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Thursday, 2 December, 1999, 18:03 GMT
Cardinal condemns sex clinics call
Cardinal Winning Cardinal Winning speaks publicly against abortion

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Thomas Winning, tells News Online Scotland that he condemns Health Minister Susan Deacon's call to increase the number of centres offering sex advice and contraceptives.

"Throughout the passage of the devolution bill we argued that abortion legislation should be devolved.

This is an issue which the Scottish people are mature enough to decide upon for themselves.

Susan Deacon seems to implicitly recognise that in her speech made on Wednesday.

Targeting individuals and their families, jostling people in the street, frightening people.... these tactics are simply not acceptable
Cardinal Winning
I want to repeat what I said several years ago - that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to decide on all aspects of abortion law, not just those relating to protest.

I want there to be no doubt in anyone's mind that the Roman Catholic Church condemns unreservedly any violent, intimidatory or aggressive protest.

I have made it clear, even to church groups from overseas who favour militancy, that there can be no place for such behaviour in Scotland. I respect the people of Scotland too much for that.

Unacceptable tactics

Targeting of individuals and their families, jostling people in the street, frightening people ... these tactics are simply not acceptable.

Pro-life Initiative leaflet Scotland's Catholic Church has an anti-abortion policy
This is very different from the peaceful distribution of leaflets or information which is a right any democracy must protect.

I have often said that we need to explain to people exactly what is involved in abortion.

Too often, the awful reality of what happens is kept hidden.

We reiterate our teaching that abortion is a crime against humanity. A crime with two victims, the unborn baby and the bereaved mother.

That is why the church's efforts in recent years have gone into providing real choice to women facing crisis pregnancies - unlike those who say that abortion is the only option.

'You show no respect'

At the same time, I condemn quite unreservedly the suggestion by Ms Deacon that we should have a massive expansion in clinics offering sex advice, condoms and very possibly abortifacient morning after pills.

I say to her: "You show no respect for the young people of Scotland by offering them easy sex with no thought for the consequences."

Cardinal Winning with baby Cardinal Winning : "Scots Parliament should decide"
Last weekend new figures showed large numbers of under-age children having sex.

You do not tackle that problem by throwing condoms and pills at these vulnerable young people.

Education in choice, in relationships and, yes - unfashionable though it may be to say it - in morality, is needed.

We need to equip young people with the life skills to make their own choices and avoid peer pressure.

Clinics such as those favoured by the minister make it harder, not easier, for young people to say "no" to premature sexual experiences.

Family life in Scotland is under attack from many quarters - the government should be attempting to support it, not undermine it with these clinics which effectively promote immorality.

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See also:
02 Dec 99 |  Scotland
'Stalin' jibe over abortions warning
11 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Church in abortion storm
11 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Scotland's 'Cardinal Controversy'

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