Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Calling A Spade A Shovel...

Back in the mid 1990s, when I was involved in scientific research, I wrote an article on foetal tissue transplantation for Faith Magazine (archived by EWTN) in which I happened to comment on how the medical profession liked to use highly specialised scientific language in order to obscure the true nature of the work being done.

The mothers of the aborted babies used were referred to in very oblique terms in the papers I reviewed - one study even went so far as to call them "donors." Aborted babies were reduced to "embryonic tissue" or "neural tissue." Everyone knew what it all meant, but it was just a "nicer" way to say it.

It seems, however, that we have now reached the stage where scientific papers are being much more up-front about what is involved. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have published advice on performing late abortions:

"Feticide should be performed before medical abortion after 21 weeks and 6 days of gestation to ensure that there is no risk of a live birth."

Patricide, matricide, fratricide, regicide aren't used so often these days - but most people can identify the words as meaning that someone is killed. Homicide is much more widely understood (mostly due to American cops-and-robbers films and programmes) as the killing of one human being by another. There can be no doubt in people's minds that feticide is the killing of a foetus, an unborn baby. Forget "products of conception" - that works earlier on, but not after 21 weeks.

This bluntness is rather surprising, and begs the question: have we, as a society, become so desensitised that the RCOG feels it can give clear advice on killing babies without having to dress it up in fancy language?

Twitch of the mantilla to Fr. Tim, who goes into much more detail (not to be read on a full stomach, trust me!)

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