To answer Mrs Faux's question (May 27) as to what those of us who oppose abortion would have done in the situation of a girl of 13 made pregnant by her father: LIFE would not have inflicted on the girl the violent, degrading and destructive experience of abortion which would do nothing to solve the basic problem of incest, but would very likely leave
' her with new problems in the way of inability to conceive or to carry subsequent children to full term.
. Instead LIFE would have offered the girl what she needed most: a . loving home away from her father, and confidential care and compassion during The pregnancy, We would also have helped as much as . possible the other members of the girl's family. LIFE has accommodated before birth a number of girls and women made pregnant through incest or unwanted intercourse, Some of • them decided to keep and bring up their babies even though the cir. cumstances of conception were brutal or incestuous. We have been
• able to help after the birth with au' commodation and support. Others have had their babies adopted, I suggest to Mrs Faux that the problems of the 13 year old girl she mentions and of her family have not . been magically 'solved' by aborting the girl's child. All that has been achieved is the death of the unborn
• child — in a situation already fraught with death and violence. Is that really the Way to cope with serious social problems?
Mrs Faux mentions 'courage' in connection with abortion. What kind of 'courage' is it on the part of those doctors, nurses, social workers, or even relations and neighbours who urge a pregnant woman or girl to have an abortion? Not much courage is needed to • be party to killing the unborn they can't fight back — or to kid oneself that serious social problems can be solved this way. Parents of . handicapped children need the help • and support of all of us, not . pressures to abort their child. • Parents who hatter their born children need our help and support rather than encouragement to batter their unborn. Children with violent or incestuous parents need especially vigilant compassion and love from us all, not the dusty answer of abortion followed by being taken into State care, Neale Scarisbrick (Mrs) Hon Administrator — LIFE Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
When one is deeply committed to a vital cause it is sometimes inevitable that lines will be drawn clearer than they really are, and doubts glossed over, We do not live in a world of clear rights and wrongs, but greys and difficulties and "lessers of two evils."
One of the problems in putting up a strong case for innocent life in opposing abortion is that the Magisteriam of the Church dues not seem to have been very interested over the yeare in matters like wholesale bombing of civilian cities (on both sides during the last war) and the massive killing of the innocent in a nuclear war, History is crammed with cases of the Church authorities actively promoting wars of all kinds. Of course two blacks do not make a white, but our moral objections to the killing of innocent life would certainly be listened to more carefully if we had always opposed strongly with parliamentary lobbying and massive demos, the destruction of all innocent life. M the moment we are seen to be very selective in our condemnations, If we are supporting the ideal of responsible parenthood (by whatever method) there are indeed cases when another child is very irresponsible indeed for an already overloaded or very sick mother one who has clear-cut ill-health of an extreme degree.
These things are very difficult to decide. Just like the present lengthy inquiries for nullity of marriage, each Case must be considered deeply, and in pregnancy there is not always time. Is it right for a mother to be forced to bear an unwanted child? We used to think forced marriages were right, and that desperately unhappy couples should be foreed to stay together on account of their marriage vows. Now we do not. Also, are we in any way clear that every fertilised ovum is in fact a dis tinct human person? Gynaecological experts say that a very high proportion of fertilised ova are spontaneously aborted (miscarriage). Are all these separate human beings with souls? Of course they should have respect and protection, but are their rights absolute over all other con
siderations; are there genuinely no cases when abortion is the lesser evil? If this is so, it seems to be unique in all moral questions, as I cannot think of any other act which is not made acceptable by extreme circumstances.
Abortion on demand is an appalling evil. But do we help our case by taking up positions which to opponents or the uncommitted seem one-sided and possibly inconsistent?
It is a sad fact, but the moral theologians do not seem to have been so much concerned with social morality (concerning the actions of governments, dictators, armies or large international corporations) as in' individual morality, particularly if it concerns sexuality. Yet many would think that social morality was far more significant in terms of building up the Kingdom of Ciod.
The cases of massacre, the repression of basic human rights by so many governments (particularly those nominally Catholic), not to mention recent horrors in many parts of Africa, are ever before us. If we are to influence our fellowcitizens in love and care for innocent life we surely need to seem concerned equally with defending it in all areas: otherwise our witness is rather compromised.
(Mrs) M. Comerford Guildford, Surrey.
Father J. P, Wroe in his letter on abortion (May 20) writes; "What she (the Church) teaches is that the direct destruction of the human life of one who is neither an unjust aggressor nor a capital criminal, is wrong." During the last World War, millions of men, women and children were killed during Allied bombing raids, who, by no conceivable piece of casuistry, could be described as either "unjust aggressors" or "capital criminals". Yet the Church has never officially condemned these raids-.not even those which • destroyed Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Like "Doctor", I am disgusted by the double standards of a Church which condemns abortion with such vehemence and yet continues to support the absurdly outdated concept Of the "just war". John L. Broom Orkney.
Some might suppose, after reading Eileen M. Faux's letter (May 27) that liberal abortion eases the problem of battered babies; but is the fact not the opposite—that where there is an abortion climate the incidence of battered babies increases? Even if that wasn't so it would be monstrous to have the kill-baby-to-preventbattered-baby idea--and some do have it.
Frank Parkinson's statement "Secondly, the decision to take any life is moral or immoral in relation to the reasons" is incorrect. 'What moralists stress arc the three things: act, circumstances, intention. If is obvious that if the act is wrongper se then circumstances and intentions cannot make it right per se.
Frank Parkinson was himself once a one-day-old cluster of cells, with possibly a soul even at that stage. Not having had him killed off then would have been generally accepted until recently, when expediency and permissiveness have damaged simple basic moral evaluations.
People interested in moral theology will know to some extent the consideration given to difficult cases, • soul-infusion. etc.; it is wrong to think that the Church is not an fait with certain problems. Most direct abortions are of course not "hard cases" and are riot performed one day after conception. Most abortions are on demand, and involve the killing of healthy babies in physically healthy women; generally they occur when the baby is recognisably hunian.
The morality of abortion is in itself a simple matter. The baby is a separate being and does not belong to the mother in the way the appendix does. The mother has certain rights but so has the baby.
Even at six weeks after conception, the baby, though very small. can be seen if photographed to be quite a little cuddly one. That baby is 'innocent" and consequently has a God-given right to life.
Norm on earth has any objective authority simply to cancel that right, to decide on the child's direct death. Such a decision or action is ultra vires, and cannot conform to rational, moral—and therefore truly human—norms.
The odd situation connected with pregnancy may well he very difficult, but difficulties do not necessarily confer rights. If you could have objective, morally eceeptable reasons for directly killing the baby you would also be able to decide to kill directly the "innocent" adult to save two other "innocent" adults; it could not logically stop there. and you would soon have a hell on earth.
Vincent Ball Chorley, Lancashire.