Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (10), December 17, 1985

Other Aspects of the Abortion Issue

The debate over abortion will be with us for a very long time. It is one of the strengths of our American way that such open discussion is allowed. The Times is to be commended for making space available for healthy interchange of ideas. Not have read John Rankin’s Nov. 25 letter, I am not in position to support or refute his points. But I did read Sandy Parsons’ letter of Dec. 3, and it is to that I would like to respond.

To acknowledge with respect another person’s beliefs is noble. To ignore their violent behavior,on the other hand, is irresponsibility of the gravest sort. We are alarmed when we hear stories of screams for help that are ignored by able-bodies by-standers who are not willing to become involved. Jesus’ story of the “Good Samaritan” raises in all of us a certain  disdain for the “religious” who cross the street in order to avoid helping the helpless victim. When any person gets involved, whether for religious or any other reason, with the cause of the powerless, they should be applauded, not scorned.

It seems to me that the real issue in the abortion debate is the question: “What are the limits of freedom?”  To deny the existence of limits is untenable. And there is certainly adequate precedent to limit freedom at the point where another being’s life and well-being is sacrificed for the sake of that freedom. I believe that “pro-lifers” are simply standing up and speaking out for those (the unborn) who are becoming the victims of others’ unbridled freedom.

A few other comments may be made in response to Sandy’s letter:

1. Many women who have experienced abortion do not get involved in pro-life (anti-abortion) groups because of the tremendous pain of their own memories. If men are to be faulted for their involvement it is only because they, at times, are not sensitive enough to the anguish experienced following abortion.

2. Men are equally involved in the conception process and ought to accept the responsibility that such involvement imposes and have meaningful participation in the follow-up decisions.

3. “Unsolicited information” confronts all of us a hundred times a day and for less important reasons than seeking to save a life.

4. Women are certainly capable of making wise decisions for themselves provided they have adequate information and provided they have sufficient inner strength to stand against the continual external pressure that urge toward abortion. The illegalization of abortion on demand may well tip the balance in their favor.

Neil Chadwick, 211 Washington St.

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House of Lords 17 October 2017

Text of John Rankin’s address on the occasion of the 500th annive5rsary of the Reformation.