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‘Pro-choice’ campaigners should look to China and think again

Francis Phillips wonders if pro-abortion activists have thought through the consequences of their views

By on Tuesday, 13 September 2011

One in six baby girls in China is aborted

One in six baby girls in China is aborted

Further to the abortion debate stirred up by the failed amendment of Nadine Dorries MP, I saw this letter in last week’s Sunday Telegraph:

In China, for every 120 boys, only 100 girls are born, with the result that by 2020 China will be missing 24 million girls. Could this be because, in China, one girl in six is killed by abortion before birth? Feminists should abandon their pro-choice demonstrations in London and, instead, demonstrate against abortion in China.

Whenever this argument is made, pro-choice feminists over here fall silent. I apologise to Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) for describing her in my last blog, slightly flippantly, as “ubiquitous” (even though she does seem to pop up everywhere with a read-made statement for the press when matters relating to abortion are raised), but when she wrote in the comment box, “Every woman should be able to make the decision she thinks is right”, she is not, as other posts have pointed out, giving that right to all those potential women and mothers aborted before birth.

It’s also worth highlighting the response of ‘Joe’ that followed Ann Furedi’s post: “[is BPAS] going to use their Government funding to provide the accommodation, material support and accompaniment that a woman might need [if she decides] to continue a pregnancy…?” If not, why not?

Mary Wakefield wrote a very sober article, “Let’s bring the abortion debate to life”, in The Spectator on 10 September, in which she stated that, as a convert she had “considered the Church” because of the cavalier attitude towards the unborn outside it. Today in this country it is more than merely cavalier; it is deeply hostile towards the unborn – almost as hostile, in fact, as China is towards baby girls.

Incidentally, I talked to someone after Mass this morning who knows Nadine Dorries. They told me they think Dorries is much more pro-life than she lets on and that she calls herself “pro-choice” more for prudential reasons than anything else: so that other members of Parliament won’t dismiss her as being in the fanatical, pro-life, Catholic camp and might therefore take her arguments seriously.

But you can’t sit on the fence, Nadine. As this recent Parliamentary debacle shows, you will end up being trusted by neither side. You can’t be pro-life and pro-choice. You have to choose.

  • Anonymous

    There is a further point that could be made in response to Ms Furedi. When she says “Every woman should be able to make the decision she thinks is right”. Namely: that depends on whether the choice is morally right per se. The fact that I believe something to be ‘the right choice’ doesn’t make it morally right: the fact that I might think it acceptable to kill my granny doesn’t make it right to do so, nor is society under any obligation to facilitate such a decision. On the contrary, it is obliged to try and prevent it, even though it is ‘my decision’.

  • Londonistar

    As someone who works in digital media with young people as the target and as a catholic who knows that there are vast numbers of young people out there who are pro life it is a sad reflection on pro life organisations in this country that the Facebook pro life page generate so few likes. I mean social media is a no brainer! If you want to get some momentum behind this you need young people and you need to come across as a united front. Start looking at how your own approach to this is so badly disjointed rather than endlessly berating Nadine Dorries. There are many excellent viewpoints out there and many good reasons to look at China and so on but unless you start from a strong platform to get that message across to young people convincingly then the momentum is wholly weak and fairly unserious

  • Anonymous

    I think that the argument against abortion should firstly be presented in Natural Law terms to reacquaint people with objective truths such as the maternal instinct which should tell women that the developing child in the womb should be treated with a selfless love that is uniquely her’s.  In other words the womb should be a safe sanctuary for nascent life and not a chamber of death.  Once this has been achieved, we can then demonstrate how such reasonable arguments are deeply embedded in the Catholic Christian way of life and other the beliefs of other Faith communities.

  • Anonymous

    bject to the photo, which gives the impression that abortion is the snuffing out of 3 year-old grown children. This elicits a strong emotional response, that blinds us from thinking clearly about the issue.
    No one would agree to killing children, right?

    As Pope Innocent expressed, we are talking about ‘human potential’ – NOT children, as the majority of abortions occur within the first trimester (88%). The Church has expressed that ‘ensoulment’ of the foetus happens at 40, 80 or 116 days into the pregnancy. Do not be fooled into thinking that the Church’s thinking has remained consistent. So the terms ‘baby’ and ‘girl’ are being misused, and (quite wrongly) pull at our emotional heart-strings – rather than letting us explore the subject rationally.

    I also disagree with the ‘black and white’ way in which you seem to see this issue ‘You can’t be pro-life and pro-choice. You have to choose.’ I’m afraid Mrs. Phillips, that however comforting that we may find this fallacy – it is not true. This is no Disney film, this is no Aesop’s Fable, its often all greys I’m afraid.

    I am for state-funded legal abortion, up until 18 weeks or below, and I would make sex-selective abortion illegal. I have many issues with both sides (pro-choice and pro-life), mostly being the rejection of any rational thought, intentional deception of the public, unwillingness to look at medical evidence and rejection of discussion of any other point of view.
     - So which camp do I fall into then?

  • Jorge Morais

    You fall into the deceptive, misrepresenting Church history, pro-death camp. Some day you will have to answer for that.

  • Anonymous

    In what respect? I was careful in expression my opinion, calling out issues with the article and researching the history. I can’t see where I am being deceptive.

  • Jorge Morais

    For example, when you misrepresent the issue of “ensoulment”.
    ___It does not mean what you naively or deceptively portray it to mean___.
    Ensoulment is a technical debate with no bearing on the immorality of abortion.
    Even the Christian saints who made theories about “ensoulment” __still
    agreed that abortion, whenever it happens, is a heinous act__.

    Abortion has been condemned since the Old Testament, and, in Christian times,
    since the __first-century__ didache. Your theory that the condemnation is a recent feature,
    because “previously people thought that unborn babies were not people” is naive at best,
    and deliberately deceptive at worst.

    In short: regardless of irrelevant debates on “ensoulment”, abortion has been thoroughly
    condemned since the first-century didache.

    Where did you “research” you history? Feminist websites?

  • Helen Gallagher

    Those female zygotes are not aborted because abortion exists, they are aborted because women are regarded as less important than men – a view anti-choice activists share.

  • Nick

    Do you have any evidence for that, or was it just an empty, cynical accusation to stifle debate?

  • Zerox

    (Double post, sorry)

  • Zerox

      Those female *babies* (foetus means ‘unborn child’) were aborted because their parents did what every parent who aborts a baby does – they decided that a human child had to die to maintain their ideal lifestyle. It is exactly the same with babies who are aborted for having a cleft pallet.