Friday, 16 May 2008

Foot In Mouth Disease

It is a sad fact that pro-life organisations often appear to be at loggerheads with each other. This is a crying shame, and a real demonstration that the devil is doing his best to sow dissension among those who oppose him, following the maxim "divide and conquer."

I note that Passion for Life is campaigning hard (and doing some good work) against the HFE Bill. However, by concentrating on reducing the number of abortions, they allow people to assume that abortion is alright in some circumstances.

The problem is, once you abandon the moral high ground which maintains that all human life is sacred, the whole thing just becomes a subjective quagmire: if one person maintains that abortion shouldn't be allowed after twelve weeks, that is merely his subjective opinion, and someone else could have equally valid reasons for making the cut-off at sixteen weeks...

So, regretfully, I have to say that I think Passion for Life have put their collective foot in it with their latest postcard campaign. I haven't managed to find it on their website, but I have seen the postcards (I wish I had managed to get a photo.) It reads: "Abortion should be rare."

Which rather begs the question, how many abortions, exactly, would qualify as "rare," and, by implication, "acceptable"?

UPDATE: It was suggested, in the combox, that no such postcard existed, and that I was misrepresenting the work of Passion 4 Life. Fr. Tim Finigan has put a photo of the postcard on his blog.


Thought and Action said...

Thanks for this important post. People should take heed of your points here.
I took issue with a UK group before who were advocating this approach.

All human life is sacred and all forms of abortion are morally wrong.

Again thanks for this. People, please take note of these fine words of wisdom.

Cathy said...

It's the equivalent of saying, "Child rape should be rare" or "Bashing the skulls of the elderly should be rare."


And if it's "not a baby", who gives a crap if it's "rare?"
Why should it have to be rare if it's "not a baby", "not really human", "not ensouled", blah blah blah.

Political pandering, that's what that is.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I have to agree with MaBeck. A clear message needs to be made and stuck to. Yes, it seems a chance to cut the time for killing babies back a bit is better than nothing-but we should still be saying all human beings are persons with inherent rights-especially the RIGHT TO LIFE.
There's something a bit defeatist about saying abortion should be rare. It needs to be a darned sight rarer than an honest politician!

antonia said...

I do agree with you, obviously; ONE abortion is too many.

However, I also have sympathy for the people involved with the Passion for Life campaign, and I can understand why they take that stance.

Society has accepted abortion as a something necessary, important, and therefore as a right.

The Law has accepted abortion as legal.

Changing attitudes and mentalities is extremly difficult, and one is rarely able to convert societies from black to white in one go. It often requires shades of grey inbetween.

I know a number of the people on the Passion for Life campaign personally, and I know that they themselves are 100% against abortion, having dedicated more of their life to fighting it than you or I have put together and multiplied by 10.

The reason they try to advocate these 'small steps' is because they sincerely believe that if we can slowly slowly lower the limit of abortion, then we will be one step closer to outlawing it entirely.

Our English society will never accept an overnight ban on abortion at the moment.

However they *might* accept it being reduced to 20 weeks.

and then some years later they *might* accept it getting reduced to 16 weeks....and all the time we are getting closer to society outrightly rejecting it entirely.

I'm not saying I support this view, but I can see why they do it.

Given that sbortion will be a legal right in this country for the forseeable future; it might be better to take small steps towards our ultimate goal, than no steps.

antonia said...

I have a Passion for Life postcard in my hand at this does it say 'abortion should be rare'; you have made a mistake.

In fact it says:

- There are already 600 abortions every day , so it should not be made easier

- Please vote against any further liberalisation of the abortion laws

(then it mentions voting against animal/human embryos, the need for a father, using embryos in stem cell research)

and then at the end it says to 'please don't vote for any further weakening of the value of human life.'

So, all in all, I don't think anything on their post-card suggests they would rather reduce the number of abortion, instead of outrightly banning them altogether.

So you should probably change your post as it's incorrect and gives the wrong impression about the Passion for Life campaign.

Mulier Fortis said...

Antonia, I also know people in the Passion 4 Life campaign - and I wouldn't doubt their motives, integrity or personal approach to abortion.

What I am trying to say is that we cannot CAMPAIGN for abortion to be "rare". You can vote to limit an evil, but you should not run a campaign based on that idea.

Their motives are good. Their tactics are flawed. Their campaign motto on that postcard really was putting their collective foot in it.

Mulier Fortis said...

BTW - Fr Tim Finigan showed me their postcard. It was one of many, and you obviously haven't seen that one. It had "abortion should be rare" in big white letters on a blue background ON THE FRONT.

Please do not suggest that I don't know what I'm talking about!

Adulio said...

Thank you Mulier for doing this post.

I have for sometime now thought that although, we should not personally judge the motives of Passion for Life, their incessant campaign for 20 week time limits is very silly to say the least.

It sends out a mixed message, in Catholic churches that promote these cards. We are against abortion totally and not partially.

antonia said...

(apologies if this is the second time you get this; 'puter crashed)


Just read Fr. Tim's lovely post!

Okay, I stand by my first comment but clearly retract my second!!

I didn't realise that a new Passion for Life card had come out last week; I thought you were referring to one of the cards that had been in circulation these last few months reagrding the new HFEA bill.

So totally MY mistake in every single way.

But, yeh, I agree, it's an appalling choice of wording on those new cards.

Mulier Fortis said...

Fair enough!

And I do not, in any way, want to denigrate the people who work for Passion 4 Life. They do some stirling work in this most thankless of fields.

But I think that their campaign approach really is misguided.

Elizabeth said...

I see your point, Mulier Fortis. Isn't it true, however, that pro-lifers have 2 objectives in mind: (i) changing the law so that it acknowledges the fetus as a human being possessing a right to life - setting the cutoff at 0 weeks - and (ii) actually reducing the number of abortions that happen.

I think pro-life groups have tended to focus on the first objective because the second objective gets them mired in questions about contraception - and this poses a threat to the unity of the pro-life group. Achieving the second objective is also (I think) even harder than achieving the first.

That said, changing the law is something that happens in the political arena. I don't think that playing the political game necessarily means forfeiting principles. To be sure, it means drumming up support from people who only feel distaste for abortion instead of moral outrage, but I don't see why this would be a problem. I get the idea that you are wary of joining up with such people in case it later becomes difficult to overturn the 16 weeks law and restrict abortion further (down to 0 weeks, we hope!) Correct me if my understanding of your thought process is wrong.

I don't think it would be a problem later on. I think it is possible that distaste, in some cases, will become principled objection. Even if it doesn't, at least the cut off would be 16 weeks instead of 24 and on the basis of that, we might achieve something for the second objective with pregnant women before 16 weeks feeling a greater weight of societal disapproval, or beyond 16 weeks fearing a bad outcome from a back street abortion. Either might make them more likely to seek out an organization like the sisters of life.

I've been thinking about this rather a lot recently, prompted by reading St Thomas More's Utopia. The book presents two figures, Hythloday the idealist and More the lawyer, the practical politician. Of course, as More taught by his life, there is a kind of holy art in knowing when to be an idealist in politics and when to be practical. It's a tough call.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Thanks for the tip Mac.

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