Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Sometimes the horror is too much: ‘Feticide’ and stopping the baby’s heart

Thu May 26, 2011 - 2:16 pm EST

I was just reading the report on abortion statistics from England and Wales and was caught off guard by one paragraph:

For abortions at 22 weeks or beyond, feticide is recommended prior to the evacuation of the uterus to stop the fetal heart. In 2010, of the 1,173 abortions performed at 22 weeks and over, 70% were reported as preceded by a feticide and a further 25% were performed by a method whereby the fetal heart is stopped as part of the procedure. 2% of abortions at 22 weeks or beyond were confirmed as having no feticide. For the remaining 3%, at the time of publication, we had not been able to confirm whether feticide had been performed.

When we write about these things, it is an absolute necessity to put to one side one’s emotional reactions. In a sense, we have to deliberately become calloused, just as a matter of mental self-defence. I’ve noticed that the very effective pro-life activists who have been around a few years, often develop a very black, sardonic sense of humour as a defence mechanism.

But every now and then, something particularly cold from the abortionist world will get in through the security fence.

The cool, clinical description in this Department of Health statistics report of stopping the “fetal heart” as a necessary preliminary to vacuuming out the child, was one of those for me today. I realise it’s becoming a tired analogy, but does this language not in fact rival for clarity that used by the Death Camp officials? The Nazis used euphemistic terms like “special treatment”.

The UK health department has dropped all pretense that they don’t know precisely what they are talking about.

These little moments of transfixed horror are necessary, I think. The calloused protective layer can’t be allowed to grow so thick as to preclude all outrage. To allow that might be a way to keep mentally safe, in a sense. But the cost to our souls would be too high.


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