Cranmer pleads on Abortion

Members of Parliament, in the name of Christ, take heed of such testimonies and stop this slaughter. If you have no time for religious opinion, then listen to scientific reason and the democratic majority, and call a halt to this evil infanticide.

Cranmer’s full piece is well worth a read this afternoon. His blog post also contains a picture of a late aborted feotus which is disturbing, but needs to be seen to understand that we are talking about nothing less than the murder of babies.

O, reason the need! Our unborn children
Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man’s life is cheap as beast’s.

With a slight adaptation to the words of King Lear, this is one of the principal issues upon which our elected representatives shall occupy themselves over the next few days; the others being animal/human hybrids, ‘saviour siblings’, and the necessity of a father, all conveniently packaged in the utterly monstrous and profoundly immoral Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

The media persists in persecuting ‘Catholics’ for their opposition to this Bill, with no mention at all of the Anglicans or those of other faiths, or those of no faith, or even of those 75 eminent scientists who have profound reservations about the Government’s motives and claims.

They might even consider the words of a current practising abortionist, Dr Vincent Argent, who is a consultant gynaecologist and a former acting medical director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

Dr Argent is not remotely content with Nadine Dorries’ 20-week amendment. In The Daily Telegraph he argues for 16, yet even this is considerably more than other European nations, where the limits are:

France 12, Germany 12, Italy 12, Belgium 12, Bulgaria 12, Denmark 12, Czech Republic 12, Greece 12, Hungary 12, Luxembourg 12, the Netherlands 13, Poland 12, Slovakia 12 and Sweden, the most ‘liberal’, 18.

Yet the UK persists with child sacrifice up to 24 weeks.

Dr Argent was brought up a Roman Catholic, but says: ‘any religious beliefs I ever had have left me’. His opinion on late abortions is not formed by ‘religious bigotry’, but by ‘more than 30 years’ experience in abortion services for the NHS and private clinics’ during which time he saw what was involved, and the ‘flimsy grounds on which some women sought them’, and thereafter he ‘could not stomach the idea of providing such a "service".’

The doctor notes that people do not realise just how distressing late abortions can be: ‘The procedure remains the last taboo. While heart and brain surgery are regularly shown on television, the reality of a late abortion has never been seen on British screens’.

Cranmer shall offer his blog to any such distressing footage if anyone wishes to send it to him. And he shall change platform if blogspot decide to censor it. If any doctors or nurses have an example of an aborted baby gasping for air as it is left to die on the side of a sink, or of a baby being sliced and carved in the mother’s womb so that it may be extracted limb by limb, or of a ‘partial birth’ abortion in which the baby’s head is crushed before it can take its first breath, please email Cranmer at the address above.

And for all those MPs who read Cranmer every Monday (the day on which the parliament.uk server logs on around 50 times), before you cast your votes today please just take a few minutes to read this harrowing account from The Spectator’s Coffee House:

Every so often a letter arrives in a columnist’s mailbag that throws a hand grenade right into the middle of a long-held view. That happened to me last week following my article in which I urged caution before lowering the time limit on abortion from 24 to 20 weeks. The letter came from a Registered General Nurse who works on a gynaecological ward that regularly deals with late terminations. She apologised for the "unpleasant and upsetting aspects" of her letter but felt her points needed to be said. I agree, and felt it also warranted a wider audience.

Apparently, at 20 weeks, tablets can be given to kill the foetus prior to expulsion. But at 24 weeks it is sufficiently strong to survive the treatment and many are born with signs of life. "It is all too easy for people to picture a clump of cells or mush. People don’t want to picture perfectly-formed miniature babies and I don’t blame them, I was once the same," says Kay. "But having cut the umbilical cord on one who survived, then had to watch him gasp for breath for ten minutes on the side of a sink before he died, that sight will haunt me for ever."

