Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (49), April 16, 1986

Let’s Look at a Few of the Facts

Mr. Rankin’s recent piece on abortion was an interesting one — at least it took a little different tack from the usual pro-life arguments. After reading it twice, though, my conclusion was that it really was reiterating the advice that best way to avoid the trauma of abortion is not to get pregnant!

It’s almost impossible to discuss abortion without bias or emotion, but let’s look at some facts. Neither bombing clinics, nor moral exhortation, not budget cuts are going to make abortion go away; it’s there because it is an option women have been choosing since it was discovered to be possible. It is the deliberate ending — by the hand of another — of the life of a discrete, though temporarily dependent, organism genetically designed as a human being. Many people feel comfortable stopping right there: The matter is clearly stated. But unfortunately, there is more to the morality here than this neat formula. There’s the tough part — because we are obliged to use the imperfect intellect we’ve been blessed (or cursed) with, and we do so, in some fashion, at all times. And so it happens that in the exercise of our imperfection in a lass than perfect world we are all too often left with choice of the lesser of two evils.

Personally, I tend to believe one greater evil might be to bring a life into a world of abuse, or poverty, or hopelessness, or all three. For those who disagree, I have a suggestion. Follow up on your convictions. With all our teenage pregnancies there are many babies up for adoption whose lives would benefit from your love and care, to say nothing of the hundreds of children in need of good foster care. Take them in. (And if you’re concerned about public funds being spent on abortions, think of the many thousands more you’d be saving the public if you, rather than “society” — took on the costs of raising a child until he or she reaches 18.

Ann Hewitt, 59 Main 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.