Life After Death by David Alton
1998: 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights: Article 3: "Everyone shall have the right to life and security of person". 1998: 30th anniversary of the implementation of the Abortion Act, and 5 million legal abortions. 1998: 25 years of legal abortion in the USA. 1998: As the British Parliament now considers the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act, the introduction of euthanasia, and a whole range of anti-life measures, David Alton looks beyond our culture of death. Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" Vanity asks the question, "Is it popular?" But conscience asks the question, "Is it right?"
1998 is the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Article Three states that, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person". 1998 also marked the thirtieth anniversary of the implementation of the Brititsh Abortion Act. Over the intervening thirty years there have been five million legal abortions. In addition, up to 100,000 human embryos are destroyed or experimented upon annually, and moves are currently underway to legalise euthanasia. There are also attempts in Parliament to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland (against the wishes of the politicians in the Province); attempts to remove even the minimal requirement for two doctors to sign the green forms authorising an abortion, and a proposal to further erode the conscience clause of the Abortion Act by creating a public register of dissenting medics - a blacklist intended to force yet more doctors and nurses to become collaborators and participants in abortion. The purpose of this book is to reflect on these past thirty years and to challenge our contemporary culture of death. I am not anti-abortion: I am positively pro-life. I want to see a consistent pro-life politics and a consistent pro-life ethic. I am prowoman and pro-life. I do not come to this issue with a moral majority agenda but with a profound belief in the sanctity of human life. I am also convinced that the flaccid language of rights is worthless without a corresponding concern for responsiblities and obligations. All of these questions are explored in this book, but let me begin with another anniversary: the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel. The Holocaust and the death of six million Jews was the backdrop against which the new State was formed and the 1948 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights was drafted. It is instructive to consider again how pre-war Europe slid into eugenics and Aryanism - obsessions which first took mentally- and physically-handicapped people, gypsies, homosexuals, Jews and countless others to their deaths. Instructive to consider how few raised their voices. Instructive to consider how Europe failed the Jews. In the book of Genesis the promise is given to Abraham and his people that: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Jewish culture, community and family life, history and religion have enriched the world to a degree which is completely incommensurate with their numbers. The promise of Genesis that the world would be blessed by the descendants of Abraham is a promise which has been kept. These blessings have frequently been repaid in persecution and anti-semitism. The world hated the Jews because of that for which Judaism stands: the cry for freedom from Pharaoh's bondage, the sighing for justice by the waters of Babylon, the admonitions of the prophets, the belief in covenant and faithfuness and, above all, the endless and awesome desire to be right with God. The Hebrew Bible has at its centre a respect for the ideals of justice and the rule of law. This has been a part of the Jewish contribution to civilisation ever since. Few religions have afforded such prominence to respect for the law and its proper dispensation. The Ten Commandments, given by God Himself to the
assembled Israelites on Mount Sinai manifest perfectly this love of law and an ordered society. Judaism emphasises the duties and responsibilities which are needed to balance the rights of Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes and Locke. It also insists on justice. In the Book of Amos, and the other prophetic writings, this theme of justice is returned to again and again: "Let justice roll down like a river, and righteousness as a never-ending stream". And yet the Jewish people have themselves rarely been dealt with justly. The Sanctity of Life From Judaism springs our Judaeo-Christian belief in the sanctity of life, the dignity of the human person, the importance of individual and collective conscience, the requirement for personal and communal responsibility, our accountability before Man and God. This special genius, these momentous insights, have been the staple fare in civilized societies ever since they were first revealed through the Jewish people. Yet the jealousy and vilification which have affected generations of Jews often at the hands of at least nominally Christian people - has been extraordinary, sinking to their ultimate in the destruction of the Holocaust, the Shoah. In the nightmare kingdoms of the concentration camps, the Jews faced extermination. But they also renewed their covenant with God. Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman said before he was killed: "The fire which destroys our bodies is the fire that will restore the Jewish people". Our own British Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, sees in the persistence of faith, even amidst the greatest adversity, the long-term ability to conquer evil: "The Jews of faith, who were able to sanctify death in the Holocaust, turned out to be the most determined to sanctify life after the Holocaust" (Faith in the The Future, Darton, Longman and Todd, 1995). The Culture of Death It has become unfashionable to speak clearly of good and evil. Everything has been given a relative value. Yet who can doubt that out of today's culture of death spawned by thirty years of abortionism - must spring a new culture of life. No people have better cause to understand the consequences of the collapse of responsible citizenship, and what happens when society loses the concept of right and wrong, than the Jews. Times of monstrous inhumanity do not come about all at once: we slip into them gradually. People often ask, "Where was God at Auschwitz?". Yet in every situation we could ask the same sort of question as we consider the scale of contemporary ills. We are each given the gift of free will to choose for life or death, right or wrong. The more appropriate question is to ask: "Where was man during the horrors of Auschwitz? And where have we been over the past thirty years as five million British children were killed?". Through our indifference, we can all too easily drift into a culture which sanctions death, and overturns all belief in the sanctity of human life. The purpose of this book is to consider the effect which legalised abortion and eugenics can have on society and its attitudes, and how we can re-establish a respect for human life.
Nietzsche and Eugenics State nihilism began in the 1920s when the German medical establishment, even before the Third Reich had condoned eugenics. Experiments on humans, abortion, and euthanasia were a natural extension of an ideology which cared nothing for the sanctity of life. Then came wholesale massacre of races and groups of people who were deemed to be inferior. Nazism was spawned by the philosophy of Nietzsche: the father of Nazism. He maintained that the one great freedom was freedom from God. To him, God was everything that heightened the feeling of power in man. Bad was every form of weakness, especially Christian self-sacrifice, which he saw as no better than suicide. Reaching back to Hegel, Nietzsche dreamed of a higher sort of man, the Aryan Superman. He claimed that Christianity, with its upholding of the weak - and erroneous belief in meekness, forgiveness or mercy - had constantly sought to undermine the creation of this perfect human. Condemning the Chur ch, he said: "How a German could ever have felt Christian is beyond me". The hatred of gentleness, the worship of perfection and power, and a world in which man himself became a god inevitably led to Dachau, Belsen and Auschwitz. To what else could such a monstrous ideology lead? What is Truth? One man in Poland who said 'no' was Maximilian Kolbe. His story reminds us that there is an alternative to collaboration or placid acquiescence. Signing his own death warrant, he fearlessly published an editorial denouncing the evil empire of Nazism, and warning his fellow countrymen that collaboration with the Lie led only to personal destruction: "No one in the world can change Truth. What we can and should do is to seek Truth and serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is within. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of the extermination camps, two irreconcilable enemies lie in the depths of every soul. And of what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are defeated in our innermost personal selves." The Gestapo arrested Fr Kolbe in February. On 28 May, he was herded into a cattle truck and transported, along with 300 others, to Auschwitz, near Krakow. Branded with the number 16670, he was stripped of all that makes a man human. Priests like Maximilian Kolbe were singled out for especially brutal treatment by the their sadistic keepers. They were forced to do some of the most gruelling work and were subjected to particularly demeaning humiliations. At the beginning of August 1941, a group of three prisoners escaped. The Nazis killed ten men for every one who escaped. Death was by long and slow starvation. The condemned men were simply buried alive in an airless underground concrete bunker. The Deputy Camp Commandant, Karl Fritzsch, accompanied by the Gestapo chief, Gerhardt Palitzsch, passed down the lines of prisoners. Fritzsch selected his victims. As the ninth man was chosen he cried out: "My wife, my children, I shall never see them again". It was at this moment that the unexpected and the unprecedented happened. A man stepped forward and stood before Fritzsch and calmly asked, in correct German, if he might take the place of the condemned
man. "Who are you?" asked Fritzsch. "A Catholic priest," was the straightforward reply. The reprieved man, Franciszek Gajowniczek, was ordered to return to his place in the line. The condemned men were then sent to be stripped of their rags and to be buried alive. Paying the Price What happened next was recounted by Bruno Borgowiec, an assistant janitor and interpreter in the underground bunkers. He described the atmosphere in Cell 18 as resembling that of a church. Father Kolbe led the prisoners in prayers and hymns as they prepared for death. Gradually they died, one by one. After two weeks, only four remained alive and Father Kolbe was the only one who remained conscious. The authorities wanted to use the bunker for a new batch of victims and so the head of the camp hospital, Hans Bock - a common criminal - injected each of the men with carbolic acid. When Borgowiec returned to the cell he found Father Kolbe "still seated, propped up against the corner, his head slightly to one side, his eyes open and fixed on one point. As if in ecstasy, his face was serene and radiant". It was 14 August 1941, the vigil of the Feast (greatly celebrated throughout Poland) of the Virgin's Assumption into Heaven. In that underground cell, good overcame evil; the voluntary surrender of a life, on behalf of another, overcame death. It was the definitive answer to the megalomania of the Nazis; it was the victory of love over hate. It was the outlaw taking on the giant's might. Franciszek Gajowniczek, the Jewish prisoner whose life was purchased by Maximilian Kolbe, survived the camps. During the last days of the war his two young sons were tragically killed on the streets by Russian shells. He was present when another Pole, John Paul II, the former bishop of Krakow, canonised Maximilian Kolbe as a martyr-saint in October 1982. John Paul described Father Kolbe's life as offering a wonderful synthesis of the sufferings and hopes of our age, but it also offers a warning: "It is a cry directed to man, to society, to the whole human race, to systems which hold human life and human society in their hands ... This martyred saint cries aloud for a renewed respect for the rights of men and nations". It is also a cry to respect life. The story of Maximilian Kolbe is a story which gives some comfort to those who wonder aloud about the failure of the world to respond to the plight of the Jewish people. If this comfort instills a sense of complacency, then the sacrifice will have been in vain and the story worthless. Stories like this can also tempt us to shrug our shoulders and feel we could not act so courageously. But as some of the stories later in this book illustrate, you do not have to be a hero - or an extraordinary person - to take a stand. "I Did Nothing" At the end of the Second World War, Pastor Martin Niemoller reflected on the failure of Christians to speak out and to act politically. "First they came for the Jews and I did nothing," are the words which ring down the pages of history. Then it was the trade unionists, gypsies, homosexuals, Catholic and Protestant dissenters. But people generally did nothing. The terrible truth is that most people did comply and very few repudiated Nazism.
Weakness not Strength The Nazi idea of destroying a life which has lost its social usefulness, or which does not conform to a racial stereotype, springs from weakness, not from strength. The right to live is entirely divorced from questions of social utility. In God's sight there is no life which is not worth living - for God is the Creator of all life. Each life has a distinct and unique value. It is of infinite worth and is not to be squandered like surplus raw material. Nor is it to be belittled or reduced in status for reasons of racial origin, gender, or ability. Europe's crimes against the Jews remind us where an anti-life mentality leads. Judaism contributed richly to the world of pre-war Europe. The Talmudic academies, the courts of Jewish mystics, the masses of Yiddish-speaking people, the synagogues, the flourishing Jewish townships, the customs and characters - brought so vivdly to life in scenes from Fiddler on the Roof - all were wantonly destroyed in an orgy of hatred. This catastrophe relied on the fears and indifference of millions of responsible people. They failed the Jews. Where they failed, do we succeed? Care for Life Out of death must come new life. This book must consider that question too: how to go forward. Lo amut ki echyeh says the Psalm: "I will not die, but I will live". In the life and death of Maximilan Kolbe we see what should have been the Christian response to the Shoah. We see the triumph of authentic living over the dead hand of ideology and fanaticism. It is acutely relevant today. In coming to these issues, we can do worse than ask ourselves Martin Luther King's challenging questions: "Cowardice asks the question 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?'" Reduced to its essentials, that is the question posed by this book. And if abortion is not right, to what does it lead? What might be an individual's response? What are the alternatives?
Chapter One Where it All Began In 1967, Parliament passed the Abortion Act. It was implemented in 1968. Since then, five million children have been savagely aborted. Currently the figure stands at 180,000 per annum, one in five of all pregnancies. Thirty years on, we sense similar pressure beginning to build, this time for Britain to follow Holland's lead in legalising euthanasia. All forms of life are now subject to genetic manipulation. We select out. We distort unnnaturally. We experiment. 100,000 human embryos are destroyed in laboratories each year. Following the passage of the 1990 Human Fertilization and Embryology Act, which permitted destructive experiments on the human embryo and abortion of disabled babies up to and even during their birth, the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Basil Hume, said that Britain no longer had the right to call itself a Christian country. It was a chillingly definitive statement. In common with most Western European countries, Britain has become a post-Christian society. The purpose of this chapter is to examine what kind of society has emerged in its place over these thirty years; to trace the link between the devaluation of life before birth and the devaluation of life after birth. Ironically, many of the secular commentators who helped hasten the process of deChristianisation are now to the fore in mourning the consequences of individualistic materialism, of selfishness and indifferentism. Few make any connection between the unravelling of Judaeo-Christian belief and practice, and the culture which has been built on its ruins. Obsessive interest in the failings of organised religion - and every excess from cruel inquisitions to individual failings of adherents - has obscured the extraordinary role which religions have played in shaping and safeguarding much that is fine in both our history and contemporary lives. The Judaeo-Christian Legacy Ever since Augustine first arrived in Canterbury, Christians have been at the forefront of educational provision. The monastic schools and the universities of the Middle Ages were the seats of learning and civilisation; the Church provided the first grammar schools. It was the great evangelical Christian reformer, Lord Shaftesbury, who provided the ragged schools. From the earliest times, they provided education and relief for the poor and the sick. We still draw on this rich legacy. Teachers like the late Philip Lawrence epitomise all that is good in the tradition of providing an education which does not neglect the teaching of virtue. Carers organising charitable welfare, teachers, and reformers - whether challenging slavery or eugenics - are all part of that same Christian legacy. We would be infinitely poorer without their contributions. All the great religions of the world have agreed that there is an eternal reality beyond the flux of temporal and natural things, which is both the basis for being and the basis for rationality. But
Christianity goes much further than this. It, and it alone, shows how the higher reality - God Himself - has entered history and irrevocably changed its course. Better than Sybaris Even in the ancient world, just as today, there was a fundamental clash between those who searched for something higher; those who recognised and served the collective good, and those who lived merely for themselves. The ancient Greeks idealised the city state of Sparta, but despised Sybaris. Sparta might have been no more than a glorified barracks, but it lived by law and was prepared to sacrifice eveything for a common purpose, because its people believed there was something beyond individual satisfaction. By contrast, the Sybarites lived for themselves and made the accumulation of wealth and pleasure the standard for their lives. The Spartan sense of common purpose became a source of common strength; the Sybarite way led to degeneration. What St. Paul subsequently offered the people of ancient Greece was the logical conclusion to their search for the common good and the chance to discard the rubbish of the Sybarites - once and for all. With Christ came Christian ethics. When civilisation loses its sense of ethics; when it severs the alliance between religion and culture, it drifts into materialism, nihilism and self-serving individualism. That Hideous Strength One of the greatest English Christian apologists of this century was C. S. Lewis. 1998 is the centenary of his birth. During a recent visit to Russia, I re-read Lewis's 1945 novel, That Hideous Strength, which explores what happens when a society discards God. The former city of Leningrad, littered with the debris of a State which had been dedicated to systematic atheism and a calculated political ideology, was a good place to renew my acquaintance with the people and institutions of 'That Hideous Strength'. Lewis foresaw a world in which our own species would be experimented upon, manipulated and tampered with; a world devoid of medical ethics and where good people become sucked in as collaborators. Mark Studdock, the central figure of the book, faces all the dilemmas that an up-and-coming bright young academic faces today. He must have been a familiar figure in the common rooms frequented by Lewis. The not-so-nice National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments are pouring money into Bracton College. Lord Feverstone, their Director is a fellow of the College, supported by the Progressive Element, who are ranged against the Die-Hards. Studdock chooses to ingratiate himself with the Progressive Element, who are in the ascendancy. As the Institute gradually takes over the entire College, Studdock asks its Director what was planned: "Quite simple and obvious things, at first - sterilisation of the unfit, liquidation of backward races, selective breeding". Ultimately they will create "a new type of man: and it's people like you who've got to begin to make him". This appeal to Studdock's intellectual vanity succeeds, and he becomes more and more deeply enmeshed. Overwhelmed by his life, he tries to escape, but there
is always the Institute's evil Miss Hardcastle, her secret police and their sadistic methods to fall back upon, to ensure his absolute loyalty to his new masters. Lewis also uses his novel to explore the sterile relationship of Mark Studdock and his wife, Jane. The tensions spiral as she begins to repudiate the assumptions on which they had built their married life. She begins to have spiritual insights and is led by the appreciative and supportive Dimbles to Dr Ransom, who is pitted against the Institute. Ransom tells her that, "Your trouble has been what the old poets called Daungier. We call it Pride." There follows an examination of the feminine and masculine, and a rejoicing in the differences. Here Lewis foresaw some of the issues raised by contemporary feminism. Studdock's mistake was his desperate desire to be clubbable, to be included, and to be part of a new ascendancy. His journey of self-discovery; the easy assimilation of the weak into totalitarian organisations; an examination of the pressures which can so easily submerge our lives; the fashioning of the lie into an entire system, and personal capitulation to ambition are the core of this book. So is the anger that Mark and Jane both feel when they discover how badly they had been prepared for their battles. The deChristianisation of society, and the uselessness of their secular education and upbringing left them with little wisdom and no real knowledge. Just emptiness. They cry out with frustration when they realise just how much they have lost. Lewis, during his Oxford and Cambridge university days relished his battles with his own "Progressive Element". He passionately believed in the old alliance of eruditio et religio - scholarship and religion, culture and Christianity; that good scholarship without faith is as dry as dust; that building systems for life without God is so much rubbish. Lewis held that religion provides the necessary direction for living out the restless yearning for academic discovery. He would have agreed with St. Augustine that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. The Coming Peril In the 1990s there has been an almost complete break between Christian discipleship, public policy and civic values. It is no wonder then, that we have lost direction and are restless on an unprecedented scale. A person needs a deep and stable centre around which he can unify his various experiences. Christianity provides this. If we are to avoid becoming mechanical men and women, there must be this unity. Without it, the shattered mirror is incapable of reflecting the total man. G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis both perceived the dangers of the systematic secularisation of our world. Chesterton foresaw "the coming peril", describing it as "vast and vague ... of which capitalism and collectivism are only economic by-products" (The Chesterton Review, September 1995). Lewis and Chesterton prophetically wrote about the coming of eugenics, of the abuse of power, the presence of evil, and the corruption of man. Chesterton's Eugenics and other Evils (1923), and Lewis's The Abolition of Man (1943) both repay the attentions of today's readers. Even as he broadcast to the nation during the Second World War, encouraging and strenghthening his listeners, Lewis did not delude them into believing that victory over Nazism was enough. He knew that liberal
freedom can become the mere power of choice, and that in its exercise we might become less free. The more fundamental freedom lies in the power to choose in the interests of others, not self; in the possession of life and in that love which is the giving of self and the giving of life. Like a gifted painter, Lewis would sketch the lights and the shadows, and encourage us to choose one over the other. The 'right to choose' has become the collective epitaph of the past thirty years. Chesterton knew that, compared with life itself, the liberal freedom of choice - the power of the pike over the minnow - was infinitely inferior, reminding his readers that, "To admire mere choice is to refuse to choose" (G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy). Value or Price? The challenge the modern world has set itself is the total secularisation of society and the eradication of the entire Judaeo-Christian heritage. Education, in the school and in the home, is the principal batleground. The teaching of absolutes such as the sanctity of human life has been largely jettisoned. In his Abolition of Man, Lewis graphically describes what happens to a society which abandons the Decalogue and its values: "We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise ... we castrate them and then bid the geldings be fruitful". For the relativist, the men without chests, nothing is absolutely right, nothing absolutely wrong. Lewis called the new educators 'the new Conditioners': "It is not that they are bad men. They are not men at all ... they are artefacts. Man's final conquest has proved to be the abolition of Man." Lewis also wrote that Christianity had not been tried and found wanting, but rather found difficult and not tried. "As Christians," he said, "we are tempted to make unnecessary concessions to those outside the Faith. We give in too much ... we must show our Christian colours if we are to be true to Jesus Christ. We cannot remain silent and concede everything away". Having now conceded everything away, we should look at the human landscape of modern Britain, littered with casualties, and consider the consequences. Men without Chests In the nineteenth century, Carlyle called it "the Condition of England Question". In what condition do we find our country today? And let us be clear that this is every bit as much a religious question as it is a political one. With what sort of values have these 'men without chests' left us? The conditioners have replaced the Beatitudes with the me-attitudes. Individualism, relativism, syncretism, libertarianism and false liberalism. Their abolition of God - and the man made in His image - have left us poor beyond belief. The abolition of God and the abolition of man are two sides of the same coin. This narrow form of individualism, which encourages us to opt out of communal responsibilites, leads to the corruption of our civic life, to ethical illiteracy, and ultimately to what Albert Camus describes as "the bloody face of history". When a society loses respect for life, it loses everything. In our darkened Britain, where once everything had a value, everything now has a price. Politicians are obsessive about economic indicators and even
these are the wrong ones. The value of Sterling, the Dow Jones Index, the money markets and stocks and shares dominate economic reporting and political thinking - not debt, poverty, joblessness, abortionism or homelessness. Instead of measuring political success or failure in terms of the level of Sterling against the Deutschmark, it might be more instructive to examine the impact on family and community life. If money itself had not become a god, we might have more space for the human beings who are the victims of our economic priorities and obsessions. Take debt as an example. In a letter to me, dated 12 September 1996, the House of Commons Library confirmed that national public sector debt stood at ÂŁ323 billion at March 1996 (44.5% of GDP); personal sector debt stood at ÂŁ557.8 billion (71% of liabilities were in the form of mortgages and other loans secured on dwellings. These figures also include un-incorporated businesses, trusts and nonprofit-making bodies). The corrosive effect on the individuals, families and communities trapped by debt is destructive beyond belief. Debt destroys marriages, relationships, careers and lives; but it is not a politically correct issue. Poverty and inequality receive similarly short shrift. The real income of the bottom decile of the UK population fell by 6% in the ten years up to 1989, despite a 30% growth in average and real incomes during that same period (J. Gray, The Undoing of Conservatism, Social Market Foundation, 1994). Unemployment has left more than a million people without work for more than a year, but long-term unemployment is hardly a burning economic or political issue. Nor are the mentally ill who sleep rough on our streets, having been discharged into the care of the community; or the 167,000 homeless households who in 1992 applied to local authorities for accommodation; or the drug addicts, the countless victims of violence, or what Lord Dahrendorf memorably described as the underclass - the people who do not even make it into the classic class system. A concern for these questions is part of a consistent pro-life politics. The Human Ecology Britain's decaying social infrastructure, its human ecology, is no commendation for either its political masters or for the presumptions upon which our secular State is now constructed. It graphically reveals what happens in every area of life when human dignity is jettisoned and life is accorded scant respect. The cycle of welfare dependency, the demoralisation of vast swathes of the population, illiteracy which apparently affects one 21-year-old in seven in Britain - and the culture of poverty are all symptoms of the decay. Even worse is the violence. l The rate of violent crime in England and Wales has doubled in the past seventeen years. l In the first six months of 1996, violent crime rose by 10%, representing an increase of 31,000 crimes to 331,000 crimes. l Life-threatening offences rose by 15% to 21,000 and there were 730 homicides, including murder, manslaughter and infanticide. l Robbery rose by 15% to 72,300, with most recorded robberies being muggings in the streets. l 1.2 million burglaries were committed - including 630,000 homes which were broken into - during the same six month period. The largest increase in crime occurred in the late 1950s, from under 1,000 per 100,000
population in 1955, to 1,750 in 1961, 3,400 in 1971, 5,600 in 1981, and a staggering 10,000 in 1991 - ten times the rate of 1955 and forty times that in 1901 at the end of the Victorian era. In the United States, a baby born in 1990 and raised in a big city has a statistically greater chance of being murdered than an American soldier had of being killed in battle during World War Two. A twelve-year-old American boy has an 89% chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in his lifetime. In Britain, hardly a community or family has been untouched by crime, violence, drugs, by family break-down, abortion or the new pressures which are now posed by secularised ethics, especially in medical practice. In 1991, for every two marriages in the UK there was one divorce, and for every four successful pregnancies, there was one abortion. Our methods of reproduction, the make-up of our children, the species and uniqueness of our animals, plants and food are all being modified and altered by geneticists and eugenicists. The previously unthinkable has become a way of life. The Zeitgeist The human landscape of modern Britain is littered with casualties. How a nation treats and regards its children is always a good measure of its standards and its strengths. Kill a child in the womb and it is little wonder that the child is so badly treated after birth. Post-Christian Britain provides a poor environment in which to be a child. l Five million unborn children have been aborted in Britain in just 30 years. l 750,000 British children now have no contact with their fathers following the breakdown of marital relationships (Family Policies Study Centre Survey of Lone Parents). l 1.3 million lone parents are left to shoulder the responsibility of bringing up 2.1 million children by themselves. The Treasury has put the cost to taxpayers at ÂŁ3.5 billion (Social Security Minister in The Daily Mail 14.9.94). l Since 1961, marriage breakdown has increased 600% (Movement for Christian Democracy). l The number of divorces has doubled since 1971 - often with catastrophic consequences for the children involved (Office of Populations Censuses and Surveys). l In 1993, one third of all babies born in Britain were born outside of marriage. 44% of pregnant women are unmarried compared with 29% a decade ago (Daily Mail 14.9.94). l Between 1974 and 1984, 1,626 children died from abuse or neglect (NSPCC). l An estimated 38,600 children were on the Child Protection Register in England at 31 March 1994 (Department of Health). l During the past 20 years, there has been a sustained attack on the family by many pressure groups. l "Never before has one generation of American teenagers been less cared for than their parents were at the same age" (the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, The Politics of Hope, Jonathan Cape 1997). l Two-thirds of 15-35 year-olds "are not sure any more what is right and wrong" (Mori poll 10.10.94.). Cry of the Children Daily, children are daily robbed of their innocence. Computer pornography, much involving children, pĂŚdophile rings - many operating with the connivance of