The reason given for that particular termination was that the mother’s current boyfriend had a toddler son who might get jealous of a new baby. It took them 21 weeks to come to that conclusion. Kay adds: "I know of two nurses who went off work with stress as a result of their experience with late terminations. I suffered horrendous nightmares and guilt for months. The guilt comes from the fact that you as a nurse cut the umbilical cord and, as dramatic as it sounds, we felt like murderers."

Kay doesn’t believe in hounding or criminalising women who have to make this extremely tough decision owing to severe disability. Her misgivings are reserved solely for those who use termination as a form of contraception. Women who, up until last week, I hoped were few and far between. But, according to Kay, these terminations far outstrip those carried out because of fetal abnormality or genuine emotional distress. She says: "There are girls who come back five or six times demanding terminations and they get them. How can someone coming for their fifth termination be allowed to keep saying it is due to emotional distress? I should imagine in ten years’ time the emotional distress of being allowed to have five terminations is going to take its toll. What is going on?"

Members of Parliament, in the name of Christ, take heed of such testimonies and stop this slaughter. If you have no time for religious opinion, then listen to scientific reason and the democratic majority, and call a halt to this evil infanticide.

I continue to have no response to my open challenge on abortion from this weekend. It’s probably because so few people read this blog, but it could also be that those who do read it, and support a 24 week level, understand the indefensible immorality of their position.

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32 Comments on “Cranmer pleads on Abortion

  1. Rick has successfully demolished your argument Jonathan. If you continue to insist that the foetus is part of the mother’s body, despite it having entirely separate DNA, the you are the one who is promoting scientific delusion to support your pro-murder agenda.

  2. Peter-

    “Rick has successfully demolished your argument Jonathan. If you continue to insist that the foetus is part of the mother’s body, despite it having entirely separate DNA, the you are the one who is promoting scientific delusion to support your pro-murder agenda”.

    That’s an interesting claim, Peter. This means that if I try to defend my position, you can claim I am promoting “delusion”. Nevertheless, I am going to defend it. I notice, incidentally, that you still will not admit that you have shifted your position- telling.

    As for Rick’s point- he is wrong. The foetus is a part of the mother in that it is attached to her. The fact that they have DNA is irrelevant to the issue that, before a certain point, the foetus would be unable to survive if it was not in fact joined to the mother. Let me put it another way. The placenta is attached to the mother. The baby is attached to the placenta. The placenta is part of the mother. Therefore the baby is attached to the mother, via the placenta, and can be considered part of her for the purposes of what is being discussed.

    Once again, the foetus gets its blood, nutrients and oxygen from the mother. It may be filtered through the placenta, but it gets them from her nonetheless. This is why pregnant drug addicts give birth to addicted babies. As Rick would say, that is scientifically accurate.

    To reiterate part of my earlier comment- “If a foetus is attached to the mother, shares her blood, is dependent on her for nutrients and oxygen and is unable to survive without being physically attached to her, then for all intents and purposes it is part of her body.”

    Peter- you have also not said where you get your information that a foetus feels pain at 16 weeks. Please provide me with a link, and I will go and read it.

    I don’t think anything I just said was delusional.

  3. Rick fails to grasp that one can say that the foetus is *part* of the mother’s body without necessarily definining it as *just* part of the mother’s body, c.f. my “becoming fully human” and “sentient being” comments. That a foetus has separate DNA (did anything I or Jonathan ever imply that we believe otherwise?) doesn’t alter the fact that it part of/within the mother’s body and should be treated as such legally. As regards reiteration of gruesome detail: you seem to believe that I do not *understand* what you are saying, instead of understanding and disagreeing with you. If Rick or Jonathan had never turned up Peter would probably still be repeatedly typing “shame on you”, as if that were a serious argument. If I spent the rest of the evening watching movies of abortions it would not alter the fact that the foetus is part of/within the mother’s body and she should be allowed to treat it as such. It is a lot easier (intellectually) to deduce from abortion pictures that the practice is murder and (since I’ll never have one, and don’t have much heterosexual sex these days ) call for their banning, but I do not want to cross the rubicon of allowing the *state* control over this aspect of women’s bodies on the basis of emotional responses. And I’m a Christian (@ St.Silas), incidently.

