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The GMC is threatening to strike off Catholic doctors who refuse to carry out abortions or refer the ‘patient’ on. So why have our bishops remained silent?

The contrast with the US bishops’ fightback on the same issue is very striking

By on Thursday, 31 May 2012

Medical students recite the Hippocratic Oath (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Medical students recite the Hippocratic Oath (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Two apparently very different news items turn out, with a little further investigation, to illuminate one of the issues which will, I suspect, more and more delineate an arena within which Catholics are already coming under powerful secular pressure to lay aside their beliefs. This process has been going on for some years, of course. Sometimes Catholics have withstood these pressures: on other occasions (eg, the capitulation of our own hierarchy to the effective secularisation of the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth — or have I missed something?) they have not.

The two news items which have set me thinking are the appointment of Bishop Samuel Aquila to the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado; the second is a consultation currently being conducted by the British General Medical Council (GMC) on medical ethics. What have these two to do with one another? Well, a little investigation of Archbishop-designate Aquila reveals, as I supposed it might, that he has been taking a prominent part in the opposition to President Obama’s current onslaught against religious liberty: the following is from a recent pastoral letter:

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage which includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. In addition, almost all health insurers will be forced to include those so-called “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies… I call on every priest and deacon in the Diocese of Fargo to encourage the faithful to join me and the Bishops of the United States in speaking out on this violation of religious freedom and conscience. Every Catholic has the responsibility to promote the dignity of human life and religious freedom. Let us work together to preserve the freedoms our forefathers established in our constitution…

Well, nothing more than you might expect from a bishop the Pope thinks worthy to succeed Archbishop Chaput; no more, too, than many other US bishops are saying. I quote it for my English readers as an example of the kind of thing I hope our own bishops will soon be saying in defence of Catholic doctors who have been told by the GMC, under the heading “personal beliefs and medical practice”, that “You must not unfairly discriminate against patients by allowing your personal views to affect adversely your professional relationship with them or the treatment you provide or arrange”, and that “While we do not impose unnecessary restrictions on doctors, we expect them to be prepared to set aside their personal beliefs where this is necessary in order to provide care in line with the principles in Good Medical Practice.”

The Christian Medical Fellowship comments that it is “most concerned by the suggestion that the GMC expects doctors ‘to be prepared to set aside their personal beliefs where this is necessary to provide care in line with the principles in Good Medical Practice’,” and it insists that “the implication that doctors should either act contrary to deeply-held personal and moral beliefs or face discipline is inappropriate, heavyhanded and displays a lack of respect for doctors as professionals.” They point out that to expect doctors to refer patients to another doctor to carry out a procedure they regard as unethical is to override “a doctor’s lawful right to conscientious objection especially with respect to abortion referrals”:

Many doctors believe that to refer someone for a procedure they believe is unethical is morally equivalent to participating in and condoning that procedure. It would also fall foul of the conscientious objection clause in the 1967 Abortion Act, because to refer is to participate in abortion. Referral is not merely an administrative act.(my emphasis).

Now, the Christian Medical Fellowship is an admirable outfit, tireless in its defence of Christian medical ethics. But it speaks only for itself and for those it can convince by force of argument. Although not a Catholic body, this is not the first time it has defended Catholic ethical teachings. This brings me back to Bishop Aquila, and to that admirable fightback by the US Catholic bishops as a body against President Obama’s attempt to force Catholic medical institutions to behave grossly unethically, in very much the same way the GMC wants to do with British doctors, who it has threatened with being struck off if they refuse to follow its “Guidance” on “personal beliefs and medical practice” — which in the case of Catholic doctors means, in brief, that they must either be prepared to carry out abortions or, if they refuse, to refer the “patient” (in other words, the perfectly healthy but pregnant woman) to another doctor who is prepared to kill the child she is carrying.

