Yes, it’s abortion

Yes, I think I must come to this subject. It is a touchy one but I think we must be ready to discuss our views

We are very aware today, because of current incidents, of our former attitudes towards slavery and the slave trade. It seems incredible that our ancestors, who, presumably, were fundamentally no more or less moral than we are, should have supported this trade over many decades. And, across the Atlantic, the financial benefits of slavery led towards the development of the US as a successful, indeed rich, economy. Even the Church, certainly at local levels, was far from eager to condemn the industry.

What commonly accepted principle today may lead our descendants to ask how our society could have been so evil?

It’s quite simple: there is a huge number of human beings who may be killed at the say so. I am, of course, talking about abortion. Even as I write, regulations are still developing to make this process wider and more easily chosen. Over 200,000 human beings were killed in England and Wales over the last ten years.

Of course, the proponents of this massacre put forward their reasons. Fundamental to these is the argument that the mother has a moral right to decide what happens with her body. If she chooses to eviscerate her baby she may do so. Of course, some would distinguish between a conception chosen, or allowed by the mother, and a conception caused, say, by rape.

Another approach is to argue that the entity in the womb cannot be regarded as a full human being, and thus has no rights.
I look at this second point in this way. The ‘entity’ comes into being when the sperm and the egg join in the female body. The hormone mixture from the parents is unique, except in the case of identical twins. The entity then develops and continues to develop until death. I, at the age of 85, am still the outcome of this parental mixture. And, when I see my great grandchildren, I immediately note their descent from their appearance – even in photos taken in the womb. Of course, there will be stages of development: foetal, babyhood, childhood, teenage etcetera. Why should we claim that human beings at the foetal stage may be destroyed at will?

The argument that the mother has rights over her own body is simply confused. The foetus of course has a similar right to its own body. It is not part of the mother. One could imagine a circumstance where the presence of the foetus is mortally damaging the mother and would thus lead to the death of both. Since both would die, would that excuse the removal of the foetus? I leave that open.

We have recently discussed the issue of our readiness to judge other groups of people — whether this is social class, nationality, colour, religion and so on. We wonder how it was that the Nazis persuaded their population that Jews should be expelled or destroyed. Similarly, it would appear that our society has decided that the human being who happens to be in the womb is expendable. And they call it virtue.

About Quentin

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

54 Responses to Yes, it’s abortion

  1. milliganp says:

    There is a challenge that the “right to life” movement has failed to seriously address. When a child is born, someone (ideally a couple) has to nurture, clothe, feed and educate till it is adult and prepare it to takes it’s place in the word as an adult. It seems we only ever address the first months of the as yet unborn child’s existence. Until we offer some comprehensive solutions to all the other obstacles faced by a mother-to-be it seems a form of cold indifference to only consider our particular moral position on the unborn.

    • FZM says:

      This is true and arguments of this kind are often raised by the pro-abortion side. One problem is that in the past this will have been one of the reasons sex was supposed to occur only within marriage, something that would enhance the likelihood that two parents would be around and that any children could be supported economically. The fact that sex was understood to lead to children may also have influenced the kind of partners people chose. At the moment sex, marriage and procreation are all relatively divorced from each other and many people seem surprised that heterosexual sex can lead to a pregnancy and don’t seem to consider this a possibility to think about, I was always surprised by how common this attitude was.

    • David Smith says:

      milliganp writes:

      // Until we offer some comprehensive solutions to all the other obstacles faced by a mother-to-be it seems a form of cold indifference to only consider our particular moral position on the unborn. //

      Whoa, really?

      • milliganp says:

        David, to some extent I was taking the role of devils advocate. I don’t believe 2 wrongs make a right but when a societies morals compass is as defective as we see today the pro life camp needs to provide a message that at least connects with some of the reasoning and logic that causes women to choose abortion. I don’t believe we can engage the pro-choice movement because their values are utterly alien to us, but we can offer an alternative to women if we present hope rather than mere contradiction.

    • galerimo says:

      Good point and well made.

    • galerimo says:

      Good point and well made.

      See if I can get my comment under milliganp’s contribution this time! Sorry David.

    • George says:

      milliganp: “There is a challenge that the “right to life” movement has failed to seriously address. When a child is born, someone (ideally a couple) has to nurture, clothe, feed and educate till it is adult and prepare it to takes it’s place in the word as an adult.” Yes of course. I think it would do a lot of good if every Catholic, at least, were to read Evangelium Vitae, the most complete statement of the Catholic position on abortion, in full. There they will find a lot about the duty of society to help families in need, for example in section 59 where the Pope said that politicians who fail to ensure “family and social policies in support of families, especially larger families and those with particular financial and educational needs” have a responsibility not less than those politicians who promote and approve abortion laws. (Yes I’m quoting out of context. Go and read the whole thing. http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html )

  2. Iona says:

    The perceived difficulties of nurturing, raising and educating a child is one reason many women opt for abortion; they are not aware of the support available if they were to choose to carry the baby to term, – anything from help with housing through to adoption. Information about such support is one of the facilities offered outside abortion clinics by groups affiliated with SPUC and similar organisations. However, such groups are increasingly being prevented from gathering anywhere near the clinics, depriving women of information which might encourage them to reconsider.
    Raising a child who is seriously disabled can be still more of a challenge to his/her parents. In my working days I often visited special schools where such children were placed, and found that a large proportion of these children were in fact not being raised by their natural parents, but by adoptive parents; evidence that mothers need not feel they are on their own when facing a problematic pregnancy.

  3. David Smith says:

    Quentin writes:

    // The argument that the mother has rights over her own body is simply confused. The foetus of course has a similar right to its own body. It is not part of the mother. //

    It’s the culture of materialism, I think. And of hubris. Everything is a thing, and things must be managed. Management necessitates prioritizing. A foetus is attached to its mother; therefore, it is of a lower priority than she. Since it’s inside her, it’s hers to manage, to do with as she pleases.

    Incidentally, I see nothing in the prevailing understanding of government to prevent the state’s claiming active ownership of the foetus. The materialist state in fact claims ownership of everything. It is theoretically all-powerful. I imagine the principal reason for the state leaving management of foetuses to their mothers is simply practical subsidiarity: it lessens the management burden of the state.

  4. David Smith says:

    Quentin writes:

    // We wonder how it was that the Nazis persuaded their population that Jews should be expelled or destroyed. //

    I think I’d question the several assumptions contained in that statement.

    It seems to me that the modern mind may have become uncomfortable with – even resistant to – the idea that not everything is susceptible to cause-and-effect analysis.

  5. galerimo says:

    Is abortion now compulsory in the U.K? Or same sex marriage or artificial insemination or anything else that religious people profess to be wrong?

    Or are people still free to uphold the principles of their belief in the living of their lives there?

    Is it legitimate for the government to legislate according to the wishes of people who do not hold the same views as anti-abortionist?

    Christians see it as a crime against God the giver of Life.

    For them all killing is a crime unless it isn’t. The exceptions are well known – self-defence and war when according to Catholic theology a war is just.

    In fact, the only moral obligation to which there are no exceptions is telling the truth.

    Even in the case of abortions there are exceptions as Quentin indicates when he leaves the question open in certain circumstances?

    Are all the women who seek an abortion, stupid and ignorant of their rights or available support? Do any receive support and care in the legal clinics they use?

    Does the Catholic Church have any credibility in defending the right to life of the unborn given its now proven track record of abuse of minors and the Catholic Church’s inability and unwillingness to eliminate the sanctioning of that crime from its ranks?

    Why would a woman trust the Catholic Church when facing a crisis involving her person given the Church’s clear disregard for gender equality? And denial of the much needed presence of women in its leadership.

    Why do Catholics have abortions and if it were made illegal would they do it anyway?

    There is a lot of hypocritical rhetoric when it comes to this issue.

    A regular church goer remarked to me recently how lamentable it was she was prohibited from praying outside the local abortion clinic while at the same time describing those taking to the streets in the “Black lives Matters” movement in a demeaning way.

    And very much an exercise in removing the moat from other people’s eyes.

    • George says:

      galerimo, I suppose you are against parents killing children once born, at least unless in extremely exceptional circumstances. What moral difference does it make to the status of a child whether it is located within or outside the body of its mother?

      I know that some pro-abortionists (you use the term “anti-abortionist”. The opposite of “anti” is “pro”) say that the difference is that the woman (perhaps) did not consent to be forced to support the child within her. (For example, in case of rape.) Well, maybe, but does that really make a difference. Suppose you are crossing the desert and you come across a child who is lost. Would you be justified in letting the child die, because looking after it would be inconvenient? And abortion is even worse, because it is not just about letting the child die, but deliberately killing them.

      I salute your courage in coming onto a blog where you know that, with your opinions, you will be in a minority. But what on earth is your argument? Is the best you can do to refer tp the crimes perpetrated by Catholic priests against children, or the demeaning way a friend of yours talked about BLM?

      I’ve been against abortion as long as I can remember thinking about the question, decades before I became Catholic, just as I’ve been against the death penalty. I hope it wouldn’t make any difference to my opinion on abortion if you convinced me that every Catholic priest in the world were a child abuser. Because it’s irrelevant to the question.

      There is a long tradition of being against abortion outside Christianity. For example the Hippocratic Oath in its original form prohibits abortion.

  6. FZM says:

    Is abortion now compulsory in the U.K? Or same sex marriage or artificial insemination or anything else that religious people profess to be wrong?

    Is this an individualistic libertarian argument?

    Any British citizen, in as much as they are a citizen, is obliged to recognise gay marriage and official social recognition of gay relationships was part of the argument for introducing gay marriage. As far as I know every British tax payer is obliged to fund artificial insemination because it is provided by the NHS.
    Is the idea of personal sexual fulfillment as one of the ultimate goods in life widely believed and promoted in British society, including by state sponsored organisations? Is the idea that heterosexual sex should be divorced from procreation also widely held and promoted?

    Or are people still free to uphold the principles of their belief in the living of their lives there?

    It seems increasingly not, given the censorship, other restrictions on speech, freedom of conscience etc.

    Is it legitimate for the government to legislate according to the wishes of people who do not hold the same views as anti-abortionist?

    No, because no government can legislate to make murder legal.

    Christians see it as a crime against God the giver of Life.

    Yes, ending an innocent life would be murder.

    For them all killing is a crime unless it isn’t. The exceptions are well known – self-defence and war when according to Catholic theology a war is just.

    Defending the morality of many abortions seems more akin to defending the waging of aggressive warfare, when it is being done for the benefit of the aggressor population. If abortion is okay, why isn’t colonialism?

    Deliberately killing innocent people even during a defensive war is also always morally suspect, few people celebrate or promote things like Dresden and Hiroshima.

    Are all the women who seek an abortion, stupid and ignorant of their rights or available support? Do any receive support and care in the legal clinics they use?

    Are many of them doing something moral?

    The issue of the abusive activities of clerics is not relevant here. The teaching on the immorality of abortion is not dependent on the moral perfection of members of the Church hierarchy, they would be judged for their own deeds. Nor do the sins committed by certain priests and bishops justify lay people committing mortal sins.

    Why would someone defend murder because an organisation does not meet their personal standards in terms of equality of outcomes? Would anyone trust the Christian wisdom of a person doing this?

    Why do Catholics commit serious sins in general?

  7. FZM says:

    A regular church goer remarked to me recently how lamentable it was she was prohibited from praying outside the local abortion clinic while at the same time describing those taking to the streets in the “Black lives Matters” movement in a demeaning way.

    This post started looking at what seemed to be an individualistic, libertarian kind of argument; if the government allows certain activities to go on and it doesn’t affect you personally, don’t worry about it. But this appears to be judging someone for not endorsing a variant of collectivist identity politics. If people should not engage in moral judgements on abortion, why should anyone judge, condemn or censor white separatists? White people who assert their autonomy and just do not want to be forced by any government to associate with other people they don’t like?

  8. Hock says:

    We seem to be having many posts on this topic without actually referring to it ! Dodging around it and somehow tying it into a myriad of other issues simply waters down what is an awful campaign to make abortion in the UK almost an act of charity never to be challenged. The long held belief, in law, as in life, that unborn life is precious and to be protected has been politicized to such an extent that any expression of support for the unborn has to be quashed. Any kind of conscience over this killing of the innocents is to be removed. Any opinion to the contrary to be consigned to be included
    as being nothing more than bigotry.
    Are readers aware that prior to the recent Labour leadership contest all those standing to lead the party signed a document showing their undivided support for abortion and decriminalization of it and the prosecution of those who exercise a free right of praying in public near to abortion clinics, which include, in one case, a public park.
    They now use a change of language to describe all those persons like Quentin as ‘ant-choice’ and not ‘pro life.’
    The Lib Dem leadership at the last election withdrew their support of a candidate who had the support of the constituency party and was ‘Pro Life’ because his ‘ideals’ were contrary to those of the Parliamentary party!
    I could go on but will stop here except to remind some on here that the most dangerous place for a child in this country is in the womb.

    i

  9. David Smith says:

    FZM writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60185 ):

    // Is it legitimate for the government to legislate according to the wishes of people who do not hold the same views as anti-abortionist?

    No, because no government can legislate to make murder legal. //

    Well, “can” is relative here, no? One may argue that governments are not above moral obligations, but in fact people running them today them believe they are.

    Yes, abortion is murder. But the modern secular establishment – and today, the establishment in the Western world are indisputably secular – will not call it murder.

    What we have to deal with is, first, a secular mindset, and, second, consequently, a secular power structure. When the ruler believes himself the ultimate authority, anything he chooses to do goes.

    We can speak out against abortion, but doing so will earn us the label of heretic. I’m content with that, but I’m a hermit and constitutionally oppositional. The normally gregarious human being will, wisely, think at least twice about willfully risking the opprobrium of his neighbors and of those upon whose good will he must rely.

    • FZM says:

      Well, “can” is relative here, no? One may argue that governments are not above moral obligations, but in fact people running them today them believe they are.

      This is true. I was thinking of the way in which laws which run directly contrary to natural law and justice are usually considered to be void even if formally passed and sanctioned by some governmental and legal authority, as happened with a lot of Nazi legislation for example.

  10. David Smith says:

    FZM writes: ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60185 ) :

    // Why do Catholics commit serious sins in general? //

    I doubt that many Catholics believe a lot of what the Church teaches. For one thing, there’s far too much literature involved for anyone but a theoretically ideal scholar to have read and ingested it all. I suspect that there are as many interpretations of Catholicism as there are Catholics.

    • Alasdair says:

      “I doubt that many Catholics believe a lot of what the Church teaches. For one thing, there’s far too much literature involved for anyone but a theoretically ideal scholar to have read and ingested it all. I suspect that there are as many interpretations of Catholicism as there are Catholics”.
      Hence the reason for more “Lean and Mean” forms of Christianity, like Evangelical Christianity, within which, by definition, only the Bible is considered important literature. And of course Evangelicals are prominent in the pro-life movement.

    • ignatius says:

      In my experience it is a pretty basic error to imagine that Catholics commit serious sin because they haven’t been taught the ” right stuff”. We sin, in the main, because we desire to.

      • Alasdair says:

        Agreed. But an uncluttered message without historical and cultural baggage is a good starting point

  11. Hock says:

    Quentin writes:
    ‘Over 200,000 human beings were killed in England and Wales over the last ten years.’ Just to make clear that the the total PER YEAR is 200.000 (Abortions in England and Wales topped 209.519 in 2019 alone. The highest number ever recorded. (Quoted from SPUC stats.)
    It is no secret that abortion providers and their law makers have their eyes on the born to follow the unborn. By their own admission decriminalization means abortion on demand at any time and for any purpose. Also by their admission ‘What is the difference between abortion the day before birth to death the day after?’
    This is the urgency of this debate , not some woolly thinking thrown in the mix as is appearing on here as though there was some relevance to any of it.

  12. G.D says:

    At the risk of looking for foundations to the rule of abortion, and all murder. …. David’s & Hock’s thoughts …

    David “What we have to deal with is … a secular power structure. When the ruler believes himself the ultimate authority, anything he chooses to do goes.”
    Hock “belief .. has been politicized to such an extent that any expression … Any kind of conscience … Any opinion to the contrary to be consigned .. as being nothing more than bigotry.”

    … spark this from me …. The sanctity of ALL LIFE (soulfulness) has almost been politicised out of existence, and any opposition to that type of ‘legality’, rule of ‘law’ is an imposition of secular rulers (man’s law). ANY opposition to that rule of law will be designated, BY Secular LAW, to be unacceptable.
    (Imposed by the ‘controlling leaders’ at all and any levels of social interaction – secular and/or religious).

    Without the imposition of ‘law’ to govern morality, and through a genuine acceptance & unconditional love of each other (and each others opinions and differing life styles) the God given morality (‘soulfulness’ of life we all have within us) will reassert itself. Then we may actually get a society & ‘servant leaders’ who work for the sanctity of all LIFE.

    . Yes i know ‘Utopian dreams’ …… Look at how JESUS actually LIVED ….

    May take a while, and a lot of personal heartache, while people learn how to live & accept each other, as they are, and evolve from that to be ‘Christlike’ … but am convinced it would happen. … God is then in ‘charge’ through everyone’s ‘co-operation’ in Spirit – irrespective of personal beliefs (sacrificed?) secular or religious.

    • G.D says:

      corection … ‘is an imposition against secular rulers… ‘

      • ignatius says:

        //May take a while, and a lot of personal heartache,//
        You mean a few more holocausts and a sprinkling of extra Hiroshima’s I guess…

  13. David Smith says:

    FZM writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60213 ):

    // I was thinking of the way in which laws which run directly contrary to natural law and justice are usually considered to be void even if formally passed and sanctioned by some governmental and legal authority, as happened with a lot of Nazi legislation for example. //

    Government has no power to change the nature of an action from evil to good, but it can compel people to believe that it has done so. We’ve seen a fair amount of that just in recent years in the aggressively secularized actions of governments in convincing their people that acts that only a few years ago were almost unanimously agreed to be wrong and bad are now right and good.

  14. ignatius says:

    When I lived in China it took some time for me to get my head around the idea that Politics were classed as above the law. In other words, political decisions were taken by the executive, called to be the ‘will of the people’ then law fashioned accordingly. I guess we are getting closer to that now.

  15. Iona says:

    @ Galerimo:
    “are all the women who seek an abortion, stupid and ignorant of their rights or available support? Do any receive support and care in the legal clinics they use?”

    (leaving out the word “stupid”, which carries pejorative overtones) Possibly not all, but certainly some are ignorant of their rights and / or of available support, and some have been very grateful to receive information provided by pro-life groups outside abortion clinics. For evidence, see https://behereforme.org/

    As for whether they receive support and care in the legal clinics they use: You should bear in mind that those clinics are paid for carrying out abortions, and are not paid for providing information which may lead to their clients’ deciding to continue rather than terminate a pregnancy.

    And by the way: I am in the same situation as George, – against abortion from the first moment I knew what it was, which was long before I became a Catholic or indeed any kind of a Christian.

  16. David Smith says:

    Iona writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60221 ):

    // I am in the same situation as George, – against abortion from the first moment I knew what it was, which was long before I became a Catholic or indeed any kind of a Christian. //

    Abortion is clearly evil. That it’s been declared a human right is damning of this materialist, utilitarian culture, in which human beings have become things.

  17. David Smith says:

    Alasdair writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60208 ):

    // Hence the reason for more “Lean and Mean” forms of Christianity, like Evangelical Christianity, within which, by definition, only the Bible is considered important literature. //

    There’s a lot to be said for that. But, alas, there’s no depth there. It is culture-free.

    • Alasdair says:

      Mercifully so, Let “culture” reside in the worldly realm.

      • David Smith says:

        Alasdair writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60232 ):

        // Mercifully so, Let “culture” reside in the worldly realm. //

        Ah, not for me. The chant, the churches, the incense, the common language – they mean a great deal to me. But it seems that most of the post-conciliar church are in your camp. Maybe Francis will sell off all the art and real estate and give the money to the Jesuits to spend on the poor. Then, when that’s all gone, there’ll be nothing left but the Bible. Back to basics?

      • Alasdair says:

        David don’t get me wrong. I can see the beauty of all the things you mention and I certainly don’t think of them as unscriptural, heretical or anything like that. It’s just that at a faith level, personally, I don’t like “smoke getting in my eyes”.
        I appreciate the stand that the Catholic Church continues to take on issues about which Evangelicals (for want of a better group term) have gone far too quiet in the UK.

  18. FZM says:

    When I lived in China it took some time for me to get my head around the idea that Politics were classed as above the law. In other words, political decisions were taken by the executive, called to be the ‘will of the people’ then law fashioned accordingly. I guess we are getting closer to that now.

    They had a similar thing in the Soviet Union, based on the idea that the Dictatorship of the Proletariat did not require ‘bourgeois’ or capitalist legal structures. This was pretty arbitrary under Stalin, later it became relatively more codified and it was called ‘socialist legality’ or something like that. The general idea was that the proletariat administered and determined justice, guided by its moral and political vanguard (the Communist Party). It’s power wasn’t bound by any strict procedures as in a liberal constitutional order. This approach still influences the legal systems in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, I guess also in China. Sometimes it can feel a bit Kafkaesque and it causes issues for foreign businesses who usually have to make contacts with influential locals to operate properly.

    The strange thing about what is happening in the West is that there has been no revolutionary reordering of the economy or anything like that, and the trend to arbitrariness seems to be being supported by corporations, the media establishment and ‘woke capital’.

  19. David Smith says:

    FZM writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60225 ):

    // The strange thing about what is happening in the West is that there has been no revolutionary reordering of the economy or anything like that, and the trend to arbitrariness seems to be being supported by corporations, the media establishment and ‘woke capital’. //

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/this-revolution-isnt-what-it-looks-like

    Excerpt:

    // We aren’t dealing with a Maoist or Marxist revolt, even if some protagonists spout hard-leftish rhetoric. Rather, what’s playing out is a counter-revolution of the neoliberal class — academe, media, large corporations, ‘experts’, Big Tech — against the nationalist revolution launched in 2016. The supposed insurgents and the elites are marching in the streets together, taking the knee together.

