Monday 12 September 2011

Unambiguously Pro-Life cover story in this week's Spectator magazine

There's an interesting article on abortion in this week's Spectator. Assistant Editor, Mary Wakefield outs herself as a "religious nutjob" (read: "Catholic") but makes a cogent argument for the the pro-life case without recourse to her religious belief, thereby making it accessible to anyone with a scrap of logic or humanity in them. She points out that "you don’t have to be Catholic, or even Christian, to think it odd to adopt a completely cavalier attitude towards the unborn."

Science is on the side of the pro-life movement. Presumably this is why the pro-abortion movement's rhetoric circles with great sophistry around the false mantra of "choice" (for whom?) and avoids the stark realities of icky science bit. You know, the bit that makes it impossible that the pre-born are not human. The bit that shows what happens to those tiny human beings who don't have a "choice" but who are the victims of somebody else's "choice". This week James Preece makes the point that the Wikipedia account of the abolition of the slave trade does not "tell the charming story of how William Wilberforce suggested abolishing the slave trade and everybody said "what a jolly good idea" but of "a long protracted campaign that had to contend with vested business interests and even claims that those who opposed slavery were traitors in the war against France. It tells of lost vote after lost vote after lost vote." He draws an acute parallel with the campaign to bring an end to abortion. I think that ending abortion is an even more difficult battle as the multifarious vested interests permeate all levels of society on a global scale, and the victims are easier to push "out of sight". The parallel still holds though, and the difficulties in the struggle are no reason to let up the pressure to end the mass slaughter of millions of innocents every year.

There is a personal twist to Mary Wakefield's article. She and her twin brother were born at 29 weeks, she writes, at a time when the upper limit for abortion was 28 weeks. " I was a premature baby, my twin brother and I were born over two months early, at around 29 weeks. We were tiny and I was covered in hair like a spider. As we fought for our lives in incubators, at that time in the mid-Seventies, the abortion limit was just a week earlier: 28 weeks. As we struggled to breathe, elsewhere, a few of our tiny, spidery peer group were being killed. And so I feel this one personally, from the perspective of the voiceless pre-born."

She attacks the "strange and unpleasant consensus which has risen up .... not just on the left, but across the centre too, and throughout Westminster ... from the debate about [Nadine Dorries’s ill-fated abortion bill] ... that abortion is not just a necessary evil, but a jolly good thing. That being pro-choice no longer means just accepting that a woman has a right to decide, but that abortion must be celebrated and all doubters deemed religious nut jobs".

The article describes the commentariat's hysterical reaction: [they said] "first of all, it’s absolute nonsense to say that we need fewer abortions. Second, those who frown on abortion might be awarded contracts. Christians for example." Oh the horror. We have come to a place in human history where believing that killing a child in the womb might not be the best outcome for both mother and child is controversial and would exclude anyone holding it from being involved in counselling women with "crisis pregnancies". Have mercy on us!

Wakefield acknowledges that most Catholics were against the Dorries proposal anyway, but wonders why the simple act of publicly questioning whether it might be a good thing to reduce the abortion rate is so controversial, citing the hounding of Dr Liam Fox for stating that he would support any measure that reduced the number of abortions in the UK: "I think the level is far too high" he said. What ensued was what Wakefield calls a "Fox hunt": "Instead of commending him on an uncharacteristic burst of common sense, a Halloo! went up across Fleet street and spread across the Twittering classes. What on earth does Fox mean, ‘too high?’ What a bigot! What a misogynist!"

I was surprised and pleased to see such an unambiguously pro-life article as the cover story of an influential mainstream publication: Mary Wakefield deserves praise for this. She makes many interesting and logical anti-abortion arguments including the ethical/utilitarian (adoption), politically correct (father's rights), neuroanatomy (if scientists think that dolphins should be "given rights", how much more deserving are unborn humans?), and blunt ("so how do you feel about killing kittens then?").

Wakefield's overarching point is that "it doesn’t make you a bigot to be melancholy about the considered killing of 200,000 embryos a year ... it just makes you human". It's worth going over to and reading it now before it goes into the subscriber's archive.

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