This GMC document is still at the consultation stage, so maybe we shouldn’t expect our bishops to be weighing in with any US-style full-on opposition just yet. But one of them has at least noticed what is going on; Bishop Tom Williams, chairman of the bishops’ conference healthcare reference group, is urging Catholic healthcare professionals to respond to the GMC consultation. “The draft consultation document,” he says, “does not have a balanced or positive appreciation of the value of religion for patients or for the importance of requiring, and hence permitting, doctors to make conscientious ethical decisions. Both religion and conscientious objection seem to be treated as problems to be minimised and circumscribed as much as possible.” I’m not sure that Bishop Williams has fully appreciated the extent of the threat against Catholic doctors: they could, after all, end up being struck off. If the document isn’t radically amended, we will need something considerably stronger than this. Will we get it?

  • Benedict Carter

    The answer is cowardice and a horribly confused mind caused by the invasion of secular values into doctrine, aka Vatican II. 

  • Benedict Carter

    Hear, hear!

  • Benedict Carter

    For JByrne24, who describes himelf as a “faithful Catholic”, yet is in favour of the murder of the unborn child and in favour of sodomy:

    The Catholic Church has always condemned abortion as a grave evil. Christian
    writers from the first-century author of the Didache to Pope John Paul
    II in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”)
    have maintained that the Bible forbids abortion, just as it forbids murder.
    This tract will provide some examples of this consistent witness from the
    writings of the Fathers of the Church.

    As the early Christian writer Tertullian pointed out, the law of Moses ordered
    strict penalties for causing an abortion. We read, “If men who are
    fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely [Hebrew: "so
    that her child comes out"], but there is no serious injury, the offender
    must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if
    there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for
    tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Ex. 21:22–24).

    This applies the lex talionis or “law of retribution” to
    abortion. The lex talionis establishes the just punishment for an injury
    (eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, compared to the much greater
    retributions that had been common before, such as life for eye, life for tooth,
    lives of the offender’s family for one life).

    The lex talionis would already have been applied to a woman who was
    injured in a fight. The distinguishing point in this passage is that a pregnant
    woman is hurt “so that her child comes out”; the child is the focus
    of the lex talionis in this passage. Aborted babies must have justice,
    too.

    This is because they, like older children, have souls, even though marred by
    original sin. David tells us, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from
    the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5, NIV). Since sinfulness is a
    spiritual rather than a physical condition, David must have had a spiritual
    nature from the time of conception.

    The same is shown in James 2:26, which tells us that “the body without the
    spirit is dead”: The soul is the life-principle of the human body. Since
    from the time of conception the child’s body is alive (as shown by the fact it
    is growing), the child’s body must already have its spirit.

    Thus, in 1995 Pope John Paul II declared that the Church’s teaching on abortion
    “is unchanged and unchangeable. Therefore, by the authority which Christ
    conferred upon Peter and his successors . . . I declare that direct abortion,
    that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave
    moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This
    doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is
    transmitted by the Church’s tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal
    magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit
    an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the law of God
    which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and
    proclaimed by the Church” (Evangelium Vitae 62).

    The early Church Fathers agreed. Fortunately, abortion, like all sins, is forgivable;
    and forgiveness is as close as the nearest confessional.

    The Didache

     “The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall
    not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit
    fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not
    use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn
    child” (Didache 2:1–2 [A.D. 70]).

    The Letter of Barnabas

     “The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the
    appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore,
    which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following.
    . . . Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt
    thou destroy it after it is born” (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D.
    74]).

    The Apocalypse of Peter

     “And near that place I saw another strait place . . . and there sat women.
    . . . And over against them many children who were born to them out of due time
    sat crying. And there came forth from them rays of fire and smote the women in
    the eyes. And these were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion” (The
    Apocalypse of Peter 25 [A.D. 137]).

    Athenagoras

     “What man of sound mind, therefore, will affirm, while such is our
    character, that we are murderers?

    . . . [W]hen we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit
    murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what
    principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to
    regard the very fetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object
    of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose
    an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and
    on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it” (A Plea for
    the Christians 35 [A.D. 177]).

     Tertullian

    “In our case, a murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy
    even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from the
    other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a
    speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is
    born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going
    to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed” (Apology 9:8
    [A.D. 197]).

