The 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act made the BBC revisit the debate about abortion in The Moral Maze. Confusion, obfuscation and biblical illiteracy are still the order of the day.
The debate proceeded along the usual lines to little effect, so it is worth recording here a list of the topics which are usually missing from a broadcast discussion on abortion, even studiously avoided, and they were missing from this discussion.
Your favourite subjects may be missing from this list – probably because they are usually discussed. This list is about those topics that are not discussed, along with my comments as sub-points.
- God, our Creator, to whom we are ultimately accountable is usually omitted:
- the Roman Catholic contributor to this debate even denied it was a theological issue and put it into the category of basic human rights.
- George Galloway acknowledges our accountability to God as his motive in public life. It would be good if more people recognised this.
- Christian morality is silenced by defaulting to secular morality.
- Jesus’ blessing unborn children in the womb Lk 18:15,17, Lk 1:41,44 is hardly known, far less mentioned.
- divine providence is not discussed nor even mentioned because the debate is framed around secular morality.
- The concept of choice is very selective:
- the father’s choice is hardly ever mentioned, was not mentioned in this programme, and the effect on his mental health is ignored.
- it is assumed that personal autonomy means that the mother’s choice is paramount; it is rarely challenged and it is only countered by the child’s right to life.
- the concept of wrong choice is Christian morality, which secular morality usually succeeds in silencing.
- secular repentance is replacing Christian repentance, the former being considered acceptable but the latter unacceptable, especially if it involves gender orientation and other Christian issues.
- The mental health of mothers after abortion is ignored, whereas many have to live with the guilt of their choice and action, and some come to regret it. Even ‘Jane Roe’ in the landmark US Supreme Court case Roe v Wade changed from being a pro- to an anti-abortion activist.
- The mental health of the father, both those for and against abortion, is ignored.
- The much lower gestational limits for abortion in other countries is rarely mentioned.
- The biblical definition of conception is notable by its complete absence:
- Giles Fraser came close to it by drawing attention to the older Christian teaching that ‘quickening’ announces the beginning of human life in the womb, but the public needs more explanation.
- The biblical exegesis of conception shows that ‘conception is not fertilisation’ but that it is associated with implantation in the womb.
- The soul given by God is imparted sometime around or after conception and before ‘quickening’.
- There is a failure to discuss the reasons why a pregnant mother will not carry the child to full term, even for adoption if need be. It is simply assumed that her wish and her choice is paramount.
- the ungodly desire to reject the conceived child is rarely discussed, and discussion begins at the act of abortion instead of the desire to abort. If selfishness is mentioned, it is quickly dismissed from the discussion.
- the ungodly preference to abort rather than to carry the child to term is simply assumed to be a right, which avoids discussing the reasons why this is so and why they do not want their child adopted by someone who would care for it.
- The lack of responsibility for becoming pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy is almost never mentioned:
- the only specific cases usually mentioned are rape, incest and mothers with learning difficulties, in other words situations of abuse, which avoids discussing other cases;
- ‘every child a wanted child’ is abused as a right to abort an unwanted child rather than exposing the shame of not wanting it.
- the failure of secular theories about sex education is the context that is rarely if ever mentioned.
- The wickedness of abortion is not mentioned:
- because wickedness belongs to Christian morality and the debate is sanitised and reframed into rights, personal and moral choice, medical procedures, etc.
- this overlooks the fact that secular morality has been assumed – as if it is the only morality – silencing Christian morality.
- The death culture inherent in secular morality is rarely if ever mentioned.
- Alternatives to abortion are not discussed:
- possibly because the mother’s wish to destroy the fetus is considered to be paramount,
- possibly because it becomes too emotional by troubling the conscience of mothers opting for abortion, which is discounted as possibly damaging the mental health of the mother.
- Child abuse is never used in this context:
- abortion beyond 16 weeks’ gestation is the decapitation and dismembering of a fetus, which one could not do even to a dead human being far less a living one.
- this silencing is accomplished by claiming that reference to a baby or a child is tendentious, ‘begging the point’ or too emotional a term to use.
- Late abortion is almost always ignored:
- in favour of discussing conception,
- although the public are concerned about late abortions,
- and the current debate is about decriminalising all abortions up to term.
- Eternity is never mentioned:
- Jesus tells us about the troubled conscience tormenting the wicked in eternity.
- abortionists will not be able to ignore these aborted children in eternity.
- the secular necessity to redefine abortion is ignored:
- although it must come as the age of viability lowers below 24 weeks,
- which may be a driving force behind decriminalising all abortion up to term.
- redefining language, or the language battle, is part of the secularist methodology to change from Christian to secular morality.
- abortion is reducing the fertility rate and the sustainability of the population:
- which affects the stability of the population.
- there have been over 9 million abortions in the UK since the 1967 Act. This is a lost generation and now the UK relies upon immigrant labour, a major cause for the Brexit vote on 23/6/2016 to leave the European Union, yet abortion was never mentioned in the debate over immigrant labour in the UK.
- these unborn children could have been the workers that Britain needs.
- in the 1980s abortion was considered as a means of population control.
- the symptoms have driven policy rather than the cause. The Abortion Act 1967 was introduced to reduce maternal deaths from back-street abortions. Mothers were dying in the process of trying to kill their own child.
- God, our Creator, to whom we are ultimately accountable is usually omitted:
‘Let everyone in authority speak up for the voiceless, to secure justice for all those appointed to destruction’ Proverbs 31:8.
16 Oct 2017: 9 p.m. BBC 2 Abortion on Trial had commissioned a poll which showed that 69% of respondents think that abortion is legal if a woman wants it; this is not so. Both Lord Steel and Diane Munday, the general secretary of the Abortion Law Reform Association in the 1960s, want the decriminalisation of abortion, but when gender selection was raised Steel agreed to make this an exception while Munday, a patron of Humanists UK, would have no exceptions. Anne Robinson, hosting the programme, summarised: 25:50 “the view is that abortion should be decriminalised except almost everyone has got an ‘ah but’.” “Clearly the majority of the group do not want abortion banned, but nor do they want abortion on demand.” 51:40 “the group doesn’t think that men should have a legal say and they also think that women should be able to take abortion drugs at home. We’re making progress.” 56:55 “the majority view is undoubtedly that it’s a woman’s right to choose.”
22 Oct 2017: the BBC is accused of suppressing an ‘inconvenient’ survey that showed the British public has a conservative attitude to abortion. There are also accusations about selection bias in the participants chosen for the programme, because of possible distress to other participants or restriction to what they felt able to say. One wonders if David Steel or Diane Munday would participate in such a programme if it was not likely to lean towards their opinion.
5 Dec 2017: the SNP Scottish Government is interfering with Northern Ireland sovereignty by promoting abortion by the back door. There is a campaign against it here, and all you have to do is sign it with your email.
11 May 2018: the death culture in the UK.
22 Oct 2018: “a Bill to lower the gestational time limit for abortion to 12 weeks” from 24 weeks, introduced to the House of Lords on 5 Jul 2017, has still to make progress. If passed, it would be called the Abortion (Foetus Protection) Act 2017 and appears under the name of Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, who in 2017 received an honorary doctorate in International Leadership and Humanitarian Service from Brigham Young University, the Mormon University in the United States.
4 Mar 2019: The Woman Equalities Select Committee discussed Abortion Law in Northern Ireland. It was reluctantly conceded that ‘Abortion is not a human right.’ However, another contributor said that all seven justices in the Supreme Court said that they saw this as a human rights issue. It is, of course, a human rights issue for the threatened fetus. Secularists are shifting the goalposts again, this time on human rights.
21 Mar 2019: the culture of death continues in the medical profession.
23 Mar 2019: improved knowledge about in utero development.
11 Dec 2019: the Labour Manifesto 2019 for the UK General Election p. 48: “We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions.” This, in effect, allows abortion up till birth.
1 Dec 2021: the US Supreme Court seems to have signalled that it will support a change in the abortion law in the USA.
27 Jun 2022: the US Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is not a constitutional right, not that it is illegal. It did not take away “a woman’s right to abortion” but with the inappropriateness of such a matter being decided at the Federal level as though it was a well-known, well-recognised right. Instead of such a decision being imposed by diktat from a legal environment, and in the case of Roe versus Wade by the Supreme Court, it should be a political decision discussed by individual States.
13 Jul 2022: after the US Supreme Court’s decision, the BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze revisited the questioned again. I was pleased to see that the questioners were effectively defeated by Madeline Page, Chairwoman of the National Council and Chief Executive Officer of The Alliance of Pro-life Students, showing that with adequate debaters the anti-abortion case can easily triumph. I do not endorse all of Page’s views, because I do not know them all, but simply that she defeated her opponents. The re-framing of debate by the supporters of abortion was manifest, such as rights and autonomy, opposed by relationships, status and moral claims, but as usual, the concepts mentioned in this blogpost were not discussed although some were touched. Michael Buerk did eventually raise the absence of the father from the debate, one of the matters in my blogpost above, but he was told to “keep up to date” because ‘father’ is no longer politically correct and lesbians want children and possibly abortion! The subject of late abortion was mentioned as well as a ‘potential’ human being, but hardly discussed. The main issue was ‘rights’. One contributor said: “We don’t agree enough about this issue to make it a matter of rights.” This is germane to the US Supreme Court decision.
3 thoughts on “Revisiting the 1967 Abortion Act”
Well done and I have to say I was very concerned at the Anne Robinson Programme. The dangers of secularism or humanistic evolutionary philosophies have great dangers for us as persons creatures created by God. In God we have intrinsic value because we are and he gave us life, in the secular world it is becoming more and more that we have instrumental value we are only valued because of what we can contribute. Old age in the near future might be a very scary place to be if you are poor(probably already is).
I have often said that the ungodly world wants the most hours of our day, the most days of our week, the most weeks of our year, and the most years of our life to serve its purposes, and when it is finished with us it dumps us. In the case of abortion, it dumps the child as unserviceable before it is even born.
Christ is the best and only Master worth serving.
Hi Donald, I heard a couple of people on You Tube making the link between abortion and immigration. Here is one from the American context: