Page 4, 13th July 1984

13th July 1984
Page 4
Page 4, 13th July 1984 — State transgressions

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Organisations: Second Vatican Council


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State transgressions

I AGREE with the Hierarchy in the conviction that abortion is a crime against God and man, and a fundamental breach of human rights. Where I disagree with them is in the supposition that, in the presence of abortion tolerated by the State, the State has the continued right to command obedience.

The Church's teaching on the matter is perfectly clear: "If any officers of State violate or ignore human rights, they not only fail in their duty, they lose all authority to command obedience." (John XXIII, Encyclical Pacem in Terris). This does not imply that, as Catholics, we should disobey in what is objectively required in the common good. (Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution).

Abortion is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights: Article 2 "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life

intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.'' The Convention does not allow an uncomplicated person to apply for a ruling on behalf of an embryo, but the father of such a victim might conceivably make an application for a ruling that the abortion law is illegal.

But the British Constitution, in Magna Carta which is the precondition for the legality of acts of Parliament, contains a guarantee of everyone's rights. "We will not deprive any man of his righ4." Although abortion is effectively decrimi nalised by the Abortion Act of 1 967, the civil right to life of an embryo could perhaps be estab lished by an injunction against abortion based on Magna Carta. I propose that LIFE and other concerned organisations attempt just that.

George Redmond Lim

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