    “Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument, which is formed with
    a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for opening the uterus first of all and
    keeping it open; it is further furnished with an annular blade, by means of
    which the limbs [of the child] within the womb are dissected with anxious but
    unfaltering care; its last appendage being a blunted or covered hook, wherewith
    the entire fetus is extracted by a violent delivery.

    “There is also [another instrument in the shape of] a copper needle or
    spike, by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life:
    They give it, from its infanticide function, the name of embruosphaktes,
    [meaning] “the slayer of the infant,” which of course was alive. . .
    .

    “[The doctors who performed abortions] all knew well enough that a living
    being had been conceived, and [they] pitied this most luckless infant state,
    which had first to be put to death, to escape being tortured alive” (The
    Soul 25 [A.D. 210]).

    “Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the
    soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same
    moment and place that the soul does” (ibid., 27).

    “The law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties the man who shall
    cause abortion [Ex. 21:22–24]” (ibid., 37).

    Minucius Felix

    “There are some [pagan] women who, by drinking medical preparations,
    extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels and thus commit a
    parricide before they bring forth. And these things assuredly come down from
    the teaching of your [false] gods. . . . To us [Christians] it is not lawful
    either to see or hear of homicide” (Octavius 30 [A.D. 226]).

     Hippolytus

     “Women who were reputed to be believers began to take drugs to render
    themselves sterile, and to bind themselves tightly so as to expel what was
    being conceived, since they would not, on account of relatives and excess
    wealth, want to have a child by a slave or by any insignificant person. See,
    then, into what great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by teaching
    adultery and murder at the same time!” (Refutation of All Heresies [A.D.
    228]).

    Council of Ancyra

     “Concerning women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have
    conceived, or who are employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree
    excluded them until the hour of death, and to this some have assented.
    Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained
    that they fulfill ten years [of penance], according to the prescribed
    degrees” (canon 21 [A.D. 314]).

    St. Basil the Great

    “Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years’ penance, whether the
    embryo were perfectly formed, or not” (First Canonical Letter,
    canon 2 [A.D. 374]).

    “He that kills another with a sword, or hurls an axe at his own wife and
    kills her, is guilty of willful murder; not he who throws a stone at a dog, and
    unintentionally kills a man, or who corrects one with a rod, or scourge, in
    order to reform him, or who kills a man in his own defense, when he only
    designed to hurt him. But the man, or woman, is a murderer that gives a
    philtrum, if the man that takes it dies upon it; so are they who take medicines
    to procure abortion; and so are they who kill on the highway, and
    rapparees” (ibid., canon 8).

    St. John Chrysostom

    “Wherefore I beseech you, flee fornication. . . . Why sow where the ground
    makes it its care to destroy the fruit?—where there are many efforts at
    abortion?—where there is murder before the birth? For even the harlot you do
    not let continue a mere harlot, but make her a murderess also. You see how
    drunkenness leads to prostitution, prostitution to adultery, adultery to
    murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to
    give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being
    born. Why then do thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with his laws, and
    follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of
    procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for
    childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being
    agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward
    to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring
    deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine” (Homilies on Romans 24
    [A.D. 391]).

    St. Jerome

    “I cannot bring myself to speak of the many virgins who daily fall and are
    lost to the bosom of the Church, their mother. . . . Some go so far as to take
    potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost
    before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through
    their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when, as often happens, they die
    with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only
    of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder” (Letters
    22:13 [A.D. 396]).

    The Apostolic Constitutions

     “Thou shalt not use magic. Thou shalt not use witchcraft; for he says,
    ‘You shall not suffer a witch to live’ [Ex. 22:18]. Thou shall not slay thy
    child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. . . . [I]f it be
    slain, [it] shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed” (Apostolic
    Constitutions 7:3 [A.D. 400]).

  • TreenonPoet

     ”That doesn’t happen with the pro-life doctors in question.

    I didn’t choose the restaurant-owner comparison but, given that to work with, I used it to illustrate a general point about having to follow the rules, whatever the profession.

    In the case of pro-life doctors, the answer is that the public health system should not cover elective abortions in the first place. Paying for surgeries of convenience, be it an abortion or a aesthetic silicon implant,  should be paid with one’s own money.

    My earlier comment regarding tax was based on the current situation. I am undecided on how I think abortions ought to be funded – there are wider issues than have been covered in this thread. Charging would help reduce the number of abortions and remove a small burden from taxpayers of all persuasions.

    The problem is not about trivial statements (such as 5+5=10) that everyone can see, but about complex statements (in Mathematics, let Fermat’s Last Theorem be an example) that need the help of experts.
    But Mathematics is not politicized, so learned experts can be trusted.
    Philosophy, on the other hand, is highly politicized. If you call a body of philosophy experts to decide on whether some reasoning is rational or not, they will most likely be biased, one way or another. I have never seen a Marxism who respects the intellect of non-Marxists.

    To take the example of Fermat’s Last Theorem: Unless one had good reason to trust Fermat’s claim to have proven the theorem, one would have no justification for saying whether it was true or false until it was finally shown to be true. Until then, saying “I have faith that it is true” would have no relevance to anyone wanting to rely on the theorem.

    Not all philosopy is political. In particular, facts are not matters of opinion, and as I said, proper logic is a s robust as arithmetic. Where questions cannot currently be answered by applying straightforward rational thinking, then, as with Fermat’s theorem, having faith in an answer oughtto carry no weight. In such cases, pragmatic measures such as voting or relying on the gut-feeling of an expert may be necessary. Who could contest the outcome in the absence of rational arguments? Well I might if I discovered that the outcome had been heavily influenced by religious dogma.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     you cannot deny the huge potential that each one has – “could have been a
    poet, or could have been a fool” as the old Smiths song goes – and
    wondered why this appears to count for nothing for you.

    Every time a man ejaculates, every time a woman menstruates, and about 50% of the time when an egg is fertilised, a unique genetic human possibility is lost. It is biologically impossible that each unique human that could have existed would exist. So it appears to me to be more compassionate and more fruitful to care for the humans who exist in more than possibility ahead of the humans who could potentially exist if gestated to term.

    Why do pro-lifers deny the huge potential that exists in every woman? How many great scholars, scientists, poets, humanitarians, were lost to us because they were forced to conceive and bear children without any regard for their huge potential?

    <we just balance it against the huge potential that the second body (the
    tiny one, with its own DNA and blood type) has. I don't sense any of
    that balancing factor in your thinking, which strikes me as cold and
    inhumane.

    It strikes me as cold, inhumane, and monstrously misogynistic to assume as you apparently do that the pregnant woman, the one with her own DNA and bloodtype, has no “huge potential” of her own. Why does the prolife “balance” invariably come down against the woman?

    I wonder for example if you would ever consider donating money to a girl
    considering abortion because she feels financially unable to bear the
    child?

    I donate money regularly to Oxfam and to other charities which help people in dire need. I prefer to treat people, however needy, as adults capable to making their own life choices: I’d never bribe a girl to have a baby she rationally knew she wouldn’t be able to look after.

    But I do support the welfare system in the UK, both with my taxes and campaigning to ensure that if a girl with little income gets pregnant, she can decide whether or not she’ll have a child based on whether that’s what she wants to do with the next 18 years of her life, not whether she’s got a good job and a mortgage. (You may find this post about Shanene Thorpe relevant to this point – it’s not directly about abortion, but the issue of whether a woman on a low income should have had a baby does come up.)

    The idea that a woman who gets pregnant and can’t afford the baby will be all better again when she loses the baby to richer parents, is cold and inhumane and shocking misogynistic: a woman is not a breeding animal, who can drop a baby and forget it.

    (especially the girls aborted for reasons of gender).

    There’s no evidence that this is any significant problem in the UK -.

  • TreenonPoet

     Agreed if you replace “secular reasons” with “non-religious reasons”.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Please rephrase that.

    No.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was in the worst hour of my life, and you closed your door to me: I was in despair, and you gave me nothing but judgmental words, I was dying and you walked by on other side.”

    They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we close our door to you, when did we see you in despair, when did we see you dying and did not help you?’

    He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     In your future Brave New World, only atheists will be permitted to be doctors, then.

    Christian doctors perform abortions. (Three years ago, almost to the day, Doctor George Tiller was shot in the head by a pro-life campaigner, outside the church where Dr Tiller had worshipped every Sunday.)

  • theroadmaster

    No straw man.  Just one that you have seen in a mirage.  The fact that the GMC would even consider applying undue pressure on doctors to perform medical procedures which are repugnant to them without room for compromise, does smack of totalitarianism, whatever way you slice the argument.

  • theroadmaster

    I’m afraid that there is rather a thin line between totalitarianism and pressure which can result in forcing someone to violate their own religious code of ethics, by performing certain procedures which are not strictly medically necessary and are gravely sinful.  Abortions are largely performed for “social” reasons and by their nature are very serious immoral acts.

  • theroadmaster

    The actual “fact” of legalized abortion being “available” in “civilized” countries, makes for a very poor commentary on the state of their civilization. I’m afraid that because a country uses the adjective “civilized” to give a law credence, does not make it so.  I suppose by the same logic,the southern confederate states in the US, believed that they were civilized and urbane, despite believing that the enslavement of fellow human beings was a “normal” activity for a society to indulge in.

  • theroadmaster

    Not so.  Just making a reasoned observation.

  • theroadmaster

    You compare human life at it’s earliest stages with microbes.  Not an very dignified comparison I think, as the zygote or blastocyst mark the embryonic stages in the human developmental continuum.  Once a life is conceived, you cannot put the genie back in the bottle, so to speak, unless someone intervenes to end that life. You are wrong in a fundamental scientific sense by describing the “cluster of cells” that are present during the early stages of life, as not being human.  What else could they be?  Those cells contain the full blue print for the unpacking of the genetic code for that human life.

  • Isabel Wood

    Well this is pointlessly simplistic. 
    a) The “atheist” contract (or rather the pro choice contract, as SO MANY religious people also have abortions), would not be that any child is automatically killed. It would be that if a woman becomes pregnant she has the option to decide how to continue with the pregancy.

    b) If the Christian contract says that, then fine. That’s ok. That means that any Christians who have sex and then get pregnant have to carry the child to full term and then care for it. It doesn’t say anything about what non-Christians should do. This is the point of CHOICE. Just because somebody who doesn’t see abortion as such a grave sin has the option of having one does not mean that a Christian couple has to. 

  • Isabel Wood

    “Homosexualists are not FYI fighting for equal rights, they’re fighting for extra ones.”
    No they are not. Honestly. They just want to live their lives the same way as the majority of the population can. I think conspiracy theorists are seriously overcomplicating things. 

  • Isabel Wood


    a woman procuring abortion simply because she changed her mind, and can’t be bothered to wait 9 months and giving the baby for adoption”

    At this stage I’m assuming that nobody commenting on this website is actually a woman. Do any of you have any idea what pregnancy is like? That 9 months isn’t a merry, consequence-free little wait. It’s a traumatic physical change associated with a whole host of health problems. Educate yourself - http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/pregnancy-complications.cfm. Not even counting childbirth (which is such a dangerous occasion that women are advised to do it in a hospital, and from which 40% of women die without access to basic medical care) – pregnancy changes your body, often irreversibly – a lifetime of incontinence sound fun to you? How about that part where they cut into your vagina, or just let it rip so the baby’s head can come out? Then after pregnancy,  1 in 7 women experience post-natal depression. I don’t know what experience any of you have with mental illness but it’s no laughing matter. 

    Sure, if you want to have a child then all of this may seem worthwhile. But to have the gall to say that a women who’s contraception has failed should have to go through all of this? To describe her as “can’t be bothered to wait 9 months”? Honestly, you need to shut the hell up right now until to can even start to consider what you are talking about. 

