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Our Lady, at the supreme moment of human history, chose to say ‘yes’ to life

Two stories I encountered yesterday offered an alternative to the Ann Furedi perspective

By on Thursday, 8 September 2011

Photo: PA

Photo: PA

Well: today is Our Lady’s birthday, ie the birthday of the woman who at the supreme moment of human history said “yes” to life – so why not another blog on this subject in the aftermath of the failure of the Dorries/Field amendment?

I encountered two stories yesterday, both offering an alternative perspective to that offered by eg the ubiquitous Anne Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and her legion of feminist supporters. The first story, from US commentator Sheila Liaugminas’s blog, concerns a 21-year-old single mother from Chicago, Amanda Schulten, who has learnt that she is carrying conjoined twins. Scans show that they have separate heads but share a heart, liver and lower torso and the doctors have told her that their survival is very unlikely; if they don’t die before birth, they will die soon after. Abortion is advised.

This young woman, a devout Catholic (I hear the sneers of pro-choicers at this point) has chosen not to end her pregnancy despite this medical advice. She believes her twins have been given to her for a purpose, however short their lives will be, and is keeping a blog about her decision and the progress of her pregnancy: check out amanda-faithhopelove.blogspot.com. The Chicago Sun-Times, which broke the story, makes it clear that it does not agree with Miss Schulten’s decision, arguing that keeping the twins alive for their brief lifespan will be a huge burden on the state and that their quality of life will be minimal.

Yet, interestingly (and I can’t see the Times or the Guardian over here adding this comment) the Sun-Times concludes its editorial with “We defend her right to choose [life]. What she chooses is her business.”

My second encounter was with a friend who told me that she had just learnt her daughter was pregnant. My friend is an atheist, a feminist and “pro-choice”; the daughter’s relationship with the father is shaky and likely to end; the father himself has many problems; they have no money and nowhere to live; all in all, a classic “crisis pregnancy”. My friend made it clear that the whole thing is a very bad show; her own house is small, her daughter is difficult, the father is unsuitable and she has no wish to give up her own independent lifestyle to look after the baby (as she fears will happen).

When she concluded there was a pause. I remained silent. Then she said: “Look, I don’t know what will happen, but I’ve also told my daughter that I will support her over the baby, that she can stay here with me and that we’ll manage somehow. After all, we’re talking about my grandchild.”

As Sheila Liaugminas comments in her blog: “We tend to forget that carrying a crisis or difficult pregnancy to term is the other choice.”

Let’s not forget it.

  • Oconnordamien

    You are using the imminent death of these babies to make a point. 

    This young woman, a devout Catholic (I hear the sneers of pro-choicers at this point) has chosen not to end her pregnancy despite this medical advice.

    You just hear sneers, at no point did you hear any empathy, but you may have been too busy chalking up a score on your side. 

    Of course then you move onto another human subject of your article. You seem no longer to care about what will happen to the real lives in your story, you’ve made your point so move on.

  • David Lindsay

    Our Lady’s Nativity, and what was the Gospel? The very first verses of the New Testament, being a long genealogy of … her husband! Always recognised as clearly stylised, with three kings omitted and Jechoniah counted twice in order to give fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian Captivity, and fourteen from Babylon to the Nativity of Our Lord, fourteen being the numerical value of the three Hebrew consonants for David. Truly, the Messiah promised to and from the House of David is here, says the most Jewish of the Four Evangelists.
    Sacred Tradition has of course always affirmed that Mary was also of Davidic descent, as indeed do her Talmudic defamers in their denunciations of her. Be that as it may, it is notable that only four other women are mentioned in these sixteen verses, and all produced sons who then took their place in the line despite not being the progeny of their mothers’ husbands. Either illegitimate or legitimised by the levirate law, they become sons of Abraham and, in the last case, a prince of the House of David, his natural father whom he succeeds and arguably even surpasses.
    Our Lady is the new Tamar, preventing the extinction of her people. Our Lady is the new Rahab, rescuing her people by her faith in the limitless power of God. Our Lady is the new Ruth, her Magnificat echoing Ruth’s expression of gratitude to Boaz. Our Lady is the new Bathsheba, bringing forth the new Solomon Whose wisdom is as infinite as His judgement is universal.
    And in order to be so, she is placed under the protection of, as Saint Matthew calls him almost immediately after this passage, the “just man” who stands at the conclusion of those forty-two generations of personally imperfect but nevertheless continuous and strictly legal patriarchy and monarchy.