    They do not seek a radically new arrangement, but a return to the pre-Trump, pre-Brexit status quo ante which was working out very well for them. //

    It seems unopposed because the mainstream media control the message and they are themselves an integral part of the counter-insurgency. There has been “no revolutionary reordering of the economy” because the insurgents simply want things to be put back as they were.

    • milliganp says:

      This is all utter rubbish. There is no link between Trans rights, racial justice, eco-warriors and Brexit. All protest movements are principally single-issue but they cross support because their uniting call is anti-order and and (perhaps) anti-tradition in as much as tradition is the old order.
      It is of the nature of Nationalism to assert that all problems are caused by foreigners or minority groups. Thus Trump hates Mexicans, Muslims, gays and people of colour who do not know their place. The Brexit movement in Britain is essentially nationalist in nature so it sees foreigners as the cause of Britain’s decline. Britain is going through our “reds under the beds” era as Brexiteers see any political movement they do not approve of as “remainers in drag”.

      • FZM says:

        This is all utter rubbish. There is no link between Trans rights, racial justice, eco-warriors and Brexit. All protest movements are principally single-issue but they cross support because their uniting call is anti-order and and (perhaps) anti-tradition in as much as tradition is the old order.

        I can’t read that article specifically because it is behind a paywall, but the general theory that the current protests are a kind of ‘counter-revolutionary’ movement has been suggested by a few different commentators. It is not that implausible considering :

        Trump’s victory and the Brexit result have been followed by the rise of other anti-globalist or euro-sceptic political forces in the West; then two predicted consequences of the Corona virus crisis were a further strengthening of localism and national feeling against globalism and economic problems which would make continuing high levels of immigration unpopular. Lastly it is not unknown for social elites and relatively small but highly committed groups of activists to try to influence politics when they are able.

        The idea that there is no connection between different parts of intersectional ‘Social Justice’ activism is clearly false. Trans-rights activism draws heavily on Queer Theory, which is the application of Critical Theory to issues of gender and sexuality. BLM and the current anti-racism and anti-White Supremacy movement draws heavily on Critical Race Theory, Critical Whiteness and Postcolonial studies, which is the application of Critical Theory to race issues. They originate in the same kind of postmodern left wing philosophical tradition. This is heavily invested in language and control of language and other cultural symbols as being the main vehicles for creating oppressive power relationships between dominant or hegemonic groups and oppressed minority identities.

        This tradition is fixated on the threat of ‘Fascism’, White Supremacy, heteronormativity and gender essentialism are all considered to be manifestations of Fascism. Obviously things like Brexit and nationalist populism are clear manifestations of White Supremacy and Fascism. Race identities often intersect with oppressed gender identities, so activists interested in one issue are also interested in the other. This approach can also be more friendly to corporate interests than traditional varieties of Marxism because it sidelines economic and class issues in favour of those of racial and gender identity.

      • FZM says:

        Britain is going through our “reds under the beds” era as Brexiteers see any political movement they do not approve of as “remainers in drag”.

        As opposed to Social Justice activists who are famous for their tolerance of opposing viewpoints and who already use their influence to cancel and censor right wingers they don’t like (or go further and make sure they lose their jobs or livelihoods). I see that Prof. David Starkey was just cancelled this weekend in fact. Probably the current BLM movement will be used to try and push Critical Social Justice concepts on race and culture (White Supremacy, White Fragility, Decolonization, Silence is Violence etc.) further into the mainstream and into education and more public and private institutions.

  20. Geordie says:

    Is everyone aware of the proposal being debated in Parliament today? Abortion on demand up to 28 weeks. The “Right to Life” organisation has a letter for you to send to your MP so follow their link and send the letter. We live in evil times.

  21. Geordie says:

    Latest news on the abortion amendment. Diana Johnson MP withdrew amendment NC 29 because she felt it would be defeated. A little good news on the abortion front is very welcome.

  22. galerimo says:

    To say that the crimes of abuse against children (for which so many Catholic priests have been found guilty in the courts) are not relevant to how the fact that they rob the Catholic church of any credibility when it comes to speaking with moral authority on the question of abortion, is not just absurd but is, in fact, collusion with those crimes in so far at it seeks to keep them hidden.

    The same chronic denial that has long been the additional evil compounding the pedophilia of the Catholic Church.

