Mrs Naomi Topple's letter of July 1 claiming that, as a Jew whose family were ali killed in the Nazi holocaust. she could see no parallel between the present abortion situation and the Hitler regime, reminds me of the George Bernard Shaw quotation: The one thing we learn from experience is that we do not learn from experience."
May I remind her that Leo Rosenberg — a great Jewish lawyer who studied the development of the Hitterian ideologies — stated at the Nuremhurg trials: "Nazi atrocities all began with the idea that there was such a thing as a life unworthy to be lived."
In this connection we should conskier very seriously the present erosion of medical ethics in Britain. For Hitler did not arrive on the German .scene by accident. He found power in a society ready to accept his doctrines and it was the German medical profession, above all. who paved the way for him.
Even before Hitler, it was German doctors who started to practise euthanasia for the handicapped, following a liberal abortion policy. Leo Rosenberg was well aware of the development, and it was of this that he spoke. Similar attitudes are now developing in the medical profession of this country.
In the British journal, The Doctor. of September 30 last, an article appeared which included the following statement: "Abortion, if one can look at the problem with eyes unclouded by hypocrisy and superstition, has become one of the answers to one of society's more impossible questions.
"How arc we to cope with a surplus population running into millions, many of whom will ride all their lives on the strained and aching backs of taxpayers and committed social workers?
"Before long society will really have to face up to the fact that it is not likely to be able to carry on staggering under the ever-growing burden of old, crippled arid insane beings."
While one accepts the right of both the author and of the magazine to publish such an article. surely, it was this type of thinking that we fought against in opposing Hitler? The Guardian of February 4, 1976, carried an article by Dr Cohn Brewer, psychiatric adviser to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, outlining the contents of a DHSS handbook on the newborn spina bifida child and the current practice of "selecting" babies for survival in some NHS hospitals.
"Selection," wrote Dr Brewer — referring to a passage from the DHSS handbook — "Sounds a rather neutral word . . Those who are not thought likely to benefit from surgery in the long run ... are starved to death ... Those selected for death are only fed if they cry. They are, however, sedated — and sedated infants do not cry."
Neither The Guardian nor the author of the article condemned the practice!
A third example comes from The General Practitioner magazine in which ton October 1, 197() a writer referred to a comparison (given by the Department of Health and Social Security) of the cost between long-term care of the handicapped and selection for abortion, and stated: "The cost of caring for severely handicapped spina bifida children may well make this type of
selection economically worthwhile."
Evidently. assessing the basic right to life in financial terms is now so accepted by the medical profession that the DHSS could feel sufficiently confident to send out a circular propagating the idea. Certainly, the General Practitioner magazine offered no criticism.
My mother's Maiden name is Ottalangui, from which it can be seen that she comes from a Jewish background, and I was brought up with a very strong sense of Jewish family tradition. I mention this because I am heartily tired of the because I am heartly tired of the idea being put forward by proabortionists that being Jewish automatically inoculates one against Fascist thinking. Jews are like Catholics or anybody else: they can have a wholesome respect for human life, or they can be as elitist as Hitler. Moreover, when Hitler outlawed abortion he did so only for those of pure Aryan blood and with'the aim of building his master race.
He was certainly not motivated by respect for human life, as could be witnessed by the fact that experiments with some forms of abortion were carried out on Jews, gipsies and others in concentration camps .. , on the "unwanted" sections of the German community.
Mrs Topples reference to lack of help for Jews is somewhat confused. If she checks with Jewish sources she will find that more Jews were saved through Catholic agencies than through any others.
. The fact that many, many Catholics did nothing to save the Jews was indeed shameful. They had less excuse for doing nothing than others, particularly in view of the appeals to priests for help made by the Pope and bishops through
Abortion (like fighting against anti-sernitism) is not a sectarian issue, as the many non-Catholics (and, indeed, non-Christians) in SPUC would testify. However, once again, Catholics have less excuse than most for being "brainwashed" by the superstitious jargon of the pro-abortionists which bears no relation to scientific fact, Indeed, I have no doubt whatsoever that if there were a pogrom Mrs Topple and I would be far safer in the care of the anti-abortion Catholic than with those swept away by pro-abortion propaganda, however well-intentioned.
I do not trust the judgment of those who can look at a picture of a foetus ... see that it looks like a baby ... learn that it reacts like a baby ... yet convince themselves that it is not a baby and not even worthy of the basic human right to life.
Phyllis Bowman Director, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children London SW7.
It is regrettable that the modest reforms in current abortion legislation included in the Benyon Bill will now in all probability fail to be carried through Parliament—at least during the present Westminster session.
What I find surprising is that many Catholics feel obliged to place the Government on the "block" for not providing sufficient time in the Parliamentary agenda.
Certainly the lobbying of MP's was done well. Protest rallies were well attended, and at the Second Reading of the Bill the majority favouring the principles of the proposed regulations was handsome indeed.
Yet the Government business managers are unimpressed.
I believe that the greatest reason for the lack of progress is that when we have a situation wherein any Government is desperate to do the popular thing for reasons of ensuring their re-election (the present Government is indeed very desperate), minority causes are naturally overtaken by the need to provide for the great majority whose votes are necessary if power is to be retained.
Let there be no doubt that Christian causes are minority causes in the United Kingdom of 1977. Letters I have received from MPs make this point very clear indeed. Of course there are non-Christians who support the anti-abortion campaign, but in my experience they are very few in number, The present Government is well aware of the statistics which clearly show a real decline in membership and attendance to all Christian Churches: even the Catholic Church is losing numbers.
Democracy is a numbers game, and it should be no surpise that when participating Christians are less than 10 per cent of the population that overnment can easily avoid claims " trom us in favour of the claims of the other 90 per cent. It is of course very sad that even the Christians in the country are themselves divided on the need to fight abortion. So need we be too condenmatory of the present government for concentrating Parliamentary time on economic recovery, job creation, etc. when to the mass of the electorate the standard of living is the end-all on which human expectations aspire?
I believe that we shall not rid this country of the horror of the mass murder of innocent human beings until the great majority of our fellow-citizens willingly follow the creeds of the Christian Church.
The fact that we must accept is that until this country is reclaimed for Jesus Christ and all are returned to their birthright, which is contained within the Holy Church, Catholic and Apostolic, we are not going to stop the horrors of the atheistic State.
So I believe we in the Catholic Church nutst leave behind Our petty liturgical quarrels arid take up with fervour the lead of Pope Paul and gird our loins for a massive effort directed towards evangelisation.
Let us turn away horn tearing ourselves apart and turn our energies towards claiming the godless for the eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ. When We have again a truly Christian community in this kingdom the horrors of abortion will be no more. Until that date we must not blame secular authorities for what are our own failings.
G. T. Warrener
I would like to assure Mrs N. Scarisbrick (June 24) and others that the specialist residential provisions for the mentally handicapped are grossly inadequate, even in the State sector.
This week a Coventry social worker telephoned us to inquire about possible placings for a Catholic boy. I asked her had she tried X, Y or Z. She had, and reeled off a list of about 20 homes and schools, Catholic and otherwise, which had rejected Alastair — rejected because he was too old, too young, too handicapped, too disturbed.
We know Alastair well, he has been on my husband's annual holiday for handicapped boys for the past two years and is coming again this year. He is 15 years old and has already been rejected by society. He will end up in a mental handicap hospital although he is not ill in any way.
All I can say about Alastair and all the others, including our own Son. is that the people who wish to save all life regardless of its future quality and potential should look very carefully and realistically at the logic of their position in which every abortion is murder. Then perhaps they will lobby MPs, demonstrate, etc, so that the implementations of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act will be carried out.
The mentally handicapped are also defenceless and are useless as voting strength. Their needs, especially in times of recession like the present, are always pushed to the back of the queue.
(Mrs) Eileen M. Faux
I landsworth, Birmingham.
Dealing with the assumptions which are brought to the debate on abortion, I said in my letter of June 24 that one must assume initially that all participants are sincerely seeking Untruth.
This may seem too obvious to deserve mention, but, on the contrary, there is good reason to question the motivation — conscious or unconscious — of those participants who have recourse to personal abuse and unnecessary use of emotional terms.
Without a patient attempt to identify and reflect with calmness on the many deep and sensitive issues involved, a debate on abortion can easily develop into a loud exchange of opinions — an exchange in which the voice of the Holy Spirit will be drowned.
Perhaps this appeal for moderation will help to eliminate such emotionally explosive terms — whether chosen deliberately or not — as papist, blasphemy, slow poisoning, shredding, &meal, etc. Christ, too was accused of blasphemy ("What further need have we of witnesses?").
A caesarian birth could be characterised, if so desired, as a slashing. Quite apart from inflaming emotions, such terms prejudge the issue by making implicit, and unChristian, accusations of disloyalty to the Church and of inhumanity,
May I be allowed on this occasion to defend myself personally against the suggestion of one correspondent that I have been reading the leaflets of the National Abortion Campaign, and, by inference, arguing their case. I deeply regret this innuendo, for it is totally false and it diminishes the Christian level of this debate. I am sorry to have to say this.
Some of the most eminent theologians of the Church — including, I believe, St Thomas Aquinas — have considered that a human soul is not "infused" into the fertilised ovum until some time after conception. This is surely the point where a debate on abortion must begin.
An equally important point concerns the sensus "iridium on this moral issue, what It is at present — how it may be determined, whether it is fixed or develops. It is often assumed that all Catholics feel instinctively opposed to abortion in any circumstances.
For many years I assumed this myself, but recently I have been approached by several people (including a priest and a nun) who, without exception, expressed unease about the extreme prohibitionist position on abortion which is widely taken for Catholic Morality. These are not rebels, but sincere Christians, No less than their fellow Catholics they are concerned for the unmarried mother and the unwanted baby. They are inarticulate, partly from uncertainty, partly from fear of expressing their uncertainty, partly because they have seen no forum within the Church where they may find satisfying guidelines for their conscience.
I am sure I speak for many such people in expressing again my gratitude to the Catholic Herald for providing such a forum. Whatever may be the present differences between Catholics on the abortion issue, we are united in believing that that Holy Spirit is with the Church and the truth will ultimately prevail.
Frank Parkinson Lancaster.