By Andy Merrett
Mar 2, 2012
This article contains no graphic visual images or disturbing videos, yet I’m going to warn you that this could well be the sickest thing you’ve read in a long while.
Moral Right To Life
According to a group of professors publishing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, babies are not “actual persons” and have no “moral right to life”.
Editor Prof Julian Savulescu suggests that anyone who speaks out against these views, which I’d suggest the majority of society would consider abhorrent, is a “fanatic opposed to the very values of a liberal society”.
We already know that abortion is a contentious issue, but whatever your view of that, surely the suggestion that newborn baby is no different to a foetus is a bizarre and flawed one.
Even if you believe that an unborn baby (i.e. one that is still in the womb) can be aborted at some particular number of weeks, it’s a stretch to consider there to be no difference once born.
On a logical level, of course, you can argue that the difference is a mere matter of hours. On an ethical and human level, the difference is immense.
From reading excerpts, it seems that there’s a distinction between a ‘human being’ and a ‘person’.
What Is An Individual?
The report suggests, “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus [sic] in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”
This leads them to the suggestion that it’s “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”.
They define ‘person’ to mean “an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.”
This debate is deeply worrying. Academics are free to have discussions about what it means to be ‘alive’ and a person, but when it metamorphoses into the suggestion that newborn babies can be killed if they don’t meet the expectations of the parent, we’re coming dangerously close to the abhorrence of child sacrifice. The god we sacrifice to? A society which suggests that humans are only valuable based on what they do and what they can contribute, rather than on the very basic premise that they are alive.
The deeply shocking report concludes that “what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.
These sorts of arguments are not new. In fact, thinking logically about it (which seems to be the main concern of the publishers, who dismiss the idea that the majority of humans would have a moral viewpoint on it — or at least a notion of what is acceptable and unacceptable in a supposedly developed country) it’s merely an extension of the thinking that calls for a longer time frame for abortion.
Yet it is perhaps one of the starkest indicators of the value those, particularly in positions of power, place on human individuals.
Poor Reflection On Our Society
Our society is deeply flawed when it suggests that babies who do not meet an acceptable level of ‘perfection’ can simply be done away with on the grounds of inconvenience or financial burden on society.
The report singles out certain disabilities, such as Down’s Syndrome, with the implication that it would be far better to euthanise (kill) them at birth rather than let them live. That’s despite the fact that many recognise that people with such a disability are still incredible, valuable members of society with much to offer. And, regardless of that, they are human beings.
Has history not already taught us, time and time again, how wrong it is to discriminate to the point of life and death against certain races or abilities?
Let’s hope and pray this kind of thinking never makes it beyond the walls of academia into legalised action.
You can read the entire report here.
Via The Telegraph
Working Families, in partnership with the Institute for Employment Studies, has awarded a number of British companies that do the most to support the work-life balance needs of all their employees.
To enter, all organisations completed a robust benchmark survey which examined their work-life balance policies and practices. The results clearly demonstrate that employers are showing a growing acceptance that flexible working and work-life integration are vital to an organisation’s effectiveness and business success.
Top 10 UK Employers
(in alphabetical order)
- American Express Services Europe Ltd
- Ashurst LLP
- Barclays Bank PLC
- BT PLC
- Centrica PLC
- McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd
- Southdown Housing Association
- West Mercia Police
Top 11-30 UK Employers
(in alphabetical order)
- Allianz Insurance UK
- Amnesty International UK
- Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Chwarae Teg
- Clifford Chance LLP
- Dell Corporation Ltd
- Deloitte LLP
- Deutsche Bank
- Ernst & Young
- Everything Everywhere Limited
- Henmans LLP
- Ministry of Justice
- National Grid
- Registers of Scotland
- Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
- The Children’s Trust
- The London School of Economics & Political Science
- Wales & West Housing Association
Additionally, some companies received special awards. The special Award entries were judged anonymously by the judging panel. The winners and commendations for the 6 categories are:
The Deutsche Bank Best for Innovation and Engagement Award
Winner: American Express Services Europe Ltd
Commendation: Ashurst LLP
The National Grid Best for Flexible Working Award
Winner: Centrica PLC
The Best for Mothers Award
Winner: Deutsche Bank
Commendation: West Mercia Police
The Best for Fathers Award
Winner: Centrica PLC
Commendation: Registers of Scotland
The Legal & General Best for Carers Award
Winner: Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The Best for Career Progression Award
Winner: Henmans LLP
Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families commented, “The quality of entries for this year’s Top Employers for Working Families has been exceptional. We congratulate the Top 30 employers and the special award winners on their inspiring work-life policies and practices. These agile, forward-thinking organisations recognise the value of offering flexible workplaces and in doing so benefit from advantages in staff recruitment, engagement, motivation and performance.”
