United Kingdom: Diminution of  Time Limit for Abortion Denied

Source: FSSPX News


On May 20, the British Parliament rejected an amendment proposing to lower the legal time limit for abortion from 24 to 22, 20, or even 16 weeks, and suggested  asking physicians to consider the necessity of “a mother and a father” before authorizing IVF for lesbian couples. This has been the first debate on abortion in the country for almost 20 years. Official statistics give the figure of 193,700 abortions in 2006 on women living in England and in Wales, where abortion was decriminalized in 1967.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown had announced that he would vote in favor of keeping the present time limit.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, primate of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wells, who campaigned against the new law, declared on British TV Channel 4: “It is strange that a government adopts a law denying a child the right to a designated father. The cement of society is the family and the presence of a father and a mother.” The cardinal had previously invited to establish a commission of experts in bioethics to examine all the implications of research on embryos. He affirmed that all of the United Kingdom was becoming aware that the fact that there were 200,000 abortions a year was not merely a sad but also an evil thing.

Doctor Malcolm Brown, head of the department for Mission and Public Affairs of the (Anglican) Church of England, declared: “Any erosion of the unique moral status of the human embryo opens the way -- were it even a breach -- on a slippery slope which leads us to treat human beings even worse than if they were ends in themselves.”

Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadhan Foundation, a British Muslim youth group, declared: “We respect pro-abortion opinions, but disapprove of them in accordance with the basic principle of our religion that human life is sacred and must be protected.”

The day before, May 19, in the context of the examination of the text on human fecundation and embryology, after a second reading, the MP’s had approved the use of hybrid embryos, obtained by inserting human DNA in animals’ ova, for research purposes on certain illnesses, among them Alzheimer, Parkinson, or mucoviscidosis. They also voted for a bill which would foresee the possibility of using “donor babies” to try to save the life of a sibling suffering from a genetic illness.  See in the rubric From Rome, the reaction of Archbishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of Saint-Andrews and Edinburgh called the British Parliament’s decision “a monstrous attack against human rights, the dignity of the person, and life.” In the forefront of those opposing the bill were Catholic MP’s who denounced “Frankenstein-style experiments.” (sources: apic/eni/afp/imedia)