Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 71(1) February 2021


Abortion Debates

Dr Pravin Thevathasan

AuthorPro-abortionists must "create a new moral frame-work that admits that the death of the fetus is a real death...we need to be strong enough to acknowledge that America's high rates of abortion...can only be rightly understood as a failure." (Naomi Wolff [1])

During the last few months, I have been spending time watching abortion debates on-line. Speaking as objectively as possible, I think that we on the pro-life side mostly win the debate. The pro-abor-tionists talk about the large number of women dying from abortion-related complications before it was legalized. Pro-life proponents bring out the statistics: abortion related deaths had fallen dramatically well before it was legalized, thanks in part to antibiotics. Pro-abortionists may say that abortion should be rare, legal and safe. Pro-lifers note that there have been well over 8 million abortions in Britain since it was legalized in 1967. Of course, there are some pro-abortionists who say that women should have a right to abortion for whatever reasons. They want it to be safe and legal. Still others are campaigning for Do-It-Yourself abortions. They just want it to be legal.

Rape, fetal disability and maternal ill- health are always mentioned. Pro-lifers remind us that when David Steele was campaigning to legalize abortion in Britain, he made a specific point of saying he did not want abortion on demand. What he wanted was legal abortion in those rare instances of pregnancy brought about by rape or when there is fetal abnormality or when the mother's life is in danger. In point of fact, abortion in these situations account for less than 3% of total abortions. Hard cases make bad laws. It goes without saying that there was already a legal framework to manage mothers whose lives were in danger. We did not need David Steele for that.

Then comes what the pro-abortionists believe is their best argument. It goes something like this: “I believe that women should be granted the-choice to continue with their pregnancy or not. They should not be forced to continue with a pregnancy that they do not want." This argument is actually a weak one. Most people in Britain are opposed to sex-selection abortions. But the preg-nant woman may well respond: "it is my body, my choice. I do not want to have a female baby. I do not wish to be forced to continue with this unwanted pregnancy."

Many men also believe that fatherhood cannot be forced on them. And so they walk away from an unwanted pregnancy. When I used to counsel pregnant women thinking of abortion, the majority said that they would have continued with the pregnancy had they had supportive partners. I recall my medical student days when abortionists used to get away with terms like "products of conception." It is much harder to use those terms now, thanks to scientific advances. It is also becoming less acceptable to have late abortions on disability grounds. I also remember the first abortion debate I attended. At that debate Wendy Savage, who has performed many thousands of abortions upset her own side by reminding them that abortion is an act of intentional killing. So did the other well-known abortionist back then, David Paintin. These days, we have the likes of Ann Furedi, who never shy away from the fact that abortion is an act of international killing. But there are still many pro-abortionists who refuse to accept the scientific fact that a unique human being is created at the moment of conception. More likely, they know. But once they agree to that statement, they know they have lost.

The abortionists are worried: fewer and fewer doctors want to do abortions. That is why they are pouring funds into organizations that are pushing their agenda. And they are targeting young doctors and medical students. All we have to do is look at their websites. And they want to curb the right of free speech for pro-life students. I am also well aware of people working in the United Nations being granted greater use of the media in developing nations to promote what they call the right to reproductive freedom. They are imposing abortion on a people who largely do not want it. They have become the new imperialists.


  1. Naomi Wolff, The New Statesman, 27, Jan,2013 /01/naomi-wolf-abortion-our-bodies-our-souls
  2. Furedi Ann, 2020. Twitter. 250617991168?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
  3. Furedi Ann. the moral case for abortion. Pub Palgrave 2016. ISBN 978-1-137-41119-8