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UK Life League and scare tactics

This afternoon, I have opened my inbox to be greeted by a one-line email from the UK Life League, an anti-abortion group, presumably in response to things I have written on the subject previously. This is the group of which one member was jailed last month for mailing anti-abortion literature to NHS practitioners. It read:

Simon, this is abortion.

Attached were two photographs of aborted foetuses, clearly intended to be disturbing. I won’t reproduce them here, not because I shy away from the reality of abortion, merely because I wouldn’t carry images of any surgery both out of respect for the patient and on grounds of taste and decency. This site is not the place for images like that.

I have also chosen in this post not too link to their website, though it is easy enough to find, as they seem to employ scare tactics to prevent people from having abortions. If a woman is considering aborting a foetus, she surely deserves to hear reasoned, factual arguments for and against. I don’t begin to claim that all women do hear this as a matter of course – even though I strongly believe they should – but they’re not going to find such a debate on the website of the UK Life League anyway.

People are entitled to their own beliefs in this area. I’ve made my views known on here in the past, and I’ve made it known that I have no problem with others’ opinions. I do have a problem with people forcing their opinions on others, as it appears this group have attempted to do with me.

My reply?

Thanks for that.

As someone in medicine myself, I have seen abortion. I know it’s not pleasant. It certainly isn’t legally murder, whether or not it’s morally murder is not for me to dictate. I’m happy for people to have their own views – you’re clearly antiabortion, and I hold no problem with that point of view. Why do you hold a problem with me having the opposing view?

And if it’s a moral argument you have, then when do you feel it appropriate to send unsolicited images of abortion to people whose background you do not know? Would you send pictures of decapitated murder victims to those opposing legislation banning the sale of knives? Or images of sexually abused children to those opposing mandatory life sentences for paedophiles? Or images of surgery in frank detail to those undergoing tumour removals?

I agree with your point that abortion on demand shouldn’t be carried out under the guise of protecting the mental health of the mother. That is not how the legislation was intended to be interpreted, and I guess from that point of view, it is bad legislation.

This kind of action, however, merely weakens your arguments by making you look radicalised and unmeasured in your actions. When you’re ready to have a reasoned debate, I will be ready to listen – if not necessarily agree.



Update: 28th June 2006
They’ve replied!

You miss the point, UK LifeLeague is not interested in reasoned debate. Abortion is wrong. We have seen some of your comment on your blog regarding abortion. If this is what you mean by reasoned debate then you can keep it.

Killing baby’s and those who support such barbarism are beyond reasoning with.

They don’t want a debate, they just want their way. They can’t even pluralise ‘baby’ without error. I hate to say it, but I don’t hold out much hope for their cause.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Cheryl Humphries

    11.52, 08/10/2006

I hear what you are saying Simon, however you must realise that the anti-abortion lobby engaged in reasoned debate for decades in this country and got nowhere.

Why? Simply because the pro-abortion crowd were not interested in even debating the issue, much less a REASONED one at that. Despite the overwhelming evidence against abortion, all we were met with was, “well, even if what you’re saying is right, its still a woman’s right to chose”.

Regardless of what anti-abortionists say, this is what the response is always going to be from an immoral shallow insipid society that is just ‘self-first’, blaze and couldn’t give a toss about anyone or anything beyond themselves. The universe begins and ends with them.

The issue of whether something is right or wrong doesn’t even register with these people. It really is a non issue. They don’t ask themselves ‘is this right or wrong’, all they ask themselves now is – ‘do I want to do it’, and that is the sum total of their ethical reasoning.

Hard people like this don’t care about carefully crafted, reasoned moral arguments, they need something tougher in order to get through to them and bust through the a-moral vaccuous mist that they surround themselves with.

The LifeLeague is actually doing something that other pro-life groups consistently failed to do for decades, and that is MAKE PROGRESS. They have done this by using more confrontational tactics that upset people. The sad truth is that this is the only way that works, the only way that gets through to people.

People today think that they should have a civil right to support baby murder AND a civil right to not have anyone confront them about it or show them pictures about it. They deserve and are entitled to see pictures of what their support for abortion produces.

What really gets me is people who perform abortions whinging like injured puppies when they are sent pictures of what an abortion looks like. If they are happy enough to perform or support abortion, then they ought to have no alledged upset or offence when they see pictures of it.

That is why, as a pro-lifer who was initially involved with pretty good, but very tame groups like LIFE and SPUC for some years, I now support the LifeLeague and Precious Life. For the first time in decades, the tide is turning and, under God, it is due to the new direction brought about by groups like Lifeleague and precious Life. They just want to get the job done and fight abortion, rather than trying to be everyone’s friend.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    15.41, 14/10/2006

You say the pro-abortion lobby is not interested in a reasoned debate, and I sort of sympathise with that position. But the vast majority of people in this country are neither pro-abortion nor anti-abortion, and I think it’s wrong to characterise all of the advice those seeking an abortion receive as ‘pro-abortion’. Whilst the balance isn’t perfect, I think there’s a wide range of opinions reflected in the literature.

Also, I’m not sure I can see where you’re coming from when you say there’s overwhelming evidence against abortion. What evidence? I’d be genuinely interested to see it. If, indeed, overwhelming evidence exists, then it should not be a woman’s right to choose. If the process of having an abortion is undoubtedly worse than the consequences of continuing the pregnancy, then it is not medically ethical to perform the procedure. After all, we wouldn’t cut off the leg of a patient who said they needed such surgery to absolve their sins.

However, I am not aware of any such evidence.

I also don’t see how abortion shows society to be ‘self-first’. Surely in that case, there’d be no-one to perform abortions? It’s not a nice job, and it isn’t like people derive pleasure from it. So I don’t understand how those people are serving themselves?

People should consider whether abortion is right or wrong, but I don’t think your pictures and tactics help with that. As I said above

Would you send pictures of decapitated murder victims to those opposing legislation banning the sale of knives? Or images of sexually abused children to those opposing mandatory life sentences for paedophiles? Or images of surgery in frank detail to those undergoing tumour removals?

Next time you consider taking your car to work, should I show you pictures of people horrificly killed in RTAs, just to make you consider whether taking your car is right or wrong? The very idea is non-sensicle.

I have no doubt that you’ll disagree with what I have to say, and that’s probably good for debate. But I just wish you’d consider the view of others.

Comment from Dave

    11.59, 22/11/2006

Hi Simon, I think I hear where you are coming from, although I dont agree with you on the fact that abortion is morally acceptable in certain circumstances if that is your argument. The rights and wrongs of the tactics of the UK Life League are another topic of debate. I certainly dont see murdering human life as a choice, in the same way that if i didnt agree with your existence or accept that you werent human would I say its my choice to murder you. Where does human life begin Simon think about it for awhile? The only logical answer is conception and I think that deep down many thousands of people know it. That is why contray to what you purport to claim, there are thousands of people in this country who disagree with abortion and want a change in the law. I also see that there is growing tide of people who are coming around to this way of thinking. As much as I disgree with you Simon, I will NOT choose to murder you as your life not a choice, from the moment you existed in your mother womb. Perhaps we should have a moral debate when it is right to murder someone? Up for that?

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    12.22, 22/11/2006

Hi Dave,

Clearly we disagree on abortion. The key difference between murder and abortion is that there is a moral consensus on murder – the vast, vast majority of people in our country agree that it is morally unacceptable, and those who commit the act should face punitive action. The same consensus simply does not exist in the case of abortion. You say your cause is growing, and that may or may not be true, I don’t know – but it clearly hasn’t reached the critical mass needed for it to become a political imperative in our democratic society. Indeed, the ‘thousands’ you say support your cause would appear few in a population of 60 million.

In the same way that no politician would suggest we decriminalise murder, as this would provoke a huge backlash in the voting booth, no-one will current outlaw abortion. That’s the way democracy works, be it for better or worse.

If life begins at conception, and is equally sacrosanct from conception to death, should mothers be charged with criminal negligence if they smoke illegal drugs during pregnancy? What if they wrongly position their seatbelt in a car? Should there be a criminal investigation to find if a woman was negligent each an every time an embryo dies? The vast majority of embryos naturally abort before the woman even knows she is pregnant. If an embryo is morally equivalent to a baby, then it is only right that each and every death be examined.

And what about practitioners of IVF? They kill embryos. Should IVF also be outlawed?

As for your comment on having a debate about when it is right to murder someone – you’ll find several on this site, representing different points of view on different issues, here, here, here, here, and here. A couple of those are still accepting comments, should you wish to contribute.

I disagree with your position on abortion, but respect you and your opinion fully. I will never force my position upon you, I will allow you to make your own choice in this controversial area without interference. Why can the UK Life League not do the same?

Comment from Janet Smith

    14.16, 30/11/2006

I’ve just been on the LifeLeague site recently and, from looking at the new articles they have placed in their abortion section of the website, it looks like they have taken on board what you are saying. You may wish to have a look at them. The tone they are adopting is very reasoned indeed.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    15.03, 30/11/2006

Janet – Which LifeLeague site are you looking at? Would you mind posting a link?

Comment from Janet Smith

    12.51, 01/12/2006

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    13.07, 01/12/2006

Thanks – I thought that might be the site you were referring to, but I’m afraid that I just can’t see anything reasoned about it. All I’m seeing is pictures of foetuses holding £1 coins and absolutely factually incorrect quotes like

Abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother……Those who advocate abortion to save the life of the mother are either ignorant or insincere.

They have a nice fluffy looking section called ‘Crisis Pregnanacy’, which looks all well and good, until you start looking around, and finding the same pictures of aborted foetuses, and again lies which say that an abortion which causes sterilisation gives a 1 in 3 chance of breast cancer.

Heck, they even say that condoms don’t prevent HIV – I didn’t think the religious right were peddling that myth outside of Africa. The most absurd lie on there is that using spermicide as well as condoms makes it more likely that you will become pregnant!

Some people may try to convince you that condoms are totally without risk. Don’t believe it! They could harm you… If you are married, be faithful to your spouse, trusting in the Lord and His will. Be good to yourself. Don’t use condoms.

If this is reasoned stuff, then I’d hate to see the extreme version.

Anyone wanting acutal, factual information on abortion could do a lot worse than starting here.

Comment from Janet Smith

    18.01, 01/12/2006

So you don’t really want reasoned discussion then?

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    21.25, 01/12/2006

Reasoned discussion is precisely what I want – and there isn’t any of that on the UK Life League website from what I can see.

Are you honestly saying that we need to have a discussion about removing an tubal ectopic pregnancy – ie a medical emergency – which has virtually no chance of surviving but will almost certainly cause severe haemorrhage and serious illness, if not death for the mother if not removed? We should we merely leave it to “God’s Will”?

And IVF should be banned because it is “God’s Will” that a particular couple should remain childless, and apparently not “God’s Will” that we should use all the resources “He” has provided to help others?

I ask again: I will never force my position upon you, I will allow you to make your own choice in this controversial area without interference, so why can the UK Life League not do the same?

Comment from Janet

    13.38, 02/12/2006

ok then, lets see you pick holes in an article you haven’t mentioned yet…..


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    21.02, 02/12/2006

I’m sorry, Janet, but I have no desire to pick apart every article on the whole site. It’s just not sensible. It’s like looking on the BNP website for a detailed critique of the rights and wrongs of the Muslim religion, like looking on a tobacco manufacturer’s website for a balanced view of smoking, or asking the Pope for a detailed critique of the varies theories of the creation of the universe.

It’s one-sided, misleading, and in parts factually incorrect. You claim the Bible protects the sanctity of human life, and choose to ignore the fact that it is clearly stated in Exodus 35:2, for example, that those who work on the Sabbath should be killed.

I am willing to respect your point of view, but you are not willing to respect mine. In my view, that says it all.

Comment from Janet Smith

    10.16, 04/12/2006

So, waffle and feigned outrage etc aside, you admit that you can not refute the article.

And furthermore it is not your fault that you cannot enagage in a logical rebuttal of it, oh no, the article is at fault, not you.

So, all of that talk about enagaging in reasoned argument was rubbish on your part, wasn’t it?

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    11.10, 04/12/2006

I would love to have a reasoned discussion with you, but you are deluded. Your group pick and choose morsels of evidence which you think you can use to make a point, and ignore the great body of evidence that goes against you.

As one example amongst hundreds, in a section of your site where you try to argue that the majority of people are now against abortion, you link to a BBC News article headlined “Most favour right to abortion”, as there’s a morsel in there that says there’s been a 2% drop in support – which is well within the margin of error, and is in a situation where a 10% drop would still leave a majority favouring the right to choose.

You frequently present opinion pieces from academic literature as research, and even then pick and choose misrepresentative comments which support your cause. It is, in fact, you who are unable to partake of reasoned discussion, as you are unshakeable in your position. You do not want to discuss the issue, you merely want everyone to agree with you.

You have consistently failed to answer any of the questions I’ve put to you, presumably because the questions are too awkward, or the answers to unpalatable for your new ‘fluffy’ approach.

There’s no feigned outrage here. There’s genuine outrage at what you put people through – sending pictures of aborted foetuses to mothers who’ve had abortions – but that in itself is ironic, when you claim that post-abortion depression is such a problem. It’s just not a problem your willing to help with, because that would involve dealing with ‘sinners’. Christian teaching might be to hate the sin but love the sinner, but that’s inconvenient, so that part of the Christian philosophy can be swept under the carpet.

If anything, I feel sorry for you. You’re dedicating your life to tilting at windmills, and trying to convince everyone you meet that your cause is just and worthy. And the truth is, I can’t honestly believe that you believe half the stuff you come out with.

Your contribution to this discussion has been fascinating, and I thank you for it. If nothing else, you’ve helpfully represented Christian extremism and shown it to be alive and well in the UK today.

Comment from Dave

    23.03, 05/12/2006

Actually I think that smoking illegal drugs perhaps should be a criminal offense, and yes I dont agree with IVF either-its part of the same selfish evil ‘me me mentality’ as abortion..

I never said that most people disagree with abortion, my point was to highlight that slowly but surely the tide is turning..

Also I think what you fail to mention is that a couple of decades ago most people in the UK were very much against abortion, however propaganda from feminists etc have helped convince people otherwise. I mean if there was suddenly a general consensus that it was ok to kill you Simon would that make it ok? Consensus doesnt form morality, however morality should inform consensus.

Comment from Dave

    23.04, 05/12/2006

Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born RONALD REGAN

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    23.55, 05/12/2006

I mean if there was suddenly a general consensus that it was ok to kill you Simon would that make it ok?

Presumably, yes. There’s a general consensus in America that killing criminals is alright, and so it is seen in American society that this is moral.

And if consensus doesn’t form morality, what does? And why, then, does it matter if ‘the tide is turning’?

Comment from Dave

    22.04, 06/12/2006

wow, wow, your comments says it all, you sidestepped a lot my comments. In the UK there was a general consensus that abortion was morally wrong a few decades ago, so how can something be morally wrong then and not now-think of the logic of what you have written. I think we are hitting the nail on the head here, I think your understanding of the rights and wrongs of abortion are built on the false premise that certain morals that are foundational to a healthy functioning society are ok to be shelfed when we like it. The nazi convinced many people that Jewish people where subhuman and therefore it was morally right to kill them, yet later when the full facts were revealed to them most people changed their opinion. So yes it does matter that the tide is turning because it is showing that the more people are exposed to the real horrors of abortion through papers like the daily mail, programmes on TV, pictures and arguments used by pro-life organisations, people are saying like the German people once did, ‘hang on these are people after all’, hence the more people today are given the accurate facts of the abortion genocide the more people slowly are waking up to the horrors of it all like the Germans once did. ‘Knowledge is power’, dont stifle the truth.

I will respond to the relationship between consensus and morality when you have fully engaged with my comments. Thanks.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    23.29, 06/12/2006

I apologise, Dave. I didn’t intentionally side-step any of your comments – in fact, I have difficulty in seeing what I’ve missed.

You stated your views on IVF and the fact that mothers who risk their pregnancies should be criminalised. I disagree with what I believe to be extreme views, and don’t see where you’d draw the line in the latter case. Are we to prosecute women who don’t take folate supplements? How about those who miss antenatal checks? It seems an odd state of affairs when you can be charged for harming a collection of cells that (at least for the first few months) could not exist outside yourself. Or would you only start criminalising them at a later stage?

You then say that the tide was turned by feminist propaganda, but is now being turned back by anti-abortion propaganda. I don’t see that there’s anything to engage with, there.

The Ronald Regan point is moot as far as I can see. It’s a nice soundbite, but it’s pretty meaningless. It’s merely saying that something is advocated only by those who have been fortunate enough not to be on the receiving end – which is true of a great many things.

In your latest comment, you make a very valid point about Nazism. My response to that would be that there was a general consensus throughout the rest of world that the killing of Jewish people was wrong, so there was never really consensus on the issue.

Indeed, knowledge is power and the truth shouldn’t be stifled. But truth does not mean sending people gruesome pictures of medical procedures, just as no-one would be sent gruesome pictures of any other medical procedure. And as for the tosh on the UK Life League website about contraception, as highlighted above, that certainly hinders knowledge and truth, as there is a great body of evidence against it.

I get the distinct feeling that it is your truth, and your truth alone, that you don’t want to be stifled.

If there’s anything else I’ve failed to engage with, please, feel free to point it out, and I’ll do my level best. I do notice that you’ve failed to address the key, key question: “I will never force my position upon you, I will allow you to make your own choice in this controversial area without interference. Why can the UK Life League not do the same?”

Comment from Janet

    00.35, 18/12/2006

We are still all waiting for you rebuttal of the Informed Medical Opinion on the Humanity and Personhood of the Unborn Child article on the Lifeleague website.

You can’t rebut it can you.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    21.09, 18/12/2006

I am not in a position to rebutt it personally as I am not a scientist. However, as I’ve pointed out above, much of the science I am familiar with is wrong, suggesting that the rest will be of similar quality.

There is a great body of scientific evidence that goes against much of what your website says.

Comment from Janet

    14.30, 21/12/2006

It isn’t my website – you see, you can’t even get that right can you? What hope therefore do you have of refutting the article on medical opinon about the personhood and humanity of the unborn child.

Come on and show us all where the inaccuracies in the article are.

This informed debate you wanted isn’t going so well is it…….would almost make someone doubt that you even wanted one in the first place.

Comment from Barbara K

    16.05, 21/12/2006

Sjhoward – thanks for one of the most entertaining reads of my day. This thread should be passed round the wrold, to show everyone what stupid judgemental bible-bashing bastards and bitches are really like when they say abortion is murder. I love that nobody from the UKLifeLeague will actually answer the questions, but are happy to push you and push you. Brilliant.

Comment from Anonymous

    19.44, 21/12/2006

It’s great to see the UKLifeLeague desperately try to defend themselves!! I wonder if they will ever actually answer your question on keeping their views to themselves! lol! 😆

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    19.45, 21/12/2006

Firstly – Barbara. Thanks for your comment, but if you could refrain from personal insults – whoever they are directed against – I’d appreciate it. It doesn’t really add to the discussion.

Janet – I apologise for saying ‘your’ website, it was a slip of the mind. I will take pleasure in pointing out some of the inaccuracies on the page you pointed me to, but the whole exercise does seem somewhat pointless, since your mind is not going to be changed.

“(We note the) curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone (now) knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra or extra uterine until death.” California Medical Journal, 1970.

It is true to say that life begins at conception. Or at least true in a sense – no doubt you’d agree that bacteria are living, yet they undergo mitotic reproduction, and so are never conceived as such, but I agree entirely that it does seem the most logical point at which to draw the line of ‘human life’.

As to whether this fact is ignored by ‘pro-abortionists’ – Firstly, I’m not aware of any pro-abortionists, only pro-choice individuals. This is not the same thing. I don’t think this fact is ignored by anyone in the writing I’ve seen on the subject. It may have been the case 36 years ago, when the above was written, but is no longer the case to my knowledge.

I’m going to skip all the other quotes which merely back up this point. I’m sure that will leave you saying that I’m not engaging with the page, or something, but I’m doing my best, and I don’t see the logic in taking up acres of page space quoting a point I’ve agreed with you on.

A. Liley, ‘Research Professor in Foetal Physiology’ at the ‘University of Auckland’, widely refered to as the ‘Father of Foetology’ says: “The fetus is not a passive, dependent, nerveless, fragile vegetable……..but a young human being, dynamic…resilient and in very large measure in charge of his environment and destiny…..In summary, the fetus organises his mother….so that nutrients are deflected for fetal needs….Throughout pregnancy it is the mother, not the fetus, who is passive and dependent…..It is the embryo who…regulates his own amniotic fluid volume and although women speak of their waters breaking or their membranes rupturing, these structures belong to the fetus. And finally, it is the fetus, not the mother, who decides when labour should be initiated.”

