Abortion and Confusion Compounded

One does not need to go very far to find examples of rather confused thinking about abortion. Indeed, both intellectual and moral confusion typically abound in many cases of pro-abortion argument. Inconsistencies and outright contradictions are often the order of the day in such arguments.

We have a great example of this in today’s Herald Sun. A female columnist there has produced an article which amply demonstrates the confused and muddled thinking of the pro-abortion crowd. Indeed, it is one of the more illogical and chaotic pieces I have come across of late.

I refer to Sally Morrell’s “Sex selection ban means tragic choice” article. It is a bizarre and contradictory defence of sex-selection via IVF. She thinks this is a perfectly acceptable procedure, and she oddly claims that if it were legal here, the tragedy of the twins’ death I wrote about recently would have been avoided:

In this case a Victorian couple aborted perfectly healthy twins conceived by IVF because they wanted a girl instead. She foolishly argues that if the ban on sex selection were removed, this never would have happened, and even says this at the end of her piece: “No, it’s the babies lost that must be our real concern here and for that reason alone the law must change so that no more will we see parents disposing of one child to make way for another.”

Already there is so much muddled thinking here to deal with that one hardly knows where to begin – and much more confusion awaits us! There are very good reasons for outlawing sex selection. The chief one is that children should always be viewed as an end in themselves, not simply as a means to some adult’s selfish ends.


Children of any sex are always of value and worth for who they are, not because of their gender. But once we allow gender selection to take place, we open the door for all sorts of other trivial reasons to produce designer babies. If we can argue for the gender of a child today, then why not argue for hair colour, or height, or right-handedness tomorrow?

So there is no guarantee whatsoever that the legalisation of sex-selection will prevent abortions for a whole host of superficial and trivial reasons.

But consider her strange words here: “it’s the babies lost that must be our real concern here”. But why Sally? Only if we think the unborn baby has an inherent right to life does such a comment make sense. Yet Sally tells us that “I’m not anti-abortion”.

Sorry Sally, but you can’t have it both ways. If you are pro-abortion, then why would you worry about “babies lost”? Indeed, she confuses everyone with this odd line: “I can understand people being horrified by the abortion of the twin boys. I’m appalled myself. While I’m not anti-abortion, I deplore abortion being used as contraception or for sex-selection.”

Why in the world does the abortion of these twins appal you Sally if you are not against abortion? What you have just told us is this: ‘Abortion appals me but I am not against abortion’. Go figure. What she seems to mean – but is not even clear about herself – is that some forms of abortion are OK while some others are not.

But why? How can the killing of an unborn child be sometimes acceptable, but sometimes unacceptable? Indeed, unless we regard the unborn as having real moral status – that is, unless we regard the fetus as a human being with an inherent right to life – then why should she be appalled at any abortion done for any reason?

Either the unborn child is a human being – a person with a fundamental right to life – or he or she is not. If not, then one should no more worry about the “termination” of these healthy twin boys than one should worry about clipping one’s fingernails.

Sally cannot have it both ways. If we are talking about a real human being with a real right to life, then surely killing him or her is morally wrong. But if there is no humanity and personhood attached to the unborn, then all abortion should be morally acceptable and nothing to be appalled at.

But wait, there’s more. Sally does not seem to even have a basic understanding how the sex-selection process works. Recall that she said this: “I deplore abortion being used as contraception or for sex-selection”. Yet her entire article is one long defence of sex-selection!

Does she even know how this process works? It seems she wouldn’t have a clue. So let me fill in the picture for her. As Christopher Kaczor reminds us in his important new book, The Ethics of Abortion (Routledge, 2011), there are several ways in which this can take place:

“Sex selection can occur in three ways, prior to conception via sperm separation, after conception but before implantation via genetic diagnosis of IVF embryos, and after implantation via abortion.” What Sally evidently is not aware of is the fact that the third technique – abortion of the fetus during the course of pregnancy – is by far the most widespread means.

Thus in most cases of sex-selection, what we have is an abortion to rid the couple of either a male or female unborn baby. But recall the position of Sally: she is fully in favour of sex selection, but she is against abortion for sex selection!

She might as well seek to argue that she is fully in favour of children driving cars, but dead-set against 2-15 year olds driving ! Thus the utter incoherence and illogic of her argument. But clear thinking and careful moral reasoning is seldom a strong point of the pro-abortion crowd.

What we have here is yet another example of mushy moralising and conceptual confusion. But this is nothing new in the abortion wars. Sadly it seems to go with the territory. But if anything, error highlights truth, and sloppy thinking helps point to clarity of thought, so at least for that reason we can be thankful for her article.


[1016 words]

16 Replies to “Abortion and Confusion Compounded”

  1. >>Sex selection can occur in three ways,
    >>prior to conception via sperm separation,
    >>after conception but before implantation via genetic diagnosis of IVF embryos,
    >>and after implantation via abortion.

    I think Sally being in favour of sex selection but not by abortion means she would prefer we used options 1) and 2) above … not understanding that option 2) is also taking an unborn life.

    Dale Flannery

  2. Thanks Dale

    Yes the second method also involves killing an embryo, so two out of three are in theory what she would disapprove of. Yet her entire article was one long defence of sex selection! It seems her morality is as weak as her reasoning ability.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. Andrew Bolt is normally a lot clearer in his thinking about abortion.

    “He is married to Sally Morrell, a fellow Herald Sun columnist.”

    Maybe we can hope and pray there is discord and debate over this issue in the Bolt homestead tonight, and that logic, moral clarity and some sense of reason might prevail.

    John Angelico

  4. Yes, her position is inconsistent. I have encountered similar thinking elsewhere, even in my own family. We have this conceit in modern society that moral problems can be fixed with technology. Why don’t we invent brain-altering drugs that neutralise conscience, guilt, shame, remorse and compunction, and be done with it? Everyone a happy psychopath!
    John Snowden

  5. Absolutely stupefying the lack of logical thinking represented by Sally! This is just another example of the shifting moral compass used to justify selfish ends.
    Louis Young

  6. The reason Sally Morrell has written this confused article is simple – deep down she knows abortion is killing a child, but she believes it is worse to tell someone who has had an abortion that definition (somehow ‘offending’ someone is the very worst evil!), so she tries to use her intellect to get around the fundamental truth. I think it is highly likely that Sally has a personal encounter with abortion (not necessarily herself, but probably a friend) that is clouding her thinking here. No-one with an objective viewpoint would ever consider presenting this kind of spaghetti logic in public.

    The unfortunate outcome of this kind if mish-mash of thinking is that whilst the motivation is likely an attempt to minimize trauma to women who have had abortions (this is why Sally says she isn’t ‘anti-abortion’) – young women and girls will continue not be told that abortion is a great evil and to be avoided at all costs. By not telling the complete truth, Sally is just contributing to the perpetuation of the cycle of death, tragedy, emotional and physical cost, and facilitating a disgusting industry.

    “Some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.” – George Orwell

    Thanks, Bill, for using your smarts to bring clarity, not this kind of awful smokescreen. If Sally is so much cleverer than us little people who are not columnists, then God save me from ever being ‘intellectual’.

    Mark Rabich

  7. Absolute rubbish. Andrew Bolt needs to take his wife over his knee!!!
    Catherine Dodd

  8. I have many friends though who are responding to this article with comments like…….’that’s disgusting, i’m pro choice but…….’ .While not as confused as this woman, it demonstrates the kind of convoluted thinking the anti life lobbyists have managed to make mainstream. People innately understand abortion is an atrocity, but they feel so oppressed by political correctness that they must state ‘i’m pro choice, but…….’ before every objection they make to abortion. When the mind is clear it is evident that this is just the next descent in the culture of death.
    Catherine Dodd

  9. John, “Andrew Bolt is normally a lot clearer in his thinking about abortion” : From what I have seen, Andrew is very far from clear thinking on abortion. It would be a very interesting case to identify 1. What Andrew’s specific view is, 2. His reasons for his view. 3. Whether his philosophical “religious deficit” position is critical to his pro-“choice” [ie pro-abortion] evidences, reasoning, and conclusions. 4. The inevitability of illogical or unconscionably barbarous pro-abortion reasoning.
    Gerard Flood

  10. If this weren’t such a sad story I’d probably be laughing right now! Even pro-choice friends of mine found Sally’s defence of these actions morally reprehensible (not sure why considering it’s just a “blob of cells”) but Bill you’ve certainly spoken nothing but truth here when you say that the pro-choice position is inconsistent and often illogical.

