One need not be a discerning political observer to recognise that the groundwork for the legalisation of abortion is being firmly laid, notwithstanding reassurances to the contrary.
“Abortion is not on the agenda” is evidently doublespeak for “lower your guard while we prepare to legalise abortion by stealth”. The debate has, in the first place, been instigated by various kite-flying techniques. The cause has already been championed by none other than the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Foundation for Women’s Rights.
Efforts are being made to acclimatise the electorate to “acceptable” destruction of life, such as the introduction of abortive morning-after pills, with freezing and disposal of embryos being next in line. Legal protection of the unborn has been weakened by deletion of any reference to the unborn in the Domestic Violence Bill and will predictably be further weakened by amendments to the Embryo Protection Act.
Pro-abortion campaigners use all sorts of stratagems and euphemisms in an attempt to camouflage the stark reality of abortion; it is murder of the unborn child, wilful destruction of the vulnerable who are unable to voice their pain and to defend themselves. Pro-abortion discourse systematically ‘de-personalises’ the embryo, relegating it to a bunch of cells in order to render its destruction less despicable.
Any competent embryologist will however attest to the fact that an embryo is not a mere bunch of cells. Any mother who has miscarried, grieves her unborn child and not a bunch of cells within. Any ultrasound machine which echoes the heartbeat of the unborn child to anxious parents is confirming human life at inception.
We all started off our lives as embryos, the Human Rights Commissioner included. Only a few months separate the embryo from the crying, loving, vulnerable infant that is placed in her mother’s arms a couple of minutes after birth.
Abortion necessarily entails the stoppage of a heartbeat, sometimes the tearing of organs, the crushing of bones, undoubtedly the destruction of life. This notwithstanding, it is reframed as a human rights issue, a women’s rights issue, an equality issue, an autonomy issue, anything other than what it really is; murder of the innocent and the vulnerable.
Let there be no doubt. There exists no fundamental human right to abortion. The European Convention of Human Rights does not refer to any fundamental right to abortion, the European Court of Human Rights never expressed itself to this effect.
Another argument propounded by the pro-abortionists is the “regulatory” argument. Abortion is already a reality, it is argued. Accordingly, in lieu of clandestine abortions, it is better to “regulate” abortion, thereby ensuring that it is carried out in a safe, controlled environment. The destruction of life is wrong whether it takes place openly or clandestinely. By the same token let us have ‘safe’ capital punishment, let us regulate cock fighting, let us sanitise clandestine wrongdoings by transferring them to the public arena.
The “extreme circumstance” argument ordinarily ushers the point of entry of legalised abortion. Let us introduce abortion in the case of rape, it is argued. Rape is a horrendous crime and a rape victim needs all the support that society could give. But abortion is not the solution.
Legalising abortion in case of rape is meting out the death sentence to one of the innocent victims of the crime. Likewise, situations where mother’s life is at risk are invoked as pretexts for the legalisation of abortion. Faced with life-threatening conditions to mother or child, doctors will do their utmost to save both. Medical protocols are already in existence to cater for the rare cases where a choice is inevitable.
Pro-life activists should carefully resist the trap set by pro-abortionists to frame the issue as a mother-versus-child issue. We should strive to put in place all the necessary support structures for women facing difficult decisions. The 24/7 Life Line Support chat line recently introduced by the Life Network is a laudable initiative.
If the government is seriously pro-women and pro-life it should follow suit. Mothers and unborn children are both victims of abortion. Both deserve support and compassion. Vulnerable mothers are often hoodwinked to believe that abortion is a straightforward surgical intervention that leaves no lasting effects. The truth is otherwise.
The fact is that pro-‘choicers’ are not defenders of women. They are, consciously or unconsciously, defenders of abortion.
The dignity of life is not measured or valued in terms of its stage of development, its state of health or illness, the extent of its autonomy or dependability. Life is a precious gift. Let us treasure it.
My sincere appeal goes to all those who are in a position of influence, particularly members of Parliament. Do not be complicit, whether by commission or omission, in the murder of the unborn. As the spectre of legalised abortion draws closer to our shores let us stand up and be compassionately pro-life.
Arthur Galea Salomone is president of the Cana Movement.