Sunday, 28 October 2007

Uncertainty...Anti-Abortion Civil War ???

Damian Thompson seems highly enthusiastic of the 'Realistic Approach' towards being authentically and effectively 'Pro-Life'. I am more than a little disconcerted by this.

From The Holy Smoke Blog.:>
It is fascinating to read between the lines of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s excellent article in The Sunday Telegraph calling for a new approach to fighting abortion. He has firmly aligned the Catholic Church with one side in the civil war splitting the pro-life movement. And he has picked the right side, in my opinion.

Cormac Murphy-O’Connor's abortion stance is commendable

Pro-lifers broadly divide into two camps. The first is hard-line: it is dominated by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), which – believe it or not – actually welcomes the Government’s refusal to contemplate reducing the 24-week upper limit for abortions.

This is because SPUC believes that a slightly lower limit will increase the number of abortions (which might well be the case if the reduction was just a couple of weeks). But another factor may be its members’ disgust at any compromise with those people – actually the vast majority of the British public – who want abortion to remain legal but also believe that 200,000 “terminations” a year is far too many.

The other camp, the realists, recognises two things. First, 40 years of (often heroic) witness against abortion by pro-life campaigners has got us absolutely nowhere. British public opinion – moulded by the BBC - thinks of the pro-life movement as a coalition between Mary Whitehouse grannies, hypocritical priests and redneck bigots. OK, so it’s an unfair caricature, but let’s not pretend that it hasn’t stuck.

Second, despite the negative associations of the phrase “pro-life”, that same public opinion is slowly changing its mind about abortion. The process has taken many years, but it’s finally dawning on people that the killing of babies who can survive outside the womb is, well, a bit controversial, don’t you think? Also, many feminists, including Germaine Greer, are fed up with the way old-style liberals present this awful procedure, which does tremendous violence to a woman’s body, as something desirable in itself.

A substantial lowering of the time limit for abortions may be some way off, but it can be achieved only if pro-lifers forge alliances with pro-abortion (sorry, I can’t being myself to say “pro-choice”) MPs who are troubled by late-term abortions and the killing of foetuses as a substitute for contraception, which was not the intention of the 1967 Act.

As the Cardinal puts it: “While upholding the principle of the sacredness of human life, I believe it is both licit and important for those in public life who oppose abortion to work and vote for achievable and incremental improvements to an unjust law. That is why I would support in any way I can MPs who take this stance and are pushing for a reduction in the upper time limit and opposing the removal of existing safeguards.”

Quite right. Take a look at the website of the charity LIFE, which is pro-life in the fullest sense of the term. This is where the future lies.

[You See This is where Damian and I part ways - because I am a lot more hesitant to throw my lot in with their Eminences....]
My Response:

Any stick to beat a dog Damo ?

I don't understand what exactly is going on - except an exercise in amelioration and placation of people's 'good taste' and sentimentality over presumed 'extra suffering and awareness' at the later date.
[Something which any embryologist would tell you isn't true anyway - self-awareness and pain receptivity begin a lot earlier in development, and besides which , would MP's or the cardinals feel better about the slaughter of the unborn if the embryos/foetuses received a general anaesthetic first ? Yes I'm being specious and distasteful about murder - but I'm not the cleric negotiating with the conspirators/supporters in the greatest genocide humanity has ever known am I ? ]

This argument of viability is so fallaciously absurd it's something redolent of Aristotle's 'vegetative'/'animal' stages - an abject obscenity - we're talking about human beings who would all survive if left in the womb for the allocated time nature intended - whether it's three months or nine and a half; it's ludicrous to equivocate in this way. But if it makes some people hesitate for whatever reason - fair play to anyone who uses it to save a life - but there isn't much solace to a foetus when 'kill' merely becomes 'kill earlier'...

Will this reduce the amount of abortions in any way ?
Will it prevent the abortions of any foetus with any 'abnormality' up to birth ?
Or abortions for mothers to whom an assessed 'potential psychological damage' would occur should the pregnancy continue , up to birth ?
Does this diminish in any way the chance of the 'abortion on demand before 12 weeks' proposals which will most assuredly become law after the october review ? Or will it increase the chances of it ? Placate the wavering MP's sensitivity to the issue ?
Will this save any lives whatsoever ? Or will it make the hesitant expectant mother dismiss any consideration of pain or suffering because the law has been changed to ensure it doesn't happen [when it hasn't , won't, and couldn't !!] ? Could this actually increase the amount of abortions?