people in authority at children's homes and in social services - compete with the standard fare of advertising aimed at children, never-ending games, films and TV programmes saturated with violence, and pimps and drug pushers who operate like urban cadres recruiting children and young people at every opportunity. Children are also targeted in other ways by the conditioners. In June 1996, with three Parliamentary colleagues, I presented a report (Violence, Pornography & the Media) to the House of Commons. Two years earlier I successfully led a campaign to amend the Criminal Justice Bill and in 1998 moved further amendments in the House of Lords. In an effort to protect children, these amendments restricted the broadcast of gratuitous violence on television. On both occasions, proponents of unrestricted broadcasting maintained that what is seen by children has no lasting or damaging effect upon them. Attempts to restrict are characterised as religious interference or reactionary thinking. While I was seeking to persuade Parliament to toughen up the law against violent videos, I went to see the then Home Secretary Michael Howard. One of his officials told me he thought my proposal to curb the flow of violent material into our homes was unjustified, and took no account of the fall in childbirth, "as only 30% of British homes now have children in them. Therefore," they said, "restrictions on gratuitously violent material are undesirable: the majority might want to watch". This is an extraordinary inversion of traditional concerns. For years we have been tilting at imaginary Spanish windmills and French farmers, while remaining indifferent to the Americanisation of European values and our way of life. European culture has been increasingly dictated and conditioned by American tastes, from everything we eat to everything we watch. Drug dependency, street-crime, mugging, screen-violence and the disintegration of the family and community life were all manifesting themselves in America years before they were washed up on our shores. Our Violent Society A principal reason why I oppose abortion is because it is an unwarranted act of violence against a defenceless person. Abortion is just another act of violence in an increasingly violent world. Our streets and communities suffer from violence on a daily basis and this is reinforced by a steady stream of violence broadcast into our homes. In Britain in one typical week, TV screens 400 killlings, 119 woundings and 27 sex-attacks on women. The Broadcasting Standards Council says that the broadcasts reinforce the fear of violence. The video Child's Play III appears to have been copied by the two ten year-old murderers of James Bulger. While torturing her, the murderers of Susan Capper repeatedly played the catchphrase "Do you want to play?" used by the demonic doll 'Chucky' in the same film. This video was watched by an estimated 110,000 children under 16 years of age when shown on Sky TV after the so-called 9.30 p.m. watershed. As this is a classic example of the clash of different values and priorities - one arguing for protection and restriction, the other against censorship and for freedom - it is worth cataloguing the eminent views which have been expressed to me but which have been dismissed by the secular establishment which dominates the media. l Professor Andrew Sims,
former-President of the Royal College of Psychiatry, states: "There is now vast anecdotal evidence associating the portrayal of violence with violent behaviour and more than one thousand papers linking violence in the media to actual behaviour". l Dr Susan Bailey, Consultant Psychiatrist, carried out studies of adolescent murderers influenced by violent screen images. A quarter of the young people she encountered had watched violent and pornographic films during the period immediately prior to the murders for which they were responsible. l Professor Comstock, in his study TV and the American Child, identified "a very solid relationship between viewing anti-social portrayals or violent episodes, and behaving anti-socially". l The American Psychological Association concluded that research "clearly demonstrates a correlation between viewing violence and aggressive behaviour". l Dr H. Brandon Centerwell, a psychiatric researcher formerly with the University of Washington, claims that it is the young children exposed to TV violence in the 1950s and 1960s who later fuelled the dramatic increase in murder and property crime. He says that without TV violence, rates of crime would have been halved. l Professor Inga Soneson of the Swedish University of Malmo studied 200 children aged 6 to 16, and concluded that, "There was a pronounced correlation between emotional disturbance and intensive viewing of television". l The Professional Association of School Teachers spoke to 1,000 teachers in different parts of the UK. More than 90% of respondents believed that children's emotional, social and moral development is being damaged, sometimes irrevocably, by what they see. It is undoubtedly a major factor in creating the present culture of violence. Presumably the advertising industry, who in 1995-96 spent ÂŁ3,124 million on TV advertising (industry statistics ITC June 1996), to influence our behaviour, would endorse these views. An Obsession with Violence Does the media have an obsession with violence? By the age of 13, an average American child has witnessed 8,000 murders and more than 100,000 other acts of violence, according to the American Psychology Association. After the 1998 shootings at a school in Arkansas, the State Governor said he was not surprised by the violence given the material which fills children's minds. In Britain, 47 films broadcast on the four terrestrial channels between January and June 1994 included 244 incidents involving firearms, 199 violent assaults (60 of them against women), 24 incidents of fire-raising or causing explosions, and 21 incidents involving knives. The violence included victims being punched, spat at, dragged by the hair, kicked on the ground, kicked in the stomach, kidneys and genitals. Women were raped and beaten and in one instance, a fork is put through her cheek. They depicted cruel behaviour which included a man having his hand impaled to a door with scissors, another man having his face smeared with dog faeces. In another instance, an ice-pick is forced into a victim's throat, and a serrated knife is held at a bound child's throat. This compilation was made by the National Viewers and Listeners Association. A report by the University of Sheffield, August 1995, found that satellite movie channels broadcast even more violence than terrestrial
channels. Carefree magazine (May 1996) found that the Top 60 of video rentals included 35 which were exceedingly violent. and a further eight which were horror. They featured witchcraft, vampirism, serial murder and psychopathic stabbers. And do children see all of this? On 23 June, 1996, The Sunday Times published a survey of children's viewing habits. Children as young as nine are regularly watching adult films depicting sex and brutal murders in X-rated videos. Two thirds of 9-11 year-olds interviewed had watched videos carrying the 18 certificate, such as Pulp Fiction, The Terminator and Silence of the Lambs. More than half had watched films after the nine o'clock watershed. Six out of ten had a television in their bedroom, and a quarter had a video-recorder. Professor Elizabeth Newson, Emeritus Professor of Child Psychology at Nottingham University said that the result in children was a "loss of inocence. That is a terrible thing to do to a child - it is child abuse". Among those in the industry who have begun to criticise the obsession with violence and its effect on civic society are Stanley Kubrick - who has withdrawn his film A Clockwork Orange; Roger Moore, Frank Capra, Edward James Olmos, Dustin Hoffman - who, speaking at the Cannes Film Festival after the massacres in Dunblane and Tasmania - asked, "Are we really saying that screen violence does not have anything to do with these massacres?"; Gregory Peck, Sir Anthony Hopkins - who has refused to do a sequel to Silence of the Lambs; Clint Eastwood, David Puttnam - "Someone has to say 'enough' because this is a disaster", and John Grisham - who has taken legal action against Oliver Stone after a friend was killed in a copycat murder modelled on Natural Born Killers. Many other actors and film makers are calling for a reassessment of the effects of TV and film (cf David Alton, Signs of Contradiction, 1996). In their homes young people are bombarded with violent images, and on the streets, urban cadres try to recruit them into using drugs. Drugs destroy families and communities; they destroy lives. This too is part of the contemporary culture of death: it is estimated that more than one million young people in Britain use drugs each week (Home Office, 1998). l More than 160 babies were born addicted to purified cocaine during one recent twelve month period in the UK (Sunday Times, 10 July 1994). l A Trustees Savings Bank Survey of 2,700 14-17 year-olds calculated that teenagers spend ÂŁ14 per week on alcohol. l 75% of 15-16 year-olds in 116 British schools in 1987 had used cannabis leaf (Health Education Council). l By the age of 15 years, 24% of all girls smoke regularly, while 17% of boys smoke an average of 52 cigarettes per week. Lose a Respect for Life - Lose Everything Behavioural problems flow from the breakdown of family and community life, and from a loss of respect for life itself. In 1992, 66,000 children were expelled from school. In 1994, 36,000 children were on the Child Protection Register in England; 64,000 children are in local authority care, and the Children's Society estimate that 100,000 young people run away or go missing in Britain each year. Patterns of child-rearing have also played their part. In 1996, Professor Forrester Cockburn,
President of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, and head of the Department of Child Health at Glasgow University, pointed to the more distant relationship between working mothers and their bottle-fed, child-minded babies, and the development of a potential for emotional and behavioural problems later: "A mother breast-feeding with a supportive family structure around her, that is the way the human species has evolved. The changes happening now are not good," he says. Professor Cockburn also criticises the UK's arrangements for women in the first year of a baby's life which he describes as "primitive", calling for women to be able to spend a longer time with their child after birth: one or two years. In an earlier age, the phrase 'working mother' would have meant what it said recognising the importance for a child of having their mother and their father to turn to. By contrast, in 1998, the Government embarked on a strategy of forcing single parents into work outside the home, the creation of more child-minding, and of leaving more children with no parents for most of the time. The Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, writing in The Times (29.8.94.) pleaded for children to be delivered from "a sense of hopelessness and despair". He also had this to say: "If you were to walk tonight along Golders Green Road, you would see hundreds of Jewish children, good children, standing around aimlessly, some on drink, some on drugs, having everything but believing nothing". And where does all this begin? It begins when a society loses a respect for life. When life is accorded such scant respect in the womb, is it any wonder that life is shown so little respect after birth? Dispense with belief and with what are you left? Does Society need Religious Belief? It is instructive to consider how society is getting along without religious belief. The dissolution of civic society - what David Selborne in The Principle of Duty (Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994) described as "the process of civic disaggregation" - can be traced to the abandonment of the absolute principles proclaimed in the Decalogue, to a discarding of the sanctity of human life. The love of God and the love of others, the disavowal of killing, truthfulness, faithfulness, respect for the property of others: these basic goods have been at the core of our civic order. Take away the belief on which those values turn and you are left with a jumble of competing claims and notions. In turn this creates a sense of crisis - not the stability for which most people yearn. From Will Hutton's The State We're In (Jonathan Cape 1992), to Anthony Sampson's The Essential Anatomy of Britain (Hodder & Stoughton 1992) which was sub-titled "Democracy in Crisis", the very titles of secular commentaries admit this sense of uncertainty and chaos. In recognising the scale of civic disaggregation, commentators generally do not like the uncomfortable conclusion that social reform must begin in personal reform; that social sins are no more than personal sins writ large. The failure of successive governments to tackle unprecedented levels of crime, for instance, is
due in part to false liberal ideas about the cause of crime and the nature of man. When challenged, the liberal, in turn, behaves like a theocrat whose theories have become articles of faith, and dissension a capital offence. Unwillingness to contemplate other causes for crime leads to a collapse of public confidence. In America and Britain, a frightened public, sceptical of the ability of the Government to protect them, take the law into their own hands. The emergence of vigilante groups - driving out drug pushers from council estates - the demands for guns and ever more sophisticated forms of burglar alarms and property protection - all bear witness to this collapse of confidence. Our Civic Crisis Across the political spectrum, political thinkers have begun to sense the scale of the civic crisis; the need to cultivate a richer civic culture, and to develop a sustainable human ecology. At last they are beginning to address the conflicts that lie between the polarities of community and individual; rights versus responsibilities; free markets versus social cohesion; cohabitation versus the family; public duty versus private gain; expediency versus principle. It is not simply nostalgia which is driving them to question the grasping acquisitiveness, selfishness and violence which are the hallmarks of contemporary Britain. Nor is it sentimentality which desires a more decent, kindlier, orderly setting in which to live and to rear children. It is a sense of desperation. The question must surely be whether it is possible to create a society which manifests the attributes of JudaeoChristian belief while discarding the belief itself. Civic order may be incapable of repair without a new encounter with religious belief. A central question must be whether renewal is possible without overturning the claim that we have the right to kill our offspring. Reclaiming the Ground The late John Smith, when he became leader of the Labour Party, began to recognise how much poorer politics had become without faith. Along with Tony Blair, he contributed to a collection of essays revealingly entitled Reclaiming the Ground. Both men candidly admitted private religious beliefs. Blair went further and said that such values have application in public life. In the run-up to the 1997 General Election, however, Blair made an exception: "Abortion," he said, "might be opposed privately but voted for in Parliament". The Labour Party was the first UK party to make abortion a matter of party-policy, and various Labour Party groups - and other organisations, such as the Christian Socialist Movement - were among the founders of Progress, the coalition formed to secure legislation permitting destructive experiments on human embryos (cf Mulcahy, The Human Embryo Debate). Party managers, the 'spin doctors' who fashion image and public profile, have been happy to exploit the unease about society's drift, but the rhetoric and the reality are still far apart. It was reassuring to voters who had once been scared by the bogeymen of the Marxist Militant Tendency, and by nightmare
advertising replete with demon eyes, to cultivate a religious image. On the Right, too, God is becoming more fashionable - although the Conservative Party is nervous of emulating the American Republican Party and allowing the emergence of a powerful Moral Majority or Religious Right. Like the proverbial curate's egg, this approach to faith and politics is simply there in parts. As yet there is no consistent pro-life ethic or pro-life idea of politics. Cafeteria Christianity There is also an element of cafeteria-Christianity about all this. In situation ethics and convenience theology, we have been encouraged to pick and mix, leave behind what is inconvenient or what displeases. The relativism which is unwilling to speak about truth but only about 'what's true for me' is an evasion of the serious business of living. One expression of this was the suggestion of Prince Charles that he should become 'defender of faith' rather than of 'the faith'. Loss of nerve has meant that although there has been some timorous flirting with Christianity - using it as a decorous detail - no-one has been brave enough to argue that Judaeo-Christian values must become the pillar which upholds a political or civic institution. We might be encouraged to go back to basics but not that basic! Instead of recognising the properties of religious values and their ability to weld together a society, they have been jettisoned in favour of an easy tolerance of 'faith' - which can mean so little that of course anyone can embrace it - so little that it certainly would not take a king to defend it. If trees were tall and grasses short, As in some crazy tale, If here and there a sea were blue Beyond the breaking pale, If a fixed fire hung in the air To warm me one day through, If deep green hair grew on great hills, I know what I should do. In dark I lie: dreaming that there Are great eyes cold or kind, And twisted streets and silent doors, And living men behind. Let storm-clouds come: better an hour, And leave to weep and fight, Than all the ages I have ruled The empires of the night. I think that if they gave me leave Within the world to stand, I would be good through all the day I spent in fairyland. They should not hear a word from me Of selfishness or scorn, If only I could find the door, If only I were born. G. K. Chesterton (ca. 1897)
Over the years, the media have reported the issue of abortion much in the way they would report a pitched battle. The pro-life lobby "taking on", "challenging", or otherwise entering into mortal combat with the pro-choice campaigners. And for thirty years those tags have been universally accepted as shorthand summaries of the beliefs of each side. Yet seldom in history could a group have adopted for themselves a greater misnomer than that chosen by the so-called advocates of choice. Choice for them means choice to kill, to terminate, to abort. It seems to have barely occurred to them that implicit in the notion of choice is the fact that there is an alternative. It was as a result of that somewhat shallow and barren level of debate that I decided in 1997 to tackle the pro-choice lobby head-on. Choice, after all, must mean precisely that. The choice of life as well as death, the choice of fertility as well as sterility, the choice of hope as well as despair. And so it was that I made an offer to women facing crisis pregnancies. I asked them to remember something that the "pro-choice" camp would rather they had forgotten. I asked them to remember that they did have a choice, and that the Church was there to help them make the right choice. I said: "I issue an open invitation to any woman, any family, any couple who may be facing the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. I strenuously urge any person in that situation, of any ethnic background, of any faith, from anywhere, to come to the Archdiocese of Glasgow for assistance. - Whatever worries or cares you may have ... we will help you. - If you need pregnancy testing or counselling ... we will help you. - If you want help to cope with raising the baby on your own ... we will help you. - If you want to discuss adoption of your unborn child ... we will help you. - If you need financial assistance, or help with equipment for your baby and feel financial pressures will force you to have an abortion ... we will help you. - If you cannot face your family, or if pressure in your local area is making you consider abortion, come to us, we will help find you somewhere to have your baby surrounded by support and encouragement. We will help you. And finally, if you have had an abortion. If you are torn apart with guilt, if your relationship has split up because of abortion, if you are suffering from postabortion stress - come to us, we will help you. - Today I urge anyone in that situation ... Let us help you to avoid making one of the biggest mistakes of your life." The word I have chosen to emphasise throughout this time has been "choice". It is the key, I think, to moving the abortion debate onto a new level. For too long the abortion issue has become gridlocked in a kind of rhetorical war of attrition, with both sides using words in an attempt to wear down the determination or the conscience of opponents. Yet few people, until now, have analysed the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" tags with courage, thus allowing the pro-choice myth to continue unchallenged. The future of the pro-life struggle will involve us in a readiness to enter into dialogue not only with the proponents of what we might call the "culture of death" - but with its victims. The young women who turn to the abortionist's clinic because they feel they have no alternative. We are unlikely to win hearts and
minds by hurling insults. Far more likely are we to have an effect if we open our hearts, our minds and our pockets to those in genuine need. And that is what has happened. In year one spontaneous donations of ÂŁ200,000 have been sent to me. I made no appeal for help, no collections have been taken, no request for funds has been made. That money has been used to provide practical assistance to young women from near and far - assistance which has led over 100 of them to change their minds about abortion, and choose life rather than death for their unborn child. And so we will continue to offer our help as a Church to those of our children - and others - who need it. Catholics traditionally refer to the Church as "Holy Mother Church". And that title is deeply significant. It sums up very well one of the Church's most profound roles - to be, in the words of Pope John XXIII in Mater et Magistra - mother and teacher. But mother first, then teacher. His successor, Pope Paul VI shrewdly observed that today's world is more ready to listen to the language of example than the language of the sermon. And if the reaction to our pro-life initiative is anything to go by, Pope Paul was absolutely right. A chord seems to have been struck. People have responded magnificently because the Church was prepared to do what the Church does best - show love and concern for her children. The advocates of more abortion have had little to say about the essence of our initiative. Certainly some have carped about the Church's ability to cope; but few have dared say that the offer to help women in distress should not have been made. Why not? Because, quite simply, when you have spent your life on protest marches, walking beneath banners calling for freedom of choice, it is very difficult to criticise a scheme which offers just what you have been asking for. For our opponents, their words have come back to haunt them. For a woman's right to choose must also involve the option of choosing life. G. K. Chesterton said, "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without conviction". Having decided that the pursuit of truth is too difficult, tolerance of a plurality of truths becomes a more achievable target. Tolerance ends up taking the place of truth; but simply being inoffensive and privatising the pursuit of truth is not the stuff of which politics or life should be made. "Pro-Life means a fundamental affirmation of the value of all human beings created in God's image. It is the basis on which we argue for the dignity and respect of human life and the motivation for resisting all actions which marginalise or destroy the gift and quality of life." Rev. Joel Edwards General Director, the Evangelical Alliance At a time when civic dissolution demands a re-evaluation of the importance of society's ethics and the coherence and continuity of a stable civic order, religious
beliefs have increasingly been under attack. Recent demonstrations - including the celebration of blasphemous mock-masses during Pope John Paul's visit to Germany, and the death threat made against him before a visit to France, illustrate the bitter hatred which liberals can harbour. Anti-Church has become the antisemitism of the liberal. In Germany, as has happened elsewhere, their wrath was triggered by the reiteration of orthodox Christian beliefs and age-old Church teaching. As we will see, evangelical Christians have been paying a price too. What would have been more surprising is if the Pope had not upheld orthodox teaching. Modern Persecution Modern secular culture does not tolerate religious dogmatism. As a result, many Christians have responded with appeasement and accommodation. Sceptics assume that talk of persecution of religious believers in Britain and the European democracies is a bad case of paranoia. Persecution of the Church in Marxist and Islamic societies is well-documented and far more obvious. Vast numbers of Christians were murdered during Stalin's purges and during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Estimates of numbers vary, but James and Marti Hefley in By Their Blood (World Evangelical Fellowship) say that, "More have been martyred in this century than in all the previous centuries combined. World Mission Digest puts the figure at 100 million killed for their faith in the last 100 years. In Egypt, for instance, the Copts face systematic annihilation while their co-religionists elsewhere in the region, the ancient Syrian Orthodox Church and Chaldean Catholic Church, have already been decimated. In Iran and Saudi-Arabia, in Vietnam and China, and in many other parts of the world, Christians continue to be imprisoned and to die for their faith in appallingly large numbers. Organisations such as the Jubilee Campaign, based at St. John's, Wonersh, near Guildford, have systematically documented and reported these excesses. Harder to quantify is the more subtle and sophisticated carpet-slippers persecution of believers and their beliefs. It is this hidden agenda which I will attempt to probe. These next pages examine the position in Britain and Europe, in America, and at the United Nations. The sharpest common points of conflict appear to be over bioethical issues, family questions and education. In addition, there is disquiet over the role of the media in distorting the debate and acting in a partial and discriminatory manner. Although there may be conflict over other questions - for example British planning law has been used to try and curb worship in a private home in Stockport - bioethical issues are the real battleground and the cause of covert persecution. The New Dispensation: Political Correctness The secularisation of British public life has gone on unabated since the end of World War Two. Each of the political parties (despite their tap-roots into JudaeoChristian beliefs) first dismissed and then ridiculed religious belief as a foundation for political thought. At a superficial level, in some political quarters, religious
belief has been enjoying a renaissance with some. Church-going has become more popular: Christian belief in the sanctity of human life has not. It may represent a better beginning than it first appears. Only time will tell. Secularisation of society has made it increasingly difficult for the believer to succeed in politics - at least to succeed without surrendering some important aspects of belief. Parties themselves have at times come to resemble para-churches, with quasi-Messianic charismatic leaders, and even the ritual and camaraderie associated with the Church. Some of their members use their parties as a secularised substitute for a church or religion. Emulating the less tolerant epochs of church history, political parties have also developed an intellectual inquisition which tells its members how to think, how to speak (in sound-bites), and in some cases how to dress. It represents the triumph of style over content and has bred an intolerant political correctness. Members of Parliament end up issuing synchronised press statements, tabling authorised questions and motions, never speaking or voting out of turn. It is a pale imitation of truly representative politics - where principles and conscience come first. We have created a Parliament of Daleks - whose only function is to obey. Stand for Truth The core requirement of being politically correct - 'PC' - is to believe that you should not say or do anything that some group might find offensive. It is an insistence that you conform to certain stereotypes - and one of its first casualties has been an honest and open debate. An independent frame of mind or a determination to question the new orthodoxies automatically makes you a maverick, out-of-step, old-fashioned, detached, reactionary or even bigoted. Ben Jonson once said: "Stand for truth; it's enough". Truth is the last thing they want to hear in politically correct circles. In many instances, political correctness may have begun with a good impulse: a concern with the dignity of women, a loathing of racial hatred, a hatred of discrimination - but it can degenerate remarkably quickly into being ridiculous and even intolerant. In politics, being politically incorrect can lead to de-selection, victimisation and narrowness in thought and action. There are few areas of British life which remain untouched by this pernicious phenomenon. It begins with the very words we use. The language of Chaucer and Shakespeare is debased into the language of the Islington wine-bar. Inelegant expressions begin to pepper our speech. In local government, instead of addressing "Madam Chairman" or "Mr Chairman", the holder of the office becomes an inanimate "Chair". A slip of the tongue and the incorrect offender is guilty of heightism, sexism, racism, ageism - and any number of other 'isms'. If he is really unlucky, the offender might simultaneously manage them all at once! Law and Double Standards Legislators are no better. You can be on the side of animals but not humans. In 1986, laws were enacted protecting animal embryos and even larvae from experiments, while four years later they gave the go-ahead for destructive
experiments on the human embryo. One of these days, some politically correct seals will march on Downing Street with placards demanding laws to save the human race. Maybe we will see the illogicality and the paradox of the positions which we take. Unmanning of Men Political correctness has demeaned women and unmanned men. We no longer value women as women, but as sexless persons. We define people by their sexuality, not by who they are, or what they are. It is politically incorrect to mention the role of a mother or a father. Men themselves are to be virtually eliminated - apart from the humiliating payment they might receive at a fertility clinic to provide their sperm. No-one seems to care that 800,000 children no longer have contact with their fathers and that men have no say when an an abortionist takes the life of their child. This increasingly gender-driven and negative view of the value of the human being is accompanied by the flaccid languauge of rights. This language is shorn of personal responsibilities, duties or obligations. Political correctness believes in one thing above all else: that personal choice is paramount. Everything has the same value; your choice for you is what is right for you. What is wrong with political correctness is that it does not look at the fundamental values of society. It is often just the best cause to catch your eye on the rack at the local health shop. It does not have a defining philosophy. Its adherents are frightened to exercise moral leadership for fear that the public will sit on them. It will be big into the latest, trendiest causes and will dress itself in the smartest and sharpest Italian suits - but where is the passion, where is the courage, where is the truth? In Truth, the Ballad of Good Counsel, Chaucer gives advice upon which today's politicians might reflect: Act well thyself who can, Counsel others; And truth shall deliver, Thee no dread. Put another way, it is not Political Correctness which is needed but an altogether different PC - Political Courage. Political Courage The perfectly good original impulse of being opposed to racial hatred or homophobia leads to the absurd idea that it is good to remain silent about your own convictions if they are not held by the majority. Political correctness allows each group to define tolerance in its own terms and for itself. G. K. Chesterton said, "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions". Having decided that the pursuit of truth is too difficult, tolerance of a plurality of truths becomes a more easily achievable target. Tolerance ends up taking the place of truth; but simply being inoffensive and privatising the pursuit of truth is not the stuff of which politics or life should be made. The Enlightenment conceived truth as sourceless, as existing 'out there', and accessible to the reasonable inquirer; but even
Enlightenment thinkers did not see this shift as endangering the core beliefs of their own tradition. John Locke, (The Reasonableness of Christianity, 1695, ed. I. T. Ramsay, Stanford University Press, 1958) assumed that a reasonable inquirer would come to affirm the truths of the Christian faith and that there was total compatibility between objective truth and biblical truth. Notwithstanding this, the pursuit of truth in the post-Enlightenment period was detached from the traditions of the community, and in being democratised, was made to stand on its own. In addition, the cult of individualism gave each player the right to shape truth on their own terms. Political correctness, multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance may all seem perfectly benign concepts, but when they lead to the near-criminalisation of thought and belief, they are exposed as a sham. The situation is compounded by the relativism that insists that all beliefs and values are equally legitimate and that it is impossible to judge between them. A List Called EMILY Within political parties, this spawns organisations such as the Labour Party's Emily's List. Objective: to encourage more women to enter politics. Politically correct and ostensibly a perfectly reasonable objective! In practice it is achieved by giving money (the acronym 'EMILY' means Early Money Is Like Yeast) to those women it selects as suitable. The one politically correct commitment which they must give is to support abortion laws. This rules out women with orthodox religious beliefs. Emily's List candidates won numerous seats at the 1997 General Election. The very first constituency to be visited by Tony Blair during the campaign was Gloucester - a seat being contested by an Emily's List candidate. Emily's List remains active within the Labour Party, although an industrial tribunal ruled Labour's women-only shortlists to be illegal after a number of candidates had already been selected using this procedure. Labour's then Shadow Minister for Women, Janet Anderson MP (a former full-time campaigner for Sunday trading), in an interview with The Daily Telegraph (1 October 1996) said, "We will try and get around the ruling". She also made the extraordinary assertion that a Labour Government would cultivate a more promiscuous society: "Under Labour, women will become more promiscuous. That's an election pledge", she said - although she did subsequently claim it had been a joke. Abolishing Church Schools and Prayer For the Liberal Democrats, political correctness led to their Education Spokesman, Don Foster MP, telling The Independent that "In an ideal world there would be no religious state schools". What is so ideal about a world where Jewish, Catholic, Anglican and non-conformist schools are abolished? He also advocates putting "a stop to the daily act of worship in an attempt to encourage all children to be educated together". This dictum has now been enshrined in party policy. Other leading figures in the Party have called for the legalisation of drugs and the legalisation of euthanasia. The Labour Party has long had party policy on the