Mary Mercer, Principal Consultant at the Institute for Employment Studies said, “This year’s entries show that flexible working policies remain high on the agenda during economically challenging times as they offer advantages to both employers and their staff. Workers are better able to balance work with life outside of employment and employers find that as well as being the right thing to do by staff, a flexible approach also allows them to control costs and maximise productivity.”
Julian Foster, Managing Director of Computershare Voucher Services (CVS) added, “We are delighted to sponsor these awards that recognise those companies who endeavour to provide a family-friendly work environment for their employees. Families are at the heart of what we do at CVS and our congratulations go to the winners and shortlisted companies who place an emphasis on positive work-life balance and share our enthusiasm for supporting working families.”
Find out more about the awards at the 2011 Special Awards Finalists web site.
babybookboom band-bags have received the Gold Practical Parenting & Pregnancy 2011/2012 award for the Learning/Developmental Toy Under £20 whilst the multi-lingual music CDs collected the Gold Practical Pre-School Award in the category of Modern Foreign Languages.
babyboomboom’s band-bags took first place ahead of leading brands Tommee Tippee and P’kolino in the National Practical Parenting & Pregnancy awards. Voted for by parents, the band-bags, which contain a multi-lingual music CD and four instruments, were praised for their “great quality, usability and value.”
The National Practical Pre-School Awards identify excellence in educational equipment, books and toys. After rigorous testing by children and their carers in at least two separate settings, the babyboomboom multi-lingual CDs, which contain songs and nursery rhymes in English and a second language, came out on top. The award was presented by Dr Amanda Gummer whose speech expressed her full approval and encouragement of babyboomboom CDs.
Juliet Machan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of babyboomboom expressed her excitement at the announcement. “We are thrilled to receive Gold for two separate National Awards in one week! The fact that children, parents and carers decide upon the winner makes it even more special. Our concept of familiarising babies and toddlers with the sounds of a second language through music is a simple one which really does work! Since launching in 2007 we have been committed to developing our range of multi-lingual fun products and take pride in listening to the views of our customers, to ensure that we deliver the best that we can.”
babyboomboom CDs contain nursery rhymes and well-known songs in English and a second language ranging from French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese Mandarin, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh are designed for use from birth to pre-school age. The band-bags, which contain four instruments, are designed specifically for small hands to encourage engagement.
Following the backlash against yesterday’s child benefit shakeup, the BBC understands that the Conservative Party may be planning to introduce a married couples tax allowance.
This is completely unofficial, no details have yet emerged, but it would certainly fall in line with what the Tories have said in the past.
That said, political parties frequently go back on what they’ve said in the past, and we are also dealing with a coalition government where compromise is the dish of the day.
We’ll be very interested to see what tax breaks may be offered to married couples, and how unmarried couples hit by the child benefit losses will react to that.
It’s over ten years since the married couples allowance was scrapped. These child benefit cuts due to be implemented in 2013, and it would seem likely that any tax breaks would come into effect at the same time.
Men’s Hour will air on BBC Radio 5 Live and be hosted by award-winning journalist and presenter Tim Samuels.
Initially broadcasting for just six weeks, starting this coming Sunday, 18th July at 7.30pm, it will take a look at the emotional challenges of relationships and life as well as including a hint of irreverent manly chatter.
“Less about leering at ladies and more concerned with how to maintain monogamy, this is the men’s magazine women have been waiting for.”
Each week, Men’s Hour will feature guest interviews and regular features such as Questions You Daren’t Ask Your Doctor and Midlife Music Crisis. Tim Samuels will be joined by leading males from the world of entertainment, sport, politics, media and an on-hand shrink as they leave their comfort zones behind them – familiar people talking about unfamiliar things.
Choreographer and star of Pineapple Dance Studio star Louie Spence will also be joining Tim as a regular weekly guest.
Tim Samuels said, “It’s about capturing the spirit of when good mates sit around nowadays – amidst all the banter you can actually open up about what’s on your mind without being ripped apart. We’re celebrating modern man’s mix of swagger and neurosis.”
Kids who object to their parents being “embarrassing” after stumping up £33 per teenager/adult and £22 per child to get into the “attraction” have been given free reign over the summer to call out, and in extreme cases eject, parents who show them up.
That means parents in a typical family of four, having paid up to £110 just to get in (and that’s before being ripped off at the burger/ice cream/cold drinks stands) could face ejection for:
- Kissing or hugging their kids
- Holding their kids’ hands
- Treating their kids like babies
- Shouting or telling their kids off in public
- Telling their friends embarrassing stories about when they were younger
- Trying to be cool
- Daring to go on rides with their kids
- Wearing embarrassing clothes
- Calling out to their kids
- Telling bad jokes
In fact, a press release for Chessington World of Adventures states that “A sign banning embarrassing behaviour is displayed on-park and whilst Chessington bosses have said that they won’t throw parents out for flouting the ban, they have briefed employees to point out any rule breakers in order to save children being left red-faced in public.”
