Sunday, 29 January 2012

Abortion advertised as a service

I'm sure by now that just about all of you are aware that from 30th April 2012 "commercial post-conception advice services", more commonly referred to as abortion clinics, will be allowed to advertise themselves on television and radio.

The decision taken by the BCAP (Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice) is extremely disappointing and spells a dismal future for the unborn in this country. For starters it allows clinics who profit from conducting abortions to advertise publicly. This step not only encourages more and more vulnerable women to take this course of action, convinces them that this is the only one they can take, the only place they can turn to for help but truly plunges our society into a "culture of death", a country where the killing of a child is not only acceptable but it is something you can publicise in order to make money out of it. In their advertisements they will also not be obligated to mention what services it is that they offer, nor that they profit from it. It won't be until a woman walks into one of their centres that she will be told of what it is they actually do. This is, to my mind, outrageous as pro-life organistaions have to clearly state what they do and that they will not refer women for abortions. This ruling has also allowed commercial pro-life centres to promote themselves in an attempt to 'level' the playing field...except that, as far as I or any of our Pro-Life group know, there aren't any commercial pro-life organisations. All of them are run by charities and, unlike their profit making pro-abort counterparts, simply do not have the funds to invest in prime time advertising slots. The money they receive goes straight back in helping the people who walk through their doors. Take Oasis in Horsham for instance. They run a service with trained counsellors who will not only speak to women facing crisis pregnancies but also offer help to both men and women post-abortion and to those recovering from miscarriages and still births. They also rent a storage facility where they hold donations of clothes and other baby items (cots etc.) which they give free of charge to anyone who needs them. They totally rely on leafletting and word-of-mouth around our town to let people know what it is that they do. They, and all the thousands of similar centres up and down the country, are running on so tight a budget and are so dedicated to seeing that it is spent where most necessary that TV ads are out of the question.

It is strange to think that we spend so much time, so much energy talking about human rights, about social justice and equality yet we regard life at its earliest stages, in one of its most vulnerable forms as invaluable, totally without rights, as a burden, as something that can easily be disposed of if it is not wanted. We live in a world now where we all have rights but absolutely no responsibility. We have the 'right' to a child but don't have to take responsibility for our actions should we get pregnant by chance, it can all be swept under the carpet so-to-speak; gotten rid of and forgotten about. Abortion is no longer seen as something awful, an attack on the precious gift that is a human life, but a 'public service', something to which we are all entitled, something that is portrayed not only as being helpful but a necessary part of our society.

Did you know that for a long time New Year's Day in England was celebrated on March 25th? Do you know why (without instantly Googling it...) this date is so special? March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation, the day we humbly and joyfully celebrate the conception of Jesus in Our Lady's womb. Previous generations were totally in awe of Our Lord's incarnation but they recognised that His life here as a man didn't begin after His birth in Bethlehem, they knew it started on that day when Gabriel appeared to Mary and cherished that moment, that very beginning of life that had been so graciously given to us by God, and moulded the year around it. How far we have come now that a child is not a child at the moment of conception, it is a 'thing', a 'clump of cells', treated like a disease and removed at the earliest convenience. We cannot allow such a sentiment to take an even deeper hold on our culture, we need to show that life is a gift; a beautiful, wonderful God-given gift, that each and every person is more valuable, more loved than any of us can ever begin to imagine, that each person is marvellously unique and has their own special vocation here on earth. Please join our group in praying that these advertisements won't go out onto television and that once again the gift of life will be cherished, respected and celebrated by all.

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