  4. Peter, the fetus does not share the mother’s blood. They do not necessarily even have the same blood type. Nutrients and oxygen are passed through the placenta. Blood is not. Inside the placenta, de-oxygenated fetal blood passes very close to oxygenated maternal blood and receives oxygen, but the blood does not actually intermingle.

    You are correct that the fetus is dependent on the mother during gestation for oxygen and nutrition. But you argue that dependency is equivalent to identity. Newborn infants of all mammalian species are dependent on their mothers or a maternal substitute for nutrition– they cannot obtain nutrition on their own and could not live without food being given to them. Does that make a newborn part of his mother? There are patients in virtually every hospital ICU in the developed world who are ventilator dependent and feeding tube dependent. They could not live without these devices. Does that make them part of the machinery?

    All of this is quite apart from the fact that many fetuses who are aborted actually could survive outside the womb if labor were induced and normal delivery permitted. There is a two week margin of error when measuring gestational age by fetal ultrasound– which is the most accurate method for such measures. A twenty four week fetus, by ultrasound, is actually anywhere from 22 to 26 weeks along. If the law permits the abortion of 24 week fetuses, that necessarily means that some who are 26 weeks along– 6 months– are being aborted.

    We are not talking about the equivalent of a woman cutting her hair or fingernails or piercing her ears or exercising autonomy over something that is solely hers. We are talking about the equivalent of granting a mother the power to kill her child, sometimes quite brutally, until the children reach a certain arbitrarily determined age.

    Yes, the child is attached to the mother. Yes, the child depends on the mother for food and oxygen. Yes, the child could not survive without its mother. But it is illegal for a mother to kill a baby attached to her breast by his mouth. It is legal for her to kill a baby attached to her uterus by a placenta. I’m having trouble understanding the distinction, in moral terms, between the two.

  5. Rick-

    that’s fair enough about the blood, I had actually forgotten that.

    You continue to try to equate the newborn with the foetus, I suppose because it supports your point of view. But there is a distinction. You claim that the newborn cannot survive without its mother: true, but not in the same sense as with the foetus. The newborn can breathe by itself, the foetus cannot. If the foetus is separated from the mother before it attains viability, it will die almost immediately.

    “until the children reach a certain arbitrarily determined age”.

    The critical factor is that it is not an arbitrarily-determined age. The limit is set based primarily on foetal viability. I cannot emphasise that enough. Before the foetus can survive independently, the mother’s rights take primacy. That is the distinction, and that is why your comparison between the foetus and a suckling newborn is inappropriate.

  6. Well, if the aspect of the fetus that makes him subject to the mother’s decision whether he should live or die is that he is dependent on her, then I don’t see a moral difference if he is dependent on her for oxygen AND food or dependent on her merely for food.

    Of course, from a legal perspective, distinctions like that can be used to justify lots of things. The law can declare facts that may or may not be true or even logical. The United States Constitution still contains language declaring that slaves, for census counting purposes, constitute 3/5 of a person. Hospitals in the U.S. that are accredited by certain organizations are legally deemed to be compliant with all federal laws and regulations. A person with a certain blood alcohol level is for the purposes of the law intoxicated. If I fail to carry proof of insurance in my automobile, I am legally considered to have violated the law requiring me to have auto insurance, even if I have paid my premiums on time for the past ten years. For legal purposes, facts are what the legislature or the courts declare them to be.

    The law can declare that a fetus is not a person, and it can even use as its justification for the declaration that a fetus gets oxygen through a placenta. If it is not a person, then killing it is not murder. But viable fetuses are aborted every day in most industrialized English speaking countries. The point of the 20 week campaign, as I understand it, is to reduce the incidence of abortions of viable fetuses.

    And there remains the humanitarian aspect of all this. We do not provide the same protections against infliction of pain to fetuses that we provide to dogs and cats.

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