Lord Alton: Why Gibraltar should vote no on March 19

In a referendum on March 19th, Gibraltar is facing a life and death decision.

Should it follow the U.K. – where there have been 9 million abortions, one every three minutes- and legalise the routine taking of life in the womb?

Speaking in Gibraltar today, against a change in the law, I couldn’t help thinking about the Rock’s extraordinary story: its strategic importance, and what Gibraltar has represented across endless pages of history.

During the Second World War, having sailed with thousands of others from Liverpool, my late father came through the Straits of Gibraltar as a young soldier in the Eighth Army.

In 1942 those Desert Rats were on their way to the Battle of El Alamein and to the subsequent Allied invasion of Italy.

For his generation, Gibraltar – the Rock – was the iconic bastion, the fortress which represented Britain’s determination to resist the overwhelming destruction of Europe by fascism. It stood emblematically as a last redoubt in a dark and dangerous time.

Even In antiquity, Gibraltar – one of the two Pillars of Hercules – represented the furthest outpost of the known and civilised world. Mythology has it that the mother of Hippocrates – the founder of modern medicine- was one of Hercules’ descendants.

Beyond the myth we know that the Hippocratic Oath – with its injunction to do no harm – still forms the bedrock of medicine practised with ethics – but is routinely disregarded by those who have industrialised medicine for reasons of ideology or private gain.

Today, Gibraltar will need all the courage and strength of Hercules if it is to resist their attempts to barbarise its medical services by permitting the destruction of babies in the womb.

Will it stand with Hippocrates and do no harm – compassionately caring for both a mother and her child – or discard the prohibition not to kill?

Gibraltar’s new law (which is already an Act pending approval in the referendum ) effectively allows abortion on demand – as in the U.K.

Lay people and even lawyers reading the proposed new law may think that it has many checks and balances but the UK ‘s experience is that they are not worth the paper on which they are written. That’s why there are 600 abortions every working day in the UK’s charnel houses. It’s why Gibraltar should vote No.

Significantly, there are no time limits in abortions which could be approved by non-specialist doctors e.g. in Section 163 A (1) (b): “if two registered medical practitioners employed by the Gibraltar Health authority are of the opinion, formed in good faith- (b) that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman…”

In the U.K. this sort of open-ended provision has led to babies with a cleft palate being aborted up to birth- and 90%of babies with Down’s syndrome being aborted.

The Gibraltar law uses a phrase about fatal foetal abnormality – for which there is no agreed definition.

And for other abortions, up to 12 weeks, I would like to hear from legislators what they think happens at 11 weeks, 6 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes that suddenly affords a developing child the right to life, and why that child should be denied protection before this arbitrary point? Science teaches us that life begins at fertilisation. And science has moved on dramatically since abortion was legalised.

When the UK’s obsolete limits were being set, we didn’t know what was happening in the womb. We do now. This is a law which flies in the face of science and humanity.

We now know so much more about the undeniable humanity of the child in the womb. It’s all the more clearer that once life begins we should do no harm.

The new law completely disregards increasing evidence about the pain and suffering experienced by the child.
Some legislators in Gibraltar have argued that the UK government would have imposed a wide abortion law on Gibraltar if it doesn’t introduce one itself.

That is simply not true and, in any event, it would be deeply offensive for a territory which rightly boasts of having self-determination to be treated like a 19th century colony of the UK.

Voters in the forthcoming referendum must not think that they are under duress from London – if, it is, then the Gibraltar government should say who in the U.K. is telling it to conform to a law and ethical code which is contested all over the world.

Be clear, neither the UK Supreme Court nor its predecessors in the House of Lords have ever had jurisdiction over Gibraltar and, neither the UK Supreme Court nor the European Court of Human Rights have ever acknowledged the right to abortion.

The 30 Articles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains no “right” to abortion but it does declare the right to life.

Historically, Gibraltar has always acknowledged the existence of the right to life and the legal protection of the child in the womb by joint operation of Section 6 of the Gibraltar Constitution Order in Council (and its 1969 predecessor) and recital 3 of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

So, be clear, the central proposition in the forthcoming Referendum is nothing less than the abolition in part of the right to life.

And be clear about the secondary question – whether to capitulate to the powerful international abortion industry which has specifically targeted Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Malta.

It is surprising that Gibraltar’s government, which prides itself on being robust should have rolled over so easily. Its citizens, though, are renowned for their grit and for remembering the rock from which they have been hewn.

By voting No, Gibraltar will be sending a clear signal that both lives matter- and that it will not be bullied into abandoning its values and ethics.

Globally, the tide is turning, and country after country is questioning the abandonment of the Hippocratic Oath and the industrialised ending of vulnerable fragile lives.

Just as progressive countries are once again rising to the defence of the right to life and legal protection of the most vulnerable, it would be a tragedy if Gibraltar abandoned its historic duty to be a bastion in defence of civilised values and the very right to life itself.

On March 19 Gibraltar should vote No.

All opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Right To Life UK.

From tragedy to laughter: The slippery slope of euthanasia

Ann Farmer

The news that three doctors have been cleared of murdering a 38-year-old Belgian woman, Tine Nys, after being charged with ‘unlawfully poisoning’ her in April 2010 (‘Doctors cleared in Belgian euthanasia case‘, Telegraph, February 1, 2020), shows how far Belgium has slid down the slippery slope since legalising euthanasia in 2002.

The law allows adults to be killed on request, ‘on condition that [they] are facing unbearable physical or mental suffering resulting from a serious and incurable disorder’; however, it has taken ten years for the doctors to be tried, and since Ms Nys’s death, euthanasia has been ‘extended to terminally ill children in 2014’, and the ‘mental suffering’ stipulation has been extended to ‘twins born deaf and becoming blind who were unable to bear not being able to communicate with each other’; in addition, in Holland recently a doctor ‘was cleared after being accused of failing to secure proper consent from a woman with Alzheimer’s’, although prosecutors subsequently appealed the verdict.

Not only have the criteria for euthanasia, originally allowed only with ‘strict safeguards’, been extended, but it is becoming normalised – the first resort, rather than the last.

Ms Nys’s parents and sisters, ‘who were present at her death, claimed the procedure was carried out in an amateurish manner and that Ms Nys did not have an incurable mental disorder’; elsewhere, it is reported that her parents and two sisters only ‘succeeded, after nine years of harassing the bureaucracy, in having charges laid’ against Joris van Hove, the doctor who administered the lethal injection, along with the general practitioner, Frank de Greef and psychiatrist Godelieve Thienpont.

It emerged that Ms Nys ‘had been estranged from her family for years’, experienced violent relationships, had an abortion and worked as a prostitute; in fact, Dr Thienpoint ‘diagnosed her as autistic not long before the death’, and viewed “[e]verything in her life [as] a failure”’.  

Dr van Hove admitted that he had never committed a euthanasia for psychological suffering before and that he had been ‘clumsy. He had not completed his “end-of-life” training’ and ‘failed to administer the lethal injection properly. He did not have a stand for the infusion and the bag plopped onto Tine’s face as she was saying goodbye to her family. He neglected to bring a blank death certificate.’

It also emerged that Tine ‘had asked Dr de Greef for a letter authorising euthanasia, but he refused. So she went to LEIF, a euthanasia group which supplies euthanasia doctors, and found Dr van Hove’, who ‘dropped by Dr de Greef on the evening of April 27, 2010 at 8pm and asked him to sign a paper. Apparently de Greef misunderstood what he was signing, because he claimed to have been aghast when he learned that Tine had been euthanised shortly after the visit.’

This ‘occasioned two breaches of the conditions which shield doctors from prosecution for murder in Belgium’ – firstly, Dr van Hove ‘falsely listed Dr de Greef as the first doctor confirming that Tine was eligible for euthanasia’, and secondly, ‘the paperwork arrived at the euthanasia commission nearly four weeks late.’ Despite this, Dr van Hove ‘told the court that the euthanasia procedure had been carried out within the law’ and ‘protested that the very fact that the case had reached the stage of prosecution was a victory for the “hidden agenda” of the Catholic Church.’ 

Legalising euthanasia always gives rise to legal ‘grey areas’ as it becomes accepted as the answer to suffering, prompting more and more mentally disturbed people to seek assisted suicide from doctors who are reluctant to grant their request but also doctors only too anxious to grant it – so much so, that this case has exposed the whole ‘dignified death’ idea as a joke against people who need above all to be cared for, not killed.

Careering down the slippery slope, euthanasia has gone from tragedy to comedy, and this long overdue court case should be seen as being about the need to protect doctors from the law that is killing patients; after all this time, injustice has prevailed.

All opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Right To Life UK.

Lord Alton: ‘Denying a right to life should deny a right to your vote’

Find out where your local candidates stand on abortion.

Speaking tonight (November 28th 2019) at Oxford University’s Keble College, David Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool) will say that:

“Political parties and their candidates gravely underestimate millions of the quiet people of Britain when they assume that no-one reads the small print of their manifestos – and cast their votes accordingly.

“They have read the Labour Party’s commitment to bring in a new law to permit abortion up to birth and the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to abortion up to 24 weeks into pregnancy. This is a licence to kill babies who can be born and live.

“Combined with the delisting and deselection of candidates, because they dare to question the humanity of ending the lives of 9 million babies in the womb, this trespasses into an area which was once entirely a matter of conscience and a subject worthy of free speech.

“Along with the Conservative Party, the Opposition parties have also supported the imposition of abortion in Northern Ireland – making a mockery of devolution.

“All of this, and their combined refusal to support legislation to strengthen conscience provision – for people like midwives who do not want to be involved in one abortion every three minutes –  reveals an illiberalism that discredits democratic politics.

