Whose Choice Anyway?
'It's my right to choose. What right does a man have, and a single one at that,to impose his views on women? It's my body, my choice. Not the Church, notthe State; a woman should decide her fate. Abortion rights are an essentialpart of our liberation....'
The arguments are not new ones. And like all arguments there is some substancebehind the angry slogans. The purpose of this book is to get behind the slogans andto examine the consequences of 'abortionism' for all involved. The letters whichare published here are just a few of the 20,000 letters which I received during the 8months that elapsed as my Private Member's Bill to stop late abortions was beingdebated in Parliament. About 2,000 of those letters were hostile to my Bill. Theother 18,000 were strongly in support. Thousands of the letters of encouragementcame from women, some of whom had had abortions and grieve to this day. Otherscame from doctors and nurses sickened by procedures which have turned them intodestroyers rather than defenders of life. Perhaps most moving of all are the lettersfrom the parents of disabled children, and from disabled people themselves.Abortions on the grounds of disability are known as eugenic abortions - surely theultimate refuge of a country intoxicated by consumerism and the selfishness thatmakes no room for those who cannot survive the rigours of the market-place.Over twenty years ago, during the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act, I helpedorganise a petition to Parliament. As Chairman of a local Young Liberal branch Iorganised a debate about the ethics of abortion. I even wrote to the mover of theBill, Mr David Steel. I was told that mine was a hopelessly idealistic view of life:that it took no account of the 'real world'. When the vote was taken in Parliament itseemed that very few shared my idiosyncratic outlook. Out of 635 MPs just 29voted against the Steel Bill at its Third Reading.Yet, looking back over the intervening period, can we really say that 3 millionabortions represent progress? That the violence, degradation and destruction of abortion is something about which we should cheer? Are we so besotted withselfishness that we really believe that it is our right to do whatever we likeregardless of the consequences - even our right to take someone else's life?