CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Trivialising Baby Killing

Feb 12, 2008

In an opinion piece in the mainstream press today a columnist was discussing the issue of abortion in Australia. She sought to assure us that as an issue of debate it was not even on the radar, at least in the political arena, and only nut cases would dare to even raise the topic. Consider her words:

“Here in Australia it’s a non-issue (did anyone apart from the looniest independent candidate even mention abortion in the recent federal election?) that’s become even more of a non-issue with the overthrow of the Howard government.”

Several things can be said about this eerie remark. First, one might ask whether she is simply being descriptive here or in fact prescriptive. That is, is she just saying that this is the way things are – that no one cares about abortion – or is she saying that no one should care about abortion? One suspects that she is making both claims.

She appears to think that this is an issue that only fruit cakes are concerned about, and she also seems to think that it is not an issue worth talking about or being worked up about. Let me deal with the descriptive reality. Is abortion really an issue that no one cares about in Australia? Not so, according to a recent major study on the issue.

The 2005 volume, Give Women Choice: Australia Speaks On Abortion, by Selena Ewing and John Fleming presents quite a different picture. Based on 2004 statistics, it found, among other things, that 63 per cent of Australians either oppose or are not strongly supportive of abortion on demand. Moreover, 64 to 73 per cent of Australians thought that the abortion rate was too high in this country. And except for the “hard cases” of foetal abnormality or risk to the health of the mother, less than 1 in 4 Australians think abortion is morally justified.

Only 22 per cent of Australians think they are very well informed on the issue of abortion, and 71 per cent think there should be greater public discussion of the topic. So much for abortion being a non-issue. The truth is, ordinary Australians are in fact very much concerned about the subject of abortion.

Let me next discuss whether they should be so concerned. In tandem with that, it can be asked, is it true that people who talk about it and are concerned about it are simply loony, as the columnist suggests?

To answer these questions, a few preliminaries must be dealt with first. Despite all the denials by the pro-choice camp, abortion is about one thing and one thing only: the deliberate taking of an innocent human life. There is no denying that this is what abortion entails. Even pro-choice feminist Naomi Wolf can grudgingly admit to some of this: “The fetus represents a developing potential for human life and it’s a failure of some kind when that has to be terminated. It’s profoundly to be avoided if possible. The sooner we reintroduce some kind of moral rigour into left-wing politics, the better off we’ll all be.”

In abortion, a young member of the human race has his or her life snuffed out, often because it is an inconvenience to the mother, or it is “unwanted” or “unplanned”, or because others have pressured the mother to kill the baby.

While the circumstances of mothers should not be ignored or minimised, the sad truth is, abortion is simply baby killing. Now whenever an innocent human being is killed, I would have thought that all civilized people should be concerned, not just the loonies. The very basis of Western civilisation is respect for innocent human life and the defence of the rights of the vulnerable and defenceless.

So how can this columnist claim that only loonies want the issue raised in public? Everyone with a conscience, with a moral backbone, with a concern for humanity, should be concerned about, and raising, this issue. That fact that so few do may be more of an indication of how the mainstream media and our intellectual elites have managed to hijack this whole debate, and convince us that this is a procedure not unlike clipping one’s fingernails.

But given the monumental significance of this “procedure” – the loss of innocent human life – full disclosure should be the order of the day. Yet all this columnist can do is demonise those who think differently than her on this, and call them names.

Let us try her tactic on other pressing social issues of the day, and see how it works:

Here in Australia racism is a non-issue (did anyone apart from the looniest independent candidate even mention racism in the recent federal election?)

Here in Australia pollution is a non-issue (did anyone apart from the looniest independent candidate even mention pollution in the recent federal election?)

Here in Australia rape is a non-issue (did anyone apart from the looniest independent candidate even mention rape in the recent federal election?)

Most columnists would not get very far making those absurd sorts of claims. Yet that is just what this writer has done with the issue of abortion. She has sought to trivialise one of the most important issues of our day. With around 100,000 innocent babies being killed each year in Australia (and around 45 million killed each year throughout the world), this is a hugely significant issue, deserving of much more gravity and respect than our callous columnist would suggest.

The day any society starts to think that something like abortion is a non-issue, something which only loonies care about, is the day that society loses the right to call itself civilised. It has then descended fully into barbarism and darkness.

[954 words]

9 Responses to Trivialising Baby Killing

  • Hear! Hear!
    Thanks for this important article.
    Cheerio
    Dale Flannery

  • Who is the columnist and what publication?
    Tony York

  • Larissa Dubecki, the Age.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Nobody thinks today that …..

    I cannot believe these views are still held today.

    In a progressive, 21st century society everyone ……

    There is no one in this room who believes that we should go back to……………

    The bully will always attempt to gain control of the group by using humiliation, ad hominem and accusing individuals of the very worst crime of all – which is to be intolerant and narrow minded.

    Finally there is the numbers game: Numbers Rule OK ? Hands up all those who think ……

    Jesus says in Matt 7: 13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 1But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”

    Now that is not very democratic or inclusive.

    David Skinner, UK

  • It really baffles me how low the quality of journalism has become in this nation. I happen to know many people from all walks of life who are quite opposed to abortion. This includes doctors, nurses, teachers, mothers, fathers, secretaries, the list goes on. Larissa ought to do some research before presenting such biased dribble in a newspaper like the Age. She sounds like an ill informed teenager with very little understanding of philosophy, cultures, religion and all the many intellectual fields of thought. She has certainly offended many people in this column, even in the manner of her writing.
    Teresa Binder

  • Bill,

    Despite “less than 1 in 4 Australians think[ing] abortion is morally justified”, according to the table on page 9 of this parliamentary briefing paper, it seems that the majority of people still think that almost any reason is good enough to abort a child.

    This tells me that a lot of people support abortion even though they think it’s wrong. Greg Koukl once stated it this way, “You actualy believe that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being, and you think that mothers should be allowed to choose to do that to their babies?”

    Duane Proud

  • The dangers of trivialising abortion are even clearer when one takes account of thoe impossible to determine number of deaths of the tiniest of babies denied life through the use of the abortifatient pill including RU386. The extent is frightening when the calamity this mehtod of “birth control” is taken into account.
    What needs to happen is that the realities of abortion need to be understood. Those who have not seen “The Silent Scream” should watch it to understand what happens in a procedural abortion.
    The horror is not lessened by the fact that a child may be only hours old. It only makes the child the more dependent on a loving mother for his or her continued existence.
    David Grace

  • Abortion is the most reprehensible practice in our community. Can anyone imagine what that poor helpless child goes through? It has nerve ends and a little heart beating away and then suddenly some creep, masquerading as a”doctor” plunges a pair of scissors in its small head, to allow the “doctor” to drag it out more easily. If they played that on TV, instead of the current “popular” violence, many more people would change their mind on the subject. Abortion is the ultimate in chid abuse. Ronald Reagan once said “The only people who are in favour of abortion are those already born”
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • I confess to being one of those “loonies”, however no matter how hard I try, I cannot find a way to justify killing human beings as a “matter of choice”.

    I always thought that we (society) had a duty to protect the weak and vulnerable.

    Peter Coventry

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