Popular Abortion

One of the great changes in western society during our lifetimes has been the attitude towards abortion. In Rex v Bourne (1938) the conditions required for abortion to be legal because of the condition of the mother were laid out. (These are worth looking at: https://www.womenslinkworldwide.org/en/gender-justice-observatory/court-rulings-database/r-v-bourne. The relevant heading is ANALYSIS.

Nowadays abortion is not only legal but anyone who criticises the ability of a woman to have an abortion is regarded as an enemy of female rights. I am, I fear, just such a person. I can only bring myself to consider it in a situation where it is necessary to save the mother’s immediate life, because her child will not survive in any case.

My argument is very straightforward: the child in the womb is an individual human being, whatever the medical word you use to describe it. And I do not want to live in a world where the life of an individual human being can be taken at will. (And I bear in mind the occasion when my wife, having miscarried at ten weeks, struggled, bleeding, to baptise her child.)

I now see that there is a current case where the ruling allows an abortion in a case where the mother, who is mentally afflicted, wishes to have the child, and the mother’s mother has volunteered to care for the child. Sorry to send you back to your browser, but the story is at https://www.lifenews.com/2019/06/24/appeals-court-overturns-judges-ruling-forcing-mentally-disabled-woman-to-have-abortion/.

The mother’s mother did appeal. Here is the outcome of the appeal on last Monday: https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Doctors-must-not-abort-mentally-ill-woman-s-baby-appeal-judges-rule?utm_source=SPUC+News+List&utm_campaign=5c8aece232-ask+MP+to+contact+Sajid+Javid_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_826f492851-5c8aece232-138710545&mc_cid=5c8aece232&mc_eid=8acb74a2ca.

And see what you think. Where do you stand?

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Advocatus Diaboli, Bio-ethics, Moral judgment, Quentin queries and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Popular Abortion

  1. David Smith says:

    Quentin asks:

    // Where do you stand? //

    For me, abortion is murder.

  2. Barrie says:

    Not that confirmation is required but a recent series of TV programmes (and copied world wide by networks in similar vein) serves as a wonderful reminder of the built in love that we all have for all our family members . I am referring to the TV show (my grandson fondly refers to as a sob fest!!) called ‘Long Lost Family’. In the vast majority of cases the adopted siblings have had a wonderful childhood but have an inbuilt desire to meet their birth mother or their siblings. When they meet for the very first time the love felt between them is positively overwhelming. You often see their own family members too and it is electric. What one realises is that had the child been aborted these lives would not exist and it is the best confirmation in my view there is – better than any well meaning doctor or eloquent QC against abortion.
    The other side of this is that although IVF is a miracle for the childless less children are available for adoption and we perhaps only hear of the extreme cases that Quentin mentions. This is sad because it badly obscures the case for and against abortion.
    I am all for the long lost survivors of any abortion plans in an all too loveless world.

  3. David Smith says:

    Barrie writes:

    // What one realises is that had the child been aborted these lives would not exist and it is the best confirmation in my view there is – better than any well meaning doctor or eloquent QC against abortion. //

    Point taken. But what about the counter-arguments that a great many children who were aborted would have been unwanted and so would have had miserable lives, and that the world is already overcrowded and forcing women to carry pregnancies to term will just make matters much worse for everyone? How do you see the balance there? Which arguments are more likely to win – individual happiness for a few or misery for many?

  4. David Smith says:

    Quentin, thanks for the links to the news articles about the legal back-and-forth over whether the state has a right to order an abortion. It’s a particularly interesting case for an American, because overall, I think, we’ve not gone as far as the UK in granting such powers to governments. Alas, we’re getting there. The momentum throughout the Western world seems to be strong in favor of treating human life as a resource subject to state control under the utilitarian principle of the greater good of the most people.

  5. Geordie says:

    David Smith; the over-arching argument against abortion is that the unborn child is a human being and by killing the child, because it seems to be the most convenient solution, is murder. It is murder, whatever way you dress it up.

    One of the most disturbing aspects of the abortion issue is the inertia of the hierarchy. The odd bishop may make some comment from time to time but on the whole they keep their heads down. When the 1967 Bill was going through Parliament, we were told that the bishops were working behind the scenes to stop it succeeding. Well, they didn’t do a very good job. I used to go on anti-abortion walks in my younger days and I can’t remember seeing a bishop on any of them. Another area where our leaders have let us down.

  6. Nektarios says:

    In 1967 when David Steele MP proposed the Bil on Abortion in Parliament on the limited use of it to stop and prevent back-street abortions. I wrote to him and told him he was deluded if he thought it would stop at that and for women would go on demand Abortion on demand. He did not listen, now here we are in 2019 where there have been over 10 million abortions carried out in the UK.

    I agreed very much with David Smith comment in the last topic but has a bearing on the present mindset on Abortion and other areas of life where morals and morality are involved. David wrote:
    “The law, in our culture, seems to have taken the place of the conscience. Once a law has been put into effect approving or disapproving something, the media – and, therefore, unfortunately, much of the public – take the position that any moral or ethical objections have been dealt with, and that, therefore, it’s the obligation of every individual conscience to fall in line.”

  7. Hock says:

    David says,
    Point taken. But what about the counter-arguments that a great many children who were aborted would have been unwanted and so would have had miserable lives, and that the world is already overcrowded and forcing women to carry pregnancies to term will just make matters much worse for everyone? How do you see the balance there? Which arguments are more likely to win – individual happiness for a few or misery for many?

    Reply If we take this point to its ultimate conclusion then abortion could be the answer to most of the world’s problems, at least for a generation. (Why do away with war when it reduces the population?)
    It really is a pity that we cannot somehow access whether the unborn would agree with David’s view and voluntary offer themselves up to be killed off so as to prevent overcrowding (for example.) Its hard to envisage a situation where an unborn child, if given the choice, would vote for its own demise . It therefore falls to the living to decide the fate of the unborn , something that we seem to be very bad at as we often consider the unborn as unworthy of life and therefore make that fatal decision for them.

  8. Nektarios says:

    Hock

    Yes, men and women in many cases love their sexual pleasures, but not the consequences. They do not need to have such a drastic course of action, they can be adopted. Perhaps the child would not have a miserable life after all and go on to a good and useful life and in time a loving parent in a happy marriage?

    Apart from rape, women are not forced to get pregnant, and no one is forcing them. It seems the argument is if I do get pregnant, I should not be forced to carry to full term, as it makes life worse for me and the child. If one does not want to get pregnant, then do not indulge in sexual intercourse.

    The argument for individual happiness for the few or misery for the many is not much of an argument at all. Is the individual ever truly happy? Perhaps God seeing that it was not good for man to be alone, placed him in marriage and the offspring children in the family?
    When it does not happen, children are either placed in the care or other family members, social services and orphanages, the latter not a happy place for the child. But for the self-absorbed and pleasure-seeking parents they get on with their lives but they are not happy folk either.

    As to abortion or war is the solution to an overpopulated world. Both are dealing with death, killing or murdering of others. What a nihilistic perspective. Secondly, the world is a big place, and it is far from being over-populated and able to support human and other life on it till the end of time.

    But the happiness of the few, or rather the fears of the few, multi-corporations, multi-billionaires
    and so governments deem that there are too many people on the planet or in their countries and so get rid of them, have a war and kill them all. They have been preparing for all that for decades.
    I fear they may well succeed.

  9. galerimo says:

    I am sorry to hear of the loss your wife and yourself experienced, Quentin.

    I am remembering the brother I never met, who, had he survived more than two days of his full term birth would be 75 this week.

    I think we feel these things more as we age.

    I always try to offer comfort around early pregnancy loss when I remind Christians of the Baptism of Desire.

    We are all baptized into the faith of our community and where it is the desire of parents, the closest members of church community, to baptize their child, then they provide abundantly the desire into which that little life, barely fluttering into existence, is received into the redeeming arms of our loving Jesus, receiving fully all the fruits of Baptism.

    The Boston heresy rejected this and will still have its followers today.

    Your story, thank God, ends with reason prevailing and the abortion of the child of a mentally ill mother was averted. But in these times it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the law, on such matters.

    My issue with the question of abortion is how do we dialogue, as we should, in our world with those who hold views that could never be reconciled with much of what Jesus says? How to serve, humbly, as Jesus asks us to do?

    Or do we just lock ourselves away in the upper room of condemnations and prohibitions, hanging out the window, spitting down on God’s world below us? As if the Holy Spirit never arrived!

    Where is the point of entry for our dialogue with this world that legalizes abortion, euthanasia, and all the other complex and hard questions it constantly proposes?

    Pope Francis faced this. He was expected to condemn the persecution by the Buddhist nation of Myanmar and the “ethnic cleansing” against its Muslim Rohingya people. He said nothing.

    On his return flight he replied to the journalist who raised this.

    “… I did not have – so to speak – the pleasure of slamming the door in someone’s face, publicly, a condemnation, no. But I had the satisfaction of having a dialogue, of allowing the other person to speak, of saying what I had to say and in this way got the message across.’

    Is the harder path of dialogue the right one when it comes to these difficult and complex questions?

  10. Quentin says:

    The site is currently appearing to have difficulties with hyperlinks. Please do not use such links in your submission for the time being.

  11. John Nolan says:

    Abortion is not, and never was, murder, a Common Law offence usually defined as ‘when a person of sound mind and discretion unlawfully kills a rational creature who is in being and under the Queen’s peace, with malice aforethought.’

    ‘In being’ would mean a baby completely extruded from the mother and breathing with its own lungs, which is how they can get away with ‘partial birth abortion’ in the USA.

    Killing an unborn child is abortion, still a serious criminal offence unless carried out within the terms of the 1967 Act, or child destruction.

  12. Nektarios says:

    Man’s laws do not take precedence over God’s Laws. It will be God’s Laws that will judge us in the end, not Man’s.
    They have gone much further in certain States where they are prepared to kill the child after birth in the USA.
    When we think of the millions that have been aborted, the reasoning for doing so is tragic for Man and civilization.

    Quentin, I did send a reply to J N’s posting and it did come up, but has since been taken down.
    You might like to investigate Word Press and their present political stance on these matters.

    • Quentin says:

      Nothing, as far as I know, to do with WordPress. They don’t take comments down — nor do I — except with a reason. I have had some technical problems in the last few days. After working with Microsoft directly I hoping that all is clear now.

  13. ignatius says:

    Several have you have spoken of abortion as ‘murder’. John Nolan draws our attention to the fact that abortion cannot be classed as murder and quotes the definition (Thanks John).

    It is clear to me also that a legally sanctioned process cannot be defined as murder, neither does the catholic catechism use the term ‘murder’ either. However there is something I would like to know from anyone who cares to answer a simple question (without moralising or tub thumping please) If abortion is ‘murder’ who shall we charge for the offence? Is it the parent? is it the Doctor, or is it the State itself?

  14. Nektarios says:

    Abortion, as the law stands, is legal in this country, so if performed within the guidelines, none is charged with murder. However, it is God who says Do not kill, the actual translation is murder, which differentiates between the killing of a human being, which is murder and an animal which is not.
    To kill another human being, be it a foetus or fully breathing independently of the mother, one has to ask what this foetus or fully formed human being actually is.

    Who is to blame? Ignatius asks: “If abortion is ‘murder’ who shall we charge for the offence? Is it the parent? is it the Doctor, or is it the State itself? in my opinion, all of them are to blame, as they are all complicit in bringing about the death of a human being, now running at over 10 million in the UK.

  15. ignatius says:

    I would really like to hear another view on this subject.. David Smith says clearly that abortion is murder so, David, or anyone, who should be charged? (There is a difference, in my understanding, between ‘blamed’ and ‘charged’… blame of course is a much used arrow.. one we all so love to aim)

  16. Geordie says:

    Ignatius
    Certainly not the mother.
    However, this discussion about the legal definition of murder is just a game of semantics. The death camps in Nazi Germany were legally sanctioned by the state but it was still murder. A definition proclaimed by a legislature or by the decree of a dictator does not become the definitive definition of a word. Murder is murder irrespective of the efforts to dress it up in more comforting words, like the “final solution”. Even the word ‘abortion’ was redefined as the ‘termination of pregnancy’; sounds better.
    Has any one read the article by Damian Thompson about the weak response of our bishops to the recent court case? It was on the Catholic Herald’s web-site but has now been removed. Google “Damian Thompson” and you’ll find it in his articles.

  17. John Nolan says:

    Ignatius

    Not long ago a woman was jailed for aborting her own baby. Before the 1967 Act ‘back street abortionists’ were occasionally brought to trial, usually when something went wrong with the procedure. The Harley Street doctors who provided this service for rich women got away with it.

    Despite the feminist arguments about ‘a woman’s right to choose’ (which are wrong in point of law), many women with no particular religious beliefs have misgivings about abortion. A popular soap opera has a storyline about a young woman who is pregnant as a result of rape resisting attempts by relatives to persuade her to terminate the pregnancy.

    Society, too, is somewhat ambivalent. Abortion is the only surgical procedure that has never been shown on television, and ‘graphic images’ of the results are held to be in bad taste.

    Emotive language like ‘murder’ and the too-close identification of the issue with Christian belief (and particularly with Catholic doctrine) are counter-productive. The Hippocratic Oath (5th century BC) forbade doctors to give a woman anything which might induce an abortion.

