Journalist condemns pro-life groups in Catholic schools. Please respond to his article.

An article was published in ‘The National’ newspaper on Tuesday 7th February. The article was titled “Michael Gray: So-called pro-life campaign groups have no place in our schools”. The article contains prejudiced views and misinformation about the pro-life movement and is also against Catholic schools promoting Catholic values and teachings.

You can view the article here: http://www.thenational.scot/news/15073792.Michael_Gray__So_called_pro_life_campaign_groups_have_no_place_in_our_schools/

Please read the article and respond constructively. Below is Sr Roseann’s response to the article:

 

Re Michael Gray’s article: So-called pro life campaign groups have no place in our schools. 

I have seldom read a more biased, inaccurate and simplistic article on the issue of pro-life groups and their involvement in schools. 

Firstly, both schools mentioned are Catholic schools, which, like it or loathe it, have a right to teach and foster Catholic values, among which respect for the sanctity of all human life would be a given – a real dog bites man story here, certainly not news.  If you don’t like Catholic values and teaching, don’t send your children to a Catholic school.  Secondly, as someone who has run the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative since its inception almost 20 years ago, I don’t recall ever having spoken to or meeting Michael Gray. He knows nothing about us and the ‘little research’ he claims to have done would seem to me to be very little indeed.  Had he taken the time to contact us, he might have discovered a few interesting things such as the fact that over the last 20 years, while a government baby box was only a twinkle in someone’s eyes, we have been providing practical help to thousands of Scottish women facing a crisis pregnancy due to fear, lack of support, poverty and much more.

Through the work of the Pro-Life Initiative, these women are given the practical and emotional support to allow them to make an informed choice.  Every day I speak to women facing a choice of abortion and the most common thing they say to me is, “I want to have my baby, but how can I because of … [insert her many different reasons, most often not to do with the baby but with lack of support and very real social and emotional issues].

What we do in offering that support is give women real choice.  He is wrong in his assertion that the pro-life movement isn’t personal; we are very personal indeed, treating every woman who comes to us with the dignity and respect they deserve

I don’t ‘want to remove the right of women to make decisions over their own bodies’ as claimed in the article, but here we come to the heart of the matter: it is not only their body which is involved in an abortion decision, it is also the life of their unborn child.  Again, this is not pro-life propaganda.  I challenge Michael Gray and anyone else reading this to search online ‘development of 10-week child in the womb’ (10 weeks is the stage of most abortions in Scotland).

We simply believe women deserve better than abortion and the child in the womb deserves the most basic human right – the right to life.  If you want young people to have the facts, then these facts must include the reality of the development of the unborn child and the facts of what abortion is.  I have never forced any women to give birth against her wishes – how could I possibly do so?

Neither have I ever stigmatised any women. And as for the old chestnut of an argument that women will return to ‘backstreet abortions’ – is he really serious?  Have women advanced nowhere in the past 50 years?

Finally, as regards contraception, I have never dealt with any woman, no matter how young, who didn’t know about contraception and yet, despite the widespread availability of contraception and years of ‘expert sexual health advice’ and campaigns, Scotland still has an alarmingly high abortion rate and an epidemic in sexually transmitted disease.  Again, it is simply a fact that contraception leads to abortion: one always follows the other because, once you’ve told people that they can have sex without consequences, especially the consequence of a child, you have to offer the back up of abortion if it fails. And it does fail, with stunning regularity.  Let’s see if any of Scotland’s political and educational leaders would ever be bold enough to speak out on this.

 

Yours,

 

Sr Roseann Reddy

Project Co-ordinator

PS.  Michael, if you ever want to come and see what we really do, you’d be more than welcome.

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2 Responses to Journalist condemns pro-life groups in Catholic schools. Please respond to his article.

  1. gospeloflife says:

    A response to Sr Roseann’s letter was posted by Michael Gray to the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative blog and facebook page.

    Here it is:

    Dear Sr Roseann Reddy,

    Thanks for your response to my article, which I wrote after concerns were raised to me by attendees at two schools regarding anti-abortion campaigning done in their schools’ name.

    1) I agree that ‘Catholic schools have a right to teach and foster Catholic values’. The question, given concerns raised to me by pupils and teachers, is if explicitly anti-abortion campaigning represents what people want – given the range of views on the issue.

    Those who have spoken to me want a change in how schools ‘foster Catholic values’ to celebrate and include awareness of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community;to have proper education in sex, contraception, and consent; and to make sure all pupils are aware of their right to healthcare support.

    2) The reason you are unlikely to have spoken to me in 20 years with the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative is that I’m 25. So I’d have been a bit young when you started! Glad to have met your acquaintance now.

    3) It’s good to hear you do charity work. Although it does not change my view of the issue of abortion.

    4) When I said the pro-life movement “isn’t personal”, I meant it is not a private, individual issue. It’s a campaign to change the law that impacts everyone.

    5) The argument that you can ban abortions is a real problem. In Ireland, women simply travel to a more liberal jurisdiction (the UK) to have an abortion. Women also order pills to terminate their pregnancy online, and take them at home – without appropriate medical supervision.

    This creates a two-tier system which gives rights to richer women, excluding poorer women; and puts the health of women who try these procedures in private at risk.

    6) You say that all women you’ve met “know about contraception”, that sexual health teaching exists, and yet abortions happen and STIs levels are high.

    You add: “Again, it is simply a fact that contraception leads to abortion: one always follows the other because, once you’ve told people that they can have sex without consequences, especially the consequence of a child, you have to offer the back up of abortion if it fails. And it does fail, with stunning regularity.”

    I’m afraid Sr Roseann Reddy this is my top problem with your case.
    Knowing about contraception doesn’t mean men and women who have sex have access to contraception and use them properly. From my experience, proper understanding of sex among young people is patchy – and it’s a widespread complaint that education on the issue should be more extensive.

    One in four boys have underage sex, according to the NSSAL survey. North Lanarkshire council warned that a religious split in sexual health access “put the health outcomes of children and young people at risk”.

    For instance, using condoms is highly effective in preventing pregnancy and they are the only form of birth control that also prevent STIs.

    I find it dangerous to argue against the effectiveness of contraception. It’s not “contraception [that] leads to abortion”. A lack of contraception when having sex is far, far more likely to result in an unwanted pregnancy, and therefore a potential abortion.

    Young people have always had sex, and always will. Schools and universities should do as much as they can to make sure that young people are informed about contraception and safe sex: rather than stigmatising it and making people more reluctant to talk about it or seek health support.

    Sex education begins at a far young age in other European countries with lower levels of abortions and STIs.

    7) Thanks you for your invitation to meet and speak about the initiative. It’d be something I’d find interesting.

    Best,

    Michael Gray

    • gospeloflife says:

      Below is Sr Roseann’s reply to Michael Gray’s response. She posted this reply in response to the same message on the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative facebook page.

      Hi Micheal,

      Thank you for your reply. It would be great to meet up, you’d be more than welcome here. Could you private message the page please and we can arrange a time that suits us both?

      Thanks again,

      Sr Roseann

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