  • JabbaPapa

    I think that most people understand that pregnancies can be difficult yes — I’d nevertheless qualify the above with some wisdom from my own mother, who trained to be a child carer in her youth, who when I asked he about this said that pregnancy and childbirth are more difficult for some women, less difficult for others.

    She told me she was one of the luckier women in that respect, and that her first pregnancy was more difficult mainly because it was with twins.

    The fact that pregnancy can be difficult for some women does not however mean that abortion is magically made OK.

    Nor does it mean that seeking to engage in sexual promiscuity whilst seeking to deny a possible pregnancy is perfectly OK either.

    Women are not forced to act like sex maniacs who are forced to use contraception and then forced to murder the unborn as a sacrifice to the altar of their own sexual passions.

    Such behaviour is, in any case, the exact opposite of “Catholic”.

    (I do however agree with you that a broader range of opinion from women would be welcome here, especially in threads like this one !!!)

  • JabbaPapa

    Hey, you’re the one claiming that religion and scientific rationality are not only at odds, but that the second is superior to the first, and that religious ideas constitute failures of rationality.

    My own scorn for this suggestion, and the related scorn for your imagining that vegeterian restaurant menus are somehow a relevant parallel to this question of murdering the unborn is not however required to follow the rules of your logic, particularly when I am expressing scorn for it in the first place !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    In what way does murdering an unborn child or actively promoting the institutionalised murder of the unborn constitute providing assistance for the “dying” ???

    (I mean, apart from in the case of an unviable life-threatening pregnancy that is ?)

    It’s the diametric opposite !!!

  • Acleron

    There are many acts of parliament that support one sector of the public against another. To use such an outdated concept as ‘sinful’ to avoid obeying such acts is not a brave stand against totalitarianism, it is just wilful disregard of a democratic decision.

  • JabbaPapa

    how to continue with the pregancy

    Doncha just LOVE that zany politically correct NuSpeak eh ?

    Artificially terminating a pregnancy and killing the unborn magically becomes “continuing” the pregnancy…

  • julianzzz

    I can certainly see the right of doctors not to carry out abortions should be respected! But not to refer them back for further help? That can’t be right, even doctors who carry out the procedure would ask the patient to consider the alternatives! Abortion always should be carried out with proper guidance beforehand! In fact it is always the back street illegal abortionists that do the deed, badly, for cash, no questions, asked!

    The Catholic voice would be more respected if it was less judgmental and more supportive of women in need, given the extremely low adoption rate in this country and the terrible experiences of children in care, it might be considered that abortion was the best course of action, between some pretty awful choices, and of course, a properly carried out medical procedure is always morally preferable to a dangerous back street procedure!

    I suggest that if the church wants to be taken seriously on this issue, it reconsider it’s immoral and illogical stance on contraception, put a big effort in building a network of foster homes, make some deferention between late and early abortion and consider its status in the case of genuine moral crisises of choice. The lessor of two evils position is surely worth consideration in extreme situations. The church even condones modern warfare as just, in some circumstances, if it can turn a blind eye to the arial bombing of civilian populations, surely it can be a tad more flexible on the use of condoms and the early demise of a few hundred human reproductive cells!

  • julianzzz

    If teenage mothers were respected and supported by the “faithful” there would be no need for them to miss their GCSEs or have a termination! I see little support on these pages for mothers and children after the birth and in bringing up the child! Just condemnation!

  • julianzzz

    You, as a Catholic may say that, but as an agnostic, I can hardly comment!

  • julianzzz

    Absolutely, good to see some sense here!

  • julianzzz

    Including minorities who wish to have abortions and be actively homosexual and those who wish to terminate their own life prematurely!

  • julianzzz

    Oh come on, I sure that Satan equally loves the supercilious!

  • TreenonPoet

     Firstly: I would like to point out that I was not the one who introduced the restaurant comparison. It was introduced as an example of a situation where someone’s conscience is respected (to suggest that doctors’ consciences should be equally respected). The relative importance of the topic of killing animals to the topic of killing the unborn is not relevant to the soundness of fundamental principles regarding the degree to which an individual’s conscience should override other considerations.

    Secondly: What do you mean by ”the “rules” of your “logic””? I am trying to follow universal rules of logic, just as I try to follow universal rules of arithmetic. They are not ‘my’ rules. What is meek about following such rules? They are not the same as legislative rules.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Unborn babies are also a minority.

    And no one stops homosexuals from being homosexual.

  • ms Catholic state

    God has said….Thou shalt not Kill.  It is the height of evil and immorality to kill the defenceless and innocent in the womb.  It is a sacrifice to Satan.

    The credibility of the Church does not depend on its clergy…..but on the fact that it was established by Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit (though of course we need good clergy).  As for paedophilia….better a millstone were tied around their necks and they were cast into the depths of the ocean.  Christ’s warning to abusers.

  • ms Catholic state

    Actually…..there is lots of support for teenage mothers from pro-life groups and Catholics in general.  Who ever wants it ….will receive it.

    Also when we condemn….we condemn the legalisation as well as the act of abortion….and the society that condones such an abomination.

  • Acleron

    As I surmised, you don’t understand category errors.

  • Acleron

    Why should I explain that?

    Your question just discloses your inability to understand simple rights, including the right of self determination whenever possible. I know you are someone who would rather follow a group of old and out of touch gentlemen than think for yourself, but this is ridiculous.

  • julianzzz

    Unborn babies are not merely a minority, they are the future of the human world! However at one point in time, they are not babies at all but genetic material with the potential to become babies!

    Plenty of people try to turn others away from being homosexual, particularly at school and later in I’ll judged therapeutic interventions. Active Homosexual expression in public is universally discrimated against.

  • Acleron


     Your people will fall slain among you, and you will know that I am the Lord.’

    Ezekiel 6:7

    Pretty much a hypocrite, that god of yours.

  • ms Catholic state

    Um….I think you will find that was a war situation.  Don’t ever presusme you are more moral than God.  Ever!

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     In what way does murdering an unborn child or actively promoting the
    institutionalised murder of the unborn constitute providing assistance
    for the “dying” ???

    When the pregnant woman will die if her pregnancy is not terminated. Which many “Christians” – including all of the pro-life activists who attack doctors who perform late-term abortions – actively do not support.

    You claimed a little while ago that you could show proof the Catholic Church opposed the excommunication of doctors who perform abortions to save the life of the mother. Disqus does it make difficult to follow threads – please link to me where the Vatican (or whatever body you were citing) issued a formal statement declaring the bishops who have done so were in the wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Yes well, “I’ve decided to murder your child for my own convenience” won’t *always* go down well, will it ?

    Your aggressive and abusive attitude to pregnant women strongly suggests that any woman in a relationship with you who decided to have an abortion should (a) not tell you (b) leave you, for her own safety, as soon as possible.

    Particularly where it might be motive for a divorce !!!

    I think that when a husband believes he can force his wife through pregnancy against her will, this is absolutely grounds for a divorce: it is controlling and abusive behaviour.

    It happens even more often the other way – one of the leading causes of death in pregnancy in the US is murder. Usually by husband or boyfriend.

    Never seen prolifers up in arms about that, though.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Prolifers do argue as if once sperm meets egg, that’s it, there’s a “baby” – they ignore and dismiss and belittle the nine months of hard labour a woman has to invest in order to gestate the conceptus into a baby.

    Because if you honour gestation, and honour the pregnant woman, you have to admit that the pro-life argument that the woman should be forced against her will, is next door to slavery.

    “We don’t commonly recognize that American slaveholders supported closing the trans-Atlantic slave trade; that they did so to protect the domestic market, boosting their own nascent breeding operation. Women were the primary focus: their bodies, their “stock,” their reproductive capacity, their issue. Planters advertised for them in the same way as they did for breeding cows or mares, in farm magazines and catalogs.”
    http://edinburgheye.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/extremist-terrorism-racism/

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Straw man. No one is demanding doctors should be forced to perform abortions. Stick to the point.

