ABORTION touches not only the religious but also the social consciences of the nation. To imply that Christians should not defend the innocent lives at stake in this issue as suggested by Mr. Carr (November 18) and Mr. D. Wilson (December 2) is misguided and dangerous tolerance. We as Catholics are as entitled to state our views and present them to the country and its legislators as are the supporters of this new legislation. The fact that clearly defined moral principles are involved adds point and force to our objections: it is ludicrous to suggest that we are attempting "to impose our religion by force of law" as Mr. Wilson suggests.
It is difficult to believe that anyone who has carefully studied the proposed legislation can view it with equanimity. The Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in a Report Legalised Abortion specifically state, "those who advocate major changes in the law governing induction of abortion do not always appreciate that current medical practice in the U.K. is not seriously hampered by the present legislation".
The report futher stated that "although based only on the Offences Against the Person Act (1861) and the subsequent interpretation of this Act in the Courts, the present situation commends itself to most gynaecologists, in that it leaves them free to act in what they consider to be the best interests of each individual patient." No doctor cares to have his advice in this matter governed by legislation rather than by medical knowledge and experience.
If legislation followed, as it logically could, permitting the killing of the aged, the maimed or mentally sick, this would be regarded as the legislation of murder. The same protection which is extended to existing human life should apply to innocent human life in the womb.
It is a sad commentary on our society that as soon as the death penalty for murder is suspended, amidst great publicity, the legalisation of the taking of innocent life should be proposed as an attempt to clarify the law.
John N. O'Neill, M.B., B.S. Middlesbrough.
I DO not understand the logic of Mr. David Wilson's letter (December 2). He seems to say that as we are a minority in the society wherein we live, we should abandon the endeavour, by all lawful and democratic means in our power, to determine the shape of that society. Why on earth should we? He might just as well say that a party which loses an election should not try and win the next.
One of the sponsors of the Bill has complained of an organised campaign by Catholics. But are not the activities of the Abortion Law Reform union organised? Is there no lobbying by the supporters of the bill?
Nobody can force a member of Parliament to vote against his conscience (except perhaps the Whips), but even minorities have a right and a duty to inform that conscience, individually or collectively. If we tamely abandon the task, then indeed the salt has lost its savour.
Ronald Flaiman Banstead, Surrey.
I HAVE been distressed to
read in recent correspondence the views of fellow Catholics who regret the stand taken against the Abortion Bill.
If we believe that our faith contains all truth we have a duty to make that truth widely known, and this must include opposition to anything contrary to that truth. We do not stand silently by and watch somebody take poison, because it might not hurt them. Similarly we cannot stand by and watch society create a weapon which strikes at the basis of social order, a respect for human life at all stages of its existence.
That there are legal anomalies which must be cleared is not denied but energies would be better directed in removing conditions wherein abortion is seen as the only solution.
Monica M. Gill (Miss) Hastings, Sussex.
MR. DAVID W IL SON (December 2) is shocked by protests against the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill; I find his "I'm alright" attitude even more shocking.
He evidently thinks it right for us to stand idly by and allow legislation which will permit the destruction of unborn children—provided, of course, that they are not potential Catholics!
It is unfortunate, however, that, according to Mr. David Steel, M.P., many letters of protest from Catholics addressed to their M.P.s should have been framed in terms so identical that everyone copied the same spelling mistake. Far from commanding any respect for the Catholic viewpoint such an example of solidarity gone mad will do no more than foster the firmly entrenched notion that Catholics do what they are told without using their brains.
Anne Ménage (Mrs.) Stratford-upon -Avon.
ONE wonders what the effect on our elected members would be if every parish in the country organised petitions. So much has been written in the Catholic Press—so little done? Margaret P. Fiderkiewicz (Mrs.) Torquay.