So this week I decided to pen something more on the topic of euthanasia and cast about searching for some form of summary in order to get my bearings. In the end I found this fantastic article on the bbc website which honestly I found too helpful not to share!
It’s possible to argue about the way we’ve divided up the arguments, and many arguments could fall into more categories than we’ve used.
- Euthanasia weakens society’s respect for the sanctity of life
- Accepting euthanasia accepts that some lives (those of the disabled or sick) are worth less than others
- Voluntary euthanasia is the start of a slippery slope that leads to involuntary euthanasia and the killing of people who are thought undesirable
- Euthanasia might not be in a person’s best interests
- Euthanasia affects other people’s rights, not just those of the patient
- Proper palliative care makes euthanasia unnecessary
- There’s no way of properly regulating euthanasia
- Allowing euthanasia will lead to less good care for the terminally ill
- Allowing euthanasia undermines the committment of doctors and nurses to saving lives
- Euthanasia may become a cost-effective way to treat the terminally ill
- Allowing euthanasia will discourage the search for new cures and treatments for the terminally ill
- Euthanasia undermines the motivation to provide good care for the dying, and good pain relief
- Euthanasia gives too much power to doctors
- Euthanasia exposes vulnerable people to pressure to end their lives
- Moral pressure on elderly relatives by selfish families
- Moral pressure to free up medical resources
- Patients who are abandoned by their families may feel euthanasia is the only solution
- Voluntary euthanasia is the start of a slippery slope that leads to involuntary euthanasia and the killing of people who are thought undesirable
Against the will of God
Religious people don’t argue that we can’t kill ourselves, or get others to do it. They know that we can do it because God has given us free will. Their argument is that it would be wrong for us to do so.
They believe that every human being is the creation of God, and that this imposes certain limits on us. Our lives are not only our lives for us to do with as we see fit.
To kill oneself, or to get someone else to do it for us, is to deny God, and to deny God’s rights over our lives and his right to choose the length of our lives and the way our lives end.
The value of suffering
Religious people sometimes argue against euthanasia because they see positive value in suffering.
Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace.
Pope John Paul II: Salvifici Doloris, 1984
The religious attitude to suffering
Most religions would say something like this:
We should relieve suffering when we can, and be with those who suffer, helping them to bear their suffering, when we can’t. We should never deal with the problem of suffering by eliminating those who suffer.
The nature of suffering
Christianity teaches that suffering can have a place in God’s plan, in that it allows the sufferer to share in Christ’s agony and his redeeming sacrifice. They believe that Christ will be present to share in the suffering of the believer.
Pope John Paul II wrote that “It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls.”
However while the churches acknowledge that some Christians will want to accept some suffering for this reason, most Christians are not so heroic.
So there is nothing wrong in trying to relieve someone’s suffering. In fact, Christians believe that it is a good to do so, as long as one does not intentionally cause death.
Dying is good for us
Some people think that dying is just one of the tests that God sets for human beings, and that the way we react to it shows the sort of person we are, and how deep our faith and trust in God is.
Others, while acknowledging that a loving God doesn’t set his creations such a horrible test, say that the process of dying is the ultimate opportunity for human beings to develop their souls.
When people are dying they may be able, more than at any time in their life, to concentrate on the important things in life, and to set aside the present-day ‘consumer culture’, and their own ego and desire to control the world. Curtailing the process of dying would deny them this opportunity.
Several Eastern religions believe that we live many lives and the quality of each life is set by the way we lived our previous lives.
Those who believe this think that suffering is part of the moral force of the universe, and that by cutting it short a person interferes with their progress towards ultimate liberation.
A non-religious view
Some non-religious people also believe that suffering has value. They think it provides an opportunity to grow in wisdom, character, and compassion.
Suffering is something which draws upon all the resources of a human being and enables them to reach the highest and noblest points of what they really are.
Suffering allows a person to be a good example to others by showing how to behave when things are bad.
M Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Travelled, has written that in a few weeks at the end of life, with pain properly controlled a person might learn
how to negotiate a middle path between control and total passivity, about how to welcome the responsible care of strangers, about how to be dependent once again … about how to trust and maybe even, out of existential suffering, at least a little bit about how to pray or talk with God.
M Scott Peck
The nature of suffering
It isn’t easy to define suffering – most of us can decide when we are suffering but what is suffering for one person may not be suffering for another.
It’s also impossible to measure suffering in any useful way, and it’s particularly hard to come up with any objective idea of what constitutes unbearable suffering, since each individual will react to the same physical and mental conditions in a different way.
Sanctity of life
This argument says that euthanasia is bad because of the sanctity of human life.
There are four main reasons why people think we shouldn’t kill human beings:
- All human beings are to be valued, irrespective of age, sex, race, religion, social status or their potential for achievement
- Human life is a basic good as opposed to an instrumental good, a good in itself rather than as a means to an end
- Human life is sacred because it’s a gift from God
- Therefore the deliberate taking of human life should be prohibited except in self-defence or the legitimate defence of others
We are valuable for ourselves
The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else. The fact that we are human has value in itself.
Our inherent value doesn’t depend on anything else – it doesn’t depend on whether we are having a good life that we enjoy, or whether we are making other people’s lives better. We exist, so we have value.
Most of us agree with that – though we don’t put it in philosopher-speak. We say that we don’t think that we should use other people – which is a plain English way of saying that we shouldn’t treat other people as a means to our own ends.
We must respect our own value
It applies to us too. We shouldn’t treat ourselves as a means to our own ends.
And this means that we shouldn’t end our lives just because it seems the most effective way of putting an end to our suffering. To do that is not to respect our inherent worth.
The slippery slope
Many people worry that if voluntary euthanasia were to become legal, it would not be long before involuntary euthanasia would start to happen.
We concluded that it was virtually impossible to ensure that all acts of euthanasia were truly voluntary and that any liberalisation of the law in the United Kingdom could not be abused.
We were also concerned that vulnerable people – the elderly, lonely, sick or distressed – would feel pressure, whether real or imagined, to request early death.
Lord Walton, Chairman, House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics looking into euthanasia, 1993
This is called the slippery slope argument. In general form it says that if we allow something relatively harmless today, we may start a trend that results in something currently unthinkable becoming accepted.
Those who oppose this argument say that properly drafted legislation can draw a firm barrier across the slippery slope.
Various forms of the slippery slope argument
If we change the law and accept voluntary euthanasia, we will not be able to keep it under control.
- Proponents of euthanasia say: Euthanasia would never be legalised without proper regulation and control mechanisms in place
Doctors may soon start killing people without bothering with their permission.
- Proponents say: There is a huge difference between killing people who ask for death under appropriate circumstances, and killing people without their permission
- Very few people are so lacking in moral understanding that they would ignore this distinction
- Very few people are so lacking in intellect that they can’t make the distinction above
- Any doctor who would ignore this distinction probably wouldn’t worry about the law anyway
Health care costs will lead to doctors killing patients to save money or free up beds:
- Proponents say: The main reason some doctors support voluntary euthanasia is because they believe that they should respect their patients’ right to be treated as autonomous human beings
- That is, when doctors are in favour of euthanasia it’s because they want to respect the wishes of their patients
- So doctors are unlikely to kill people without their permission because that contradicts the whole motivation for allowing voluntary euthanasia
- But cost-conscious doctors are more likely to honour their patients’ requests for death
- A 1998 study found that doctors who are cost-conscious and ‘practice resource-conserving medicine’ are significantly more likely to write a lethal prescription for terminally-ill patients [Arch. Intern. Med., 5/11/98, p. 974]
- This suggests that medical costs do influence doctors’ opinions in this area of medical ethics
The Nazis engaged in massive programmes of involuntary euthanasia, so we shouldn’t place our trust in the good moral sense of doctors.
- Proponents say: The Nazis are not a useful moral example, because their actions are almost universally regarded as both criminal and morally wrong
- The Nazis embarked on invountary euthanasia as a deliberate political act – they didn’t slip into it from voluntary euthanasia (although at first they did pretend it was for the benefit of the patient)
- What the Nazis did wasn’t euthanasia by even the widest definition, it was the use of murder to get rid of people they disapproved of
- The universal horror at Nazi euthanasia demonstrates that almost everyone can make the distinction between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia
- The example of the Nazis has made people more sensitive to the dangers of involuntary euthanasia
Allowing voluntary euthanasia makes it easier to commit murder, since the perpetrators can disguise it as active voluntary euthanasia.
- Proponents say: The law is able to deal with the possibility of self-defence or suicide being used as disguises for murder. It will thus be able to deal with this case equally well
- To dress murder up as euthanasia will involve medical co-operation. The need for a conspiracy will make it an unattractive option
Many are needlessly condemned to suffering by the chief anti-euthanasia argument: that murder might lurk under the cloak of kindness.
A C Grayling, Guardian 2001
Devalues some lives
Some people fear that allowing euthanasia sends the message, “it’s better to be dead than sick or disabled”.
The subtext is that some lives are not worth living. Not only does this put the sick or disabled at risk, it also downgrades their status as human beings while they are alive.
The disabled person’s perspective
Part of the problem is that able-bodied people look at things from their own perspective and see life with a disability as a disaster, filled with suffering and frustration.
Some societies have regarded people with disabilities as inferior, or as a burden on society. Those in favour of eugenics go further, and say that society should prevent ‘defective’ people from having children. Others go further still and say that those who are a burden on society should be eliminated.
People with disabilities don’t agree. They say:
- All people should have equal rights and opportunities to live good lives
- Many individuals with disabilities enjoy living
- Many individuals without disabilities don’t enjoy living, and no-one is threatening them
- The proper approach to people with disabilities is to provide them with appropriate support, not to kill them
- The quality of a person’s life should not be assessed by other people
- The quality of life of a person with disabilities should not be assessed without providing proper support first
Opposition to this argument
Supporters of euthanasia would respond that this argument includes a number of completely misleading suggestions, and refute them:
- Dying is not the same as never having been born
- The debate is nothing to do with preventing disabled babies being born, or preventing people with disabilities from becoming parents
- Nobody is asking for patients to be killed against their wishes – whether or not those patients are disabled
- The euthanasia procedure is intended for use by patients who are dying, or in a condition that will get worse – most disabilities don’t come under that category
- The normal procedure for euthanasia would have to be initiated at the patient’s request
- Disabled people who are not mentally impaired are just as capable as able-bodied people of deciding what they want
- Protections will be in place for patients who are mentally impaired, whether through disability or some other reason
- It is possible that someone who has just become disabled may feel depressed enough to ask for death, which is why any proposed system of euthanasia must include psychological support and assessment before the patient’s wish is granted
- All people should have equal rights and opportunities to live, or to choose not to go on living
Patient’s best interests
A serious problem for supporters of euthanasia are the number of cases in which a patient may ask for euthanasia, or feel obliged to ask for it, when it isn’t in their best interest. Some examples are listed below:
- the diagnosis is wrong and the patient is not terminally ill
- the prognosis (the doctor’s prediction as to how the disease will progress) is wrong and the patient is not going to die soon
- the patient is getting bad medical care and their suffering could be relieved by other means
- the doctor is unaware of all the non-fatal options that could be offered to the patient
- the patient’s request for euthanasia is actually a ‘cry for help’, implying that life is not worth living now but could be worth living if various symptoms or fears were managed
- the patient is depressed and so believes things are much worse than they are
- the patient is confused and unable to make sensible judgements
- the patient has an unrealistic fear of the pain and suffering that lies ahead
- the patient is feeling vulnerable
- the patient feels that they are a worthless burden on others
- the patient feels that their sickness is causing unbearable anguish to their family
- the patient is under pressure from other people to feel that they are a burden
- the patient is under pressure because of a shortage of resources to care for them
- the patient requests euthanasia because of a passing phase of their disease, but is likely to feel much better in a while
Supporters of euthanasia say these are good reasons to make sure the euthanasia process will not be rushed, and agree that a well-designed system for euthanasia will have to take all these points into account. They say that most of these problems can be identified by assessing the patient properly, and, if necessary, the system should discriminate against the opinions of people who are particularly vulnerable.
Chochinov and colleagues found that fleeting or occasional thoughts of a desire for death were common in a study of people who were terminally ill, but few patients expressed a genuine desire for death. (Chochinov HM, Tataryn D, Clinch JJ, Dudgeon D. Will to live in the terminally ill. Lancet 1999; 354: 816-819)
They also found that the will to live fluctuates substantially in dying patients, particularly in relation to depression, anxiety, shortness of breath, and their sense of wellbeing.
Other people have rights too
Euthanasia is usually viewed from the viewpoint of the person who wants to die, but it affects other people too, and their rights should be considered.
- family and friends
- medical and other carers
- other people in a similar situation who may feel pressured by the decision of this patient
- society in general
Proper palliative care
Palliative care is physical, emotional and spiritual care for a dying person when cure is not possible. It includes compassion and support for family and friends.
Competent palliative care may well be enough to prevent a person feeling any need to contemplate euthanasia.
You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life and we will do all we can to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.
Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement
The key to successful palliative care is to treat the patient as a person, not as a set of symptoms, or medical problems.
The World Health Organisation states that palliative care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process; it neither hastens nor postpones death; it provides relief from pain and suffering; it integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of the patient.
Making things better for patient, family and friends
The patient’s family and friends will need care too. Palliative care aims to enhance the quality of life for the family as well as the patient.
Effective palliative care gives the patient and their loved ones a chance to spend quality time together, with as much distress removed as possible. They can (if they want to) use this time to bring any unfinished business in their lives to a proper closure and to say their last goodbyes.
Palliative care should aim to make it easier and more attractive for family and friends to visit the dying person. A survey (USA 2001) showed that terminally ill patients actually spent the vast majority of their time on their own, with few visits from medical personnel or family members.
Spiritual care may be important even for non-religious people. Spiritual care should be interpreted in a very wide sense, since patients and families facing death often want to search for the meaning of their lives in their own way.
Palliative care and euthanasia
Good palliative care is the alternative to euthanasia. If it was available to every patient, it would certainly reduce the desire for death to be brought about sooner.
But providing palliative care can be very hard work, both physically and psychologically. Ending a patient’s life by injection is quicker and easier and cheaper. This may tempt people away from palliative care.
Legalising euthanasia may reduce the availability of palliative care
Some fear that the introduction of euthanasia will reduce the availability of palliative care in the community, because health systems will want to choose the most cost effective ways of dealing with dying patients.
Medical decision-makers already face difficult moral dilemmas in choosing between competing demands for their limited funds. So making euthanasia easier could exacerbate the slippery slope, pushing people towards euthanasia who may not otherwise choose it.
When palliative care is not enough
Palliative care will not always be an adequate solution:
- Pain: Some doctors estimate that about 5% of patients don’t have their pain properly relieved during the terminal phase of their illness, despite good palliative and hospice care
- Dependency: Some patients may prefer death to dependency, because they hate relying on other people for all their bodily functions, and the consequent loss of privacy and dignity
- Lack of home care: Other patients will not wish to have palliative care if that means that they have to die in a hospital and not at home
- Loss of alertness: Some people would prefer to die while they are fully alert and and able to say goodbye to their family; they fear that palliative care would involve a level of pain-killing drugs that would leave them semi-anaesthetised
- Not in the final stages: Other people are grateful for palliative care to a certain point in their disease, but after that would prefer to die rather than live in a state of helplessness and distress, regardless of what is available in terms of pain-killing and comfort.
There should be no law or morality that would limit a clinical team or doctor from administering the frequent dosages of pain medication that are necessary to free people’s minds from pain that shrivels the spirit and leaves no time for speaking when, at times, there are very few hours or days left for such communication.
Dr. David Roy, Director of the Centre for Bioethics, Clinical Research Institute of Montreal
Fears about regulation
Euthanasia opponents don’t believe that it is possible to create a regulatory system for euthanasia that will prevent the abuse of euthanasia.
It gives doctors too much power
This argument often appears as ‘doctors should not be allowed to play God’. Since God arguments are of no interest to people without faith, it’s presented here with the God bit removed.
Doctors should not be allowed to decide when people die:
- Doctors do this all the time
- Any medical action that extends life changes the time when a person dies and we don’t worry about that
- This is a different sort of decision, because it involves shortening life
- Doctors take this sort of decision all the time when they make choices about treatment
- As long as doctors recognise the seriousness of euthanasia and take decisions about it within a properly regulated structure and with proper safeguards, such decisions should be acceptable
- In most of these cases the decision will not be taken by the doctor, but by the patient. The doctor will provide information to the patient to help them make their decision
Since doctors give patients the information on which they will base their decisions about euthanasia, any legalisation of euthanasia, no matter how strictly regulated, puts doctors in an unacceptable position of power.
Doctors have been shown to take these decisions improperly, defying the guidelines of the British Medical Association, the Resuscitation Council (UK), and the Royal College of Nursing:
- An Age Concern dossier in 2000 showed that doctors put Do Not Resuscitate orders in place on elderly patients without consulting them or their families
- Do Not Resuscitate orders are more commonly used for older people and, in the United States, for black people, alcohol misusers, non-English speakers, and people infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This suggests that doctors have stereotypes of who is not worth saving
Pressure on the vulnerable
This is another of those arguments that says that euthanasia should not be allowed because it will be abused.
The fear is that if euthanasia is allowed, vulnerable people will be put under pressure to end their lives. It would be difficult, and possibly impossible, to stop people using persuasion or coercion to get people to request euthanasia when they don’t really want it.
I have seen . . . AIDS patients who have been totally abandoned by their parents, brothers and sisters and by their lovers.
In a state of total isolation, cut off from every source of life and affection, they would see death as the only liberation open to them.
In those circumstances, subtle pressure could bring people to request immediate, rapid, painless death, when what they want is close and powerful support and love.
evidence to the Canadian Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
The pressure of feeling a burden
People who are ill and dependent can often feel worthless and an undue burden on those who love and care for them. They may actually be a burden, but those who love them may be happy to bear that burden.
Nonetheless, if euthanasia is available, the sick person may pressure themselves into asking for euthanasia.
Pressure from family and others
Family or others involved with the sick person may regard them as a burden that they don’t wish to carry, and may put pressure (which may be very subtle) on the sick person to ask for euthanasia.
Increasing numbers of examples of the abuse or neglect of elderly people by their families makes this an important issue to consider.
The last few months of a patient’s life are often the most expensive in terms of medical and other care. Shortening this period through euthanasia could be seen as a way of relieving pressure on scarce medical resources, or family finances.
It’s worth noting that cost of the lethal medication required for euthanasia is less than £50, which is much cheaper than continuing treatment for many medical conditions.
Some people argue that refusing patients drugs because they are too expensive is a form of euthanasia, and that while this produces public anger at present, legal euthanasia provides a less obvious solution to drug costs.
If there was ‘ageism’ in health services, and certain types of care were denied to those over a certain age, euthanasia could be seen as a logical extension of this practice.
This is an excellent article cross posted from Dr Peter Saunders – campaign director of the Care Not Killing Alliance in the UK (a coalition of over 40 organisations in the UK promoting palliative care and opposing euthanasia) and originally from New Zealand.
Note: This is a long post but the main points can be easily scanned.You can listen to an excellent interview featuring Peter Saunders on the Stephen Nolan show on BBC Radio Ulster on this issue here.
We highly recommend listening to this interview – Peter handles the sensitive subject of life limiting diagnosis beautifully – you will come out with a really good overview of the whole issue and pick up many excellent points to use in conversations on this topic.
A woman who is carrying twin girls with a fatal foetal abnormality has appealed to the Northern Ireland Minister for Health Edwin Poots to allow her have an abortion in Northern Ireland.
The woman, known as Laura, who is almost 22 weeks pregnant, said she was very recently informed that her babies have anencephaly and had no chance of survival. She is now arranging to travel to England for an abortion.
The case of another Northern Ireland woman, Sarah Ewart, who had an abortion last week in London for a baby with the same condition at 20 weeks has recently been highlighted by the BBC’s Stephen Nolan.
The 1967 British Abortion Act does not apply in Northern Ireland, where termination is permitted only where it is ‘necessary to preserve the life of the woman or there is a risk of real and serious adverse effect on her physical or mental health, which is either long-term or permanent’.
Currently only about 40 abortions are performed in Northern Ireland each year although 905 women from the province had abortions in England Wales in 2012.
A consultation is currently taking place about changing the guidelines on abortion and Minister of Justice David Ford has said that there is a need to widen it ‘to look at difficult issues like foetal abnormality to see if where the law is currently drawn is in the right place’ (see also here).
Anencephaly is a severe form of spina bifida where a failure of fusion of the neural rube in early pregnancy results in the baby developing without cerebral hemispheres, including the neocortex, which is responsible for cognition. The remaining brain tissue is often exposed, ie. not covered by bone or skin.
Those babies who survive to birth almost all die in the first hours or days after birth. There is no curative treatment available, only symptom relief.
Anencephaly is not uncommon, occurring in 1 out of 1,000 pregnancies, but only 3 out of 10,000 live births. Over 95% of parents opt for abortion in countries where this is legal and 208 babies with the condition were aborted in England and Wales in 2012.
One cannot hear these tragic testimonies without being deeply moved by the emotions expressed. There are few things worse than losing a child and it is a huge thing for a mother to carry a baby to term, knowing that it will be born with a terrible deformity and die shortly afterwards.
It is perhaps not surprising therefore that the media coverage of these recent cases, along with the public reaction, has been overwhelmingly supportive of the decision to abort and that there is now growing pressure for a change in the law.
Very few people, even doctors or disabled people’s advocates, are willing to express a contrary opinion, and I do so only because I believe that the issue is so important that the arguments for the contrary position need to be heard.
Before I qualified as a doctor I probably would have taken the generally expressed view, but an experience I had as a junior doctor dramatically changed my attitudes both to disability and abortion.
More on that later, but first, at the risk of being accused of trying to defend the ‘indefensible’, let me give twenty reasons why I believe parents (and doctors) should think twice about aborting a baby with anencephaly, and why I believe we as a society should be advocating an alternative approach. I would stress that this is my sincerely held personal view.
1. A baby with anencephaly is a human being
Our humanity is not diminished or degraded by sickness, disability, fragility, intellectual impairment or by what people think of us or how they value us. Babies with severe conditions like anencephaly are human beings worthy, like all human beings, of profound wonder, empathy, respect and protection.
2. A baby with anencephaly is not brain dead
Babies with anencephaly, although not conscious, are not brain dead. Their brainstems are functioning at least in part which is why they can breathe without ventilators, often survive for several days and are not permitted to be used as organ donors.
3. A baby with anencephaly is a dependent relative
Babies with anencephaly are profoundly dependent but are also biologically related to their parents and carry their genes. They are therefore dependent relatives and so should I believe be treated with the same love and respect as any other dependent and dying close relative.
4. A baby with anencephaly is a disabled person
Babies with anencephaly are profoundly disabled and have special needs. They are also people because personhood is not contingent upon intellectual capacity or function but conferred on every member of the human race. They are therefore just profoundly disabled people who should be treated the same as disabled people at any other age. There are other causes of similar brain dysfunction including birth asphyxia, trauma, stroke and brain tumour.
5. Palliative care is the best response to terminal illness
Babies with anencephaly are human beings with a terminal condition. They are dying babies for whom no curative treatment is possible. The appropriate management in treating patients in this condition is palliative care – food, water, warmth, human company and symptom relief. Perinatal hospice is a wonderful concept that should be promoted much more widely.
6. We should not be making judgements about the worth of other people
None of us has right to make value judgements about the worth of another human being; especially when that person is unable to express an opinion about the matter. Equally we do not have the right to end their lives regardless of what burden we perceive they impose on us.
7. Abortion for anencephaly is discriminatory
Anencephaly is usually diagnosed at the time of the 18 week anomaly scan so abortion is inevitably later than this. Most people however strongly oppose abortion beyond 20 weeks. The recent parliamentary inquiry into abortion for fetal disability (Bruce Inquiry) concluded that the current law on abortion for severe disability was discriminatory in two ways. First it allowed abortion up until 24 weeks for able-bodied babies but until birth (40 weeks) for disabled babies. Second it allowed abortion for babies with significant risk of a serious abnormality, but not for those with lesser degrees of special need.
8. Abortion for anencephaly is often a coercive offer
The Bruce Inquiry revealed that there was a strong presumption from doctors that parents with disabled babies would choose to have them aborted. This led to a huge amount of subtle or direct pressure being placed on parents who decided not to abort. They were repeatedly asked to reconsider their decisions and treated like pariahs – in short they were discriminated against. It is just this sort of pressure that has led some commentators like Melinda Tankard Reist to talk about abortion for disability as a ‘coercive offer’. Reist’s book ‘Defiant Birth’ tells the personal stories of women who have resisted ‘medical eugenics’ and dared to challenge the utilitarian medical model and mindset.
9. Abortion for anencephaly is contrary to every historic ethical code
Historic codes of medical ethics such as the Hippocratic Oath and the Declaration of Geneva prohibit abortion. The latter states as one of its central tenets, ‘I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception; even against threat I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity’.
10. Abortion for anencephaly exchanges one problem for a whole set of different problems
Abortion may appear to offer a solution but the mother is still left to deal with the guilt, emotional trauma and unresolved grief of loss of what is almost always a wanted baby. These inward scars may take a lifetime to heal.
11. Saying goodbye properly is important for resolving grief and achieving closure
Achieving effective closure after the loss of a baby is best achieved if parents are able to spend time with their dying, or dead, baby, saying what they would have wanted to say and treasuring the precious moments. Covering the baby’s head with a woollen cap may enable them to focus on the eyes and face which are usually normal to look at (see the story of Rachel). ‘Saying Goodbye’ is a charity which is running very welcome thanksgiving services for couples who have lost babies before or after birth.
12. Abortion for anencephaly can be profoundly damaging to a mother’s mental health
Mothers who abort babies for fetal abnormality are highly susceptible to mental health problems afterwards. This is because the abortions are late, the babies were generally ‘wanted’, an emotional bond with the baby has usually been established and there has been no opportunity properly to say goodbye. There is a better way than abortion.
13. Pregnancy is the most intimate form of hospitality
A mother’s womb offers protection, warmth, shelter, food and water within the body of one’s closest relative. There is no form of hospitality that is more intimate or more suited to one whose life is going to be very short.
14. There are real dangers of incremental extension once we embark down this route
The British Abortion Act 1967 was driven through on the back of the thalidomide disaster and was meant to authorise abortion only in severe circumstances. Now there are 200,000 abortions a year with one in five pregnancies ending in this way. Babies have been aborted for cleft palate and club feet. Recent statistics showed that between 2002 and 2010 there were 17,983 abortions of disabled babies in Britain. The overwhelming majority of these were for conditions compatible with life outside the womb and 1,189 babies were aborted after 24 weeks, the accepted age of viability.
15. Deformity does not define us
Our worth as human beings is independent of any disabilities we might have.
16. Easing our own pain is not sufficient reason for ending another person’s life
Given that babies with anencephaly do not feel pain, the question has to be asked whose pain their deaths are actually relieving. Any interventions should primarily be aimed at benefiting the babies themselves.
17. Anencephaly forces us to acknowledge and face our deepest prejudices
In a society that values physical beauty, athletic prowess and intellectual capacity highly it is easy to see why babies with anencephaly are low down the pecking order. They fall foul of our deep societal prejudice toward people who are ‘ugly to look at’, ‘unintelligent’ and ‘physically inept’. The only effective way of overcoming such prejudices is to cultivate attitudes of compassion and care for people with severe disabilities. Caring collectively for those who are suffering, disabled and dying makes our society less selfish.
18. Major life decisions should not be made at a time of crisis
Major life decisions, like choosing to abort one’s disabled baby, should not be made at a time of great emotional trauma. Parents need to be given the time, space and support necessary to make an unpressured and unhurried decision and need to be told that keeping the baby is an alternative option for which full support will be given.
19. We should not allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media or those with an agenda
I was deeply shocked that the BBC would interview a deeply traumatised grieving woman who had just heard the most devastating news of her life in front of a national audience just days before one of the most horrendous experiences a woman can go through – aborting her own baby. More than this, such hard cases should not be used by media presenters with a wider political agenda of liberalising abortion laws (see Melanie McDonough in the Spectator). This was I believe both exploitative and abusive. Huge sensitivity is also needed with the language we use. These are babies living with anencephaly. They are not ‘anencephalics’, ‘dead babies’ or ‘non-persons’. These are dehumanising terms. Just as we would not accept the terms ‘spastic’, ‘moron’, ‘imbecile’ or ‘vegetable’ to describe human beings, neither should we accept these.
20. Death is not the end
I have attempted to address the points above to a general audience but allow me one explicitly Christian argument. As a Christian I believe that human beings are made for eternity. This earthly existence is just the ‘Shadowlands’. So when we think of loved ones, who have died with dementia, we do not think of them as they were but as they will be. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection we look forward to the resurrection of the body into a world where there is no dying, mourning, death or pain. In this new world there will be no anencephaly. The Christian ethic is to treat all people as we would treat Christ and to treat others as Christ would have done. The bottom line is that we should treat babies with anencephaly as if they were Jesus himself, and treat them in the way he would have done.
I mentioned above an experience I had as a junior doctor which changed my attitudes to abortion and disability.
The administrative clerk on the medical ward where I was working was heavily pregnant and I asked her when she was due. She gave me the date and before I could say anything else said, ‘my baby has anencephaly’. While I was inwardly asking why she had not had an abortion, she added, ‘I could not bring myself to end the life of my own baby’.
The baby was born a few weeks later and survived about a week. She held it, nursed and cared for it and said her goodbyes before its inevitable death.
Up until that point I had not contemplated that such an approach was even possible. She not only demonstrated that it was but taught me a huge lesson about courage, compassion and how to face and handle tragedy, grief and bereavement. I have never forgotten it and resolved then, that if I was ever in the same situation I would want to do the same.
I have heard many similar testimonies since from women in similar situations who have made similar decisions and have become even more convinced that this is best way to handle it (See testimonies here, here, here, here and here and resources for parents here).
Having a baby with a severe disability changes one’s life forever whatever choice one makes. But choosing to offer the hospitality of pregnancy and a mother’s care and compassion to a dependent and severely disabled relative, and to be willing to shoulder the inevitable pain of separation and bereavement, is I believe the best way through this tragic situation.
Waiting with Gabriel
Baby Rachel’s Legacy
Love poured out is never wasted
How to cope when you find your baby has special needs
Our journey with anencephaly
Vapour and Mist – Sophia’s story
Face book Groups
Waiting with Gabriel
A Gift of Time
Links about anencephaly
NINDS Anencephaly information page
An important news story slipped largely under the radar yesterday.
It concerns a new paper showing that pregnant women are not being measured and weighed properly (for fear of offending them) and that this is leading to “risks”.
The first risk is pretty straightforward; pregnant women who are carrying extra weight are at increased risk for pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature birth, etc.
So obviously misreporting height and weight can mean that these women are not provided the specialist care they need in order to mitigate or manage such issues.
The second ‘risk’ identified in this article is the one that caught my attention.
You see, apparently when a patient is falsely recorded as weighing too little, she is routinely encouraged to have amniocentesis, a prenatal screening test, because a mother who weighs too little is considered to be at greater risk (I HATE that word in this context!) for having a child who has Down syndrome.
The problem is that amniocentesis, when used prior to 15 weeks gestation, has a higher risk of causing miscarriage, which obviously results in the death of the unborn child.
So, effectively, what this new research has revealed is that eugenic prenatal screening, which results in the aborting of the vast majority of persons with Down syndrome in this country, may also be causing the deaths of many other human beings as well.
It’s at moments like this that I am reminded how the embrace of evil usually begets other evils in its wake as well.
The simple truth is that if we stopped our wholesale pursuit of eugenic practices, which target an entire sector of our community based solely on their physical attributes and then dooms the vast majority of those human beings to an untimely death at the hands of an abortionist, then this issue would be largely resolved.
If the end goal was testing which promoted better pregnancy management, rather than testing aimed at opening up a speedy pathway to abortion, then amniocentesis could be carried out later in a pregnancy, when there is far less risk of miscarriage, and this particular issue associated with the false reporting of body weight would no longer be the problem it currently is.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive’ – and surely one of the greatest deceptions of our age is the widely accepted lie that aborting human beings with Down syndrome or other disabilities is a good thing to do, or that it is creating a better world.
Cross-posted from The Leading Edge Blog
Yesterday I blogged about the troubling case of a NZ doctor who carried out illegal abortions and then falsified patient medical records to hide her crimes.
This serious and illegal act of medical misconduct placed patients at great risk, and resulted in serious harm to one of them when an ectopic pregnancy ruptured and she had to have her fallopian tube removed.
Yet, in a truly astounding move, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) have publicly sided with and endorsed the actions of this doctor.
On Friday they posted a link to the NZ Herald article abut this incident along with the following statement on their Facebook page:
“Desperate women seeking abortion and doctor who assisted found guilty of misconduct – why? Because of NZ’s antiquated and harmful abortion laws… Access is an ongoing issue, particularly for rural women. Time NZ Gov’t did something about it!”
No mention of the serious harm that this doctor’s illegal actions caused to one of her female patients, or the serious risk that the other female patients were exposed to because of the doctor’s misconduct.
Effectively what we have here is ALRANZ endorsing illegal backstreet abortions.
According to this statement, they also want this sort of dangerous practice to become the legal norm in New Zealand!
I also note that this rather unbelievable statement has been liked by Rachael Goldsmith, which I am assuming is none other than Green Party candidate Rachael Goldsmith, who recently indicated to me in a conversation that she was one of the architects of the new Green Party policy on abortion.
So, next time ALRANZ try to attack pro-lifers with the spurious claim that they don’t care about the wellbeing of NZ women, this public endorsement from them of an illegal act which seriously harmed one female and placed several others at risk, will stand as a rather stark warning about their hypocrisy when it comes to their supposed commitment to New Zealand women.
Cross-posted from Brendan Malone The Leading Edge Blog.
Earlier today news broke about a rural New Zealand doctor who has been censured for performing illegal abortions and then committing fraud to cover her tracks.
This case is very troubling for two important reasons:
1. The extremely light penalty handed down to this doctor by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal
This doctor gave four women (that we know of) the drug misoprostol to induce abortion, without proper oversight and care, and then she hid her illegal actions by falsifying patient records (by not updating their medical files).
One of her patients later suffered an ectopic pregnancy and had to have a fallopian tube removed after it ruptured.
This doctor’s actions weren’t just illegal, but they were perpetrated with a high degree of premeditated dishonesty.
Not only did his doctor put her patients lives at risk (just think about how dangerous the practice of falsifying official patient records alone could be), but she also caused serious harm to one of those patients as a result of her actions.
Yet despite all this, the penalty handed down to her was a mere six month suspension.
I really struggle to comprehend how such serious offending could result in such a light penalty. It’s hard to believe that this would even have much of an impact for the doctor involved, let alone act as a deterrent to others intent on placing their patients in harms way with similar actions.
Not only is this doctor now able to continue practising medicine, but she also has her name suppressed, which means that the general public are not even able to protect themselves by choosing not to use this doctor if they so desire.
I think that many New Zealanders would opt not to use the services of a medical professional who had previously placed their patients in harms way and engaged in dangerous and illegal medical practices like these. Yet that option is not available to them, because this doctor has been able to maintain secrecy despite her grave misconduct.
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal’s handling of this case has left me wondering exactly what sort of conduct is actually considered serious enough to warrant a doctor being publicly named, or permanently barred from practicing medicine in NZ.
I would have thought that deliberately placing patients at risk, causing harm to them, and falsifying official patient records would have been serious enough to end a doctor’s career in this country – the fact that it is not is truly alarming.
2. This is what abortion-on-demand looks like
There are currently groups agitating for the introduction of an extreme abortion law in New Zealand, a law which would result in abortion-on-demand, without the current checks and balances.
Yet what this doctor did was effectively to provide abortion-on-demand to her patients.
Imagine a New Zealand where this kind of dangerous conduct was happening on a regular basis, in many more facilities, all over the country.
It’s not hard to see how this woeful state of affairs would eventually result in the deaths of pregnant New Zealand women.
This is precisely why we need to be extremely wary of any abortion activists who are lobbying to introduce such an extreme abortion law in this country.
Compromising patient safety is simply not an acceptable outcome, yet that is exactly what would happen in an extreme law allowing abortion-on-demand were introduced here.
All of us should care about this case and the associated issues.
This isn’t just a women’s issue – all of us have sisters, mothers, wives, daughters or female friends and associates whose lives are put at great risk by the sort of conduct that this doctor engaged in.
There is just no way that this should ever be considered acceptable practice in New Zealand.
This article is cross-posted from Phelim McAleer. More information on his latest project can be found at GosnellMovie.com
I was really, really happy when Kickstarter came on the scene. The crowd-funding Web site offered the opportunity for struggling artists and filmmakers to bypass corporate, union or not-for-profit funders and their agendas and interests.
Kickstarter was set up to allow us to put up a pitch — go directly to the public; if people liked it, they could fund it with small donations.
And it worked like a dream. For my last film, 3,305 people gave $212,000 to make it happen.
But now it seems that Kickstarter is turning into a bad dream for those who want to wander from the orthodox.
Now, Kickstarter has always been dominated by projects with liberal, environmental and even ultra-left-wing leanings. That’s no surprise — the arts are dominated by people with such views.
But Kickstarter promised to be different. Its founder and CEO, Yancey Strickler, was quite clear on this, for example telling viewers of CBS’ “This Morning” that the site is a center for “very diverse ideas.”
So when I had the idea of making a film about the life and crimes of Kermit Gosnell, the now-notorious Philadelphia abortion doctor, my first idea was to go to Kickstarter — since there was no point going to Hollywood or any establishment media outlet.
Gosnell was a Philadelphia abortionist who for decades took babies who’d already been born and stabbed them in the neck and cut their spinal cords. He probably killed thousands of infants during his 40-year killing spree.