abortion question. In 1992, the Liberal Democrats followed suit - reversing the decision in 1993. At the morning session of their Conference, they had passed a resolution protecting goldfish in funfairs and amusement arcades, and in the afternoon a motion supporting abortion. The paradox escaped them. They also published a 24 page glossy booklet on animal-welfare, entitled A Matter of Conscience. It says that moral and ethical questions are peripheral to what should be the 'central question' in animal-wefare, that raised by Jeremy Bentham in 1789. It is, "Can they suffer?" Unfortunately, and especially in the light of the most recent research into foetal sentience and foetal pain, such concerns do not extend to our own species. Another Liberal Democrat document entitled Security and the Family suggests that the family can be anything that you want to make it. The Conservative Party has its own version of political corectness. This includes signing up to every United Nations document on population-control and promoting funding for the Chinese Population Association - despite evidence of enforced abortion and sterilisation. Similarly, their Family Law Act (1996) was couched in politically correct language and did little to protect marriage. It merely promoted more counselling and easier divorce. Their politics systematically undermined family life, and John Major's welcome realisation of this in the 1997 General Election came too late to have any effect. During his first year as Conservative Party leader, William Hague has been trying to face both directions at once. Parents Undermined In an earlier generation, it would have been considered unthinkable that, with the full authorisation of the State, intimate family matters could be decided by medics or teachers without parental involvement. Political correctness dictates otherwise. In 1996 I received a letter from a Bradford woman, Jenny Bacon, whose 14-yearold daughter, Caroline, was prescribed the contraceptive Femodene ED. This was without the knowledge of her mother and it led to Caroline's death. Mrs Bacon, an Anglican, discovered that the Edmund Street Family Planning Clinic, in Bradford, had prescribed Femodene ED. She telephoned the clinic to protest, not realising that a 14-year-old could be given the Pill without parental consent. Within six months Caroline was suffering from headaches, flashing lights, numbness to the side of her face, and paraesthesia in her hands - symptoms which the doctors assured Mrs Bacon would soon pass. The symptoms worsened. She had a fit and went into a coma. When she came round two weeks later, the only thing she could move were her eyes. Her family were at her bedside to the end. At her inquest, a verdict of death by natural causes was recorded. A spokesman for Schering Health Care, the manufacturer of Femodene ED, said that the pill always carried slight risk but said it was a doctor's right to give it to girls under 16. She added: "A doctor is not obliged to tell the parents. If the mother says she doesn't think it is right, that's a personal view". The mother's position and her family's religious beliefs are purely personal: the doctor's and the company's positions - with all the latter's lucrative profits - are safeguarded by public policy. Department of Health figures reveal that in 1989, 16,000 girls under the age of 16 went to family
planning clinics for the Pill. By 1984 the figure had risen to 53,000. One in four of these under 16 year-olds obtained the abortifacient morning-after pill. Those who say they know best argue that their approach reduces teenage pregnancy, abortions and VD. After 30 years of this approach, its proponents emerge as the sowers of personal confusion, not confidence. In the USA gonorrhoea has become the most commonly reported disease in school-age children - surpassing measles, mumps, chicken-pox and rubella combined; 2.5 million teenagers suffer from a sexuallytransmitted disease. Forty per cent of pregnancies in the 15-19 age group are aborted and 60% of those girls are under 15. In the UK, new cases of sexuallytransmitted diseases have trebled since 1976. One in five British pregnancies now ends in abortion, yet the one thing which no-one can say has been in short supply is the Pill and the never ending mantra that "if it feels good, do it". For too long we have only been told half the story and denied the truth about gonorrhoea, genital warts, syphilis, the side effects of the Pill, the dangers of infertility after abortion, and AIDS. A fully informed citizen will want to know about post-abortion syndrome, the pain her unborn child can feel, how tests carried out during pregnancy can kill the baby, and the consequences of our actions. The Big Sisters Traditionally such issues would have been discussed with a parent and all the facts laid before them. Risks associated with the Pill, such as thrombosis, or the dangers of chlamydia infection - 'the secret steriliser' - and subsequent risks of breastcancer following prolonged exposure to hormonal drugs, would, in a truly open society be properly evaluated. Regiments of militant feminists - the Big Sisters and radical political agendas ensure that such honesty is not permitted and that the family's pivotal position, which they generally despise, is further undermined. Nor would such an open or honest debate square with the liberal consumerist intersts of the sex industry. Those who query the abdication of authority by the State, which this new dispensation represents, are caricatured as religious zealots. The Price of Conscience Modern bioethical and medical practice was largely shaped during the 1960s debates about the primacy of personal choice over the sanctity of human life. The 1967 Abortion Act, initially opposed by the British Medical Association, enshrined in law practices to which many Christians were diametrically opposed. In recognition of this, the Act included within it a Conscience Clause (Section 4), allowing doctors and nurses who were opposed to abortion to opt out of participating. The Conscience Clause has frequently been ignored and has proved totally ineffectual in protecting medics and ancillary workers. It does not protect conscientious objectors working outside the health service. This in turn has led to increased discrimination against workers who, for religious reasons, refuse to participate in abortions and connected procedures. In 1990, the House of Commons Health and Social Services Select Committee, chaired by Nicholas Winterton MP
and Frank Field MP, undertook an inquiry into the position of blue-collar workers affected by the Act. It concluded that the conscience provisions were inadequate, but even groups who are supposed to be protected have been subjected to a sustained, if subtle, attack. Earlier, during the debates on my 1987 Private Member's Bill to restrict the upper time limit beyond which abortions may be formed, a Gallup poll was undertaken on behalf of Mrs Phyllis Bowman of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. This revealed that, following the passage of the 1967 legislation, there had been a radical reduction in the number of Catholics and evangelical Christians attempting to enter gynaecology or obstetrics. In part, this was because appointments committees had increasingly begun to subtly and even directly examine a candidate's willingness to perform abortions. If in the course of the interview they admitted an unwillingness to participate in abortions, they simply failed to be appointed. Those who were in-post already or did manage to be appointed have frequently forfeited promotion. This, claims Profesor Jack Scarisbrick, the national Chairman of Life, is why throughout most of the 1990s there has not been a single pro-life gynaecologist in practice in London. This is borne out by correspondence which I had in 1995 with Dr Philippa Linklater of the Labour Life Group. Dr Linklater contacted me about a letter which she had received from Professor Sir William Asscher, the Principal of one of Britain's top medical schools, St. George's Hospital Medical School at the University of London. Professor Asscher stated that, "Students are not permitted to opt out from witnessing or assisting in abortions. Nor are they allowed to opt out from clerking patients admitted for abortion." I put it to the then Health Minister, John Horam, that it was contrary to the Conscience Clause to require a dissenting student to witness or assist in abortions. He concurred and Asscher, in correspondence to Dr John Modle of the Department of Health, responded: "I unreservedly withdraw the fourth paragraph of my letter. It should have read: 'Students are permitted to opt out from witnessing or assisting in abortions, but they are encouraged to clerk patients admitted for abortion'". Dr Linklater subsequently wrote twice to the Department of Health to obtain reassurance that encouragement does not mean coercion. She has had no reply. Crime or Compassion In practice, of course, any students who are brave enough to insist on the protection of Section 4 will almost certainly incur penalties and be discriminated against. In 30 years the pendulum has swung dramatically. A doctor who in 1960 undertook an abortion would be regarded as a disgrace to his profession, and would have been open to prosecution. Today, it is the non-complying doctor who is given pariah status. The English writer, Malcolm Muggeridge, once dryly observed that in modern Western society it had taken only thirty years for a crime against humanity to become an act of medical compassion. Readers will make their own judgements about the letter from St. George's to Dr Linklater. More typical was a statement from the Dean of Medical Undergraduate studies at the University of Manchester, Professor Roger Green.
'Don't Ask, Don't Care' On 17 January, 1996, in another letter to Dr Linklater, Professor Green insisted, "We have a deliberate policy not to enquire about abortion" ... and, "Students are allowed to opt out, but we warn them that questions about abortion may form part of the examination". Having issued their warning, with all its implications (and apparently in default of the Conscience Clause of the 1967 Act), Manchester then pursues a policy of disinterestedness: "We have no data on whether students are criticised about their views since we make no effort to find out who holds what views". Nor do they appear to have any data about what happens to students who, on conscience grounds, fail to answer questions about the performance of abortion. If they failed to monitor incidents of racial harassment, imagine the quite proper indignation which would follow! Sir Ian Gainsford, Dean of the School, at King's College, London, told Dr Linklater (13 August, 1996), "We are not at liberty to offer a modified curriculum for any group of students, and all students are expected to clerk-in patients for termination". This too runs contrary to the spirit and letter of the 1967 Act. In practice, as Sir William will be well aware, an undergraduate is powerless to do much about it without destroying their career. In most medical schools there is a deliberate policy of spreading the web of involvement as widely as possible. It is an insidious process of corruption. If everyone appears willing to participate, then not only is dissent temporarily stifled, but the consciences of the deans and heads of department are placated, and assenting students are made to feel more comfortable. In other replies from medical schools to Dr Linklater, it appears that only Leeds, Cambridge, Liverpool and Birmingham offered guarantees to respect conscience among their students. An Ethical Void Any student hoping to hear the ethical issues aired dispassionately as part of their medical course is likely to be disappointed. Take the question of embryo experimentation. Parrot-like, modern medics repeat the mantra that there is no alternative to conducting experiments on human embryos. They insist that it is the only way to discover cures for disability, but little discussion takes place in the schools about the ethics of carrying out destructive experiments on a human embryo or about the alternatives. The late Professor Jerome Lejeune, a leading French scientist, discovered the chromosomal abnormalities which lead to Downs Syndrome. He declared it entirely unethical and unnecessary to undertake such experiments. Where courses in medical ethics are organised, is there any consideration of Lejeune's work or his ethical outlook? I doubt it. Undergraduates are subjected to the medically-correct equivalent of political correctness and religious correctness. At a recent meeting with medical students, a group told me that they were entirely unprepared to deal with the ethical quandaries which breath-taking technological advances pose. The latest efforts to rewrite the largely abandoned Hippocratic Oath merely serve to underline the seriousness of the situation.
Bitter Experience The subsequent demands which can be made of consultants were graphically illustrated by Amanda Jones, a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician at North Manchester General Hospital. In 1995 she wrote to the hospital's clinical director, Don Macfoy, stating that she was no longer prepared to see women requesting abortions on "purely social and economic grounds" (these constitute 98% of the annual 180,000 UK abortions). "I have found that although I have managed to cope, doing one or two suction terminations a week, I cannot cope with the numbers being referred to me now." The previous day she had seen eight abortions scheduled for the following week. If she had realised the ethical dilemma which she would face prior to her appointment, would she have been given the job? Black List and Dirty Work Now, in 1998, MPs are trying to create a public register, a black list, of all medics who refuse to collaborate in abortion. The Labour Party first put forward this proposal from their front bench in the Commons in 1990. The promise that conscience will be protected looks utterly meaningless - new Labour, old intolerance. When the public register was first mooted, the Labour MP Dale Campbell-Savours described it as a black list. It is instructive to note that in 1990 eight of the present Cabinet voted for the blacklist - including Margaret Beckett, Jack Straw, Chris Smith, Ann Taylor, Frank Dobson, Harriet Harman and Clare Short. Other prominent Labour MPs, such as Paul Boateng and Neil Kinnock, voted for it. One minor amendment to the Conscience Clause provisions was made in 1992, following meetings which I held with the then Health Secretary, William Waldegrave, and his successor Virginia Bottomley MP. Private abortion clinics had been macerating the remains of aborted babies into the public sewers. Public Health officials first drew my attention to this practice in Liverpool. They discovered that the Parkfield Road Clinic, in Sefton Park, had a macerator in regular use. The abortion clinic, undertaking an average of 125 abortions each week (generating around ÂŁ2 million annually), had been grinding the remains of the foetuses and pulping down their human remains before discharging them into the local sewers. Bottomley's predecessor, William Waldegrave, agreed that this practice should end, and clinics begin to pay health authorities to incinerate the remains in hospital incinerators. A company called Quick Ways Waste was hired by the Parkfield Road Clinic and made four deliveries over the course of one week alone to the incinerator at Liverpool's Walton Hospital. On ethical and religious grounds, many health workers objected to handling these human remains, and Bottomley extended the provisions of the Conscience Clause to cover this category of workers. As we shall see, this did not help a Manchester scientist asked to monitor the emissions from the incinerator. Ancillary workers were also unsuccessful in persuading the Government that the bodies of several highly developed unborn babies which they refused to handle at Southport Hospital, in
1991, deserved a Christian burial. The law has been even less obliging to other groups of people. A Report by the Commission of Inquiry into Fetal Sentience Under the Chairmanship of The Rt Hon Lord Rawlinson of Ewell PC QC The main findings of the Commission were: l By 14 weeks, sensory perceptors are present over almost all the body surface, and the unborn baby is active and has a wide range of abilities, some of which start from very early in a baby's development. These abilities include vision, hearing, taste or smell, and detecting touch and harmful stimuli. Before birth a baby also has an ability for learning and memory. l Before birth a baby's abilities are tailored uniquely to life inside the womb. If observers only look for characteristics of behaviour based on ideas of how babies perform after birth, they are likely to underestimate how much an unborn baby can do. l New research demonstrates just how critical the period in the womb is for the long-term health and development of the individual. Potentially painful stimuli before birth may cause permanent changes in the nervous system, making the individual more sensitive to pain for the rest of his or her life. l Since there is no direct, objective method of assessing pain in any subject, adult or fetus, human or animal, conclusions about the experience of pain must be based on what is considered to be reasonable from the available evidence. l Only in the last decade has the scientific community realised that babies born either at term or prematurely may feel pain. Until recently many operations were performed on newborn babies with only limited pain relief. l Almost everyone now agrees that unborn babies have the ability to feel pain by 24 weeks after conception and there is a considerable and growing body of evidence that the fetus may be able to experience suffering from around 11 weeks of development. Some commentators point out that the earliest movement in the baby has been observed at 5.5 weeks after conception, and that it may be able to suffer from this stage. l As more evidence is being uncovered about the abilities of the unborn child, the stage at which it is thought that the baby may suffer is getting earlier. It appears increasingly likely that pain and suffering are being inflicted on unborn babies. l In medical or veterinary practice where there is uncertainty about whether a newborn baby, child, adult or animal can feel pain it is normal for them to be
treated as if they do. However when it comes to the unborn baby medical procedures are usually carried out without anaesthetic being administered to the child. Under British law there is more protection given to animals before birth than to the unborn baby. Report produced in October 1996 by CARE l After thirty years of legalised abortion in this country, we now know that what we used to be told about abortion being a simple and safe little operation (especially if done early in pregnancy) just is not true. Abortion not only kills a real, living human being every time. It also does damage, often devastating damage, to the physical and mental health of the woman involved and can even harm subsequent children. l Of thirty studies published from around the world between 1981 and 1997 on the relation between induced abortion and female breast cancer, 24 report an overall increase in the independent risk of this form of cancer following abortion. l Abortion is certainly a major cause of female infertility because it 're-activates' dormant chlamydia, a sexually-transmitted disease which is reportedly at nearepidemic levels in major cities, and this in turn causes blockage of Fallopian tubes, the most common cause of female infertility. We also know that damage to the womb and cervix by procured abortion can inhibit conception or result in miscarriage. l Women who have had two abortions are reportedly 4.5 times more likely to suffer miscarriage subsequently than are women with no previous pregnancies, and twice as likely to have complications in subsequent pregnancies. l A Finnish study, published in 1996, of female suicide over a seven-year period reported that postabortion suicide was almost six times as common as suicide after childbirth. Four years earlier a Danish study recorded that there was a 50% higher rate of admission to psychiatric hospitals of women who had had abortions than of women who had gone to term. l Important research in England suggests that at least one in ten women suffers serious trauma after abortion - a figure which is likely to be well below the true total, because of attrition, non-reporting, denial and what is often a long time-lag between the abortion-event and the onset of psychiatric illness. l One American study suggests that adolescents who had an abortion are twice as likely to be drug users, another that they are six times more likely. Professor J. J. Scarisbrick, LIFE
In 1976 the Department of Health published a book to mark the launch of a major screening programme of amniocentesis and abortion of disabled babies which included the following justification for the programme: "Apart from the medical conditions to which they are prone in infancy and childhood, mongol children may require, as many do, eventually to be cared for in institutions imposing a further heavy burden on the health service ... The grossly handicapped spina bifida child and adult makes large demands on the health and social services. It seems likely that, in general, the cost of these demands will exceed the cost of a programme to detect the condition." Department of Health, Prevention and Health: Everybody's Business: a reassessment of public and personal health, (1976) Thus the handicapped child and adults were seen merely as debits on the State ledger - not as individuals with needs and rights: "In the same vein, the doctors working at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London in 1992 announced a new blood test for pregnant women which could detect Down's Syndrome in the womb and which, they boasted, would save the country ÂŁ82,000 in upkeep for every affected baby killed before birth." Jeremy Laurance, 'London doctors make Downs breakthrough', The Times, 14 August, 1992 A chilling report from the Office of Health Economics (1993) observed that: "Genetic disorders place considerable health and economic burdens not only on affected people and their families but also on the community as a whole." Richard West, Born Imperfect: the Role of Genetic Disease, Office of Health Economics (1993) The report described 'genetic counselling' for couples planning to reproduce, on the grounds that many genetic and hereditary disorders can be predicted in advance. Advances in 'gene mapping' may lead to extremely accurate forecasts of the life expectancy of individuals, even before they are born. One suggestion put forward for discussion was that a woman who knowingly gave birth to a disabled child could be 'held accountable' and made to pay the health costs herself. (ibid., p.30) "In the same way one is required to take a test before being allowed to drive a car, a test may be required before one is deemed suitably able to give birth." (ibid., p.28) This approach to handicap as a matter of financial gain or loss for society is not new. In Nazi Germany it was a major consideration behind the euthanasia programme, which included amputees from the First World War among its handicapped victims. Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf: "It [the People's State] must see to it that only those who are healthy shall beget children ... In this matter that State must assert itself as the trustee of a millennial future ... Those who are physically and mentally unhealthy and unfit must not perpetuate their own suffering in the bodies of their children." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translated by James Murphy, Hurst and Blackett 1939. pp. 338-9
Chapter Three In 1987 at Carlisle General Hospital, a baby was aborted at twenty-one weeks gestation. Late abortions in private clinics usually involve the relatively speedy but distressing dilation and evacuation procedures. The skull of the foetus is crushed, the limbs and body extracted and the attendant staff reassemble the remains to ensure that nothing has been left behind which might cause infection. The National Health Service prefers to use the prostaglandin method. Having poisoned the foetus, labour is induced and the child is delivered. In the case of the Carlisle baby, the labour lasted many hours, and the registrar who had induced the abortion was no longer on duty when the baby was finally delivered. It was gasping for life. Because this was an abortion, the doctor and nurses who had just come on duty, an evangelical and two Catholics, could do nothing to save the baby's life. The little girl was placed on a kidney dish where she struggled for life for several hours. The nurses administered an infant baptism and after she died they placed her in a black sack. The baby was then taken to the incinerator. The birth was never registered, the death never certified. The then Home Office Minister, Douglas Hogg MP, shamefully refused the local coroner's request that an inquest be held. Disqualification From Life Anita Anderson was my constituent. In 1993 she became pregnant and was told that a scan had revealed a chink in her unborn baby's leg. She declined the abortion which she was offered. After her next scan she was told that the child would suffer from dwarfism. She again declined an abortion. On a third occasion she was told that the baby was growing again but would be multiply-handicapped. Following her third refusal, a social worker arrived at her mother's home and told her mother that a hospital bed had been booked for an abortion on the following Monday. What presumptuous arrogance, and what extraordinary pressure! The child's father, Terry Anderson, told me that although he was not a regular churchgoer, he was certain that abortion was wrong. Spiritually they needed great strength, and Terry privately visited a local church and lit devotional candles and prayed. Their faith and strength were rewarded by the birth of a perfectly healthy little girl; but as Mr Anderson remarked: "What should have been the happiest time of our lives was turned into a nightmare". Anita Anderson adds: "They treated me totally the wrong way. They didn't think about my feelings. They made me feel as if I was carrying a guinea-pig and as if they just wanted me to have an abortion so they could carry it away. "I was crying all the time. One night I woke up and thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. It was just disturbing." I raised this case directly at a meeting with the then Health Secretary, Stephen Dorrell, in 1996. He agreed that tests should not lead to directional counselling. In reality, diagnostic tests are
routinely treated as the first part of a search-and-destroy mission, and intolerable pressure is placed on parents to follow the logic of the tests. Cures are not available, but abortion is. Far from being reliable, the tests lead to perfectly healthy unborn babies being aborted, and to the susbsequent trauma of angry parents suing health authorities for negligence and incompetence. It also led, in June 1996, to a British mother saying she would sue the doctors who failed to test successfully for the spina bifida which affects her son. Intolerable Pressure The medical profession is itself beginning to recognise the consequences for patients. In July 1996, the British Medical Journal detailed the experiences of five couples who went ahead with pregnancies after their unborn babies were diagnosed as having lethal abnormalities. The mothers complained that the doctors were illequipped to care for them - showing insensitivity and causing distress, shock, anger and sorrow. The report said: "That staff themselves often believe that temination of pregnancy is the more appropriate option in these circumstances may account for the apparent lack of understanding and sensitivity by some health professionals". The BMJ report included proposals for better training of health professionals, as well as a contintuity of care for the women, and separate facilities on ante-natal and post-natal wards. In many instances, the slightest suggestion of disability leads to pressure on a woman to have an abortion. Diagnostic testing can traumatise parents and stigmatise disability. Professor Jack Scarisbrick, of Life, says, "What they say to be insensitivity, we know to be outright bullying of pregnant women. We have had women who have been called irresponsible and anti-social for not agreeing to have a Downs Syndrome child put to death." Before agreeing to tests, parents should be warned that Amniocentesis can itself lead to a spontaneous abortion, and that if a test reveals a disability, it might be wrong, and that no cures are, in any event, available. Pressure is exerted on parents, doctors and nurses to collaborate in abortion, but there have been other victims too. Free Speech Curtailed In Nottingham, in 1991, Andy Croal, Director of the local Social Services Department, appeared on Channel Four's After Dark discussion programme. During the course of the debate he remarked that, "Abortion is the greatest form of child abuse". He drew links between the abuse which takes place against the child after birth and the destruction of the foetus. The number of children dying annually from parental abuse was, he said, around 50 a year; Croal, a Christian, contrasted this with the 180,000 abortions performed annually. His political masters retaliated, suspended him and threatened dismissal. After four months, and a seven day tribunal, he was reinstated. Six months later he left for a new post. No-one proved his guilt, but he says that he was forced to prove his innocence. Political correctness will, he says, deny local authorities balanced professional views, as
senior officers will be forced to keep their views to themselves until they write their memoirs. Free speech has been curtailed in other respects. Journalist's Job on the Line In Wigan in 1995, a journalist, Simon Caldwell who worked for the Lancashire Evening Post, lost his job following another dispute over abortion. Caldwell had been baptised and raised a Catholic, but his faith had been largely nominal until he was radicalised by the Southport hospital workers story, which he reported for his newspaper (see page 32 check this edition). Soon afterwards he reported the efforts of Christian groups to have a suicide guide removed from the bookshelves in the seaside resort. In 1995 he was transferred to the sister paper, The Wigan Evening Post. In reporting the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys' most recent figures for abortion in the North-West, he discovered that Wigan had the second highest incidence of abortion in the North West Regional Health Authority's area. He wrote an analysis of the statistics and in what was an accurate and impartial account, he used the words "kill" and "perish". When the article appeared, these words had been replaced by euphemistic phrases such as "termination of pregnancy", and his news editor, Tracey Bruce, rang him and told him never to use the words "kill" or "perish" ever again in stories about abortion. Caldwell stood his ground, and after he said that conscience required him to tell the truth, she hung up the telephone. The following day he was required to appear before his editor, Philip Walsh. The Editor demanded an undertaking that there would be no recurrence. Caldwell declined to give such an undertaking and resigned. Secretary's Gross Misconduct Later in 1995 Barbara Hanaway, a medical secretary from Manchester, was sacked from Salford Health Authority for refusing to deal with an abortion. An appointment had been made for a patient to attend the surgery. The woman asked for an abortion. The doctor declined and referred her to her own doctor, telling Janaway to take dictation, type the letter and contact the woman so that she could collect the letter. Hanaway refused on religious grounds saying: "I refused; my conscientious objection was that I was setting the ball in motion. I would have been responsible." She was reported to the practice manager who told her to "get into the real world". She responded that, "This is the real world". The Health Authority dismissed her for gross misconduct. Pharmacist's Moral Dilemma In Belfast, in 1995, Patrick McCrystal lost his job as a pharmacist after he was told to dispense the abortifacient morning-after pill. When I met him in Northern Ireland he explained to me the dilemma he faced over his deeply held religious beliefs. "It threw me into a professional and moral dilemma. I was a pharmacist and a man of faith in a profession trying to promote health and prolong life, and being asked to dispense a pill that terminates a new life. "After wide consultation, prayer and heart-searching, I handed in my notice
and left the post." McCrystal, despite being ready to dispense 98% of daily prescriptions, has been unable to obtain anything other than a few days locum work since. Scientist Told: Conform or be Sacked In 1996, he was joined on the dole queue by Stephen Clark, a 31 year-old scientist from Manchester. He was sacked after he refused, on religious grounds, to monitor emissions from hospital incinerators used to burn aborted foetuses. An environmental chemist with Greater Manchester Scientific Services Ltd., a subsidiary of Southern Water plc, his company obtained a contract with another operating clinical waste incinerators. One of their plants, at Hope Hospital, Salford, took waste from 16 medical centres in the North West. He discovered that among the waste were the remains of aborted unborn babies: "I would no more monitor the stack at a hospital incinerator than I would at the crematoria at Auschwitz. The plant was being used for the incineration of human beings after their wilful murder. I would have been taking part in a process which diminished humanity." He was dismissed and lost his case at an industrial tribunal. Politician Pays Price For Councillor John Livingston from Liverpool, the price to be paid was the City's mayoralty: "Being anxious to help those organisations which offer mothers true choice as an alternative to having babies aborted, I nominated the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children as my mayoral charity for the year". He was told by senior Labour councillors, "Hang on. That's going to be a problem," then later, "You would have made a great lord mayor but two more people have just thrown their hats into the ring. If you were ever to change your views, you could be a candidate another time." The New Intolerance These cases, and many others like them, illustrate the new intolerance. Disregard for religious belief and for personal conscience has not come about all at once. It is inextricably connected to the sustained assault on the sanctity of human life.
