I just about fell off my chair when I read this headline in The Age this morning: “Campaigner Kirner hails abortion law victory”. Victory?! My God, I thought, that was fast! You mean they’ve passed the bill already?
Well, no, not yet. The Age has shouted its triumph just a tad early. The bill (to completely legalise abortion for whatever reason up to 24 weeks by removing it from the criminal code and put it under the health act) is still under debate, and will be for some time yet. Apparently the “victory” was simply the presentation of the bill in the House.
I am not confident that it will be defeated. In other words, despite the best efforts of pro-life campaigners (and worst – some of thes guys are really inept when it comes to the art of persuasion), I believe the bill will be passed on the strength of the power of the twin tyrannies of democracy: individual autonomy and public opinion. That, coupled with the fact that there is no forum in which rational debate suffers more than in politics.
It is also emerging that there is only one clear opponent to fully legalised abortion in our Australian society: Christianity. And within the Christian community, there is only one Church which speaks with a united, consistent and philosophically rational voice: The Catholic Church.
The supporters of legalised abortion know that the Church is “the enemy”, and the only opponent who really counts. So this article in yesterday’s edition of The Age is no surprise. Neither is this argument, presented in that article:
Her Catholic upbringing clashed with her fierce conviction that she had ownership of her own body. The latter won. “And I think that’s where the church has got it so hideously wrong, in celibate men telling people how to live their lives. It’s just not appropriate.”
Funny thing though (and I can’t speak for the Catholic Church elsewhere in the world, just here in Australia), the Catholic community as a whole appears to be amazingly united in its opposition to abortion. There’s no lack of compassion for mothers who are faced with pregnancies that present them with possible hardships, but in general, the rank and file of Australian Catholics are anti-abortion. And that’s NOT because they are doing what “celibate men” (ie. the priests) tell them to believe. The average Australian Catholic is notoriously apt to make up their own minds on a whole range of issues. But folk who would accept a married priesthood (or a female priesthood) tomorrow still remain convinced that their Church has called it right on the issue of abortion.
I think the reason for this is that when you sit down and look at the plain evidence, you don’t need an ounce of religion to tell you that abortion is the killing of a human being. You don’t need a “celibate man” to tell you that, you can work it out for yourself. Where religion comes into it is in the conviction that killing another human being is actually wrong. In all circumstances.