On June 22 Mr. Christopher Macy of the Rationalist Press Association wrote that he did not entirely understand the last paragraph of my letter (June 8). That, I am afraid, is obvious. For both his letters (June 22 and July 8) are supreme examples of the type of rationalisation which I pointed out was attacked by the superb Nobel Prize Winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in many of his works.
In his letters Mr. Macy makes claims that the foetus is not "a human being". that the short-term foetus is "less than human" and later adds that "it all depends on where you draw the line."
Indeed, it does!
After the Abortion Act was passed into law Rationalists, Humanists and Secularists thought that it would be a straight run to the legalisation of Euthanasia. Time and again on the platform and in the press we were informed that the newborn baby was not "a human being" — "we only become human through socialisation."
Even this year, in "The Times" of January 22, Miss Barbara Smoker, President of the National Secular Society, and Vice-Chairman of the British Humanist Association. wrote in rationalising euthanasia for spina bifida and other handicapped babies: "The situation of a newborn baby is very different from that of the same baby, even a few weeks later. . . . At birth the baby is only a potential human being and at that point it is surely the humane and sensible thing that the life of any baby with obvious severe defects, whether of body or brain, should be quietly snuffed out by the doctor or midwife. This should not be a decision referred to the family who are too emotionally involved: though in borderline cases the doctor's knowledge of the family situation would be one of the factors taken into account."
The same good lady was reported in the St. Helen's Reporter (April 19. 1973) as saying: "I would say that of course a foetus is a living thing — but, then. so are tonsils."
May I ask, whoever has heard of a woman giving birth to a pair of tonsils?
The straight scientific fact is that a human life is a continum. It begins at the beginning, at the moment of conception— and one does not need to be an
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Einstein to work that out, however much Mr. Macy and Miss Smoker may care to rationalise. For example, Einstein was Einstein from the moment of conception. He was never his mother any more than he was his father — and neither did he develop from a pair of tonsils.
From the moment of conception he had the complete genetic factors necessary to become what he did and he was no more separate genetically from his mother at the age of 20, at 50, or at 70, than he was at the moment of conception. Moreover, had Einstein been deleted, say at the age of 20, the loss to the world would have been no greater (in terms of science) than had he been aborted at one day's gestation.
From a sublime example we come to Mr. Macy who also was himself from the moment of conception. He was not an ovum, nor a sperm, nor a pair of tonsils. He was a living human and had he been aborted he would have been killed, put to death (call it what you will). However, I consider that Mr. Macy had a right to protection throughout his life whether in utero, as a newborn baby. or as a man.
Mr. Macy's statement that he supports the Abortion Act because it leads to a reduction of suffering and misery reminds me of a cartoon in "The Times" some years ago which showed one American soldier saying to another: "I cannot see what is wrong with Napalm if it makes the world a better place." For Mr. Macy (like the American soldier in the cartoon) overlooks the fact that if you offer society an uncaring, destructive solution, you will create an uncaring destructive society. In fact, when the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children was formed in January 1967 we made a number of predictions which to us were obvious.
We warned that abortion would be used to sweep social problems under the mat and that local authorities and others would use abortion to overcome housing problems, etc. Today more and more local authorities are referring women seeking housing to hospital for abortions.
The Human Rights Society has even submitted evidence to the Lane Committee inquiring into the working of the Abortion Act about a young, mar ried woman living in one room, who when expecting her second baby applied for housing and was called "irresponsible" by a so-called social worker because she refused an abortion as the way out of the problem.
At the beginning we warned that the "overburdened mother" would be offered abortion rather than help. Today, the overburdened mother is described more often as the "irresponsible mother" and some who promoted the abortion law now even advocate compulsory sterilisation (for the mother's own good, of course!).
We warned that society would harden towards the unmarried mother. This, too, is now evident. According to a recent article in The Sun newspaper, there are now more illegitimate births than ever, despite the Pill and abortions. Many girls wanting to keep their babies and who believe that life will not be too difficult in "permissive Britain," are in for a shock, according to Miss Avril Duthie of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and Her Child who
explained : "People seem to feel that having a baby is now a matter of choice, and they are less sympathetic to unmarried mothers . . ."
We warned that society
would harden towards the unwanted and the handicapped. More and more we hear of the cost to the nation of such people. Moreover, last year the Sunday Times published a picture of a young mother with twins who had been born with d^,fective hearing and eyesight. In the story she said how much she loved her children but how she wished they had been aborted. I wonder, how those (Iiildren will feel if they ever read the article.
In our Mass Rally at Man chester among the most moving sights were the contingents of handicapped people who on posters declared "We are handicapped and glad to be alive."
I suggest that Mr. Macy should stop rationalising.
Denying legal protection to the unborn (dismembering the foetus and dumping it in a bucket) is not the way to inspire respect for humanity. Nor is it the way to help society face up to its responsibilities and to give love and aid to those in need.
Phyllis Bowman Queen Anne's Grove, London, W.4.