St. John St. John Stevas
IHAVE been greatly encouraged and moved by the massive support which has come to me from CATHOLIC HERALD readers over the past weeks. The response to my appeal for contributions to our general fund to fight abortion has been most generous: bishops. clergy and laity have all joined in.
Contributions have ranged from 5s. from an old age pensioner to £50 from a lady in Liverpool. One gesture of support, which I especially welcome, came from the old boys of my school, Ratcliffe, who were holding their annual reunion last weekend and voted unani, mously to send me £50 for the cause. To all I say "Thank you and may God reward you." I want also to express my appreciation to Cardinal Heenan, who has given me his help in every way at a most difficult time.
I have received also a mass of useful information which I am passing on to the authorities. One medical worker, from a different part of the country from my original informant, has written as follows: "This laboratory is in receipt of all foetuses aborted in this hospital (including spontaneous abortions which have nothing to do with the Abortion Act), It is obvious from the size and development of many of these foetuses that their age is far beyond that stated by the mothers and we have had occasion to make official complaint to the operating theatre for sending what we considered to be a viable foetus.
"Requests are sometimes made by other laboratories in1 the area for fresh foetal tissue, e.g. liver, for research work. This means that the foetus must be dissected and the tissues removed as soon as possible after abortion and in these cases the heart is still beating."
My informant also reveals that diagnostic work is being carried out on the foetus in utero. The letter continues: "Work is about to begin, in conjunction with a pharmaceutical firm, on the testing of drugs on the foetus in utero. Women presenting themselves for termination of pregnancy will be asked to co-operate by taking the drug which is to be tested. After the abortion the foetus will be examined for possible abnormalities and tested for uptake of the drug. This reduces human beings to the level of laboratory animals. Once the premise of abortion is accepted all these things follow as a logical consequence."
I am sorry to inflict an account of these horrors on readers, but it is necessary to do so. The things which have been done in darkness are now being brought to light and the conscience of the country must be aroused to stop these crimes against life and Him who is the Lord of it.
The reaction of the abortionists to recent revelations has been extremely instructive in its schizoid character. One line taken has been that this is all a horror story being used to discredit the Abortion Act. The Abortion Law Reform Association has attacked me in violent language and no doubt will continue to do so. Other pro-abortionists have taken a completley different attitude, claiming that experiments on the foetus are wholly legitimate and far from being stopped they should be encouraged. They have attacked Mr. Grossman for putting an end to the supply of foetuses by abortion clinics.
Mr. Crossman is to be congratulated on his action. The full text of his letter, which has been sent to all clinics, reads: "The Secretary of State has been informed that a nursing home approved by him under the Abortion Act has been supplying human foetuses for research purposes. This practice forms no part of the function of approved places, and if it takes place at your nursing home it should at once be discontinued.
"No future approval will be given under the Act by the Secretary of State without an assurance that this practice will not be adopted."
I have had my differences with Mr. Crossman in the past, but on this occasion his prompt action has my full support.
Northern Ireland moderates
dthe election is on I am exercising a selfElying ordinance and keeping away from politics (in this column, 1 mean, as I am conducting a full scale election campaign in my own constituency!). I do however want to say something about the situation in Northern Ireland.
I have never felt it incumbent on me (unlike some other Catholic Conservative Members) to give support to the Unionist party as such in Northern Ireland. What I have done is to give support to the moderates in that strife torn province, whether they be Unionists or not, whether they be Catholics or Protestants.
When Captain O'Neill was making his bid for a new deal in Northern Ireland, I gave him every support I could and asked Catholics in Northern Ireland to do the same. I ask now that Catholics should give their support to the moderates in the General Election whatever their party may be.
I want to say a special word about Lord Hamilton. who is standing in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. We entered parliament on the same day: we shared a secretary: we served together at the Council of Europe. I have discussed the situation in Northern Ireland many times with Lord Hamilton and know his zeal for social and religious justice at first hand.
While remaining loyal to his Protestant faith, there is no one at Westminster who is more concerned about injustice and discrimination against Catholics. If Northern Ireland is to have any future other than bloodshed it is men like Lord Hamilton to whom we must look. I hope that Catholics will bear what I have said in mind when they come to vote on polling day.
A great priest As I was writing this article, the sad news came to me by telephone that Father Claude Leetham, I.C., former headmaster of Ratcliffe, and Chairman of the Catholic Headmasters' Conference, has died peacefully in Rome. May the soul of this great priest and educator rest in peace. I will be writing a tribute to him next week.