Chapter Four The Warnock Committee Since the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act, there has been a continued erosion of respect for human life. The passage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, in 1990, reinforced anti-life attitudes and legislation. It was prefigured by the Warnock Committee Report. It is instructive to study the way in which public opinion was 'softened up', how a committee was loaded and Parliament manipulated. The same trick will be attempted again with euthanasia. Those who follow these issues should understand how the cynical have traduced the democratic process and prevented informed debate. To the detriment of both philosophers and politicians, the umbilical link which existed between the philosopher and the statesman has long been severed. Today, political thought is far more likely to be shaped by spin-doctors, public relations experts and opinion polls than by the flow of ideas. Perhaps this is partly because there are few statesmen any more, just party politicians; but some of it also has to do with compliant philosophers. From time to time it may suit the purposes of a politician or government to wheel out an eminent philosopher, a safe pair of hands, to deliver a verdict with which they know in advance they will be in agreement. In The Man Who Was Thursday, G. K. Chesterton had this to say about such philosophers: "The dangerous criminal is the educated criminal. We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men; my heart goes out to them." More dangerous still, to my mind, is the philosopher who swallows the politicians' agenda and provides them with a veneer of respectability. The genesis of the Warnock Committee and all that flowed from its creation is a case in point. On 18 November 1993, BBC Radio Four broadcast the Analysis programme. The presenter, The Observer columnist, Melanie Phillips laid bare the way in which Parliament was manipulated into passing the 1990 Act. One example concerned the way in which membership of the committee of inquiry was dertermined. On 23 July 1982, the Government had announced the terms of reference for an inquiry into the ethical issues associated with human fertilisation and embryology. This was largely to spike a Private Member's attempt, by the South Down MP, Enoch Powell, to ban embryo experimentation. The ĂŠlitist Oxford philosopher, Baroness Warnock, was appointed to chair the committee, which reported on 18 July 1984. During the course of her interview with Miss Phillips, Mary Warnock admitted that she vetoed the appointment of a particular member of the committee on the grounds of his religion and moral beliefs. Miss Phillips had referred to the construction of the committee, saying: "The shape these committees takes is so important in determining their eventual conclusions".
Baroness Warnock replied: "The potential Chairman is approached either by the Minister or by the Permanent Secretary or both. But, of course, one doesn't know how many other people have been approached. "I sometimes get the feeling really that they sort of wade through dozens of names and then come up with someone who's a sucker and says yes. But, at any rate, after that, the thing is shrouded in mystery really. "There exists what is generally known as the Central List. And the Central List is produced and combed for people who might have an interest in this kind of thing. "I was then given a kind of draft list and asked whether there were any other people I thought would be obvious choices. "Maybe people who were not yet among the great and the good. And I was with some difficulty allowed a power of veto. "There was one particular person who was supposed to be the Catholic and I said I would not have him. "I just knew that I couldn't work with him. We went right up to the day before publication with the civil servants saying, 'But there's nobody else in the world'. "So, in the end, the night before publication, I said, 'Well, will you please tell the Minister that it's a very, very bad way to embark on working on a committee when you know that there's somebody you're not going to find easy to work with'. "The following morning two names were suggested. So I did win on that but it was very, very hard and it took a lot of persistence." When Your face Doesn't Fit Subsequently I wrote to the then Prime Minister, John Major, to protest at the way in which a Parliamentary Committee had been rigged, and to call for a better balance on committees considering ethical questions between those who believe in the sanctity of life and those who do not. My letter received a courteous enough reply but no promise to take any action whatsoever. Britain's statutory impediments on the civil liberties of Catholics - such as the much-cited ban on an heir to the throne marrying a Catholic - are risible and irrelevant in comparison with this form of discrimination. It was not only Catholics, however: Jews, Orthodox Christians, Evangelicals and Muslims were also entirely excluded. Baroness Warnock got her membership and her report. Difficult ethical questions were ruled out of court from the beginning: in her own words, the Committee deliberately excluded "questions of when life or personhood begins" (quoted Daily Mail, 2 February, 1996). As that was one of the central issues in determining the new law, it seemed an extraordinary omission. Although it was not unanimous (having heard the arguments, a handful of members dissented and brought in a minority report), the report was widely cited in both houses of Parliament during the debate which led to the 1990 Act. The Government, having established the Committee, then laid its proposals before Parliament, and hid behind the august figure of Lady Warnock as if the Bill had nothing whatsoever to do with them. In April 1998, she boasted that as a school teacher she had recommended teenage girls to have abortions. She said that Downs Syndrome babies would be better aborted - leading Dominic Lawson, Editor of
The Sunday Telegraph and father of a Downs child, to successfully have her removed as a patron of the Downs Syndrome Society. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority The relative ease with which the Warnock Committee secured its objectives became the model for the composition and operation of the HFEA. Apart from loading its membership with people who share the Warnock view of ethics, the HFEA finances itself from the very clinics it is supposed to police. Fees account for 70% of the Authority's income. This leads to an utterly incestuous relationship. You cannot afford to say 'no' too often (or, in the HFEA's case, ever). The HFEA earns money from the creation of spare embryos because it is funded through the licences it grants to the clinics who create the spares and who then undertake the experiments. In terms of job security and future funding, it has a built-in incentive to make the situation even worse in the future. This is no basis for good ethics. A City the Size of Nottingham On May 3rd 1998, The Sunday Tmes reported that, "Since the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act came into force in 1991, more than 500,000 human embryos have been created. Fewer than half are used in treatment and by March 1996, only about 20,000 babies had been born" from these embryos. They reported that only one in seven attempts is successful and that parents pay ÂŁ3,000-ÂŁ5,000 per attempt. Few parents realise that their surplus embryos are used for experiments. The Sunday Times added that, "The research so far has contributed little to the overall success of fertility treatment ... the embryonic equivalent of the population of a city the size of Nottingham has been lost". The Good Life The membership of the HFEA was chosen so that there would be no squeamishness about the practices it was established to regulate. It has been a mixture of the politically and religiously correct. Liz Forgan, Managing Director of BBC Network Radio (the former editor of The Guardian's women's pages and Programme Director for Channel 4); the Bishop of Edinburgh, Rt. Rev Richard Holloway ("We are all born with adulterous genes and genetic engineering may be compared with corrective medicine, such as the fitting of a pair of glasses." He also defended the Edinburgh scientist who wanted to use the eggs of aborted baby girls for fertility treatments); and the actress Penelope Keith, neighbour of the former Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley, and best-known for her starring role in The Good Life - have all been among the membership. Half are drawn from the medical profession. No Freedom of Information
There is not, and never has been, a single member of the HFEA who upholds the sanctity of human life from fertilisation: such old-fashioned religious belief is thought of as quaint, at best, and dangerous bigotry at worst. The HFEA behaves in an arrogant and unaccountable manner, assuming powers for itself - refusing, for instance, to allow Members of Parliament sight of the study which it undertook into the freezing of embryos. So much for freedom of information, public disclosure and access. The HFEA has also been deceptive - being forced to retract a published claim that French scientists had withdrawn their work demonstrating a link between the freezing of human embryos and subsequent disabilities. A simple telephone call to Paris proved this to be a lie. The Authority has been given extraordinary power by Parliament. The Order allowing clinics to destroy up to 3,000 human embryos, whose parents had been "lost" by the clinics, and which allows embryos frozen for five years to remain in deep freeze for a further five years, was made without a single vote being cast (18 July, 1996). The Order was debated in an obscure committee room on the upper corridor of the House of Commons, with debate-time limited to half an hour. HFEA: Robbing Graves The HFEA has also been radically out of step with public opinion. When the Edinburgh scientist, Roger Gosden sought permission to use the eggs of aborted baby girls for fertility treatment, the HFEA did not demur. It embarked on a public consultation. Parliamentarians were genuinely appalled and immediately approved an amendment, proposed by Dame Jill Knight to the Criminal Justice Bill, outlawing what I described as contemporary grave robbing. That a child should have an aborted foetus as its mother and the aborted girl's mother as its grandmother proved too much for even the most virulent and hardened abortionists though not, apparently for the HFEA. Be clear about the subject on which the HFEA was proposing to hold a public consultation. First a little unborn girl was to be selected out. Then she would be aborted while still alive, in order to protect her tissue and her eggs which the clinic wants to use. They would then rob her ovaries of her eggs, and having plundered her womb, they would kill her. Her child - and perhaps dozens or even hundreds of her brothers and sisters - would then be fertilised and placed in another woman's womb. A woman is at her most fertile at just twenty weeks gestation. At twenty weeks gestation she has 5 million eggs in her womb, 4 million of which are naturally shed between 20 weeks gestation and birth. She is a rich source of organs and tissue. We hear a lot about choice but she has no choice. Her donations are entirely involuntary. The widespread anonymous use of gametes can have other shocking consequences. In America there is already a reported case of a man almost marrying a woman whom he discovered - just before they wed - was his biological daughter. She had been conceived from sperm which he had donated many years previously. In their consultation, the HFEA raised no questions about these considerations. Nor did they raise the issue of parenting. Is it wise for a society to allow the birth of children who, in the fundamental biological sense, have no idea of who they are? What psychological
and identity crises are we sowing for the future? And what do we tell a young man or woman asking the question, "Who am I?" Do you tell them that their mother was a dead foetus and their father was an anonymous sperm donor paid to provide his gametes? "I'm glad I'm not a gamma". Aldous Huxley, Brave New World. HFEA: Model for Others If the HFEA were doing its job it would not only have addressed these ethical and social questions, it would be much clearer in questioning the new proclaimed 'right' to have a child. It would also save infertile couples much trauma and agony if, instead of allowing clinics to tantalise them with photographs of successful births, they made it clear that in the last twelve months, the clinics successfully treated only 1,000 people using in vitro fertilisation. 85% of treatments were unsuccessful. Perhaps it would also be performing its role better if it questioned the costs involved to the NHS and private individuals of performing IVF, while 600 unborn children are daily aborted; babies who would once have been adopted by infertile couples and given loving homes. The HFEA has also helped nurture the false idea that having children is yet another claimed 'right'. The Adoption Alternative Instead of promulgating the 'right' to have a child or to get rid of a child, we would do better to consider our duties to the child,and make the welfare of children the central issue. After speaking at a school in Dublin in the spring of 1998, a teenager asked if I would have a word with him. He particularly made me stop and think about the obstacles which we put in the way of couples who want to adopt a child. His story made me wonder why organisations like the HFEA do not promote adoption as an alternative to abortion and to unethical fertility treaments. This teenager had been adopted. His friends often assumed that he felt bitter towards his mother: "I don't feel any bitterness, only gratitude," he said. "It would have been much easier for my mother to have got rid of me. She showed courage in letting me be born and then in letting me be brought up by my adoptive parents. I have received nothing but love." One teenager's story does not constitute an irrefutable argument, but it is the antidote to the widespread anti-adoption prejudice of many childcare professionals. Just consider the figures. In 1975 there were 21,000 adoptions. By 1995 this had fallen to under 6,000. The adoption of babies fell in the same period from 4,500 to a negligible 322. In one year 322 babies are adopted; in one day 600 babies are aborted - 5 million in the past 30 years. Adoption is the loving alternative to abortion, and to the wholesale destruction of human embryos.
Although there are examples of unhappy children in adoptive homes (and there are examples of unhappy children in their natural homes too), all the evidence suggests that the vast majority of adopted children thrive. The alternatives include leaving children in the local authority care system where they will be far less stable and happy, or denying them the chance to be born in the first place. Many childcare professionals say they are in favour of adoption. In practice they seem to search for any reason to disqualify many applicants. I have a friend who is of mixed race. The political correctness to which he and his wife were subjected when they sought to adopt a child was breathtaking. Other families may be told that while they are having fertility treatments, local authorities will not consider them for adoption. By the time they reach their late thirties and the fertility treatments have not worked, some local authorities then impose an age barrier debarring them from adoption. It is palpably absurd that a couple can start a natural family in their late thirties or early forties but are told that they are too ancient to adopt. In practice, many couples of that age have a stable and settled home and a wisdom which enables them to be very good parents. Instead of adoption, children are shuttled back and forth between council care, foster parents and the original parents (who might have abused or neglected the child and continue to do so), and are often traumatised making a happy adoption far less likely. This is not making the child's needs the central issue. It would be a good start if councils had to publicly state how many children they have in care, the time they have been there, and the number free to be adopted. And where there is no contested application, the adoption process should be completed within three months. If adoption were removed from social service departments and vested in voluntary bodies who are genuinely committed to finding good adoptive homes for children in need of them, there might be more happy teenagers like the one I met in Dublin. It might also reduce the need for bodies like the HFEA. In the future, the HFEA will continue to have great influence as the public debates the nature of human life and the respect which it should be accorded. Its track-record does not commend it for this task. Its failure to impose a moratorium on the freezing of human embryos; its opposition to the adoption of "spare embryos"; its connivance in destructive experiments, and its acquiescence as human life is traded on a commodity market, is a dismal record. Despite this lamentable incompetence, the self-serving HFEA is now, like Lady Warnock's Committee before it, to be a model for others.
Chapter Five The New Battleground: Genetics During a debate in the House of Commons on 19 July 1996, the Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, Sir Giles Shaw MP, revealed that his Select Committee was recommending that a body, based on the HFEA model, would be established to oversee developments in genetics. Such a body has come on the scene, in typical British fashiEA model, would be established to oversee developments in genetics. Such a body has come on the scene, in typical British fashiEA model, would be established to oversee developments in genetics. Such a body has come on the scene, in typical British fashiEA model, would be established EA mEA model, would be estEA model, would be established to oversee developments in genetics. SuEA model, would be established to oversee developments in genetics. Such a body has come on the scene, in typical British fashig critical parameters is obvious; and that an authority based on the HFEA would prove totally inadequate in controlling them is also clear. The Abolition of Man One day, tissue engineering and genetic science will work hand-in-hand. By growing whole limbs and whole bodies, reared in artificial wombs, scientists will be able to create the automatons of science fiction, the slaves of tyrannical regimes. Unless a stop is put to it now it will indeed lead, in C. S. Lewis's graphic phrase, to the "Abolition of Man". Human genes have already been mixed with animal genes. Consumers, because of the absence of explanatory labelling, have no idea of this when they buy products derived from them. Chickens can be made to grow to fullsize in 37 days rather than 84. Cows are bred that yield 2,200 gallons of milk (10,000 litres) a year, and they can even produce human breast milk. Jeeps - a combination of goats and sheep - have been bred; and pigs, weighing 55 stone (350 kg) have been manufactured - fatter, and therefore more commercially valuable, but impotent and arthritic too. If politicians were properly informed, and if an ethical watchdog was doing its job, consumers would be better protected - at least given the information that their bacon had been commercially exploited and genetically engineered. No-one is monitoring the long-term effects on people who are unwittingly eating these unmarked products on a daily basis. Millions are revolted by the obscenities of farming methods. Agricultural workhouses, sheds and factories are a disgrace and should be closed down. Species Boundaries are not Inviolable An ethical approach to such questions would also involve the most profound challenge to the new secular orthodoxies. Take xenotransplants - animal to human transplants - as an example. This is now technically possible and likely to begin
soon. The Government has not published its technical report. What if pig pathogens, for instance, are transmitted to humans? This has horrendous implications. The great and the good at the Nuffield Council approved such practices. But what has happened to the political and ethical debate about the possibility that cross-species transplants might lead to the introduction of dangerous new diseases into the human population? Possible infectious agents include viruses, bacteria, fungi and prion proteins - the agent thought to be responsible for Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease and BSE. In their recommendations, Nuffield say: "Species boundaries, in any case are not inviolable". I wonder how many MPs or the public they represent would agree with that statement - if anybody had actually bothered to ask. Existing agricultural and plant stocks are being eliminated as horticulture is displaced by genetically engineered plants. Ancient resistances and variations which protected species are being wiped out. New diseases and cancers in people and animals will escape the genie's bottle. All this in the name of money, greed and an insatiable desire to dabble in the grotesque. Cross-species manipulation has serious implications for biodiversity and could lead to an unbalancing of the ecosystem. In developing countries especially, where there is often an absence of regulation, the implications are horrific. The long-term effects on agriculture and sustainability are completely unknown. Grossly exaggerated claims have been made by those who have vested interests in these techniques. Conversely, scant regard has been shown for the consequences of the genetic revolution. The Nightmare Kingdoms The state planner will have undreamed of and unparalleled power. He will dress it up to look like power for a parent or patient - and no doubt countless new charters will be issued by Government departments - but we all know what will happen if genetic tests reveal instability, illness, homosexuality, or a low IQ. The nightmare kingdoms will be governed by quality controls and perfection tests. The 21st century will see the emergence of a genetic underclass of the uninsurable, the unbreedable, the unwanted and the unmanned. In this caste system, the suitors, partners and predators will eye your genes with envy or contempt. We will become prisoners of heredity, and slaves of a manipulated reproductive system: British birthright will be replaced by the right birth. Eugenics leads to the suppression of variation and difference. From laws which create a genetic database for the whole population, it is only a small step to laws requiring the data to be lodged with the State; and to compulsion and the elimination of undesirables. Tyranny not Science In 1996, scientists in Edinburgh boasted about how they had cloned two sheep. In 1997, Dolly became Polly - and human genes were 'successfully' mixed with animal genes. What they failed to reveal, in the self-congratulatory scientific reviews that appeared, was that (before Dolly was produced) three other sheep had
died soon after birth and had malformed internal organs. All but one of the five cloned lambs were 20% larger than they should have been - and one lamb grew to twice the normal size. It had to be delivered by caesarean section. Suppression of the full story - of the truth - serves tyranny, not science, and certainly not good ethics. Experimentation thrives on waste and rejection. Individuality is of no significance. Cloning and molecular genetics will undoubtedly violate the delicate balance in nature. Greed to make more money out of unnaturally engineered, but commercially productive, animals will introduce new diseases into the human race. Mad Cow's Disease is our first glimpse into this abyss. The Genetic Underclass In addition, a genetic underclass - a new caste system - of the uninsured will emerge. Genetic screening-out on grounds of IQ, sexuality, behavioural traits or disability will be demanded by consumers, insurers, State planners and politicians. Domestic eugenics will lead to the State's suppressing variation as it seeks to control reproduction. The State will simply create, asexually, an infinite number of copies. Governments like the Chinese - whose population policies have been funded by Britain to the tune of millions of pounds over the past ten years - will extend their existing coercive practices of forced abortion, forced sterilisation, and their one-child policy. In Britain it will be more subtle but just as deadly. The Coming Peril This is the coming peril, in all its unrelieved hideousness. Genetic privacy laws and the strongest possible ethical challenge to this genetic catastrophe are urgently needed. The moral issues and dilemmas posed by this challenge cannot simply be left in the hands of scientists - many of whom seem to think that just because something is possible makes it right. To control these developments we will require something more than the lamentable Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Domestic eugenics, naturally packaged with all the decorum which modern public relations can muster, will lead to routine testing of every pregnancy, raising ethical, and therefore political questions, every bit as complex as the bioethical and scientific ones. If genetic testing becomes routine, then many people will find themselves excluded from the ranks of the insurable, or else asked to pay prohibitively high premiums for conditions which they cannot prevent and may not develop. The absence of proper privacy laws and protection of confidentiality also means it is entirely unclear who should and who should not have access to genetic information: GPs, families, insurance companies - they may all claim rights of access. Who and how are we to decide? Pandora's Box The only people seriously considering these questions at the present time are the people with colossal vested interests. Therapeutically, gene therapy is going nowhere except to accelerate the 40 million annual abortions already taking place worldwide. (Brian Appleyard, Abortion: Time to Think Again, The Independent,
18 July, 1996). Unthinkingly, we are entering a trap. There is no known case of successful gene therapy. When Pandora opened her famous box, the one thing which was left inside was hope. Gene therapy does not even offer that. It does, however, pose phenomenal social and ethical questions with which we have hardly begun to grapple. It will also guarantee psychoanalysts a secure future as they try to unravel the personal identity problems which genetics will create. Considered Debates These questions deserve better than the loaded and partial consideration of those who have a direct vested interest - such as the insurance companies - or another Warnock-style committee, or authority like the HFEA. They have shown themselves to be as effective in ethical matters as the House of Commons Committee policing financial misconduct by MPs. In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick unearthed the molecular structure of DNA. Watson described his breakthrough as "anti-religious". If that is what motivated him, all the more reason for involving those who cherish religious beliefs in challenging the way in which his discovery is being used. The Gospel of Death: Marie Stopes The International Planned Parenthood Federation was established in 1952 and housed rent-free in the offices of the Eugenics Society. As one of their great luminaries, Marie Stopes put it: [No society] "should allow the diseased, the racially-negligent, the careless, the feeble-minded, the very lowest and worst members of the community to produce innumerable tens of thousands of warped and inferior infants". In Britain, genetics and eugenics are shamelessly promoted in pursuit of Marie Stopes's objectives. It is an agenda which has touched the most remote corners of the earth. In China alone, in one year 21 million sterilisations were undertaken, 18 million IUDs inserted, and 14 million abortions performed. Chinese law now permits disabled babies to be killed after birth. Marie Stopes would be a happy woman.
