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Was Abortion On Trial?

By Dr Pravin Thevathasan - Consultant Psychiatrist

Let us suppose that a group of traumatized Vietnam war veterans were invited to a country house over a week-end to discuss their war experiences. And let us suppose that a general who himself suffered from a "
terrible black gloom" after his own traumatic experiences was the host. They will give us lots of personal and moving testimonies. But it is very unlikely that they will answer the central question objectively: was the Vietnam war ethical?

The BBC has brought out a program on abortion entitled "Abortion on Trial". The presenter Anne Robinson had an abortion. The guests were post abortive women and a man whose partner had an abortion against his will. As is typical of BBC balancing acts, only two of nine called themselves pro-life.

And who was the invited guest? David Steele: the godfather of the 1967 Abortion Act. He wanted abortion to be safe, legal and rare. There have been 8 million legal abortions since his act.

Have these women come to terms with their abortion? One woman said: "I wish someone had told me I would see the product of pregnancy." Product of pregnancy? That reminds me of university days when we were told to call aborted babies products of conception.

Watching this program was like watching a film about the Vietnam war without any film footage on the war itself. There was no real attempt to discuss what abortion actually is. Not one image of a "product of pregnancy".

To cope with the emotional pain that accompanies abortion, the post abortive woman may develop a set of defence mechanisms. For example rationalization: "I had to have an abortion because I was in an unhappy marriage". Or suppression, when the woman becomes pro-abortion to justify what she has done. Or repression, when the woman is unaware of any negative feelings towards the abortion and may even feel good because she has coped so well.

And, perhaps most common of all, denial: the woman effectively shuts out the abortion from her consciousness. She may refer to her unborn child as a "product of pregnancy". Post abortive women need to be treated with immense kindness. But they also need to know the truth.

At one time, the Catholic Church was the single most effective opponent of the global abortion onslaught. One wonders if it is now, with its newly revamped Pontifical Academy for Life? Or when that once great Catholic weekly The Tablet is still to be found in Catholic churches. Its 16 September 2017 editorial states: "It may be that the majority of Catholics have come round to the formula sometimes used in the United States, that abortion should ideally be 'legal, safe-and rare'. That would make a realistic policy for Catholic campaigners and legislators to pursue."

With friends like this, who needs to make Anne Robinson and the BBC enemies? The Bitter Pill has finally and inevitably evolved into The Morning After.

Copyright ©; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2017

Version: 18th October 2017

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