Little of this is factually inaccurate, but much of it is misquoted. “It is the mother that is passive and dependent” is true in terms of supply of nutrients to the amniotic fluid, but not in many other contexts. By the logic apparently presented here, the foetus could survive if the mother died – this is much less often true than the converse situation. This is typical of much of the UK Life League website – picking bits out of quotations and misrepresenting their sense.

“Who can deny the fetus is … a separate genetic entity? Its humanity also cannot be questioned scientifically. It is certainly of no other species.” Dr. Joel Hylton, 18.02.90, Jounral of the American Medical Association.

Replace the word ‘fetus’ with ‘tumour’, and you’ve got yourself an argument for not treating cancer.

“A doctor must always bear in mind the importance of preserving human life from the time of conception until death.” According to The International Code of Medical Ethics

“I will maintain utmost respect for human life from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.” According to The Declaration of Geneva

Absolutely. Therefore, if the certain life of a woman is threatened by the potential independent life of a foetus, the only ethical thing to do is go with the balance of probabilities and save the life of the mother over that of the foetus. Something which the UK Life League disagrees with.

Unborn children are not ‘A PART’ of their mother’s body – they are merely ‘CONTAINED WITHIN’ their mother’s body.


The Personhood of the Unborn Child

You argue that everything with human DNA is, by definition, human. Therefore, presumably a leg is human. It has no personhood, but it is undoubtedly human. Are medcially necessary amputations therefore wrong?

And equally, you don’t seem to accept that 2/3 of pregnancies (probably many, many more) spontaneously abort. If each of these is to have the right of a full adult, then each death should surely be investigated. Is that your position?

You say that there are five problems with the personhood argument.

Factual problems: You say that the position is “objectively, scientifically, and medically inaccurate – existing merely as a subjective, philosophical concept”. That’s true. But so is the idea that a foetus has rights. Both are only philosophical concepts, and neither can be proved medically or scientifically. This is an area of philosophy and morality.

Objective problems: Again, your position is also not objective. It’s an alternative opinion. The fact that the foetus is human does not add up to saying that it has the same rights as any other human. That is a philosophical leap. 98% of a chimp’s DNA is equivalent to that of a human – does a chimp therefore deserve 98% of a human’s rights? DNA does not confer rights. Philosophy and morality do, and they will always, always be subjective.

Disablist: I sort of see a point here. But the position you outline is an extension of the beliefs of personhood, not those held by pro-choice people. Equally, I can extrapolate from your philosophical position that you’re against cancer treatments, or for chimp rights. That would be fairly ludicrous.

Ageist: Well, sort of. And sort of not. It’s no more ageist that saying that children need special care and are afforded special protections over and above those of adults. So yes, the position probably is ageist, but so is that idea that newborns shouldn’t just be left on the side of the pavement to fend for themselves.

Philosophical: It may be against your particular philosophical standpoint, but it isn’t against everyone’s. It isn’t even against every Christian standpoint. So how you can give quotes from the Bible to defend yourself, I’m not sure. This seems to support my idea that you feel morality can come only from the Bible – but you won’t enter discussion on that. I wonder why not?

That’s a very brief overview of the problems with that article. To finish, I have three questions for you:

1. Where does morality come from?

2. Where are the factual errors on this site?

3. (I may have asked this multiple times already, but it’s a question you seem to want to ignore…) I will never force my position upon you, I will allow you to make your own choice in this controversial area without interference, so why can the UK Life League not do the same?

Comment from Maria

    13.51, 22/12/2006

“UK LifeLeague is not interested in reasoned debate.”

They’ve proved that right enough.

Comment from Dave

    21.15, 26/12/2006

Yes there are things that you have failed to engaged with and I will begin to point them out by asking you a question to begin with:

Simon is it morally acceptable to rape a 6 year old if there is world wide consensus that its acceptable?

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    22.34, 26/12/2006

Such a situation is unlikely ever to arise. But as child sacrifices were considered morally correct in Biblical times, I’m sure that if there was a consensus of such, then there would be no-one to say it would be morally acceptable. So yes, if there was a consensus, then I guess it would be acceptable, in the same way that sacrificial murder of children was acceptable to the characters of the Old Testament.

Now: I will never force my position on abortion upon you, I will allow you to make your own choice in this controversial area without interference, so why can the UK Life League not do the same?

Comment from Dave

    00.04, 27/12/2006

I will never force my position upon you Simon, can you allow me to make my choice to rape a six year old in this controversial area without interference?

what do you personally think about raping a six year old Simon?

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    00.17, 27/12/2006

Thank you for saying you will never force your position upon me. I’m very glad. Does that mean that should my partner and I choose to have an abortion at some point, we’ll be able to do it free of pressure? I sure hope so.

The raping of six-year-olds is not, in our culture at least, a controversial area. So you may not make your own choice. A majority have voted for successive governments who have implemented laws against rape – rightly or wrongly – and we abide by them in our society or face the democratically chosen consequences.

That said, I am in favour (at least theoretically) of euthanasia. I wouldn’t personally choose to partake, as laws made by representatives of the majority have decreed it to be illegal, and I respect that we must live side-by-side to ensure a better future for society as a whole.

I personally think that raping a six year old is wrong. I think that raping anyone is wrong. It’s interesting that you’ve chosen a six-year-old, given that the UK Life League position is that a person is a person is a person, and that a crime committed against children is no different to one committed against adults. Why did you not chose to discuss raping sixTY year olds?

And equally, I think indoctrinating children into particular religions is wrong. But society accepts it, and the voices of the few are quietened by the opinions of the many. That’s how society works. If I convince everyone to my view point, then maybe things will change.

Comment from Anonymous

    01.15, 27/12/2006

SJ Howard…… thank you! When I’ve seen them on tv I’ve thought these Life League people had a poimt and that they were worth supporting….. Now Ive seen there website, I’ve seen what messed up pricks they are.

I’m still afainst abortion, but no way do I support the bloody life league!!!

Comment from colin

    01.19, 27/12/2006

abortion is murder! maybe someone should kill you and see how you like it then. you deserve to die so watch yourslef

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    11.38, 27/12/2006

Colin, please be aware that making threatening comments is illegal in the UK (and also against site policy), and that your IP address is retained and can be used to trace your whereabouts. I don’t think you’ve crossed the line just yet, but you’re certainly toeing it – Remember, the internet is not an anonymous place!

Comment from theprof

    12.01, 27/12/2006

IT is great to see reason over indoctrination so clearly winning an argument, and i’s a arare thing. The self confessed non-expert taking on the apparent experts, and using plain logic to make so mch more sense. 💡 Notice that they even avoid admitting that their morality is based on religion. You’d be forgiven for thinking they were ashamed.

Comment from Knight Of Christ and Mary

    20.14, 28/12/2006

Dear Simon,

I am not going to come at you from either a medical, religious or scientific perspective but rather just plain common sense. However after this I will come in from a few other view points.

Have you ever noticed that when ever a mother wants to keep her unborn child or fetus if you prefer ‘it’ is talked about as a ‘unborn child’. Or often enough when the ‘unborn child’ is wanted the mother talks about what their child is doing…

Yet when ever a woman is to have an abortion the ‘unborn child’ title is no longer used. Instead the word ‘fetus’ or ’embryo’ or even better a ‘mass of cells’ is used.

Society continues to perpetuate this use of words depending on the motive. The ‘Suffolk Strangler’ Modern-Day Jack The Ripper Killed Five Prostitutes and according to the Sun newspaper the ‘Suffolk Strangler’ claimed the life of his sixth victim the unborn child of Anneli Alderton. This killing of the ‘unborn child’ was not only shared by the Sun newspaper but by many in the national media.

My point is when you or I want to have our child ‘it’ is no longer given a derogatory title of ’embryo’ ‘fetus’ and a ‘mass of cells’ it is given the title of ‘unborn child’.

The labeling of the ‘unborn child’ as an ’embryo’ – ‘fetus’ etc. by prospective people considering abortion and practioners who are actively involved in abortion is a coping mechanism. It is a means by which they can seperate the reality of killing a defensless human being in their conscience and justify this murder by putting the ‘fetus’ label to ‘it’. In other words the ‘fetus’ is not a human being – it is something else… ‘It’ is not developed yet… just a ‘fetus’…

Pope John Paul II said that when a society takes God out of the picture it no longer sees human beings in its framework as human beings made in Gods image but rather they are now seen simply like intelligent animals.

In a society that has a dogma of viewing human beings a little more then ‘intelligent animals’ then the sacredness of human life is taken away. When the sacredness of human life is taken away then so do moral justifications for treating a human being with dignity get stripped away. Hence in societies that perpetuate a society without a loving God then atrocities as abortion, euthanasia, — killing the old, blind, feeble and in fact any one that does not provide a ‘productive constructive’ input for the ‘human species’ should be eliminated. You may disagree yet Nazi, and communist societies with leaders such as Stalin killed millions of their own people because they were no longer ‘useful’. However if a society views one and other as sons and daughters of God and made in his image there is less disposition to abortion and euthanasia and other illogical killing of the weak and vulnerable of society. Because all humans our valued by God.

I would consider Simon that you are either an athiest or one with nominal faith in a loving God. I suggest this because you believe in both Abortion and Euthanasia as commented to Dave.

On another point of view is that regardless if you think a ‘fetus’ is a human being or not the act of abortion denies the potential of that ‘unborn child’. When abortions is commited future scientists, doctors, peace makers etc. are denied to the world. You could argue simon that also future rapists and murders etc.. are also denied to the world. But the question comes back on you and all who are actively involved in the killing of the weak and vulnerable what authority makes you the Judge to decide that these ‘fetus’ – regardless if you consider them human or not should be denied to society? Is it right that we have govenments that deny the potential of what these ‘fetuses’ can become? Is it right that we have mothers that deny the potential of what these ‘fetuses’ can become? Is it right that we have people like yourself that deny the potential of what these ‘fetuses’ can become?

Comment from Richard Rohr

    22.46, 28/12/2006

It is good for all people to see the main people actually engaging in reasoned debate on here are the people against abortion-so much for the accusations. Just hiding behind the mantra ‘its the women choice’ is pathetic, especially when people have constantly shown the inconsistencies in these arguments. Stop indoctrinating people with your freedom of choice rubbish and come out with some constructive arguements.