I just simply don't understand the rationale for this 'compromise' whatsoever - except in the obvious outcome that it makes more people less disconcerted and more comfortable about the genocide of the unborn - an exercise in making people feel better about it.

I understand the motivation - gnawing away at the time period in the hope that it becomes less and less till potentially zero or only the morning after pill is legal or whatever aspirations the cardinals hope for as the 'best and only chance' - but exactly what price are we paying for this ?

The language of the cardinals' joint letter was pragmatic to say the least - it didn't outrightly categorically condemn or use the language indicative of what abortion actually is - rather it sought to gather in all those of every colour on the issue to come together and act towards this 24-to-16 policy ? sure it covered its back with a few interspersed pro-life absolutes - but any reader would understand that this was a most dangerous game.

What do they presume to campaign for next ? A sixteen to twelve week ? Are they thinking like the gay activists that because they got sixteen they should campaign for thirteen ?

Would it not have been better for the cardinals to state 'we welcome any reduction in the abortion rate - but...." [and follow it will a firm stance on abortion - what it is , how it happens and how obscene a violation of both the mother and society that it truly is] ?

Rather they have toned down the negative language in order to 'gather like-minded forces' - for all I know this 'forging of alliances' could be sending us all to hell in a handcart....and sending potentially millions in the future into the hospital incinerators because it makes abortion more tolerable and socially acceptable.

Admittedly I can understand SPUC's reticence to do any 'deals with the devil' and in the process not grasp hold of any opportunity which could in the long-run save lives merely through their moral recalcitrance...that would be reprehensible of them....
I can understand too Life's desperate motivations and machinations to do anything to prevent any more loss of life at any cost - willing to make a deal with anyone about anything in order to save life ; because otherwise the price would be too high...

But what are we really doing ?
Objectively - looking directly in the mirror....
What are we doing ?
Saving lives ? or conspiring in the signing of a death warrant for millions in the future
because we helped desensitise millions of future mothers to the reality of what abortion truly is ?

I don't know !
But I would be extremely reluctant to pat their Eminences on the backs and fervently declare that this weekend they were definitely about the Lord's business...because at the moment I'm biting my lip and my brain is aching thinking about the whole thing. I wish I could be as certain about it as you Damian; but I remember Aesop's fables:

p.s. The statement that the Cardinal has allied the Catholic Church to one side of the argument is frightening me somewhat upon the twentieth re-reading - I really would appreciate any feedback from as many of you as possible - please!


Andy said...

There are two (if not more) sides to the debate, as the sensible responses to Damian Thompson's blog demonstrate. I agree that it is unfortunate for the Cardinals to have gone with one of the sides - especially as, like you, I think they are in the wrong.

Psiomniac said...

You said:
"Something which any embryologist would tell you isn't true anyway - self-awareness and pain receptivity begin a lot earlier in development,..."
I am not clear exactly what this claim means but perhaps you could clarify and provide evidence for the 'any embryologist' assertion?

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Love your post...have borrowed it!

Red Maria said...

Damian Thompson is right, I'm afraid. The only political route towards a Pro-Life settlement is a gradual, parliamentary one. Campaigning for a time limit reduction is hardly giving one's imprimatur to early abortion. I don't know how that can even be seriously suggested.
I can't believe that people are actually bigging up SPUC, as though it has any political expertise whatseover. It doesn't.
I'm not surprised that the Cardinal ignores SPUC's counsel and for once his instincts are right.
The Pro-abortion side are serious, disciplined and united. Its five minutes to midnight and SPUC are acting like juvenile wreckers. With friends like these we really don't need enemies.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

It just seems we have to fight for SOMETHING. I do see the argument that a reduction in time limit might not help the understanding of the human personhood of a younger child in utero-but people who are otherwise quite astonishingly dim about this wholesale slaughter are beginning to see that yes, we're killing babies.

Closer to home I pick up the pieces of friends who-for some reason-thought killing their babies was a better option than having them; and then suffer for it.

As you say we know studies show babies as young as 11/12weeks gestation react to pain, light etc.

We just have to keep going-and telling the truth.