The Economist welcomes your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful of other readers. Review our comments policy.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Log in to your account.Don't have an account? Register
People on the street did not celebrate the "killing of babies". They cheered that no woman will be forced to carry the child of her rapist to term any longer.
The limits of legal abortion are a difficult balance that are worth a thorough debate. The end of oppression and newly gained self-determination, however, are legitimate grounds for celebration.
I don’t wish to appear bigoted, but I view all forms of fundamentalism with horror and disgust.
For me, fundamentalism denies the Enlightenment, and demands that words from centuries ago in a very different society must be taken literally, in a society which is changing faster and faster.
Fundamentalism is a refuge for those who cannot cope with change, and who are unable to think for themselves.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis seems to be doing a surprisingly good job.
It was very disturbing to see mindless crowds celebrating the legalization of the killing of these most defenceless human beings in their mothers' wombs .
The crowd was oblivious to the lethal injustice of these lethal attacks on the small human being nurtured and protected in her/his mother's womb.
Of special concern now is the fact that children detected to have Down's syndrome or other conditions will be speedily and 'legally' targeted for extermination.
Detecting "a chromosomal disorder" in an unborn child should not be a death sentence for any child. No law can legitimately override the fundamental human rights obligation "recognized" by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "to provide legal protection before as well as after birth" for every child.
Careful research on the historical records of the Parliamentary debates in Britain that led to the formulation and passing of Ground E of the Abortion Act 1967 reveals the paucity of certain parliamentarians’ knowledge and understanding of persons with disability. The records uncover a sickening level of ignorance and prejudice against all kinds of disability that appeared at that time acceptable to these parliamentarians and their contemporaries.
The debate, regrettably was conducted at an exceedingly shallow level and the small amount of evidence actually cited was very shaky indeed and reprehensibly aimed at emotional blackmail rather then legal argument.
A very frank, gloating description (given in 1991) of the unscrupulous antics engaged in during those years by a small but unconscionably powerful, US funded, contemporary lobby group, the Abortion Law Reform Association.
The reprehensible manner in which this group was able to manipulate the Parliament on such matters as Ground E for aborting children with disabilities ‘lawfully’ is recorded in the Institute of Contemporary British History Witness Seminar Programme, 10th July 2001, School of Advanced Study, University of London. It is still available to be read online at
Here it is made clear also that Ground E of the Abortion Act 1967 was formulated and passed into law without any consultation with people with disabilities.
On page 58 of these Witness Seminar papers, a question by Simone Aspis is recorded:
"I am a disabled activist...I want to ask you, in the 1960s, did any of you consult with disabled people whether they wanted not to exist simply on the grounds of being disabled and what consultation has been done with disabled people in deciding whether they should have the right to exist?"
And Madeleine Simms, ALRA activist and author, replied:
"I think the answer to that is we didn't consult anybody..."
Indeed parliamentary records confirm that the necessary research and the intellectual justifications pretending to legitimate Ground E of the Abortion Act 1967 were shamefully inadequate: those who passed this shoddy piece of legislation were driven largely by manipulated emotions rather than in being intellectually grounded in truths such as the equal dignity of human beings with or without disabilities.
The time has come to restore protection for vulnerable children at risk of abortion because of their disabilities.
This is not the time for celebration.
Abortion is fine (some women go through terrible pregnancies, some embryos have no chance of developing into healthy babies and some mothers-to-be have no resources to raise babies with). However, seeing crowds celebrate abortions, ad we have seen in the past few days, is a sad sight. Abortion should, like any other destruction of human life from capital punishment to the switching off of life-supporting machines, be met with a sombre mood. Necessary as it might be, there is nothing to celebrate.
The crowds cheering on abortions are as progressive as the crowds who went to watch criminals being guillotined in the 1700s, except this time the destroyed will have carried out no bigger crime than coming into existence at an inappropriate time or in an inappropriate way.
To those who argue that there is no human being before nine months, tell that to any expectant mother who gazes at the ultrasound scan, feels the baby kicking in her stomach and can't wait to hold it in her arms. Just as a human being can't be a 100 years old without first being 99 years and 364 days, that same person can't be two days without first being a day and 23 hours. All biologists agree that a person is continuously the same growing creature from conception until death. Thus, the destruction of the developing human during any part of this period, no matter how necessary it might seem, can be understood as nothing else than killing.
Maybe the few countries which still outlaw abortion or restrict it severely can serve as a progressive moral compass for the rest. And before you say that governments have no role being moral police, may I remind you that the same governments which permit abortions very liberally are also very keen on regulating the morals of those who might seem homophobic, racist or misogynist.
Maybe just as "conservstives" should learn from "liberals" about the beauty and romance of homosexual relationships, "liberals" should learn from "conservatives" about the beauty of human life in all its stages, and how unfortunate it is to have to destroy it.
Ulster should, in this instance, set its watch forward not 300 years but certainly to the 21st century.