That didn’t stop bosses having to apologise to a family when an overzealous junior employee tried to eject the embarrassing (read: doing their job as a) parent.
The news comes just a couple of months after problems at the theme park left visitors stranded on a monorail and residents in a large part of the surrounding area without power … twice in one week. Park management deny a capacity problem, but perhaps their time and energy would be better invested in improving the park instead of stopping parents from doing what they’re supposed to.
Kids that are easily embarrassed by their parents can always forego the expensive trip and stay at home instead.
Justin Fletcher, known to many as Mr Tumble and presented of Something Special, will perform a series of madcap skits and sketches in Gigglebiz (official CBBC Gigglebiz web site).
It will be CBeebies’ first live action sketch show, due to air this summer.
The series of 25 episodes is a rambunctious collection of short, simple, funny sketches packed with lively, hilarious and eccentric individuals including:
- King Flannel: a decrepit old rogue with a penchant for trying to outwit his butler or generally misbehaving without being caught.
- The Berito Brothers: a slightly faded troupe of past-their-best acrobats. Two of them have still got what it takes but the third: Justin, obviously: most definitely hasn’t!
- Gail Force: a glamorous weather reporter with an uncanny knack of forecasting weather conditions which happen only to her … and not always in the most obvious ways!
- The Lost Pirate: an out-of-time pirate on the constant lookout for treasure with the aid of his map (complete with “x marks the spot” instructions). He travels around in a little kayak for paddling across water: whether that’s the water feature at the local park or the fountains in a shopping mall.
- Nana Knickerbocker: Nana lives her entire life as though she’s in a panto. She invokes all the catchphrases and traditions of a panto, but mainly in completely inappropriate places: like the supermarket. Or shoe shopping! She’s even given to throwing random bags of sweets at total strangers.
Justin Fletcher said: “With 20 characters in all, let’s be honest, this is just a big excuse for me to dress up in funny costumes every day and be silly. It’s such brilliant fun to do.
“We gave some characters a test run in the summer with a pilot show and feedback was really strong, so I’m so excited to be back and making a full series! You could say, I’m in the truly biz of making them giggle!”
By Andy Merrett
Apr 27, 2009
Welcome to Family Relationships Magazine’s weekly roundup of celebrity family news.
Jennifer Lopez tackles whooping cough
Jennifer Lopez has teamed up with March of Dimes in a US national awareness campaign about pertussis (whooping cough).
The new initiative focuses on educating new parents and their families about pertussis, a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease for infants. The campaign’s centerpiece is a series of television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Ms Lopez that are available in both English and Spanish. The PSAs, scheduled to begin airing nationally this month, encourage new and expectant parents to help protect their babies by making sure that anyone who is, or will be, in close contact with a young infant has been vaccinated against pertussis.
Van Outen and Lee Mead marry
Denise Van Outen has married Lee Mead, the star of West End hit musical “Joseph”. They first met when Van Outen judged the show to find the next star of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s stage show.
Denise was previously engaged to Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay.
Salma Hayek renews marriage vows
Actress Salma Hayek has renewed her marriage vows to Francois-Henri Pinault, just two months after they wed.
The couple had previously been engaged in 2007 but called it off in 2008.
By Andy Merrett
Apr 27, 2009
Welcome to Family Relationships Magazine’s weekly roundup of news about the Internet, particularly as it relates to children and families
Adult games sold to British kids
Trading Standards recently discovered that a number of online retailers are selling “mature” video games to children.
“The teenage volunteer visited 16 separate outlets and found that a dozen of them sold games. Only U.K stores Gamestation, Game, PC World and WH Smith refused to sell the titles.”
Children dependent on Internet
A new survey has discovered that Taiwanese children are more dependent on the Internet than ever before.
“Cartoon Network, from Feb 24 to March 23, interviewed a total of 1,001 children (aged between 7 and 14 years old) and 1,001 parents in Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung in order to find out more about the local children’s lifestyle habits. It released its survey results yesterday and found that more than 90 percent of child respondents use the Internet frequently, with nearly 50 percent of children whose age falls between 13 and 14 years old using the Internet to play online games, download music, write blogs, send e-mail or use instant message services on a daily basis.”
It’s inevitable and a trend that’s likely to be reflected in other industrialised countries across the world.
It reinforces the need for parents to remain vigilant when it comes to their children’s Internet usage, including setting rules and boundaries.