As for ‘Mr Prof’ who hides behind someone elses website. Why dont you admit that your morality is based on your own ‘Mr.Prof belief system’ or atheism, anyone would think your ashamed of admiting that your morality is based on this.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    23.17, 28/12/2006

Thank you for your comment, Knight.

First of all, I should clear up my position on euthanasia. As you rightly point out, I suggested above that I am a supporter of the practice. I’m not. I’m a supporter of the theory behind assisted suicide (as opposed to euthanasia) – that is, that if an able-bodied person is able to take their own life, then why should a disabled person not be able to do the same? My problem with assisted suicide is the practicality of who should do the assisting, and so forth. And it has to be said that this has led to some healthy debate between myself and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society which can be found elsewhere on the site.

Let me also say at the outset that I fully respect your view, and your entitlement to it, and this is my major problem with the UK Life League – in a controversial area, they wish to impose their views on others of different beliefs, which is wrong and divisive.

I agree with you that the linguistics of abortion are biased, and I am absolutely all for additional (unbiased) counselling of women prior to abortion. I don’t have great experience in the area, but I’ll admit that I have been shocked by the apparent lack of counselling offered to women at so-called ‘Pregnancy Advisory Services’. The service offered at the moment does not, in my opinion, address the psychological issues surrounding abortion nearly enough. But that is not an argument against abortion per sé, merely against the current provision, which is very difficult to improve because of the status of abortion as a political ‘hot potato’ – damned be the politician who dares to suggest that abortion services receive greater investment.

You correctly deduce that I’m an atheist, albeit one brought up with a strong Christian background. I don’t believe that atheism makes me an immoral or amoral human being any more than being Christian instils morals. Many a murder has been committed in the name of Christianity by genuine, albeit misguided, believers. I hope and believe that morality runs deeper than religion, and that the status of humans as “intelligent animals” doesn’t reduce the sanctity of life.

Each life is uniquely valuable. Out of the many billions of combinations of DNA that could have occurred at my conception, this one did. The odds of me being alive are so very slim that my life is incredibly valuable. And for animals to evolve into something capable of creating beautiful art, something capable of philosophising, and something capable of having these very debates makes humanity itself precious. To me, my belief (and I wholeheartedly admit that it is a belief) seems far more beautiful than the idea that I am a merely a pawn in some greater being’s game.

Now that’s me well and truly side-tracked!

You say that Stalin and Hitler killed millions, while seemingly ignoring the mass murder committed by the Catholic church, through centuries of Crusades, and, more recently (and arguably indirectly), by teaching that HIV transmission is not stopped by condoms. That pronouncement, based on no evidence, sentences thousands to death each year.

As for abortion: I cannot see the logic in risking a healthy woman’s life by forcing her to continue to carry a child which, for whatever reason, medical opinion believes is unlikely to survive, but is likely to kill her. I cannot see that to do so serves the greater good.

Similarly, I cannot see the logic in submitting women to gross psychological trauma if, for example, they fall pregnant due to rape. This leaves a profoundly psychologically damaged mother, or possibly encourages the mother to attempt a self-abortion, putting her life at risk. Again, I don’t see that the greater good is served.

I am a strong advocate of “first, do no harm”. Many anti-abortion campaigners see abortion as doing harm. But I am of the view that, at least theoretically, an aborted foetus should be incapable of independent life. Therefore, it has the potential for life. But the healthy mother already has life. Putting the mother’s health at serious risk in order to encourage a potentially independent life to develop is, in my view, risking harm moreso than ending the potentially independent life – even though, I quite agree, that life has the potential to be a happy, healthy little bouncing baby boy.

Under current law, abortion should not be given on demand. But at the present time, there are no resources to judge whether a woman who claims that giving birth will cause significant psychological trauma is telling the truth or not. I agree entirely with those who say that the law should be enforced, and that detailed psychometrics should be done to keep within the law. But, again, lack of resources prevents this.

Whether or not abortion on demand should, at some point, be offered – I do not know. I think that this is something that should be brought out into the open and discussed, not merely done through the back door.

Thank you again for your comment, and for explaining your reasoning. It truly did make for very interesting reading, even though we disagree.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    23.27, 28/12/2006

Richard – I apologise for not addressing your comment above, it came through while I was composing my response to Knight. I’m sorry that you feel I’m not engaging in reasoned debate – I’m certainly trying to put forward my opinions in as honest a way as possible, and I hope that my response to Knight might answer some of your questions.

I admit that I’m not the best person to be having this debate – I’m by no means an expert on abortion to anywhere near the degree that the UK Life League are experts on anti-abortion arguments.

I’m not entirely sure how you go about ‘indoctrinating’ people with the idea that they should make their own minds up, and respect the decisions of others – surely that’s the precise opposite of indoctrination?

I don’t want to speak on behalf theprof, I’m sure he’s perfectly capable of defending himself (or herself!), but you’ll note that I wholeheartedly embrace the fact that many of my ideas surrounding abortion are based on my atheist beliefs – but, as I said above, I truly hope and believe that morality runs deeper. I truly hope that even if people did not believe that there was a God watching over them, they would still be willing to help others, for example.

I may be atheist, but I certainly hope I’m not a self-centred bastard!

Comment from Knight Of Christ and Mary

    13.57, 29/12/2006

Dear Simon,

Firstly I have to say it is a pleasure to debate with you even if I wholeheartedly am opposed to abortion and for that matter assisted suicide.

Just briefly to answer your first point I will refer back to a similar point I made earlier in conjunction with another point or so. Suicide is in essence the killing of one’s self. Killing of people in most legal systems unless it is in a case of war is considered by most cultures, societies and countries both illegal and immoral. Hence why should a person who is both legally and morally prohibited from killing others be able to kill themselves? Is it not also equally immoral and illegal to kill oneself as it is to kill another person? Is another persons life more valuable then my own unique life? Moreover, what right does a member of society have to deny their existence and contribution no matter how little or insignificant they deem it to be to society? If I am unable say to deny the existence of Tony Blair by killing him then by what authority do I have the right to deny and kill my own existence?

As to your critique of limited counseling offered to those considering abortion I agree. However, it is really possible to have unbiased counseling as you suggest? However, I will point out one issue that I am sure you are aware of is the effects abortion has on a woman. Many professionals, clergy and counselors who give abortion counseling have commented on the profound negative effects an abortion has on the human psyche. Even for those woman who deny the abortion has had any negative effect on them often relapse in a later stage of their life with the ‘guilt’ and ‘effects’ the abortion had on them. How someone could have an abortion and have a positive experience is beyond me and evidentially rarely documented especially if the same woman is questioned years later in a later human life cycle developmental phase. As for your case of a woman being raped and having an abortion I will make a small comment on. First and foremost as I am sure you are well aware of the cases of a woman being raped and conceiving a child is very rare. Secondly in the case were this does happen, how will it help the woman’s psyche more to kill the ‘unborn child’ or ‘fetus’ if you prefer then having and raring the child. Please consider on this point my earlier valid point on the many profound negative psychological effects abortion has on many women who have an abortion added to the detrimental effects a rape has upon the same woman. Now you may argue that raring the child of a rapist is of greater psychological damage to the prospective mother then having an abortion (however, far as I know there is no significant medical/psychological proof to prove this point). But I would refer back to my previous point in my initial argument to you that killing an ‘unborn child’ is both immoral and denies the unborn child any human rights. Moreover is it the fault of the ‘unborn child’ or ‘fetus’ if you prefer? Why should the ‘fetus’ ‘unborn child’ suffer the punishment the ‘mother’ and ‘society’ may want to inflict upon the rapist?

As for your point on Atheism/Christianity and morals that will be addressed now. On the whole I would agree with you that the human being regardless of religious or non religious disposition has an inherent drive to create some kind of order and morality to their culture and society. However I would point out that one persons idea of morality can be vastly different to another persons idea of morality even in Christianity as you rightly pointed out. These points withstanding I will differ from you on one significant point that being a human person coming into a genuine contact with a Loving God can lead to a person having a much greater capacity for altruistic behaviour then someone who has no contact with a Loving God. The ‘Christians’ you mentioned doing acts of murder etc… I would suspect never had at that particular time of their life (people change) a significant contact with God. It is scientifically proven in many scientific/medical journals that a person who has a deep prayer life and contact with a Loving God has a lifestyle and behaviour that is often significantly altruistic then a ‘person’ who does not. Moreover it is also scientifically/medically proven regardless if you believe the phenomenon is true or not that those human beings who have had strong NDE Near Death Experiences have very often profound atruistic changes in their lifestyle after recovery. If you wish me to I can trace the academic journals/documentaries and send them to you. My point is that someone who has direct contact with a loving God through regular deep and genuine prayer or from a profound experience of a loving experience exhibits altruistic morality on a higher scale then an Atheist or one who has no contact with a loving God. Mother Theresa for example is a great example of someone who lived a life of prayer and communion in a very active altruistic way regardless if you accept her religious convictions or not. Moreover from my own personal experience of prayer on a regular basis and on a deep level understand its effects upon my own character. I do not believe a true contact with a loving God diminishes someone’s reasoning ability but rather enhances. Faith and reason should work together and not oppose.

As for your point regarding the crusades it must be pointed out that the tide or critique of this particular epoch of time has swung to the other extreme. People often say the terrible crusades… yet the average persons knowledge unfortunately of the crusades is rather limited and based upon from what I can see it the partisan beliefs of tabloid press or primary school level understanding. Again first and foremost like the late Pope John Paul II have regret for the actions of soldiers who committed atrocities in the name of Christ. Yet not all Christian ‘crusaders’ committed atrocities and war crimes as similarly not all Muslim soldiers and ‘fundamentalists’ can likewise be accused of war crimes and atrocities in the past and in this present time.

But briefly I will point out to you at one stage Egypt and much of the Middle East was Christian or pagan and was taken by force of arms by Muslim armies rightly or wrongly depending on your perspective. Moreover, Constinople (Modern day Turkey) and much of their Christian lands was taken by Muslim armies. Again wrongly or rightly depending on what perspective you are coming from. Furthermore, Spain itself a Christian country was invaded by Muslim invaders and took Christian Spanish soldiers from the north of Spain hundreds of years to reclaim their lost land. Additionally France itself was invaded by Muslim armies. In October, 732, Charles Martel met Abd-er-Rahman outside of Tours and defeated and slew him in a battle (the Battle of Poitiers) which must ever remain one of the events in the history of the world, as upon its issue depended whether Christian Civilization should continue or Islam prevail throughout Europe. It was this battle, it is said, that gave Charles his name, Martel (Tudites) “The Hammer”, because of the merciless way in which he smote the enemy. I could go on and on… My point is that there are always two sides to the story. Considering just a few of these factors you can understand why there was such fervor in the ‘Christian Crusades’ as there was fervor in Islamic invasions. If some of these battles were not fought by Christian soldiers then there may have never been a Christian Europe at all but a Muslim Europe. Again weather this is a good or bad thing depends on ones belief. I would like to add conclusively on this point that any true Christian or true Muslim I am sure would agree that violence is not a way to solve problems.

