abortion pro-life
Media

Abortion: people are becoming more pro-life – despite the liberal media hegemony

When Jacob Rees-Mogg was interviewed by Piers Morgan and asked for his views on abortion, he was condemned, stigmatised, mocked and reviled for opposing it in all circumstances – even when women have been victims of rape or incest. He was called ‘bigot‘, ‘misogynist‘, ‘backwards‘… “extremely rightwing and reactionary“… “He belongs in the 18th century“…

Except according to an ICM survey for the BBC, he belongs foursquare in the 21st century, because only 46% of people support abortion in cases of rape, and just 41% in cases of incest:

Not that the BBC told you that: they suppressed ‘inconvenient’ statistics from their programme ‘Abortion on Trial‘ because it’s important for them not so much to convey facts impartially, as to inculcate the necessity for liberalising abortion laws further while persuading the public that the BBC are mere facilitators of an impartial debate.

Fatima Salaria is the BBC new head of Religion & Ethics (tweets protected – no response to ‘follow’ request in over six months), and according to the Mail she promised an impartial programme. Yet “No experts were filmed giving alternative viewpoints…”

“It is completely wrong to suggest that the BBC suppressed the results of the poll,” protested a spokesperson. “They were released to the press prior to transmission, were referred to throughout the programme and have been published in full on the ICM website.”

Which may be true, but the medium is the message: in a visual age where films are truth and the telly is a guru, people aren’t much bothered by academic footnotes. The point is that ‘Abortion on Trial’ failed even to mention that less than half of respondents to the ICM poll favour abortion in cases of rape.

So the bigoted, misogynistic, backwards, right-wing, reactionary, 18th-century Jacob Reees-Mogg is actually with the majority on this. But don’t expect the left-liberal media to report that.

Perhaps more significantly, only 13% support abortion for Down’s Syndrome:

And perhaps even more significantly, the proportion of Roman Catholics who advocate abortion in certain circumstances is not significantly different from the proportion of Protestants, which will come as rather a shock to a great many. Is that a result of the lack of episcopal leadership on the issue over generations, or the ubiquity of Professor Tina Beattie?

Either way, the takeaway fact from these stats which needs trumpeting and blogging to the four corners of the United Kingdom is that the ‘pro-choice majority’ which the mainstream media keep banging on about simply doesn’t exist.

But don’t expect the BBC to tell you that.

This Friday (27th October) marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act 1967. Among commemorative events, the Life charity will be holding a minute’s silence at 11.05am – the precise time at which the Act received Assent – to remember the 8.8 million souls lost to abortion since that day. There will be a large Abort67 display in Parliament Square, so those who wish to reflect will be gathering in Old Palace Yard by the statue of King George V at 10:30. Lord Alton will be among speakers. All are welcome.

  • Yet there is currently a move underway to make abortion (in true Orwellian style) part of the official interpretation of the UN’s right to life. Sign the petition here: https://eclj.org/abortion/un/pour-la-protection-de-toute-vie-humaine

  • Albert

    The BBC acts like this because they get away with it. It should be made clear that if they don’t start being more impartial they will lose the licence fee.

    It’s Tina Beattie, BTW

    • Dominic Stockford

      It is not merely a question of being ‘impartial’ – this failure is a failure to tell the truth.

      • Manfarang

        What is truth?

        • Anton

          …said jesting Manfarang, and would not stay for an answer.

          • Manfarang

            Axel Stern was a great guy.

        • Dominic Stockford

          The truth is the information discovered in the survey, which as Albert rightly pointed out to me, gives us some reason for hope.

    • Anton

      They should lose it anyway. Why should I pay the license fee to watch TV to one producer/broadcaster of TV programmes out of dozens?

      • Manfarang

        Because where a TV station is funded by advertisers it becomes commercialized i.e. no quality.

        • Anton

          Nonsense. Brideshead Revisited was made as a first-rate series by Granada TV nearly 40 years ago, to name one of many. What you have to do is move between channels to get quality. It is nowadays normal to do that anyway.

          Tell me, in a land where there is no TV license charge or broadcaster in receipt of it via the State, but where there are already multiple TV channels, do you think that the State should create such a privileged broadcaster?

          • Manfarang

            I live in a land where there is no TV license charge and for many years I did not own a TV because the local stations were so awful.
            In recent years the state owned Thai PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) set up in 2008 provides a more impartial balanced news service.

          • Anton

            Are they free to criticise the government and king?

          • Manfarang

            That depends on the criticism. The PM often gets annoyed with journalists.

          • Jonathan

            BBC non commercial ‘quality’? What planet are some people on? Gameshows, reality tv, soaps, and repeats. Take the example of the BBC flagship BBC1 schedule for today – “Rip Off Britain”, “Homes Under The Hammer”, “A Matter Of Life and Debt”, “Caught Red Handed”, “Bargain Hunt”, “Doctors”, “Impossible”, “Escape To The Country”, “Money For Nothing”, “Antiques Road Trip”, “Pointless”, “The One Show”, “Eastenders”, “Holby City”, “Our Girl”, “Valley Cops”, “Double Mastectomy”. Shocking! Why are we paying a compulsory poll tax for that?

          • Albert

            Quite. And they couldn’t even come up with high quality TV shows like Tattoo Fixers.

          • Manfarang

            The planet where BBC World News is broadcast, Remember it a globalized world these days. If you don’t like those shows try watching Korean soaps.

          • Jonathan

            Perhaps you think this was a one off, it wasn’t, here was yesterday’s schedule: “Rip Off Britain”, “Homes Under The Hammer”, “A Matter Of Life and Debt”, “Caught Red Handed”, “Bargain Hunt”, “Doctors”, “Impossible”, “Escape To The Country”, “Money For Nothing”, “Antiques Road Trip”, “Pointless”, “The One Show”, “Inside Out”, “Eastenders”, “Panorama”, “Mrs Brown’s Boys”, “Have I Got More News For You”, “The Graham Norton Show”.

          • Manfarang

            Panorama with Richard Dimbleby. Great show. In fact I still like to watch it as it is on BBC World News..

          • Jonathan

            Richard Dimbleby died in 1965.

          • Manfarang

            And still fondly remembered. Those were the days.

          • Jonathan

            Yet you “still like to watch it as it is on BBC World News”. I knew they liked repeats but that old…

          • Manfarang

            New fellas and they have changed the music.

          • Anton

            Winston Churchill’s funeral ! Dimbleby was the commentator for all four hours of it. Black and white, of course, and it was at least partly filmed in colour as YouTube reveals.

          • magnolia

            Those should all be mega-cheap programmes to make, so i suspect the money is going on vastly inflated salaries for presenters of this mediocre fare. It’s like being invited to a dinner party of bread and soup (subsistence theme as per programmes), hosted by a rather camp and mannered man in a £5k suit.

          • Jonathan

            And here is tomorrow’s, you will notice some common themes by now: “Rip Off Britain”, “Homes Under The Hammer”, “A Matter Of Life and Debt”, “Caught Red Handed”, “Bargain Hunt”, “Doctors”, “Impossible”, “Escape To The Country”, “Money For Nothing”, “Antiques Road Trip”, “Pointless”, “The One Show”, “Panorama”, “Eat Well For Less?”, “The Apprentice”, “Question Of Sport”, “The Ganges With Sue Perkins”. If you were having to put up with this we would soon see your opinion change.

          • Manfarang

            I am having to put up with a Korean soap at the moment which my Mrs. is watching

          • Jonathan

            I agree personally I wouldn’t want to watch that either, but you did not have to pay a compulsory poll tax (aka licence fee) in order to do so, we do, even if we don’t watch it. We have to pay even if we never watch or listen to the BBC. What distinguishes their programming that I must pay it, but not so for Sky, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, commercial radio…

          • Hi

            Does it have Kim Jong-un as the star?

          • Manfarang

            No. It is called Hospital Ship (they only have civilian hospital ships in South Korea not in the north)

          • Hi

            You left out Strictly , Dr Who, Gardeners’ World and country file. All well cool and fab shows as are pointless, Mrs Brown’s boy’s and the one show. As was the great British bake off. Shed of the year is cool, but that is channel 4.

          • Manfarang

            I went off Dr. Who a few years ago. The first show was great. Anyway my interest might be reignited.

          • Jonathan

            I left them out only because they aren’t on the schedule in these three days yesterday, today and tomorrow (I listed everything, well apart from news which of course is simulcast on news 24). It doesn’t mean I exempt them from the same criticism, in fact if anything the programmes you refer to are even more so, I fully agree.

          • Hi

            Hey , don’t you talk bad about Dr Who or Monty Don as both are brilliant.

          • Jonathan

            But why do most of those shows have to be on tax paid state television, couldn’t they be on commercial television. Why shouldn’t Strictly be on ITV or Gardeners World on channel 4?

          • Hi

            To answer this I think I’d say that we should go back to the BBC charter which was to educate in an impartial way (e.g. even Dr who was supposed to do that) . The problem is that the BBC has become obsessed with commercialisation and competition with private broadcasting. In short I think it should be reformed . And I’d include the way it is funded in that review.

            Maybe if the British public pay for it , there could be an element of democracy as to what the public want? But then how do you appease everyone?

          • Anton

            Nothing is stopping those who wish to support the BBC from sending it a cheque.

          • Jonathan

            BBC News has its own dedicated channel, it is a small fraction of BBC output/costs. And round the planet non domestically the BBC World Service carries advertising (albeit limited), and it profits from BBC Worldwide, so much for not being commercial, I’m a bit surprised you have missed that.

          • Manfarang

            BBC World News has a few adverts but not too many.

          • Chefofsinners

            Never mind that. The commercial broadcasters all run their adverts at the same time. This is a cartel and is completely illegal.

      • Albert

        Yes, this is probably true. Add to the fact that they don’t do what we pay them to do and they clearly have no right to the compulsory fee.

  • Manfarang

    Abortion is illegal in Thailand. Of course everything is forbidden, everything is permitted there.

  • Hi

    It’s time for *Moggmentum*!

  • Dominic Stockford

    We had SPUC Evangelicals come to our Church on their national tour. I was shocked at how few places they have actually been invited to this year, not even 100 yet. I was also not surprised that the poster advertising the visit on our church fence was torn down, then the next copy was torn down, then the third copy was torn down on the very day of the visit and talks. We had only two visitors from outside our congregation, despite there not being another such talk in our area.

    I surmise that people may be anti-abortion, but they are terrified of the antics of those who are pro-abortion – after all, if they’ll kill an unborn and defenceless child, there’s no telling what they’ll do to a middle-aged or elderly person who dares think differently to you. And I have to sympathise – especially given the antics of the MP Rupa Huq in Ealing.

    • Albert

      But it is at least greatly encouraging that, despite all the propaganda, people are thinking more morally on this issue.

      • Dominic Stockford

        That much is true. You are right.

  • Biased Bolshevik Corporation.

    • Albert

      Mmm…the letters used to stand for something else.

      • Manfarang

        Burma Broadcasting Corporation.

        • Albert

          Errr…no.

          • Manfarang

            Yes indeed I remember walking past it in Yangon (as Rangoon is called these days).

    • Chefofsinners

      Baby Butchering Connivers?

  • Maalaistollo

    It would be interesting to know the views on abortion of the average League Against Cruel Sports/animal rights enthusiast. At least the fox is given a sporting chance…..

    • Albert

      Absolutely. The inconsistency of pro-abortionists knows almost no bounds. For example, we are often told that we must preserve the planet for the sake of children yet conceived. But given that we can kill children that have been conceived, it is hard to see why those yet unconceived can have any moral purchase over us.

    • Anton

      And the views on abortion of the average vegetarian.

      • Manfarang

        Is there an average vegetarian?

        • Anton

          I remember a dry comment from Vishal Mangalwadi, an Indian Christian who has been jailed more than once for challenging the caste system, to the effect that technology was good; it means that children do don’t fit the bill need no longer be exposed at birth, now they can just be aborted…

          • Manfarang

            In Hinduism, abortion is not a problem of women’s freedom, or social or political ideology because the fetus that is aborted can be of any gender. Essentially, it is a moral and spiritual problem, because it directly negates not only the principles of creation and preservation of life and existence, but also God’s eternal duty to ensure the order and regularity of the worlds. An abortion is a direct attack on Prakriti (Nature) or Mother Goddess who is responsible for the unfolding of life and evolution of forms upon earth according to the karma of beings and the will of God.

          • Anton

            20-week abortion is legal in Hindu India.

          • Manfarang

            Secularism in India means equal treatment of all religions by the state. With the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976, the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation.

          • Anton

            Why then do some Christians suffer persecution there for their faith?

          • Manfarang

            Indian secularism is a bit different from western secularism. I don’t think there are many ‘secular’ people as such in India.

          • Anton

            Thank you for your full and frank reply to my question.

        • David

          Ahh trick question !

          • Manfarang

            About 2.6% of the UK population is vegetarian, so I doubt whether the pro-abortion lobby is solidly vegetarian. Many vegetarians are ethical vegetarians -the obvious “pro-life” choice is vegetarianism.

          • David

            “the obvious “pro-life” choice is vegetarianism”

            Are you equating human life with animal life ? That must be the ultimate in moral relativism.

          • Manfarang

            “The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.”

          • Anton

            A deft swap-round of subject from whether vegetarians are pro-abortion!

          • IanCad

            I was under the impression the total was more than double your figure Manny. Menu selections and market stocking would indicate the higher number.

          • Manfarang

            I would exclude those who eat fish and still call themselves vegetarian. Also some give up after a while.

          • Anton

            Sensible!

        • Murti Bing

          Unless it’s a girl. They’re just an inconvenience.

  • not a machine

    Abortion as subject has many angles and before we forget childbirth still has risk for both baby and mother we never hear much about the old situation and the doctrine of then, also what is to be made of the morning after pill. Posing the question around the gore of dead or dying feotous makes a point, and we all then ponder who may be murderer or locate the beginning of the occurance of sin. Sin grieves and obscures God and that is a painful prospect to consider in what such future may unfold emotionally. I don’t know why or how our views change, sin can be changed, and that is the great work of christ.

    • Terry Mushroom

      Morning after pill. Isn’t there a chain of chemist shops that will not allow pharmacists to exercise their conscience about dispensing abortificants?

      • Anton

        Not everybody considers the morning-after pill as morally equivalent to at-term abortion ie murder. Let us stick to the abortion of recognisably human foetuses as the subject.

        • Albert

          Obviously it’s the same thing. Let’s stick to the issue and not allow ourselves to weakened by weak consciences, who allow wrong doing up to a certain point.

        • Terry Mushroom

          While this somebody does not use the word “murder”, I believe it is the moral equivelant.

          And why the word “foetus”? Why not “baby”? As in, “Smoking will damage your baby.” Or, “I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child,” in a search for words to a mother who has had a miscarriage.

          • Anton

            I happen to be a member of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child. I am simply pleading that we retain unanimity by sticking to what we all agree on.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Good! I am too. I take your point about unanimity.

          • Using your definition, if every woman who didn’t want a child took the morning after pill after sex, technically there would be no abortions – but life in the womb would still be killed.

          • Anton

            Read what Terry had the sense to reply.

          • Jack has. He doesn’t agree in compromising truth for political expediency. It’s one thing to argue that abortion needs to be rolled back and in a democracy efforts should be focussed where success is more likely. However, the principle that life starts from the moment of conception is one that cannot be conceded. Once you do, you frame the discussion around when it is acceptable to kill innocent human life in the womb. It’s a cooperation with evil.

          • Anton

            I happen to be a member of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child. I am simply pleading that we retain unanimity by sticking to what we all agree on.

        • Human life starts at conception.

        • James60498 .

          I understand your explanation further down as to why you want to stick to something that you regard as more winnable. Whilst I would prefer not to, I recognise that we would be lot better off if we worked together on what we agree on.

          Having said that, a question for you. When would you say that there is a “recognisably human foetus”?

          • Anton

            I was trying to keep this thread on to what we can all agree on. But as you ask, I have no problem with the morning-after pill in regard to its effect on the fertilised ovum. Cell differentiation has not begun. Whether this pill should be administered to women who consented to sex (ie, not rape victims) is a further moral debate. Please see my reply to Nightblogger some way above.

          • JuanFisher

            “Cell differentiation has not begun.”

            Wrong. The initial cell is a person.

      • David

        Christian Concern recently won an important legal victory on that subject. Pharmacists are now allowed to follow their Christian consciences, and decline to dispense abortificants, without fear of being struck off the register. CC is a first rate legal campaigning and legal advocacy organisation, and I commend it to all Christians on this website.

      • not a machine

        Well that is the logical outcome

  • Hi

    Regarding the BBC biases , I’ve encountered people from the left who think it is quite a bastion of conservatives, ironically. The left were busily attacking Laura Kuenssberg as being biased against Jeremy Corbyn, often along with crude references to her alleged Jewishness and sex so much so the petition to sack her had to be pulled down. Didn’t the BBC have to hire bodyguards for her when at Labour’s conference ?