Twitter challenge raises money for UNICEF
Whether you’d heard of the “Twitter challenge” between Ashton Kutcher and CNN, or even cared, the real winners appear to have been children, as UNICEF announced on Friday that it has received $100,000 from CNN designated for the provision of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) meant to stem the spread of malaria.
We’ve been a little quiet here of late, so apologies for that, but this post is to let you know that a new calendar for posts is about to go live.
This means that if you’re interested in certain subjects, you’ll have a better idea of when the latest news on that area will be published.
On Monday we’ll roundup the latest celebrity family news and take a look at what’s going on with the Internet, including security, software and new web sites.
On Tuesday we’ll take a look at technology and gadgets designed for families or that will make their lives easier, as well as reporting on the latest charity news.
On Wednesday we’ll highlight TV programmes about families coming up in the next week, as well as any notable events happening around the UK.
On Thursday there’ll be topical opinion piece plus a look at some of the latest toys and games coming onto the market.
On Friday the weekly podcast will go live (apologies for missing last week’s episode).
On Saturday there’ll be a general news roundup and on Sunday we’ll take a look at some of the highlights from family and parenting blogs.
As always, you can follow us on Twitter or get email/RSS feed updates by signing up (top right of any web page).
We’ll also publish any major / breaking news as it happens.
Feeding a growing family can be expensive enough without dining out on a regular basis, so it’s perhaps little surprise that a new survey has found that nearly three-quarters of British families are choosing to eat home-cooked meals rather than in restaurants.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of those families asked said that they would opt for home-cooked food over takeaways. Get help with your home cooking with Aggie MacKenzie’s cookery book.
Respondents were also less likely to spend time in the pub, with 40% of family respondents saying that they would spend more time drinking at home, while 11% were more likely to venture out to the pub in the next 12 months than they had done previously.
Families with children were shown to be more cost-conscious across these activities than single people and couples. 57% of couples and 54% of singles agreed that they would be more likely to eat at home rather than dining out.
Roughly the same percentages – 57% of couples and 55% of singles – said they would opt for home-cooked food over a takeaway. Only 31% of couples and 22% of singles said they were more likely to drink alcohol at home rather than going out, while 13% of couples and 24% of single people said they were now more likely to head out to the pub.
Other statistics included:
- 75% of families intend to spend less of their household expenditure on going out to the pub or restaurants, compared to 58% of both couples and single people
- 73% of families said they would spend less on going out to the cinema or theatre, compared to 56% of couples and 57% of singles
- 69% of families intend to cut back on sporting events, compared to 56% of couples and 51% of singles
- 63% of families will cut back on their holidays and travel, compared to 45% of couples and 46% of singles
- 56% of families intend to spend less on in-home entertainment, compared to 47% of couples and 43% of singles
So that’s the figures, but what do you think? Have you altered your food spending patterns in the current economic climate?
The former Independent Midwives Association, made up of individual Independent Midwives from throughout the UK, today announced the launch of their new organisation. The midwives have formalised as an Industrial and Provident Society to become Independent Midwives UK and have announced their official board members.
The patron of Independent Midwives UK is Baroness Julia Cumberlege, the untiring champion for maternity services who chaired the Expert Group producing the landmark “Changing Childbirth” report.
Independent Midwives UK press secretary, Virginia Howes, says, “We are at the beginning of a very exciting time. Two years ago Independent Midwifery, which has been around as long as babies have been being born, was facing extinction in a relatively short time. Since then with amazing public supported an awareness campaign and Government input we have turned a negative worry into a positive excitement and we may be about to make a real difference to the country’s maternity services.”
The Government’s response to the successful campaign, which drew awareness to the plight of the midwives, was to suggest the Independent Midwives contract their services into Primary Care Trusts. In order to do so the midwives had to become a formal organisation. Virginia, who also runs her own Independent Practice in Kent said, “We took the Government’s advice and started the processes they advised, now with their continued support our enthusiasm and our organisation is growing. Now it’s all falling into place, just like any baby growing and developing in the womb, Independent Midwives UK is ready to be born, to grow and become strong.”
In the autumn of 2006 Independent Midwives were informed that the Government intended to make professional indemnity insurance mandatory for all health care professionals. Independent Midwives are the only group unable to purchase insurance commercially and have been forced to practise without professional indemnity insurance (PII) since 2002 when the last available insurance product was withdrawn from the market. Insurance is unavailable due to the small number of Independent Midwives and the potential for very high claims which is simply because of the nature of midwives work around birth. This is despite there being no cases of significant awards against Independent Midwives in the UK since 1994. Independent Midwives have not wanted to practise without insurance, but have had no choice.