CLARE SHORT, MR our Government's International Development Secretary, in loud-mouthed interviews last week accused the Catholic Church of "unholy" and "profoundly disgusting" policies, saying: "My Church is playing a deeply obstructive role where, if it had its way, a million people would get the HIV virus, there would be more and more unwanted pregnancies, more and more illegal abortions, more and more mothers dying as a result of illegal abortions. That is the position they are trying to work for. And it's a morally destructive course."
These are damaging accusations. If they are true, the Catholic Church stands convicted of causing grave misery, death, disease. If they are untrue, Clare Short should formally apologise to the Catholic community and resign.
She calls herself "a fully signed-up ethnic Catholic", a description unknown to me and contrasting strongly with her persistent and virulent opposition to the Catholic Church's teaching on family life, sexual morality and abortion.
But is Clare Short right? Or is she just an ignorant bigot? Her anger was aroused by the fear that the Vatican, together with Islamic representatives and delegates from other pro-life faiths, would succeed in halting what she calls "progress" in implementing global provision of abortion, sex education, contraception and population control.
Short repeated the by now thoroughly discredited claims that "the only way to protect [young people] and to make sure they don't have unwanted pregnancies and abortions — is to give them proper sexual education and access to reproductive health care".
But in the UK, after 31 years of legal abortion on demand, 25 years of free contraception available without parental knowledge or consent, and explicit sex education heavily funded by the taxpayer, there is more abortion, more teen pregnancy. more one-parent families, more sexually transmitted diseases, more infertility, and more divorce than ever in our history.
And what does "reproductive health care" mean? For Chinese women it means being terrorised by the coercive one-child policy that uses forcible abortion and sterilisation to reduce the Chinese birthrate. It means there are many more male than female children, the females either being aborted or abandoned to die after birth in appalling conditions. It means millions of male children — "little emperors" who have no brothers and sisters, aunts or uncles.
The Chinese coercive onechild policy (implemented by various means, including abortion at gun-point) is but one of the disgraceful projects funded by the British taxpayer through the United Nations Fund for Population Activities and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Clare Short is the minister responsible for this "ethical" foreign policy.
What are the "unholy" and "profoundly disgusting" policies of the Vatican that so anger Clare Short?
ONE OF THEM is opposition to the distribution of the so-called "morning-after" pill in the Kosovan refugee camps to women who had been raped. The Vatican correctly insists that the morning-after pill causes early abortion, and is therefore wrong. In many cases the morning-after pill does not succeed in destroying the new human being, so presumably the Clare Shorts would want field abortion clinics to be set up, a macabre postscript to the ethnic cleansing.
The response to the unspeakable violence of rape is not easy, especially when it is used as part of the terror of war. But abortion, whether by chemicals or operation, is also a traumatic violation of women. The distribution of abortifacients to the violated Kosovan women is a deeply insensitive way of appearing to solve their misery, but in fact compounding their trauma and promoting the values of the rapists.
And what of the claims about over-population? Certainly there is a population crisis in most developed countries and many developing ones: but it is one of declining birthrates, declining fertility, both male and female.
If there is more sexually transmitted disease in the UK now than before the policies of abortion and education for sexual licence were implemented, how can anyone in power truly say that Aids and other STDs will be controlled by condoms?
Does Clare Short know that the Catholic Church is the largest provider of health care, including maternal and child care services, in the world? Does she know that Catholics fund agencies that combat disease and poverty throughout the world? Does she know that Pope John Paul H is more opposed to squalor, human exploitation and abuse of human rights than even she is?
And does she know that many other faiths and cultures. share the belief of the Catholic Church that she so crudel y despises?
Moreover, the worldwide pro-life movement, which includes many Catholics > provides loving care, housing, support for as long as needed to women with problems caused by pregnancy. helping them the positive way that enhances their dignity and that of their child. Pro-lifers provide responsible and sensible education in school and colleges to help ou ryoung people to value their bodies, their integrity and understand the problems caused by the sexual morality that IPPF and UNFPA — and Clare Short — promote.
Clare Short is unfit to be at minister in such a responsi ble and sensitive role where many differing faiths and cultures should be listened tc:. with respect and honoured for their values. She shames th UK and the Government she represents. If she won't resign_ she should be re-shuffled as soon as possible.