    • Manfarang

      One man’s truth is another man’s bias.

      • Hi

        That doesn’t justify far left types acting like Bolshevik revolutionaries toward people they disagree with .

        • Manfarang

          Paper tigers.

    • James60498 .

      I think that’s a mixture of two things.

      Firstly it is a case of the left complaining so that they can pretend that they have something to complain about. They have always done that.

      But there is another point. I don’t think that the BBC is necessarily very left economically.

      They loved Blair but also they were responsible for getting Cameron elected as Tory leader. Although they criticised him in Government it wasn’t anywhere near as much as they could have done.

      The BBC is socially very left definitely.
      But economically they are more Blair/ Cameron than Corbyn. After all, what’s a Corbyn government going to do to their taxes and pensions?

      • Hi

        I shall go out on a limb and sort of agree : the BBC is basically and broadly social and economic liberal. Hence it reflects the current zietgiest of that worldview in respect of gays, abortion, Europe , Israel and domestic politics. A bit like the c of e leadership?

    • David

      Same here Hannah. One lifetime, Guardain reading leftie I know looked aghast at me when I stated that the BBC was highly biased in favour of the left. He said “I am surprised to hear you say that as I thought it was always right leaning in its views”. So there you are. I guess it all depends upon your standpoint.

    • dannybhoy

      Anyone remember Rabbi Lionel Blue? He used to be a regular on radio, but you hear very few Jewish religious voices nowadays. In fact I remember when this country was on the whole positive (but not uncritically) towards Israel. Times have changed to the point where Israel and the UK Jewish community are treated with coolness by the media.

  • the proportion of Roman Catholics who advocate abortion in certain circumstances is not significantly different from the proportion of Protestants

    In the United States, Pew found that the most significant difference was between Evangelical and Mainline Protestants, with Catholics roughly halfway between the two. 33 per cent of Evangelicals said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a belief shared by 60 per cent of Mainline Protestants and 48 per cent of Catholics. In contrast to ICM, Pew presents its findings in a beautifully clear graphic.

  • Coniston

    Iceland declared that it had ‘eliminated’ Down’ Syndrome. Someone on the internet refuted this – Iceland had in fact merely killed all those with the condition.
    If you think about it, all disease or disability could be ‘eliminated’ in this way – Blindness, multiple sclerosis, etc.

    • Chefofsinners

      “Don’t believe all the quotes you read on the internet” – Abraham Lincoln.

      • layreader

        Possibly fake news, but music to the ears of early champagne-swilling socialists. Eugenics was the answer to genetic disease, and Marie Stopes only opened family planning clinics so that the feckless could avoid giving birth to more children than they could afford. The upper classes, like themselves, fairly obviously didn’t need contraception.
        Of such things were Hitler’s socialist eugenic experiments born – the disposal of the socially inconvenient. Left-wing enthusiasm for abortion is nothing new.

  • Chefofsinners

    In the majority? It must be time for me to change my views.
    And will someone tell that baby in the photo to stop sucking its thumb? Such a nasty, childish habit.

  • Nightblogger

    The first question is rather imprecise. What exactly does it mean to ask “would you support a woman having an abortion” in this circumstance? I wouldn’t agree with many of those circumstances being automatically good grounds for an abortion but neither would I refuse the right of the woman to make her own choice within the law. I suspect that many people are both ‘anti-abortion’ (even that hardly anyone is really ‘pro-abortion’) AND that they are both ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ in the sense that they believe only the woman who is pregnant can decide whether to have an abortion. Even Saint Mog didn’t go so far as to say that a raped woman should be denied an abortion.

    The second question is better but again might have been more precise if it had asked “for which of these conditions should an abortion be denied?”

    This whole debate is necessarily polarized by some people just like the anti-war movements. Again, most people are anti-war even when they reluctantly agree that going to war is a necessary evil.

    • Albert

      You make an interesting point, but it really boils down to people’s inconsistency. Why would you not support abortion? Because it is killing. Would you permit this killing? Yes. It doesn’t seem very intelligent.

      • Nightblogger

        Because in some situations killing is Intelligently judged to be the ‘lesser or evils’. I’m not saying I always agree but this is generally accepted by society in both war and in abortion.

        • Albert

          It is never moral to do evil, even if one does it for a good reason. Thus the lesser of two evils, if it means doing an evil, is always wrong. In the case where a defenceless human life is taken, it is mostly certainly gravely wicked. All evil acts aim at some good, but that does not make them right. On the contrary, an evil act is always an act in which evil is done that good may come of it.

          • Nightblogger

            Of course not to do something may also have a morality. Hence killing in a Just War may well still be immoral but not acting might be even more immoral. I agree this argument doesn’t work so well about abortion and, as I have said, generally I am against it – but can’t bring myself to impose my view on those who must wrestle themselves with the rights and wrongs of ending a particular pregnancy. Rees-Mog seems to be in the same place, believing that abortion is wrong but allowing that women themselves must remain free to make their own decisions within the law we have. Where we probably differ is that I imagine he might campaign to radically change the law if an opportunity arose. Whilst I might reduce the time limits a little I am generally content that the law is in the right place. I’d prefer to reduce abortion by better education and more freely available contraception.

          • Albert

            Of course not to do something may also have a morality. Hence killing in a Just War may well still be immoral but not acting might be even more immoral.

            A just killing in a just war is necessarily not immoral, but abortion can never be this.

            I have said, generally I am against it – but can’t bring myself to impose my view on those who must wrestle themselves with the rights and wrongs of ending a particular pregnancy.

            But if killing an unborn child is wrong, it surely makes no sense to say that a woman has the right to do it. That’s just incoherent, because once the right to life is sacrificed to another good (e.g. autonomy), then autonomy also collapses since right to autonomy rests on the right to life (since someone who is dead cannot be autonomous).

            Rees-Mog seems to be in the same place, believing that abortion is wrong but allowing that women themselves must remain free to make their own decisions within the law we have.

            Where has he said this?

            I’d prefer to reduce abortion by better education and more freely available contraception.

            Really? Unwanted pregnancies remain far higher today than they did before the introduction of the pill and sex education.

          • Nightblogger

            Autonomy? Well partly, yes – but it’s also democracy. If society changes its view on the acceptability of abortion then the law could be changed democratically.

            You ask where has RM acknowledged the rights of women to chose abortion under the law?

            He was asked by Piers Morgan: “Say you were prime minister: If a
            woman is raped by a family member, you would say she had no right to
            have that baby aborted?”

            Rees-Mogg answered: “She would have a right under UK law. That law is
            not going to change but my personal opinion is life begins at the point
            of conception.”

            You also claim: “Unwanted pregnancies remain far higher today than they did before the introduction of the pill and sex education.”

            In fact unwanted pregnancies in the UK are declining steeply. Rates of teenage pregnancy in the UK have halved in the past two decades and are now at their lowest levels since record-keeping began in the late 1960s.

            https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/conceptionandfertilityrates/bulletins/conceptionstatistics/2014

          • Albert

            Well partly, yes – but it’s also democracy. If society changes its view on the acceptability of abortion then the law could be changed democratically.

            That’s more of a problem than it might appear. Remember that Hitler got to power democratically. In the end, no law can be just, however enacted, which violates the right to life. This is what the Nuremberg trials understood.

            Rees-Mogg answered: “She would have a right under UK law. That law is not going to change but my personal opinion is life begins at the point of conception.”

            But that wasn’t your claim. Your claim was

            believing that abortion is wrong but allowing that women themselves must remain free to make their own decisions within the law we have.

            He isn’t saying that. He is perhaps saying nothing more than that he is realistic enough to see that he would not be able to make abortion illegal, even if he were PM. That’s a statement (or judgement, right in my view) of fact, not a moral opinion.

            In fact unwanted pregnancies in the UK are declining steeply. Rates of teenage pregnancy in the UK have halved in the past two decades and are now at their lowest levels since record-keeping began in the late 1960s.

            But that isn’t relevant to my claim. My claim was Unwanted pregnancies remain far higher today than they did before the introduction of the pill and sex education.

            Now (and I haven’t checked these figures for a while, so I am going on memory), if you look at teenaged pregnancies from the 1950s (recall that the pill was introduced in the early 1960s) they are far lower than in the late 1960s you are talking about. Indeed, the steep rise occurs just after the introduction of the pill. And this is despite the fact that, in the 1950s, a large proportion of teenaged pregnancies were planned – many women married in their teens and had started families then. So if you simply measure the figures from 1969, as your evidence does, you start too late, because the dramatic increase in unwanted pregnancy has already occurred as a result of artificial contraception.

            Thus artificial contraception is part of the problem of unwanted pregnancies, because it unnaturally gives the impression of separating sex from procreation. This is artificial because of the real-world limited effectiveness of contraception, and because it drives riskier sex resulting in unwanted pregnancies.

            Incidentally, something similar has to be said about the Western colonial approach to AIDS in Africa:

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/27/AR2009032702825.html

            The problem is, in both cases, that the West tends to view human problems as technological ones. Technologically, these things do reduce conception and risk of STIs, when people engage in sex. But since the problem is human, the human effect is to make people behave in riskier ways, with painful consequences.

          • Nightblogger

            I’m sure we’ll continue to disagree about which ‘right to life’ in conflicting circumstances where ‘quality of life’ is also an issue should trump the others, so perhaps we don’t go there.

            Honestly, with JRM must you argue over a single word? Perhaps I might have said ‘will’ not ‘must’ – but I could argue that the original word was still correct if JRM believes in democracy and the rule of law, even when imperfect. Unless, of course it’s an issue that ought to inspire guerilla warfare as some in the US appear to believe.

            As for the figures. Not much point arguing about figures which don’t exist in any comparable form. We’ve no idea how many unwanted pregnancies ended in illegal abortions before the law was changed. Your cynicism was directed over my suggestion that more education and the availability of contraception will help drive down the abortion figures. The evidence clearly suggests that this is indeed the case – though something else is going on as well. Social Media is driving a belief in young people that unwanted and single pregnancy isn’t particularly ‘cool’ so young people are making sensible decisions about their sexual activity (and it’s not to stop having sex).

            I doubt that anything is going to reverse the social changes we’ve seen since the 1960s, certainly not trying to reintroduce some kind of ‘traditional morality’ which never really existed anyway. My grandad’s adage of ‘if you can’t be good, be careful’ makes much more sense when it comes to sexual behaviour – and not just when talking about the young.

          • Albert

            I’m sure we’ll continue to disagree about which ‘right to life’ in conflicting circumstances where ‘quality of life’ is also an issue should trump the others, so perhaps we don’t go there.

            I cannot see how, for a Christian, quality of life can trump right to life. Indeed, it is difficult to see how it can anyway, since quality of life requires life in the first place, thus quality of life cannot be defended without right to life. But in abortion the matter is even more confused, since one places the quality of life of the mother over the right to life of the child. That makes no sense at all, there is no reason why the child should be forced to give up their right to life for the quality of life of the mother. Everything is wrong with that.

            Honestly, with JRM must you argue over a single word? Perhaps I might have said ‘will’ not ‘must’ – but I could argue that the original word was still correct if JRM believes in democracy and the rule of law, even when imperfect. Unless, of course it’s an issue that ought to inspire guerilla warfare as some in the US appear to believe.

            This really is racing ahead. Firstly, you can call it arguing over a single word, but the meaning is entirely different. You had appealed to JRM and he did not support your position. Single words make all the difference. Consider these sentences:

            1. Abortion is wrong
            2. Abortion is not wrong

            It would be a curious argument to say these are basically the same provided one will not argue over a single word.

            Secondly, I can believe a law is unjust without resorting to violence to fix it. In this case it would make no sense at all to do so, since it could not possible pass any test for just use of violence.

            We’ve no idea how many unwanted pregnancies ended in illegal abortions before the law was changed.

            This also is rushing ahead. What the figures show is a measurably rise in teenaged pregnancies after the introduction of the pill but before the introduction of abortion. Thus the only thing that changes is the pill.

            Your cynicism was directed over my suggestion that more education and the availability of contraception will help drive down the abortion figures.

            It’s not cynicism, it’s evidence. When the pill was introduced, unwanted pregnancies went up. Now from that position, we may be able to reduce unwanted pregnancies with education, but it does not seem evidential that we will reduce them to their earlier position, until we reestablish the link between sex and procreation, which we cannot do while we educate our children to separate them, through objectively disordered and immoral contraceptive practices.

            I doubt that anything is going to reverse the social changes we’ve seen since the 1960s

            Unlikely that any policy will manage that, but culture is changed by more than policy.

            ‘if you can’t be good, be careful’

            But whether that adage works here is the point in question. After all, being good and being careful are the same thing in this kind of natural law question, and the evidence suggests they are the same thing. If we encourage children to be careful if they can’t be good, then the evidence is they will end up in more trouble than before which can hardly be called being careful.

          • Nightblogger

            You asked where RM had allowed that women would retain the choice about abortion under the law:

            Rees-Mogg was asked by Piers Morgan: “Say you were prime minister: If a

            woman is raped by a family member, you would say she had no right to
            have that baby aborted?”

            Rees-Mogg answered: “She would have a right under UK law. That law is
            not going to change but my personal opinion is life begins at the point
            of conception.

            I don’t think it’s only about autonomy but also about democracy. If views on abortion change then the law may be changed.

            You claimed: “Unwanted pregnancies remain far higher today than they did before the introduction of the pill and sex education.”

            Actually rates of teenage pregnancy in the UK have halved in the past two decades and are now at their lowest levels since record-keeping began in the
            late 1960s. Statistics freely available.

  • Dolphinfish

    Good to see our host keeping up the tradition of working a little dig at the Church into every post, regardless of the subject. In response to his question, the proportion of Catholics in favour of abortion is about the same as protestants because of the lack of leadership in the Church. If the officers won’t stand and fight, don’t expect the troops to rally.

    • Some “digs” are legitimate. It is a matter of grave concern that a high proportion of those identifying as Roman Catholic are succumbing to what is essentially protestant moral consequentialism and primacy of conscience.

      Of course, we don’t know how many of those surveyed actually attend Mass weekly or life according to Church teaching. For all we now, the Inspector was interviewed as a Catholic.

      Even more worrying is that the leadership of the Church is failing to teach orthodox moral ethics and a great many bishops and cardinals actually support this relativistic ethic.

      • Urgleboo

        Nothing wrong with “primacy of conscience” at all, simply its distortion into “I can do anything if I can kid myself it is justifiable”.

        You are probably aware of Newman’s Letter to the Duke of Norfolk – in the relevant chapter, he puts it all rather well.

        • Albert

          But in a Catholic context, conscience operates more at the level of the application of revealed moral principles to concrete circumstances. E.g. “Does this particular war meet the criteria for a Just War?” The idea that deliberately killing innocent human life may be conscientiously permissible to a Catholic is just absurd.

          • And Newman would agree and would see no conflict with primacy of conscience, as he understood this (the voice of God) and the role of the Church (the bulwark of truth) in forming and enlightening it.

          • Anton

            The conscience is fallen.

          • Meaning?

          • Anton

            Untrustworthy.

          • Man is fallen, not the conscience. You’re referring to what Newman calls the “counterfeit” conscience. Newman understood the conscience to be a messenger of God and God speaking to us when we feel intuitive moral knowledge. It reveals the law of God – it is a “prophet,” preparing the soul in the way of God.

          • Anton

            If the conscience is part of man and is not the Holy Spirit that indwells believers then it is part of man and therefore fallen. To suppose that some parts of man are fallen and others are not is deeply dangerous, muddle-headed and heretical.

          • It all depends on what we mean by the term “fallen”. The relationship between the soul and the conscience is the issue. And Jack doesn’t know the answer. He can only speculate as these are deep questions for theologians and philosophers and beyond his paygrade.
            If the soul is completely dead in sin and without God’s grace, as opposed to wounded and impaired then man’s conscience will presumably not function at all and be driven by his desires. If, on the other hand, it is wounded until grace is infused by God, then conscience too will be flawed but will still be functioning at some level. Alternatively, God may make sufficient grace available to men to know right from wrong but insufficient for them to do the right thing without this infusion of grace. It is the soul that facilitates the integration the mind and body (flesh) with the will of God, i.e. how we are designed to live for our own happiness, and the conscience, being the voice of God, provides the bridge to the mind which through the will controls the desires and emotions of the body.
            If Jack’s speculations are near the truth, and he doesn’t know that they are, then it would seem that the question hinges on the extent of the corruption of man’s soul by original sin and how God dispenses His grace to fallen man, re-enlivens the soul and communicates with man though his conscience. However, unless one is a perfected, the mind can and will interfere and distort the voice of God/conscience. Jack happens to believe the soul is not completely dead to the point where man is left without any moral awareness or consciousness and scripture supports this position.
            You call this muddled and heretical. Jack calls it not being certain. If you can enlighten him and demonstrate where he is error, then please do so.