  • Isabel Wood

    *sigh* I said continue with the pregnancy as in “the woman has the choice what to do next” Of course, one of the options might be NOT to continue with the pregnancy and get an abortion.
    But apparently it’s easier to criticize by language than listen to my point. 

  • Isabel Wood

    I think the biggest problem with understanding the issue of abortion is the difference in experiences faced by a man who accidentally gets a woman pregnant, and a woman that accidentally gets pregnant. I truly wish there was a way of transferring pregnancy to men, so that they have the option of carrying the baby if they want to keep it (unfortunately biology isn’t quite with me yet on that one…) – but as it stands people have to consider the immense physical risk a woman is taking if she keeps the child.

    I think it’s interesting that the majority of the people who do not support abortion access are those who will never/have never been faced with pregnancy when they really, really don’t want it.From my point of view, I’m a Catholic born and bred and confirmed etc, and as such and as a human I can honestly say that I never want to have an abortion. I also really do not want to get pregnant, like, ever – or at least in the forseeable future.Shocking as it might sound, I am also anti promiscuity – I really don’t think engaging in casual sex is good for anyone involved . HOWEVER, I don’t feel that just because I don’t want to be pregnant and have a child I shouldn’t have sex with my partner when we are in a loving and stable relationship (I realise that this is where I differ from catholic teaching). As a result, I make sure to use both hormonal and barrier methods of contraception, I’m careful. All of this is because I DON’T want to be put in the situation of having to terminate the life of what could be my child. Because, whilst I really don’t want to do it, I know that when faced with the prospect of drastically altering (as I feel, for the worse) my body/life that I would do anything not to go through that. 

    TL’;DR key point of view from a real live woman:

    I really don’t want to have an abortion – but I don’t feel that this should mean I should be celibate until I actively want to have a baby. (What if I never want to have a baby? Should I be denied marriage and love?) => I am VERY careful. 

  • JabbaPapa

    The particulars of any personal situation are clearly going to be a matter of personal conscience, when all is said and done — this is very clear.

    Personal conscience is however going to be far better and more articulately framed where there is an ideal that has been defined, and people at least try and stick to that ideal — as seems willy-nilly to be your personal case, given that no real individual’s behaviour will ever conform perfectly to any such ideal.

    This is NOT the same as describing abortion as a “good” thing, as some have been doing here, and all of them men too BTW.

    Thank you in any case for your comments, it’s nice to see some more balanced ones for a change !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    FFS now it’s “slavery” …

    Do grow up !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Your aggressive and abusive attitude to pregnant women

    (!!!) ?????!!!????

    What planet do you live on ?

    leave you, for her own safety, as soon as possible

    That’s easily the most vile comment I’ve seen you post so far.

    You really are quite repulsive, aren’t you…

  • JabbaPapa

    Make up your mind — are gays “born that way” ? or is homosexuality the result of “self-determination” ?

    Oh and — look !!

    Another one of your baseless ad hominem attacks !!!

    I think I might start collecting them !!

  • JabbaPapa

    You’re confusing homosexuals with homosexualists.

    They just want to live their lives the same way as the majority of the population can.

    There is NOTHING to prevent gays living their lives the same way as everyone else can.

    The massive amount of legal and fiscal re-definitions of everything under the sun during the 20th century did lead to some objective discriminations at that time, but these are now things of the past.

    Like any other political movement that achieves its objectives, the homosexualists are now seeking more than that — extra — because either they ask for more, or they simply decide to disband and no longer exist.

  • JabbaPapa

    Given your habit of making category errors, one is unsurprised by your failure to recognise them for what they are, even after they are pointed out to you.

    Consequently, your failure to understand responses that are made to you is just as unsurprising.

  • JabbaPapa

    Speak more in real terms and you will get your points across more efficiently — I’m glad to see, elsewhere, that you decided to do exactly that !!