Some children should neither be seen nor heard. Nor even acknowledged, it seems. This week abortion advocates have done their best to ignore a little inconvenient truth – a small baby who survived our abortion law and who is still struggling for life in one of our hospitals. This baby’s very existence shines a light on the inhumane reality of abortion. But abortion advocates just look the other way.
The barely concealed logic of the pro-choice commentariat is as ugly as it gets: it is unjust and wrong for the baby to be alive now – the baby should have been killed weeks ago. This baby is an affront to reproductive rights and is the personification of a wrongful birth. The logic is chilling yet inevitable for those who support legal abortion. The only way to avoid facing up to it is to suppress acknowledgment of the child’s existence.
This is exactly what various journalists and Labour Party politicians have done over the past few days. The baby is a reminder to all who would listen that abortion is not a moral abstraction. It is a matter of deliberately destroying a small human life in the name of “choice” or, even more absurdly, “equality”.
The baby was one obstetrician’s assessment away from being aborted. The baby only just survived the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act but, because delivered so obscenely early, still struggles for life and could face lifelong disability. For what purpose? For the baseless reason that the ending of his mother’s pregnancy is a form of psychiatric “treatment” for her threatened suicide. Nobody, mother or baby, is served by the perpetuation of this medical myth. The woman at the centre of this latest tragic case is deserving of every possible welcome, warmth and support but it does a grave disservice to her and to every other woman in the country for pro-choice advocates to claim abortion is a treatment for suicidal feelings when they know it is not.
It’s not just children, born and unborn, who are deliberately omitted from the pro-choice narrative. Women victims of abortion are too. Not all tragedies involving pregnant women are treated equally by the media. There is a hierarchy: those that can be used to advance the abortion agenda are at the top and are given vastly greater coverage. Controversies that do not reflect well on the abortion industry are either ignored or downplayed.
How many people reading this will have heard about the death of a woman from Ireland in the back of a London taxi after an abortion in 2012, a woman who had no life-threatening condition prior to the abortion? Or how many recall hearing about the case of a UK abortionist being struck off the medical register in 2011 for very nearly killing an Irish woman while aborting her child?
And where was the media’s interest in all things abortion when it was revealed that in one year alone 66 infants who survived NHS abortions in the UK were left to die, with one living for 10 hours while hospital staff deliberately ignored the baby’s struggle for life?
Matter of reflex
The truth is that these stories are largely hidden from the public. Other stories are framed from a pro-choice perspective as a matter of reflex: the Savita Halappanavar tragedy broke as a clear cut indictment of our abortion prohibition but, after various expert reports into the case were concluded, emerged as primarily a case of sepsis mismanagement.
The wilful denial of the baby’s life and suffering in the current controversy is a sign that deep down abortion proponents are uncomfortable about the reality of what they want legalised. They sanitise that reality for themselves and conspire to construct an alternative narrative: church versus State, liberalism versus conservatism, man versus woman. Whatever, so long as the child is hidden from view or at least dehumanised.
But the child cannot be fully hidden. This is the same person now as when delivered at 25 weeks and before that again. This is a baby, not a “rapist’s baby”, and is entitled to our respect and protection as much as anyone else. That is what fundamental human equality means.
Fundamental human equality is the principle upon which article 40.3.3 of our Constitution stands. Thanks in significant part to our constitutional protection of the unborn child the Irish abortion rate is far lower than Britain’s. Literally thousands of Irish people are alive today due to the protection article 40.3.3 offered them, whether directly or indirectly, during their earliest and most vulnerable stage in life. You might even know such a person. You certainly know of one baby who was almost aborted.
Dr Ruth Cullen is a spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign