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Abortion is wrong regardless of the question of choice

Published 20/09/2016

Even by the standards of pro-abortion polemics, Fionola Meredith's article, "Opponents of abortion do not have a monopoly on ethics" (Comment, September 16), is exceptionally confused in its analysis.

She complains that women who wish to end the lives of their children have to go to England for abortions.

That English law is in the wrong on this question and the law here (based on legislation which once pertained across the United Kingdom) is in the right is not an argument for abortion.

Those who want to molest children will go to countries where they can do so with impunity; that is not an argument for paedophilia.

She objects to opponents of abortion because they base their case on "faith and doctrine". That, again, is not an argument for her case. Much of the Western ethical tradition has roots in Christian and Jewish teaching, as well as in classical philosophy.

In any case, an anti-abortion case can be constructed without absolute reliance on, or even reference to, religion - as has been done by the philosophers Elizabeth Anscombe and Anthony Kenny (the one a practising Catholic, the other a lapsed one), or by the journalist Dominic Lawson (who has no religious beliefs).

The case against abortion is rooted in a belief in human dignity and a commitment to the rights of unborn children.

Fionola Meredith proceeds to defend abortion (with reference to Ann Furedi), because it affirms a woman's "status as a thinking, acting, autonomous human being".

Abortion is wrong regardless of the question of choice; it is wrong because it conflicts with the autonomy of the unborn child.

(She might have added that, as the chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advice Service - the largest independent abortion service in Great Britain - Ann Furedi has a strong personal interest in the continuance of abortion on demand).

Fionola Meredith regards the current (originally 19th-century) abortion legislation here as antiquated, yet the one in Great Britain is advanced because it dates from 1967.

Does she think Pol Pot more morally advanced than Winston Churchill, because one came decades after the other?

The date of a law is not an argument against its correctness.

As with so many advocates of abortion, Fionola Meredith shies away from reality; abortion always involves the destruction of innocent human life and that is why it is always wrong.

To reduce the subject to questions of choice is trivialising and morally blind.

CDC ARMSTRONG

Belfast

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