Now that the Royal College of Midwives has supported the idea of scrapping legal time limits on abortion, it’s time to start thinking logically.
No limit means up to the day before delivery, doesn’t it? Of course it does. If it didn’t, the RCM would have specified some cut-off point prior to that momentous occasion.
Now, being a simple sort, I can’t for the life of me see any valid medical, physiological or, for old times’ sake, moral difference between a baby one day before climbing out of his mother’s womb and one day after. Some women are a bit early, some a bit late, but their babies look similar to me. If it’s permissible to kill one, there’s no reason not to kill the other, should his birth be inconvenient or undesirable.
Logic would then suggest that there’s a serious argument to be made in favour of infanticide at any age at all. For example, why not abort Dave Cameron post-natally? His mind certainly hasn’t advanced beyond foetal stage, although his deviousness is very grown-up.
More to the point, why not abort Cathy Warwick, the RCM chief executive and the driving force behind this monstrous initiative? Surely she’ll be happy to go to her death upholding the logical extension of her innermost convictions. Her cause, like so many others, needs martyrs to be widely persuasive.
It’s not as if the present legal limit of 24 weeks is all that limiting. In most European countries, for example, it’s 12 weeks, and most European countries are hardly paragons of virtue. Even in Holland, a country twinned with Sodom and Gomorra, it’s 21 weeks, with Dutchmen’s lives thus protected from that age to about 70 years, when doctors are encouraged to kill them, ideally with, but at a pinch without, permission.
Our higher limit is based on the notion of viability, the foetus’s ability to survive outside the womb. This is simply window-dressing, for some foetuses survive if born at 22 weeks and 80 per cent do at 25 weeks.
Also, the medical science advances so fast, if in all sorts of wrong directions, that before long – and I’m talking in terms of a couple of years – it will be possible to conceive and grow a baby with no womb involved at all. The viability principle no longer applicable, does this mean abortion will then be outlawed? I wouldn’t hold my breath, if I were you.
Viability is a wrong criterion anyway, as all materialistic criteria are in anything involving life and death. For example, terminally ill persons, who may live only for another few months, aren’t very viable either, but this side of Holland the passion for finishing them off quickly is lukewarm at best.
Back in the old days we would have said that it’s God who determines viability. Being ‘with-it’ progressive people, we now wouldn’t dare say any such patently reactionary thing that goes against everything Richard Dawkins holds dear. So let’s just say that, when it comes to viability, doctors can make mistakes.
Much as one hates to get personal, 11 years ago a Scottish doctor with the whole alphabet after his name told me that my prognosis was ‘pure’. Having made a mental allowance for his godawful accent, I realised he meant ‘poor’, and there was nothing medicine could do.
According to extremely expert medical opinion then, I was considerably less viable than a foetus at 25 weeks. Yet here I am, writing my vituperative prose 11 years later, having been told yesterday that there’s really no more need for regular check-ups.
I’ve argued before and I’ll argue again that viability is nonsense – not just morally but also medically. The only logically tenable criterion is the moment at which human life begins. Only one such moment can be ascertained without any doubt: that of conception. And if there’s any doubt, then surely we shouldn’t err on the side of infanticide.
At any moment after conception, abortion constitutes an arbitrary taking of a human life. If we find something wrong with the latter, we must find something wrong with the former, it’s as simple as that. All else confusion, as Lord Tennyson would say (actually did say in relation to a different and equally non-PC idea: “Man to command and woman to obey…”)
To their credit, 200 midwives have signed a letter of protest against this barbaric proposal. I think that, after Cathy Warwick has been post-natally aborted, the rest of them should be struck off. Most of them are foreign anyway, so we can always import another trainload. There are, no doubt, more where these ones came from.