    According to the Guttmacher Institute, a US-based reproductive health non-profit, the abortion rate is 37 per 1,000 people in countries that prohibit abortion altogether or allow it only in instances to save a woman’s life, and 34 per 1,000 people in countries that broadly allow for abortion, a difference that is not statistically significant.

    There is a lot of hypocrisy in offering help, advice and comfort to those only if they chose not to see access to safe abortion services as a human right, and as a responsible choice exercised their bodily autonomy and make their own decisions about their reproductive lives including when and if they have children.

    • FZM says:

      To say that the crimes of abuse against children (for which so many Catholic priests have been found guilty in the courts) are not relevant to how the fact that they rob the Catholic church of any credibility when it comes to speaking with moral authority on the question of abortion, is not just absurd but is, in fact, collusion with those crimes in so far at it seeks to keep them hidden.

      The issue was about the moral authority of the teaching on abortion itself. It is necessary to show that the teaching is not morally valid and is somehow not binding on Catholics as a result of the clerical abuse crisis. This is not happening here, instead this looks like intense whataboutery. The moral teaching on abortion does not derive their authority from the absence of sinful behaviour among the clergy. The point is important because the core part of the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion is not a specifically Catholic teaching at all but is common to a broad range of Christian denominations.

      According to the Guttmacher Institute, a US-based reproductive health non-profit, the abortion rate is 37 per 1,000 people in countries that prohibit abortion altogether or allow it only in instances to save a woman’s life, and 34 per 1,000 people in countries that broadly allow for abortion, a difference that is not statistically significant.

      There may be a lot of questions to deal with behind a statistic like this. An initial thought would be about how they know how many abortions happen in countries where abortions are prohibited because who keeps records of them in those places?

      Otherwise the problem is that ending the life of an innocent in order to enhance the quality of life of another can never be fully morally justified nor genuinely made legal and the fact that fewer killings of this kind happen in one state than in another doesn’t change the lack of strong moral justification for either of them.

      • FZM says:

        There is a lot of hypocrisy in offering help, advice and comfort to those only if they chose not to see access to safe abortion services as a human right, and as a responsible choice exercised their bodily autonomy and make their own decisions about their reproductive lives including when and if they have children.

        I think this is a core argument; that the right to bodily autonomy and choice about reproduction on the part of one individual overrides the right to life of unborn children. Parents are allowed to treat unborn children as a means to an end (the fulfilment of their own desires or projects) and as having only instrumental value.

        Individuals are justified in choosing to act in ways which they know in advance may bring children into existence, also knowing that there is a strong possibility that they will destroy the human life they create in the name of preserving their bodily autonomy.

        The other facet of this argument is that an individual has a right to refuse to participate in any kind of reciprocal relationship with either their parents, or wider society for no reason beyond a personal act of will.

        Hypocrisy would be likely to lie in putting forward rights based arguments like this, involving very strong interpretations of individual autonomy, at the same time as believing that society has the right to compel and control people, eliminating individual autonomy in all kinds of ways in pursuit of certain other moral goals (economic equality, gender equality, race equality etc.) What would the Christian arguments for this be?

    • George says:

      “To say that the crimes of abuse against children (for which so many Catholic priests have been found guilty in the courts) are not relevant to how the fact that they rob the Catholic church of any credibility when it comes to speaking with moral authority on the question of abortion, is not just absurd but is, in fact, collusion with those crimes in so far at it seeks to keep them hidden.”

      I believe various investigations (the John Jay report in the USA, the Australian Royal Commission, the report by the German bishops’ conference) have found that somewhere between 4 and 7% of Catholic priests, or clerics, in the period they examined, were accused at least once of abusing a minor.

      The actual number percentage who abused minors may have been lower (because priests were falsely accused) or higher (because there were no doubt priests all of whose victims stayed silent). I don’t think there is any way of knowing.

      In any case, this figure is profoundly shocking. I don:’t think it is established that Catholic priests are any more likely to abuse children than other groups of adult males with access to children, such as fathers or football trainers. But one would hope they would be better, and they haven’t been.

      What I don’t see is that 4 or 7 or even 10% of wrongdoers is enough to invalidate pronouncements made by the whole group.

      After all, the Gospels relate how Jesus chose 12 disciples, of whom one went wrong. I haven’t yet heard that used as an argument against Christianity.

      In any case, this is as I said completely irrelevant to those of us who were pro-life before they were anywhere near the Catholic church.

