SPECIAL FEATURE: by John BallantyneNews Weekly
A voice for the unborn: Lord Nicholas Windsor in Australia
, October 27, 2012
Lord Nicholas Windsor, an outspoken champion of the unborn and a first cousin of the queen, addressed thousands of pro-life Australians who took part in Melbourne’s March for the Babies on Saturday, October 13.
The march is held annually to commemorate the passage four years ago of Victoria’s Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, the most radical abortion bill yet carried in Australia.
Lord Nicholas Windsor greets the crowds
from the March for the Babies as they
arrive at the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House.
Victoria’s laws permit abortion up to nine months. This means that a baby can now be aborted, literally moments before natural birth. There is no requirement to provide medical assistance for babies still alive after failed late-term abortions.
Doctors not wanting to refer for abortions are now required to refer a woman to a doctor who will. This violates a doctor’s right to conscientious objection.
Similarly, there is no right for nurses to refuse to assist with abortions.
Lord Nicholas, 42, is the youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, a great-grandson of King George V and first cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II.
On the eve of the Melbourne march, he delivered the inaugural March for the Babies Oration at Melbourne’s Sofitel Hotel.
Before he commenced his address, he made a special request to the audience. He asked them: “Please can we begin by keeping a minute’s silence? I ask you to pray for our brothers and sisters in the human family who are at this moment alive in the wombs of their mothers, but for whom another day of life is not a given…. Pray too for those same mothers that they may have the courage, and the love of others, so as to bring their child into this world.”
In his speech he said: “We are always first of all for life, welcoming it, joyful at the good news of new life, but inspired to hasten to help the mother less able to help herself. Because, for all manner of reasons, childbearing, childbirth and childrearing are tasks that call for great sacrifice and courage on the part of women....
“Loud voices aren’t all we need. We need soft and sweet voices too. And then again silence, because silence reminds us of the missing, the fallen, the painful absence of those who might have lived noisily amongst us — in our homes, in our streets and gardens. But they are absent, taken from us, and because of that they can too easily be forgotten.
“A society that declares something evil to be something good has got to kick over the traces. ‘Where’, it says, ‘is your evidence? Show us your Flanders fields of dead! Show us your broken-hearted women! No’, it says, ‘our women are still whole; we’ve solved their problem and they thank us for it. Now, please, go away quietly — the future is ours.’
“But the beggar can’t go away because he is still hungry, and we can’t go away because we know what we know; that this evil is real and that it must be confronted, by love.
“And for love to overcome this evil it has to take the form of a constant witness. We are going to bear witness tomorrow in our thousands, God willing, in the streets of Melbourne.
“We will bear witness to our absent friends and kin, and strangers too who were never born. They’re also my family! We should claim them as our family, because their humanity demands it. What does solidarity mean if not that we claim kinship with those most in need? They become our problem, someone we cannot walk away from.
“And what if the temptation to walk away does sometimes come to us? We know that it will, because we get tired, downhearted, even afraid. Afraid of the opprobrium and the disapproval that meets our stance.
Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor
with one of their two sons
“To me, what should give us comfort and good cheer, more than anything, is the rightful claim that our movement has, to be in continuity with those earlier struggles to recognise the humanity of groups deemed unworthy of it by the powerful, slaves of African descent being the starkest example.
“What else can help us to keep our hands to the plough, can help us to persevere? I’ll tell you what — look around you, please, at the young people here tonight — tables full of them, and in particular rising stars such as Stephen Jury, treasurer of the committee; Melissa Plantamura, who has done so much organising tomorrow’s march; and Ignatius Corboy, who played the piano so beautifully this evening, just to name a few.
“I know of groups of young people in England, in the United States, and now, here, in Australia, who are bringing their energy and imagination into this great work.
“Now think about it, if you are a progressive politician who doesn’t yet share our goals, are you going to find it harder to label these people as shrill reactionaries, stuck with an old-fashioned system of values? Of course, you are, because these people are so visibly optimistic and forward-looking, even if they do respect traditional values because they believe they make for greater happiness, never mind justice and genuine peace.
“Tomorrow, of course, you will see so many more of them, marching because, apart from their thirst for justice, they know that they are blessed, they are the fortunate ones who were allowed to be born when so many of their — our — peers were not. That is the place of my generation.
“I was born, in a nice piece of symmetry, right between the British Abortion Act of 1967 and the US Supreme Court decision of 1973, the infamous case of Roe v. Wade.
“I can’t forget that. Truly, a sword is suspended above the heads of the unborn, from that time onwards.
“This sense of being part of an historical movement, which will seek to push on until all human beings have their rights protected, their right to life at the foremost, is not adopted to boost our egos as would-be latter-day Wilberforces and Martin Luther Kings, but to remind us that this cause is noble and one of which no harsh opposition should make us ashamed, ever!”
Lord Nicholas, after his speech, presented the March for the Babies organisers with a special Apostolic Blessing from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
In 2001, Lord Nicholas, who had studied theology at Oxford, became the first male blood royal to convert to Catholicism since Charles II on his deathbed in 1685.
Until then, he had been 27th in line of succession for the English throne. His conversion, however, meant that, under the 1701 Act of Settlement, he was thenceforth barred from the royal line.
However, this has not deterred him from being active in public life. Last year in London he commenced a campaign against United Nations and European Union attempts to make abortion a human right. The abortion of our unborn children, he said, “constitutes the single most grievous moral deficit in contemporary life”.
He describes his “visceral” opposition to the termination of pregnancies. And he denies that this was “because (as that brilliant writer Philip Pullman would put it) ‘the Vatican’ told me to”.
He recalls: “I started thinking hard about the subject. It hit me in the stomach that terminating a pregnancy equalled none other than the destruction of a human being. It knocked the wind out of me the first time, as it does every single time I think of it.” (UK Telegraph, October 10, 2011).
He argues that the womb ought be the safest place for a baby to be and that Britain’s 1967 Abortion Act should never have been passed.
Writing two years ago in the United States journal of religion and philosophy, First Things, Lord Nicholas said: “The granting to ourselves of the right wantonly to kill, each year, millions of our offspring at the beginning of their lives: This is the question of questions for Europe.
“The practice of abortion is a mortal wound in Europe’s heart, in the centre of Hellenic and Judeo-Christian culture.”
With legal abortion all but universal, he wrote, parents and doctors have a Roman Emperor’s power of life and death over their unborn children. “Caesar’s thumb is up, or Caesar’s thumb is down. And when it comes to exporting this idea, we do it with zeal and determination through such institutions as the United Nations and the European Union.”
Western society “has placed this fearful act at its centre — consciously approving, even celebrating, its own most egregious moral failing”.
The irony of it all, he observed, is that Europe’s political establishment, supposedly so conscious of human rights, is “in favour of one of the gravest and most egregious abuses of human rights that human society has ever tolerated. Didn’t Europeans think they could never and must never kill again on an industrial scale?”
He continued: “This is a historically unprecedented cascade of destruction wrought on individuals: on sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, future spouses and friends, mothers and fathers — destroyed in the form of those to whom we owe, quite simply and certainly, the greatest solidarity and duty of care because they are the weakest and most dependent of our fellow humans.” (“Caesar’s thumb”, First Things, December 2010).
In 2011, at a meeting in London, sponsored by Britain’s All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, Lord Nicholas and Lord Alton of Liverpool launched a document known as the nine San José Articles, which were designed to thwart a “subversive” global campaign to “bully” countries into giving all women the right to abortion.
The articles are named after the city of San José in Costa Rica, where they were signed last year.
The aim of this global campaign to save the unborn, said Lord Nicholas at the time, was to stop abortion “from being foisted on to countries that don’t want it”.
“The Articles aim to show that there is no ‘right to abortion’ to be found in international law that would oblige such countries to ‘conform, or else’. This is in spite of the UN and other agencies’ claims to the contrary.
“Human rights lawyers of a certain stamp around the world are taking the same pro-abortion line, manipulating the current provisions of international law.
“Frankly, officials and politicians in developing countries are being bullied into writing such a right to abortion into their domestic law. This project aims to help them to fight back.” (UK Telegraph, October 10, 2011).
Last year, Lord Nicholas was appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life. He has recently been made director of the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute.
Lord Nicholas resides in Rome with his wife Paola and their two sons Albert and Leopold.
Lord Nicholas Windsor, “Caesar’s thumb”, First Things (The Institute on Religion and Public Life, New York), December 2010.
Lord Nicholas Windsor, “The world doesn’t have a right to abortion”, The Telegraph (UK), October 10, 2011.