  18. John Thomas says:

    1 I am fiercely opposed to abortion in slmost all of its forms (I am not a Catholic – nor do you have to be to take my stance. In the US, apparently, there are THREE organisations of atheists, agnostics, and other kinds of non-theist, who believe in the value of human life, and oppose abortion).
    2 Remember – do people realise this? – that whenever you see a child playing in the street, they have already evaded the greatest threat to their lives that there will ever be – they have evaded the abortionist’s knife (my generation – born 1950s – are often considered lucky, because of univ grants, reasonable property prices, etc. – but our greatest advantage, by far, is that our lives were totally secure from conception).
    3 Putting the mother’s life first is unfair – she has already had some life, the victims of abortion have zero, thus the crimes of the Nazis, Stalin, etc., are less than those of the abortionists.
    4 With regard to abortion, the wishes of the would-be parent(s) are considered paramount (in our sick society) – but when it comes to indoctrination of their children into homosexuality, transgenderism, etc., they have no rights whatever, and if they express a view contrary to that of the Establishment, they are branded evil bigots, etc.

  19. Geordie says:

    Thank you John Thomas. Your contribution clarified my thoughts on this issue. It was a great help.

  20. Nektarios says:

    Can we take this issue on another tack? From where this issue of Abortion began in recent times,
    to abortion on demand, what is the standard and where does the standard lie? From what I can see they seem to almost have given up on having any standard.
    I would in addition to what John Thomas has said ‘if people who express a view contrary to that of the Establishment, they are branded, evil bigots.’
    This constant reverse psychology, blaming as evil what is normal and instinctive that is to protect our young, blaming those who would assert the right to life, pro-life and common sense approaches only demonstrates the questionable nature of the Establishment and their allies.

    Make no mistake, Abortion is only one method of murdering a population the Establishment has at its disposal. Should we worry? I believe we should be worried sufficiently to act.

    • ignatius says:

      Actually I would much prefer it if we just stayed here for just a moment longer. A couple of you have expressed fierce opposition to abortion now but have not yet tried to actually answer my simple question- Geordie says definitely not the mother, thanks Geordie, Nektarios would charge all three, the Doctor, the state and the Mother…But I I REALLY would value an answer from those of you who state your opposition…Who would you charge as responsible? Does anyone have an answer ?

  21. Nektarios says:

    Ignatius
    Do you just want an answer that will agree with you thinking?

    I am not going to, but this is much nearer to home for me than you can imagine. I have suffered the failings of the system regarding women with mental health problems. At one time they were not allowed to have sex with other patients or marry or have children in their present state.
    Draw your own conclusions about why I would blame the woman, the doctor, the Law, and the Establishment. For me, it is not an intellectual exercise alone here, but personal.
    If my answer here does not satisfy you, Ignatius, you would not really be interested in an answer that you didn’t have from the beginning.

  22. John Nolan says:

    Nektariios

    I wonder what you mean by ‘the Establishment’. It was once used to connote those elements which formed a privileged ruling class and were resistant to change. If you are suggesting that there is now a liberal ‘Establishment’ which would force its views on everyone else to an extent that the old conservative ‘Establishment’ would have regarded as abhorrent, then I have to say that I agree with you.

    The modern definition of a liberal is someone who will fight to the death for your right to agree with him. Gladstone would have been appalled. Liberalism should be opposed to totalitarianism, but now it embodies it. Free speech and freedom of expression are being snuffed out in the very societies which originally nurtured both.

    Opinions which were considered plain common sense a mere 30 years ago are now regarded as so dangerous as to warrant social and professional ostracism if not criminal prosecution. Where is it all going to end?

    • ignatius says:

      Nektarios:

      ” If my answer here does not satisfy you, Ignatius, you would not really be interested in an answer that you didn’t have from the beginning.”

      Please Nektarios read before you bellow.
      I do not want your opinion on this important issue at all..you have already given it many times..I am not asking you at all to repeat yourself.. I would VERY MUCH like to hear from OTHERS who have spoken here on the subject of murder and I have a particular reason for asking.

      • Nektarios says:

        Ignatius

        And I would like to know where you stand in all this before asking others for their opinions?

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      I can agree with much of what you are defining as mainstream Establishment today.
      The Establishment is shutting down free speech. Liberalism is outdated and outmoded, past its sell-by date. However, they are still dangerous attacking humanity at every point. The trend is that the Establishment if we can have that to mean the whole edifice of Government, is only liberal as a smoke screen, otherwise, it is Globalist and Communist.
      No borders, no countries where have we heard all that before, but this is the plan of the New World Order. Thank goodness people are waking up to what is going on.

      Where is it all going to end? Well, it can go either way. If we don’t wake up and act the Globalist will win and humanity would be on the brink of almost nihilation.

  23. Catherine says:

    As a nurse I could not take another’s life. My parents already having 2 children a girl and boy my father didn’t want a 3rd child their GP was happy to arrange things this was 1957 so the idea that abortion was illegal is untrue. Thankfully my mother was a midwife and couldn’t go though with it the marriage ended and my life began.

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