    • pnyikos says:

      Sorry to be so late in reply, galerimo, but this past month I’ve been teaching an unbelievably demanding online course in advanced mathematics. I administered my online final exam yesterday and am just here on a brief break from grading the results.

      First, “safe” and “legal” are not so closely connected as abortion rights propaganda would have us believe. Mary Calderone, the president of Planned Parenthood at the time, wrote in 1960 that the vast majority of illegal abortions at the time were done by trained physicians under very safe conditions, when abortions were legal only in case of the mother’s life being in danger.

      The Alan Guttmacher is a US-based organization, long affiliated with Planned Parenthood, which cannot have a good idea of how much illegal abortion goes on outside of the USA. Even within the USA, its statistics for legal abortions are based on voluntary reporting. And in California, where an estimated one-fifth of all abortions occur, there are no reporting requirements.

      Even when abortion was illegal in the USA except when the mother’s life was endangered, estimates of illegal abortions were almost pure guesswork, and ranged over a huge spectrum. The Alan Guttmacher institute had no hard facts to judge between these estimates. Mary Calderone’s 1960 estimate in the same article was 200,000 per year. Legal abortions at one time (late 1980’s) were ten times that number in the same USA. They are still around five times that number.

      Finally: in a slightly less abortion-promoting time, the motto of the pro-choice camp was that abortion should be “safe, legal,and rare”. Not only has “rare” been dropped, but now pro-life physicians and nurses are increasingly deprived of their right to opt out of participation in abortions.

      I fear that a condition of employment for them in most hospitals will eventually include willingness to participate in elective abortions.

      • George says:

        “First, “safe” and “legal” are not so closely connected as abortion rights propaganda would have us believe. Mary Calderone, the president of Planned Parenthood at the time, wrote in 1960 that the vast majority of illegal abortions at the time were done by trained physicians under very safe conditions, when abortions were legal only in case of the mother’s life being in danger.” Quite so. It’s high time the myth (or indeed lie) that abortion bans inevitably lead to vast numbers of coat-hanger abortions was exploded.

        I think an even better example than 60s America is modern Poland, which is as far as I know the only developed country to have gone in recent times to have imposed strong anti-abortion restrictions after a long period of being permissive. To quote the following Guardian article
        https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/30/how-polands-far-right-government-is-pushing-abortion-underground
        “Illicit abortions in Poland are generally safe, provided by working gynaecologists, and deaths are rare, but having the procedure is all the more unpleasant and upsetting in an unregulated and harried environment.”

        So the justification for killing children within the mother’s womb is no longer that the alternative is dangerous to the life to the mother but “unpleasant and upsetting in an unregulated and harried environment”.

        “I fear that a condition of employment for them in most hospitals will eventually include willingness to participate in elective abortions.” I’m afraid so too. In Germany, the Green Party is already planning to make it impossible to get a job as a doctor at a university hospital unless you are willing to kill children. https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/gruene-schwangerschaftabbrueche-101.html

  23. ignatius says:

    “..To say that the crimes of abuse against children (for which so many Catholic priests have been found guilty in the courts) are not relevant to how the fact that they rob the Catholic church of any credibility when it comes to speaking with moral authority on the question of abortion, is not just absurd but is, in fact, collusion with those crimes in so far at it seeks to keep them hidden…”

    This is one of the wierdest, not to mention longest sentences I have read in a while. Galerimo could you possibly express the central thoughts here with a little more clarity?
    Because you seem to be saying that because paedophilia exists then the moral status of abortion cannot be questioned…even Socrates would be stumped by such a proposition!!!

  24. David Smith says:

    FZM writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60278 ) :

    // The point is important because the core part of the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion is not a specifically Catholic teaching at all but is common to a broad range of Christian denominations. //

    It’s not necessarily a religious issue at all, but simply one of common sense. In abortion, a growing human being is deliberately killed. That cannot logically be denied.

  25. David Smith says:

    FZM writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2020/06/30/yes-its-abortion/#comment-60279 ) :

    // Hypocrisy would be likely to lie in putting forward rights based arguments like this, involving very strong interpretations of individual autonomy, at the same time as believing that society has the right to compel and control people, eliminating individual autonomy in all kinds of ways in pursuit of certain other moral goals (economic equality, gender equality, race equality etc.) //

    In other words, Western governments have declared that human children do not possess a right to life so long as their umbilical cords are intact.

  26. milliganp says:

    Today on the BBC, there is a timely reminder of the effect of contraception and abortion on population, given how wine the BBC is, they’ll have to pin the blame on patriarchal white males.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53409521

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