UPDATE: This post originally had the headline: "British official:..." But David, a reader from the UK, sent me this correction: "I don't think it's quite right to describe Ann Furedi as a 'British
official'. She is currently CEO of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which
is a charity independent of government. It may get some government funding (I
haven't checked that out) but is technically independent." Sure enough, the BPAS site states: "bpas is a registered charity and is therefore governed by the rules of the independent Charity Commission." Thus, the change of headline.
When someone complains that Bill and Hillary Clinton were (and are) too restrictive in their stance on abortion, you can bet they think abortion is not only necessary, but should be celebrated. And that is exactly what Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the leading provider of abortion services in the United Kingdom, thinks. In a March 31st piece for Spiked!, Furedi talks about the "problem" of abortion (scare quotes hers), and offers this "brilliant" analysis (those scare quotes are mine):
Why is there a continuing high rate of abortion? In my view it is quite simple: there are a lot of people out there having sex who don’t want to have children.
Give it her credit: it is true. If you've ever had any doubts about the selfish, hedonistic, and relativistic underpinnings of the abortion industry, be sure to read this piece. Consider, for example:
There is also an increasing number of women who are choosing to remain childless altogether. One in five women is now childless at 45. There has been some discussion about whether this is to do with increased infertility, perhaps to do with an increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections, but in general the statistics reflect a more conscious shift in women’s priorities: namely that many women have got many other things to do in their lives, and they do not particularly want to have any family at all at any time. So it puts them in a situation where they are more likely to terminate a pregnancy. <snip>
The idea that you would become a parent because a condom split is something that people don’t generally find very acceptable; and in this context, abortion is seen by many people as a responsible decision. <snip>
My view is that abortion is not the problem. The problem is unintended pregnancy, and abortion is the possible solution to unintended pregnancy. <snip>
The Clintons in the USA, both Bill and Hillary, have a great deal to answer for, in popularising the notion that abortion should be safe, legal and rare (5). There is a very easy way to make abortion rare, and that’s to ban it, or to take away services, or to stigmatise it so people don’t feel able to have recourse to it. Do we really want to go there, as a society? We have a choice to make: either we continue to see abortion as a problem, or we allow people their moments of intimacy, we allow them to enjoy sex, and we allow them to make use of abortion as a back-up to contraception.
That's right: is it really polite or fair to stigmatize abortion when sophisticated people know it is simply one of a thousand ways in which lives are freed up for what is really important, such as experiencing sexual pleasure divorced from reality? Of course, since those making this argument somehow managed to be born and grow to adulthood (perhaps because their parents didn't think of abortion in the same way), they don't have to think of it from another perspective: that of the disposable product of their actions, also known as a child, a person, a human being.
Furedi refers to and links to an April 2007 column in The Times titled, "Abortion: why it’s the ultimate motherly act," written by Caitlin Moran. She states—are you ready for this?:
Abortions are never seen as a positive thing, as any other operation to remedy a potentially life-ruining condition would. Women never speak publicly about their abortions with happy, relieved gratitude, in the same way that they would about, say, leaving an abusive partner — despite the fact that this impacts much, much less on their lives than an unwanted child.
There you go: a drunken boyfriend who slaps you around every weekend is far preferable to a child! And in related news, eating glass is better than a five-star meal and listening to gangsta rap is so much more relaxing and enriching than hearing one of Mozart's symphonies. Right.
If women are, by biology, commanded to host, shelter, nurture and protect life, why should they not be empowered to end life, too? I’m not advocating stoving in the heads of children, or encouraging late abortions — but then, no one is.
Oh yes, they most certainly are. She is embarrassingly naïve on this point Hasn't she heard of Peter Singer, well-known philosopher and Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, who for many years now has been saying that infanticide is no different morally than having an abortion? Here is just one short example of Singer's advocacy of infanticide:
Obviously, to go through the whole of pregnancy and labour, only to give birth to a child who one decides should not live, would be a difficult, perhaps heartbreaking, experience. For this reason many women would prefer prenatal diagnosis and abortion rather than live birth with the possibility of infanticide; but if the latter is not morally worse than the former, this would seem to be a choice that the woman herself should be allowed to make. ("Taking Life: Humans", From Practical Ethics, [Cambridge, 1993]).
For Moran, choosing to have an abortion was no different than making home decorating choices. Check that: it was easier:
Last year I had an abortion, and I can honestly say it was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I’m not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what work-tops to have in the kitchen than whether I was prepared to spend the rest of my life being responsible for a further human being. I knew I would see my existing two daughters less, my husband less, my career would be hamstrung and, most importantly of all, I was just too tired to do it all again. I didn’t want another child, in the same way that I don’t suddenly want to move to Canada or buy a horse. While there was, of course, every chance that I might eventually be thankful for the arrival of a third child, I am, personally, not a gambler.
But Moran is, in fact, a gambler, but also a cheating gambler. She gambles that she probably won't get pregnant—and that if she does, well, she can simply reset the game as if all of her moves prior didn't really matter or even take place. And if there is any doubt that she thinks having an "unwanted child" is an error, she dispels it quickly:
However, what I do believe to be sacred — and, indeed, more useful to the earth as a whole — is trying to ensure that there are as few unbalanced, destructive people as possible. By whatever rationale you use, ending a pregnancy 12 weeks into gestation is incalculably more moral than bringing an unwanted child into this world. Or a child that, through no fault of its own, would be the destructor of a marriage, a family, a parent.
Why is it "incalculably more moral" to kill the "unwanted child"? Two reasons, it seems: 1) because she says so, and 2) the "unwanted child" will supposedly ruin her life. And therein, I think, lies a concise definition of the culture of death: being able to kill so that I can live however I wish—and then declaring it all "sacred."
Related IgnatiusInsight.com Articles and Book Excerpts:
• The Case Against Abortion: An Interview with Dr. Francis Beckwith, author of Defending Life
• What Is "Legal"? On Abortion, Democracy, and Catholic Politicians | Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.
• The Illusion of Freedom Separated from Moral Virtue | Raymond L. Dennehy
• Introduction to Three Approaches to Abortion | Peter Kreeft
• Excommunication! | An interview with canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters
• Some Atrocities are Worse than Others | Mary Beth Bonacci
• Personally Opposed--To What? | Dr. James Hitchcock
• Mixed Messages | Phil Lawler