I am going to stop here as I have work to do ha ha ha… but if you wish I will address your other points.

Yours Sincerely,

Knight Of Christ and Mary

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    01.27, 05/01/2007

Thanks again for your response, Knight. It is indeed a pleasure debating these issues! I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you, I’ve been somewhat snowed under with audit work, and didn’t want to just reel off a quick response.

I appreciate your points about suicide. But, for me, life is the one thing that everybody in the world owns, regardless of socioeconomic status, health status, religious belief, or anything. Everybody, however poor, owns a life. But if you don’t allow them the option of disposing of their life by killing themselves, then do they truly own it? I believe lives belong to individuals, rather than society.

The greatest decision available to anybody is that to end their own life. And yet everyone on Earth has the capability to make that decision. We are all truly controllers of our own destiny.

The difference between killing someone else and killing yourself is admittedly more subtle than it may at first appear. But if you wish to deprive society of your own life – of which you are in control – then I believe that to be your prerogative, whereas control over the ending of someone else’s life is not.

The tragedy of suicide is in the lack of support one must feel in order to feel that you are better off dead. I certainly feel that the blame for most suicides lies with society, rather than the individual.

Your comment about unbiased counselling on the topic of abortion is a good one. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to provide. But that doesn’t mean an attempt shouldn’t be made. Doctors deal with similarly difficult counselling topics every day (albeit badly in most cases). If you arrest, would you like CPR or not? Your cancer is widespread, do you want us to aggressively treat it or effectively allow you to die? Do you want to donate a kidney to save someone or not? Do you think my other doctor was negligent? There are lots of difficult questions where the emphasis must be on the decision of the patient, but where it is impossible for the medic not to have an opinion.

Unbiased counselling is the unattainable ideal. Medicine deals with realities, and we have to achieve as close to unbiased counselling as possible, not merely give up on the method wholesale.

As for the subject of pregnancies as a result of rape, it is true to say that these are incredibly rare, and whichever option is chosen (continuing the pregnancy or terminating it) will result in significant psychological trauma for the mother. To my mind, the mother is best placed to decide, bluntly, which psychological trauma is ‘best’. I don’t really buy the idea that to terminate the pregnancy is to visit the sins of the rapist upon the child. For example, is locking up a criminal father punishing a child by depriving him of a father? Such a situation is clearly some distance from termination, but to me the logic isn’t a million miles away.

I take your point that those who have contact with a ‘Loving God’ tend to be more altruistic than others, but as an atheist, it is impossible for me to accept that this is due to the ‘Loving God’ more than due to the belief. I don’t mean this to appear in any way offensive, but if somebody has a genuine belief that their actions on Earth – a timespan less than a blink of an eye in comparison to eternity – will determine their destiny for an unimaginable length of time, then people will surely be more altruistic to pander to what they believe God wants them to do – hence, the altruism isn’t true altruism, it’s an attempt to curry favour with God.

I’m not suggesting that Christians don’t do very good things in life, and I do hope you’ll accept that it is very difficult for me to appreciate the idea of religion in an emotive way. My atheism is a belief, as your Christianity is a belief, and as the idea that the sky is blue is a belief. I look up and see a blue sky – it would take an awful lot of convincing to believe that the sky is actually green, but just as ‘black holes’ are unimaginable, if I felt sufficient evidence was available, I might just be able to accept the notion, because I have no way to prove it’s actually blue. It’s similar with my lack of belief in God.

As for your points about the crusades, again they are very valid. I wasn’t trying to “pick” on Christianity in particular, but merely make the point that an awful lot of violence is carried out in the name of religion. Again, as something of an outsider to religious belief, it occurs that it doesn’t really matter whether the individuals were really in touch with God. These people were (and are) willing to die for their beliefs, which shows an enormous amount of faith, whether or not it is misplaced.

I do apologise if my replies haven’t been great tonight – it’s late and I’m tired! If there’s anything I haven’t explained well, then please do ask what I meant – but please also accept that anything I’ve said was never meant to offend, and I apologise if it has.

Thanks again for you comment – and I look forward to reading your response 🙂

Comment from Charlotte

    15.32, 11/01/2007

Good article. I’m a pro choicer so i’m not a fan of any pro ‘life’ – (i say that very tentatively, as it seems they have no consderation for the not-merely-biological life of women, who is a conscious, productive member of society.

I’m pro choice because i believe every person has the right control their own body and whatever may be inside of it. If a woman cannot be forced to provide organs (hell, if a cadaver cannot legally be forced to provide organs), blood or bone marrow for another then she is not obligated to provide a womb. So imo if a woman wants an abortion for whatever reason it should be her basic human right to get one, bearing in mind that the ‘right to life’ is not absolute and IS invalidated when brought into contention with the right to bodily integrity. If you don’t first set up the body as its own ‘sovereign nation’ (so to speak) then you cannot confer rights to it. To do such a thing would be illogical. “Here! Have a right to life! But, no, you can’t have a right to your left lung, uterus, or kidneys!”. As long as the fetus is in the body of the woman she should have the right to remove it, IMO.

I know what abortion is, I am studying biological and molecular science currently, and have studied embryology (i’m bringing up my qualifications just in case i get accused of being ‘in denial’ by the Life-League who seem to have swarmed to your blog. Yes, a fetus is human, no pro choicer thinks otherwise – it comes from two half sets of human DNA, it’s not going to be a donkey now, is it? A fetus is not a person, thus it is not subject to the same rights as human persons. Personhood is a legal concept conferred at birth.

I know what abortion is, I am studying biological and molecular science currently, and have worked part time at a clinic.

Comment from Knight of Christ and Mary

    16.16, 14/01/2007

Dear Simon,

Sorry for my late reply. I have been real busy of late. I see that at this moment it is pointless to continue this see saw debate with the current arguments as they simply go back and forth depending on what side of the fence you are sitting. I just find it very hard to believe that so many people of a so called ‘logical’ mind think killing your unborn child or ‘fetus’ for the advocates is acceptable. Now many cultures in the past committed child sacrifice and so forth… but it could be argued that in their minds they were doing these ‘sacrifices’ for some religious purpose such as gaining favour from the rain/sun god etc. In the even rarer case in ancient cultures of killing the unborn child or ‘fetus’ there was usually some ritualistic/religious reason sacrificial reason involved in this act. What I am trying to point out to you is that in this current generation we call these ancient practices ‘barbaric’ and ‘inhumane’ and even ‘despicable’. Yet ironically we as a generation kill millions of unborn children or ‘fetus/embryos’ often for much less mundane reasons then ‘religious sacrifice’. Modern reasons from Women is that it gets in the way of there career at the moment, or I am to young, ‘it’ just a blob of human cells anyhow… etc.

You know yourself my debating colleague that this is a common reason of many women. Sure when they come in and talk to the doctors and so forth there will be talk of duress etc… for legal necessities (but how many are telling the truth?). And if the duress is genuinely true (And there are many women who are under much duress/trauma…) what makes the act of abortion less ‘barbaric’ then the ancient cultures and religions who engaged in ritualistic/religious child sacrifice and unborn child sacrifice? I think they would very logically consider our present generation very ‘Barbaric’ in the extreme, as there is no religious or in their minds ‘genuine’ reason for the slaughter of the unborn child or ‘fetus’ ‘embryo’.

It is simply that as logical creatures shocking to me that we are so willing to kill our unborn children, ‘fetus’ ‘embryos’. What makes us ‘intelligent creatures’ compared to other animals when we are so willing to kill our unborn young ‘fetus’ , ‘embryos’? Only a few and very rare cases does any other animal creature kill its own young! And even rarer kills the young in its womb! It is just completely illogical that the human creature uses its superior mind to justify the killing of it unborn young. What about the choice of the unborn child? The choice of the ‘embryo’, ‘fetus’? It has no CHOICE! No one defends the unborn child? The unborn monkey and other animals have more rights then the human ‘embryo’, ‘unborn child’. How can we be so ‘intelligent’ in the mass killing of the unborn human ‘child/embryo/fetus’ and putting every ones elses choice above the ‘unborn human child/embryo/fetus’? What kind of society and generation do we live in at the moment that condones such illogical thinking?

I find it hard to believe that a child could love his mother greatly if he knew his own mother had allowed his unborn brother/sister to be killed in the womb. The womb that carried him into life carried his unborn brother/sister or embryo/brother/sister or embryo/human if you prefer… into death. The womb has gone against nature and become a tomb of death rather then a sanctuary of life.

I know dear Simon, that for your own conscious that you will think up some concept or another to disagree with me as to accept the truth is hard. But I just find it hard to believe that such a logical and good man from other aspects of morality can believe in the ludicrous concept that abortion is acceptable. The unborn ‘fetus’ has no rights, no choice regardless if the mother is carrying him. This makes the unborn child/fetus/embryo even more defenseless and vulnerable. The unborn one is dependant on life on the ‘mother’ yet because the ‘unborn one’ can not physically voice its opinion this vulnerable entity can be destroyed freely at the whim of the mother and the doctor. The fact the unborn ‘fetus’ can not voice its verbal opinion or ‘will’ means the unborn one is even more defenseless and vulnerable and should be protected and taken into account of all the more.

Did you know ironically that nearly all governmental social work reports regarding children and families should always be investigated from a ‘Child’ centered focus before the needs and whims of the adults. Yet when it comes to the unborn child – or if you prefer, a mass of human cells blobbed together – “You have no choice, no rights’. Unless you come out of the womb you ‘thing’ do not exist and have no choice or rights. Yet once you come out of the womb then our ‘Child’ Centered approach will do all it can to protect and safeguard your wellbeing in society.

To me it is all hypocrisy and illogical mumbo jumbo that legalizes the murder of the innocents who have no choice, no rights, no nothing unless they come out of the womb to greet the friendly world.