    God bless,
    Anthony Lichoudaris

  11. Dear Bill, Thank God that there is someone like you capable of providing a well reasoned argument against this sort of emotional garbage which passes for journalism. Let’s hope and pray Sally Morell reads it and it provokes her into thinking more deeply and rationally about the pro life cause because it is obvious her thinking on it is very muddled and shallow. As Mark says it might be influenced by the fact that she has had personal experience of abortion either herself or someone she knows because her emotions are obviously getting in the way of her reasoning abilities.

    Her husband Andrew Bolt must have squirmed with embarrassment if he read her article because he does seem more rational in his views. I have to admit I have never read his views on abortion or indeed if he has ever expressed any. Like many male journalists he may have been frightened off by the extreme feminists in his profession.

    As a person who for many years was active in the pro-life cause I have in the past often sold raffle tickets as a fund raiser for Right To Life. This has led to many discussions at street level on abortion and euthanasia with those who have bought tickets. I have come to believe steeped in selfish individualism which feminist ideology advocated. In short ‘I can do what I like with my body’ which is also the argument for advocates of voluntary euthanasia.

    I once asked a scientist who bought a ticket from me what she would say ‘if’ she had been robbed of her right to life while she was in the womb. She replied “but ‘if’ I had been aborted I wouldn’t have been born so I wouldn’t know would I?” To this I replied “you are right that no fact begins with “if” but you have been born and you are enjoying your life but unarguably the unborn child would beg for its life ‘if’ it could wouldn’t it? Since it can’t pro-lifers do it for them.” She couldn’t answer that and walked off.

    The fact that she believed that ‘if’ she hadn’t been born she wouldn’t know anything made me realise she couldn’t believe in God or life everlasting and that is the key to many people’s pro choice beliefs. They don’t believe that the right to life is God given and shouldn’t be taken away and they certainly don’t believe that a loving, merciful God would take these unfortunate little babies who have been robbed of their most basic right, the right to life, into His care. Hope my comments make sense.

    Patricia Halligan

  12. Looking back at articles that have been written by Andrew Bolt regarding abortion, his stance seems to evade me ?? I may be missing something, but one statement that did jump out at me was one made in a column written on Aug 26, 09 – ‘What I’ve learned in 50 years’ He revealed that, “I dont even yet know if God exists” this moves me to pray as I do for many others, that God Our Father touches his heart and leads him to Christ Jesus, Our Lord And Saviour, The Way, The Truth And The Life. As we know without a doubt, Our Lord is MIGHTY TO SAVE!!!!!
    Di McMahon

  13. Andrew’s stance does not completely evade me. He is clearly not opposed to the “pro-choice” (of killing the ‘unwanted’ [by whom?] unborn) “principle”.

    Unfortunately, some claiming to be in the secular anti-abortion leadership make public slips of a pro-choice character, so I am not just picking on Andrew.

    I thank him for his most memorable embarrassing of senior Australian church leadership by pointedly raised their obvious insignificance-by-choice in the then-public abortion debate. Naturally, his comments hurt me too, but “if the cap fits, …”, and then try to do something about it!

    Gerard Flood

  14. Confused thinking is not new; & continues to be widespread. Years ago the following was penned; & is still relevant & pertinent.
    “An angry young man of Miletus
    Said ‘These doctors use jargon to cheat us’
    They are quite reconciled
    to killing a child
    For they are only aborting a foetus.”
    Arthur Hartwig

  15. IVF often involves the creation of more than one embryo. The spares are put on ice while each cycle 5 or so are implanted in hope that at least one will take. If the woman find herself pregnant with 5 babies the pregnancy is often ‘reduced’ to two. In other word 3 babies are aborted.

    It seems strange that a procedure designed to give babies to couples who desperately want children has at its core the destruction of many babies.

    I wonder how much money the couple in the article ‘spent’ on getting those twin boys just to throw them away again because they weren’t exactly what they wanted. It really shows how much value they place on their babies.

    I am of the opinion that medicine should be used to fix things that go wrong, not to upgrade our lives. God did not place sex-selection into our reproductive process so we should not use science for that purpose. This couple has no medical reason to use IVF, it’s not that they can’t conceive naturally but that they want to control what they get.

    I fear how far the selection process will go if we allow it. I carry a minor genetic fault and every son I have has a 50% chance of inheriting it. I’ll take my chances though.

    Kylie Anderson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *