Tony Blair's Bioethical Legacy
Interview With John Smeaton of SPUC
LONDON, FEB. 17, 2007 (Zenit) - The United Kingdom is exporting anti-life and anti-family values, says John Smeaton, director of an organization campaigning for pro-life laws.
Smeaton, the national director of the U.K.-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, spoke with us about the present and the future of bioethics in Britain.
Q: Tony Blair expects to step down as prime minister this year. How has the bioethical landscape in Britain changed during his tenure?
Smeaton: Under Tony Blair's leadership, the government and parliament have plunged Britain into an ethical abyss, in which there is no right or wrong but simply administrative and technical questions to be resolved by the implementation of new anti-life evils.
Two of the first things Tony Blair did in office was to establish a strategy on teenage pregnancy and to revive proposals to change the law on end-of-life treatment.
The former involves supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parents' knowledge or consent; the latter has led to a law -- the Mental Capacity Act 2005 -- which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and to dehydrate to death vulnerable patients.
The Blair government exports abortion-on-demand to the developing world under the guise of the Millennium Development Goals and it has increased funding for population control agencies -- such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations Population Fund -- complicit in China's one-child policy.
Tony Blair has personally championed destructive experiments on cloned human embryos. In general, there is virtually no area of pro-life or pro-family ethical concern which has not been made worse by the Blair government.
In addition, the U.K. is a major influence within the European Union and in many other parts of the world in support of anti-life, anti-family policies.
Q: How does the level of bioethical debate in Britain compare to the rest of the world? The United States, for instance? Or Australia? Or Germany?
Smeaton: The level of bioethical debate compares badly with the rest of the world.
The mass media in Britain, led by the so-called quality media, such as the Times and the BBC, present the debate on bioethical issues such as human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and abortion, in an almost entirely one-sided way.
Scientific and ethical considerations which suggest why human embryonic stem cell research is ethically irresponsible are either not included at all in such media coverage, or they are presented in a totally inadequate way. Also, the government of the day appears to have an infinite capacity to manipulate the terms of bioethical debate.
For example, the government succeeded in enshrining euthanasia by neglect in law in April 2005 while simultaneously successfully assuring politicians and church leaders that they were completely opposed to legalizing euthanasia.
Q: Christian leaders in Britain in recent years have lamented the state of religion, as witnessed in low church attendance. Has that affected culture-of-life issues?
Smeaton: Whatever the fundamental cause of low church attendance, the situation is worsened by the lack of clear teaching on culture of life issues.
Tragically, in Britain, induced abortion and birth control drugs and devices are provided to children at school, including Catholic schools, under the age of 16 without parental knowledge or consent.
Last year, a teacher at a mixed Catholic school in Kent, in England, spoke out publicly about the sex education given to her class of 13- to 14-year-old children. The teacher, a Miss McLernon, said: "I think people should be aware of what is going on in schools. I witnessed the nurse using a plastic model to show these children how to put on what she said was a chocolate flavored condom."
Miss McLernon said: "Every child in the class was given a card explaining where you could get free contraceptives and the abortion-inducing morning-after pill. The card also gave details of a website for young people explaining how a surgical abortion could be arranged. This is a Catholic school where you would expect children to be protected from this sort of thing."
Sadly, more and more Catholic parents are approaching the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children with terrible experiences in Catholic schools, both at the secondary and primary school level. Protests on the part of Catholic parents and teachers seeking to protect young people do not appear to be heard.
Furthermore, the British and European Union governments have enacted a body of law on the equal employment rights of male and female homosexuals and bisexuals and ...
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