By Hilary White

CANTERBURY, UK, December 13, 2007 ( – Three teenage girls from an award winning teenage magazine, Oi!, met with Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, who invited the teen reporters to take “tea and toast” with him at his official residence.

Oi!, that stands for “Outspoken Individual”, is a magazine run by and geared for young people, that hails from Kent, the county in the southeast of England in which the ancient town of Canterbury is located. The young reporters were searching for “outspoken” Kentish people and described their meeting with Dr. Williams as an “overwhelming interview” in which they “had all our preconceptions shattered”.

But despite Dr. Williams’ reputation in Britain as being unusually forthright, he failed to set forth any universally applicable moral principles with regard to the killing of the unborn, or immoral sexual practices, even when one of the girls admitted to being pregnant and thinking of an abortion.

17 year-old Georgie Gothhard who told Dr. Williams, “I am currently 12 weeks pregnant,” asked if there was anything he could suggest to make the decision whether to “keep it” easier. Dr. Williams responded “As a Christian I could never advise anyone to have a termination.”

“Personally I believe a child is a gift from God and you wouldn’t give a gift back – would you? I believe abortions are allowed too late as they are still allowed to be performed at 24 weeks of pregnancy.”

Dr. Williams, however, did not say that there was any universal moral principle at work that absolutely prohibits abortion, but implied that such a prohibition would apply only to Christians and that a possible legitimate exception for legal abortion could be in cases of pregnancy due to rape. 

He said, “Not everyone in the country is a Christian, so the law has to compromise to reflect different aspects of the discussion, for example if a rape was involved.”

“However, I do think the time limit for abortions is too high, especially as medical science is allowing us to keep foetuses alive that are under even 23 weeks old. This is something that needs to be discussed further.”

18 year-old Mily Veitch described a “gay” friend of 15 who was “in a relationship” with a 22 year-old man with whom he was “happy” and “they are even talking about adopting.”

Dr. Williams did not urge the young teen to receive help in the case, which under British law is one for the police given the child’s age. Instead he said, “I have questions as to whether same sex couples can provide the same stability as ‘normal parents’. I have no answers really, just questions.”

“Many would argue that we need a balance of men and women to bring a child up. However, I have seen one fantastic example of same sex parenting first hand and I suppose stability is another key consideration.”

Just before the girls were leaving Dr. Williams, Georgie related that he “touched my arm and told me to take care of ‘you both’ – referring to me and my baby. This was completely unexpected but very much appreciated.”

Read the interview in Oi! Magazine (Adobe required):