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Need to defend life at every stage

SPUC SCOTLAND’s chief executive officer JOHN DEIGHAN gives an insight into a number of today’s main pro-life issues

A popular phenomenon that has spread in the US is the March for Life. St John Paul II once said: “Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places like the first Apostles, who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages.” His words have been taken up by millions of people around the world to proclaim the gospel of life. Just last week tens of thousands marched in Ireland to show their commitment to defending life in the womb and at every other stage.

The UK has been a bit more modest in its March for Life, but it has gradually built up over the last three years in Birmingham. A group of Scottish SPUC supporters went to join the event in May and returned with great enthusiasm at what they experienced. It is impossible to fully quantify the impact that such public witness has but just one of the stories from those who attended shows that such efforts are worthwhile. On witnessing the march one woman resolved to cancel an abortion that she was booked in to have.

Such events are also a great encouragement for those who take part. The sense of belonging to a just cause and finding that so many others share their concern over the injustice of abortion inspires campaigners to continue their efforts. Young people are increasingly part of such witness. They are willing to challenge the injustice that so many have just come to terms with and they are eager to pursue justice. It is from these people that we will have the social leaders of the future who will overturn anti-life laws and attitudes.

Scotland has a long tradition of hosting a Torchlight Procession for Life every October and this has also been growing in size in recent years. It is one of many opportunities that arise for us to play our part in the fight against abortion. I look forward to seeing these efforts continue to increase in the months and years ahead.


The typical experience of anyone who knows a person with Down’s syndrome is how much they enjoy life. Of course there are special needs to be catered for but the chance to enjoy life is not denied someone with Down’s syndrome and the joy that children with Down’s syndrome bring to their parents, families and friends is undeniably enormous.

It is thus heart-breaking to read the recent headlines about a new pre-natal screening test for Down’s. The test is heralded as a great breakthrough because of its reliability in detecting the condition. Screening is now big business and most pregnant women get a variety of screening tests not really aware that if some unusual results are found they are then ushered along a confusing and disconcerting path which can often put pressure for abortion. The identification of Down’s syndrome in screening is typically a death sentence for the baby. Our laws actually permit abortion to birth for disability and last years’ figures show that 66 children in Scotland had their lives terminated because they were identified as having a chromosomal abnormality, which is typically Down’s syndrome or Edward’s syndrome.

The attitudes around pregnancy and screening services are strongly eugenic. The tests are not about identifying how someone with a condition can be treated but about finding people with a particular condition so that they can be terminated. There is of course the argument that giving information about a condition allows parents to prepare for dealing with it. Theoretically that is possible, but it means months of anxiety and some evidence indicates that about 90 per cent of tests that spot an abnormality result in abortion. But the negative reaction that women speak of getting from medical staff when Down’s syndrome is suspected must impact greatly on how a woman feels about how she should respond and unsurprisingly most go along the route of abortion. Medical service should rather be supportive of mothers and their babies.

There is much to be highlighted about the wonderful lives and contributions that people with Down’s syndrome and other conditions make in society. At a time when so many go on about equality and the rights of those with disabilities, it is a startling inconsistency that this inequality is at the heart of prenatal services.


The scale of abortion is so great that we can easily become numb to the scale of the loss of unborn lives. The use of early abortifacients also means that there are many abortions that we do not see on official figures. Those figures this year show a slight fall in numbers but still around 11,500 abortions are taking place in Scotland each year. In England, a staggering feature of their figures was that for over 80 per cent of abortions the mothers were unmarried. This is not recorded in the Scottish figures.

Politicians are still struggling to face up to the concerns of an aging society and yet remain blind to this huge loss of life. Human life is the greatest resource that a society has yet our political leaders see new life as a threat rather than a gift. This anti-child mentality seemed to strengthen with news released with the budget that in future child tax credits and housing benefit will only cover the first two children in a family. So the United Kingdom stands out as a modern democracy with an effective two child policy at a time when other nations with low birth rates try to find ways to encourage their citizens to be open to having more children.

The disaster that population controllers have had in advocating low birth rates is increasingly becoming evident in China. It’s supposed economic miracle—which has served a minority—will not be able to continue and the social isolation of people with no brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts or uncles will only deepen.

New life is a sign of hope, it brings new talents, it strengthens family and social bonds, it drives the economy yet somehow the world manufactures ideologies that want to turn humanity against itself. Population controllers have got it wrong in also seeing their methods as an answer to environmental problems.

A phenomenon of political movements is that people will stick tenaciously to their views regardless of how the evidence proves them wrong. Politicians are pretty much stuck in the ‘it’s a woman’s choice’ level of argument for abortion and probably little thought further than that takes place before they fall in to line to undermine any attempts to change the law in a pro-life direction. For that to happen a new pre-political formation has to take place such that those moving in to political office don’t simply follow the tired values which fail to serve the common good.


— http://www.spucscotland.org





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