Editorial: The Preeminent Issue of our Age.

Dr Pravin Thevathasan

Dr Pravin ThevasathanIs abortion still the preeminent issue of our age? Judging by contemporary standards, it would appear not. Political parties are increasingly not accepting pro-life candidates. Celebrities from Bono and others in the music industry to Hollywood stars are openly pro-abortion. The celebrity Jameela Jamil says of her abortion that it was the right decision for the "baby I didn't want and wasn't ready for. " She goes on to condemn pro-life laws because "so many children will end in foster homes...so very cruel" [1]

According to SPUC, actress Michelle Williams implied during her Golden Globe acceptance speech that she couldn't have won her award if she had not aborted her baby years previously.[2]

Abortion, for liberals in general and celebrities in particular, is no longer to be seen as an unfortu­nate necessity. It is a human right and even something to be celebrated.

So, should we accept defeat and move on to other more socially “acceptable” causes? Not at all.

It goes without saying that the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are pro-life. Prior to the 2019 General Election, they advised us to ask party candidates how they would vote on abor­tion, assisted suicide, the rights of the disabled, migrants, climate change, the dignity of marriage and the rights of parents. All good questions, no doubt, but are they equally important? Using this guide, I concluded that two of the candidates scored more highly than the third, although they were both pro-abortion and pro-assisted suicide. The third candidate has a pro-life record and stated his intention to vote against assisted suicide. Does this mean that I have an obligation to vote for one of the two pro-abortion candidates? No, said my bishop. Mark Davies said just prior to the UK General Election that we can "never give support to any policy which denies the most fundamental right, the right to life itself-without which all other rights are without foundations." (Shrewsbury Cathedral Bulletin, 8 December, 2019).

The American Bishops agree with Bishop Davies: abortion "directly attacks life itself" and is never justified. [3]

Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, while supportive of his brother bishops on abortion, pointed out that other issues including poverty and other forms of injustice are equally important. Bishop McElroy of San Diego went much further, claiming that it was not "Catholic teaching that abortion is the preeminent issue that we face." Both Cupich and McElroy were endorsing the seamless garment or consistent life ethic, an ideology first proposed by the late Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago, whereby abortion is regarded as one of many issues to be considered, along with capital punishment, health care and poverty. It was an ideology that led Catholics to vote in favour of pro-abortion politi­cians. While the views of Cupich and McElroy were rejected, it is noteworthy that many other bishops have similar views.

It is sometimes suggested that we should not be obsessed by the issue of abortion. I disagree. The Church needs to be visibly present in the pro-life movement. The Good Counsel Network reported in December, 2019) that "in Ealing where no Christian Church was able to witness in favour of the pro-life vigil and at least one priest told the Council that the Buffer Zone was justified, the Buffer Zone was brought in with almost unanimous support." In contrast, "in Lewisham where six members of the Southwark clergy and a local Evangelical pastor turned up to witness to the Council, the Buffer Zone was dropped for the present."

So, we should never give up on this issue; it remains the preeminent issue of our age.


  1. Bilger M. Lifesite News. May 17th 2019. Jameela Jamil reveals she had abortion and hails it 'best decision I ever made' www.lifenews.com/2019/05/17/actress-jameela-jamil­killing-my-baby-in-an-abortion-was-the-best-decision-i­ever-made/
  2. SPUC news. 06 January 2020 Golden Globes 2020: Celebrity implies she couldn’t have won award if she didn’t abort her baby. www.spuc.org.uk/News/ID/384252/Golden-Globes-2020-Celebrity-implies-she-couldnt-have-won-award-if-she-didnt-abort-her-baby
  3. O’Loughlin M. U.S. bishops: ‘The threat of abortion re­mains our preeminent priority.’ America magazine, 12 Nov 2019. www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/11/12/us-bishops-threat-abortion-remains-our-preeminent-priority