The Board of Directors of Pregnancy Counselling & Care Scotland, (PCCS – formerly Lifeline) have been made aware of a statement in Archbishop Cushley`s recent ‘ad clerum’, sent to all clergy and religious in the Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh on 29th May 2018.
In it the following was stated, “Lifeline, now known as Pregnancy Counselling & Care Scotland, no longer considers itself to be pro-life and, indeed, is now willing to direct women to abortion providers. In the light of this clear departure from the teachings of the Church please be advised that our parishes should no longer co-operate with the work of Lifeline in any way.”
The Archdiocese did not make any official approach to our Board prior to this statement being issued. If they had, we would have had the opportunity to correct a factual inaccuracy in the statement and clarify the nature of our counselling work.
It is absolutely untrue that PCCS `is “willing to direct women to abortion providers”. As a non-medical facility we cannot refer, and never have referred, anyone to an abortion provider, as is clearly stated on our website. This is simply not what counselling is about. Besides, our counselling is not limited to crisis pregnancy situations but includes a whole spectrum of pregnancy-related concern such as perinatal anxiety, depression, miscarriage, stillbirth and infertility.
Since achieving recognition by COSCA (the national professional organisation for counselling in Scotland) we have provided confidential, non-directional and non-judgemental counselling to those who have sought our help in their time of need. All our counsellors are accredited by COSCA which means that they cannot impose any personal views on their clients – it would simply be unethical for them to do so. By the same token PCCS cannot promote a particular stance if it is to remain as an accredited counselling organisation. As a counselling charity we seek only to support the client through distress.
We are much reliant on the support of our volunteers and donors to keep the charity going. In particular this applies to the other aspect of our work, which is to support mothers and families in hardship by providing free baby clothes and equipment up to the age of two. We receive support from those of many faiths and none including many from Catholic Church sources (both individuals and church groups). We very much hope that all our supporters will continue with this valuable work.
If put into practice, the Diocesan directive can only have a detrimental effect on the services available to some of the most vulnerable members of our society, at what is often a highly traumatic and difficult time in their lives. We have written to the Archbishop requesting him to retract the statement and publish an apology to allow us to continue unhindered with our vital and valued work.
On Behalf of the Board
18th of June 2018