Chapter Six Fascism is Alive and Well "The aim of eugenics is the improvement of the human species by decreasing the propagation of the physically and mentally handicapped (negative eugenics) and by increasing that of the 'more desirable types' (positive eugenics)." Luigi L. Cavalli-Sforza and Walter F. Bodmer, The Genetics of Human Populations, San Francisco, W.H. Freeman 1971, p.753. "Since 1948 there has been a revival of eugenics which, drawing upon the same group of values, [as the old eugenics] prefers a more uniformly and maximally healthy and vigorous, physically and intellectually able population than would arise without intervention. The new eugenics can now draw upon a more sophisticated expertise." David Braine, 'The Human and the Inhuman in Medicine: Review of Issues Concerning Reproductive Technology', in Luke Gormally (editor), Moral Truth and Moral Tradition: Essays in Honour of Elizabeth Anscombe and Peter Geach, Dublin, Four Courts Press, 1994, pp.226-239, pp.238f. "Negative eugenics aims to decrease the propagation of certain types (e.g. the handicapped). The term is used today to describe selective abortion of foetuses with certain conditions." Patricia Spallone, Beyond Conception: The New Politics of Reproduction, London, Macmillan, 1989, p.199. "The child who is born with an IQ of 50 is not going to be of great benefit to itself, or the rest of the world. Negative eugenics is therefore acceptable, by means of genetic counselling, and its use of more modern techniques will also be acceptable." Bernard Davis: Remarks made in the discussion of 'Human genetic information: the legal implications', by Diana Brahams Human Genetic Information: Science, Law and Ethics, Ciba Foundation Symposium 149, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, 1990, p.127. [Eugenics is] "the science of improving stock ... to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable." Francis Galton (a cousin of Charles Darwin), Inquiries into Human Faculty, London, Macmillan, 1883, p.25. "In England in the 1930s leading members of the Eugenics Society established specific lobby organisations. The Voluntary Euthanasia Society originated in 1935. In 1936 the Population Investigation Committee was founded. Also in 1936 the Abortion Law Reform Association was established ... Many of ALRA's activists were members of the Eugenics Society and birth-control lobbyists, such as Marie Stopes, Margaret Pyke, Helena Wright, Helen Brook, the Houghtons, the Laskis,
C. P. Blacker and Julian Huxley. "Abortion is integral to the current dominant population control ideology, and IPPF remains one of the four main agencies providing aid for abortion ... IPPF's 'safe motherhood' policy includes the ever wider availability of what it calls 'safe and legal abortion' for all, including adolescents. It lobbies aggressively for abortion law reform from Ireland to Poland, from Latin America to the Philippines. It seeks universal acceptance of the planned parenthood ideology on the pretext of meeting what are called 'unmet family planning needs'. Everywhere throughout the world where IPPF has been at work the results are the same: more contraception, more sterilisation and more chemical and surgical abortion." Rev. Dr John Berry The American Experience In 1995, on arriving for his fourth pastoral visit to the United States, Pope John Paul II once again laid down the markers for Christian-liberal engagement - and ran into predictably heavy criticism. His message was one of personal responsibility. He urged Americans not to turn their backs on the rest of the world and to fulfil what he described as its "heavy responsibilities" to be a "model of a democratic society at an advanced stage of development". This, he insisted, would not happen if America became "less sensitive, less caring towards the poor, the weak, the strange and the needy". In reality, contemporary American society is a grossly disordered and violent society. USA Today, at the end of 1995, conducted a telephone survey of 1,000 11-17 year-olds and personal interviews with 120 seven to ten year-olds. They found that over two-thirds of them worried about getting shot or stabbed. 40% of 14-17 year-old girls claimed to know someone in their age group who had been hit or beaten by a boyfriend. Of 11 and 12 year-olds, at least one in five knew someone their age in a gang; 10% knew someone who had a gun; and 12% knew someone who had been the victim of physical abuse by an adult. The Director of America's Children Now, Lois Salisbury, commented on the findings: "My fear was nuclear war ... but that bomb never went off. These kids fear violence and harm. And those bombs are going off all around them." In his book America (1988), Jean Beaudrillard says that the real purpose of Disneyland is to obscure the fact that all of America is the "true" Disneyland. Indeed, the unreality, the illusion and the violence so characteristic of American television and film culture has become the essence of Western popular culture. Civic society is radically affected by it. Reality and Fantasy Ian Mitroff and Warren Bennis argue in The Unreality Industry (1989) that the deliberate creation of unreality is one of the most important forces shaping contemporary culture. Things unreal, people unreal, and behaviour unreal, have become a standard point of reference. As the flickering box has replaced the hearth as the centre of our family and individual lives, it has shaped opinion and outlook. Mitroff and Bennis say of America :"We have empowered TV to become one of
the most powerful forces in our lives. The consequence is that TV not only defines what is reality, but much more importantly and disturbingly, TV obliterates the very distinction, the very line between reality and unreality." Crucial decisions affecting personal and civic life are frequently made on the basis of television propaganda or in the mistaken belief that advertising depicts reality. Distortion, revision, manipulation and the blending of the real and unreal, all have serious implications for what we believe and the way we live. Is it any wonder that Americans - and they are not alone - no longer know what to believe? Pilate asked, "What is truth?" The mass media would certainly not have you believe that truth is to be found in the words addressed to America by Pope John Paul. Instead, he is caricatured as a dangerous illiberal reactionary trying to impose outmoded forms of living on people who have outgrown that sort of nonsense. John Paul is, in fact, echoing Christ in his Sermon on the Mount. Yet, in America today, notwithstanding the fulminations of America's Religious Right, traditional religious belief has been suspended as a significant factor in government policy and law-making and, via the exclusion of religious people, from public life. The evangelical, John Whitehead, Director of America's Rutherford Institute, has admirably documented this in his book Religious Apartheid (1995). Christian writers such as Jim Wallis (The Soul of Politics, Harper Collins 1994), and groups such as the Bruderhof Community (who publish The Plough) have intelligently begun to build a coherent pro-life politics to challenge contemporary American attitudes. The task is an urgent one. The American Nightmare American post-Christian culture is arid: twenty million abortions, now accompanied by the harvesting of tiny body parts and the harvesting of brain-tissue from the unborn; armed guards and metal detectors at state schools, which make them look more and more like prisons; children returning to empty houses where they watch violent junk television, consume junk food and then down-load from the Internet. These are glimpses of a violent, materialistic, nihilistic culture. Whitehead paints a depressing picture of parents who have been undermined; of religious people in the workplace who have been ridiculed or harassed; of college students forced into lifestyles which they do not desire; of intolerance in academia and the medical professions. In a number of cases in recent years, the Rutherford Institute, which specialises in the defence of religious freedom, has mounted legal challenges. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which governs all American college football teams, issued a directive penalising any individual display of religion, such as prayer, during a game. After Rutherford filed their lawsuit, it was subsequently withdrawn. In Michigan, an eight year-old boy was subjected to psychological counselling against the express wishes of his parents. An untrained school counsellor used techniques which led to the child developing a separation anxiety so severe that he will require long-term medical care. The lower courts ruled that the parents had no rights to demand prior parental consent.
In New York, a schoolgirl was given contraceptive pills without parental consent or knowledge, and the school falsified documents to enable her to attend a local 'planned parenthood' clinic. The girl subsequently became seriously ill. Throughout the United States religious advertisments have been barred from classified sections of newspapers and telephone directories. A pastry shop in Pennsylvania was refused an entry in the business pages of the local directory, explaining its decision not to trade on Sundays: "God's Service is Better than Ours". Liberal-led organisations are not merely obstructive. The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, has sued a West Virginia Board of Education because the Board allowed businessmen to donate bibles one day a year to students who requested them. In Michigan, the State Bar Association has told the Christian Legal Society it must give up its articles of faith if it is to be admitted to membership. In Missouri, a fourth-grade student has been disciplined and subjected to ridicule by his school because he was attempting to a say a private and voluntary prayer of thanks before eating his lunch in the school cafeteria. In Massachussetts, a school hired a comedienne to give a school assembly presentation entitled "Hot, Sexy and Safer". Students were brought to the stage and asked to participate in explicit simulation. The doors to the hall were closed and students refused permission to leave. In Oregon, a prison official was sacked for providing the name of a clergyman to a terminally-ill inmate who had requested religious counselling. In New York, the authorities have attempted to stop two groups of Orthodox Jews from gathering for religious purposes, and in Hawaii two Buddhist nuns have had to file law suits to be allowed to continue long-standing religious worship in their own homes. The Maginot Line However, in the United States, as in Britain, the main theatre of conflict between the values of secular humanist liberals and Jews and Christians has been over bioethic15:02 03/08/01al questions and medical ethics, particularly abortion. This is the American Maginot Line. One case involves a young woman who sat at the entrance to an abortion clinic and read her bible. The clinic itself produced video material which showed that she was not causing an obstruction, talking to everyone, or behaving in any way violently. The judge who tried the case heard charges of criminal trespass. He said that if the woman had been wearing a button or holding material supporting abortion, he would not have sentenced her to prison. For reading her bible she was jailed and served several months in prison. The abortion issue, in the run-up to the Presidential elections, became a major political question. First, President Clinton fuelled the debate by refusing to sign a new bill passed by Congress outlawing partial-birth abortions. Congress also debated the Administration's continuing policy of financing overseas abortion. Attacking from right-wing positions, the Republican contender, Pat Buchanan, turned these issues to his advantage and mounted a major challenge against Bob Dole - finally extracting from the successful Presidential candidate promises to modify the present laws. Many claimed that his views were not sincerely held and inevitably unravelled during the campaign. Clinton, meanwhile, campaigned on a no-change,
pro-choice ticket. The courts, which are administered by like-minded appointees, have become increasingly combative and partial when questions involving abortion come before them. Clinton was defending the status quo and caricatured pro-lifers as extremists. In Dallas, a federal judge ruled in favour of an obstetrician who claimed that several pro-life organisations had harassed him at the hospital where he works, and at home. Dr Norman Tompkins was awarded a staggering $8.6 million. Courts attack pro-lifers and uphold the laws which suit them. The Supreme Court has refused to review a Colorado lower court's rejection of a State ban on Medicaidfunded abortion in cases of rape and incest. Colorado's abortion policy only allowed State funds for an abortion to save the life of a mother. Colorado will be forced to leave the Medicaid programme unless it conforms by amending its state constitution. In Ohio, the State outlawed late abortions. The banned procedure involves partially delivering the unborn child. Before it is delivered, the skull of the foetus is punctured and the brains are sucked out. This collapses the head, killing off the baby, and allowing for an easier passage through the birth-canal. The Ohio law was challenged by the Women's Medical Professional Corporation and Dr Martin Haskell, an abortionist. US District Judge, Walter Rice, ruled that partial-birth abortions appeared to present less threat to a mother's health than other abortion operations, and that the state law should be set aside. Roe v. Abortion Ironically, 1996 also saw the decision of Jane Roe - whose Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade (1973), led to legalised abortion in America - to publicly repudiate abortion and to announce her decision to embrace Christianity. This change of heart might ultimately be seen to have been as decisive a moment in the abortion debate as her original court case. Leading feminists, such as Naomi Woolf, have also significantly changed their attitudes. The abortion issue is one of the most potent symbols of the centralisation of power by an over-weening liberal establishment in Washington. More than 20 million abortions have been performed in the USA since 1973. That is about equal to 8% of the US population. Not only has the issue divided American opinion along pro-life/pro-choice lines but it has also had constitutional ramifications. Up to 1973, the US Constitution left the choice of making laws on abortion to individual states, some of which had liberal rules, while others had total prohibition. In 1973, the issue was taken away from State legislature by the Supreme Court - and the issue was put into its own hands. The State legislatures are elected, and the Supreme Court is not. There is no reference whatever to abortion in the US Constitution, and a major complaint of those who opposed the Supreme Court's seizure of jurisdiction is that Roe v. Wade was contrary to the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. This says that, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the
people". For the liberal, with a presumed belief in constitutionality and subsidiarity, what transpired in Roe v. Wade should have excited outrage. Because centralised, unelected authorities used their powers to impose liberal abortion laws, the argument about the usurping of power went by default. Post-Maastricht, there is a sobering lesson here for Europe. A United States of Europe, modelled on American federalism, would give to the European Court the same rights to overturn national laws. Under the sheep's clothing of human rights legislation, antilife measures and restrictions on churches are already being promoted via the European Union. Unwilling or unable to bring about legislative change through national debate and national legislation, unelected courts and European directives are being used in precisely the same way as the American abortion lobby used the Supreme Court. Jane Roe's change of heart has re-opened the debate in America. Naomi Woolf says it is untenable to simply go on sloganising that a foetus is a clump of tissue or blob of jelly. Although this has changed the terms of debate, it has not altered the Supreme Court's ruling, and it is worth reflecting on whether liberals would abide by the law if it were changed. Respect for the law and those who uphold it is a central Christian belief. Aquinas may have argued that, "An unjust law is no law at all", but most religious believers are scrupulous about trying to stay within the law. Christ told his followers to render unto Caesar, and Pauline teaching commands a respect for civil institutions. Even Thomas More, Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Chancellor "the King's good servant but God's first" - expended much of his considerable intellectual energy in trying to find a formula which would allow him to recognise Henry Vlll's illicit marital actions while clinging to his conscience. As Lord Chancellor, he was acutely aware of the importance of upholding authority and maintaining a respect for the law. It was only in extremis that he ultimately had to repudiate the King and pay the price. "Thou shalt not kill" - the sanctity of human life - is not an afterthought, part of a catechism of Mosaic Law. Christians believe it is a command from God. It is one of the pillars of Judaeo-Christian belief, and as such, non-negotiable for orthodox believers. It is not surprising that this should be at the heart of the clash between liberalism and religious belief. It raises the classic issues of rights and responsibilities, choice and consquences, the powerful versus the weak, accountability and autonomy. In a desperate defence of the perceived gains of the past twenty years, the liberal will now even concede the humanity of the unborn child (Life's Dominion, Ronald Dworkin, Harper Collins 1993) but insist that a greater good is protected by abortion laws. The religious believer, upholding the sanctity of life, is caricatured as a bigoted misogynist; illiberal and intolerant. Above all others, in America and in Britain, this has become the line which divides Christians, Jews and Muslims from their opponents.
Chapter Seven Scotland: The Highland Clearances On 15 January, the first rent-day of 1814, and in bitter snow-driven weather, Sellar arrived at _Achness. With Mr MacKenzie the minister as his host, ally and interpreter, he gave notice to _those tenants whom he wished to quit his property at Whitsuntide. Others were told that their time for removal would come later and still more of the people were warned that within four years Mr Young proposed to clear the whole of Strathnaver from Altnahara to Dunvedin and place it under sheep. Meanwhile a surveyor would come north as soon as the spring thaw permitted and would lay out those new lots on the coast where Lord Stafford had decided the people should now live. The surveyor did indeed come with the melting snow, but left immediately because of illness in his family, and although he returned in May his work was still unfinished when Whitsunday came. Confused, uneasy, and stubbornly reluctant to leave the known for the unknown, the people remained where they were. In April beef prices had fallen with the end of the long European war, and the year ahead promised to be a hard one for all Highlanders who still lived on a black-cattle economy. In spring, too, fodder was always scarce, and now there was even less of it. As soon as the snows melted, Sellar's principal shepherd, John Dryden, had come to burn tens of square miles of dead heath so that cotton grass and deer hair might grow more richly for the coming sheep. Burning to prepare pastures was no new thing in the hills, but never had it been done here on so vast a scale. Much of the townships' muir-pasturage was burnt, and the Strathnaver cattle roamed raw-ribbed in search of food. There was more to make the people despair. In previous removals the evicted had been allowed to take their house-timbers with them for use in the building of new homes. Now it was learnt that the moss-fir was henceforth to be burned when it was torn from the cottages. The people were to be paid the value of the wood, or the value which Sellar set upon it, but this was no compensation at all in a land so sparsely timbered as Sutherland. John Prebble, The Highland Clearances, pp.7677, Penguin Books, 1969 One of Malthus's main concerns was that the excess population in Ireland would eventually have serious implications for Britain, due to the proximity of the two islands. The surplus Irish population would be tempted to emigrate to Britain, especially as wages were far higher on the mainland. Malthus warned that the outcome of this would be to depress both wages and normal standards within Britain. The need to protect Britain was obvious. Malthus, however, offered a solution. The population of Ireland, particularly in the poorest part of the agricultural sector, had to be reduced. In a widely quoted comment to Ricardo he explained that: "...the land in Ireland is infinitely more peopled than in England; and to give full effect to the natural resources of the country, a great part of the
population should be swept from the soil." Christine Kinealy, This Great Calamity, p.16, Gill & Martin, 1994 In April 1974, Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's National Security Advisor, sent the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Director of Central Intelligence and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, a memorandum entitled Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests. In a confidential memo sent with NSSM 200 (National Security Study Memorandum 200) the following year to President Ford (Nixon's successor), Kissinger recommended the need to assert "US leadership in population matters". NSSM 200 - eventually declassified in July 1989 - sets out U.S. concern at the economic and security consequences of a projected decline in U.S. population relative to the rest of the world, from 6% in 1950 to 4% by 2010. At the same time developing countries were expected to rise from about 75% to about 81% of world total, with an accompanying rise in consumption and cost of natural resources, causing "grave problems which could impinge on the U.S." (The report acknowledges, incidentally, that though the U.S. constitutes only 6% of the world's population, it consumes a third of its goods.) In November 1975, National Security Decision Memorandum 314 (NSDM 314) was issued, endorsing the policies recommended by Kissinger. "The political consequences of current population factors in developing countries may create political or even national security problems for the U.S." (NSSM 200, Introduction p. 10) Foreign population control becomes, therefore, a matter of U.S. security: "The U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States." (ibid. p.43) The advice, therefore was "That the President and the Secretary of State treat the subject of population control as a matter of paramount importance" (p.18). Implementation of the policy was to be achieved by: l education by American diplomats of the leaders of LDCs [less developed countries] l linking development aid to population control projects l "piggy-backing" birth-control programmes onto medical aid l media propaganda
l making use of other interested parties like the UN's World Health Organisation, the UN Fund for Population Activities (re-named the UN Population Fund in 1987), UNICEF and the World Bank. "With a greater commitment of Bank resources and improved consultation with AID and UNFPA, a much greater dent could be made on the overall problem." (p.149) Opposition The World Population Conference in Bucharest in August 1974, demonstrated the certainty of opposition to population control: "There was general consternation, therefore, when at the beginning of the conference the [World Population Plan of Action] was subjected to a slashing, five-pronged attack led by Algeria, with the backing of several African countries; Argentina, supported by Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, and more limitedly, some other Latin-American countries; the Eastern European group (less Romania); the PRC and the Holy See." (pp. 86-87) "There is also the danger that some LDC leaders will see developed country pressures for family planning as a form of economic or racial imperialism; this could well create a serious backlash." (p.106) Real motives had to be masked and criticism had to be forestalled: "The US can help to minimise charges of an imperialist motivation behind its support of population activities by repeatedly asserting that such support derives from a concern with: (a) the right of the individual to determine freely and responsibly their number and spacing of children ... and (b) the fundamental social and economic development of poor countries". (p. 115) Efforts should be made to assist leaders in developing countries to "relate population policies and family planning programs to major sectors of development: health, nutrition, agriculture, education, social services, organised labor, women's activities and community development." (Introduction p. 21) Demand and Supply The report also recognises that merely supplying birth-control devices was not enough to ensure a reduced birth-rate. Efforts would have to be made to change the attitudes of those with "inadequate motivation" by long-term strategies which, for instance, stressed "choice", "minimal levels of education, especially for women" and "education and indoctrination of the rising generation of children, regarding the desirability of smaller family size." (p.111) National Security Decision Memorandum 314 accepted the proposals of NSSM 200. A Task Force was established and US ambassadors were enlisted to help implement policies. Nations were categorised as "committed" (mainly Asia including China and India, the Caribbean, North Africa and the Pacific and Indian Oceans) or "uncommitted". "Countries uncommitted to population programs include most of Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, with a combined population of about three-quarters of a billion people. Population policies of these nations range from the pro-
natalism of a few to the non-commitment of most of the other where, in varying degree, family planning is tolerated or even encouraged. Abortion is generally abhorred and sterilisation disfavored." (NSDM 314, Annex 1, p. 28) Factors in these countries which were seen to limit commitment to US population control include "religious influences", "racialism, tribalism, and traditionalism", "preoccupation with other, more immediate issues", a conviction that there was no need to limit population growth and a belief that "economic development will solve the problem", and "ignorance". (NSDM 314 Annex 1, pp. 28-29) Strategy "(1) Strong direction from the top. (2) Developing community or peer pressures from below. (3) Providing adequate low-cost health-family planning services that get to the people. With regard to (1) population programs have been particularly successful where leaders have made their positions clear, unequivocal, and public, while maintaining discipline down the line from national to village levels, marshalling governmental workers (including police and military), doctors, and motivators to see that population policies are well administered and executed. Such direction is the sine-qua-non of an effective program." ... and might include: ... "incentives such as payment to acceptors for sterilization, or disincentives such as giving low priorities in the allocation of housing and schooling to those with larger families." (Annex 1, p. 26) Two further tactics were suggested whereby attention might be drawn away from population control: First by giving Stopesian emphasis to the advantages of birth-control for women's health, status and independence, and secondly by the use of a variety of euphemisms: "In the case of LDC countries uncommitted to population programs, our efforts must be fine-tuned to their particular sensitivities and attitudes. In the main we should avoid the language of 'birth-control' in favor of 'family-planning' or 'responsible parenthood', with the emphasis being placed on child spacing in the interests of the health of the child and mother and the well-being of the family and community." (p. 7) Attacking the Roots "Family planning services and information alone are not likely to bring birth rates down to current LDC target levels, much less to stable population levels which would require an average family of only slightly more than two children. As emphasised at the World Population Conference and elsewhere, many parents apparently want three or more children even when safe, effective, acceptable and affordable family planning services are readily available. Thus development policies and programs can be specifically tailored to change the social, cultural and economic milieu to encourage smaller families, thereby effectively complementing better family planning services and information." (p.16) From Information Project for Africa, Washington DC
A Conspiracy against Life "... In this way a kind of 'conspiracy against life' is unleashed. This conspiracy involves not only individuals in their personal, family or group relationships, but goes far beyond, to the point of damaging and distorting, at the international level, relationships between peoples and States. Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995, p.22. Almost 25 years have passed since NSSM 200 made these proposals: l Manipulating less developed countries and their governments l Piggy-backing birth-control onto medical aid l Media propaganda l Using the UN to 'front' U.S. populationism l Masking its motives with Stopesian emphasis on women's rights and independence l Utilising euphemisms like 'responsible parenthood' l Bribery in pushing birth-control, abortion and sterilisation l 'Disincentives' for those who object l Attacking traditional cultural and religious beliefs l The indoctrination of children. Chapter Seven examines the success of strategies employed by a most powerful new alliance in the implementation of these policies throughout the world. It looks at some of the most profound results achieved and considers the slow but vital fightback by a number of groups, including an increasingly effective Muslim lobby at the U.N. Life at the UN America and the Western nations have increasingly come to see the United Nations as their plaything. It can be used to give a convenient gloss when the West needs to take military action to protect its interests. It can safely be ignored when it is critical of their actions. The UN epitomises the best and worst of post-war liberalism. At its best it represents a genuine attempt to draw nations closer together; to seek a collaborative response to common problems. Agencies combating famine, distributing relief, and policing conflicts all earn considerable admiration. Increasingly, however, in the area of social development, and pariticularly population control, the UN has tried to impose a Western liberal