When I first read all your comments in the beginning this image and words came in to my mind as Jesus the Innocent and pure one said about us all as he was dying on the cross “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Comment from jess

    22.47, 27/02/2007

well, first of all, i ws navigated here, from the bein a teenage mum debate, and although i am anti-abortion, i took the time and read this debate from the top.
this debate is very intellectual, and i feel a little out of my depth, but nevertheless, i have a few views

firstly, this Janet woman seems to think that you, simon, are a massive fan of abortion, although if she actually read the teenage mum page, she would find that you dont use propaganda like that sick webpage from UK LIfeleague, and you have helped hundreds of girls make the right desicion for THEMSELVES! you never pushed them into a decision or rammed disgusting and frankly immorral photographs down young girls throats to scare them off. you helped them decide what was best for them! Unlike a certain website…

secondly, i only want to quickly mention this because it made me laugh for so long i forwarded it to everyone. Of course, im tlaking about the UKlifeleagues view on how god will stop people from getting pregnant, and how condoms HARM you….YEAH RIGHT! hahahahahahahahhaha….
and how factual is the anti abortionist site supposed to be????

thirdly, i agree with you when you say that the website is only selceting tiny little bits of evidence:

“Your group pick and choose morsels of evidence which you think you can use to make a point, and ignore the great body of evidence that goes against you.”

you are right, and i hate the fact that these websites believe that they can impose their views onto everyone and anyone, even kids, and if anyone says i dont have anything to support this:

imagine you are 11years old, sitting at your computer at school, opening your emails on your hotmail account, and getting a forwarded message, (origin an anti abortionist site) full to the brim with picture of ripped up bodies!
turned out neary every girl within a week had recieved this messgae, emblazoned with the message CHOICE and had a paragraph about god and hell and infanticide….11 i was…scarred me for life….
how dare these narrow minded people send kids pictures of these?

anyway, i also read that somebody made a comment about that nobody in this debate were writing about there own views only propaganda and blah blah blah….

well here are my views:

abortion FOR ME is wrong and i wouldnt consider it unless i was raped
abortion FOR SOMEBODY ELSE…………


Simon has created this site to help people and let people express their views yet people are quick to turn around and begin slating hiom, although they are using his site and his system that he created!

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    21.30, 28/02/2007

It’s a while since I’ve checked into this thread!

jess – Thanks for your contribution! I’m glad you found this page from the other one, I think your views really add to the discussion.

Knight… – I think you’re right, we have rather diametrically opposed views on this issue, and neither of us is going to convince the other any time soon. But I do have to point out that my views do not reflect any personal circumstance or experience, nor reflect any personal guilt, so I’m unsure as to why you say I make the decision ‘for my own concious’, or why accepting the truth would be particularly hard for me. But thank you for your continued considered opinions.

Comment from Knight of Christ

    19.13, 02/03/2007

Dear Simon,

Sorry I was under the impression from reading previous comments from various people on this page that you had personal experience of paticipating in Abortion activities in some fashion. If this proposition is incorrect then forgive me for my presumption! However to publically state (this is a public website) that abortion is aceptable in certain cases is a view that could influence impressionable people. This for me is something detrimental. I believe abortion is wrong and should not be advocated as some thing positive or a viable option even in the case of rape (Jess, please read my previous statement on this issue).

I am not part of the UK Life league. I am just a concerned Christian and citizen that believes abortion is fundementally wrong on many levels previously discussed. Jess you sound like a angry lady who is not at peace. If you have issues with the UK Life league why don’t you contact them. I am sure on their website etc. they must have contact details.

Jess: the reason why condoms are seen as being immoral for many christians is the following: The sexual act is a sacred act that unites a man and his wife with the creator God in a unitative act. When the husband and wife make love they become one fllesh joined by the creative love of the creator. The sexual act is powerful in that it brings pleasure to the man and the women and conceives children. The use of condoms blocks one of the fundemental purposes of the sexual act that being the conceiving of children. The condom teaches the message of I have come to make war not love. It teaches this message as the condom is a defensive barrier that protects the woman from becoming pregnant. I want to make love to you but first let me put my protective barrier in place. This the message the condom carries. Condoms degarde women especially as it gives licence to use women by enjoying the pleasures of sex without permanent commitment. A person who supports contraception for the sake of womans rights destroys with one hand what they are trying to build up with one the other. The sexual act cries for permanence. Because from one martial embrace a child can be created. This act cries for permanence. By its very act of being, that child is saying, “Im permanent, so you two should be as well”

Often the couple knows that they are not ready for what the act says (e.g one night stands etc.), so they do everything in their power to deny the natural process of life-giving love. Couples regardless if it be for one night or for years treat pregnancy as adisease that one must be protected against instead of a gift to receive with joy. The condom is detrimental to our society as it teaches the people especially the young to have as much sex as you want without any consequences. The problem is when a society has become predisposed to sexual licentious behaviour without consequences then the fabric of society that being the family becomes warped. The condom encourages the sexual act of have fun, be safe. Yet ironically it predisposes the human persons psych to be conditioned like a dog to only see sex as a means of pleasure. The aspect of commitment and love becomes watered down and withers with the prospect of sexual pleasure in abondonmant without physical consequences. The condom teaches the human being to become like a dog to be governed by ones senses. Now when the member of societ decides they do want to settle down and form a lasting commitment with another person it becomes very difficult. Through tools such as the condom the member of society has developed and become predisposed towards pleasure seeking. It is now hard because of the behavioural lessons they have conditioned in their psyche to remain faithful to one person or if so with great difficulty.

On another level the condom is also a cowaradly selfish tool that teaches a man and a woman that children should be avoided rather then children are a gift. It teaches a real man should be without children rather then a real man is open to life and not a culture of death. Look around in western society my friend and see this truth. We have pleasure driven societies and wonder why the family and hence society has so many problems. A society that encourages and promotes the use of the condom a tool that stops the natural consequences of the sexual act and encourages a promiscuous generation that lacks responsibilty and commitment.

Margaret Sanger herself, the founder of Planned Parenthood, opposed abortion for the very logical reason that abortion kills a child. However, once the easy accessibility of contraceptives made the sexual revolution possible, abortion on demand followed contraception as an even ruder assault on “the laws of nature” and, we might add, “of Gods nature .” (adapted from Brown 1998 – The Journal of Religion, culture and public life)

The Christian Cultural Journal (2007) argues The West has become accustomed to a selfish, hedonistic lifestyle that includes every form of fruitless, promiscuous, sexual satisfaction. This lifestyle demands a rigorous fidelity to contraception and if the contraception fails –abortion. These sins are mortally wounding to not only the men and women of the West but also threaten to annihilate nations and peoples. Our enemies need not invade –our enemy is within. We have lost our natural inclination to preserve the species through the suppression of our own God given fertility. God has permitted us our longings– sterility.

Just think of the words for contraception. Contraception means “against the beginning” — here against thebeginning of a new life. So a contracepting couple is participating in an act that is designed to bring about new life
and they are acting against that new life. Or they put their barrier methods in place — for “protection”: as if they were making war, not love. Or they use a spermicide — to kill the sperm. This is an act of love? Adapted from Smith, J (http://www.aodonline.org/aodonline-sqlimages/SHMS/Faculty/SmithJanet/Publications/HumanaeVitae/GenerationLater.pdf)

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    20.20, 05/03/2007

To clarify, as a medical student I’ve sat in and observed Abortion Clinics. I’ve seen what women go through, but only as an observer. I have no personal experience – I should probably have made that clearer 🙂

Comment from Dave

    13.20, 24/03/2007

To see the continuing stupid argumentation that pro-choice or cowardly people get into for the right to an abortion when deep down they know it is murder have a look at this video clip, once again notice the classice ad hominen attack on Christianity when the interviewer hasnt even mentioned it ! :


Comment from Dave

    13.37, 08/06/2007

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    15.09, 08/06/2007

Dave – I’m not actually sure whether that video was intended to prove my point or disprove it – but I know exactly which it did for me.

Comment from Lucy

    16.23, 15/06/2007

Your a very sick man Simon, if you are saying a video like that proves the point that one should be allowed the freedom to choose to murder a defenseless human being…..

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    16.28, 15/06/2007

I’m saying that it proves the point that the anti-choice movement like to use emotive scare tactics rather than rational arguments – the title and point of the post.

Comment from Sally Sullivan

    19.09, 21/06/2007

“anti-choice movement”….hmm, can I kill you Simon-is that a rational argument, since you imply that you are for choice, or does have choice have limits Simon? Simon I have to say that your arguments on this thread have been very weak, I have been following them and you have constantly made yourself look irrational! Simon I get the feeling that your stubborn, I think deep deep down, somewhere you know abortion is wrong, but like all human beings, we have a tendency not to admit we are wrong, and argue on irrespective. How is that video purely emotive scare tactics? Would you say the same of a holocast video, showing nazi concentration camps, to show the world that we must never again give into to this genocide? I think Simon its people like you who use emotive scare tactics claiming people who are against abortion are against choice, that is complete rubbish, we just accept that choice has limits, just in the same way I am sure that we would both be in agreement that child molestors are not free to molest little kids? Or I hope you believe this! Drop the ”anti-choice emotive scare tactics’ and enter in some real debate Simon! Or are you scared that once you drop the “anti-choice” moot, all your arguments will fall like a pack of cards?

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    19.37, 21/06/2007

Hi Sally,

Given that I’ve used “anti-choice” only once in this thread, I have no problem dropping it. I merely wanted to distinguish that movement from the pro-life movement – surely the pro-life movement would be in favour of abortion where in cases where continuation of the pregnancy risks both the mother and foetus’ life? Yet some of the people above are against this, so the best phrase I could come up with on the spot to distinguish them was ‘anti-choice’. If there’s something you’d prefer me to use, then I’d be happy to do so.

In respnose to your argument that showing graphic pictures of medical procedures is not emotive, then perhaps we should ask if you’d show someone who needed a limb amputation the operation in great detail? Perhaps you’d show videos of autopsies of close relatives to people, so that they can make an informed choice over whether they want their dead relative to undergo it? I think that’s insensitive and more emotive than informative: You clearly think differently.

To say that videos of the Holocaust would demonstrate to people that we should never again enter a similar period of genocide is, frankly, bonkers. The pictures of the Holocaust, whilst chilling, do not make a rational argument. If we ended up with a view that people of a particular religion should be killed, then showing explicit videos of the Holocaust would only prime people’s bloodlust – rational, reasoned argument would be the only way to combat it.

Of course I totally and utterly agree that choice has limits – we merely disagree as to where those limits lie. I am not arguing for unlimited abortion. Indeed, I do not think that the current interpretation of the law is adequate – people are getting abortion on demand, and that is not what the law allows. I think there are circumstances where abortion should be allowed, the ‘anti-choice’ movement doesn’t.

I’m far from scared by debate on this issue – indeed, I am intrigued and fascinated by it. My ideas are far from fixed – I’m ready to listen to the arguments and my opinions change as a result – indeed, my opinions have changed somewhat, as you’ll see from the four-year site archive, if you follow this argument as closely as you claim.

But they key point here is that I, as a doctor and as a person, am not going to inflict my views on anybody else. It’s just a shame that people with differing points of view can’t subscribe to the same philosophy.

Comment from Tim Collinson

    21.41, 22/06/2007

I can’t believe how virtriolic these anti-abortionists seem to someone who has a well considered point of view on abortion. It isn’t the same as mine, but SJ is reasonable and open to debate. The way these anti-abortionists are acting makes them look argumentative, silly and like the UK LL people at the top unwilling to enage in reasoned debate
S.J answers all their points and they answer none of his. People like this give pro-lifers a bad name.

Comment from Knight of Christ

    00.44, 23/06/2007

Dear Tim,

My dear fellow please do not make unjust assumptions or sweeping comments of puting every anti-abortionist under the same bracket. It is true that some anti-abortionists argue from only one point of view as it is equally true that some pro-choice people argue from one point of view. It is wrong to assume we all act and behave in the same way. I would like to point out to you Tim, that both Simon and I in the past have had some very good reasoned debates on the topic of Abortion. I have argued that abortion is an evil against the unborn child (or fetus for those who don’t understand this concept), the mother and an evil against society. I have argued this point of view not simply from im right your wrong approach. I have contended the evil of abortion from simple logic, philosopical, religious, Deaontological, Teleological, cultural, historical points, governmental among some points of view shared among the debates of the wrongs of abortion with Simon. I do not believe in these debates that Simon and I have ever come to base insults in these discussions. If I believe I was wrong i have apologised. For example, from a previous comment “Dear Simon,

Sorry I was under the impression from reading previous comments from various people on this page that you had personal experience of paticipating in Abortion activities in some fashion. If this proposition is incorrect then forgive me for my presumption!”.

Hence Tim do not judge my dear fellow. If you happen to believe abortion is wrong I do hope grace may fall upon you as it did upon John Newton who in his time believed that slavery was acceptable as did many of his intullectual reasoned contemporaries in that time period. However once he came to the realization of this great evil against life and society he wrote the words to “Amazing Grace”. “Amazing Grace” was written in the 18th century by John Newton. He was born in London and after a life which included being press-ganged into the navy, flogged and becoming a skipper of a boat plying the slave trade, was converted to religion and became a minister. He wrote many hymns and this one was propelled into the pop charts when a pipe band recorded the tune.

If you come to the realization that you are wrong maybe you will be the next John Newton brother.

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found;
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fear relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
We have already come.
‘Twas grace that brought us safe thus far,
And grace will lead us home.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

Peace be to Tim, Simon and all who debate on this forum. May amazing grace fall upon all of us to see the way the truth and the life.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    18.38, 23/06/2007

Well said, Knight. I read Tim’s comment to mean that he was anti-abortion himself, but it’s not really clear. If he is, though, then why does he merely complain about the standard of debate from some people on here, rather than try and engage in intelligent debate himself, as I believe you and I did, Knight.

If he’s only read the start of the thread and missed your posts, then he’d do well to start reading from here.

Comment from Stuart

    14.26, 08/07/2007

You’re a moron.

If you believe something is murder and is effecting millions of innocents [as the UK Life League does] then why would they want to ‘debate’ with an opinionated moron – any more than they should debate with some Communist bully boy.

Abortion IS murder.

It effects us as individuals, as families, as communities, as nations and as humans.

No debate needed.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    20.29, 08/07/2007

Stuart – Glad to see you don’t feel the need to stoop to petty insults.

Religion affects us as individuals, families, communities, nations, and humans.

Terrorists claim that it is a moral imperative to kill those who don’t believe in their perversion of Islam.

They believe no debate is needed.

Shall we let them carry on as they like?

Comment from Knight of Christ

    22.48, 08/07/2007


I agree with you that abortion is murder. For me it is the killing of a little defenceless child made in the image and likeness of God. But, unfortunately many people care little for a loving God – thats if they believe in God. So In my case I try to show why abortion is wrong from different angles and perspectives. Trust me brother calling people ‘morons’ is unlikely to help anyone despite your sense of injustice in this matter. Unfortunately for some people they just view the unborn child as a bunch of cells who are not a living being until they come out of the womb. I think it is quite scary how we as the human species are so willing and able to ‘destroy’ ‘kill’ or ‘terminate’ so many unborn children or for the political correct amongst us ‘fetus’. But I do believe it is important to tell people in a loving way that abortion is wrong. A perfect and tru love cast out all fear and comes with responsibility.

I have met women who have had abortions twenty years later. One woman cried in front of me telling that women should not have an abortion – that she lost her precious child. I guess until these women who have had these abortions themselves speak out about their terrible sufferings – maybe society will remain with its heart of stone silent.

God bless

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    00.52, 09/07/2007

Thanks for your comment, Knight.

Would you mind if I asked you a question? I ask this not to trip you up, or catch you out, or make a point – I am just genuinely interested in learning about your perfectly valid point of view. If you don’t want to answer it, then please don’t.

Imagine that a foetus comes about that is absolutely incompatible with life outside the womb – let’s say, for example, that it has malformed lungs that would prevent it from breathing (maybe an extreme form of acinar dysplasia that we could detect before birth) – yet it is able to live perfectly well and sentiently in utero. Should we give drugs to prevent the mother’s labour to prolong its life?

Presumably, eventually, the foetus would grow to such a size that it would also kill the mother – should this be allowed to extend the life of the foetus as far as possible?

I appreciate that this probably sounds like some sort of trick question, but it really isn’t, and please don’t think I’m going to come back with some clever response to your argument – I’m not.

Thank you.

Comment from Knight of Christ

    18.07, 10/07/2007

Dear Simon,

I appreciate that in cirtain circumstances it can be hard to ditinguish what is the correct action considering both the life of the mother and the unborn child being precious. The situation you described I would first point out is most likely very rare. But I think it would be best to show for you below the teachings of the Catholic Church below on this matter. This will help give you a clearer idea of the morality and rights and wrongs from a moral/religious perspective of the abortion ideology and help you draw your own conclusion rather then me impose a view point on you:

Catechism of the catholic church


2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, “if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.”82

2275 “One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”83

“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”84

“Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity”85 which are unique and unrepeatable.

72 Cf. CDF, DÚnum vitae I,1.
73 Jer 1:5; cf. Job10:8-12; PsÁ/I> 22:10-11.
74 Ps 139:15.
75 Didache 2,2:ÆCh 248,148; cf. Ep. Bárnabae 19,5:PG 2 777; Ad D 5,6:PG 2,1173; Tertullian, Apol.¹9:PL 1,319-320.
76 GS 51 § 3.
77 CIC, can. 1398.
78 CIC, can. 1314.
79 Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324. 80 CDF, Donum vitae III.
81 CDF, Donum vitae III. 8® CDF, Donum vitae I,2.
83 CDF, Donum vitae I,3.
84 CDF, Donum vitae I,5.
85 CDF, ùonum itae I,6.

Addressed by John Paul II
to the Bishops
Priests and Deacons
Men and Women Religious
Lay Faithful
and All People of Good Will

58. Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime”.54

But today, in many people’s consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behaviour and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is 5:20). Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as “interruption of pregnancy”, which tends to hide abortion’s true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.

The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears. The unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying him or her in the womb. And yet sometimes it is precisely the mother herself who makes the decision and asks for the child to be eliminated, and who then goes about having it done.

It is true that the decision to have an abortion is often tragic and painful for the mother, insofar as the decision to rid herself of the fruit of conception is not made for purely selfish reasons or out of convenience, but out of a desire to protect certain important values such as her own health or a decent standard of living for the other members of the family. Sometimes it is feared that the child to be born would live in such conditions that it would be better if the birth did not take place. Nevertheless, these reasons and others like them, however serious and tragic, can never justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.

59. As well as the mother, there are often other people too who decide upon the death of the child in the womb. In the first place, the father of the child may be to blame, not only when he di- rectly pressures the woman to have an abortion, but also when he indirectly encourages such a decision on her part by leaving her alone to face the problems of pregnancy: 55 in this way the family is thus mortally wounded and profaned in its nature as a community of love and in its vocation to be the “sanctuary of life”. Nor can one overlook the pressures which sometimes come from the wider family circle and from friends. Sometimes the woman is subjected to such strong pressure that she feels psychologically forced to have an abortion: certainly in this case moral responsibility lies particularly with those who have directly or indirectly obliged her to have an abortion. Doctors and nurses are also responsible, when they place at the service of death skills which were acquired for promoting life.

But responsibility likewise falls on the legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centres where abortions are performed. A general and no less serious responsibility lies with those who have encouraged the spread of an attitude of sexual permissiveness and a lack of esteem for motherhood, and with those who should have ensured—but did not—effective family and social policies in support of families, especially larger families and those with particular financial and educational needs. Finally, one cannot overlook the network of complicity which reaches out to include international institutions, foundations and associations which systematically campaign for the legalization and spread of abortion in the world. In this sense abortion goes beyond the responsibility of individuals and beyond the harm done to them, and takes on a distinctly social dimension. It is a most serious wound inflicted on society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society’s promoters and defenders. As I wrote in my Letter to Families, “we are facing an immense threat to life: not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself”.56 We are facing what can be called a “structure of sin” which opposes human life not yet born.

60. Some people try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, “from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and … modern genetic science offers clear confirmation. It has demonstrated that from the first instant there is established the programme of what this living being will be: a person, this individual person with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Right from fertilization the adventure of a human life begins, and each of its capacities requires time—a rather lengthy time—to find its place and to be in a position to act”.57 Even if the presence of a spiritual soul cannot be ascertained by empirical data, the results themselves of scientific research on the human embryo provide “a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?”.58

Furthermore, what is at stake is so important that, from the standpoint of moral obligation, the mere probability that a human person is involved would suffice to justify an absolutely clear prohibition of any intervention aimed at killing a human embryo. Precisely for this reason, over and above all scientific debates and those philosophical affirmations to which the Magisterium has not expressly committed itself, the Church has always taught and continues to teach that the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence, must be guaranteed that unconditional respect which is morally due to the human being in his or her totality and unity as body and spirit: “The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life”.59

61. The texts of Sacred Scripture never address the question of deliberate abortion and so do not directly and specifically condemn it. But they show such great respect for the human being in the mother’s womb that they require as a logical consequence that God’s commandment “You shall not kill” be extended to the unborn child as well.

