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Scots Catholic

Calling Scotland's 841,000 Catholics to unite as one voice

Abortion:

Finding Common Ground and Coming Back to 'Life'

by Anthony Horan

There is perhaps no other debate that creates a stir quite like the debate around abortion. A hugely emotive and sensitive issue, it has a tendency to bring out the best and worst in people. This is no surprise for me (as one who sits in the pro-life camp) as the debate is one which affects our very being, our very right to exist on this earth.

Like most, I have read many books and articles on this subject, and I have heard from various people who sit on one side of the fence or the other. It is, as I have said, a highly emotive and sensitive issue and so it should be.

And quite often I find myself digging deep into the hollow reserves of my brain to come up with that mind-blowing answer; that one little slice of wisdom that will blow away the pro-abortion argument once and for all. I’m sure those who sit on the other side of the fence feel the same pain. We want our side to win; we both feel we are in the right and that the other is in the wrong.

There are a number of different angles to approach the argument; for example, pro-abortion people might argue for greater availability of contraception. The flip side of this being some pro-lifers who argue for people being more open to abstinence or natural family planning. Some may wish to pray in silent vigil outside an abortion clinic, some may wish to be more pro-active and hand out leaflets detailing alternatives to abortion, such as adoption or additional financial support. Some may wish to hold up graphic images of the corpses of babies following an abortion procedure; others may tell of stories of young mothers who struggled to cope with the birth of a child they never really wanted and who ultimately became severely depressed, unable to care for their child.

If you are in any way interested in the topic of abortion then you have probably been ‘round the houses’ with these arguments. ‘Heard them all before’ is the cry. And still we have deadlock. 

As a Christian, I do of course advocate the principal act of prayer for all affected by abortion; child, mother, father, grandparents, doctors and so on. And, yes, I do pray for abortion to come to an end.

But what else is there? Is there a life defining answer to abortion? Is there perhaps a little piece of common ground both sides can work from to make sense of what is really happening when an abortion takes place? I feel there is. I think there is something we can all think about, and although very basic, it might just touch the hearts of everyone.

When we talk about abortion we often get sidetracked down a particular road which always ends up with each side saying the same thing, going over the same arguments and ultimately getting nowhere. Taking one aspect of the argument around abortion which both sides disagree on; that being the argument as to whether or not it is actually a child that is present in the womb. Various terms have been used by those who advocate abortion over the years, such as a ‘foetus’ or a ‘collection of cells’ and so on. These terms have been used to justify abortion and those who are against abortion have disagreed, stating that it is in fact a child that is present and that a ‘foetus’ is a stage of human development and we are all made up of a ‘collection of cells’. Whatever your view on this issue one thing I think we can agree on, and work from, is that left to the natural order, what is inside the womb will ultimately become a human being, like you and like me. That cannot be disputed. 

So, we do have common ground. We have a useful starting point and the big question is: where do we go from here? 

For pro-life advocates the answer, of course, is to allow the natural order to continue to operate and allow that child to be born and to exist outside the womb. For pro-abortion advocates, they would argue that there is an entitlement on the part of the mother to interfere with that natural process and bring an end to it. And here we are again, at another crossroads. But before we start shouting at each other and going down the same old road of dispute and intolerance consider this; is it right that anyone should interfere with natural order where that natural order is bringing about the same opportunity to life that you and I have received? 

If you do think it is right then life simply has no value. It is inherently invaluable because nobody, not one single person, actually has any right to life. If that is the case then we make a complete mockery of our entire existence, be it God-given or not. None of us has a right to live, full stop. 

Indeed, if we have no right to life; no right to exist, then every other right we may claim has no foundation and is, therefore, fatally flawed. It is dead.

Abortion strikes at the very root of life. It is not an easy subject to discuss and nor should it be. 

For help and advice on abortion please click the link, below, and you will be taken to a page where you can access real help and assistance with what is clearly a very difficult decision...