The necessity of arguing against the growing acceptance of abortion, even among so called Catholics

The University of Lancaster, sponsors of the Westminster Faith Debates, have released the findings of a survey into attitudes among believers in the UK concerning beliefs about the beginning of life and attitudes towards killing the unborn child through abortion. They claim that their survey shows a growing acceptance of abortion among religious believers, including among self-professed Catholics. The Tablet reports:

‘The Westminster Faith Debates survey shows, when asked at what point they think human life begins, the largest group – 44 per cent – say “at conception”.The figure is higher for Catholics: 60 percent compared with 50 per cent for both Anglicans and Muslims. However, that does not mean that most people are against abortion. Of those who think that human life begins at conception, half think that abortion should be allowed at least up to 20 weeks, and more than three-quarters think it is acceptable in the  first trimester. Of the population as a whole, 40 per cent favour keeping the abortion time limit at 24 weeks,30 per cent favour reducing it, and a large 19 per cent don’t know. Only 7 per cent favour a total ban; that includes Muslims(31 per cent), Baptists (19 per cent) and Catholics (14 per cent). But even that is not necessarily because people do not regard the embryo as a human life. Many do.Advances in our ability to keep premature babies alive may have influenced attitudes.But they have not greatly changed people’s views on the permissibility of abortion.’

The North West Evening Mail approached me to write a piece making the case against the growing acceptance of abortion under the title the ‘Big debate’, which was published alongside the argument for abortion made by the campaign co-ordinator of Abortion Rights, Darinka Aleksic. Here’s my argument:

Two of the most precious memories of my life are the times when I saw my unborn babies’ heartbeats on the ultra-sound up at Furness General Hospital.  On both occasions I couldn’t make out much except how strongly their hearts were beating, like little stars flickering very fast.  There was no mistaking that these two tiny human beings were alive.  It’s important to grasp this fact, that we’re talking about the beating hearts of living human beings.  The reason why I want you to hold onto this fact is because our babies’ ultrasounds were done at 7 weeks into the pregnancy. They weren’t blobs of cells or ‘things’, their hearts were already formed and beating with life – human life, not animal life or plant life.  It’s necessary to make this point that it was human life because some people call unborn babies at this stage ‘uterine contents’.

Now I want you to put your fingers to the side of your throat or grip your wrist, and feel the steady rhythm of your pulse. That pulse you’re feeling has been beating non-stop since you were an unborn baby.  That’s one of the things that you have in common with my seven-week-old unborn babies, you and them have beating hearts, hearts that have been designed to keep on beating.  If someone attacks you, say with a knife or scissors, and cuts you up so badly that you bleed to death and your heart stops, that’s rightly treated by society as murder.  The killing of an innocent human being is called murder because it’s wrong, immoral, evil.

I’m assuming we’re agreed on this, if someone kills you and stops your heart beating that’s wrong and immoral.  Why then is it right to stop the heart of an unborn baby with a knife or scissors at 7 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 weeks?  If a doctor had aborted you at 7 weeks wouldn’t you call that killing an innocent?  5 million little hearts have been stopped since abortion was made legal.  If the abortion laws are further relaxed, millions more unborn babies will be killed.  How in conscience can we live with this?

20 comments to The necessity of arguing against the growing acceptance of abortion, even among so called Catholics

  • Rifleman 819

    Deacon Nick ,
    Your words are -quite literally-are vital.
    We are living now in an increasingly “anything goes” society-totally (it seems) indifferent to the value and uniqueness of human life.
    In my mind , quite apart from the 1967 Abortion Act, there is other evidence-as a schoolboy in west London the date 12 August 1966 sticks in my mind. That was the day that Harry Roberts shot dead three Met detectives close to Wormwood Scrubs prison. He then went on the run for a number of weeks-only having abolished hanging 2 years earlier……all of Britain was stunned and horrified.We got back to school 2 weeks later as the hunt was developing and my classmates got a day-to-day “briefing” from as chum whose dad had been the duty inspector at Shepherds Bush police station and the last man to see the three detectives alive.
    That story never left the front pages for weeks.
    Today in 2012-13 -the casual murder of the two female officers in Manchester lasted a fraction of the media time.
    We are fast becoming a callous , short-fused , strident , violent and intolerant society.The old and the unborn are inconveniences-so we “process” them.
    Dr Mengele would have wholeheartedly approved as he handed on his mantle to David Steele.
    The successive governments of the Swinging Sixties thought they were shaping a new Periclean Athens………well we now know what we’ve actually got….Sodom and Gomorrah.

    • Haslam

      Abortion aside, the Murder rate in the UK is at its lowest point in 30 years. It is a myth that we are more violent than we once were.