          • Anton

            That’s a fine reply; thank you. I have viewed the exchanges between the Calvinists here and yourself from the sidelines but am willing to say a little more. I’m sure you will see how this relates to the immediate issue.

            I hold that when a man is justified and saved from hell, some parts of that process are 100% God, some parts are partly God and partly man, but of these joint parts you will never be able to subdivide and say what is a work of man and what is a work of God; the entanglement is total.

          • Jack will have to mull that one over. We may not be assigning the same meaning to “justification”, “righteousness” and “sanctification” and, even if we are, not necessarily in agreement about their implications. For example, and not wishing for a response, “when a man is justified and saved from hell” is ambiguous and begs some questions.

            Fallen man has a need for justification and God has made provision for fulfilling this need. But, Catholics would claim this is an initial justification which we receive when we first become a Christian. It is the start of a process and there is the possibility of failing to persevere in God’s grace, of losing one’s justification, and of subsequently regaining it. We are, of course, saved from hell by justification. The disputes rest on whether it is a one off event and how it is granted/offered (to all or a few?) and received/accepted by some individuals but not others.

            Jack understands the Catholic Church has not definitively closed the question: “of these joint parts (God and man) you will never be able to subdivide and say what is a work of man and what is a work of God; the entanglement is total.” However, she does hold the seemingly paradoxical position that our salvation is the work of God but that man retains free will.

          • Anton

            Paradox is certainly part of this, but as for free will I sometimes wonder what the will is, regardless of whether it is free or not. For one is not self-aware when one does the works of faith.

            PS I wrote with an explicit awareness of the distinction between justification and sanctification. That’s why I said “saved from hell” rather than “saved for the doing of good works”.

          • Albert

            A man who acts against his conscience acts against what he believes to be right. I.e. he does what he believes to be evil. Now his conscience can be misleading – especially when it is not formed. However, a person who does what he believes to be wrong, sins, since the very basis of morality is to avoid evil.

          • Albert

            Yes, but would not see a Catholic using conscience to deny Catholic teaching.

          • Agreed – for him a properly formed conscience, revelation and Church teaching would be in harmony.

        • Newman saw no conflict between Catholic teaching, as Truth, and conscience.
          In his letter to the Duke of Norfolk he wrote that when a person follows conscience he simultaneously follows Divine law. Conscience being a messenger of God and God speaking to us when we feel this intuitive moral knowledge and make decisions.

          However, Newman believed that modernity had stopped listening to the real voice of conscience; instead citing the conscience to validate libertine choices. He said that a true sense of conscience had been “superseded by a counterfeit,” in order to assert the “right of self-will.”

          When his contemporaries spoke of the conscience, Newman said that “they in no sense mean the rights of the Creator, nor the duty to Him, in thought and deed, of the creature; but the right of thinking, speaking, writing, and acting, according to their judgment or their humour, without any thought of God at all . . . [Conscience] becomes a license to take up any or no religion, to take up this or that and let it go again.”

          Newman’s time is not much different from our own. And the counterfeit conscience today is seen among believers who explain that their integrity demands they reject the teachings of the Church. In fact, the conscience is, as Newman wrote, “the voice of God,” a channel of divine communication, “the aboriginal vicar of Christ.” Newman understood that the conscience reveals the law of God – that it is a “prophet,” preparing the soul in the way of the Lord.

          Newman understood that pastors have an obligation to help the faithful hear the conscience, understand its voice, and respond to it. The conscience, Newman understood, is not easy to hear. Its voice, he wrote “may suffer refraction in passing into the intellectual medium of each.” And he knew that hearing the conscience requires holiness, and serious guidance. The task of pastors, as he understood it, was to help their flocks in the task of self-examination and true discernment. The task of pastors is to help the faithful understand that conscience can never contradict truth. In Newman’s view, validating a false sense of the conscience would be pastoral negligence; it would rob the believer of the opportunity to hear the voice of God.

          Forming the conscience takes time and an unformed or rebellious conscience will always have consequences in this life and consequences in the next.

          “Obedience to conscience leads to obedience to the Gospel,” Newman wrote, “which, instead of being something different altogether, is but the completion and perfection of that religion which natural conscience teaches.” The conscience is a gift, and a grace.

    • Royinsouthwest

      His Grace was simply making an interesting point in observing that views of Protestants and Catholics in the general public do not differ significantly according to opinion polls. Why are you so hypersensitive to any perceived slights? Haven’t you got anything constructive to say on the subject which is the divide between the media and popular opinion on the subject of abortion?

  • David

    This is an excellent short piece of investigative journalism Your Grace.
    The BBC is a millstone around the neck of the entire country, hellbent as it is on preventing social conservatives form making the case for our country to move forward towards true justice, which is the very opposite of the social warriors so called liberal dystopian nightmare of social justice.

  • TropicalAnglican

    In the US, the Trump Admin has committed itself to protecting the unborn. The Dept. of Health and Human Services (HSS) says that its mission is to serve and protect Americans at every stage of life (and in case there are people who still don’t know, you are told that life begins at conception).

    Another statement reads: “… our ultimate goal is to improve healthcare outcomes for all people, including the unborn …”

    The source of info is Breitbart:

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/17/trump-administration-defines-life-beginning-conception/

    For those not keen to be found clicking on a Breitbart link, the draft strategic plan of the HSS for 2018-2022 can be found here:

    https://www.hhs.gov/about/draft-strategic-plan/introduction/index.html (however, I got the link from the Breitbart article itself …)

    • David

      Good for Trump. Although the UK media loves to hate him he has a lot that we recognise as good.

      • James60498 .

        You are right. But I would change the last sentence a little.

        Because he has a lot that we recognise as good, the UK Media loves to hate him.

        • David

          Yes you’ve identified the cause and effect relationship more effectively than I did.

        • Manfarang

          The American media is a lot more powerful than the British media . Remember Watergate.

          • James60498 .

            Actually I don’t. Too young.

            I am not quite sure of how that fits in to the conversation, but nevertheless am delighted that the US media failed to win the Presidential Election.

          • Manfarang

            Then you may not know of Yogi Berra-
            “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

          • James60498 .

            But I do know that it was the BBC who got Cameron elected as Tory leader against the conservative instincts of most of those who voted for him.

            I know that many people who just a few years ago would have been totally opposed to all the gay rights stuff having watched Coronation Street and Eastenders are now out waving their coloured flags and telling everyone who believes what they believed until recently that they are old fashioned bigots who need to die off.

            I know too that whenever a UKIP councillor or local committee member who no one has ever heard of from an area that most of us wouldn’t have had a clue where to start looking for on a map said something un-PC that suddenly he (always he) was shot to public prominence by the media (particularly the BBC). Forget anything else in the world. The most important thing was that “UKIP” believed whatever. And sure enough, Farage would expel him from the party to prove that they didn’t.

            Farage was/is anti-EU. And indeed some of our Media is too. On everything else he caved into the BBC very quickly indeed.

            I am not sure quite what’s behind the American Press are the most powerful thing, other than of course, being American they have to be the biggest/ best whatever. David and I were discussing the UK Media and what it believed, not whether it was strong or how it compared to the US Press. I have no doubt that the US Press is very powerful. But don’t write off the UK Press as being little people from a little country.

            After all. Every PM that we have had for the last twenty years, elected or otherwise, has had its blessing, if not always it’s full support. And The Sun would insist that I said 25 years.

          • Manfarang

            Don’t become a newsagent. A lot of people don’t buy newspapers anymore.

  • dannybhoy

    I knew I could depend on you ✌️

  • not a machine

    For those who try and live a Christian life as best we can Abortion is a difficult doctrinal area with some initially easy views to take. Mr Rees Mogg MP has considers some of the complexities in line with a long Catholic faith consideration and the gladiatorial msm approach has been to make this a question of choice. It was made law 50yrs ago and still the points around it cause pain and grief. Do you have to have a Christian faith to be the only person to grasp the consequences? I don’t think so. It has perhaps extra dimension for the Christian, but I do not think we can be sure what any true person to Christ and penitent may receive from God. It perhaps is not one of those who subjects where the church shrugs either. Mens behaviour is getting a severe drubbing quite where it will end up I don’t know for those of us that were told tales of chaperones and fearce matrons cooling off hot blood…. Now we have all the means to have what you want sexually from your own armchair, no faint voices of not really sure what to do in bed, now a child finds about sex and all the things that brings, we are perhaps less awkward but it is difficult to be Catholic in the currency of msm general approach to if you are liberating or just selling more sexual interest, it is more difficult to explain and express where sex fits in relation to living a Christian way of life. Sons and daughters may well think they are rebelling at an age or attitude but I doubt anyone wants the heart ache of seeing them doing sins that they would not do if they understood it may not lead to happiness.

  • David

    Are we now at long last approaching an age when politicians speak out what they mean ? Is the sun finally setting on the age of Blair, spin and obfuscation ? I do hope so. Speaking the blunt truth will reinvigorate politics, returning debate to the national political scene; debate being the essential element for democracy to flourish.
    What with Jacob Rees-Mogg speaking out freely and honestly about abortion and now a minor Conservative Minister, Richard Littlejohn, stating what we all know to be true, that it is best for all those who have chosen to become jihadists, and who are therefore avowed to destroy our civilisation, to be killed on the battlefield, are things finally looking up ?
    Yes this is what we need so desperately to counteract PC and spin – let the plain truth echo out loud and clear across the nation. Perhaps if we can clear the atmosphere of political cant and doublespeak we will then start to hear the plain truth of the Gospel being heard again, spoken out across the land by all those brave priests and ministers who remain servants of Christ and have not sold out to the spirit of the age the zeitgeist. Now wouldn’t that be something ?

    • Anton

      Littlejohn is a journalist. You mean Rory Stewart.

    • not a machine

      I think that the essential element in democracy is not assuming you should get everything all the time.

      • David

        Agreed. As a basically Burkean conservative I totally agree with you. One of his greatest sayings was,”Society is a contract between the past, present and the future”. So he saw how we must both respect those who exist before us, with us and after us as well as respecting those others who travel through time with us, but who may not share exactly the same values as we hold dear. There is a restrained dynamism to the truly conservative society, as it retains the best of the past and allows for future improvements.

        • Manfarang

          Nice to see a mention of an Irish Whig.
          “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

    • Simon Platt

      Rory Stewart. Richard Littlejohn seems to be a journalist.

  • Anton

    Channel 4 states that it

    “supports itself solely via advertising, programme sponsorship and commercial revenue and does not receive any of the licence fee.”

    http://www.channel4.com/4viewers/faq/name/does-channel-4-get-any-of-the-licence-fee/id/400286880

    • Hi

      Quite right and this is the last time I take a right wing libertarian anti bbc person I know at face value. I understand the plan was to allow C4 to access to the license fee during a cash crisis in 2007, but was scrapped by one Andy Burnham . It is publicly owned , but is funded by ad revenue. So I have amended my post accordingly.

  • Tina Beattie is one of a band of “Catholic scholars” who promote a one sided approach to the “seamless garment” ideology proposed in 1971 by the Catholic pacifist Eileen Egan. The seamless garment ideology holds that issues such as abortion, capital punishment, militarism, euthanasia, social injustice, and economic injustice all demand a consistent application of moral principles that value the sacredness of human life. “The protection of life” said Egan, “is a seamless garment. You can’t protect some life and not others.” It was a challenge to members of the pro-life movement who were in favour of capital punishment.

    These views were popularised by Cardinal Bernardin in the 1980’s. In itself, advocating “a consistent ethic of life” is sound but it is used by the political left, particularly in America, to accuse the “pro-life” movement of being exclusively “pro-birth” (or “anti-abortion”) whilst ignoring the plight of children in poverty and a host of other political, social and economic issues. It’s being used to artificially divide Catholics into definitions of “left” and “right” wing. The “progressives” claim Catholics on the “right” are not really Catholic if they believe war or capital punishment remain legitimate actions of the State and are opposed to immigration; i.e. if they are Republicans.

    A consistent ethic of life does not equate the problem of taking life (e.g., through abortion and in war) with the problem of promoting human dignity (through humane programs of nutrition, health care, and housing). But a consistent ethic identifies both the protection of life and its promotion as moral questions. It argues for a continuum of life which must be sustained in the face of diverse and distinct threats.”

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bernardinwade.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consistent_life_ethic

    • not a machine

      Well thank you for that happy Jack, I still think the posing of questions develope the faith/thought. The seamless garment endeus grace but how do you stop it turning into the uniform?

    • Nightblogger

      Being pro-life isn’t simplistically about being pacifist or anti-all-abortion. It’s about wanting life in all it’s fullness for all, or, at least, as many as possible – which sometimes, in this imperfect world, means making hard choices about taking life, in war or abortion.

      • “[I]n this imperfect world, means making hard choices about taking life, in war or abortion.”
        How is taking life in a war, assuming it’s just, equivalent to the taking innocent life in the womb?

    • Anton

      The correct reply to people like Egan is “Are you a pacifist?” In other words: Do you value the life of a single soldier of your nation’s enemy more highly than your nation’s freedom?

  • layreader

    I thought that the most interesting part of the ICM poll was the 37% of people who believe that old feminist mantra that ‘it’s nobody else’s business but mine’. That means that nearly 2 people in 3 don’t believe it, and that what a woman does with her body does actually have a major impact on other people, not least the defenceless child.

    • Nightblogger

      Don’t think that was clear. People were not asked if abortion should be denied to these specific circumstances – just whether they agreed that it was to be supported (whatever that means). That’s another question that was not asked. I don’t generally agree with abortion – but I wouldn’t refuse a woman’s right to choose what happens to her pregnancy – especially in the early days. Rees-Mog didn’t say that a raped woman should be denied an abortion if she wanted one.

  • Sybaseguru

    The issue is “when does a fetus become a life?”. Those who say it is “at conception” ignore scripture – Exodus 21v22 is quite clear that a fetus is not to be considered “a life”. (The penalty for killing one is very different to that of killing a person). So in Gods eyes it appears to be at birth. But what about Jeremiah 1:5 I hear you say (and other verses that refer to this one). Well my car is grey, does that mean all grey cars belong to me – of course not. You cannot extend the logic of “God knew you in the womb” to make “Therefore God knows all fetuses”. In this case the logical extension is “therefore God knows SOME fetuses”. This makes the cut off of 23/24 weeks (good chance of survival) a sound doctrine that Christians need not fear compromising their faith of sacredness of human life.

    • The claim that a human being’s life begins at conception is scientific fact. We know the unborn are alive, they are human, and they are whole organisms.

      When Mary’s greeting reached Elizabeth’s ears in Luke, the unborn John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother’s womb (1:44); he was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (1:15). He recognised Jesus was in Mary’s womb. The unborn John the Baptist is described as a brephos (Luke 1:41, 44), a Greek term meaning a babe, an infant, a newborn child. The Hebrew term yeled means “child, son, boy, offspring, youth,” and also refers to an unborn child. In Exodus 21:22, the Hebrew says literally “her children come out” instead of “she has a miscarriage,” as in some translations. The same is true of the term ben, which means “son, child, youth” (cf. Gen. 25:22). The Jews neither had nor needed a specialised term for the unborn. Scripture regularly refers to individuals existing in the womb – “I knew you in the womb.” (Jer. 1:5)

      • Manfarang

        And miscarriages?

        • Did you read this bit:

          The Hebrew term yeled means “child, son, boy, offspring, youth,” and also refers to an unborn child. In Exodus 21:22, the Hebrew says literally “her children come out” instead of “she has a miscarriage,” as in some translations. The same is true of the term ben, which means “son, child, youth” (cf. Gen. 25:22). The Jews neither had nor needed a specialised term for the unborn.

          • Manfarang

            So? Some are still born. With original sin how can they go to heaven?

          • This has not been revealed but, using reason, we trust in the mercy and goodness of God.

          • Manfarang

            Anyway when does the soul enter the body?

          • Anton

            It is an assumption that a spirit is slipped into a partially-formed body, and one that may be questioned.

          • Nightblogger

            Is the spirit the same as the soul?

          • IanCad

            As Anton is likely still taking his morning constitutional, I’m sure he won’t mind me addressing, fully and comprehensively, your question:
            No.

          • Anton

            No. But you need to know the meaning of two distinct words in Hebrew, two distinct words in Greek, and two distinct words in English to do that discussion properly; and the boundaries between them are not necessarily the same in each language/culture. I don’t understand it fully myself but at least I know how complicated it is!

          • We have spiritual souls.

          • You might hear that from the likes of liberal Jesuit moralist Joseph Donceel and feminist ideologues like Rosemary Reuther.

          • Anton

            You heard it from me and you can take it up with me where I go into it above with Nightblogger.

          • Jack s content to observe without comment your discussion with ardenjm.

          • Anna

            It is dangerous to question the worth of the unborn on the basis of its physical development, and decide to extinguish the spark of life it carries. Have you ever seen an anencephalic newborn? I have seen two such babies- they lived only a day or two, but despite their partially formed bodies, they cried and behaved much like other newborns. Their mothers valued and loved them; and grieved when they died. The question is- on what basis can we decide that God has not ‘ensouled’ the foetus, or that He values and respects a fully formed body more than a partially formed one. God’s thoughts are higher than ours; He has not spoken or revealed His thoughts to us on this subject, so we should be silent and not presume to speak on His behalf.

          • IanCad

            It doesn’t.

          • At the moment of conception is Jack’s personal opinion but the magisterium of the Catholic Church has never definitively stated when the ensoulment of the human embryo takes place. It remains an open question. The Declaration on Procured Abortion from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1974 phrases the matter with considerable precision:

            “This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement. For some it dates from the first instant; for others it could not at least precede nidation [implantation in the uterus]. It is not within the competence of science to decide between these views, because the existence of an immortal soul is not a question in its field. It is a philosophical problem from which our moral affirmation remains independent.”

            That being said, the moral teaching of the Church is that the human embryo must be treated as if it were already ensouled, even if it might not yet be so. It must be treated as if it were a person from the moment of conception, even if there exists the theoretical possibility that it might not yet be so. The precise timing of ensoulment/personhood of the human embryo is irrelevant to the question of whether or not we may ever destroy such embryos for research or other purposes.

            It is God’s business as to precisely when He ensouls embryos. We do not need an answer to this speculative theological question in order to grasp the fundamental truth that human embryos are inviolable and deserving of unconditional respect at every stage of their existence.

          • Chefofsinners

            Because the sin for which we are condemned is unbelief. These children have never rejected salvation.

          • Manfarang

            Unbelief of what- predestination?

          • not a machine

            Don’t dwell to long in that area it ends with its up to God.

          • IanCad

            Original Sin is primarily an Augustinian creation. By no means do all Christians accept the concept.

          • Malcolm Smith

            Wrong! Augustine had a particular view of original sin. The eastern churches have another. But all Christians agree on its existence.
            https://orthodoxwiki.org/Original_sin

          • IanCad

            We are all possessed of a capability, even a tendency to sin’ but not the guilt thereof – except that, through Adam we all die.
            The guilt of the sins of the fathers are not visited upon the children, although the results of the their transgressions may well lead to inherited physical degeneration and moral depravity.

          • Anna

            They have not reached the age of accountability; they may carry the seed of sinful human beings, but they have no knowledge of sin, nor have they chosen to rebel against God by sinning wilfully. Jesus said their angels see the face of His Father in heaven- this suggests that God’s special care rests over their souls.

      • Anton

        it’s worth checking the full passage that Syb is quoting. I don’t think you can get his conclusion from it.

      • Nightblogger

        Yet in Church tradition it was not always believed that human life began at conception. Greek thought (Aristotle) subscribed to an epigenetic view of successive life principles (“souls”) in a developing human embryo—first a vegetative and then a sensitive or animal soul, and finally a human soul ( at 30 or even 90 days) and this was the prevailing view among early Christians, including Tertullian, Augustine & Jerome.

        • The early Church Fathers didn’t understand human biology so didn’t know when or how conception took place. However, they subscribed to the view that once conception had taken place then the sanctity of life was established. We now know as a scientific fact that life begins when a woman’s egg is fertilised by a man’s sperm.

          • Nightblogger

            True enough, yet there may still be a discussion to be had on the relative, sometimes competing, sanctities of, and rights to, life in blastocyst, embryo, foetus, unborn child and pregnant woman.

          • Accept the premises that life begins form the moment of conception and that a good outcome cannot properly be sought by intrinsically evil means, and you have the place to start the discussion.

          • Albert

            Quite. It’s hard to see how this isn’t an absolute matter.

          • One of the most succinct descriptions of when life begins is provided by Condic (2008):

            “Following the binding of sperm and egg to each other, the membranes of these two cells fuse, creating in this instant a single hybrid cell: the zygote or one-cell embryo … Cell fusion is a well studied and very rapid event, occurring in less than a second. Because the zygote arises from the fusion of two different cells, it contains all the components of both sperm and egg, and therefore the zygote has a unique molecular composition that is distinct from either gamete. … These modifications block sperm binding to the cell surface and prevent further intrusion of additional spermatozoa on the unfolding process of development. Thus, the zygote acts immediately and specifically to antagonize the function of the gametes from which it is derived … Clearly, then, the prior trajectories of sperm and egg have been abandoned, and a new developmental trajectory—that of the zygote—has taken their place.” [Condic, M. L. 2008. When does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective. In: Westchester Institute White Paper Series. The Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, Thornwood, NY, pp 1–18; p. 3.]

            In other words, the separate functions of sperm and egg are modified and the new cell, the zygote, is immediately protective of itself—a state that will be conserved in the individual until the death of the whole organism. This provides a non-arbitrary definition of when the identity of the individual begins and ends.

          • Albert

            Quite. All other times for life beginning are abitrary post-hoc rationalisations. There are only two logically consistent cut off points for abortion: conception, or after birth, but before the child develops the proper sense of identity and agency. As Peter Singer helpfully put it:

            “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons”; therefore, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”

            Those who balk at such a conclusion need to accept that all abortion is wrong.

        • Albert

          Even when such fathers had confused and false views (because shaped by some extremely dodgy science) about ensoulment, they never, to my knowledge, thought that entailed abortion could be permitted.

    • Nightblogger

      Theologically I think Christians might be better arguing from the point at which a foetus becomes ‘a soul’ – but of course we don’t really know when that is. Early Church theologians put ‘ensoulment’ as late as 90 days. Modern science might argue that it is when the brain cortex and central nervous system becomes functional – which may be around 30 days. That’s probably way too early for modern abortion law.

      • Anton

        The very notion of ensoulment is questionable. If it is held to be an ontological process, the assumption is that an adult spirit is slipped into a growing body at a definite moment. That is a huge assumption, not derivable from scripture, and it makes much better sense to suppose that our spiritual capabilities grow with our bodies.

        Many fertilized ova never make it to implantation, because there is something wrong with them; and many that implant spontaneously abort within days. The woman might not even know that she had been briefly pregnant.

        My question for traditionalist Catholics: should you not, to be consistent with what you say you believe, apply modern pregnancy tests to every married Catholic woman who is hoping to conceive, and if the woman is found to have been briefly pregnant then should you not seek to persuade her that she has suffered a tragedy as great as the loss of an infant, and hold a requiem mass? Why do you not do these things?

        • ardenjm

          “not derivable from scripture”
          but part of the Deposit of the Faith, nevertheless, via Tradition and the teaching of the Church. And thus the Church has always taught that ensoulment occurs during pregnancy.
          The exact moment of that ensoulment the Church has always very carefully not pronounced dogmatically on because she cannot say.
          Nevertheless, the Church doesn’t need to and so never has done with respect to abortion: which is the wilful destruction of a developing human life in the womb whose vulnerability requires special care and protection precisely because it is so dependent on others for its care.
          This doesn’t (and has never) required the Church to pretend that the growing unborn is a person (another question the Church hasn’t pronounced dogmatically on).
          And so for all of these reasons this is why Catholics “do not do these things” you ironically evoke, whilst we DO protest against the killing of the unborn as a particularly wicked destruction of human life. Particularly wicked because of the innocence & defencelessness of the victim.
          Spontaneous abortion and medical abortion are not in the same moral category. You confuse their material similarity with a formal one. Formally, they are utterly distinct.

          Hope that clarifies.

          • Anton

            It clarifies your position but does not answer my questions, to which I’d add one more: on what basis do you presume ensoulment rather than that our spiritual capabilities grow with our bodies?

          • ardenjm

            You know those optical illusions – where you think you’re looking at a vase but it’s formed by two profiles (and vice-versa)? I think that’s what we’re dealing with here. This is a philosophical question, not a theological one, still less a scientific one.
            It’s the question of hylomorphism and how immaterial form and matter are a composite, substantial, whole in things.
            http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/was-aquinas-dualist.html

          • Anton

            I’ll ponder that; thank you.

            What did you mean, by the way, when saying that “This doesn’t (and has never) required the Church to pretend that the growing unborn is a person”? Specifically, please would you clarify what you mean by “person” in this sentence?

          • ardenjm

            The Church would say that the fetus has a human (and thus a rational) soul with the capacities (yet to be fully actualised for obvious reasons)for personhood. As such, it should be treated with the same respect that we afford to any human being eg a person with Alzheimer’s, a person in PVS, a disabled infant.
            Locke’s definition of personhood: a self-conscious possessor of ‘self’ works as a pragmatic understanding of personhood but the advantage of the Boethian/Aristotelian understanding allows you to recognise the human nature which posseses those capacities without pronouncing on how well the person realises or manifests them. This explains the Church’s circumspection in pronouncing on personhood but also her resoluteness is saying: but it does have a human nature and so must be afforded the protection due to all other human beings.
            Hope that helps.

          • Nightblogger

            I’ve always been amazed that Atheists who believe that this life is all there is don’t actively campaign on that basis against abortion – and surprised that Catholics, who believe that even the personhood of a very immature foetus can be actualized in God, are so against it.

          • Anton

            I’m grateful for the genuine reply but are you saying that personhood and ensoulment (assuming for the sake of discussion that the latter takes place at a definite instant) are not synonymous?

          • ardenjm

            From a religious point of view the soul is personal: John, Paul, Mary: their soul is personal to them. As such it is the means by which everything we call personhood, rooted in our human nature, is then made manifest in so far as the inherent capacities are actualised. Since this is a sliding scale: a child of 3 months age is hardly a person (in a Lockean sense) in the way a 5 year old is, nevertheless, since the unborn have the inherent capacity of personhood by virtue of their human nature then they should be treated as such and certainly not killed.
            So, to return to your question are personhood and ensoulement not synomymous – they are formally distinct in the same single reality.
            Hope that helps.

        • Terry Mushroom

          One reason Catholics celebrate a Requiem Mass is to pray for the dead that God will give them a merciful judgement for the sins they’ve committed. Plainly this isn’t appropriate for a child, let alone one that is unborn. A Requiem is decidedly not “a celebration of the life of” or merely a “memorial”.

          At a Requiem Mass, the priest wears purple or black. This isn’t appropriate for a child. Instead, the priest wears white. I’ve attended a Mass for a two couples whose child died soon after birth. The children had white coffins. It was heart breaking.

    • A newborn baby needs two things above all to grow– food and shelter.
      Anyone denying an infant these things would be deemed a monster.
      A newly-conceived foetus needs two things above all the grow– food and shelter.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Scripture is clear that God knew us BEFORE conception. So the ‘foetus’ is never really a thing, its always a person in God’s eyes.

      • Anton

        Odd then that we have no memory of it. That suggests the verse means God knows what we shall be like.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I have no memory of being two, does that mean it didn’t happen?

          • Anton

            Plenty of people do have.

          • Dominic Stockford

            If just one doesn’t your prior argument fails.

          • Anton

            What do you think the verse means?

    • Anna

      “This makes the cut off of 23/24 weeks (good chance of survival) a sound doctrine that Christians need not fear compromising their faith of sacredness of human life.”

      The Bible is unclear about the exact point in fetal development when the unborn becomes fully ‘human’ (whatever that means), so it is safer to err on the side of caution. No Christian who fears God would do harm to the unborn, because it is clear from scriptures that God considers the unborn to be fully human – 1. A growing foetus is alive (growth being a sign of life), 2. God is at work in the development of the unborn child (Psalm 139:13) and 3. God has a definite purpose for the baby (Jeremiah 1:5). It is therefore clearly wrong to interfere with the plan and work of God by extinguishing the spark of life. Abortion is murder.

  • Inspector General

    Inspector says…

    “The entire BBC is continually being brought into disrepute by the Marxists therein who run News and Current Affairs. Hiving off of these functions and their privatisation is the only way forward.”

    “Not a question of if but when…”

    By the way. It breaks a fellows heart that the foetus in the picture can be murdered by its own mother. Who do we need to kill to stop it…

    • not a machine

      How do you kill a sin?

      • Chefofsinners

        Employ an assassin.

        • not a machine

          That deals with a sinner.

          • Chefofsinners

            In which case he wouldn’t be sinning any more.

          • not a machine

            Not quite the illumination of a problem I have been struggling with for some time but an interesting answer none the less.

          • Chefofsinners

            Sorry, I wasn’t being serious. What exactly is the problem you have been struggling with?

          • not a machine

            Oh Chef I think we will have to save our nature of sin discussion for another day when his grace demolishes my pondering if sin can be killed.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Dear Professor Theophilus:
            How do Christians deal with defeat? You remind us that we are to combat sin of all kinds in our lives. The Christian life is a constant war against our sinful tendencies and against the evil one. Quite often we lose a battle. How do we deal with the discouragement that follows? Can discouragement become
            a sin in itself? How can we prevent ourselves from adopting an attitude of resignation— “I’ll never drive sin completely from my life, so why try?”
            It seems to me from my own walk with God that this can become a
            convenient excuse to quit the fight—that is, to keep on sinning.

            Reply:
            It is discouraging that we continue to sin. Yet, however uneven and unsteady our progress may be, by the grace of the Holy Spirit we do make progress, and we have the assurance that, one day, God’s labor to sanctify us will be
            completed. Then, pure in heart, we will be among those who see God. We should abide in this thought.

            The struggle with sin is a real war; but our commanding general is Jesus
            Christ. Just recognizing this ought to make us lift our heads, like soldiers who hear the trumpet. Consider the war won, the crucial battles being in in the wilderness, in the Garden, at the Cross, and at the Grave. Consider the war won, even if you do not yet see all the evidence.

            You ask whether discouragement can be a sin. Yes, I think it can. Of course
            there are different ways to be downcast. The sorrow that leads to repentance, however, is a blazing grace of God which is followed by the joy of forgiveness, and we needn’t fear it. But the moral torpor which tempts us to give up is a flaming dart of the adversary which is followed by despair, and we should battle it like an invader in our home. If you want to know how to battle it, read Ephesians 6.
            And don’t be discouraged about your susceptibility to discouragement! Christ struggled and defeated that too, and can defeat discouragement in you.

            Some people are tempted to discouragement when they see the depth of sin even in some of our church institutions. Others, perhaps like you, are more strongly tempted to it when they see the depth of their own sinful tendencies. A common element in both temptations is doubt in the sovereignty of God—doubt in His power to do what He says He will do, to establish His Kingdom both inside and outside of us. We imagine that sin is stronger than He
            is. But it isn’t.

            Right after Paul’s description of the helplessness of sin in Romans 7, he says “What a wretched man I am!” and asks “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” But he answers himself instantly: “Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Just a chapter later he says “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

            I think you’ll also be encouraged by the following quotations from the letters of C.S. Lewis:
            1. “I know all about the grief and difficulty in overcoming chronic sins. It will not be serious, provided that despair (giving up) doesn’t get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes in the airing cupboard.
            The only fatal thing is to give up and cease to care at all about progress. Remember that it is just when we notice the dirt that God may be most present in us: it is a sign of his presence.” (Jan. 20, 1942.)

            2. “The stories you tell … belong to a terribly familiar pattern: the man of good will, saddled with an abnormal desire which he never chose, fighting hard and time after time defeated. But I question whether in such a life the successful operation of Grace is so tiny as we think. Is not this continued avoidance either of presumption or despair, this ever renewed struggle itself a great triumph of Grace? Perhaps more so than the (to human eyes)
            equable virtue of some who are psychologically sound.” (May 28, 1952.)

            3. And the bottom line: “You know what Luther said: ‘Do you doubt if you are chosen? Then say your prayers and you may conclude that you are.'” (Aug. 3, 1953.)

            Grace and peace,
            PROFESSOR THEOPHILUS

          • not a machine

            Thank you for that Bruce quite a few good thoughts in there and doctrine.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Where credit is due: Professor Theophilus is actually professor J. Budziszewski, and I collected this from a column he had some years ago. I found it helpful .

    • Manfarang
      • Chefofsinners

        Mr Flake. As in ‘snow’. You couldn’t make it up.

        • Manfarang

          You could make it up. Just look at what was Trump University among a lot of other things.

  • Chefofsinners

    Interesting to see the stalwart commitment to life tonight from so many who were committed to the death of Jihadist fighters yesterday.
    Suppose someone developed a test for Jihadis in the womb?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41734079

    • Murti Bing

      Innocent until proven guilty, perhaps?

