ABORTION remains morally objectionable to many. Science has revealed that life begins at conception and logic therefore dictates that abortion is the taking not of a ‘potential’ life but of a real life.
Christians in particular are often uncomfortable about abortion because the Judaeo-Christian tradition has always taught additionally that it is wrong deliberately to kill any innocent person. The Commandment ‘You Shall Not Kill’ forbids it and, as Pope St John Paul II said in Veritatis Splendor, his 1993 encyclical on the moral teaching of the Church, the negative precepts of the Ten Commandments are inviolable. They make abortion ‘intrinsically evil’. For conscientious Catholics such as Dr Thérèse Coffey, the newly appointed Health Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, such teachings will make abortion a grave matter indeed.
Others don’t give a hoot about what the Pope says about anything, and prize abortion as an important milestone in the march of progress and a guarantee of absolute autonomy, a value which in the West has been almost elevated to the status of a deity. They include celebrities who in recent years have begun celebrating their abortions in public while sometimes demonising those with whom they disagree. The right to abortion has become such an article of faith that when in June the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion up to birth a constitutional right, there were astonishing scenes of public rage and hysteria.
That abortion was not prohibited by the court made the reaction all the more crazy. The judges merely returned to individual States the right to determine their own laws, gave power back to the people and made America, very much against the grain, a bit more democratic. It was a great decision.
Yet the UK media, like Boris Johnson, who bizarrely chose to criticise the ruling, obfuscated the truth and misled the public over precisely what the ruling represented and why it was made. Now the appointment of Dr Coffey has generated the same kind of misinformation from the abortion industry and their allies, with Liz Truss herself in the line of fire for being somehow weak on the so-called ‘right’ to abortion.
Leading the charge is the BBC, which suggested that Coffey’s voting record means she somehow represents a threat to access to abortion in the UK. She doesn’t. As a Catholic, Coffey may disapprove of abortions. But she is the Health Secretary, not a dictator. A substantial change to the law would require the assent of Parliament and the hijacking of the Health and Social Care Bill to retain the highly dangerous abortion pills-by-post scheme against the wishes of the Government, which demonstrated earlier this year that any attempt to tighten it up would undoubtedly be defeated.
Coffey told Sky News in June that ‘abortion law isn’t going to change in this country’, making it clear that she will not try to change laws under which more than 214,000 abortions were performed in 2021, the highest annual number recorded in England and Wales. So if no threat exists to abortion access, why pretend that it does?
Perhaps because the ‘charities’ objecting to her appointment are major abortion providers, bloated on taxes channelled through the National Health Service, paying their executives enormous salaries from the public purse and growing increasingly bold in their attempts to dictate public policy.
Perhaps they are aggrieved because Coffey will uphold the law rather than change it. They are all for changing it – but in the way they desire. They know that Coffey is not willing to decriminalise, further liberalise and generally deregulate a legal framework which is already among the most permissive in the world. For the last five years the abortion industry and its friends in Parliament have been campaigning hard for these objectives. They dream of abortion on demand and up to birth enshrined as a human right and now they’re upset because Coffey’s appointment means they can’t have more, easier and later abortions.
It is a small dent in the optimism shown by the industry since at least 2017 when Ann Furedi, then chief executive of British Pregnancy Advisory Service – the largest private provider of NHS abortions – declared that for the first time since Harold Wilson’s government passed the 1967 Abortion Act, MPs see ‘bending to pro-choice, rather than anti-abortion, opinion as expedient’.
‘Many of us are humming along to that dodgy disco classic Ain’t No Stopping Us Now. We are indeed on the move,’ she joked as she looked forward with relish to the victories yet to be won by Stella Creasy and Co.
So the ire articulated in the BBC propaganda reflects the frustration of the abortion barons and pro-abortion ideologues in Westminster at having their advancing tanks temporarily halted.
Expect similar attacks from the proponents of assisted suicide and euthanasia, who have been relentless in their campaign to change the law. They will not have the support of Dr Coffey either, since she is firmly against doctors killing their patients and so they will probably now have to wait until after the next General Election to launch an assault which would stand any chance of success.
If Coffey were able to tighten up the abortion laws she would be more in tune with the wishes of the public given that polls show a majority of British women favour greater restrictions and that just one per cent want abortion up to birth. One doesn’t have to be a Catholic, or even a Christian, to reach the conclusion that dismembering late-trimester foetuses – fully formed unborn babies – limb by limb or killing them by injecting them in the heart with toxins then delivering them as stillborn is barbaric.
Coffey was right when nearly a decade ago she suggested that the UK ought to come into line with other European democracies, such as Germany, where abortions are permitted within only the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. But the fact remains that she can’t do it and she isn’t going to.
So besides frustration with the status quo, what these attacks are really all about are her opinions. They demonstrate a lack of respect accorded to authentic human rights rather than those which have evolved (ie, made up to suit some dodgy ideology or agenda). Genuine rights are not ‘sexual and reproductive’ but include the freedom of religion, of conscience, of thought, speech and expression and of association.
The attacks on these rights are becoming the de facto equivalents of the Test Acts of the late 17th century when religious opinions were tested for conformity before a person could either take any part in public life or avoid harsh financial and other penalties. They are concerned chiefly with sustained attacks on Christian morality and the value and sanctity of human life in particular, and like the Test Acts of old they mean that a person can be ruined for holding the ‘wrong’ opinions.
Such vicious intolerance is now endemic. Britain is in the grip of a grave social evil which threatens our way of life. Liz Truss should seek to remedy this mischief with the urgency it demands and she will surely find that a great many people would support her if she did.