From the General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship SIR — At first glance the new ultrasound scanning techniques which provided groundbreaking images of an unborn baby in the womb are a wonderful development (report, July 2), but the new technology will also provoke many deep questions.
To see babies stretching, walking, kicking and leaping about the womb at 12 weeks gestation will undoubtedly reignite the abortion debate. Some 22,000 babies aged 13 weeks or over were aborted in England and Wales in 2002, largely for social reasons, and we know that babies move considerably earlier than this. The heart is beating from 21 days.
While the new technology will help many more people to appreciate that unborn children are members of the human family it could also be a twoedged sword, by enabling more babies with trivial abnormalities to be sought out and destroyed before birth. In 2002, 1,863 abortions were performed for “foetal abnormality” in England and Wales, and more than 90 per cent of babies with Down’s syndrome diagnosed before birth are currently aborted.
The way we treat the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society speaks volumes about the type of society we are. At its very heart the Christian ethic is about the strong making sacrifices for the weak.
Yours faithfully PETER SAUNDERS firstname.lastname@example.org London SE1
From the director of the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) SIR — With regard to the debate over whether it should be illegal for parents to hit their children, people are right to be concerned if there is the likelihood of prosecutions being brought for minor assaults.
Valerie Riches (Letters, July 2) in referring to the Director