to address many of the flaws and faults in our current sex education policies. Among other provisions, Ms Dorries wants to ensure that teenagers, particularly girls, feel able to say "no" to sex, and also to provide pupils with good quality relationships education. These aims are similar to those of the LIFE Education programme which seeks to persuade pupils to consider delaying sexual activity until they are in a lifelong committed relationship such as marriage, and tries to give them reasons, resources and motivation to do so. This Bill could be a great chance to redress the balance in relationships and sex education away from the failed value-free, "condoms and consent" approach, and towards a genuinely loving and holistic approach that places sexual relationships in the context of a committed relationship.
Despite disgraceful and persistent misrepresentation of Ms Dorries' intentions in many sections of the media, the House of Commons has voted 67-61 in favour of the Bill at First Reading; after further discussion and debate, it will return to the Commons early next year for Second Reading. At LIFE, we hope Ms Dorries is successful in restoring sanity, honesty and values to the sex education debate, especially at a time of growing parental disquiet about sex education.
Monday, 9th May 2011
"70% of people with disabilities opposed to assisted suicide", says SCOPE/ComRes survey
One of the first studies to look at the attitude of people with disabilities to assisted suicide has found that many are extremely concerned by the prospect of legalisation. An article in today's Telegraph quotes Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, as saying:
“Assisted suicide is a complex and emotional issue, and there are loud and passionate voices on both sides of the debate. But while high profile lawyers, doctors and celebrities such as Terry Pratchett and Patrick Stewart grab the headlines, the views of the thousands of ordinary disabled people who could be affected by this issue are rarely listened to.
“Our survey findings confirm that concerns about legalising assisted suicide are not just held by a minority, but by a substantial majority of those this law would affect. Disabled people are already worried about people assuming their life isn't worth living or seeing them as a burden, and are genuinely concerned that a change in the law could increase pressure on them to end their life.”
Quite rightly, Mr Hawkes called for a proper government inquiry into the whole subject.
Thursday, 21st April 2011
Official report urges cautious approach to three-parent IVF: ethics yet to be considered
LIFE welcomes the cautious approach to three-parent IVF in the recent report published by the HFEA, which has been investigating into the safety and effectiveness of procedures to avoid the transmission of mitochondrial disease. However, LIFE calls for careful consideration of the profound ethical issues involved in these experimental techniques, notably the deliberate creation and destruction of human embryos to create healthy individuals, something which can never be morally acceptable.
Conclusions of the report
The conclusions of the core panel set up to review the latest scientific evidence relating to the safety and effectiveness of three-parent IVF said that the limited evidence does not suggest that the techniques are unsafe. They stressed, however, that these techniques are relatively novel with scant data existing to provide robust evidence on safety. Consequently, they urge more research before the techniques can be considered safe for clinical use. Only after the safety and effectiveness of three-parent IVF has been established can regulations be passed by Parliament to allow the use of eggs and embryos with altered DNA in assisted conception, a provision that was introduced to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in 2008.
Monday, 14th March 2011
Three-parent IVF: Rights and welfare of the child must always be put first
LIFE calls on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to take into consideration the rights and welfare of every child, especially those at the embryological stage of development, when it assesses the controversial three-parent in vitro fertilisation (IVF) technique being developed by researchers at Newcastle University. It is claimed this pro-nuclear cloning technique, which produces a child with three genetic parents, will lead to children free from the devastating effects of mitochondrial disease. Serious thought must be given to the ethical problems integral to this technique, which involves an unacceptable destruction of human life and as yet unknown physical risks to the offspring and their descendents, as well as the real possibility of profound psychological impact on any resultant child.
Tuesday, 22nd February 2011
Leading pro-life MP David Burrowes: stem cells from umbilical cord blood save lives and grow the economy
David Burrowes MP, one of the leading advocates in Parliament for the pro-life cause, has published a short but excellent article on the website ConservativeHome.com, pointing out the health and economic benefits of the use of ethically acceptable adult stem cells from umbilical cord blood. It is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to familiarise themselves with this vitally important issue, or to see some concrete evidence of the progress being achieved in the field.
Wednesday, 16th February 2011
High Court refuses to allow abortion pill to be taken at home
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service's High Court fight for home administration of the abortion pill has failed. LIFE welcomes this judgment. Mr Justice Supperstone clearly agrees that the legal arguments offered by the Department of Health against the BPAS proposals were strong and convincing, and in accordance with the common sense view that the doctor's role in any particular treatment does not end with his writing a prescription.
Thursday, 10th February
Re-reading Aldous Huxley's “Brave New World”; a new LifeLines series
The 1932 novel Brave New World portrays a society that has completely abolished families, totally separated sex and reproduction, and now expects and requires from its citizens the single-minded pursuit of sensual pleasure and material goods. What messages does it have for us in 2011?
For a long time now, writers and filmmakers have enjoyed entertaining, provoking and scaring us with frightening visions of the future. Starting in the late Victorian era, artists like HG Wells explored themes like disease, environmental disaster, technology run amok, global nuclear war and totalitarianism.
George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, with its pessimistic and terrifying description of a brutal and unyielding future tyranny, is often considered - rightly - to be one of the great works of its kind. But sixteen years before Orwell's masterpiece, a very different, but no less frightening or profound, work of dystopian fiction was published: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.
Friday, 28th January 2011
Is giving birth really more damaging to women's mental health than abortion?
The New England Journal of Medicine is sometimes described as the world's leading medical journal (what someone usually means when they say this is that it is the one most closely in touch with fashionable progressive opinion). The most recent edition carries a study by a Danish research team which purports to prove that abortion is less problematic for women's future mental health between abortion and subsequent mental health problems, a link that has been suggested by a number of past studies.
Rather predictably, this has been seized upon by pro-abortionists as a conclusive demonstration that abortion does not pose any significant risk to women's mental health. But is this actually true? LIFELines takes a look...
Tuesday, 25th January 2011
Subscribe to Wesley J Smith's "Brave New Bioethics" podcast
Dr Smith is a world-renowned writer and ethicist who has published many books and articles on a wide range of issues, particularly euthanasia and assisted suicide. His writings in defence of the value of individual human lives have been an inspiration to many pro-lifers. His "Brave New Bioethics" podcast explores all facets of the political, cultural and scientific debate over how we treat human life, and how we understand the special characteristics of human beings.
Older LIFELines can be found here.