Saturday, 27 September 2008

Telling It Like It Is...

This morning, as I was getting ready for Mass, I listened to the radio.  Not a good idea.  I'm going to have to ditch the radio as well as the TV...  They had a piece on a woman who had campaigned to make abortion legal in this country.  Her justification for allowing legal abortion was that otherwise, women would have illegal abortions... 

Ummmmmm.  Right.  That seems like a good justification for a law...

The woman being interviewed maintained that nothing her doctor could have told her about abortion or the developing embryo could have changed her mind.  She also claimed that most women were the same, and that the pro-life lobby were hyping things up to persuade women not to have abortions...

Well, actually, as someone who used to believe that abortion was ok, I can say that thinking about when life actually begins and considering the development of the foetus certainly has had an effect on me, and on many others.  The "tiny feet" pro-life symbol is effective simply because of this consideration: at ten weeks' gestation, the "blob of tissue" referred to by the pro-choice lobby actually has ten toes, complete with toenails.

Language is another powerful tool.  I wrote an article about foetal tissue transplantation back when I was a research scientist (shortly after I returned to the Church, and once I realised where the research I was doing was actually likely to lead...), and one of the things which struck me was the manipulation of language: do anything to disguise the fact that we're dealing with unborn babies.  Pregnant women were referred to as "the gravida" because pregnant women have babies, while gravida have blobs of tissue, and donating tissue for transplantation is more acceptable than donating bits of babies.

John Smeaton has a piece on recycling babies which demonstrates this use of language very well: he's done it the other way around, and put "tiny person" in the place of "embryo".  It really hits hard!

1 comment:

dillydaydream said...

The interviewee's logic is the same as that currently being applied to leftover aged or incurable people, according to the youthful and compassionate Baroness Warnock et al. They should be allowed and encouraged to commit suicide legally, because other people are getting in to legal trouble by helping them to die. Oh Brave new world!

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