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Bishop strongly condemns ‘sinister’ proposal to expand abortion on isle of Guernsey

Philip Egan, bishop of Portsmouth, urged Catholics on the self-governing island of Guernsey to reject all attempts to loosen abortion there.
Wed Jun 10, 2020 - 10:57 am EST
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Bp. Philip Egan of Portsmouth, U.K. Shalom World / YouTube

GUERNSEY, June 10, 2020 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — Catholics have been urged by the Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, to reject all attempts to loosen abortion on the island of Guernsey. Bishop Egan described the attempts to liberalise the already lax abortion law on Guernsey as "detestable" and "sinister".

The Island of Guernsey in the English Channel is a self-governing British crown dependency and has the power to determine its own abortion law. Abortion on Guernsey is currently permitted until the 12th week of pregnancy and until the 24th week of pregnancy if the unborn child is suspected to possess a foetal anomaly or the mother's life is thought to be at risk.

The States of Guernsey are scheduled to debate the 'modernisation' of abortion law on June 17th. The draft laws to be debated aim to increase the abortion time limit on the island to the 24th week of pregnancy and remove the requirement for abortion to be carried out in a hospital.

This upcoming debate has prompted Bishop Egan to deliver a message to the Catholics of Guernsey in which he has urged them to reject all attempts to loosen the abortion regulations, calling the proposals "sinister" and "detestable."

"I urge you to prayer and to mobilise you to campaign and action"

In a message delivered to the Parish of Our Lady and the Saints of Guernsey on June 7th, Bishop Egan said: "Every child conceived in the womb is God-given. Every child is willed personally by God. Every child is placed on earth by God for a purpose ...

"My dear brothers and sisters, I'm writing to urge you to prayer and to mobilise you to campaign and action. I want you to get up and to get going! For once again, persons within the legislature of Guernsey are seeking to threaten human life. Two years ago, there was a misguided campaign to legalise assisted suicide. Now, under the bogus word 'modernisation', an attempt is being made to further liberalise abortion, to make it a lot easier and a lot more common ...

"The proponents speak about 'choice', giving mothers a choice. But what about the baby's choice? They say it makes things 'fairer' for women. But what about fairness for the child? They refer to abortion euphemistically as a 'procedure', a 'termination' with help from 'the professionals'. But what procedure can justify any professional terminating the life of an innocent baby?

"Let's be clear. 'Thou shalt not kill' (Ex 20: 13) and the injunction 'Love thy neighbour as thyself' (Mk 12: 31) are commandments that form the bedrock of Jewish and Christian morality and indeed, of every religion. Moreover, they are instinctive principles written deeply into every human heart. They ground the laws that govern every civilised society on earth. This is why abortion and the current proposal to 'modernise' — that is, to increase — its availability in Guernsey is fundamentally detestable. Yes, we do appreciate the pressures and the dilemma faced by anyone unintentionally pregnant and we pledge to do all we can to assist and support them. But let's be clear: there are two lives at stake here, a child and a mother. It is completely wrong to take away the life of either. 

"Resist and face down these sinister proposals"

Bishop Egan continued: "Abortion has damaging consequences that result, sooner or later, in guilt and emotional trauma. Later, many bitterly regret it. Those who soothingly propose the new legislation never refer to this damage or to the medical complications that can arise or to the sense of grief or PASS, Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome ...

"This is why I am appealing to all of you and to everyone of good will in Guernsey to resist and to face down these sinister proposals coming before the legislature. The post-COVID lockdown is not the right time to ram through legislation like this, not without a full, open and frank consultation and debate. The proponents argue that the legislation was put forward more than twelve weeks ago. Yet this is completely disingenuous, given that during this time everyone's attention has been absorbed with the pandemic.

"So my friends, I appeal to you as Catholics to mobilise. Speak out against these proposals. Write to your deputies. March and campaign. Join with brothers and sisters from the other Christian communities. Unite with all people of good will. And above all, pray. Prayer is potent. Pray earnestly that this legislation will be overthrown. Pray that the rights of children — the right to life — will be upheld."

SPUC supporting pro-life Guernsey

SPUC has been supporting and advising pro-lifers on Guernsey since last year, supplying briefings and fliers to help SPUC members and others to defeat proposals to decriminalise abortion.

Antonia Tully, SPUC Director of Campaigns said: "It is deplorable that politicians in Guernsey are pushing through these extreme measures during a global pandemic.

"SPUC has an in-depth analysis of the proposals to decriminalise abortion in Guernsey written by Dr Greg Pike, a Research Fellow at the Bios Centre in London. This fully referenced paper gives pro-lifers rigorous, ethically sound points to fight against the horrific proposals put forward by the Guernsey Committee for Health and Social Care aimed at decriminalising abortion."

Key points included in Dr Pike's paper are:

  • "The primary goal of abortion is to abort an entirely natural process, to eliminate human life from the womb.  In only a tiny fraction of cases is there a risk to the mother's life or health."
  • Because abortion is not like any other medical procedure, specific safeguards like the two- doctor rule exist for a procedure of this gravity."
  • "Specific permission to abort a disabled child is a powerful statement about how disability is viewed, as this legal category specifically targets the disabled child but not the non-disabled child.  Increasing the threshold right up to birth amplifies this discrimination."
  • "The suggestion that domestic violence may stop a woman accessing abortion services  is undercut by research showing that rather than stopping access to abortions, intimate partner violence is related to coercion and violence in the direction of seeking abortion."

Dr Pike's briefing can be seen here.

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.


  abortion, catholic, guernsey, philip egan

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