55 women sign scathing letter against pro-abortion editorial in ‘Catholic’ paper
LONDON, England, November 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Fifty-five pro-life women in the U.K. have signed their names to a strongly worded letter against a London-based “Catholic” journal after it published a pro-abortion editorial in September.
The Tablet’s September 13 editorial, titled Restricting abortion: Catholic teaching sets the bar too high, argued that Catholic teaching against abortion is a "demand … too extreme to meet.” The editorial concluded that Catholics should accept that abortion should be “legal, safe – and rare.”
The authors’ state that Catholic teaching against abortion is a challenge to “take seriously the humanity and dignity of the unborn child.”
“The truth is that Catholics should want to see such a procedure made more than rare; we should be striving to live in a country where such a serious injustice is legally prohibited, and women facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies receive all the support they need,” they write.
LifeSiteNews is pleased to publish the full letter.
Catholics want to see abortion prohibited, not made ‘rare’
The author’s basic point in ‘Restricting abortion: Catholic teaching sets bar too high’ is that the Church’s absolutist position on abortion makes it absolutely impossible for legislators to adhere to Church teaching. As women from various backgrounds we believe that the author of the editorial in question could not be further from the truth. We believe that Catholic legislators can draw from the wisdom of Church teaching to not only save the lives of unborn children, but to provide every possible form of support which women facing unplanned pregnancies may need.
The author neglects to mention a key fact with regard to abortion and Church teaching, namely that it is entirely licit for Catholic legislators to set about introducing incremental change to abortion law. Pope St John Paul II stated in Evangelii Vitae that working to bring about incremental change “does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.".
The absolute clanger of the editorial in question, however, is this quote:
“It may be that the majority of Catholics have come round to the formula sometimes used in the United States, that abortion in the first trimester should ideally be ‘legal, safe– and rare.’ That would make a realistic policy framework for Catholic campaigners and legislators to pursue.”
Firstly, we must look at what abortion really is: the taking of an innocent human life. From the moment of conception, a living human being begins to exist. To say, therefore, at the end of the first trimester, “It is wrong to take this life now, but yesterday it was fine” is utterly incoherent.
Secondly, we must consider the American formula which the author of the editorial prescribes.
‘Safe’? For whom is abortion ‘safe’? Certainly not for the unborn child who does not make it out of any successful abortion alive. For women? Certainly not for the women who may suffer emotional trauma following an abortion.
‘Legal’? Why would any Catholic legislator want to make legal the taking of an innocent human life? If female genital mutilation or human trafficking could be better regulated by legal practice, and thereby lessen complications, would anyone argue for their legalisation in the UK? Quite the contrary: the reason we do not legalise human trafficking is that the practice is a gross assault on the dignity of the human being. Similarly, the reason that Catholics can never support legal abortion is that each abortion is a gross assault on the dignity and the life of the human being.
‘Rare’? The important question here is, “Why would we want to make abortion rare?”. We invite the author of the editorial in question to really think about that question honestly. If abortion is far more than the removal of bunions (as recently claimed by the CEO of the Royal College of Obstetricians of Gynaecologists), and is the forcible removal of a living human being, then those who believe it acceptable for this extraction to take place, but not all that often, need to re-examine their position.
The truth is that Catholics should want to see such a procedure made more than rare; we should be striving to live in a country where such a serious injustice is legally prohibited, and women facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies receive all the support they need.
A vital role of any Catholic legislator should be to make sure that the Government is there for women who find themselves pregnant and in need of support. The author fails to address this point in his editorial.
What women really want is a way out of abortion; so that they do not find themselves in a position where they feel compelled to take the life of their unborn child, but are given the resources and support to cope with an unplanned pregnancy.
What the teaching of the Church challenges us to do is to take seriously the humanity and dignity of the unborn child; to take seriously the bond between mother and baby; and to rise to the task of providing real, concrete and effective practical support to women who feel that they cannot cope when faced with an unexpected pregnancy.
If anything, the Church’s absolutist position on abortion makes things absolutely clear and, dare we say it, easy for Catholic legislators. They have a real goal which they can aim towards and there are concrete, incremental steps which can be taken until that goal is achieved, e.g. working for more practical help for pregnant women or banning terminations for disability.
The editorial ‘Restricting abortion: Catholic teaching sets bar too high’ sets the bar far too low. Catholics reading the Tablet deserve better discourse on abortion and Church teaching with regard to abortion; unborn babies in the first trimester deserve better than being dehumanised and resigned to ‘choice’ fodder; women facing unplanned pregnancies deserve better than being told that the taking of their children’s lives can ever be a ‘safe’ option for them or for anyone else involved in the decision.
Emily Milne, one of the signers of the letter, told LifeSiteNews that it is not possible to set the bar too high when it comes to protecting human life.
"Adhering to an ethic that agrees that all human life is important is not setting the bar ‘too high,’ it’s about as basic as it gets. Just because sometimes it is hard does not mean that it’s impossible,” she said.
Another signer, Bethan Cleary, told LifeSiteNews that The Tablet editorial amounts to a campaign for the dehumanization of the preborn child.
“As Christians, we know that this is not a discussion about whether women should be able to control their fertility (the ability to conceive a child), as the author claims, but rather about whether women should be able to end the life of their unborn child,” she said.
“The ‘moral weight’ of having a choice to do the latter can only have any weight if the humanity of the unborn child is disregarded. Is The Tablet really endorsing this fashionable but false premise? Acceptance of the humanity and dignity of the unborn child makes the same moral demands of all Christians, whether they are legislators, policymakers or journalists. The power we might hold does not weaken the claim the powerless have on us,” she added.
Signer Grace Langford said she loves the Catholic Church precisely for its teaching “affirming that a child is always and everywhere a blessing.”
“The unborn is a living, distinct, whole human being from the moment of conception. Abortion kills an innocent human being, to kill innocent human beings is always wrong. It is just that simple,” she told LifeSiteNews.
“I love the Catholic Church for loving women enough to tell them the truth,” she added.
Signer Eliza Carew said The Tablet’s pro-abortion editorial reveals to what extent vulnerable people are now being attacked, even from organizations that claim to be Catholic.
"We are living in a time when the rights of the most vulnerable people are being more and more disregarded, so we need to be united in our commitment to protect unborn life and provide the support women in crisis pregnancies need,” she told LifeSiteNews.
The letter comes on the heels of three U.K. Catholic bishops having publicly rebuked The Tablet for the pro-abortion editorial.