      • Rifleman 819

        Haslam ,

        Yes because…….

        a. The Home Office massages the figures and has done since 1965…because homicides were downgraded if possible to manslaughter and avoid public disquiet.

        b. Excellent Emergency Medical Care by paramedics called to street crimes has saved lives and prevented murder charges that would have otherwise have been brought even 10-15 years ago.

        c. And on a general point…if everything is so hunky-dory why do police and now regretably Fire and Ambulance staff now wear anti-stab vests/protective clothing? The police now always …the other two, as and when.

        • Haslam

          a, homicide is a term which includes murder and manslaughter.

          b, correct (CCTV helps to) but their still appears to be a fall when the effect is teased out.

          c, more police wear Hi-vis nowadays but road deaths have been falling for decades too. stab vests are more a reflection on the preception of crime rather than actual crime statistics.

          The decline is the homicide rate is caused by many factors, an aging population helps (murderers are more likly to be young men), lower alcohol consumption (fallen every year since 2002), lower drug use (downward curve since 1996)

          Everything is far from hunky-dory, it would be false and misleading to suggest that it is, but it would be equally misleading to to suggest that everything is getting worse.

          • Haslam

            sorry about the poor spelling (an edit function would be nice)

          • Haslam

            makes interesting reading.

            Whatever the cause(s), violence has declined markedly over the centuries, in the west there was an uptick in the 1960s/1970, but since then the long term downward trend has reestablished itself.

          • Rifleman 819

            Beg to differ.
            Two friends of mine-one a DCC in the Midlands area and about to retire this June was seconded from a Home Counties force to the HO Police Dept when he was a newly promoted ACPO rank……………he saw the processing of “massaged” figures himself.
            Another mate -2 years below me at school-now retired was a Met Borough Cmdr in SE London and spent some years earlier as a CI on the Trident campaign dealing with guns, face and murder amongst young black men.
            On the ground their experience as senior police officers seems to gainsay what you are asserting.
            But certainly when I was growing up in London …gun crime leading to murder was relatively rare.
            It isn’t now.

        • peter

          You may wish to read The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined published 2011 by Steven Pinker. It is a substantial piece of research that may help you with your thinking on violence.

  • Karla

    There are people that call themselves Catholoic but don’t practice the faith, they make up the majority of that statistic not opposed to abortion undoubtedly

    • Haslam

      also there will be a large group of people who are against abortion and would never have an abortion themselves but feel unable to impose that on other people because either they lack the confidence to impose their views on others or because they think, rightly or wrongly, that a ban would just drive the practice undergroud.

      • Lynda

        This is a spurious argument. The killing by knife, suction, poison, etc. is always imposed on the baby that is killed. And often, young women are bullied or deceived into having their child killed. It is also imposed on many fathers, siblings, grandparents or others like myself who want all of our babies protected, not killed, whether or not we’re related consanguinally to the baby. Would this false argument be used if killing of babies up to 18 months were legalised? It doesn’t make any sense if it is objectively wrong to intentionally kill an innocent baby – in the “sanctuary” of his mother’s womb or elsewhere. Btw, can you plug the current 40 Days for Life campaign? Apologies if you’ve already done so.

  • Rifleman 819

    Haslam ,
    We now have abortions running on an industrial scale (200,000 per year) -the SS would have been envious.

  • comte de Frebonius

    I thought that Rifleman’s819 was as usual hitting the mark (sorry for the pun!. That we were promised Eden, we have sowed death and reaped Hell’s promise of death. Only in Christ, united via his precious bride is true happiness 100% achieved.

  • Bain Wellington

    Haslam. And the woman who aborts is not “imposing her views” on the unborn? The whole pro-abortion argument proceeds – and can only proceed – on the basis that the unborn have no voice, no rights, no claim to life, no dignity, no existence, no reality. The Catholic Church rejects that argument and has rejected it from the beginning.

  • Michael Petek

    Let us add to these five million surgical abortions:

    (1) the one million human embryos destroyed in the UK as a side effect of the idolatry of human fertility control otherwise known as in vitro fertilisation; and

    (2) the countless millions of human embryos destroyed as a side effect of the idolatry of human fertility control otherwise known as contraception. Every non-barrier method of contraception has an abortifacient potential.

    Whenever Satan seduces a nation to idolatry, he demands human sacrifice.

  • Lynda

    The silence (which amounts to acquiescence, at minimum) of a majority of Catholic Bishops, priests, Catholic school teachers, Catholic theology teachers, etc. the smoke of Satan is still thick in our Church. I know Bishops that not only don’t support prolife efforts but mock and deride those who fight against the evil of abortion. Their efforts are constantly undermined by much of the clerical leadership in the Church.

  • Ian

    What about the 30% of fertilised human eggs that self-terminate?

    • Michael Petek

      They don’t self-terminate. They die a natural death, not caused by human intervention. Any attempt by a human being to control human fertility falls within the definition of idolatry.

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