  • Ann Furedi

    Speaking from the ubiquitous Anne (sic) Furedi’s perspective – I have to say I don’t disagree with a word of this. Choice, is a choice – and whether you or I think it’s the right choice or not should be neither here nor there. Every woman should be able to make the decision she thinks is right. To have the baby, or not should be her decision. That why I belong to what we refer to as a pro-choice movement. I run an abortion service because there’s a need for it – as one choice – but I support I utterly defend women’s right and ability to make other choices two and I wish both of these women the very best for the future. And I know my view will be shared by every member of bpas staff.
    Ann Furedi
    chief executive,

  • Anonymous

    There is no real choice though if the abortion providers stand to gain financially..

  • http://shadowlands1.blogspot.com/ shadowlands

    “Every woman should be able to make the decision she thinks is right”.

    When who says so? At what age? Obviously not from the moment of a woman’s own conception or you would defend a future woman’s rights from that point, wouldn’t you? But you don’t, so it would be more correct for you to have said, every ovulating fertile woman has the right to choose to make the decisions she thinks is right, once she becomes pregnant. However, the future woman to be, in the womb, has no rights. The older woman carrying her, does. She has the right to kill her. I uphold that right, so do my staff and we accept the money’s we receive for helping carry out their deaths. That would probably sound a bit too stark It’s what you believe and it’s what you help happen though. Isn’t it? If you will allow me (a woman who’s rights were upheld by another woman) the right to say that.

    “I know my view will be shared by every member of bpas staff.”

    Only because another woman upheld their individual rights to be born and grow up in order to acquire a  spoken view. Had other women not done this, they probably would have disagreed with your view quite strongly, as they struggled for life. And lost.

  • Anonymous

    It’s interesting how those objecting to the birth of the conjoined twins are mostly worried about money. But surely the way is to let nature take its course.  The conjoined twins will be able to be Baptised once born and will experience their mother’s love; the other choice is a loveless destruction.  

  • Joe

    On the question of “choice”: (1) Whilst “choice” is widely accepted as a principle in the context of abortion, there are many other areas of life where “choice” is not an accepted principle and, in the common interest, professional standards or the law itself forbid particular actions. (2) At the level of ethical judgement, therefore, the existence of choice over abortion is an inadequate criterion. The ethical judgement needs to be grounded elsewhere and, for those who come to an ethical judgement against abortion, it is quite reasonable to argue that relevant professional standards and/or legal provision should forbid abortion, just as it forbids a range of other actions, in the common interest. (3) It does not appear correct to me to treat the experience of a decision with regard to abortion as a uniform phenomenon; experiences are varied. For some women, it clearly is a matter of a “choice” in the full sense. But when a doctor automatically offers an abortion when there is a probability of handicap of the unborn baby, thereby giving the woman the impression that this is the absolutely normal thing to do; or when it is relatives who make arrangements for the abortion [I have knowledge of instances of both of these]: then the decision is much less one that can be characterised, from the point of view of the woman, by the word “choice”.

    Ann’s statement that “whether you or I think it’s the right choice or not should be neither here nor there” indicates something that I felt I saw in some of the recent media coverage of changes to the law with regard to abortion. For many supporters of abortion, a decision about abortion is no longer considered a decision that has any ethical content; from an ethical point of view, it is a matter of indifference. This is something that I find very sad.

    On a slightly mischievous note: If BPAS support Ann’s view about the “ability to make other choices” (than abortion), are they going to use their Government funding to provide the accomodation, material support and accompaniment that a woman might need to continue a pregnancy, as well as providing abortion services?

  • Marypettifor

    If Ann Furedi really believed in a true choice for those poor troubled women considering abortion, she would welcome them having counselling independent of her own organization. Abortion providers would never want this, or any other initiative which would blow a hole in their profit margins.