Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A short defence of Life

(this was going to be short - you might disagree..)

I know it's impossible to ever please everybody, but I've been baffled by reading a recent article on the Catholic Herald. Apparently, Dr Joseph Shaw, has criticised the charity Life for having a non directive approach to their counselling of women in crisis pregnancies. Before I go any further I would like to point out that all counselling by its very nature is non directive, counselling is about listening, empathising and understanding, and thereby helping the person to make sense of all of the confusion going on in their head. Any directive service is not offering counselling but advice. I'm not criticising advice, I'm just calling it by its proper name.

4 issues with the approach of Life to Counselling are put forward:Practical, Psychological, funding and Moral issues.

Practical - The claim is made that non directive counselling is ineffective

If this is true, then one is forced to admit that women actually desire to have an abortion - which would make you wonder why they didn't just ring the abortion clinic straight away. NDC seeks to find out what the woman really wants, and very few women actually want an abortion, most feel scared, desperate and trapped. Life put their money where their mouth is and offers women any help they need to over come these barriers.

Psychological - the claim that in a morally subjective society a non directive approach will lead women to see abortion and keeping the baby as moral equivalents.

This is quite simply ridiculous, Life is an out and out pro-life charity which makes it's non-judgemental opposition to abortion totally clear, and yet, many women chose to go to Life for counselling. These women know that abortion is not ideal (even if they don't out and out disagree with it) and they may just want to work through the panic, and make sense of the situation. Life allows them to do this in the hope that when the panic and desperation is gone, they will make the decision they know to be right - to keep the child.

Funding - The claim that catholic should not fund a charity which does not have values.

Nonsense! abortion is and always has been unequivocally opposed by Life, but they are a non religious charity, who work on the principle that it's wrong to take the life of an innocent human being. Abortion for them is a human rights issue, which Catholics, Christians, religious, and non-religious can support.

Shaw states... 'is Life and its supporters hinting that their counsellors are more likely to get pro-life outcomes than others[non directive (although it is debatable if an abortion provider can provide NDC) counselling]? If that is true, their accreditation for NDC should be taken away.'

Errr... yes! why because Life will offer whatever help they can to women in a crisis pregnancy's who want to continue with that pregnancy. Sometimes this involves emotional support, and sometimes it's financial, and sometimes it's practical; but do pro-choice non-directive counsellors do this? No. Do Samaritans even do this? No.

Pro-choice counsellors offer a listening ear and then a chainsaw to a woman in a trap (and then charges a few hundred pound for the service), Life offers a listening ear to the woman and ask's if they would still chop their leg off if they could remove the trap first (for free).

Moral - the claim that 'silence implies consent'

This wouldn't be ridiculous if Life was silent on the issue of abortion. It wouldn't be ridiculous if Life didn't give the pro-life perspective to ten of thousands of school children each year, and hundreds of thousands of people via the media. It wouldn't be ridiculous if Life behaved as if it didn't care about whether or not a woman has an abortion. It might be reasonable at this point to draw a distinction between the uncaring (and generally directive) approach taken by those in the abortion industry, and the caring, hopeful, practical approach taken by Life. Any attempt to compare the two is criminal!

Your may be wondering why this is so important. Life has recently been allowed onto the governments Sexual Health Advisory Committee. This would not have been possible had they not been non-directive, non-judgemental, non-religious and non-party political! So to have a prominent Catholic arguing that they should change all this is beyond reproach, and to even challenge whether Catholics should be asked to fund it at all is disgusting. Life are in a position to make a real difference nationally, and they do make a real to difference to lives of hundreds of women (and men who they counsel through the adverse affects of post abortion mental health issue) annually.

Let's get behind them! division is destructive.


  1. Heavens, what a farrago of nonsense! Readers will have to follow the link to my blog if they want the smallest idea of what I said.

  2. exactly what bit is nonsense or inaccurate?

  3. Indeed Sean I am beginning to think that Joseph must have blagged his way into Oxford! Either that or he is too proud to admit he is wrong or at least ill-informed and deeply misguided!

  4. I take strong exception to your libelling of me and others in the comments of the Catholic Herald and await your apology.


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