agenda on developing countries. This has opened up another front between secular societies and nations where religious values shape public policy. Since the first major world population conference was held by the UN, in 1974, Western nations have increasingly made development lending and economic assistance contingent on adherence to the West's population targets. Shortly after that conference, the United States Government participated in drawing up the National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM200). When it was de-classified in 1990, it revealed a strategy to 'educate' non-complying leaders in the virtues of the World Population Action. It also proposed using the United Nations as a front, so that the link with the United States would be less apparent: "Development of such a perception could create a serious backlash adverse to the cause of population stability". The report singled out non-governmental organistions (NGOs) and bodies such as the World Bank, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, as useful instruments for promoting population control. The potentially pressurising role of the World Bank was especially stressed: "With a greater commitment of Bank resources ... a much greater dent could be made on the overall problem". To make population control more acceptable, it would be piggybacked onto more health-care programmes. In voting for the latter, you would get the former. Few of the developing nations were, however, fooled by the subterfuge, and it gradually became apparent that if overt liberal governments and surreptitious pressure did not work, a more coercive approach would be required. Malthus and the Irish Famine In 1798, Malthus wrote his famous essay on population, in which he advised repealing the Corn Laws as they "create the poor which they maintain". Five years later, he revised his proposal, urging coercive legislation targeted at poor families who reproduced. Any child born within a year or two of the passage of the new law would be ineligible for relief. Malthus offered a solution: "The land in Ireland is infinitely more peopled than in England; and to give full effect to the natural resources of the country, a great part of the population should be swept away from the soil. " He was largely responsible for the policies pursued by Britain in Ireland during the famine years, and which punished the destitute by withholding food. It was claimed that the Irish population of eight million was unsustainable (Christine Kinealy, This Great Calamity, Gill & Macmillan, 1994). Modern followers of Malthus dominate the United Nations and its agencies. Like Malthus, their first strategy was a tougher economic approach. In 1992, the World Bank published Population and the World Bank: Implications from Eight Case Studies. This study cited the example of Senegal, and showed how the US Administration exerted economic pressure to establish a Government population policy. Once it had the status of a programme, a framework was created "under which the many donors wishing to fund discreet population projects may now do so in a more co-ordinated and rational manner". Having established a
programme, a raft of external advisers is appointed to shape and implement the policy. The liberal love of euphemism is then deployed: the term 'population control' is replaced by phrases like 'safe motherhood' and 'child spacing'. Liberal impatience invariably leads to a cruder approach. 'Don't do as I do ... Do as I say': Ireland Yesterday, Africa Today The Bank admits that the "programme may run counter to the basic spiritual beliefs and emotions of African society", and admits that in Asia they have had to resort to "various degrees of coercion". In 1989 the World Bank published Ethical Approaches to Family Planning in Africa (by F. T. Sai and K. Newman). It includes a description of how intra-uterine devices were promoted in Zaire. The authors complain that in one district, after two local women "suffered excessive bleeding", a trained midwife removed more IUDs than she inserted. Such staff were described as "passing on their prejudice and ignorance to clients" and behaving "unethically". The Bank also complains that in countries such as Kenya and India, "There have been consistent reports of underspending". To rectify this, it is suggested that the demand for population control should be linked to incentives and disincentives. This includes cash payments to those who accept sterilisation and cuts in salary, the removal of tax exemptions, and withdrawal of preferred housing and schools from those who reproduce too often. They also proposed community incentives, citing one example from Thailand where "additional grants to the village were predicated upon an increase in contraceptive prevalence". The report adds that, "Governments should apply those measures that respect voluntary choice before moving to more restrictive measures". It is instructive to speculate on the effect such measures would have on the electoral prospects of Western liberal political parties if such measures were included within their election manifestos for application in their domestic environment. Liberals have become the new imperialists. The New Imperialists Perhaps the most revealing statement in the World Bank's report is that the Continent is "well endowed with minerals (including oil), and so far only a fraction of this wealth has been extracted ... many areas are substantially underpopulated [and] could easily support much larger numbers". Although the report, not unreasonably, then concludes that "Africa might eventually accommodate several times its present population", it proposes that "A reasonable target would be for Africa to follow the rate of fertility-decline already achieved by other developing countries". Early nineteenth century British politicians feared a large Irish population. Just as their late twentieth- century counterparts fear the political implications of a susbstantial African population. The Information Project for Africa, based in Washington DC, says that to achieve population targets in countries like Kenya, the Bank attached conditions to structural adjustment loans. These included establishing a co-ordinating agency for population activities outside the Ministry of Health. Kenya was then urged to include sterilisation as a means of population-control. In Malawi, the Bank claimed to have successfully 'orchestrated' policy development. Previously, Malawi and Zambia "were both pro-
natalist". In Senegal, the Bank made population-control "a condition for release of the second of the third structural adjustment loans" after their plans ran into local opposition. Once the policy was accepted, the Bank offered a human resources loan to Senegal - conditional upon its removing restrictions on family planning services. By the 1980s, there was a massive escalation in population-control measures. Despite the conclusions of America's National Academy of Sciences (1986: Population Growth and Economic Development: Policy Questions), that population-growth is, in most circumstances, an asset to developing countries, the United States Government concluded that population-growth in developing countries constituted a threat to American hegemony. Although the Academy stated that, "There is no evidence to suggest that drastic financial or legal restrictions on childbearing are warranted", liberal politicians have wilfully ignored reputable academic conclusions. Why? Paul Kennedy, in The Twenty First Century (Random House, 1993), has a blunt enough explanation. He says that fear among the Western nations and former colonial powers leads to "resentment against other people who reproduce at a faster pace - the assumption being that, as in a Darwinian struggle, the faster-growing species will encroach upon and eventually overwhelm a population with static or declining numbers". European and American families with very few children are "vacating space" for faster-growing ethnic groups, in their inner cities and outside their national boundaries. Contrast these draconian measures with the Bank's attitude towards poverty (the key issue in determining family-size and population levels). In 1945, the developed nations accounted for 40% of the world's population. In 1996, they accounted for 20%, and this could fall to as little as 12%. Per capita, about 10% of the people of the world consume more than 90% of the world's resources. The Bank and the United Nations - and those who control them - seem indifferent to these questions in comparison with their obsession with population. It is instructive that as hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on the Millennium Dome, onethird of Africans in grossly indebted countries will die before the age of 40. Cancelling debt in Uganda (ÂŁ49 million) would save 398,000 children under five, 13,000 women who will die in childbirth, and provide education for two million children. It would require different priorities - pro-life priorities - not people-hating priorities. New Nations Fight Back By the 1990s the developing nations had begun to appreciate the nature of the new colonialism. In 1996, the last major UN conference of the century was held in Istanbul. The Conference on Habitat followed conferences in Cairo (1994) and Beijing (1995), which both set out to impose worldwide policies on population. The West produced ambiguously-worded definitions of what constituted a family, and draconian measures for "reproductive health". They were opposed by the Group of 77 (G77). These countries gathered sufficient votes to inflict a stunning defeat on the liberals. They passed votes which re-affirmed the importance of
parental rights; guaranteed respect for member states' religious and ethical values; recognised the family as the basic unit of society (rather than the formula proposed by the Canadian delegation to extend the definition to include same-sex relationships); and deleted all references to reproductive health except one which was sufficiently precisely defined not to be used as a cover for enforced abortion in the developing world. The G77 countries took their stand against a background of concern about continued funding of the Chinese People's Population Association (CPA) by the United Nations Fund for Population Activity (UNFPA). Despite repeated denials by the UNFPA that it endorses the coercive methods deployed by the CPA, its continued funding of the CPA has stirred deep-seated opposition in the developing world. There is also a widely held view - argued persuasively by Nick Eberstadt in The True State of the Planet (American Institute, Washington) and by Elizabeth Leargin's Information Project for Africa - that the population issue has been distorted and manipulated on behalf of Western interests. In turn, this has enabled the UNFPA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) - which also has its roots in the eugenics movements - to argue that population must be controlled urgently. Population control has become a new colonialism. It has enabled developed countries to offload their contraceptives along with their consciences. Instead of tackling the root causes of poverty and alleviating misery, they claim to be helping through population measures. In most poor countries, all the evidence shows that as poverty and the incidence of child mortality declines, population falls naturally. The World Health Organisation also points out that the most reliable way of planning a family is through natural methods rather than chemical invasion, which can damage women's long-term health. Sexual Satisfaction Guaranteed The resolutions placed before the Istanbul Conference were of a piece with those which were laid, less than a year earlier, at the Fourth World Conference on Women, at Beijing, where the radical feminist lobby, ironically (given the location of the conference and total lack of any of the women coercively aborted or sterilised by the Chinese) imposed their Western agenda on the delegates. Resolutions denigrated religious and cultural values, marginalised the family, parents and marriage. One resolution talked of women being given guarantees of sexual satisfaction. The writer and journalist Mary Kenny wryly asked who would police such a resloution and what sanctions might be imposed. Forty-seven countries expressed reservations on parts of the Beijing document - mostly on the sections dealing with sexual and reproductive health, adolescent sexuality, abortion and parental rights language. One African delegate asked: "Is this a conference about women, or is it about population and sex?" Developing countries were able to secure at least minimal recognition of the importance of women as mothers, the family as the basic unit of society, the rights of sovereign nations and the importance of religion in women's lives. At paragraph 25, the statement was inserted that, "Religion, spirituality and belief play a central role in the lives of
millions of women and men". At paragraph 30, the words, "Women should play a critical role in the family. The family is the basic unit of society and as such should be strengthened," were also added. The contribution of the liberal, developed nations - led by an intransigent European Union - was to make vigorous efforts to remove all references to human dignity; to portray the family and marriage as impediments to women's self-realisation, and to remove all reference to religion and ethics. The fiercest battles revolved around the language of 'rights', and there was a relentless battle to create new abortion- and sexual rights, to diminish parental rights, and to dismiss gender differences. Pregnancy was increasingly caricatured as a disease, and sterilisation and population-control measures as corrective medicine to cure it. The ultimate nightmare has occurred in China where Western liberals were having their 1995 conference. The Ulitimate Nightmare In China, the United Nations Family Planning Association and the International Planned Parenthood Federation have funded the Chinese Population Association. They, in turn, have been responsible for China's one-child policy and have practised widespread forced abortion and forced sterilisation of women to achieve it. Not only is it illegal for a child to have a brother or sister, but new eugenics laws allow disabled babies to be killed after birth. No Chinese women were permitted to attend the 1996 conference to speak about their experiences. Moving the Goalposts In order to secure the gains of Beijing, the Western liberals used all their expertise in formulating the Istanbul agenda and in determining which delegates would be there. In what amounted to a privatisation of diplomacy, a new range of delegates was created for Istanbul. The diplomatic goalposts were shifted to suit liberal interests. The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were allowed to participate in working group meetings, and the 'Women's Caucus', together with the United States delegation, proposed that they should also have the right to speak at the informal drafting sessions. This substantially reduced the speaking rights of the smaller nations and gave extraordinary rights to non-elected, self-appointed denizens of Western-based pressure groups. The liberal agenda-setters also knew that small countries, such as Catholic Malta or Guatemala, could only afford to send tiny delegations, often dwarfed by the highly organised, well-financed and articulate NGOs. Several other G77 countries, including Venezuela, El Salvador and Honduras declined to attend, perhaps believing - after their experiences at the earlier conferences at Cairo and Bejing - that their resources could be better used. The chalk and cheese nature of the delegations graphically illustrated liberal priorities in comparison with those of developing nations. The West sent teams of professional negotiators; the G77 nations often opted for civil engineers or urban planners. Sophisticated politicians such as Baroness Lynda Chalker, who headed the British delegations in China and Egypt, have a long track-record of promoting
population-control - of financing the CPA and of defending the UNFPA. The epitome of illiberal paternalism, she is well versed in the hidden meanings of diplomatic language and modern UN terminology. Even the official language of the conference, English, gave some delegates an added advantage over others. This was compounded by the complete absence of translation services at a raft of important meetings. Despite all of these disadvantages, the G77 countries learnt from their earlier setbacks. Beijing and Cairo had seen flagrant abuses; they were ready for more of the same at Istanbul. The chairmen of working groups at Beijing had ignored delegations such as those from Slovakia and the Holy See, while constantly calling delegations they favoured, such as Canada. Delegations themselves ignored their own governments' declared policies and substituted radical statements which had never been approved by governments or national parliaments. Delay and Conquer At Istanbul, procedural abuses were immediately challenged, and incidents such as blatant miscounting of votes were not allowed to pass. The strategy of recognising NGOs was also countered. Pro-family lobby groups lined up to join the Women's Caucus and Zero Population Growth. They exposed the differences between overseas radical rhetoric and the declared policies honed for domestic consumption. The Australian delegation resiled on its initial support for Canada's motion to exclude parental rights from the document after the pro-family NGOs turned the issue into a cause cĂŠlĂ¨bre in Australia. They went on to expose the hidden language and the concealed agenda behind loaded words such as 'reproductive health' - UN code for abortion on demand. The Western delegations used every procedural device known to man. By extending discussion late into the night and by extending the session beyond the time delegations had booked for return flights home, they hoped to filibuster the objectors. In the end, Argentina, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Qatar, Malta and others resisted what was dubbed the 'delay-and-conquer' strategy. The Mask Slips In addition to the procedural tactics, implicit and overt threats were made to countries dependent on overseas aid that these programmes might be cut off if there were not compliance. The mask of liberal tolerance sometimes slips to reveal a less attractive face. Istanbul proved to be a watershed in the battle to control families and reproduction. The Western agenda was, for the first time, successfully resisted by the G77 nations. Major players among the G77 were societies shaped by strong religious convictions - the Catholic and Muslim countries. At Cairo in 1994, attempts to silence the Holy See simply reinforced their resolve to forge these new and previously unlikely coalitions - and to better understand the methods and antics of their opponents. In 1994, R. J. Navarro-Valls, Director of the Holy See Press Office in Rome, set out the Vatican's position in an article in The Wall
Street Journal (1 September, 1994). The article trenchantly argued the Catholic Church's opposition to the United Nations' population policies. It vividly marked the fault-line between the secular and the religious. Navarro-Valls said that an entire culture that had previously held that the right to life was "self-evident", now wanted "to reject this fundamental principle in every sphere of life". Starkly, he warned that "Cairo presents itself as a crucial challenge to Christianity's most fundamental doctrine on the sanctity of human life". Countering the suggestion that this was merely a Catholic concern, he said that the Pope was not just defending a Catholic view about life and the family: "He is in fact pointing to the key issue on which future humanity must make a future choice. The issue of human life and population undergirds all others." Directly addressing the UN's misuse of language, he said, "The Vatican is especially attentive to the dubious use of words and language that imply only verbal agreement but leave the door open for judicial or legislative interpretations later". The phrase 'rights of women' was liberally sprinkled throughout the document, but in reality it was a euphemism for proabortion and anti-family positions. Any other statements about the 'rights' of women which contradicted the UN or American proposals were vetoed. Think of a Figure The UN simply invented a world population figure - arbitrarily set at seven and a half billion - and regardless of ethical considerations or natural law, these targets would have to be realised. All activity which resulted in children would be subject to political scrutiny, and if need be, to force. Navarro-Valls said: "The Holy Father sees at work in this conference a series of principles that undermine Revelation, human dignity and natural law ... For him to be silent would be unconscionable. This conference alerted him to the extreme dangers of bending man to the will of civil societies." This view was reflected in a statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concerning American influence at UN world conferences. The statement was given by a Venezuelan, Christine de Marcellus de Collmer Herrera (US Senate Record, 4 June, 1996). Reflecting on the American influence at UN conferences, she described these gatherings as an "exercise by that extremely arrogant and well-funded clique of radicals of the extreme social left who seem to dictate US international policy in order to impose their social philosophies and distaste for religious faith in our countries of Latin America, and others, using a trumped-up threat of over-population". The United Nations, in its Charter, affirms the right to life. Many civil societies do likewise. By their actions, however, they set aside this affirmation, substituting their own objectives in its place. Drawing on a tradition that reaches deep into Scripture and into the classical ideas of Aristotle, religious believers hold that reform of civil society must begin through a reform of the heart of the individual and an unconditional appreciation of the worth of every human life. When a liberal agenda seeks to undermine these core values, it invites a clash with Christians and Muslims on the scale seen at Cairo, Beijing and Istanbul. The Holy See admitted that it was isolated and likely to be ridiculed, but it believed that civilisation was at stake. In another context, Stalin once lampooned
the Vatican by asking how many battalions were at the Pope's disposal. At Istanbul, the United Nations found the answer. by Dr A. Majid Katme (Co-ordinator of SPUC Muslims and Secretary of Muslim Aid) Today we face a culture of death, not only in Britain but also from powerful lobbies at the United Nations. The anti-life agenda has been promoted at UN conferences in Cairo, Copenhagen, Beijing, Istanbul and Rome - conferences at which I have represented the SPUC Educational Research Trust and the International Right to Life Federation. There we have seen sections in draft conference documents influenced by the agenda of population control. Abortion has frequently been promoted under the misguided term "reproductive health," a term which sounded attractive to delegates, especially those from developing countries, for who would object to health in reproduction and childbirth? However, according to the World Health Organisation definition, "reproductive health" includes access to "fertility regulation," which in turn includes "interrupting unwanted pregnancies" - in other words, abortion on demand.. Repeatedly, the draft documents of UN conferences have been used by the population control lobby to spread the false idea that we face a worldwide lack of food and other resources because of population growth. To us Muslims this is blasphemous because we believe strongly that God, the Creator, is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-hearing, the Lord of the Universe and is fully in charge of his creation with all mercy and love for every one of us. God in the last Holy Book Al Qur'an is also called the Provider (al Razzaq). Provision for the sustenance of life not only for every human being but also for every animal has been guaranteed by him only: "For every living creature on the earth, God [Allah] has guaranteed the provision of food [sustenance]" (Al Qur'an, Chapter 11, verse 6). And he also said clearly in another verse: "Do not kill your children for fear of poverty. It is we who shall provide sustenance for them as well as you. Killing them is certainly a great sin." (Chapter 17, verse 31). My fellow Muslims and I were delighted to work together at all these UN conferences with our Christian friends in the West in pro-life and pro-family non-governmental organisations. God willing, by this co-operation, Godly life will replace for ever the evil culture of death which unfortunately is spreading in our society. This is the message of hope I wish to give to our pro-life friends everywhere. To succeed, God willing, I feel there is a great need to address the causes of abortion and not merely the symptom (abortion) itself. We need to bring to the members of our society this eternal value: that God is the Creator and the Owner of every life. The need is enormous today for both Muslims and Christians to work and plan together in order to promote life in our society, so that every embryo, every fetus and every child may live to celebrate life: life and yet more life in this life, then eternal life in heaven and paradise. And let us remember all that God Almighty has said in the last Holy Book Al Qur'an: "Whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the
life of all mankind." Dr A. MAJID KATME, Pro-life, pro-family Muslim campaigner CAIRO CONFERENCE 6-13 SEPTEMBER 1994 - A brief Report by Charlie Colchester, General Director CARE The United Nations (UN) Conference on population and Development which took place recently in Cairo, Egypt, was the largest such meeting ever held. Some 8,000 national and NGO delegates attended, plus 3750 media personnel. In a muddled way, the world read, saw and heard a great deal about this conference and it was a main media story for most of the duration of the ten days of the Conference. Certainly Britain's general perception was that the Pope had been particularly difficult and obstructionist, but that in the end sanity had prevailed and realistic positions had been given support "to do something about the appalling population problems". I write this report specially because I am by no means convinced of the population crisis on the one hand, and certainly feel that the Conference, as reported, was not the Conference that I attended. In effect a far more important confrontation took place. It amounted to something of an earthquake under official UN policy. What actually happened was certainly a major source of annoyance and frustration to those who thought that the Conference would be a political and administrative "pushover". In effect the Conference became a football between two completely conflicting global ideologies; on the one hand the value-free utilitarian technocrats, the Conference organisers, whose policies were overwhelmingly permissive and unquestionably highly liberal, and on the other hand those who represented the vast majority of people on earth who continue to have firmly entrenched, spiritual, ethical and cultural values. In a word, the UN 'technocrats' and permissives found that they were unrepresentative of the very people that they were supposed to represent. The story of the Conference was how the bandwagon of this permissive, ideological group got increasingly 'bogged down', as those who were concerned about ethics and values fought to re-establish their representative world view. The battlefield was the Conference document itself. Over the course of the ten days, the Conference organisers realised that a consensus was absolutely important if the document was to have any validity at all. The battle raged backwards and forwards over such undefined terms as 'sexual health', 'reproductive health', 'fertility regulation' and 'family planning'. The Conference organisers stoically refused to define these terms and gradually the battle came down to the specific issue of abortion which, it was abundantly clear, the UN had wanted to implant subtly in all aspects of the document. Clearly they hoped it could increasingly become a normative form of population control and UN policy. As the days went by, many of the South American countries, the majority of the Muslim countries, and countries from every continent in the world realised the full extent of the permissive agenda which was camouflaged in many of the words of the document. Increasingly they became incensed at the implied attack on the institution of marriage (between a man and a
woman), the attacks on the person (abortion and infanticide), the corruption of youth (adolescent sex education), the condoning of immoral practice (condoms in the context of HIV and the fear of sexually-transmitted diseases). These countries began openly to comment on the self-evident failure of the Western experiment of permissive living, and began questioning the underlying philosophy of the document. Time and again they re-stated that they were not happy with what was being suggested, that it was contrary to their national culture, their constitutions etc. In addition they noted the unbelievable rise of sexually-transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, infertility, marital breakdown and all the other disasters of our permissive culture, and understandably strongly resented the UN trying to transplant these into their countries and cultures. It was indeed an earthquake. The Holy See played an enormously important role in this whole process. Principled, firm and unwavering, they fought for every clause and and every change of wording. And gradually the entire Conference changed its view and shape. The "pushover" was a thing of the past. Now the Conference became a restatement of acceptance, by the Conference, of religious, spiritual and ethical values, and national cultural norms. Substantial inroads were made into the document, including the key statement that abortion should in no case be used as a method of family planning; but there were others as well. This was immensely important and served as a sign for the deeper change taking place. It certainly was not Papal intractability: the results of the Conference showed that it was the 'technocrats' that were out of touch. It is my belief that all future conferences organised by the UN will now have to be aware that their utilitarian agenda is no longer acceptable, and is certainly unrepresentative. The "South" has woken up. The "North" needs to realise this.