In the words of ABC correspondent Terry Moran, Kermit Gosnell was “America’s most successful serial killer.”
I’ve only been in America a few years, but one thing I’ve learned is that Americans are fascinated by killers and serial killers. You see it every night on prime-time TV — “Law & Order,” “Criminal Minds,” “Dexter,” “The Following,” “CSI” and “The Mentalist.” And that’s not including the TV movies — three on Ted Bundy, four apiece for John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer, three on Gary Ridgway and five on the Zodiac Killer.
So a film about Gosnell seemed like an obvious idea that Hollywood was neglecting.
Of course, the reason for this neglect was pretty clear: This serial killer was an abortionist who was completely unregulated. His trial threw up ugly realities about abortion that changed the minds of several jurors, a liberal journalist at the trial and even Gosnell’s defense attorney. Hollywood, with its Planned Parenthood fund-raisers, would want to stay away from this case.
But Kickstarter was supposed to change all that. So my colleagues and I put the project up and waited.
And waited and waited.
Then Kickstarter wrote to tell us that it “couldn’t” go ahead with our posting — first, we needed to remove our (utterly factual) descriptions of “thousands of babies murdered” in order to “comply with the spirit” of the site’s “community guidelines.”
This was shocking — and even more so when I looked at which projects don’t violate those standards.
One project about a serial killer had a photograph of a dead body. There were 43 about rape, 28 with the F-word in the title or project description and one with the “C” word. There was even one called “Fist of Jesus” (don’t ask).
It seems the Kickstarter “community guidelines” don’t respect traditional sentiments — indeed, those are the ones that raise red flags.
Appalled by the double standard, we immediately pulled our project from Kickstarter and put it up on the rival site Indiegogo. The next day, after getting media inquiries about its censorship, the Kickstarter folks sent us a non-acceptance “acceptance” that noted pointedly that they reserved the right to take our project down at any time if our updates upset them. No, thanks.
It’s clear that “community guidelines” are just a cover to allow the Kickstarter insiders to censor and ban opinions they don’t like. So much for Strickler’s “very diverse ideas” claim: The first time they actually encountered a truly different viewpoint, their instinct was to censor and threaten.
Over at Indiegogo, our Gosnell movie project is on track to becoming the site’s most successful movie project ever. Kickstarter is missing out on that excitement, and on significant revenue. Worst of all, it’s missing out on bringing its community some challenging ideas.
It has come to light that New Zealand abortionist Rosy Fenwicke is now trying to secure selection as the National party candidate for the Wellington Central electorate.
I would humbly suggest that her selection would be a grave misstep for the National Party – a misstep that would have serious ramifications across the entire country for them.
Selecting Fenwicke would send a very clear message to the core National voter base that the party has once and for all severed all remaining ties with its former socially conservative roots.
The issue of abortion has long been understood to be political kryptonite, and having an abortionist standing for office would be an extremely divisive move for National – hardly the sort of distraction that any sane party would want to be courting during an election year.
This wouldn’t just be an issue confined to the local electorate either, it would be someone that would give many National voters across the entire country pause to question exactly why they would want to support a party that is now proposing that an abortionist would be an ideal representative of the party and its values.
And remember, John Key is going to have to endorse and be photographed alongside abortionist Rosemary Fenwicke on the 2014 campaign trail – the only thing needed to complete the scenario would be a billboard adorned with the slogan ‘a vote for National is a vote for abortion’.
Blue values have traditionally been identified as conservative, but selecting Fenwicke as a National Party candidate would largely put paid to that, and the end result would be a lot of current National voters reconsidering whether National can truly be trusted with their vote.
Colin Craig and Winston Peters probably have all their fingers and toes crossed right about now.
I recently had the chance to see the movie 12 Years a Slave, which is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free African American who was kidnapped from New York and sold into slavery in the South in 1841.
It is a powerful film that presents an unflinching look at the gravely unethical and horrific practice of slavery prior to its abolition in the United States.
There are a lot of fundamental parallels between slavery and abortion, and because of this 12 Years a Slave provides an important insight into why people like me choose to be pro-life and express strong opposition to the act of abortion in the modern era.
Just like the current practice of abortion, slavery was once a culturally accepted norm that most people either supported or were unwilling to publicly express their opposition to.
Just like the current practice of abortion, slavery supporters claimed that the nation would fall into chaos and ruin if slavery was ever abolished. Like today’s abortion supporters, people who were pro-choice about slavery also claimed that slavery was necessary to save people from economic hardship, etc.
Just like the current practice of abortion, slave owners used arguments almost identical to those used by modern abortion supporters in an attempt to justify their violation of human rights, or to try and divert attention away from the serious ethical questions about the legitimacy of the practice of slavery.
And just like the current practice of abortion, it was once claimed that African persons were not fully persons, and therefore they were not entitled to the same human rights that the rest of us are afforded.
Slavery was an act which saw an entire class of human beings subjected to all sorts of brutal atrocities in the name of freedom and rights, and ultimately, for the economic gain of others.
It seems that despite the years that have passed we are still making the exact same grave mistakes, it’s just that we’ve now found an entire new class of human beings to mistreat as a society.
There is one very powerful scene in 12 Years a Slave which succinctly sums up the position of the pro-life movement and our core opposition to abortion.
It takes place between Samuel Bass (a Canadian carpenter played by Brad Pitt) and Edwin Epps (a brutal Southern slave owner played by Michael Fassbender).
Bass: ‘The law says you have the right to hold a nigger, but begging the law’s pardon… it lies. Is everything right because the law allows it? Suppose they’d pass a law taking away your liberty and making you a slave?’
Edwin Epps: ’Ha!’
Edwin Epps: ’That ain’t a supposable case.’
Bass: ’Because the law states that your liberties are undeniable? Because society deems it so? Laws change. Social systems crumble. Universal truths are constant. It is a fact, it is a plain fact that what is true and right is true and right for all. White and black alike.’
Imagine this was a conversation about abortion, and the treatment of unborn human beings, and you might start to get a handle on why the modern pro-life movement is so very necessary.
Over the weekend the NZ Herald featured an opinion piece by Marama Davidson.
What wasn’t made clear to the readers of the Herald on Sunday is that Marama Davidson is a Green Party candidate, and a blogger for The Daily Blog – which last week featured a vitriolic attack on Auckland pro-lifers that made serious accusations that have subsequently have turned out to be misleading and false.
I think Herald readers should have been informed of these facts, because: a) this is an election year, and we have the right to know the ideological commitments of the various party candidates, and b) because of Davidson’s intimate connection to the blog that published last week’s factually problematic and ugly anti pro-life attack post.
The major issue I have with Marama Davidson’s op-ed piece in the NZ Herald is that it is rife with confusing contradictions and dishonesty.
For example, after passing judgment on the motives of various pro-life individuals and groups, Davidson ends her column with the ironic declaration: “we should give up judgment” when it comes to the issue of abortion.
She also refers to abortion as “healthcare”, but her opening salvo suggests that it is something far more serious than just healthcare when she declares that “no woman should ever have to reveal that [she has had an abortion] to anyone for any reason.”
If abortion is merely healthcare, then why the need for such grave secrecy about the act?
And if it truly is healthcare, then why does Marama Davidson later refer to abortion as a“lifestyle choice” in her opinion column?
And then there is the dishonesty…
Davidson declares that: “Abortion is only legal if two consultants agree that there would be serious physical or mental harm to the woman’s health, or if the foetus has a serious disability.”
This statement is clearly intended to imply that abortion is currently illegal in NZ, but this is little more than inaccurate abortion activist spin intended to deceive Kiwis into supporting the introduction of an extreme abortion law in this country – something that Davidson actually lobbies for in her opinion column.
This is kind of like saying ‘driving is only legal in New Zealand if you are over 16, you hold a valid drivers license and you obey the road rules’ – yep, this is totally true, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t have easy access to driving in this country as a result of such restrictions.
The same is true when it comes to abortion in this country.
Access to abortion is actually relatively easy here (many would even argue that it is far too easy, and is lacking in basic safeguards for informed consent, etc. as a result), and inserting the word “only” before the word “legal” doesn’t change that fact.
Such verbal shenanigans are little more than a cynical ruse to try and deceive New Zealanders into believing the lie that abortion is almost impossible to access in this country.
Davidson also declares that she and “many others” who have had abortions in NZ are criminals.
Again, this is a falsehood.
If you have an abortion, as per the current legal guidelines, then you have NOT broken any law, and therefore you are NOT a criminal.
Anyone trying to suggest the opposite is actually engaging in a deception intended to fool Kiwis into accepting the introduction of a new extreme abortion law in this country – one that would allow late term abortions, and possibly even abortion through all nine months, according to the stated aims of some NZ abortion activists.
I think you can see now why I believe that Marama Davidson’s vested political interests should have been clearly spelt out to the readers of the NZ Herald.
Is support for the introduction of extreme abortion law in New Zealand also an official Green Party policy plank?
I have many Green voting friends who I am sure would like an answer to this important question.
Let me leave you with the most serious, and tragic of the contradictions in Marama Davidson’s op-ed piece (emphasis added):
“I acknowledge that abortion is not the ideal solution to unplanned pregnancies. I support the continual plea for better education, improved access to contraception and more support for adoption and whangai avenues.”
Now I’m really confused.
First abortion was merely “healthcare”, and now it has become “not the ideal solution”.
So which is it? Because authentic healthcare can never be “not the ideal solution”.
But more importantly, if there is nothing ethically wrong, or inherently risky to women about abortion, then how could it ever possibly be considered to be “not the ideal solution” to a pregnancy?
One can’t help but sense that, despite Marama Davidson’s suggestions to the contrary, such a statement betrays the truth of the matter: abortion is an act which deliberately and brutally ends the life of an innocent human being (making it a serious violation of social justice and human rights) and exposes women to harm.
Which is ultimately why I am pro-life.
Cross-posted from Brendan Malone at The Leading Edge Blog.
The horror stories from Britain in relation to abortion just keep coming. It seems as if they are getting steadily worse.
This week, Channel 4′s Dispatches broke the news that the bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, and sometimes even used to heat hospitals.
It wasn’t an isolated incident; the bodies of at least 15,500 unborn babies were burned by 27 public hospitals in the last two years alone, with some hospitals using the bodies of these babies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants to generate power.
This was a deeply disturbing and grotesque revelation, and the story was picked up by news outlets around the world.
The head of the British National Health Service, Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, is apparently going to write to all the public hospitals to put a stop to the practice, saying that aborted babies should be buried or cremated.
Prof Keogh talked about “unacceptable practises” and “sensitivities”, but, with respect, it seems that he, Channel 4, and the entire British public, are missing the point.
There is no respect afforded to unborn babies in Britain. In practice, no rights accrue to them on the basis that they are human beings, deserving of dignity and a right to life.
The law treats them like trash: is it any surprise then that the system does the same?
What is actually really unacceptable is that the abortion culture is so embedded in Britain that 190,000 babies are killed by abortion every year.
So while burning babies as fuel seems like the plot of some kind of grim futuristic movie, it’s actually just the latest in a string of dreadful revelations in a country which badly needs a wake up call.
The past two years have seen stories about gendercide, forced abortion, and babies surviving abortion being left to die, all emerge and we’ve learned that the so-called restriction of having two doctors signing off on abortion is widely abused and ignored.
Instead of reacting to improve the situation, the current proposal being examined by the British government is to remove any restrictions at all.
Britain has needed the sort of stubborn, driven souls who keep the abortion debate in the public square by revealing the reality of abortion despite the criticism and the hatred of the media. For kick-starting the dormant conscience of a nation, the grim truth about what happens behind closed doors needs to be seen by the public at large.
That takes courage, because while the media and the establishment may not like pro-lifers, they will really only come after the activists who publicly reveal the evidence of what abortion actually does to a living human child.
That’s because, to paraphrase Fr Frank Pavone, until the people see abortion, they will not reject abortion.
Right now, however, the young members of Abort 67 have taken a huge step forward by seeking to change how Britain views abortion.
They go to the clinics and the public square. Their huge posters show the broken bodies of unborn babies killed by abortion, and their volunteers engage the people. At the clinics, their counsellors talk to women in crisis, and 40 Days for Life now join in that important work.
The goal of Abort 67 is to make abortion unthinkable and to see the law give full protection to the unborn. They say the most effective way to change public policy is to first change public opinion. They are changing hearts and minds and they need many others to join them.
After decades of wining the battle for Life, Ireland now stands of the brink of following Britain’s slide into the culture of death. As we battle to overturn our own abortion law, we share their hope that Britain can be awakened to the reality of abortion.
So that that babies will no longer be burned. And neither will they be killed.
Cross-posted from The Life Institute.