Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 12. 1967.

Abortion issue - moral or practical

Abortion issue - moral or practical

An estimated illegal abortion rate of 20,000 annually is a startling tragedy for a small and easy-going New Zealand.

No longer can we ignore this back-alley pathos. Someone has to do something, somehow.

Legalised abortion - on - demand may well reduce the illegal rate. But it would have disastrous effects on the social fibre.

The national psyche would change immeasurably - abortion being seen as merely another means of birth control. Japan has felt this change and is beginning to regret it. An editorial in Ashai Shinbun, Japan's largest daily, has bemoaned the national attitude toward the human foetus.

Surely we could not have so little regard for human life as to allow abortion-on-demand.

Changing the law will not wipe out the back-street abortionist. The most it could achieve would be a reduction of doubtful extent. Japan's experience and that of the Scandinavian countries provide sufficient evidence for this. One estimate puts Japan's illegal abortion rate at 600,000 annually.

Psychological attitudes towards the human foetus would be so changed as to induce some to seek an illegal abortion who would not normally consider terminating a pregnancy.

An abortion whether legal or otherwise usually has serious psychological implications for the mother. A shame in betraying the woman's dominant human duty pervades a lifetime.

Still something has to be done. Reforms are being mooted in this country to allow a consideration of the mother's social background when prescribing an abortion.

It is difficult to envisage how such a change could be kept within genuine limits. Only highly special cases could adequately justify the denial of life to a human being.

Each of us must face this issue squarely in the near future. It is too basic to shun as did the majority of the House of Commons in absenting themselves from the Chamber when the recent vote was taken in England.

At the nub of the issue is our assessment of the rights of the unborn. Many say these are such as to make abortion murder by another name. Many say there are no rights.

Whatever view is taken, the moral issues must not be swept aside by pure convenience.

Our culture has always found it a duty to protect the sick, the weak, and the defenceless. None is more defenceless than the foetus.

Those to be denied life at the hand of the abortionist can have no advocate in their cause but our consciences.