Chapter Eight "The challenge of reducing fertility is the challenge of reducing women's fertility desires, not reducing unwanted fertility" (Lant H. Pritchett and Lawrence H. Summers, Desired Fertility and the Impact of Population Policies: Policy Working Paper 1273, World Bank). "Under cover of the slogan of 'real, informed choice for individuals', the UNFPA is introducing the most effective contraceptive the world has ever known - the Western lifestyle" (Michael Cook, The New Imperialism, p. 112, Little Hills Press, Australia, 1994). - More than half of Tokyo men in their early thirties are unwed. The Japanese birth-rate is already down to 1.4 children per woman. - "Most of my married friends say they have separate rooms and their husbands are too tired for sex. Marriage seems like a contract. I've got other things I want to do instead." Time, 1.9.97. "The average family in Bologna now has only one child per couple ... We have one of the lowest natality rates in Europe ... an average of 1.2 children for each childbearing woman" (Professor Giampaolo Salvoli, head of the maternity and postnatal department at Bologna University). "People here have money for the first time since the ancient Romans, and most want to spend it on other things than kids" (Professor Patrick McCarthy, head of the Johns Hopkins University in Bologna). "According to Eurostat, the present 15 EU countries were home to 12% of the human race in 1955, are now 7% and by 2050 will be about 4%." The European, 13-19 April, 1998 "Amongst the many reasons for [the downward spiral of human fertility in Europe, North America and Australia], two stand out: the decline of the traditional family and the divorce of sex from procreation. Without the protection of a secure family unit, people are reluctant to bring children into the world. And when sex becomes an end in itself, children are seen as a burden. Increased sexual activity eventually leads not to more, but less procreation. To put it bluntly, sex is the best contraceptive." Michael Cook, The New Imperialism, p. 114, Little Hills Press, Australia, 1994 "British Teenagers Lead the World in Sexual Activity According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which analysed data from 53 countries, British teenagers are top of the league, with 86% of unmarried women sexually active by the age of 19." The Independent, 16.5.98. "More than one in ten of all girls between 13 and 15 went to a family planning clinic to get contraception last year, it was revealed yesterday." Department of Health figures for 1997, quoted in The Daily Mail, 23.2.98. "And They Never Mention Children In one recent issue of Cosmopolitan, a long supplement on 'Sex and Your Body at 20,30,40' did not mention children once ... Instead of marriage and children, what most of these magazines appear to advocate
is something Cosmopolitan calls a 'sexy, loving, fulfilling relationship'." Anne Applebaum, The Sunday Telegraph (23.11.97), in an article adapted from her essay in The British Woman Today, a survey by the Social Affairs Unit, published 24.11.97 Patience and CARE Patience is the power to accept personal suffering and share in the suffering of others. It is, as we say, a virtue, or strength, one that is found at the heart of the Christian faith, in the life and death of Christ, and in the Gospels. Paul tells us that we should glory in suffering, knowing that it produces patience; that patience produces character and experience, and that experience in turn brings hope (Romans 5, iii). Yet all too often the world sees it rather differently. Patience is seen not so much as a strength but a weakness, something that makes those who profess it, 'a bit of a pushover'. Meekness is perhaps even more misunderstood, not so much as a quality of gentleness, but as the weakness of lack of determination making those who aspire to it seem once again, 'a bit of a pushover'. Yet there it is in the Beatitudes, followed immediately by Jesus' encouragement of those "who hunger and thirst after justice", and alongside other qualities which reveal the complex, inseparable whole that is Christian virtue. If we are not driven by compassion, we lack love. If we are not driven by justice, we lack passion. If we are not driven by anger, we lack courage. And without the integrity of all these things, which Christ alone can give us, then we lack full humanity. The thirty years that have passed since the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act have been characterised by a terrifying destruction of life and, as we now begin to realise, equally terrifying omens for the future of humanity. Perhaps we have been a pushover. Meekness and patience would be much less misunderstood if the world saw more evidence that we do genuinely hunger and thirst after justice; that we are capable of showing more passion for righteousness in the face of persecution and contempt, and more decent human anger. There is much for which we can give thanks. But Christianity does not give us a right to measure our own successes. Our failures are another matter - a matter for private, personal reflection on just how much more we might have done. We must take heart and ask for God's help in the next stage of the battle for life. The word virtue, which embraces all the qualities of the Beatitudes, comes from a Latin word which means 'manhood'. We can forgive the Romans if they were not quite politically correct in identifying the best of human qualities with just one sex! But perhaps we can add a different perspective to the discussion. Abortionism does not liberate women. In accepting it, women have submitted to State approval for a brutalising, jackboot masculinity. It leads to a cynical hardness that invades dignity and personhood as surely as it invades flesh and blood. It expects no link, and sharply severs the civilised connection between virtue and manhood. Here, truly, is the opposite of women's liberation. In seeking to balance compassion and anger, CARE decided to move the spotlight to show our deepest concern for women, and for the physical, emotional and spiritual damage done to them by abortion. In concentrating on this damage, we seek to
appeal to human virtue in an area where it should be at its strongest. If we can get it right for women, we have a better chance of getting it right for the unborn child, but also for men and the whole of society. We can expect no respect or protection for life without respect and greater protection for women and mothers. We must work for a restoration of virtue - and stop being a pushover. Charlie Colchester, Executive Director, CARE Pro-Life Pro-Love Travelling back and forth to the Liverpool maternity hospital last year, waiting anxiously for an overdue baby, could not fail to remind me of the frailty, delicacy and vulnerability of the unborn child. Six years ago, our second child, Padraig, waited until after the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, announced her resignation. I joked with the midwife that the baby would now think it safe to emerge - and three hours later he did. Last year James Andrew Christian waited for the formal Dissolution of Parliament - arriving 50 minutes after the end of the 1992-1997 Parliament, and of my own eighteen years membership of the British House of Commons. I have been involved in politics since my schooldays - cutting my teeth as a candidate in a school mock-election and collecting petitions against the 1967 Abortion Act. As a student in Liverpool I was a ward organiser in the 1970 General Election. Just before my finals, in 1972, I won an inner-city ward, Low Hill, which I represented at one level or another for twenty-five years. By 1974, I was a Parliamentary candidate, and in 1979 took the Edge Hill seat with a record swing, as the youngest - and shortest-lived MP: elected for just two and a half days before going off to fight the subsequent General Election. Half the local streets were still lit with gas lamps, and people often lived in wretched conditions. Half the homes had no inside sanitation, running hot water or bathrooms. Unemployment had reached shocking levels. It was no surprise when riots disfigured and engulfed the area two years later. In the City Council, as Deputy Leader and Housing Chairman, life often got rough. On one occasion, police arrived to pull a militant protester off me - his hands were around my throat! My house was daubed and once I had a brick thrown in my face. Racists picketed my offices on another occasion. But there were also the thousands of loyal and decent people whom I felt priviliged to represent and to serve. The Defining Issue In Parliament, it was the pro-life cause which dominated my life. Meetings were regularly wrecked by intolerant opponents, my home was picketed and so were my surgeries. Unkown arsonists burnt out my constituency offices. In 1983, and again in 1993, my constituency was abolished by Boundary Commissioners - people who seem to have their own agendas, taking no notice of the 10,000 objections which were lodged. Meanwhile I knew it was time for the Liberal Democrats and I to go our separate ways when they passed a policy committing the party to abortion.
They subsequently called for Royal commissions to investigate the legalisation of drugs and euthanasia. More recently they said they would abolish the daily act of worship in schools, and the Education Spokesman announced that in "an ideal world" there would be no Church schools. Some ideal and some world into which to introduce a new baby! I wonder what, as an adult, he will make of the General Election which was underway when he was born? Will it be remembered as the election which ended eighteen years of Conservative Government; the election which swapped one set of managers for another; the election which was fought by spin-doctors and wordsmiths while the politicians and their real agendas and ambitions were carefully concealed? Will it be remembered as the election of negative campaigning, personal insult, innuendo and sleaze? Or could this election be recalled as the one in which a few small voices were first raised against the tide of violence and destruction which disfigures our nation, hitherto dismissed as an irrelevant single issue? An anti-life conspiracy now engulfs our political parties and Parliament. It can cope with a political party which demands a referendum on Europe, or splits on single currencies, social chapters, nuclear weapons, or privatisation of utilities - but it has nothing to say about the defining issue of our times. The Facts of Life Five million unborn babies aborted; the annual destruction of 100,000 human lives in IVF laboratories; millions of pounds given by British governments which aid and abet the one-child policy in China - involving forced abortion, forced sterilisation, and the killing of disabled babies; court decisions permitting euthanasia ... and these issues, these defining issues of life and death, are treated as a fringe concern. They go to the very heart of our humanity. The abortion mills have replaced the Satanic mills, and the laboratories, their terminations and experiments have replaced the nursery and the cradle. Human life has been reduced to a commodity; bought or bartered, experimented upon, tampered with, destroyed or disposed of at will. Save a Life - Save the World A Jewish Rabbi who said that the man who saves a single life saves the world, was right - and it is the only justification for the expenditure of energy and emotion which this campaign requires. The responses received during the 1997 General Election to the Movement for Christian Democracy's questionnaire of candidates, show the scale of what we are up against. It reveals a collection of politicians with materialistic priorities and anti-life prejudices. Will our children remember us as selfish, money-orientated, obsessive about individual choice and rights, and indifferent to the very young, the elderly and the sick? The MCD heard from more than one in five of all the candidates. 64% of Labour candidates want to keep in place laws which allow disabled babies to be killed up to, and even during their birth. Only 20% favour a reduction in the upper time-limits allowed for abortion.
66% of Labour, 62% of Liberal Democrat, and 42% of Conservative candidates would extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland (against the wishes of all the political parties there). Euthanasia Next A third of Labour candidates (31% of Liberal Democrats and 19% of Conservatives) will vote for euthanasia - making it probable that this Parliament will legalise euthanasia, or the advanced directives which will usher in euthanasia. This is the most anti-life parliament ever elected. As they plot to allow the killing of patients in a 'persistive vegetative state', let them remember the case of my former constituent, the Hillsborough victim, Andrew Devine, who would now be dead if the Tony Bland judgement had been applied to him. I vividly recall Andrew's parents telling me, when I visited them shortly after the Tony Bland judgement, that despite all the unwished-for vicissitudes which their family faced, they could never starve their son to death. Let them ponder the reports in The Guardian newspaper in March 1997, when Andrew's parents talked publicly about the improvements which had taken place in his quality of life. Despite recent reversals for the euthanasia lobby in Australia, let no-one doubt that Dutch-style euthanasia laws are already being discussed by politicians in the UK. In 1996, Sir Ludovic Kennedy, President of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and a leading Liberal Democrat, was behind the motion seeking to commit the Party to euthanasia. In the courts, the pro-euthanasia lobby are using hard cases to soften up public opinion and to push through legislation (using the abortion laws as their model). The Battle for 1998 and Beyond If ever proof was needed of the old juridical adage that "hard cases make bad law", it was surely the 1967 Abortion Act. Parliament was assured that legalised abortion would not lead to a general right to kill the unborn; that it was not a slippery slope. Five million abortions later - and with the accompanying horrors of destructive experiments on human embryos, human cloning and genetic manipulation - those arguments are exposed as a monstrous deceit. In 1989, the euthanasia lobby saw the opportunity to exploit the hard case of Tony Bland. The lawyer, Lord Lester - a Liberal Democrat peer - was appointed as amicus curiae - an impartial friend of the Court. The Liverpool supporter, desperately injured at Hillsborough, was starved to death after Lord Lester asserted that "the artificial prolongation of corporeal existence" may degrade and demean humanity. He stated that life is only valuable as a vehicle for consciousness. This defines humanity and equates life with the ability to think. Insensibility becomes a fate worse than death itself and even becomes a disqualification for life. In the Bland Judgement, in 1992, that argument won the day despite a number of law lords expressing serious reservations about the case. Lord Mustill stated that "the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration was
designed to bring about death. That was why it was done. It was decided that it was time he died." For the first time, the courts crossed the line and legally sanctioned the intentional killing of a patient: euthanasia. Lethal Arguments The extension of the euthanasia argument, logical enough if you accept the basic premise, came in 1997 in an article in The Lancet. A leading physician, Sir Raymond Hoffenberg, suggested that patients in a persistive vegetative state should be given lethal injections and their organs taken for transplant. So now we have it: if you become insensible we can avoid the costs and inconvenience of care and hospices. Rather than waste your mortal remains by starving you to death, you will be used instead as a rich source of organs. The flaws in this silver-tongued argument revolve around questions of consent, the commissioning of doctors and nurses as killers, and the fundamental question of life itself. But how many people will be confident enough to stand up to the battery of commentators, lawyers, propagandists, and hard cases which will be used to undermine previous widespread opposition to the killing of patients? There is a clear line between killing and letting die - and the present law recognises that. 'Care' and 'kill' cannot be used as synonyms. But are we confident enough in ourselves to defend this line - or will we abandon these defences and once again retreat? In 1997, Lord Lester, no longer an impartial adviser, went to the High Court. He tried to obtain permission for the doctor of Annie Lindsell - who suffered from motor neuron disease, to administer drugs which would relieve her mental and physical distress during the final stages of the disease. The case was financed by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and collapsed because it was agreed that under the principle of 'double effect' no court ruling was needed. If a doctor's motive is control of pain, it is always acceptable. If it is to accelerate death deliberately, it is criminal. Dangerous Philosophers Yet, inevitably, luminaries such as Baroness Warnock were on hand to tell us that the law should be 'clarified' and that this was not a "slippery slope". Why should we accept that the law needs to be clarified - when we know that clarification will be a cover for all manner of excesses? David Oliver, Medical Director of Wisdom Hospice, says: "I am mystified why Ms Lindsell and Dr Holmes felt it necessary to go to court over a treatment that is readily available to her in the first place, and which doctors carry out daily without fear of prosecution". Dr Robert Twycross, Macmillan Clinical Reader in Palliative Medicine at the University of Oxford, says: "No-one need die in agony. It is not necessary to legalise mercykilling/euthanasia to make this claim a reality." A Home Office Minister
Lord Williams of Mostyn, speaking for the Government, said the law was neither "difficult or obscure". The Bishop of Southwell, speaking for the Anglican and Catholic bishops, said they would be "resolutely opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia". Lord McColl, for the Conservatives, said, "Those in favour of euthanasia are deliberately seeking to change our statute law by causing confusion and public anxiety, and by discrediting the current legal framework". Yet the campaign goes on. Collapsed court cases which uphold the existing law - and lawyers fees - do not come cheap. The VES say it cost them ÂŁ50,000. And yet, out of the jaws of defeat, Lord Lester claimed in the press: "We won what we wanted". And what is it that the VES wants? Dr Michael Irwin, Chairman of the VES, was pictured in the summer holding a customised 'exit bag' and claiming to have helped 50 people to die. He told The Daily Telegraph, "I do not believe I can be convicted". What They Want The VES will not be satisfied until the killing of patients becomes an integral and routine part of every doctor's job. Through ad hoc legal rulings, and by using the Law Commission's Bill on Mental Incapacity as a Trojan horse - a Bill rejected by the last Government - they hope we will drift into legalised euthanasia by default ... And the consequences of that? The legalised killing of patients will fundamentally alter their relationship with their doctor. Not only do patients will grow to fear their physicians, but in Holland, the Remmelink Commission, established in 1990 by the Dutch Attorney General, found that in one recent year, of a total of 3,300 euthanasia deaths, 1,030 involved cases where there had been no specific request from the patient. Compulsion and pressure are never very far behind 'voluntary euthanasia'. Is that really what we want here? No-one should complacently believe it will not happen here. In November 1997, eighty-nine MPs voted for the grimly entitled Doctors Assisted Dying Bill. It was a 'paving measure' for the Law Commission's Mental Incapacity Bill - which seeks to put the Bland judgement into Statute, to make advanced directives legally binding, and allow the use of patients' organs in experiments and treatments. Ironically, seventy-seven of those who voted for euthanasia voted against fox-hunting. As the British Medical Association has trenchantly recognised, euthanasia is morally, legally and medically unacceptable. Parliament should ensure that it stays that way. On past performance no-one should hold their breath. What Did You Do in the War? Just as my generation asked our parents, "What did you do in the war, Daddy?" this generation will surely ask every mother and every father, "What did you do when they killed 5 million unborn children, destroyed hundreds of thousands of human embryos, killed off the infirm or elderly, financed forced-abortion in China or sold arms to dictators and despotic governments?" And every person who could not even be bothered to find out where their candidates stood will have to answer,
"I did nothing". Our failure to prevent this growing anti-life conspiracy, which had its origins in the eugenics movement, reminds us of past indifference to slavery, the Irish Famine and the Holocaust. This alone should shake us into action Predictably, the unborn rated no mention in any manifesto of the political parties. They talk about other - often self-serving - concerns ad nauseam. But on these issues they take Trappist vows. And it simply will not do for Tony Blair to say that he is personally opposed to abortion when he voted in Parliament for abortion up to birth on the disabled. If I said I was opposed to racism, homophobia, the sale of arms to unstable rĂŠgimes, or to poverty - which I am - and then voted in the opposite lobby because I said these were only personal positions, I have no doubt what I would be called: and I would deserve to be. It is intellectually unsustainable, and does not bode well. Labour, like the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, is committed to the Chinese population policy. Labour has Party policy supporting the abortion laws. It has denied free speech to its small Life group. From its front bench it has promoted blacklists of doctors and nurses who exercise their rights under the Conscience Clause, and the extension to Northern Ireland of the 1967 Act. It allows Emily's List to promote women-only candidates who must give just one undertaking - to support the killing of the unborn. And in 1998, it is busily promoting the Law Commission's Bill on Mental Incapacity - which takes away the freedom of the doctor to act in the best interests of an incapacitated patient, and will lead to the commissioning of doctors to act as killers. Please don't patronise us by then saying the leader personally opposes abortion while the Party is committed to these policies and practices, and while every House of Commons member of the Cabinet consistently votes anti-life. Blood Money When Progress (the group which championed destructive experiments on the unborn) was formed in June 1986, it included among its founding organisations the Christian Socialist Movement, the Labour Abortion Rights Campaign, the Birth Control Campaign and the Pregnancy Advisory Service. The percentage of Old Labour versus New Labour MPs occupied many column inches after the General Election. What was less clear was the scale of anti-life sentiment now seated on the Government benches. Nor is this surprising given the number of Emily's List candidates who were fielded by Labour. The precondition for obtaining Emily's List funding was a commitment by the recipient to support abortion laws. This is blood money. In the last Parliament, MPs took cash to table Parliamentary questions. In this Parliament, they get cash for supporting the killing of unborn babies. The Most Anti-Life Parliament It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most anti-life Parliament ever elected; and that this Parliament will both extend the abortion legislation and introduce euthanasia. This was a landslide for the extension of legalised killing. It will come
through Private Members' Bills and through official Government action. I well understood (particularly in the aftermath of the era of 'sleaze') the electorate's desire for change - and there was an inevitability about the election result. No doubt some of the marginal changes will improve things for the better. But what about the fundamentals? As many cheered the rearranging on ministerial chairs, did they weigh up the costs to the weakest and most vulnerable in society? All of Mr Blair's new Cabinet, drawn from the Commons, voted with him for abortion up to and even during birth of disabled babies. None of them takes a position in favour of the rights of the unborn. I know of none who opposes the extension of the Abortion Act - against the wishes of the Northern Irish parties - to the North of Ireland. Clare Short - for whom I have a personal regard and affection - regards those opposed to abortion as a sort of Catholic/Evangelical conspiracy, and has been placed in charge of Overseas Aid and Development. She will be compassionate about aid (and if she can increase the present meagre levels of aid I will be the first to cheer her) but she will enthusiastically back the populationcontrol lobby. The Prime Minister has appointed George Foulkes as her deputy. Mr Foulkes was a keen member of the Parliamentary Population Control Group - and during a debate in 1996, he strongly defended the granting of British taxpayers' money to the Chinese population-control programmes. These ministers will undoubtedly continue to give the millions of pounds which are channelled to China and used towards the one-child policy. Chinese women, including many Christians, will continue to be frequently forcibly aborted or sterilised if they have more than one child. Frank Dobson's Department of Health (which oversees the killing of 180,000 unborn children each year) includes, among a team of Ministers who share his pro-abortion views, Baroness Jay of Paddington. Dobson has publicly stated that he would welcome a Private Member's Bill to abolish the requirement for two doctors to sign the green forms authorising an abortion. Janus-faced Media and Double Think So the picture is not a happy one. And if the General Election campaign is anything to go by, they will be aided and abetted by the media. Wasn't it extraordinary that the BBC permitted a racist broadcast to be transmitted by the British Movement - on the dubious grounds of free speech - but banned the ProLife Alliance from describing what happens to a child once it has been aborted? This, according to the double-speaking liberals at Broadcasting House, was because it was in 'bad taste', and on the grounds of public decency. Abortion is cruel, violent and takes a life. Hardly tasteful, hardly decent. Never just a matter for personal choice. In Britain you are entitled to hold any view on everything from Yogic flying to saving the whale, and are guaranteed rights of access to the political process and to the media. But if you dare to question the abortion ethic, your fundamental right to free speech is denied. It is a classic example of liberal double-think. The politically correct censors permit unspeakably violent and brutal material to be broadcast on a daily basis, but cannot countenance a broadcast which truthfully reveals how nearly 600 unborn babies are killed every day. In
exposing this sham, the Pro-Life Alliance did us all a favour. Just who do the high priests of television think they are? You might not like what is said in an election broadcast, but what would the Conservative or Labour parties say if the broadcasters attempted to vet their party political broadcasts? When the media dare not let the truth be spoken, it reveals their illiberality and their agenda. Conservative Questions For the Conservatives, as well as Labour, there are questions about public and private positions and policies. William Hague says he is against abortion. All of us will be watching to see whether this means more than lip-service. Abandoning the policy of funding coercive population measures in China would be a good start. Committing his party, as John Major did, to opposing the extension of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland would also be a welcome move. Many leading members of the abortion, euthanasia and eugenics lobbies are Conservatives. In 1967, the then Labour Government provided Parliamentary time for the Steel Bill to make progress and to become an Act. The Thatcher Government denied time to my own Bill twenty years later. What would a Hague Government do? Small Stones and Landslides Against the systematic and endemic corruption of our politics, individuals can be forgiven for feeling powerless. The boy in one of Robert Louis Stephenson's novels who said: "The world is so big and I am so small, I do not like it at all, at all," would have known how many of you must feel today. But landslides happen when small stones start to move - we must be those small stones. We must also be like Christian, in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, who believes in travelling lightly: "I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this burden that is on my back", and who, "because of the burden which was on his back, began to sink into the mire". Like Christian, we too will sink into the mire unless we are clear about our priorities and get rid of the excess baggage. It is right to have views on devolution, single currencies and the minimum wage - but all of these things are worthless if we cannot be born in the first place. The right to life is paramount. The other questions can easily become just so much excess baggage. What we have to say to the world might not be what the world always wants to hear - but that should not trouble us either. Twin Pillars for Action The twin pillars on which our efforts must rest are the irresistible combination of prayer and pressure. St. Augustine was right when he said, "We must pray as if the entire outcome depends upon God, and work as if the entire outcome depends upon us". Our pressure must be based on the clear conviction that each person is unique and made in the image of God; that, as the late Archbishop Worlock of Liverpool used to say, "Life is sacred from the womb to the tomb".
