BY FREDDY GRAY
PRO-LIFE GROUPS have vigorously denied claims that they support the British National Party because of its firm opposition to abortion.
Nick Griffin, the BNP chairman, said last week that his party had won approval from several pro-life agencies.
"We have had messages of support from several officials of different pro-life groups," he said. "I think people who oppose abortion can see that we are the only the party who is willing to do anything about However, leading pro-life groups have denied any links with the BNP.
John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, said: 'Their policies ait abhorrent, and they will not get one iota of support from this organisation."
Julia Millington, of the ProLife Alliance, said: "We certainly don't have any connection with the BNP and I'm not aware of anybody within our organisation who does".
Jim Dowson, director of the UK LifeLeague, the most militant anti-abortion group in Britain, also rejected the suggestion of a political alliance with the far-Right, but said that he understood why many working-class Catholics might vote for the BNP in the local elections on May 4.
"Working-class people, many of them Catholic, feel so disenfranchised by mass immigration and the Labour Party that they are increasingly tempted to vote BNP," he said. The fact that the BNP is the only party to call for a serious reduction in the number of abortions also might explain why it is attractive to Catholics and pro-life groups."
The BNP is the only the party that calls for a significant reduction in the number of abortions. A spokesman said: "We would not allow it as a form of birth control or for the simple convenience of the mother. It can only be allowed when the pregnancy might harm the host, or the mother. or in the case of rape. We do not feel that a woman who has been raped should have to suffer the indignity of bringing that child into the world."
Lord Alton, the crossbench peer, said that the BNP and the pro-life movement had little in common.
"It would be a tragedy if anyone voted for the BNP purely on the abortion issue," he said. "In local government you have to look at each candidate's position on every issue. If a local candidate is going round whipping up racial hatred then that is clearly incompatible with a pro-life approach. Being pro-life is not just about being anti-abortion, it is about supporting a society in which life can flourish at every stage."
In February it emerged that the BNP had named Pope Leo XIII as one of the key historical figures that "inspired" their nationalistic ideology. The party newspaper, Voice of Freedom, praised the 19th-century pontiff for Reram Novarurn, the encyclical outlining the social doctrine of the Church.