From Councillor Michael Lyon (Labour) Sir, Your front page article, to the effect that Clare Short attacks Catholics (October 22) was as disgraceful as it was untrue, for it is perfectly clear that her letter does no such thing.
Moreover it is astonishing that your editorial article should persist in implying that she condones China's one child policy, when she actually denies it.
I do not understand why you attack Short in this way — what values are you upholding? Since when has disagreeing with what The Catholic Herald says been equivalent to attacking the Church? If you asked any sample of Catholic voters, Labour or Opposition, which member of the Cabinet most effectively promoted Catholic moral values, who most defiantly spoke according to their conscience, or who was the least corruptible by the exigencies of political life, the overwhelming answer would be Clare Short.
The Government's aid policy is the reduction of world poverty and all its miserable consequences — which Catholics in this country have prayed for long and deeply. One element of this policy, among others, is through better access to effective contraception to liberate women in developing countries from the burdens of excessively large families and recourse to abortions, and enhance their human rights. Clare Short is doing something practical about world poverty. She deserves the support, not the opprobrium, of The Catholic Herald.
Yours faithfully MICHAEL LYON London Borough of Brent From Revd. Bryan Storey Sir, Thank you very much for your erudite and incisive coverage of the population and contraceptive issues. It is a rare and refreshing treat to read objective facts and common sense on this issue, untainted by the contraceptive mentality. It would be great to see some of these issues properly covered on radio and television instead of the usual nonsense which would be laughable if it were not so dangerously unhealthy.
I pray that Clare Short's obvious concern for the poor will be even more focused so that, as the great Mother Teresa would say, a consideration will be given to the greatest form of poverty, the absence of spirituality.
Yours faithfully, BRYAN STOREY Trewarmett, Tintagel From Peter C Smith Sir, As an Evangelical, I would like to respond to Clare Short's letter, which was a vitriolic attack on Christians who oppose her promotion of abortion.
The way to reduce deaths by abortion is the way Britain did it. In 1933 the maternal mortality rate was 580 deaths:100,000 live births. This then dropped drastically to 80 deaths:100,000 live births in 1950. Why this drastic drop? Simply better basic health care and the development of the pharmaceutical products, sulphanilamide and then penicillin. Legalised abortion had no effect on the downward trend after 1968.
I challenge Clare Short to produce evidence of the 75,000 deaths by abortion in the world. Poor countries do not even have death certificates, let alone post mortems, to determine the cause of death. Ms Short is playing the same old pro-abortion trick that is played the world over. In the USA in 1972 the pro abortionists claimed that 5,000 to 10,000 women died per year from illegal abortion.
The actual figure, from official US Government statistics was 39 deaths.
To claim that her Department does not fund China's one child policy is absolute nonsense. She funds the UNPFA and IPPF who both fund the China Family Planning Association which enforces the forced abortion, forced sterilisation and forced contraception of Chinese women. Where is the ethical foreign policy here? The UNFPA has given China an award for Population Control Success.
It is sad to hear our International Development Secretary say Christians are "obsessed with abortion while shunning problems like poverty". Firstly this is quite untrue as Christians run more hospitals, schools and health clinics in Third World countries than any other group in the world.
Christians are also at the forefront in helping poor countries with practical aid. I believe they provide much more help to the poor than do the pro-abortionists.
Why is Clare Short obsessed with contraceptives? Will these supposed wonder drugs and devices solve all our problems? No. Our problems derive from our sinful selfish nature.
Those with a living faith who trust in a loving Heavenly Father will believe that he can provide for our children. Perhaps Ms Short should personally look into this situation.
Yours faithfully, PETER C SMITH SPUC – Evangelicals.