The Curmudgeon


Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Slippery Slope

The pro-overpopulators are on the warpath again. Jim Dobbin, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and enthusiastic supporter of New Labour's police state, said that they will be seeking to cut the limit from twenty-four weeks to thirteen because thirteen weeks is "when the embryo itself is seen to be almost fully developed and you begin to see movement, the eyelids fluttering, yawning and touching". I can understand why, for their own peace of mind, an MP or one of the more relaxed members of the House of Donors might need to believe that anything which can open its mouth and twitch is a human being; but its merits as an argument seem a bit elusive. The All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group is circulating a questionnaire asking MPs "if they would vote to make it an offence to cause pain to the unborn child during an abortion". According to Evan Harris, a former medical doctor, "the neural pathways are not laid down before 26 weeks and even then it is not apparent that the foetal brain is capable of awareness"; but, perhaps expectably, the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group does not concern itself with such minor matters as brain development. Instead, they are asking MPs "if they would back an amendment to ban abortion because of the unborn child's gender, race, colour or sexual orientation", despite the fact that the pro-choice lobby has no interest whatever in any such amendment. Presumably the idea is to imply a slippery slope: if today we extend the limit to twenty-eight weeks, tomorrow we may be permitting abortions simply because the foetus might develop into another Ann Widdecombe. Think of the impact on our moral standing, our political culture, our national soul. Can we afford to risk not undergoing such a loss?


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