The Secret People We must not be intimidated by the scale of opposition. Too often in the churches we are like the Gethsemane Christians - the disciples who fell asleep at their posts. We are sleepy and we are silent. But within the collective memory of our neighbours is a distant recollection that it need not be like this. In 1907, G. K. Chesterton called them the secret people: "We are the people of England and we have not spoken yet; smile at us, pay us, pass us - but do not quite forget". We must help them to rediscover their voice, to come out of hiding, and to remember what has been lost. Spiritual Renewal and Prayer But along with pressure there must be prayer. The great political reforms of the nineteenth century - pioneered by Wilberforce, Shaftesbury and the rest - flowed directly from the religious revival and spiritual renewal begun by the conversion of John and Charles Wesley. Political action flowed from personal faith; pressure walked hand in hand with prayer. In May 1940, during some of the darkest days of the last war, King George called the nation to a day of prayer: "At this fateful hour," he said, "we turn, as our fathers before us have turned in all times of trial, to God most high". Today's challenges to national life - civic disaggregation, the culture of violence, acquisitivenss, and the destruction of life itself - also require a spiritual as well as a political response. I was brought up on the simple aphorism, coined by a West of Ireland priest, that, "A family which prays together stays together". What is true for families is true for nations too. Honouring God and sharing our personal needs, whether in our homes, schools or in the places in which we work, is an admission of human limitations. It has always struck me as faintly bizarre that prayer should have become just the last resort of the drowning man! Repentance and healing is a sine qua non if we are serious about creating peace in Northern Ireland, peace in our communities, peace on our streets, peace in our home. This peace has to begin in men's hearts. Thomas More had this to say about prayer: If you love your health; if you desire to be secure from the snares of the devil; from the storms of this world; from the hands of your enemies; if you long to be acceptable to God; if you covet everlasting happiness - then let no day pass without at least once presenting yourself to God in prayer .... not merely from your lips, but from the innermost recess of your heart. Echoing More's belief in the efficacy of prayer, Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote that "More things are wrought by prayer than this world ever dreams of". The Condition of England Question The Condition of England Question is a spiritual one and a political one; it is a human question and an ethical question. Turning the tide of thirty years of killing will, therefore, require a spiritual as well as a political response. Broken-hearted communities and disorientated people will need to be guided out of the culture of death. Organisations like MCD, CARE, Life, SPUC and the Pro-Life Alliance are
developing a consistent pro-life ethic. It is not enough to be simply anti-abortion we must be positively pro-life. Here, perhaps, is the answer to give to my young son James - born in the year of the thirtieth anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act and to others of his and future generations, when they ask what we did in the war against this culture of death; how we acted in the years following this thirtieth anniversary. Will we be able to answer honestly that we really did fight on the side of life - all life, in its profusion, its integrity and its mystery? The Coming Battles None of the setbacks of the last thirty years has disillusioned me. In many ways they have sharpened and toughened each of us involved in this fight for whatever battles lie ahead. They leave me full of passion for democracy. Each of us must stand up and be counted for the poor, the unborn and the voiceless. One way in which we can do this is through politics. Our individual efforts can eventually make the difference. During my twenty-five years as an elected representative, I have been engaged in the hurly-burly of political life. Sometimes the odds seem totally stacked against us, and progress, during those thirty years since the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act, has seemed slow. At the end of The Knight's Tale, Chaucer speaks of a "Fair Chain of Love". All the laws of nature are linked, binding together the whole of Creation. Notice that the chain that links them; the laws of physics, biology; mathematics and genetics, is a chain of love, maintained by a loving Creator: Great was the effect, and mighty his purpose. Well did he know his reasons, and what he meant by it. Who can doubt that man's laws, governing the way we behave towards each other and the rest of Creation, should likewise be governed by love? And who can doubt that by greed, selfishness and short-sightedness we now have the power to threaten this Creation. In 1967, with the passing of the Abortion Act, we legally sanctioned a culture of death which, recalling the horrors of the era which led to war in 1939, should have been consigned to the pages of history. At the root of this culture lies a very deep and evil paradox: while mankind shows increasing (and distracting) concern for vanishing species and the destruction of nature; for whales, butterflies or vanishing rain-forests, we show ever-greater cynicism about the welfare of our own species, and hence endanger all. The challenge we surely face a challenge which the approach of a new millennium must stimulate most urgently - is to learn again that we, the Creator and the whole of his Creation are indeed linked inseparably in a chain of love. Here is a truly holistic vision. It offers each of us dignity and hope. It cherishes individuality, variety and profusion, and gives grace to Man's unique power to be an agent for Divine harmony throughout nature. Pro-Love and Pro-Life All that is finite is subject to mutability and death. Time and mortality must bring us immediately to a common human recognition that this is the only vision that
will allow a future for our children: as Pro-Love as it is Pro-Life. Against such a background of nature in her totality, legalised destruction of the unborn, and all the evils that emerge in its wake should become unthinkable. Health Care as Part of a Christian Vocation For the foreseeable future, Christian health care professionals responding to their vocation as they should, will work as aliens in the world. They find it more and more difficult to maintain their standards in doing their work. Their consciences are increasingly disrespected. Some fields of activity are already closed to them, and others will be. They are being pressured to help manufacture babies, prevent them and kill them. Soon they will be pressured to help people commit suicide and to kill people unwanted by those close to them or by society. Some committed people will not be able to keep their jobs, maintain their practices, continue to operate their facilities unless they betray their commitments by doing wicked things. They will be urged and tempted to make an arrangement with a third party who has no objection to doing the wicked things so that they will be able to satisfy the evil demands while keeping their own hands clean. But those who are clearheaded and faithful will realise that they can make no such arrangement without intending that the third party carry out his, her or its undertakings to do the wicked things. And, rather than intend that, they will lose their jobs, give up their practices, close their facilities. They will regret not being able to continue to follow their vocation of helping others care for their health. But having undertaken to follow Jesus in responding to their vocation, they will remember that, though he regretted accepting the unsuccessful end of his effort to gather up the lost sheep of the house of Israel, he endured the cross for the sake of the joy that was set before him. And so they will endure their cross, looking forward with confident hope to finding again in heaven not only all the goods they have nurtured - purified, completed and transformed - but many, if not all, the persons they have served: gloriously, joyously, permanently alive. From a paper delivered at the international conference ("Issues for a Catholic Bioethics" convened by the Linacre Centre for Medical Ethics, at Queens College, Cambridge: 28 July 1997), by Germain Grisz, Flynn Professor of Christian Ethics, Mount St Mary's College, Emitsburg, Maryland, USA. Making Connections Four million abortions, hundreds of thousands of destroyed human embryos, demands for euthanasia ... ... All part of our culture of death. If we are to reverse this total disregard for the sanctity of human life, we must ask questions about the assumptions which have reduced killing to mere "choice" . We must make connections between the lack of medical ethics, the pro-death sale of arms and landmines and our indifference to the starving and poor: all questions which involve life and death, law and politics,
philosophy and priorities. We need a new politics that is consistently pro-life. A consistent pro-life ethic will always uphold the sanctity of human life, the unique value of each person, and oppose the violent culture which manifests itself through the popular media, on our streets, in our hospitals, through the sale of drugs, pornography and armaments; through many diverse actions of men and women who believe it is right to kill. We've all met people who boast that they've been 'trained to kill'; that, faced with the enemy, they would know what to do. Ramboesque tough guys, boastful about their hardness and their manliness, they frequently scorn compassion and humanitarianism, an option merely for wimps; a symptom of weakness. For the commanding officers, the real challenge with a raw recruit is not to convince him to risk his death - which many are willing to do for love of country or in pursuit of a cause - but to break down a visceral reluctance to kill people they do not know and do not hate. Never question, just obey orders. Only by expunging the innate repugnance which most of us feel when urged to kill is it possible to breed a Timothy McVeigh - the Gulf War veteran convicted of bombing the Alfred P. Murray Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, when 168 people were killed. McVeigh's bomb was manufactured in Texas: so were many of the bombs used by McVeigh and his compatriots in the Desert Storm assault force in 1991. In one attack alone on the Amariyah Shelter in Baghdad, nearly 1200 women and children were killed. Timothy McVeigh's actions in Oklahoma were cold-blooded murder. The Baghdad bombing was an act of war. Yet there are connections between these events: To some extent we are all accomplices in the Western culture of death through our silence about the sale of armaments and land mines - just as we are silent about abortion. The equivalent of seven Hiroshima bombs - hundreds of Oklahoma bombs - were unleashed on Iraq. Most of us have accepted this as the price for withstanding a dictator. But the scale of death has become highly disproportionate. Bombardment and sanctions are estimated to have taken the lives of one million Iraqis - most of them children - while the despotic Sadaam Hussein has been permitted to further entrench his hold on power. Nor can we British smugly imply that this is merely an American aberration. At the end of the Second World War, the late Leonard Cheshire personally observed the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan on behalf of the British Government. He argued that, at the end of the unspeakable carnage, the bomb swiftly ended hostilies, and thus saved life. Historians will argue about whether he was right, but he never did try to minimise the awesomeness of his decision. He knew that he had to square his actions with his conscience. It was a moral question, not simply that combatants were trained to kill, or that it was their superior right to take life. He abhorred gung-ho and cavalier attitudes that divorced deeds from moral considerations. He passionately opposed abortion. So affected was he by the violence he witnessed between 1939-1945 that he dedicated the rest of his life to the care of disabled people and the establishment of his Cheshire Homes. A questioning Cheshire served his country against the Nazis and agonised over the need to kill. A Timothy McVeigh, like many of our contemporary medics, is trained to kill, and never mind the consequences. The rest of us have to live with
those. Too often we simply fail to question the assumptions of our leaders. We fail as citizens every time this happens. ... Take, as another example, our indifference to the sale of arms made in the UK. Appendix Bills on Abortion Abortion (Amendment) 1968-69 Mr N. St. John-Stevas Abortion (Law Reform) 1969-70 Mr B. Godman Irvine Abortion (Amendment) 1974-75 Mr J. White Abortion (Amendment) 1976-77 Mr W. Benyon Abortion (Amendment) 1977-78 Sir B. Braine Abortion (Amendment) 1979-80 Mr J. Corrie Abortion (Amendment) (No. 2) 1979-80 Mr D. Alton [Motion for leave under the Ten Minute Rule neg_a_tived without division] Abortion (Amendment) [H.L.] 1982-3 Lord Robertson of Oakridge Abortion (Amendment) 1987-88 Mr D. Alton Abortion (Financial Benefit) 1987-88 Mr N. Winterton * Abortion (Treatment of Non-Resident Women) 1987-88 Mr E. Leigh* Abortion (Amendment) 1988-89 Miss A. Widdecombe* Abortion (Amendment of Grounds) 1988-89 Sir B. Braine* Abortion (Financial Benefit) 1988-89 Mr N. Bennett* Abortion (Right of Conscience) (Amendment) 1988-89 Mr D. Amess* Abortion (Rights of Ancillary Workers)1988-89 Mr K. Hargreaves* Abortion (Treatment of Non-Resident Women) (1989-90) Miss A. Widdecombe* *Did not reach the Floor of the House Embryo Bills Unborn Children (Protection) Bill 1984-85 Mr J.E. Powell
Unborn Children (Protection) Bill 1985-86 Mr K. Hargreaves Unborn Children (Protection) (No. 2) Bill 1985-86 Mr K. Hargreaves* Unborn Children (Protection) Bill 1986-87 Mr A. Burt* Unborn Children (Protection) Bill 1987-88 Mr K. Hind* Unborn Children (Protection) Bill [H.L.] 1988-89 Duke of Norfolk *Did not reach the Floor of the House The Issues brought home A Personal Battle Recently, Phyllis Bowman discovered at first hand the immense healing powers of the medical profession. In the following interview, she reflected on her own recent serious illness and on how different things might be if ever doctors and nurses were to become selective in their vocation to save lives. In October 1998, Phyllis was admitted in an emergency to Hammersmith Hospital, suffering from a fungus she had picked up in India, which attacked her whole body, and her lungs in particular. She was given a tracheotomy and was, as she puts it, 'unaware' for nine days. For a month she was unable to speak, and did not eat for six weeks. She remained in hospital for two months - for half of that time in intensive care. "It was two weeks before they could identify what exactly they were fighting. In the meantime, as my husband Jerry keeps saying, I had thirteen leads coming from me." She remembers nothing of this initial period, except others talking about her at the end of the bed. "When I eventually regained consciousness," she says, "I thought I was dying and had all these attachments fixed to my body. I kept thinking to myself, 'There's more to dying than all this technology, and I kept trying to get them to turn the machines off'." Confused by opiates, she imagined something had happened to her husband. "All I wanted was a priest, but I couldn't speak and I couldn't write - not even the word 'priest' - because I was too weak. For six hours I was trying to get them to stop prolonging my life and turn off the machines." Her husband said that it was the most dreadful six hours of his life. He knew, of course, that they had had no intention of turning off the equipment. But he told her later that in two or three years time, if the laws on euthanasia change, he might not be so certain. "Then a little Irish nurse said to me, 'Phyllis, you're a bit better today' - that was one of the first things I remember. 'We can get you fit ... but you have to help us'. And she said, 'Jerry's here'. And I looked up, and recognised him for the first time, even though he had not left me for a minute. I then began kissing his hand - I was kissing him goodbye and he knew it. I touched my forehead as though I were about to make the sign of the cross. He asked if I wanted to pray. I shook my head - and touched my forehead again - at which he asked if I
wanted a priest. Just to show how confused I was, when the priest came - in his tweed suit - I was convinced that he wasn't a priest at all!" A little later, she had the strength to follow only one decade of the rosary, which Jerry said. By the next day, she had so perked up she was praying, "Dear God let me live. I had come through it". When she left the Intensive Care Unit, Phyllis spoke to the Sister Tutor about having wanted the machines turned off so she could die. "She told me that it wasn't at all uncommon when people are on opiates": imagining that something had happened to her husband, she had no interest in prolonging her life. "Now," she said, "I realise how dangerous it all is". Like most people - sick, confused by drugs and lacking knowledge of medicine - she had no idea what the doctors and nurses could do for her. "I wanted to die, and it would have been very easy for someone to have signed a directive ... or to have granted me 'autonomy' (as they say) allowing me to make my own decision. A person could be frantically sick, or panic, thinking they were dying, when the treatment to save them is just around the corner." The treatment which saved her life was a very rare drug with a whole list of pretty drastic side-effects which doctors had to check on a central register. It showed her that, as much as she thought she wanted to die, hope was literally 'just around the corner'. Phyllis does not exaggerate the drama of her illness. In fact, she lost her words in laughter several times during our interview - especially when speaking about her attempts to communicate. She recognises the unexpected wonder of a new treatment which saved her life, the even more wonderful, unstinting dedication of doctors and nurses, and their loyalty to the Hippocratic Oath. Without all of these things she would have died - and the passion of the argument she is able to make here, in this interview, through her survival, would have been lost to us. Euthanasia threatens the integrity of every member of the medical profession. It annihilates the hope of patients and families and the motivation for scientific research. Like abortion, it interferes with the mysteries of life and death, and like abortion it cuts short the God-gift of Time; the great opportunity and test of individual potential which, in life, in love and in suffering, prepares us for a final resolution of what we are and what we may become in the Resurrection of the Body. One young doctor told Phyllis's husband that she was his first intensive care patient, and that he had been absolutely fascinated - once she decided to fight - to see the rapid progress she made. Before that, her acceptance of death had not been a matter of giving up or despair so much as a belief that she was going to die and was ready to follow the teaching of the Catholic Church. She makes the traditional distinction between euthanasia and 'striving officiously to keep alive'. "I've always said that if I had a massive stroke," she reflects, "I wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially ... but perhaps it's dangerous now to even say that! You just don't know what they can do for you". One thing that being unable to speak for a month taught her was just how much could be conveyed by sign-language, or by writing even the briefest of
notes. "I had nothing to eat for six weeks," she told me, "and I heard one of the nurses say that, added to everything else, I was suffering from anorexia. I was horrified until I discovered she was referring to a physical condition and not something psychological." There was a period of transition during which she was weaned off breathing through the tracheotomy, and given oxygen through a mask for gradually increasing periods. "The first time they tried," she said, "was for two and a half hours, then the next day for seven and a half. I found it quite exhausting. Some time after leaving intensive care, I asked Jerry what exactly the 'mask' was. He looked absolutely amazed and said, 'It was an oxygen mask'. In my weak state I had somehow thought it was something far more elaborate." Apparently she could not leave intensive care until she had been on the oxygen mask for twenty-four hours. One young male nurse, an Australian, did everything he could to persuade her to keep it on. "Try to keep it on all night," he said to her. "But I was frightened of falling asleep with it on," she recalls. "Look," he said, "it's one-to-one nursing here, and somebody will be here all the time. If you start struggling, they'll put you back on the 'trachy'". "In fact I slept through the night and woke in the morning at about seven to see Alex, a young doctor, gesturing at me. 'Phyllis,' he said, 'you've done your twenty-four hours, which means they can take the trachy out'. "The whole experience really taught me a lesson. I've forgotten all my signals now, but they kept on at me until they knew what I was trying to say" Looking back now, Phyllis Bowman realises she was living through the very thing that had been the subject of SPUC's two-day mass-lobby in Parliament in July 1998, addressing MPs on the dangers of living wills, and lecturing them on the withdrawal of food and fluid ("I was on assisted food and fluid for nearly six weeks"). "The doctors," she is now able to reflect, "were practising on me what we had all been preaching. I gained a personal insight into the dangers of euthanasia. One of the points we made to MPs was that patients don't always understand what is wrong or what can be done for them. They might sign something without having a clue what it really means. They can give up far too easily. It is the tradition of good medicine that doctors act in the best interests of patients. "The last thing I ever dreamed of at the time of the mass-lobby was that I would go into hospital fighting for breath. Oddly enough, the treatment I received brought me an extraordinary bonus. For years I have been a chronic asthma sufferer and now my asthma is much better than it has been for about fourteen years, perhaps because of the kill-or-cure drugs I was given. But I can never forget all the people who were praying for me, and I have no doubt that that was the most important part of all. Now when I go up to Hammersmith, they treat me as a walking miracle! My consultant says, 'You're walking more quickly than your husband!'" (She laughs: "I always used to before I developed asthma anyway!") ... "I'll tell the boys upstairs I've seen you," says the consultant. "So," concludes Phyllis with another deep laugh, "I went into hospital with something which could have killed me and came out in the end with my asthma hugely improved." (Interview with Bill Gribbin)
Euthanasia, she believes, could be achieved by approval of the withdrawal of treatment including 'assisted foods and fluid', and by making advance directives ('living wills') legally binding, or by continuing powers of attorney which could allow life-and-death decisions to be made by people with a vested interest. The role and responsibility of doctors in such a sophisticated drift towards euthanasia would, of course, be of critical significance. Recent shifts, therefore, in the stance of the British Medical Association (BMA) must be seen for what they are: the beginnings of a campaign to change doctors' views on medical killing. Until recently, the provision of food and fluids - including tubal feeding - was always regarded as part of basic care. Now, however, as was demonstrated in the case of Tony Bland the Hillsborough victim, assisted nutrition is defined as 'treatment' and can be withdrawn, allowing victims of disease and accident, handicapped children and the aged to be starved to death. The BMA certainly supports legally binding advance directives, claiming that under common law they are already recognised as such, and that doctors who ignore them could be charged with assault. A twoday mass lobby of Parliament in July 1998 attracted thousands of lobbyists from Scotland, England and Wales, representing about 450 constituencies. Lobbying concentrated on the two issues of legalising the withdrawal of food and fluids, and the dangers of making advance directives legally binding. Phyllis Bowman and SPUC Merseyside launched a separate anti-euthanasia initiative to spearhead multi-faith meetings throughout the country, to alert people of all faiths to their shared responsibility to fight euthanasia, to develop local multi-faith action and mobilise national religious bodies. This is the first time that virtually all the Christian churches, Jews and Muslims have co-operated in such a campaign. The Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sachs, said that he would be proud to support it. Several meetings have already been held and more are planned. "Educating the churches has been a massive job," says Phyllis Bowman. "Withdrawing treatment sounds fairly innocent until you realise that it means starving people to death". (Further details of ongoing campaigns and information on how you can help, are available from Phyllis Bowman: PO Box 25172 London SW1H 9JA.) l On 28 April 1999, Lord Alton introduced a short (2Â˝ hour) debate in the House of Lords on human cloning. As a result, Baroness Hayman promised to "feed the transcript of the debate back into the consultation process". l On 25 June the Government announced that it was not yet confident enough to proceed, that it was re-constituting a new working group under the Chief Medical Officer, Liam Donaldson which, it was hoped, would report back early in 2000. l The following pages relate part of that debate and the Government's subsequent delay in making a decision on human cloning.
There was a time when human cloning was regarded as being in the realms of science fiction. It made good reading in books like Boys from Brazil or Brave New World, but until the cloning of Dolly the sheep, in 1997, many of us did not regard this issue as something that we would have to deal with as a matter of public policy. Dolly was cloned after 277 attempts, involving nine embryos in the course of the procedures. In the United States goats have been cloned. The race is very much under way to achieve the cloning of human beings. In a recent "Panorama" programme, a Korean scientist, Dr Lee Bo Yeon, was asked when we might see a cloned baby. His reply was, "Much sooner than you think". That was after his claim - disputed by other scientists - that he had already created and then killed the first human clone. Just before Christmas 1998, a document was submitted to the Government by the Human Genetics Advisory Commission and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. A lot of the preparatory work for that document was carried out by a working party of just four people, who are all in favour of cloning. Crucial to our understanding of this issue is the distinction that is made between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. The report submitted by the two authorities recommends against reproductive cloning and in favour of therapeutic cloning. The Government have postponed a final decision on both questions. Putting the issue into context, we should also consider what other countries are doing. In April 1999, the 90 members of the Council of Europe ruled out any question of human cloning and said that it should not be permitted under any exceptions whatsoever. They have incorporated that protocol into the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine. Two countries were absent from signing that protocol. Germany said that in the light of its eugenics history, and its own laws, which completely proscribe any experimentation on human embryos, it already had sufficient provision to not need this protocol. Disturbingly, the British Government also declined to sign the protocol, but not because we wish to operate a more stringent regime: quite the reverse. The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Daniel Tarchys, said: "At a time when occasional voices are being raised to assert the acceptability of human cloning and even to put it more rapidly into practice, it is important for Europe solemnly to declare its determination to defend human dignity against the abuse of scientific techniques". President Chirac, who opened the conference debating this question, added this denunciation of countries which provide a safe haven for those scientists who wish to act outside internationally agreed norms. He said: "Nothing will be resolved by banning certain practices in one country if scientists and doctors can simply work on them elsewhere". It is not only in Europe that this issue is controversial. In the United States Senate, two conflicting Bills were introduced by Senators Bond and Frist on one side, and Senators Feinstein and Kennedy on the other. At the end of the stand-off and a filibuster, the Motion to prohibit human cloning was defeated. A leader from the Washington Post put the case against cloning well: "The creation of human
embryos specifically for research that will destroy them is unconscionable. Viewed from one angle this issue can be made to yield endless complexities. What about the suffering of individuals and infertile couples who might be helped by embryo research? What about the status of the brand new embryo? But before you get to these questions, there is a simpler one: 'Is there a line that should not be crossed even for scientific, or other gain, and, if so, what is it?'" Is there a bright line which we simply should not cross? Haven't we stood on that line before? In 1967 abortion was only to be used for difficult cases. It would not lead to abortion on demand. There have been 5 million abortions since then. Since 1991 we have permitted experimentation on human embryos. We were then told that this would only be to help scientists make progress for what they said would be perfectly legitimate reasons to try to rid the world of terrible degenerative disease or to help infertile couples. Even the most enthusiatic supporters of that measure should pause to reflect on the half a million human embryos who have been destroyed or experimented upon since then. Since we first crossed the line, each day 600 unborn babies are aborted in Britain but in the whole of the past year only 300 new-born babies were available for adoption. Meanwhile in up to 70% of cases, the infertility treatments still do not work. Since we first crossed the line, the HFEA has permitted scientists in our our counrty, in Bristol, to inject human sperm to penetrate hamster eggs. In Japan, at Tottori University, scientists have grown human sperm in testicles of rats. In the United Kingdom there have been reports of scientitsts saying it would be possible to implant a human embryo in a man. In The Sunday Times in April, Dr Paul Rainsbury said he was seeking a licence to split an embryo to create two children, one of whom could then be frozen. Dr Rainsbury said that the second baby would be an insurance policy. This all demonstrates how far we have moved from an authentic view of human life - of life as a precious gift from God - to a commodified view in which the language of the market place comes to dominate human procreation. There are dissenting voices. It would be wrong to suggest that all religious views, or for that matter all scientific views, are the same. They are not. Dr John Wyatt, Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics at the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London, said in a note to me: "I and many of my fellow health professionals share a profound disquiet about the introduction of therapeutic cloning. Many of us are actively involved in research to find novel therapies for life-threatening and disabling conditions. However, the creation and manipulation of living human embryos for the sole purpose of generating therapeutic tissue seems incompatible with respect for vulnerable human life. The redefinition of human embryos as mere biological material or 'totipotent stem cells' in order to allay public concerns, smacks of semantic trickery rather than responsible debate." I cite these words from the late Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Basil Hume. He said: "Every human embryo is a new human life with the potential to develop into an adult human being. From the moment an embryo is created, we are dealing with a human subject which should always be treated with reverence and respect. It would be morally abhorrent for new human lives to be
created simply for harvesting human tissue. Today's development highlights the urgent need for Parliament to amend and restrict the 1990 Act. It is said that, in the long term, scientific advances in treating disease could be accelerated by the use of this technique. Even if this were true, it cannot justify doing what is wrong: We are dealing with human lives. This is surely another example of a line which should never be crossed. We may be being clever but are we being wise?" I repeat: we may be clever but are we being wise? Human cloning is the production of a genetic copy of another human organism. Cloning would be achieved by embryo splitting or by nuclear transfer. Reproductive cloning would allow the human embryo to develop into a full copy of the donor. But therapeutic cloning would also require the creation of a human embryo. Cell differentiation, leading to continued foetal development, would not be permitted. The purpose would be to grow tissue or perhaps organs for transplant therapies. Both techniques require the manufacture of a human embryo. Growing a human clone for its limbs and organs is technological cannibalism. Alternatives exist. President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Committee has stated that, "because of ethical and moral concerns raised by the use of embryos for research purposes it would be far more desirable to explore the direct use of human cells of adult origin to produce specialised cells or tissue for transplantation into patients". It is extraordinary that there has only been one debate held in the House of Lords in some private Member's time which I secured. There has been no debate at all in the House of Commons - quite an extraordinary indictment of the failure of MPs to grapple with ethical issues. Instead, policy has been made by four people, all of whom are scientists, and all of whom had expressed, previously at some point or another, support for human cloning. Just 200 submissions were made as part of their low key consultation, and they declined even to place a copy of the responses in the Library of Parliament. Early in 1999, Sir Colin Campbell resigned as Chairman of the Human Genetics Advisory Committee because he said that his commercial interests in an insurance company might lead to a conflict of interest. But if that were right, and it was, how could a man like Dr George Poste - one of the gang of four - with his huge interests in Smith Kline Beecham, Cerebrus Limited and Dia Dexos, avoid a similar conflict of interest? Other members too had interests, and I passionately believe that we need to remove this debate from those who are too close to the industries, and who could gain from the procedures in which they are involved. These awesome questions need to be debated impartially and thoughtfully. Let us be clear what is at stake here. We are witnessing the creation of nightmare kingdoms, populated by a sub-species of human clones. This debate is about nothing less than what it means to be human. We may be on the verge of committing species suicide. A whole range of sociological, psychological and scientific questions arise from this, apart from the ethical issues. Questions arise about the familial relationships between the cloned individual and the other members of his or her family, should reproducive cloning
be permitted. There are questions of inheritance and questions of status. Are human clones to be slaves or fully functioning citizens, endowed and protected with the full panoply of human rights protection? We are committing ourselves to something which could have vast consequences, not just for ourselves but for all future generations. Those in favour of cloning argue that if we should just permit a little cloning, therapeutic cloning, it could lead to many advances. But this is the bridge across which unethical scientists and pharmaceutical companies will march towards full pregnancy cloning. Our IVF clinics will be awash with cloned human embryos and, sooner rather than later, someone will start implanting them in surrogate mothers. To legalise therapeutic cloning is to render inevitable the onset of human pregnancy cloning. For the Government to give a green light to the former will amount to complicity in the latter. We are hopelessly ill-prepared to answer the complex scientific and sociological questions which are raised by human cloning. Our destiny as a species is the high theme which must engage us today. We will not survive the 21st century with 20th century bioethics. We need a moratorium to give us space to think. Dissenting voices should not be driven out of the committees that consider these matters. One thing is clear: to act in haste will cause us to repent at leisure.
Life After Death by David Alton Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" Vanity asks the qu...
Published on Dec 20, 2010
Life After Death by David Alton Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" Vanity asks the qu...