“Conscience, constituents, country should come before conformism to Party dogma.

“I salute those brave candidates, from all parties, who have signalled their willingness to be politically courageous rather than politically correct, to insist that both lives matter, and to speak truth to power, and to vote accordingly in Parliament.

“I hope that before casting their votes electors will establish where their local candidates stand and put the very right to life above all other considerations.”

The abortion lobby has made it clear that they will be seeking to introduce an extreme abortion proposal in the next Parliament, most likely as an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Right To Life UK is encouraging constituents to find out where their MP candidates stand on abortion by visiting www.righttolife.org.uk/bothlives where it takes 30 seconds to ask their candidates to sign the Both Lives Pledge.

Lord David Alton will be speaking to Oxford Students for Life at 6pm tonight.

Find out where your local candidates stand on abortion.

All opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Right To Life UK.

Abortion regulator, RCOG, looks into foetal pain… but who looks into them?

For months we have been aware of the discriminatory disparity in patient care: that unborn babies aged 20-24 weeks gestation undergoing spina bifida surgery receive foetal painkillers, but that babies of the same age being aborted are not given painkillers. 

MPs have been lobbying the Department of Health and Social Care who have finally raised the issue of the use of foetal painkillers in late term abortions with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). 

This would be welcome news because one would assume that the RCOG would recommend that all babies from a gestational age of 20 weeks onwards would receive painkillers prior to any invasive procedure.

However, RCOG’s track record suggests otherwise.

When they were first asked by the Department of Health to investigate foetal pain in 1997, they concluded that consultants should consider the need for the use of painkillers for ‘diagnostic or therapeutic procedures’ on foetuses in utero. Indeed, the Department of Health admitted that foetal painkillers are used in cases of in utero surgery from 20 weeks gestation. But what about in cases of abortion? If an unborn child needs painkillers for ‘diagnostic or therapeutic procedures’, surely they need them all the more in an abortion? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the RCOG omitted to raise or answer these awkward questions.

To do so would risk humanising the unborn baby our society has worked so hard to dehumanise, at least when it comes to abortion. This is why we witness this curious doublethink whereby unborn babies in need of ‘diagnostic or therapeutic procedures’ are given painkillers, but babies to be aborted are not. In the former case, the baby is (presumably) wanted, and therefore acknowledged to be a baby capable of feeling pain and entitled to pain relief. In the latter, the unwanted baby, destined to be aborted, amazingly enough, can feel no pain (according to RCOG at least).

How do we know that the baby destined to be aborted can feel no pain? Well, in 2010, the RCOG looked into this question confidently announcing that before a 24 week abortion,   “No, the fetus does not experience pain”.

In fact, the RCOG go even further than this. In their 2010 Guidelines on Fetal Awareness they assert that the unborn baby is in an unconscious state and does not reach consciousness until birth. This conclusion is based on, in the words of RCOG 2010 ‘good’, ‘increasing’ evidence, but this evidence was one paper from 1986: an experiment on sheep foetuses exposed to low oxygen levels. As a result, they concluded, and ever since have advised mothers accordingly, that there is no requirement for foetal painkillers prior to an abortion at any gestational age even up to the point of birth. 

Again though, this does not square with practice in relation to in utero corrective surgery on unborn babies.

Sadly this is not surprising given the varied lengths RCOG has gone to in dehumanising the unborn baby whose life will come to an end in abortion. For example, specifically using language which ignores the humanity of the child such as ‘products of conception’, a ‘pregnancy’ and, by the president of the RCOG, likened to a bunion

Moreover, the RCOG, who author all clinical guidelines for the UK abortion industry and have many members who benefit from this, are effectively unaccountable without checks or oversight. The Department of Health does not let the tobacco industry govern itself, but it does allow this freedom to the abortion industry, worth an estimated £118 million annually in 2011. They also use their position of unchecked authority to advise parliament and publish their version of abortion advice to schools.

RCOG clinical guidelines are more untouchable than the law itself. Our law is made by elected representatives in the open to serve the country; their clinical guidelines are made by an unaccountable body behind closed doors to serve themselves.

So, based on their past form and knowing that they can publish unaccountably, what advice will they come up with for these babies being aborted without painkiller? Unless their hand is forced, anything they wish.

Until RCOG say otherwise, around ten mothers a day* continue to proceed with a very late term abortion (post 20 weeks) under the assurance that their baby will feel no pain and so does not need painkiller. Yet in the same hospitals, mothers with babies of the same age are assured that their baby will feel no pain because foetal painkillers will be given.

*In 2018, there were 3,602 abortions after 20 weeks. Therefore, there were approximately 10 late term abortions (post 20 weeks) every day in 2018. (See Abortion statistics 2018: data tables T5)

All opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Right To Life UK.

All opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Right To Life UK.