Human life is sacred and inviolable at every moment of existence, including the initial phase which precedes birth. All human beings, from their mothers’ womb, belong to God who searches them and knows them, who forms them and knits them together with his own hands, who gazes on them when they are tiny shapeless embryos and already sees in them the adults of tomorrow whose days are numbered and whose vocation is even now written in the “book of life” (cf. Ps 139: 1, 13-16). There too, when they are still in their mothers’ womb—as many passages of the Bible bear witness60—they are the personal objects of God’s loving and fatherly providence.

Christian Tradition—as the Declaration issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith points out so well61—is clear and unanimous, from the beginning up to our own day, in describing abortion as a particularly grave moral disorder. From its first contacts with the Greco-Roman world, where abortion and infanticide were widely practised, the first Christian community, by its teaching and practice, radically opposed the customs rampant in that society, as is clearly shown by the Didache mentioned earlier.62 Among the Greek ecclesiastical writers, Athenagoras records that Christians consider as murderesses women who have recourse to abortifacient medicines, because children, even if they are still in their mother’s womb, “are already under the protection of Divine Providence”.63 Among the Latin authors, Tertullian affirms: “It is anticipated murder to prevent someone from being born; it makes little difference whether one kills a soul already born or puts it to death at birth. He who will one day be a man is a man already”.64

Throughout Christianity’s two thousand year history, this same doctrine has been constantly taught by the Fathers of the Church and by her Pastors and Doctors. Even scientific and philosophical discussions about the precise moment of the infusion of the spiritual soul have never given rise to any hesitation about the moral condemnation of abortion.

62. The more recent Papal Magisterium has vigorously reaffirmed this common doctrine. Pius XI in particular, in his Encyclical Casti Connubii, rejected the specious justifications of abortion.65 Pius XII excluded all direct abortion, i.e., every act tending directly to destroy human life in the womb “whether such destruction is intended as an end or only as a means to an end”.66 John XXIII reaffirmed that human life is sacred because “from its very beginning it directly involves God’s creative activity”.67 The Second Vatican Council, as mentioned earlier, sternly condemned abortion: “From the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes”.68

The Church’s canonical discipline, from the earliest centuries, has inflicted penal sanctions on those guilty of abortion. This practice, with more or less severe penalties, has been confirmed in various periods of history. The 1917 Code of Canon Law punished abortion with excommunication.69 The revised canonical legislation continues this tradition when it decrees that “a person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication”.70 The excommu- nication affects all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached, and thus includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed.71 By this reiterated sanction, the Church makes clear that abortion is a most serious and dangerous crime, thereby encouraging those who commit it to seek without delay the path of conversion. In the Church the purpose of the penalty of excommunication is to make an individual fully aware of the gravity of a certain sin and then to foster genuine conversion and repentance.

Given such unanimity in the doctrinal and disciplinary tradition of the Church, Paul VI was able to declare that this tradition is unchanged and unchangeable.72 Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops—who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine—I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.73

No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.

63. This evaluation of the morality of abortion is to be applied also to the recent forms of intervention on human embryos which, although carried out for purposes legitimate in themselves, inevitably involve the killing of those embryos. This is the case with experimentation on embryos, which is becoming increasingly widespread in the field of biomedical research and is legally permitted in some countries. Although “one must uphold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but rather are directed to its healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival”,74 it must nonetheless be stated that the use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person.75

This moral condemnation also regards procedures that exploit living human embryos and fetuses—sometimes specifically “produced” for this purpose by in vitro fertilization—either to be used as “biological material” or as providers of organs or tissue for transplants in the treatment of certain diseases. The killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act.

Special attention must be given to evaluating the morality of prenatal diagnostic techniques which enable the early detection of possible anomalies in the unborn child. In view of the complexity of these techniques, an accurate and systematic moral judgment is necessary. When they do not involve disproportionate risks for the child and the mother, and are meant to make possible early therapy or even to favour a serene and informed acceptance of the child not yet born, these techniques are morally licit. But since the possibilities of prenatal therapy are today still limited, it not infrequently happens that these techniques are used with a eugenic intention which accepts selective abortion in order to prevent the birth of children affected by various types of anomalies. Such an attitude is shameful and utterly reprehensible, since it presumes to measure the value of a human life only within the parameters of “normality” and physical well-being, thus opening the way to legitimizing infanticide and euthanasia as well.

And yet the courage and the serenity with which so many of our brothers and sisters suffering from serious disabilities lead their lives when they are shown acceptance and love bears eloquent witness to what gives authentic value to life, and makes it, even in difficult conditions, something precious for them and for others. The Church is close to those married couples who, with great anguish and suffering, willingly accept gravely handicapped children. She is also grateful to all those families which, through adoption, welcome children abandoned by their parents because of disabilities or illnesses.

“It is I who bring both death and life” (Dt 32:39): the tragedy of euthanasia

64. At the other end of life’s spectrum, men and women find themselves facing the mystery of death. Today, as a result of advances in medicine and in a cultural context frequently closed to the transcendent, the experience of dying is marked by new features. When the prevailing tendency is to value life only to the extent that it brings pleasure and well-being, suffering seems like an unbearable setback, something from which one must be freed at all costs. Death is considered “senseless” if it suddenly interrupts a life still open to a future of new and interesting experiences. But it becomes a “rightful liberation” once life is held to be no longer meaningful because it is filled with pain and inexorably doomed to even greater suffering.

Furthermore, when he denies or neglects his fundamental relationship to God, man thinks he is his own rule and measure, with the right to demand that society should guarantee him the ways and means of deciding what to do with his life in full and complete autonomy. It is especially people in the developed countries who act in this way: they feel encouraged to do so also by the constant progress of medicine and its ever more advanced techniques. By using highly sophisticated systems and equipment, science and medical practice today are able not only to attend to cases formerly considered untreatable and to reduce or eliminate pain, but also to sustain and prolong life even in situations of extreme frailty, to resuscitate artifi- cially patients whose basic biological functions have undergone sudden collapse, and to use special procedures to make organs available for transplanting.

58) CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Donum Vitae (22 February 1987), I, No. 1: AAS 80 (1988), 78-79.

59) Ibid., loc. cit., 79.

60)Hence the Prophet Jeremiah: “The word of the Lord came to me saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations”‘ (1:4-5). The Psalmist, for his part, addresses the Lord in these words: “Upon you I have leaned from my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb” (Ps 71:6; cf. Is 46:3; Job 10:8-12; Ps 22:10-11). So too the Evangelist Luke in the magnificent episode of the meeting of the two mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, and their two sons, John the Baptist and Jesus, still hidden in their mothers’ wombs (cf. 1:39-45) emphasizes how even before their birth the two little ones are able to communicate: the child recognizes the coming of the Child and leaps for joy.

61)Cf. Declaration on Procured Abortion (18 November 1974), No. 7: AAS 66 (1974), 740-747.

62)”You shall not kill a child by abortion nor shall you kill it once it is born”: V, 2: Patres Apostolici, ed. F.X. Funk, I, 17.

63)Apologia on behalf of the Christians, 35: PG 6, 969.

64)Apologeticum, IX, 8: CSEL 69, 24.

Simon, if you have the time further documents on abortion can be found from:


Also check out: http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm

For further documents on the churches moral views on life issues.

I hope some of these texts help you Simon understand some of the deeper moral issues surrounding abortion. Sorry if this answer is not a direct black and white answer. It is just that your question can not require a simple answer. I believe your question touches on a number of facets on the value of life and looks at if there is there is a weighting of some sort of who has preferance etc… Well I hope these documents answer your many concerns on this paticular matter.

Comment from Knight of Christ

    18.26, 10/07/2007

Dear Simon,

I would also point out that under modern technology that great miracles so to speak can be achieved that were never possible before say 50 or even 20 years ago. It may be possible in the case you described above to operate on the unborn childs malformed lungs so that it will survive without endangering the mother. Many modern medical possibilites are now available to safeguard both the unborn child/foetus. I would suspect again that ethical legitimate means to safeguard both lives are available with current technology.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    04.53, 12/07/2007

Knight, thank you very much for that – it’s actually more interesting than a direct answer could have been! As you rightly say, the situation I came up with may never actually happen in practice, it was just a hypothetical idea for me to better understand your point of view, but posting the whole Catechism probably serves that purpose better anyway.

As I’m sure you anticpated, this hasn’t changed my mind at all (and that’s not what it was about) – but I feel that being fully aware of the alternative argument is healthy – as in any part of life!

So thank you very much for helping me better understand your point of view!

Comment from josh

    13.03, 07/09/2007

being a christian, are you in favor of in vitro fertilization???????????

Comment from The ordinand

    19.55, 26/10/2007

“it is the killing of a little defenceless child made in the image and likeness of God” But that is not all it is.

How, as a Christian, do I reconcile the choice between two evils? Because, sometimes, continuing a pregnancy can have worse outcomes than not.

Over-emotional debate and gruesome pictures don’t help those people who are caught on the horms of this dilemma.

Comment from anon

    01.03, 29/10/2007

Whether label you are, I encourage everyone to go and see this movie, it explores this senstitive subject from both perspectives. I saw it on Friday, its great!


Comment from David

    11.07, 31/05/2009

Good for you Simon on taking on these idiots. I have been having a similar debate with ultra right wing pro-lifers in the USA (on a major Catholic web forum) and their response has been to ban me from their site. I was very polite, but firm. It seems that they cannot deal with intelligent questions and simply retreat into their pre-determined position. Abortion = murder, life begins at conception. Anyone who disagrees is wrong and must shut up. Nice people! I don’t think they will ever get very far but it distresses me that they will upset so many on the way by using the freedoms they so hate against the rest of us. I hope they go the way of the stupid animal rights types, who they closely resemble in tone and style, and end up getting long spells at Her Majesties pleasure. Email me privately if you wish to.

Comment from Danilo Koscielak

    04.52, 14/06/2010

This was a Fantastic blog post, I will save this in my Clipmarks account. Have a good day.

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