    • Manfarang

      And kill a commie for Christ eh?

    • not a machine

      I don’t shy from considering some topics difficult and we all try and mull the possible answers.

    • David

      What a strange comment !
      The unborn are defenceless and innocent and therefore worthy of protection by all Christian peoples. Refusing to practice infanticide marked out the early Christians distinguishing them from the surrounding pagans.

      Jihadists are ideologically committed to destroy us physically and spiritually determined to oppose the Lamb of God, stamping out truth, salvation and hope. They hate the Christian God.

      I see no equivalence. Confused thinking there – a huge category error I’d say.

      • Chefofsinners

        Defencelessness is irrelevant.
        Innocence is the difference.
        Yes, there are two categories: innocent and guilty.
        I am pointing out the common factor between the categories: the deliberate taking of a life.
        As well as refusing to practice infanticide, the early Christians were also marked out by the offer of mercy to the guilty and love for their enemies.

  • Coram Deo

    Scottish government: The absolute irony of the Scottish government advocating and promoting abortion at home and abroad whilst outlawing smacking. It’s all right to murder children but not to smack them. What hypocrites!

  • Ray Sunshine

    Your Grace, am I missing something here? I have looked all through the 31 sets of tables and I have found no mention anywhere of a comparison between this year’s findings and those from an earlier survey. As far as I can see, it looks as though this is the first survey ever conducted by ICM on the abortion question. If this is, in fact, the case – if we are given no comparable percentages from an earlier ICM survey – then the question I would ask is this: What do you mean, exactly, when you write in the title, “People are becoming more pro-life”?

  • Mike Stallard

    It is imperative that we bring back the Christian family – fast. At the moment abortion, women’s rights and the idea that raising a family is a sort of optional extra are causing a catastrophic decline in Christianity both here in Europe and in the USA – the two heartlands of the faith.
    “The under-16 abortion rate was 2.5 per 1,000 women and the under-18 rate was 11.1 per
    1,000 women.”
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/433437/2014_Commentary__5_.pdf
    If, just here in UK, we kill off nearly a 185,000 future citizens every year, that must say something.

  • ardenjm

    “And perhaps even more significantly, the proportion of Roman Catholics who advocate abortion in certain circumstances is not significantly different from the proportion of Protestants, which will come as rather a shock to a great many.”
    …who haven’t been paying attention to the Church in the last 50 years. To those of us who have it comes as no surprise at all. Another Sign of the Times.

    “Is that a result of the lack of episcopal leadership on the issue over generations”
    Yes. Certainly in the West. But not just that. We had 25 years of Saint Pope John Paul II stating very, very clearly that abortion was wrong. Many Catholics blocked their ears. Such is the power of the Media Beast, “given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.”

    “or the ubiquity of Professor Tina Beattie?”
    She’s a symptom not a cause.

    Maranatha.

    • Mike Stallard

      In Spain, as a secondary school teacher, I was entitled to use the title: Profesor. I notice that a lot of the new Universities are full of such people as me using the same title with a different spelling.

      • Tina Beattie

        I have a first class honours degree and a doctorate from one of Britain’s leading universities, and my professorial promotion went through the same rigorous process as that of any other professor in a British university. If you have an argument, make it.

        • Darter Noster

          Dear Tina,

          I do not doubt your academic qualifications, but I am curious as to what your argument is that has excited such ire.

          The position of the Catholic Church on abortion is, and always has been, very clear: it is not permitted under any circumstance.

          I have the greatest of respect for you for responding on this forum; given that you have, would you mind setting out your view on abortion? That way, those of us who differ from your view (which from the reporting I suspect I do, but I hate taking my sources second hand) can discuss with you…?

          • Mike Stallard

            Dear Tina,
            I am sorry I ruffled your feathers. At the end of the day, when all souls will be judged, does it really cut any ice if we say what little honours we managed to accrue on this tiny, insignificant little planet?
            I come from a distant time, you see, when there were really only a couple of Universities (or three if you include London). All the rest were Redbrick or the brand new shiny Technical Colleges. The Professors of these two Universities were men (always men!) of great standing in the local (Cambridge) town and quite often of international fame as well.
            Nowadays things are much better and there are lots more Professors. So now a lot more women and men can enjoy the esteem and respect which was once restricted so cruelly to just a couple of dozen scholarly gentlemen.

        • Ms Beattie, why not be honest? You’re a moral consequentialist claiming to follow Catholic teaching whilst taking cover behind the “seamless garment of Christ” to justify abortion because the world’s not perfect.

          I am not pro-abortion – I am pro-life. That means trying to balance a concern for the lives of unborn children, the lives of the women and girls who bear them, and the roles and responsibilities of the men who father them. In a perfect world there would never be any conflict between a mother, a father and their unborn child. However, ours is not a perfect world, and there are intensely complex and anguished dilemmas associated with pregnancy and childbirth. The World Health Organisation estimates that around 47,000 women die every year from unsafe abortion, and many thousands more are injured. Not a single blog or tweet I’ve read condemning abortion has mentioned these deaths, which happen among women and girls who are the poorest of the poor. To be anti-abortion is not to be pro-life if it refuses to acknowledge the ethical challenges posed by the consequences of illegal and unsafe abortion, in contexts where pregnancy often results from rape, abuse and incest.

          http://tina-beattie.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/my-position-on-abortion-setting-record.html

          As the Catechism says:

          “A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbour) does not make behaviour that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means ….

          It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.

          http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a4.htm

          Aborting life from the womb is an intrinsically evil act.

        • CliveM

          You put a post explaining why you find this distressing. I want to respond to it but can’t find it?

    • Tina Beattie

      I am neither a symptom nor a cause. I am a mother and a grandmother, I have never had an abortion, and I have never promoted abortion. What a snide and nasty little clique this is.

      • ardenjm

        What hypocritical chutzpah! You call the diverse collection of committed and often opposed Christians on here a clique, you who have been chummy with the Magic Circle of privileged and influential British Catholics in FAR less transparent and honest terms – for decades!

        And this from a woman (please, spare us the “I am a mother and grandmother” rhetorical tropes – you sound like a Poundland Hillary Clinton) whose moral theology is pure gradualism and who had the conceit to correct the Bishops of Poland by signing a letter on abortion that contained the following:

        “we do not believe that this decision [to continue a pregnancy] can be imposed upon them through moral coercion, and far less through the force of law. In our view, the latter constitutes a violation of a woman’s freedom of conscience and personal dignity, and it runs counter to the Catholic tradition’s distinction between morality and legality. The law should not be used to control a person’s moral life, except when that person’s behaviour poses a threat to society.”

        It’s that last sentence which is, quite literally, the killer: A tacit refusal to accept that a society has any regard on abortion henceforth becoming a purely private affair. Likewise there’s an unstated relegation of the unborn to secondary status with respect to the Mother.

        Sure, sure, as so often with Liberal Catholics, you pay lip-service to the traditional teaching of the Church but you hollow out its genuine effect when your metaphysical assumptions and prior anthropological commitments are subject to closer scrutiny and examined: These borrow so much from ideology inimical to the Faith that there is at the least a confusion, if not a downright opposition, with the Catholic moral teaching they’re being conjugated with. Isn’t this what lies behind the CDF’s enquiry a few years back? I believe so…

        That investigation gave rise to this sad and vexed Apologia pro vita tua found here:
        http://home.sandiego.edu/~baber/trouble/Documents/Publicstatementonmytheologicalpositions_TinaBeattie.docx.pdf
        In it you include this deadly, slippery sentence amidst all your protestations of good faith. It’s worthy of every compromised politician in the West:
        “I am personally pro-life.”
        Whoop de do.
        I am personally anti-murder, too and want society to have a say in it in no uncertain terms – even when there’s mutual consent for it (which, of course, in abortion, can never be assumed since the unborn is always the passive victim.)

        But then you go on to add:
        “I have argued robustly against all late abortion”
        Nota bene – the lateness only.

        And lastly you finish the text, apparently without irony, with Cardinal Martini’s post-mortem broadside on the Magisterium of Pope St John Paul II.

        It will not do. Your methodological and emotional commitment to Feminism – which is a bastard child of Marxism with two X chromosomes – has skewed your moral theology. That would be fine if you were indeed simply a mother and grandmother – who’d care what you thought and said! But that’s not the only thing you are. You are seen as a Catholic theologian (in the UK we have no notion of canonical degrees and pontifical faculties) and you have have been promoted, fêted and rewarded with punditry both in the pro-abortion Tablet as well as the secular press. You have a platform. You know what you’re doing. And you exploit it.
        Time to go back to school.
        David Oderberg: Applied Ethics: A Non-Consequentialist Approach (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000; 248pp.) ISBN 0 631 21905 6
        Moral Theory: A Non-Consequentialist Approach (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000; 197pp.) ISBN 0 631 21903 X
        Servais Pinckaers: Morality: The Catholic View (preface by Alasdair MacIntyre ; trans. Michael Sherwin), South Bend, Ind., St. Augustine’s Press, 2001/2003.

        So, frankly Tina, you ARE a symptom. You deserve the criticism. You can call it spiteful and mean-spirited – which is the triggered response of a millenial who shuts down debate by saying, “they’re being nasty to me”. Tough. That approach calls for the same response which those thin-skinned kids deserve:
        Get over yourself already.

        • Anton

          You need to ask her a question. She seems to take the view of abortion that I take of foxhunting, that it is wrong but should not be criminalised. The point about abortion is that human life is a fundamentally different currency from factors such as mother’s convenience, poverty etc, to the point that there is no exchange rate. The reason is the image of God in the unborn baby. Ask her whether she believes the law should uphold that, and if not then why not. Do not let yourself be diverted.

          • ardenjm

            Tina Beattie won’t be replying any time soon.
            She’s made her Victim’s Complaint.
            Clearly she does not accept that the Catholic Church’s social and moral teaching should be anything other than pious hand-wringing and wish-listing.
            It rather raises the question: what understanding of the Good and the Just will inform the legal procedure which she has not just formally distinguished from the Ethical but which she wishes to see severed entirely.

        • Terry Mushroom

          Bravo! But I’m only a seed donor, so my testimony isn’t worth much

        • Lol …..
          ” it makes you sound like a Poundland Hillary Clinton.”

      • “What a snide and nasty little clique this is.”

        *gasp*

        How elegant and erudite.

        • cmfe

          Sometimes a spade is a spade.

          • Chefofsinners

            Keep digging.

      • Chefofsinners

        This is a group of people who think abortion is wrong. As, apparently, do the majority of the public. And possibly you, although you seem to have
        deliberately avoided saying that. So why the insults?

        • cmfe

          Prof. Beattie has never been pro-abortion. If you say she has, provide citations, otherwise refrain from committing libel.

          • Rebecca Bratten Weiss

            The problem with many supposed “pro life” advocates is that they fail to be radical enough. To be radically pro life would involve defending life across the spectrum, and recognizing, also, that when women choose abortion it is often because it’s the only choice that a fundamentally materialist and misogynistic culture leaves open to her. Eradicate these prior injustices and we may start to see something that looks a wee bit pro life.

          • Translation:
            In a perfect society, free of sin and the temptation to sin, there would be no abortion.

          • Anton

            If you think Chefofsinners has stated that Prof. Beattie is pro-abortion, say where.

          • Chefofsinners

            I wrote that she was possibly anti-abortion but seemed to have avoided saying so.
            My question to her is ‘Why the insults?’
            My question to you is ‘Why misrepresent me?’

          • Grimmetta Wormtongue.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Abortion is murder. End of.

    • Manfarang

      Meat is murder.

      • Anton

        That’s rather odd, because as part of keeping the Law of Moses perfectly Christ would have eaten and very probably killed Passover lambs. Are you calling Him a murderer?

        Murder involves by definition the death of a human being in the image of God.

      • carl jacobs

        No. Carrot Juice is Murder.

      • Chefofsinners

        There’s no meat in team.

      • Darter Noster

        No it isn’t. Quorn is an abomination in the sight of the Lord, but meat is fine.

  • carl jacobs

    Jack will call me a cynic.

    I tend to distrust these surveys for a very practical reason. If there had been a sea change in the attitude towards abortion, politicians would have picked up on it and reacted to it. Abortion would be a whole lot less legal than it is.

    Abortion is grisly business. It’s not particularly admirable even to the pro-death lobby. That’s why they hide it behind euphemisms. So people may simply pay tribute to virtue via a survey while they still shack up with vice. Until there is a willingness to coerce the behavior of others, there really isn’t any change to speak of. That willingness won’t be expressed through surveys. It will be expressed through law.

    It’s also futile to argue with pro-Abortionists about when life begins. They don’t care. Abortion is not enabled by some philosophical assertion about when life begins. Abortion is established on the pre-eminent principle of inviolable human autonomy. The assertion that unborn children are not human beings worthy of protection is an ex post facto rationalization. You could convince them that unborn children were alive and it would not change their position. What matters to them is that parenthood not be an imposed obligation. That is the hill they are truly defending.

    • Albert

      The assertion that unborn children are not human beings worthy of protection is an ex post facto rationalization.

      Yes, when you are prepared to kill innocent human life, you will have no difficulty lying to yourself.

      • Words shape the concepts we apply to the world and the “reality” we see.

        People become emotive over the sight of living babies in the womb and recoil in horror when images of dead babies ripped from their mother’s wombs are made public. It stirs the dulled conscience. However, the use of reason to establish what is morally right and wrong and is not necessarily a part of the process, That’s why emotion swings the other way when confronted by stories in the media about raped teenage girls or women dying in hospitals because of a refusal to abort a child.

        Control the narrative with the words and control the means of communication, and you control the decision-making.

        • Darter Noster

          And it provides the proof that abortion is morally different. When was the last time someone tried to ban pictures of someone having their appendix out being shown in public…?

          • Darter Noster

            Watch the video “The Silent Scream”. It takes a very strong stomach to do so, because it shows an ultrasound video of an abortion in progress, with the baby struggling to get away from the implements used to dismember it prior to evacuation. If abortion really was just another operation, that video could be shown to everyone that wanted one without fear. But of course it isn’t just another operation, which is why the pro choice movement has such a strong reaction to the idea of anyone who wants one being shown exactly what their “choice” involves. The local Nazis brought in and forced to view Dachau by the US army springs to mind.

    • That’s not cynical. It’s a realistic appraisal of dynamics in a secular liberal democracy that has abandoned reason and truth, where politicians whore themselves out for votes and the meaning of life is determined by one’s bank balance.

    • Darter Noster

      Most polls and surveys had Britain staying in the EU, Theresa May winning a landslide and Hillary’s mailing address at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That might be a reason to mistrust them more, or it might be a reason to trust an outlier.

      Thing is, however the pro choice movement tries to play it, everybody knows that abortion is not morally the same as a tonsillectomy, and that it is not just ‘a clump of cells’.

      Everybody. Including the most vociferous advocates of abortion up to birth. Including the abortion providers themselves. Everybody. The reason they protest so much at the merest manifestation of pro life sentiment is precisely because they know that, deep down, their argument just doesn’t stack up.

      I watched my wife’s 12 week scan a few weeks ago; he was perfectly formed and moved his hands. The pregnancy books talk about how the baby at that age can respond to touch and sound and light.

      Everybody knows.

      • Darter Noster

        “ he was perfectly formed and moved his hands” – the baby; not the wife.

  • Bruce Atkinson

    Now to the claim that abortion is “not even mentioned in the Scriptures.” It’s true that there is no “Thou shalt not abort your unborn baby.” The reason for this is that the Sixth Commandment covers unborn babies. Unborn babies are viewed as persons — already known to God as unique and valued individuals.

    Jeremiah 1:4-5 (ESV)
    “Now 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.”

