28 October 2007

The Abortion Act: Reform versus Repeal

There is no way that the Abortion Act is going to be repealed in the foreseeable future, so let's support campaigns which at least reduce the number of weeks during which abortion is legal, says one side, supported by the two Cardinals: Damian Thompson convinced me this was the right course to take.

Then, via Fr Boyle, I read a book review by Colin Harte which turned me the other way: "when we exclude 'the last and the least' from proposed abortion legislative reform we thereby exclude Christ himself. Restrictive abortion legislation, he emphasises, 'always excludes from protection some unborn children equally entitled to protection'."

Then Fr Mildew reminded me that "Politics is the art of the possible" and made me think that there has to be some realism.

It was, however, reading an Anglican blog that turned me back to an absolutist position. Do not click on the link that follows if pictures of the results of abortions are likely to disturb you - at least disturb you any more than pictures of such atrocities really should. The poster - Cranmer - writes a witty and incisive blog on political and religious matters. He is a mainstream member of a disappearing denomination with fairly conservative views, among which are that the Church in England and Wales is a foreign mission to these shores, but every now and then he is spot on.

I'll repeat the warning: in fact, I'll copy the author's own warning: "this article contains images which some may find disturbing. Cranmer makes absolutely no apology for publishing in all its ugliness the barbaric and depraved depths to which the United Kingdom has sunk. May the Lord have mercy."

This post convinces me.


John said...

I respectfully suggest Tony that His Grace is wrong. It wouldn't be the first time either.
Thank you for the link to Cranmer.
I am jus reading William Cobbett's book "A History of the Protestant Refomation in England and Ireland."
His description of Cranmer is not one that your blogger would like ascribed to himself!


Anonymous said...

This issue is too important not to discuss the different opinions. What has been tried in the past has failed miserably, so why go down that road again? If all abortions are wrong, why are we saying we'll agree to some if we can stop others?

Above all, it just sounds terrible for a Cardinal to say 'let's be pragmatic', 'let's do a deal', let's compromise.' That's what it is, and that seems totally wrong to me.

Red Maria said...

Anonymous, I don't know whether you care about accuracy at all but where do you get the notion that the Cardinal was saying "let's do a deal" from?
Those words appear no where in his letter or Telegraph comment peice.
Neither has anyone suggested any "deal" with Pro-Lifers - Pro-Abortion campaigners have no need of a deal.
The levels of delusion among some Pro-Lifers are now reaching critical levels.

Anonymous said...

Red Maria, the Cardinal would assume that the deal could be done with "less extreme pro-abortionists."

The scenario works like this, though these are made-up numbers and in all probability a large number of MPs wouldn't vote:

Group A (300 MPs) consists of those "extreme pro-abortion" MPs who want no restriction on abortion; Group B (200 MPs) consists of those "less extreme pro-abortion" MPs who believe that there should be a restriction, e.g. to 18 weeks gestation, but no more. Group C (150 MPs) consists of those MPs who support more extensive restrictions, e.g. under 18 weeks or even total abolition of abortion.

The "pro-life" MPs (i.e., those who don't support any abortions) are less than 150, and can enact no legislation on their own. However, if they side with others in Group C who are not "pro-life", as well as those in Group B, to restrict abortion to 18 weeks, they can defeat those in Group A. The "pro-life" MPs are therefore effectively "doing a deal" with the other MPs in Groups C and B.

The "deal" is unacceptable, in my opinion, because the pro-life MPs do not actually agree with abortion up to 18 weeks. They are, nevertheless, agreeing to vote for what those in Group B actually want. The pro-lifers may think this is worthwhile as part of a gradual progression towards no abortions. I believe it is unacceptable as it means they are voting, against their pro-life principles, for an 18-week limit.

Your criticism of what I said is partly justified to the extent that nobody need say the actual words "Let's do a deal", but this is implicit in the actions that are subsequently performed when voting to restrict abortion.

Nadine Dorries is one of the "less extreme" pro-abortion MPs who is implicitly saying "Let's do a deal" to pro-lifers. Pro-lifers have implicitly invited "less extreme" pro-abortion MPs to do deals in the past (e.g. when David Alton brought in his Bill which he knew would never be passed by pro-life votes alone).

As you will have realised, I believe the child in the womb, like his or her mother, should be valued and protected and supported under the law. I am thus "pro-life." I wish there were more pro-life MPs. I regret to say that I agree with you that the pro-lifers are being deluded in suggesting that they have the numbers or the clout to gain any changes. In my opinion, the number of "extreme" pro-abortion MPs exceeds the numbers in the other groups.

Thank you for your question. From what you say, it seems that you are not pro-life. I wish you were, but whether or not you are I wish you well.

Red Maria said...

Anonymous, you've managed it yet again: arriving at conclusions totally unsupported by any evidence, citing imaginary "deals" on the basis of nothing more than "scenarios". Its impressive feat, I'll give you that.
Thus, according to you I am not Pro-Life. You presumably arrived at this view because I pointed out that claims the Cardinal has suggested a "deal" with pro-abortion MPs are pure fantasy and added that levels of delusion among some Pro-Lifers are now reaching critical levels. I don't think you could mount a coherent case for discerning anti-lifeism in that small paragraph so I won't ask you to.
Your imaginative excursion around blocs of MPs was diverting if nothing else. Making allowances for your ignorance of parliamentary procedure you seem to be suggesting that it is wrong to vote for a reduction in the time limit because of the company you may find in lobby and that abolitionist MPs are somehow responsible for the votes of middle of the road MPs. It's an eccentric argument to put it charitably.
Not least because you must know that compromise is and always has been the bread and butter of politics. That's how a parliamentary systems works. If you are hellbent on proudly maintaining pointless purity (to the extent that you assail people on your own side as "Pro-Abortion" or "not Pro Life") one must ask why you don't have the courage of your ostensibly revolutionary convictions. Why don't you follow your argument to its logical conclusion and declare Hizb ut Tahrir style that *any* involvement in democracy is anathema?

Anonymous said...

Red Maria, You asked a question. I gave you my answer. I see it was not satisfactory and that I made a wrong assumption about your views on abaortion. I bow to your superior knowledge on these matters.