I Wish We Had a Religious Right to Talk Sense on Abortion

In Britain, no one tells the truth about really serious stuff. It’s not in the national character. So reporters had to do some maths this week to work out that, according to official statistics, 27 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales are abortions.

While you let that sink in, here’s the maths, as originally reported by Breitbart on Saturday:

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 506,790 recorded deaths in England and Wales in 2013 – the most recent year for which figures are available. These, however, do not include abortions.

Separate figures, also compiled by the ONS, reveal that a total of 185,331 abortions took place in England and Wales in the same year.

Adding the total number of unborn babies who died as a result of abortion in 2013 to the total number of recorded deaths in England and Wales brings the overall death total to 692,121. This means that 26.78 per cent of the deaths were caused by abortion.

The figure has remained relatively stable for the past few years, with abortions accounting for 27.76 per cent of deaths in 2010, 28.17 per cent in 2011 and 27.05 per cent in 2012.

The current consensus, which appears to be that a woman’s body is hers to do with as she pleases until the little brat pops out, strikes me as utterly sociopathic and wrong. When two lives are at stake, surely a mother has a moral duty to consider the well-being of her unborn baby just as carefully as she considers her own.

I’m not laying out a complete or coherent position here, because frankly I don’t precisely know where I stand, except that, unpopular as this may be, I instinctively recoil from abortion as one of the great horrors of civilisation, and don’t believe it should be offered except in the most extreme cases of deformity, disease or disability.

But it would be nice to have the conversation, at least, without being told that men have no right to express an opinion on the subject, or that women must simply be left to murder as many of their children as they please, without care or consequence, and that neither society nor the law ought to encourage them to think it through.

You rarely see anyone in Britain stating the pro-life position with any ferocity. It’s normally done apologetically in newspaper columns and in Catholic magazines. Even less frequently do you see anyone take to the streets with placards. I wonder why that is. Is the reason we don’t even talk about this subject that there’s no strong religious conservatism in our public life?

Because there really isn’t, is there. The Catholic Church is almost as bad as the Church of England when it comes to speaking plainly about God. Our bishops would much rather bleat on about climate change — driving away thousands of young people, who come to the church seeking spiritual enlightenment, not green propaganda.

Our religious leaders are spineless. Witness the closure of Britain’s Catholic adoption agencies because no one bothered to put up a fight against legislation that prevented agencies from placing children according to the tenets of their faith. Forbidden from favouring straight couples over gay couples, Catholic charities had no option but to close.

The grim irony of the situation is that, as time goes by, we discover more reasons why placing children with same-sex couples might not be such a good idea. Yet we’re losing adoption agencies that could place children in need and, it seems to me, encouraging women to simply abort their babies instead.

Whether they’re religious or not, plenty of people feel, but are too scared to say, that they consider abortion is never all right, except perhaps in the case of extreme deformity.

Like most people, I’m relaxed about the morning-after pill: I can’t get upset about a few cells. But it’s not long after those first few days that a mother must accept that’s it’s not just her she’s making decisions for any more. You don’t have to believe in an immortal soul or a dude in the clouds to find the “how dare you even question a woman’s right to decide what happens to her own body” not only illogical but deeply immoral.

Because arguments against abortion that have nothing to do with religion are just as persuasive. What diseases could have been cured by a doctor who will now never live to see the light of Harvard Med?

Perhaps the silliest argument in favour of termination is that children could be born into hostile environments, to parents who may not really want them. The answer to this is obvious to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of human history: the greatest among us have always been born into circumstances exactly like that.

Children born into wealth and, as they say these days, “privilege,” frequently underachieve. Call up a list of famous orphans on Google, on the other hand, and you’ll see the following names: Julius Caesar, Bach, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, Aristotle, Louis Armstrong, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Bill Clinton. (Your mileage may vary on Clinton, admittedly.)

Even were it not the case that children from challenging backgrounds often become transformative figures in politics, philosophy and the arts, you have to be pretty arrogant to think you know what sort of life is “worth living.” Don’t you think?

Liberal abortion laws disproportionately affect minorities and the poor, so it’s a mystery why the political Left in both the UK and US is so fanatical on the subject. Normally they’re the first ones to complain when a policy punishes one of their beloved minority groups, but it seems the right of a woman to kill her child in the womb trumps any unintended consequences in black ghettoes.

Unless they’re all closet racists, of course: Planned Parenthood was, after all, set up by a eugenicist and has readily accepted money from people who say they specifically want to curb the number of black babies

You know, it makes me really quite envious of the United States. Say what you want about that country’s religious right — and, sure, it’s true that pastors in the US have been responsible for silly and hypocritical moral panics about video games and what have you — they do at least make the case, vehemently, for the rights of the unborn, in the face of appalling slander, violence and discourtesy from the pro-choice lot.

Would that we had their courage, frankly.


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