June 2nd 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The Greens: the political equivalent of bilgewater

EDITORIAL Malaysian election sends shockwaves across South-East Asia

GENDER AND SPORT Transgender playing in women's football league gains attention

CANBERRA OBSERVED Beyond tomorrow a bridge too far for politicians to plan

ENERGY Why renewables destabilise the power grid

LAW AND FREEDOM Exemptions: at issue with Dr Zimmermann

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Behind the U.S.-North Korea rapprochement

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Two to tango: Where to now for U.S. and China?

LIFE ISSUES So, is this not pro-life?

POLITICS AND CULTURE The West won the world but may lose its soul

MILITARY BIOGRAPHY Commanders: the men who resolve questions of life and death


MUSIC Eurovision: Wailing and gnashing of teeth

CINEMA Superhero movies: A Chestertonian consideration

BOOK REVIEW A man for all seasons and hemispheres

BOOK REVIEW Mid-century gem of Catholic fiction



ECONOMICS Vatican document nails some of the causes of the GFC

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So, is this not pro-life?

by Anne Lastman

News Weekly, June 2, 2018

His Holiness Pope Francis has for some years been persecuted unmercifully and called many names and titles (false prophet, anti-Christ) by supposedly “good Catholics”, which should make us all hang our heads in shame.

“Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon, live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.

“We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the ‘grave’ bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children.”

His Holiness Pope Francis
Gaudete et Exsultate
(Rejoice and Be Glad) 101-102

One pro-life group especially has used social media to carry out a campaign of persecution and division since this Pope was elected. Pope Francis has even been accused of not being “pro-life”. The above quote are his thoughts in his latest exhortation. He defends those in the womb first but then all kinds of suffering of human beings.

Pope Francis

We work hard to save a child from abortion (rightly so) but then stand by while human trafficking of enormous proportions is carried out in our day and age. Trafficking of young little children for the purpose of sexual gratification by wicked/evil individuals and groups. What have we become that we have businesses that do this to children?

And sexual abuse of children in safe places like the family and schools and places where special care is assumed. Is this not a life issue? Not pro-life?

Yes, we’ve worked and will continue to work hard to save babies from being dismembered in the womb because we believe that they have a right to their life as a God-given gift to the parents and society even if they don’t know it, and have we saved the child in the womb only to let that child be exploited, used, abused, starved, beaten, traded? Is being pro-life only about life in the womb but nothing else?

Are we pro-lifers sabotaging our language just as surely as the pro-aborts and pro-choicers, who sabotaged the words “choice” and “rights?” Are we going to do the same with the term “pro-life”, meaning only life in the womb? Are we only interested in life in the womb, or the life of a child in its continuum? Life is life. A child is a child even when they are being raped and then passed on to someone else to do the same.

Child trafficking isn’t to give a needy child a wonderful life; it is to give some badly damaged individual distorted sexual pleasure.

We all remember the image of a little three-year-old Syrian boy found washed up on the seashore two or three years ago. It broke all our hearts seeing that little one floating face down in the water. Dead. Have we so quickly forgotten that child, whose parents let him live (not aborted him) but then was lost due to the place of his birth and wrong political landscape?

What about pro-life and euthanasia, where the elderly are now fearful of going to hospitals just in case they never leave alive? Or even the disabled, whose life is deemed valueless. Is this not pro-life?

We all of us write about our horror at the idea of euthanasia and assisted suicide, indeed at this moment we have the story of a distinguished elderly professor who went to Switzerland to have himself assisted in his suicide (carried out May 10). Is this not pro-life?

Or the tragic story of young Alfie Evans whose life was deemed so useless that even with all the world’s attention and offers of help from others professionals and hospitals, the courts and British children’s hospital and not his parents chose and carried out their decision that the child must die.

Alfie Evans and his parents

The Holy Father recognises these matters as pro-life matters and we must fight to reclaim the entire meaning of the value of life beginning at conception, its hospitality in the womb and then deep respect for its humanity from birth to end of life. Life is a continuum: it always begins with the union of a sperm and ova and concludes in a human whose life was intended for good and joy and mirrors the image of its creator and co-workers (parents).

This little two-year-old Alfie Evans, just like the little boy washed up on the seashore, tugged at heartstrings throughout the world. After being removed from life support, he died in the early hours of morning after having breathed on his own for 24 hours.

In a hollow voice the little one’s father said: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 2.30. Absolutely heartbroken. I love you my guy.” His mother also spoke of his little wings and flying. Is this not pro-life work? What is it, then?

Charlie Gard with his parents

And this only a short time after the other child, Charlie Gard, at the same hospital and with the same illness, was also doomed to die in the same way. This should never have happened. Neither the hospital nor the courts nor anyone else but the parents are the guardians of their child. Or has Big Brother merely been flexing his muscles with the youngest in the womb, the disabled, and the elderly? Already?

Is this what we can expect in the future? Is this not a pro-life matter?

Alfie Evans had been granted Italian citizenship so he could be taken to the hospital there that had offered to take him for further diagnosis and treatment, but the British courts repeatedly refused to allow the transfer, ruling that it was not in the child’s best interests. So the courts and the hospital – and maybe even the janitor at the hospital – deemed what course of action was in the child’s best interests; not the parents. Stopping these things, is this not pro-life? Where were the parents’ rights?

Pope Francis supported and had offered public prayers for Alfie and his family several times, including at a general audience and in several twitter posts. “Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted,” he said on Twitter.

But the final and tragic decision was to keep the child at that hospital and let him die. One must ask the question, why did the hospital fight so hard to keep that child there?

Is this saga not pro-life?

He was spared from death in the womb only to have the same people insist on his death who would no doubt have carried out his abortion if demanded; only this time they demanded the death. Is this not pro-life?

When the Holy Father speaks about poverty, this is considered much much less of a pro-life matter. We must have forgotten the images of little ones with bloated bellies and hollow eyes. And the desperate mother offering an empty breast for comfort to her dying little child. This brought to our television screens continuously from disenfranchised countries.

This is not pro-life? What are we doing when we can say that all these matters are not pro-life?

We have an anti-life society that seems to be intent on attacking and destroying the domain of the creator while we argue among ourselves about words.

Anne Lastman is the founder of counselling organisation Victims of Abortion (www.victimsofabortion.com.au, PO Box 6094, Vermont South, Victoria, 3133, Mobile: 0408 175 033). She is the author of two books, Redeeming Grief, about abortion and its consequences on women and society, and Hidden Pain, on childhood sexual abuse.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm