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Yes, Abortion is Killing

Yes, Abortion is Killing

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Published by reybeez
Antonia Senior, “Yes, Abortion is Killing. But It’s the Lesser Evil,” The Times {London], Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (requires registration) where she argues that life does begin at conception but suppressing women's rights (to abort) is the greater evil.
Antonia Senior, “Yes, Abortion is Killing. But It’s the Lesser Evil,” The Times {London], Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (requires registration) where she argues that life does begin at conception but suppressing women's rights (to abort) is the greater evil.

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Published by: reybeez on Jul 01, 2010
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 Yes, abortion is killing. But it’s thelesser evil
Antonia Senior
Last updated June 30 2010 12:01AM
I’ve been wavering. But a woman’s right to choose herown way of life is paramount
In the Cradle Tower at the Tower of London is an interactive display that asks visitors to vote on whether they would die for a cause. Hmm, let’s see. I like dolphins, but if it camedown to a straight choice, goodbye Flipper. I’ll shout abuse at a Uruguayan linesman when my country calls, but I wouldn’t take a paper cut for England, let alone a bullet.Standing where religious martyrs were held and tortured in Britain’s turbulentreformation, I could think of one cause I would stake my life on: a woman’s right to beeducated, to have a life beyond the home and to be allowed by law and custom to orderher own life as she chooses. And that includes complete control over her own fertility. Yetsomething strange is happening to this belief that has, for so long, shaped my core; my moral certainty about abortion is wavering, my absolutist position is under siege.It’s not a baby, it’s a foetus, you God-squaddies, the teenage me would have crowed at thepro-lifers. It’s a woman’s body, her choice, end of, I would have proclaimed in whateverpatois we were speaking back then. The report last week by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which found that the human foetus cannot feel pain before 24 weeks, would have been waved triumphantly at anyone who crossed my path,along with an invitation to be taught the meaning of pain. This is not, you see, a rationaldebate, but one of passion and vitriol and tribalism.Then came a baby, and everything changed. I think of it as the Anna Kareninaconundrum. If you read the book as a teenager, you back her choices with all the passionof youth. Love over convention, go Anna! Then you have children and realise that Annaabandons her son to shack up with a pretty soldier, and then her daughter when she jumps under a train. She becomes a selfish witch. Having a baby paints the world anentirely different hue. Black and white no longer quite cut it.The abortion issue hinges on the notion of life. The pro-life position is clear: a baby is alife, with rights, from the instant of conception. The pro-choice position insists that we are
7/1/2010Yes, abortion is killing. But its the lessethetimes.co.uk/tto//article2579786.ece1/3
 
talking only about a potential life, with no rights. An embryo is not a person.Baldly, the debate is foetal rights versus reproductive rights. But you won’t see suchdispassionate wording from the campaigners. Both sides are adept at using language tofurther their position. Women terminate pregnancies or kill their babies, depending on who is talking. In pro-life propaganda, the gory details are recounted with a prurientrelish — during a suction abortion, a foetus is “decapitated and dismembered”.If scientists had established that an early foetus can feel pain, rather than the reverse, thepro-lifers would have seized on it, but actually it makes little difference to the centralarguments on either side. Either a foetus is a life from conception, or it is not — ability tofeel pain is not, in itself, a defining factor.In fact, a definition of life is extraordinarily difficult to arrive at. Friedrich Engels said:“Life is the state of being of proteins.” But no single definition is agreed by scientists orphilosophers. Some scientists argue that the Universe is set up in such a way to make thespontaneous eruption of life inevitable — Christian de Duve, the Nobel-prizewinning biologist, called life a “cosmic imperative”. Others claim that the existence of life is sounlikely that it is a miraculous fluke. Either way, there is something utterly extraordinary in the notion that we are all recycled matter — that our atoms were once part of something else, animate or inanimate, and that some miracle of assembly created me or you.Is life defined by consciousness or an awareness of self? Is it simply the ability to breathe?Take a few moments to try to define being human and alive. Done? It’s not easy, is it? What seems increasingly clear to me is that, in the absence of an objective definition, afoetus is a life by any subjective measure. My daughter was formed at conception, and allthe barely understood alchemy that turned the happy accident of that particular spermmeeting that particular egg into my darling, personality-packed toddler took place at thatmoment. She is so unmistakably herself, her own person — forged in my womb, not by my mothering. Any other conclusion is a convenient lie that we on the pro-choice side of the debate tellourselves to make us feel better about the action of taking a life. That little seahorse shapefloating in a willing womb is a growing miracle of life. In a resentful womb it is not a life, but a foetus — and thus killable.So we are left with a problem. A growing movement in America, spearheaded by SarahPalin, is pro-life feminism, This attempts to decouple feminism from abortion rights,arguing that you can believe in a woman’s right to be empowered without believing in herright to abort. Its proponents report a groundswell of support among young womenlooking to reinvent their mothers’ ideology.But you cannot separate women’s rights from their right to fertility control. The single biggest factor in women’s liberation was our newly found ability to impose our will on our biology. Abortion would have been legal for millennia had it been men whose prospects
7/1/2010Yes, abortion is killing. But its the lessethetimes.co.uk/tto//article2579786.ece2/3

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