Issues of Life and Death.
Naturally Abortion is not the only ethical issue that interest me, but it does raise a whole series of important questions. My interest started in the seventies when teaching in Bristol when I was asked to write a briefing paper on the subject for the National RE Teachers Committee. It was necessarily short. When I retired from teaching I had the time to research the subject as fully as I could and wrote MURDER BY ANOTHER NAME? the paper that follows.
More recently I have been spurred into writing WHO SUFFERS on two sides of A4 as a result of the utterances of some Roman Catholic bishops and the attempt in 2008 by the “pro-life” lobby to get the law changed as it applies to the small number of very late abortions. I think this is a particularly pernicious move since it applies to those women who find after a scan that they are carrying a severely damaged fetus. To bolster this positon the “pro-life” lobby have been asserting that after 20weeks the fetus feels pain. I here insert the summary of the latest report of the Royal college of Obstreticians and Gynaecologists rejecting this view.
Before you read more on this very contentious subject please note that I do respect the right and the example of people to refrain from abortion and to witness and argue against it even if some of the reasons they give seem to me to be seriously flawed. Certainly I do not think abortion should be encouraged or used casually as a method of birth control. That I think can desensitise and dehumanises those concerned. I see it as a painful moral choice which a woman should be allowed to make and that it should be recognised that it may be the right choice at least in the sense of “the lesser of two evils” for some women in some circumstances.