    Psalm 139:15-16 (NIV)
    “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together …, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

    Here is a nice summary from Gary DeMar : http://godfatherpolitics.com/15774/planned-parenthood-uses-bible-support-abortion/

    Also:
    http://www.virtueonline.org/performing-abortion-gods-work-real-story-christianity-and-abortion

  • Tina Beattie

    Here is why I find the comments on this blog deeply distressing. I dare to suggest that I may be as troubled by the whole ethical challenge of abortion as anybody who has posted here. However, as far as I can see, this discussion is largely made up of men with an exclusive focus on the unborn child, who are oblivious to, ignorant of, or indifferent towards the tragic dilemmas women and girls sometimes face when confronted by unwanted pregnancies. Not only does this show an attitude towards women which suggests an inability to see us as anything more than incubators, it also closes down any possibility of a respectful, informed and trusting dialogue between different sides in this urgent and important matter of public concern. Why would a woman who sees herself described as a murderer even bother to engage with a discussion like this? Who are you actually trying to persuade, with this aggressive and self-satisfying rhetoric of condemnation? So let me ask you:

    *How many of you give of your time and money to support organisations which help women facing unwanted pregnancies to have their children and raise them in a secure and loving environment?
    *How many of you recognise the social and economic contexts within which women make abortion decisions, because they are poor, homeless, unemployed and terrified, or because their partners are violent, abusive and refusing to take responsibility for their unborn children?
    *How many of you confront your male friends with regard to the responsibilities and commitments of sexual relationships, and call them out when they engage in casual sexual encounters or use language that denigrates women?
    *How many of you might have fathered aborted children as a result of casual sexual encounters?
    *What would you advise in situations of ectopic pregnancy or anembryonic pregnancies?
    *How many of you know that research suggests the most effective way to reduce abortion is to give women access to safe, legal abortion and to reliable contraception? (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-abortion/abortion-rates-fall-to-historic-low-in-wealthy-countries-little-changed-elsewhere-idUSKCN0Y22QO) In other words, respect women’s capacities for ethical decision-making, give them the means to take responsibility for their own reproductive capabilities, and they will begin to seek alternatives to abortion. I know this is not universally true, and I know that there is a very long way to go, but it is effective. Of course, sensitive, reasoned and respectful campaigns against abortion are part of this, but that is not what’s going on in this blog.
    *If you reject that kind of empirical evidence, what exactly are you proposing to do to prevent abortion? Imprison women? Imprison doctors? Take DNA samples from aborted foetuses and imprison the men who fathered them? (Now there’s an idea!)
    *How many of you embrace a pro-Life ethos from conception to natural death, which rejects everything that violates human dignity – war, domestic violence and rape, abortion, economic injustice, the denial of health care to those who are poor?

    • Bruce Atkinson

      I feel for the women and agree that they often have tragic dilemmas when confronted by unwanted pregnancies. I have treated many of these, especially those with post-traumatic abortion syndrome.
      Understanding and often mercy is called for in dealing with these women.

      However, having said that, I must also say that except for life-endangering health issues in the mother, there is no excuse for not bring the child to term and then putting the child up for adoption. Many times, extended family members will raise the child as their own.

      I cannot tell you the psychological damage which occurs to women of conscience following an abortion. No one wants to talk about it, but I see it all the time– a version of PTSD which takes years to overcome with intensive therapy, and perhaps never with many who avoid therapy.

  • Catherine Stringer

    It does not bode well for this article that it vilifies an individual and presumes a view (which I share) supposing this to signal an approval of abortion? … to what end other than abuse? When the individual attempted to deny the assumption I note further abuse from a commentator. Another commentator mentions ‘control the words…and you control the decision’ yet another a film the ‘silent scream’. I object to ‘control’ when conscience is key notwithstanding having viewed the ‘silent scream’ which is indeed distressing. The header postures as anti-abortion as ‘more people are becoming ‘pro-life’ when I know many who are pro-life (as am I) no believer in abortion but absolutely pro-choice. Indeed I marched against the law in my naive and arrogant youth skewed into a focus which ignored the priority of conscience and context. This is not to say abortion should be a pragmatic decision (I do not believe in it) but that the ‘control’ & the ‘decision’ is not mine to make anymore than I can prevent any form of homicide but that life must be respected at all stages & in all contexts. To be pro-life signifies respect for ALL in which this article has demonstrably failed.

    • Chefofsinners

      What is the moral difference between killing an unborn child and killing one once born? Unless there is a difference then the law should be the same for both.

      • Catherine Stringer

        …conscience overides law…(which was not in question) however the article, its presumptions & disrespect were.

        • Chefofsinners

          Sorry, but I don’t understand your reply. Are you saying that for an unborn child conscience overrides law and for one that has been born law overrides conscience?
          My question is: on what basis do you make that distinction?

          • Catherine Stringer

            I asserted nothing other than clearly stating that while I did not believe in abortion I found the article disrespectful.

          • Chefofsinners

            Do you think there is a difference between killing an unborn child and killing one once born?

          • Tina Beattie

            That surely depends on foetal development.

          • Chefofsinners

            Why would it depend on foetal development? A newborn child cannot live without support. Neither can many elderly people. So how do you draw a line anywhere other than conception?

          • Tina Beattie

            So you believe that a microscopic fertilised ovum occupies the same status as a newborn child? Presumably, then, when a woman suffers a late period which she discovers was actually a miscarriage, you would deem her lacking in maternal feeling if she failed to mourn that event as deeply and traumatically as she would mourn the loss of a five year old child? And please see my questions to Anna above. You presumably would then argue that that late period which was an early miscarriage should have had a funeral service?

          • Chefofsinners

            You have only answered my questions with questions.
            I will answer your questions with answers.
            Yes, I believe a microscopic fertilised ovum occupies the same status as a newborn child.
            A mother’s (and father’s) mourning for the child would be tempered by their limited knowledge of and interaction with the child, but if it was me (as it once was) I would mourn all the same.
            As regards the funeral, recovering the child would be difficult, but other than that I would see no reason not to.

            In response to your question to Anna, regarding ectopic pregnancies, the child cannot survive. There is a choice between taking one life by intervening and taking two lives by not intervening. I would intervene to end the child’s life, earlier than it would otherwise end, in order to save the mother. We probably do not differ on that point.

            Was there anything else, or will you answer my questions now?

          • Tina Beattie

            I support legal abortion during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, not because I think it’s moral but because I think that’s consistent with the reasoned integrity of the Catholic theological tradition. It should be a moral argument, not an argument where one side simply imprisons those who disagree. I do not support the stoning of those who commit adultery. That doesn’t mean I’m pro-adultery. I do not support the criminalisation of early abortion.That does not mean I’m pro-abortion. Like Thomas Aquinas and the vast majority of rational human beings, I think there is a difference between a fertilised zygote and a developed baby. No, I would not mourn the loss of an early pregnancy the way I would mourn the loss of a late pregnancy or even more of a child. Finally, if the compassion and lamenting I see in these posts for zygotes were even remotely matched by an informed and merciful concern for the women involved, I might begin to believe that this is about more than sentimentality in situations that most people posting here will never, ever face. Every abortion discussion that speaks as if only one life is involved alienates and repels me, whether so-called ‘pro-Life’ or so-called ‘pro-Choice’.

          • Chefofsinners

            I asked ‘Why is it alright to kill a foetus but not a newborn child?’ Your only answer is ‘I think there is a difference’.
            I asked ‘How do you determine where to draw a line between conception and birth?’ You have not answered.

            Please ditch the smokescreen and provide answers.

          • Tina Beattie

            I have answered. That difference means that there is a moral difference between early and late abortion. Thomas Aquinas would have agreed. I have argued this many times. If you tell me your name and email address, I’ll send you all my articles. But actually, my main point is that you can only draw lines if you have no physical, emotional or scientific understanding of the process of conception (not an instant but a process), foetal development, viability and maternal embodiment and care.

          • Chefofsinners

            “That difference” What difference? The difference which you unilaterally assert that you think exists. And that one carefully chosen medieval theologian thought existed. On this basis you approve of the ending of millions of lives?

            And your answer to where the line is drawn is that it cannot be drawn. Which is my point. There is therefore no ethical, moral or logical justification for any standpoint except this: all abortions are equivalent to killing babies.

          • A medieval theologian who she has misrepresented.

          • Would he?

            Thomas Aquinas was reasoning about human ensoulment and held this occurred at some time after conception. This, he argued, would enable the matter of the embryo to undergo development and become “apt” for the reception of an immortal soul from God by passing through simpler initial stages involving “vegetative” and “animative” souls. Clearly, he didn’t regard life in the womb as “human” until a certain point had been reached. And, so far as one knows, he didn’t go on to support the removal of underdeveloped souls as this would constitute contraception.

            Are you agreeing? Today we know human embryos are already beings that are human (not plants), and are, in fact, the newest and most recent additions to the human family. The fundamental truth is that human embryos are inviolable and deserving of unconditional respect at every stage of their existence. This moral affirmation follows on the heels of the scientific data regarding early human development, which affirms that every person is, so to speak, an “overgrown embryo”.

            Think acorn – think oak tree.

          • ardenjm

            This is specious nonsense.
            Aquinas most certainly would NOT have agreed.
            First, his notion of ‘quickening’ based on fetal movement was rudimentary biology. Oxford University have discovered that the fetal cardiac muscle starts to spontaneously beat around 16 days after conception:
            http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-10-11-first-our-three-billion-heartbeats-sooner-we-thought#
            Second, how on earth – from a Catholic moral theological position – can the circumstances ever morally determine the nature of the act. This is BASIC Catholic moral theology:
            1. The Act in itself
            2. The Intention with which it is done
            These two factors determine the moral nature of the action: right/wrong, good/bad, just/unjust etc
            3. The circumstances
            4. The consequences
            May only attenuate or aggravate the moral gravity of the action but do not determine it.
            How can you not know this?
            Accordingly, early and late abortion if sought (intention) as the wilful destruction of the growing unborn child (act in itself) is morally unjustifiable.

            “you can only draw lines if you have no physical, emotional or scientific understanding of the process of conception (not an instant but a process), foetal development, viability and maternal embodiment and care.”

            And THERE’S the Gradualism.

            No wonder you ignored my preceding post. I would, too, in your place.

          • “I support legal abortion during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, not because I think it’s moral but because I think that’s consistent with the reasoned integrity of the Catholic theological tradition.”

            Oh please …………….. !

            You know that isn’t truthful for the reasons posted above. The Catholic tradition has never supported contraception or abortion. There was a time when they didn’t know the difference. And don’t be shy. You’re a Catholic theologian and scholar. Is it moral or not to end life in the womb up to two months?

          • Anna

            Here is an interesting link that discusses ectopic pregnancies from a pro life perspective-

            https://www.liveaction.org/news/protecting-life-case-ectopic-pregnancy/

          • Terry Mushroom

            I can only tell you of my mother. I was surprised when she told me as an adult that I wasn’t the eldest as I thought. She described a miscarriage similar to your example. She said that before she was married, babies bored her. She never joined the group that surrounds a new Mum when she shows off her baby at work.

            She saw her miscarriage as no more than a minor inconvenience, soon forgotten. That is until she held me. “Every one of your birthdays reminds me and I wonder what the child would have been like,” she said.

            No, she didn’t grieve as if she’d lost a five-year-old. But she certainly felt sadness and loss. That she told me, quite suddenly out of the blue, was significant.

            You cannot make assumptions for all women.

          • A more appropriate and fitting term would be new human life as opposed to a medical term designed to foster distance and dispassion. It’s a foetus when its unwanted and a baby when wanted.

            Ever say to an expectant mother “How’s your foetus doing?” No. Strange that.

        • And neither individual conscience nor law overrides the revealed will of God.

    • Anton

      Jacob Rees Mogg can take the vilification he received above; don’t worry.

      • Catherine Stringer

        …your comment rather confirms my issue….

      • Tina Beattie

        I don’t think she’s referring to Rees-Mogg!! 🙂

    • Anna

      So, killing a human being is wrong, and you would not do it yourself, but others are free to decide for themselves based on their individual consciences and circumstances, and the law has no business interfering with anyone planning to murder their neighbour. Indeed, society has a duty to facilitate such killing, and taxpayers’ money is well spent supporting their choice. If a few million people die terrible deaths- skulls crushed and bodies dismembered- as a consequence, that is a price worth paying to defend the important principle of supremacy of conscience. Supposedly, this makes you pro-life as well as pro-choice, and morally superior to those who are merely pro-life. Interesting!

      • Tina Beattie

        But Anna, have you ever seen what a two week human zygote looks like? I disagree with late abortion for the same reason I disagree with euthanasia, but the Catholic tradition has until the 20th century always recognised a distinction between early and late abortion. Do you really think that killing a two year old child is morally exactly the same as aborting a fertilised zygote? And do you believe that a mother should be condemned to a lifetime of mental and physical trauma or to a pregnancy that will end in her death because she matters less than that zygote?

        • Anna

          As a doctor, I am familiar with fetal development. I have also seen an aborted foetus- and wondered how any human being could do this to another. As the child of a physician, I was also taught from an early age about the sanctity of human life from conception, and the duty of a physician to preserve life. So, in my opinion (since you asked), killing a two month old is exactly the same as killing an embryo or a foetus at any stage in its development. As a Christian, I believe that God is at work in the baby’s growth and development, that He has special purpose for its life (Psalm 139:13 and Jeremiah 1:5); therefore we have no right to destroy it.

          • Tina Beattie

            I said a two week old zygote – before the development of the primitive streak and when there is still a possibility of twinning. You responded with reference to a two month foetus, which I completely accept is different. And if you’re a doctor, please tell me in all honesty what you do in cases of ectopic pregnancies or anembryonic conceptions? These are living humans, are they not?

          • Tina Beattie

            Another genuine question: somebody very close to me had a spontaneous miscarriage at 12 weeks. What should she have done with the little bundle of life that ended up down the toilet? Should all these humans be given a funeral service, just like any other human being who died? Should every woman who miscarries rescue the clots and tissue from the toilet or the bedsheets and give it the sacred treatment that we would give to any dead body? These are serious questions, because they seem to me the logical corollary of insisting that foetal life has exactly the same status in every possible respect as any other life.

          • Anna

            Interesting question. What do you think she should do?

          • Tina Beattie

            I think it’s hard. I know it’s hard. It’s very traumatic when that happens, particularly when the pregnancy is welcomed and wanted. I grieved, and so did the beloved person I’m referring to. But I am not claiming that all abortion is murder, and I’m not claiming that a developing foetus has exactly the same moral status as a viable baby inside or outside the womb, so I’m not contradicting myself when I say that a woman needs to deal with that situation in the way that feels best for her at the time. You are saying those things, so I genuinely want to know how you feel about a woman miscarrying into the toilet and flushing away what you regard as a baby.

          • Tina Beattie

            I’m interested in your reply Anna.

          • Anna

            I believe we must do the best we can to preserve human life; once a baby has died we should treat its mortal remains with respect, and give it a decent burial if possible. In your example the mother had no control over what happened to her baby; so who could blame her for what she did. Deliberately aborting a baby is a very different thing.

          • Tina Beattie

            Fair enough. But it’s perfectly possible to give a decent burial to most miscarriages if the mother knew she was pregnant. It’s not impossible to scoop up the remains and bury them in a proper graveyard with a proper funeral, and surely we must do that with all the diligence we would give to the task of recovering any other human body that died a natural death? Now will you answer my question about ectopic pregnancy?

          • Anna

            I have- please see above. I enjoyed our discussion, but I must go now. Thank you.

          • What do you think the Catholic Church’s position is on ectopic pregnancy and do you agree with it and its reasoning?

          • “But I am not claiming that all abortion is murder, and I’m not claiming that a developing foetus has exactly the same moral status as a viable baby inside or outside the womb … “
            But you’ve not demonstrated your claims from scripture or from Catholic tradition – or from science. It is an unsubstantiated assertion.
            ” … so I’m not contradicting myself when I say that a woman needs to deal with that situation in the way that feels best for her at the time.”
            It’s a valid argument based on an invalid premise – i.e. a foetus is not human life and deserving of respect and protection.
            Oh, and morality isn’t based on feelings.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yes, Jack, this elevation of personal feelings over Holy Writ, thousands of years of traditional doctrine, and common sense morality is one of the unstable legs on the platform of pro-choice ideology/politics. For Christians, this elevation of feelings above God’s revelation is blatant idolatry. It is people making themselves into little gods.
            http://www.virtueonline.org/god-me-essential-idolatry-bruce-atkinson

          • There you go – “foetal life” as distinguishable from human life. The rest is just drama.

            Women do grieve over miscarriages at 3 months and earlier. Logically, one should treat the remains of innocent life in the way you suggest. Start blogging and campaigning on that issue and you might gain more support. Start developing greater awareness of the sanctity of life at every stage from conception to natural death.

          • Anna

            Just to be clear, I was talking about a two month old baby.

          • Tina Beattie

            Okay, and what do you say to a woman whose two month old baby has implanted in her fallopian tubes, or has developed into a bundle of cellular tissue that will never acquire a human form? God is at work in every life, but God gives us moral discernment and medical expertise for a reason, surely, and there are situations when God being at work does not equal viable foetal growth and healthy life. And if you really, really don’t recognise any difference between what I was talking about (a two week zygote) and a newborn baby – or a viable foetus – then I do wonder about your moral compass.

          • Anna

            “… then I do wonder about your moral compass.”
            If you are a theologian, please tell me, is it right to judge people, or should we leave judgment to God?

          • Tina Beattie

            That’s a red herring Anna. There is a great deal of judgement and name-calling going on on this page. But actually, I’m not a relativist. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with respectfully defending a moral perspective in a debate. That is not judging and condemning. If you want to see what judgement, condemnation and deceit look like, click on the link to my name in ‘Archbishop Cranmer’s’ blog.

          • Anna

            “I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with respectfully defending a moral perspective in a debate.”

            I agree. As for name-calling, most people on this blog are not judgmental, they just have strong views, and very few actually indulge in name-calling. But you must accept that as a Catholic theologian you will be held to a higher standard, and as a public figure, will need to develop a thicker skin.

          • Tina Beattie

            I know. That’s why I’m here. I have no problem with robust criticism. As you say, it comes with the job. I do have a problem with people stealing screenshots from confidential Facebook groups, and I have a problem with people circulating second hand opinions based on hostile blogs without actually reading my work or trying to find out what I actually say. And that word “murderer” has been used here. Strong views maybe, but they must expect to be rebutted with strong views.

          • This blog has access to two written statements by you. From them it is clear you do not Roam Catholic teaching on abortion or its theological basis. Why complain when Catholics then challenge you?

          • Chefofsinners

            “There is a great deal of judgement and name-calling going on on this page.”
            Since you arrived.

          • Tina Beattie

            Who are you? What’s your name? At least I don’t hide behind a pseudonym.

          • Chefofsinners

            That being an entirely different point. The fact that you do not know my name does not remove the insults which you have posted.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            This is an ad hominem from you, Tina. You would not know the person if they used their name, so what does it matter? They are a real person worthy of human courtesy and respect, regardless of their online name.

          • Since you had a target.

          • Do you still claim to be speaking as a Roman Catholic theologian? If so, you know the answers to the questions you pose.

          • Anna

            These questions have been answered in my earlier reply.

          • Tina Beattie

            No they haven’t. What would you as a doctor say to a woman who had an ectopic pregnancy? It’s a simple question. Did I miss your answer?

          • Anna

            Please read my last line- “If the pregnancy actually threatened a mother’s life, then a physician might be justified in prioritising the mother’s life over the unborn.” I am not an obstetrician, but I think the principle remains the same- you weigh the chances of survival of the foetus and the risks to the mother’s life, and advise the mother on her options.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I totally agree. As a psychologist who is the son and grandson of physicians, I was taught the same things. And the scriptures are clear that God regards the not-yet-born child as a human being worthy of life no different than the rest of us. Thus, the commandment against murder applies to them. Only the tragic circumstances of the mother’s health issues which put her life in danger justifies an abortion. This is especially true since adoption is always a much better option.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Totally agree – also much missed point that you make here is to my mind very important:

            If the pregnancy actually threatened a mother’s life

            If an adult has a medical bout of madness and they threaten the life of another person, without needing to ascribe moral evil to the person with diminished responsibility, I think most people would accept that a policeman would be justified in taking that adult’s life to preserve another.

            That’s the only point on which I disagree with the staunchest anti-abortion campaigners: I think abortion can be morally justified where a pregnancy is an imminent physical threat to the mother, but it is always the killing of a human, and such circumstances should be treated with the same moral seriousness as any other individual authorised to take life in extremis.

        • ” …. but the Catholic tradition has until the 20th century always recognised a distinction between early and late abortion.”

          And you know full well why this was, don’t you? The Church Fathers did not have scientific evidence or knowledge about when human life actually started and what the different stages were. There was confusion between the theological issues of “ensoulment” and the biological facts of contraception and abortion.

          “Do you really think that killing a two year old child is morally exactly the same as aborting a fertilised zygote?”

          They are both human life so just how is it morally different? All you’re doing is drawing a distinction between the stages and development of life and attempting to shift the time frames for when killing innocent life becomes acceptable.

          “And do you believe that a mother should be condemned to a lifetime of mental and physical trauma or to a pregnancy that will end in her death because she matters less than that zygote?”

          Matters less to who and in what sense? This is simple moral consequentialsm, laced with a dash of emotionalism.

          You know the basis of Catholic moral theology – or should. Here’s a reminder:

          “A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbour) does not make behaviour that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means ….

          It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.

          http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a4.htm

          • Chefofsinners

            Evening, Jack. You and I arrive at exactly the same conclusions, though via different traditions.
            This woman endlessly tries to divert the topic of discussion by asking new and irrelevant questions. It is so blatant that she completely undermines her credibility.

          • Tina Beattie

            My name is Tina Beattie. Why ‘this woman’? That’s exactly what I mean about the level of discussion here.

          • Chefofsinners

            And do you see what I mean about you endlessly trying to divert the discussion?

          • By pointing out that she’s a person with a name? Do you get at all that this is her ENTIRE point of criticism with the article, in a nutshell? We can’t discuss pregnancy without discussing WOMEN.

          • Chefofsinners

            By looking for opportunity to take offence at an innocuous form of words, which specifically identified her WOMANhood. This device has two functions: First an attempt to regain the ground lost through the particularly offensive remarks which she has made. Second, to move the discussion away from the facts and divert attention from her failure to make any sound arguments in favour of killing children.

          • My name is Jack. Happy Jack.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            A bit hypersensitive aren’t you Tina? Perhaps this is a great opportunity for you to grow a thicker skin. You keep the negative tone going by just such critical, reactive comments as that one.

            How do we know you are really named “Tina Beattie” and why would we care? As long as we have a way to address you so that you know who we are talking to, that is sufficient for an online blog situation like this one. Making a big issue about the now traditional use pseudonyms and avatars is only a distraction, a silly way to point the critical finger at your opponents in a debate.

            Every educated
            person who debates online knows that the use of distractions to change the
            subject, and especially the use of ad hominems, name calling, and other insults are only done when the person has run out of
            rational arguments and is losing the debate. Or, like you, cannot handle the heat in the kitchen.

          • Hi Chef.
            Yes, Ms Beattie certainly twisted and wriggled about and avoided answering your direct questions.

          • Are you freaking kidding me??

            There is nothing irrelevant whatsoever about the suffering of women who are pregnant when they don’t want to be, or the way we as a society are encouraged to treat them.

            If talking about women, in relation to abortion, undermines one’s credibility, you’re outing yourself as sexist. You’re saying the zygote is more important than the pregnant woman, period.

          • carl jacobs

            If the suffering of the woman justifies killing her child before birth, then there is no logical reason why the suffering of the woman should not also justify killing her child after birth. It is after all true that the suffering imposed upon the woman occurs after birth and is a direct function of the responsibilities she incurs because of the birth of the child.

            “But it’s a zygote” you will say. Sure, and some will tell you that a newborn is just a newborn and not a human. One man’s arbitrary distinction is another man’s critical boundary.

            “But it’s a zygote.” Which means what? What features and functions must a human being possess before he can be considered a human being? Be careful how you answer. You may define yourself out of existence if you aren’t careful.

            Is a zygote an intentional creation of God or not? Does sin attach at conception or not? It’s an important question because only human beings are sinful. Will that zygote if left unmolested develop into what even you would call a human being? You are simply using a word to designate some ontological difference without defining what that ontological difference is. And you are doing it to justify an action that would otherwise be unjustifiable.

          • Chefofsinners

            Clearly it is not so blatant that you can see it. Forgive me for overestimating you.

            Just to pick up on your last point, where you presume to tell me what I am saying, I am most certainly not saying that the ‘zygote’ human is more important than the pregnant human. I am saying that they are of equal worth. Therefore one must not kill the other simply to improve its own life.

      • Catherine Stringer

        I doubt your interest in my views Anna as you misconstrue them so well. The article was disrespectful and from the comments I see it found its audience which is sad given the importance of the subject. It is precisely because I am not morally superior I am cautious about being judgemental & urge respect for all who may disagree without speaking on their behalf either through assumptions made in the article or in your caricature of my position. I am not responsible for what you understand and see no merit in contention. Peace.

  • Tina Beattie

    Am I missing something? I posted a long comment here this morning. Has it disappeared?

    • CliveM

      Yes I think so.

      • Tina Beattie

        Just as well I saved it. I’ll post it again. Let’s see how long it lasts this time!

    • “Am I missing something?”

      You might ask that; Jack couldn’t possibly comment.

  • Tina Beattie

    People here who think this is an open discussion might like to know that courteous comments which try to offer a different point of view are being marked as spam. If that keeps happening, I shall post them all on my own Facebook page and make them public. If you are defending a defensible position, you have no need to delete comments just because they disagree with you.

    • Apologies: Disqus went into unexplained overdrive, for for some reason. This blog has been a bastion of free speech for 12 years. Please continue: your contributions are very welcome, as are you.

      • Tina Beattie

        Thank you. I hope Maureen Clarke’s comments will also be restored.

      • Bruce Atkinson

        Yes, discus does that sometimes on our website as well (that is, marking a comment here and there as spam); it seems to be random and not directed at anyone in particular. As Moderator, I have to keep on my toes.

  • Margaret Watson

    I was struck by your reference to Down’s syndrome. I have a daughter who also has a genetic mixture of differences from the norm. Someone once said to her that they would pray for her to be healed – her response was that this would mean changing every single cell in her body and she would rather stay as she was thank you. Have you seen the handicapped people campaigning against abortion for medical conditions they are actually living with? My daughter’s condition is one which if a diagnosis is made an abortion is offered. She just gets on with life and we wouldn’t want her any other way.

    • Terry Mushroom

      A point that the disabled Lord Shinkwin has made. I understand that he has Osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare genetic brittle bone disease.

      • Hi

        And the odious toad Linus was despicable on that thread.

        • Chefofsinners

          So he was. I’m all nausetalgic.

    • Hi

      My bro Sam is married to someone who is wheelchair bound i.e. physically disabled and she has recently given birth to twin girls (which is well cool not just because as I’m a twin too) …we’ve booked tickets to Israel so will be spending some of Hanukkah over there.

  • A auto-Disqus issue (not sure why). All comments now liberated (with apologies).

    • Maureen Clarke

      Thank you

  • Terry Mushroom

    What a very aggressive posting. One not calculated to win hearts and minds.

    • It’s not Tina’s job to calculate how to make you feel a certain way. Your heart and mind are your own responsibility.

      • Chefofsinners

        Yet Tina begins her post “Here is why I find the comments on this blog deeply distressing.”
        Apparently her feelings matter.

      • Terry Mushroom

        You attract more bees with a spoonful of sugar than a barrel full of vinegar.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Most of those who post are not really trying to change anyone’s mind, they are just expressing their ego-centered views to the world. Besides, very few people change their minds due to online debates.

  • Chefofsinners

    You wrote: “Looking at Polls gives us very little insight as usually coloured by political views. What most people agree is…”
    How do you know what most people agree, particularly if you pay no attention to the answers they give when they are asked in polls?

  • “How many of you embrace a pro-Life ethos from conception to natural death, which rejects everything that violates human dignity – war, domestic violence and rape, abortion, economic injustice, the denial of health care to those who are poor?”

    Do you accept there are differences of judgement about how one tackles socio-economic matters? There is no room for difference, according to Catholic moral thinking, when it comes to abortion.

    • There is room for Tina, and there is room for me. Just because you won’t allow room for difference doesn’t meant that difference doesn’t exist. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t allow it.

      • There is no room for promoting error and grievous sin under the false flag of a faithful Catholic theologian.

      • carl jacobs

        Ooh! Can we allow room for adultery as well? Christian swingers, rejoice! You have been vindicated.

        • Behave ….

          • carl jacobs

            I am behaving. That is the logical implication of what she said. If we can allow difference over something as fundamental as the definition of a human being as a creation of God, then what is withheld from us?

          • Yes, I know. I enjoyed the comment but thought you were too boisterous.

            There are no limits once you free man’s desires from a well ordered, reasoned conscience, based on immutable principles, and replace it with feelings and the avoidance of suffering. It’s the heresy of our time. In the past, people were aware of sin; now they are encouraged to delude themselves into believing that sin really doesn’t exist.

  • “Abortion is an emotive subject … “

    No, it’s fundamentally a moral and theological issue about the unqualified right to life in the womb.
    It might help avoid the dire consequences you predict if you didn’t contribute to darkening the consciences of people by promoting pro-choice ideologies and obfuscating the issues.

    And, like it or not, one test for a faithful Catholic, among others, is what one believes the conscience is, what the basis for discerning whether an act is moral, and how private conscience stands in relation to revealed truth and the Magisterium of the Church.

    • It’s both, Jack. Feelings and morality aren’t mutually exclusive.

      You can’t darken a person’s conscience by speaking the truth in good faith. If you fear an honest discussion involving the harm of criminalizing abortion, it’s because you have no faith in the consciences of women. But God made conscience supreme, not Jack supreme, for a reason.

      • “You can’t darken a person’s conscience by speaking the truth in good faith.”
        Do you know what the conscience is? Or truth?
        There is no conflict between conscience, properly understood as the voice of God, and God’s truth. What creates conflict is the gap between what fallen man is and what he is called to become. The only way human emotions and passions can be overcome and harmonised with God’s will and our consciences function as they should, in a fallen world, is through grace which perfects us. Before this, we have to use reason to develop our minds to understand God’s and exercise our will to control our passions.
        So, Jack sees no difference between the consciences of men and women and he fears no discussions.

      • carl jacobs

        A conscience is only as good as the principles that inform it. Sincerity is never a justification.

  • Chefofsinners

    How heartening to know that we can solve the difficulties young mothers might face in raising ‘unwanted’ offspring, simply by killing the children. Sacrifice them to the great god of the age, consumerism. I’d never thought of that, obviously because I am male, ignorant and indifferent.

    • She’s not saying that, at all. She’s pointing out that the difficulties faced by women who give birth under duress should be part of any pro-life conversation. And she’s right. How do you propose to stop abortion without addressing the underlying desperation that drives the demand?

      • Chefofsinners

        Step 1 in stopping abortion is dealing with false arguments which seek to justify it.

      • carl jacobs

        I wonder if we would be having this discussion if the subject was drowning unwanted children at birth. Because all of your arguments would still apply.

  • Tina Beattie

    Thanks for the chat. I’ve enjoyed it. Now I’m moving on because time is limited for this kind of activity, and because I don’t think anybody here has the slightest interest in reasoned, informed, intelligent discussion. I leave you with the thought that I posted earlier: to discuss abortion as if it only involves one life (pro-choice – the woman) pro-life (the unborn child) – is repugnant to me, for both involve indifference to the suffering of the other. Goodnight gentlemen. I leave you to your ruminations. Please though, do sleep on my question: how many of you might have fathered aborted babies unawares?

    • Chefofsinners

      Not me. Probably not Anna or Margaret either.

    • ” … how many of you might have fathered aborted babies unawares?”
      Ooo … the feminist pops up its head.
      A

      • Are you suggesting that you know how God will judge others, Happy Jack? Do you have any idea what supremacy of conscience means, or discussing in good faith?

        If you find it distasteful to end by focusing on men’s reproduction, ask yourself why feminists love to say “my body, my choice.” There’s a gut instinct to protect the privacy of our own bodies and our own reproductive choices.

        • “Are you suggesting that you know how God will judge others, Happy Jack?”
          Jack knows the consequences of mortal sin and leading others into sin. The judgement is with God.

          “Do you have any idea what supremacy of conscience means, or discussing in good faith?”

          Do you understand what a properly formed and developed conscience is? Perhaps you should ask Joseph Stalin or ISIL supporters. And just how is it good faith for a person claiming to be a faithful Catholic theologian to make a living on contradicting the teachings of her Church?

          • Terry Mushroom

            “…claiming to be a faithful Catholic theologian to make a living on contradicting the teachings of her Church?”

            And CAFOD keeping her on as a theological advisor despite her letter to Polish bishops supporting “early, safe and legal abortion”. After weasel words from CAFOD, I’m pleased to say my parish decided to support another charity

        • carl jacobs

          The choice to live a sexual life implies the obligation to receive and raise children. This is what the modern world has rejected. This rejection is what abortion is intended to secure.

          • (cough) Lambeth Conference 1930.
            (cough) (cough) Fatima Messages 1917.

          • carl jacobs

            (cough) NFP (cough)

          • Not intrinsically wrong in itself and thus a morally justifiable method if used selflessly with the correct motive.
            [Initially Jack thought that said NFL)

          • carl jacobs

            Uh huh. More rationalization. You prohibit something and then seek a way around the prohibition. “We don’t have divorce. We have annulment. We don’t have contraception. We have NFP.” It doesn’t fool people, Jack.

          • Both perfectly defensible, Carl, and consistent with Catholic tradition and moral reasoning. Both are open to abuse, granted, and demand honesty in motive and practice. In truth, Jack is uneasy about the ease of modern annulments. He is also concerned that there is a lack of understanding about the differences between NFP and artificial contraception amongst Catholics and many priests seem to be complicit in this.

          • carl jacobs

            I’ve taken the class on NFP – in a RC church taught by Catholics who would agree with you. I understand NFP from the inside. Your arguments don’t wash with me.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Carl, you often make thoughtful points born of a deep spirituality which I’ve found very helpful. But I don’t understand your objection to annulment, per se.

            My understanding is that it’s a declaration that a marriage did not exist. Sure, that’s open to corruption and self deception. Is there anything else you object to?

          • Anton

            It takes some sophistry to say that a marriage never existed but the children are legitimate at the same time.

          • carl jacobs

            In some very rare and exceptional instances, I can understand the concept. The RCC does not limit its use to those rare and exception circumstances. I know a woman who received an annulment. She was married for seven years. Too young to understand what she was doing, it seems.

            She got a divorce by any other name.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Bingo! The fleshly sin nature just wants to do what it wants to do without any difficult consequences or inconveniences. The blatant irresponsibility of libertine liberals about sexuality just proves their immaturity and lack of integrity. However, we reap what we sow;; there WILL ALWAYS be negative consequences for foolish and selfish behavior … sooner or later. The greatest problem is that there are innocent victims, not only the not-yet-born children but to the society as a whole, as we are seeing. For secular culture, there is no longer any place to draw the line. Anything goes.

    • Terry Mushroom

      “…how many of you might have fathered aborted babies unawares?l

      What a remarkably immature and deeply unpleasant question. You do not represent your university well.

    • Anton

      You won’t say goodnight to Anna?

      I am absolutely certain that I have fathered no baby that has been aborted.

      The one thing I don’t get is why, with your views, you are a Catholic.

      • The real question is: Are you a Catholic, Ms Beattie?

        • Dominic Stockford

          To which we both know the answer, don’t we?! She’s far more dangerous to your church than I am.

    • carl jacobs

      how many of you might have fathered aborted babies unawares?

      That question irritates because it presumes so many facts not in evidence. Not the least of which is the assumption that the pro-life position cannot and will not be consistently maintained in the face of duress.

      However, to your question. Since I have never had sex with any other woman but one, my answer is “Not I”. But does this somehow disqualify me from speaking on the issue? Are we only to listen to those who folded under the pressure or when challenged made the wrong choice simply because it was convenient?

      • It’s even more insidious, Carl. Think about it.

        • carl jacobs

          I’m not following.

          • Women can and do obtain quick and easy abortions without their husbands ever knowing.

          • carl jacobs

            Ouch! That wasn’t what she was saying however. She was making a blanket accusation of hypocrisy. “You people are pro-life in public but you don’t live it in private.”

    • Nightblogger

      Well as someone at least half on your side in this debate I do object to the insinuation, ‘I don’t think anybody here has the slightest interest in reasoned, informed, intelligent discussion.’ That’s not at all fair, even to some who have argued against us.

    • CliveM

      With regards the last sentence, let’s suppose for arguments sake only I have (I haven’t but lets assume I have), what does this say about the rights or wrongs on abortion? How does this impact on the morality of it?

      Secondly, for clarification, you say that in line with your understanding of RC teaching abortion up to 8 weeks is allowed and you support this? I’m not a RC, so I’m not going to argue that point. Would I be right to assume therefore that you don’t support abortion after 8 weeks, but you back the right of women to have abortions after that time? Understanding that this position is based on your recognising that woman may feel forced into abortion because of circumstance ie poverty, victim of rape, health, risk to life etc, is there an upper time limit that you would place on this period of choice? If so why?

  • I would just like to say, (independent of other women on this thread I support, who have different views but who deserve a right to speak without harassment):

    https://amodestbloggist.com/2017/10/18/the-virgin-mary-is-pro-choice/

    • Wow, Jack has heard some twisted sophistry about the validity of abortion but that blogpost just about beats them all.

      Because the Virgin Mary consented to carry the child Jesus she was “pro-choice”?!
      Theologically, this means women can choose to use artificial contraception to avoid pregnancy and abortion if this fails?!
      If a child isn’t positively assented to it can be discarded?!
      Because all pregnancies carry an inherent risk of fatality, abortion can be defended on the grounds of self-defence from an aggressor?
      !t’s on a par with a Just War?!
      Abortion is actually a selfless act undertaken for the greater good?!

      Oh, and the Catholic Church is run by men …………………..

      • Bruce Atkinson

        On this we entirely agree.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      How do you separate intense disagreement from harassment? Ad hominem insults are obviously harassment. But strong arguments to the contrary are not harassment (like those of physician Anna).

  • Caroline Farrow

    It doesn’t matter what a 2 week old foetus looks like. It’s still human life.

    However the earliest you can find out that you are pregnant is the day your period is due. By that point the foetus is then dated as being 4 weeks old. By the time the foetus is 18 days his/her nervous system has begun to develop. By 5 weeks there is a heartbeat.

    When it comes to ectopic pregnancy action is taken to remove the diseased organ and treat the woman. It’s not direct action to kill the child so it’s permissible.

    Nobody is suggesting criminalising desperate pregnant women. However 50 years later, as the CQC inspections of Marie Stopes and BPAS have demonstrated, legal abortion is far from safe. These ‘clinics’ ought to have the full force of the law thrown against them.

    Pitting a mother against her unborn child is always wrong. A truly progressive society would work for a situation whereby having an abortion (killing your unborn child) is not the only choice that women effectively have.

    As for the deliberately provocative comment about how you treat niscarried remains. You do your best. I miscarried at 15 weeks in 2013 and we did still bury our child & have a priest conduct rites.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I have taken a funeral for a child that died in the womb about a week before it was due. Utterly reasonable.

  • carl jacobs

    It’s a terribly seductive argument. People invent a concept called “fetal life” in order to dehumanize the unborn child. If it’s not human then no obligations attach and we can focus on the tragedy of the woman who is pregnant when she doesn’t to want to be. Of course, it’s not pregnancy that troubles her. It’s the responsibilities of parenthood that cause distress. The concept of “fetal life” creates a convenient window where action may be taken to avoid those responsibilities.

    What is “fetal life”? Well, technically it means “not human life” and don’t try to go any further because you won’t get a coherent answer. Does the fetus possess the DNA of a unique human? Yes. Does the fetus exist in the continuum of human life – a continuum that admits no discernable boundaries between the discontinuities of conception and death? Yes. So if it’s not human life then what kind of life is it? Because it is most certainly is alive. It exhibits every characteristic of life displayed by everyone reading this blog. Is it a chicken? A dog? An ape?

    It’s a “fetus” – which means for all practical purposes “a human being not protected by the law”. It’s a completely arbitrary distinction founded not on science but on the too convenient assumption that human beings are defined by utilitarian notions of functionality. And when is this level of development reached? No one can say. The case is made by observing the child at two widely separated moments in time and declaring “See, how different!” But between those two moments is a continuum of development. If you stepped the child back along that continuum by the differential of time, you would never find a moment when the child went from “fetus” to “human”.

    But of course this is beside the point. Abortion isn’t about fetal development. It’s about adult autonomy. We establish an arbitrary boundary not because it has anything to do with the state of the child. It simply gives the mother a period of time during which she may legally decline the obligations of motherhood.

    That is all abortion is. It is the epitome of selfishness and self-centeredness imposed upon a child. Even animals know to care for their young. But not sinful man. Or woman.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Yes, you meant selfishness (not selflessness) I am sure.

      Here is a quote by the late great Anglican teacher John R.W. Stott:
      “How can we speak of the termination of a pregnancy when what we really mean is the destruction of a human life? How can we talk of therapeutic abortion when pregnancy is not a disease needing therapy and what abortion effects is not a cure but a killing? How can we talk of abortion as a kind of retroactive contraception when what it does is not prevent conception but destroy the [life of a child]? We need to have the courage to use accurate language. Abortion is feticide [murder]: the destruction of an unborn child. It is the shedding of innocent blood, and any society that can tolerate this, let alone legislate for it, has ceased to be civilized.”

      http://www.geneveith.com/2012/10/12/accurate-language-for-abortion/

      • carl jacobs

        A post of that length always requires a little editing. It’s been fixed – along with several other mistakes. And there is still one sentence in there that I am not too happy with.

        • “It’s a terribly seductive argument.”

          A diabolically seductive argument.

          • carl jacobs

            Ya know? That would have been a better word choice.

          • Then amend it. You should as it’s a fine post.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Chuckle. Brother Carl, when you get everything perfect let me know! I am sure to want to edit it some more. I am constantly editing my own stuff. Rough drafts always need refining. And only God is perfect (but then He is perfecting His children so we can expect help here and there).

  • Trust the American’s to arrive late …. again.
    Jack arrived somewhat late too, just as Ms Beattie, scholar and neo-post-Catholic theologian was fleeing from the battlefield. She ignored all of Jack’s comments. You’re right though, Chef and Anna held the line admirably. You old friend, ardenjm, was the one who drew her from cover. His pointed post and responses to her deserve credit.

    • carl jacobs

      Trust the American’s to arrive late …. again.

      Rofl. OK, Jack. You get a point for that retort.

      She ignored all of Jack’s comments.

      That did not go unnoticed.

  • Okay …. and he’s not the only one flogging cheap grace. The sale of indulgences robbed a man of his wealth ; peddling error risks a man’s soul.

    • carl jacobs

      The answer is obvious. Quit kicking at the goads and become a Protestant. Then you won’t be peddling all those errors anymore.

      • Terry Mushroom

        But what sort of Protestant? There are so many to choose from.

        • Anton

          There is only one Bible.

          • And how many interpretations of how many translations?

          • Anton

            Oh it’s worse than that, Jack. Which Greek version of the New Testament do you prefer? Or version of the Old Testament?

            The word ‘interpretation’ is poor since it suggests that there may be multiple legitimate. ‘Understanding’ is better. Everybody believes that theirs is right, of course, or else they would shift to another. But it is an act of staggering hubris and folly for anybody to suggest that he cannot be wrong.

          • No one single person can be correct. Consider the task in translating the New Testament from the spoken Aramaic into Latin and then into Greek whilst understanding the written style, idioms, analogies and meanings of the words when they were written and how they would be understood today. It needs Divine guidance.
            Another reason for a Magisterium, don’t you think.

          • Pubcrawler

            “into Latin and then into Greek”

            Erm, wrong way round.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Absolutely true. All original OT scriptures were written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and all the NT was written in Greek, then translated into Latin, Aramaic, and other languages.

          • Anton

            I’d credit Jack with a Freudian slip rather than ignorance there.

          • Pubcrawler

            Of course. The rest of his comments on the difficulties faced by translators are correct.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Or a reason for divinely gifted discernment. The Magisterium has never had a corner on the truth (just examine the record of a few heretical Popes).

          • Care to give an example of a formal heretic and any doctrine he introduced?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Surely you know your Catholic history. You have even agreed with this point in the past. I have no desire to go deep into their heresies. Just google “heretical popes” and you will get some information on this.

          • Anton

            the Council of Pisa in 1409 expediently declared that the Roman and Avignon popes of the day were both heretics (and therefore invalid), and appointed another man. The other two declined to resign, however, so then there were three contending popes…

          • As Jack recalls this was all to do with the Great Schism in the Western Church. The controversy over the true succession to the papacy. He cannot recall these Popes being declared as “formal heretics” who introduced heresy into the Deposit of Faith.

          • Anton

            “Great Schism” is ambiguous between that and 1054.

            I am certain that those two men were declared heretics at Pisa. I would think it pretty difficult to do that without saying why but nothing would surprise me.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Pisa#Deposition

          • Manifest heretics maybe – just as some are levelling this charge at Pope Francis today. This was more a political dispute about who controlled the Papacy rather than doctrinal.

          • Anton

            Another reason for a group effort, certainly. But a network not a hierarchy.

  • Hi,

    Whenever I’ve discussed this with Roman Catholics, almost 100% say that the teaching of their faith is that abortion is wrong in any circumstances because life begins at the moment of conception and the idea of having to choose between a child and a mother is a false dichotomy as both lives are equally important.

    Is this the position of the Protestants or is there difference?

    Also. Whenever I’ve discussed abortion with what I’d identify as “radical feminist liberals ” , the arguments don’t revolve around morality or big questions on what’s life. It’s much more simply boils down that this group wants abortion on demand in any circumstances and for any reason .

    To them abortion in the philosophical abstract is equivalent to buying a new handbag and is based on the principle of rights, from a liberal perspective , i.e. bodily autonomy in that the person is sole sovereign of their body . If one adds radical feminism then there’s this underlying insecurity about male patriarchy and how men have written the rules to put women down, so that’s another reason to support abortion : to attack male supremacy in society.

    The Orthodox Jewish view is slightly more nuanced than the Catholic or arch feminist liberal view, in that we don’t permit abortion for ‘any’ reason ‘on demand’ , causing anyone to miscarry is a crime (exodus 21 ,22-23) but only permit abortion when the mother’s life is in mortal danger, physically or mentally. There are disagreements between rabbinic authorities on abortion in respect of prohibited sexual relations or rape. In Genesis 9.6 there is a prohibition shedding the “blood of man within man” — a phrase understood by our sages to refer to a fetus and therefore ‘feticide’ is prohibited by Jewish law.

    In respect of the bodily autonomy argument, we are taught that ultimately this is on loan to us from God , so there we have various prohibitions in Jewish law— e.g. prohibitions on suicide, getting tattoos and wounding oneself— collectively serve to reject the idea that individuals enjoy an unfettered right to make choices regarding their own bodies.

    In respect of contraception this is permissible ( but not sterilisation) only when a couple have fulfilled the Mitzvah of procreation , a child each of the two genders.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Pretty much so. The Bible teaches that human life is a gift from God. Therefore all life matters. What is more, Jeremiah 1:5 clearly states that God knew us BEFORE he formed us in the womb. Life is a wider concept than simply our experience in this world, at both ends.

      • Anton

        Dominic, I’d like to discuss Jeremiah 1:5 apart from the abortion issue. The question is what ‘know’ means in “before I formed you in the womb I knew you”. If it means personal interaction then our incorporeal facets are presumably created by God before we are conceived, whizz around the universe in His company, have their memories erased, and then get inserted into our bodies at some point in the womb. That is a huge scenario to rest on a single verse and I don’t find it very plausible.

        There is also the question of what ‘you’ means in the phrase. Your body is part of you, according to Hebraic understanding. So God seems to be saying that he knows your body (as part of ‘you’) before he created it. That supports my view that ‘know’ is like an experienced naval architect who has a comprehensive plan of a great ship on his drawing board before it is constructed, and that our incorporeal facets grow in parallel with our bodies in the womb.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          There is no way to argue about such things with the kind of detail we might like (sort of like the old metaphor of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin) because we cannot know such mysteries in depth. Christians depend on what the scriptures reveal. What we know from scripture is that God lives in eternity (past, present, and future) and knew from the beginning (and so intended) who would be conceived. Therefore He knows (and knew) each of us even prior to conception.

          Ephesians 1:4-5 declare “… even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…” (and Romans 8:29-30 and Eph 1:11 back this up).

          God knows unborn infants in a kind of depth which is inconceivable to us. They have the same potential to develop and grow to adulthood and live a full life… just as you did as a fetus. They have the same right to life as you had or as your children have.

          God also knows (knew) who would murder who, who would repent and who would not. Eventually His sheep (those who believe in His Son) will be separated from the devil’s goats. In the meantime, we are still making choices that affect our destiny and that of others. Our choices and behavior reveals who we really are; but God already knows (and always knew even from “before the foundation of the world.”)

          • Anton

            “God lives in eternity (past, present, and future) and knew from the beginning (and so intended) who would be conceived. Therefore He knows (and knew) each of us even prior to conception.”

            Yes, that is what I am saying; thank you for putting it more clearly.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Which last quote I would agree with – adding in ‘mystery’ to the pot. Not everything is now understood. God knew us before we were conceived, we obviously could not have done. I suppose it is part of the ‘foreknowledge’ of God.

  • More than 100 MPs have asked the Home Secretary to ban pro-life vigils outside clinics

    A total of 113 MPs have signed a letter urging the Home Secretary Amber Rudd to ban prayer vigils outside abortion clinics.

    The letter, signed by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, and Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, was sent to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act, which introduced legal abortion into Britain.

    It comes after Ealing council in west London voted to use anti-social behaviour powers to stop vigils outside an abortion clinic in the borough. Earlier this week legislators in Ontario, Canada, also voted to ban vigils outside clinics ….

    The letter, written by Rupa Huq, the Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, accused pro-lifers of harassing women outside the clinics – an accusation strongly denied by the Good Counsel Network, which organises the vigils.

    Huq said protesters called women “murderers” and filmed them as they went in and out of the clinics.

    She said the idea was “not to stop protests, but to ask protesters to instead make use of the many places they could protest – from Parliament Square to town centres to Speaker’s Corner”.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/10/27/jeremy-corbyn-joins-100-mps-urging-government-to-ban-abortion-protests/

    • This is very worrying, another step towards the criminalisation of unsanctioned views.

  • Chefofsinners

    Perhaps it wasn’t a fully formed comment, just an embryonic one. In which case it doesn’t matter.