A review of The Facts of Life. By Brian Clowes.

Human Life International, 1997.

Human Life International has done us all a real service in publishing this book. This is a comprehensive, up-to date reference guide to all the life issues. Abortion, euthanasia, contraception, biomedical ethics, sex education and the population control movement are all covered in this well-researched volume. Indeed, it is rare to find so many issues covered with so much expertise in one volume.

Human Life International is the largest and most active Catholic pro-life organisation in the world. Led by Fr. Paul Marx, it has fought tirelessly for the life issues. This book is the culmination of many years of HLI activism and research.

Protestants especially need to get a hold of this work, for several reasons. First of all, we have a lot to learn from Catholics. For too long it has been the Catholic Church in this country that has lead the charge against abortion, euthanasia and other pro-death activities. Protestants need to join in and take a stand. Second, the Catholic ethicists have done much more work than we have on a whole range of issues. They have a much more detailed and systematic approach to bio-medical ethics than do most Protestants.

While Catholics and Protestants tend to be divided over the issue of contraception, several points need to be mentioned. First, before the Lambeth conference of 1930, both Catholics and Protestants were united in their stand against contraception. The door opened by the Anglicans in the 30s lead to most other Protestants following suit. Second, many forms of contraceptives are actually abortifacients – that is, they kill live unborn babies, albeit at a very young age of development. Third, we have tended to be too eager to overlook the procreative aspect of human sexuality, something our Catholic friends have been less likely to do. Therefore, we can learn something from the Catholic Church on this whole issue.

To conclude, this book contains a wealth of information of all the important pro-life issues. I highly recommend it to any one concerned about the whole range of pro-life activity and belief.

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