A sensitive issue
This post may offend. I think I’ve said this before, but this time it really may.
My impression is that one of the reason why some Christians in America could not and would not consider voting for Hillary Clinton was that her feminism included a strong stance on “reproductive rights”, ie she was pro-choice.
She supports the killing of unborn babies, so Christians couldn’t vote for her, is the simplistic position.
There are many Christians who are pro-choice, but I would say a larger number who are not.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that they think abortion should be illegal, but that it is morally dubious and shouldn’t be available literally “on demand” as a right. (I am not saying that current British law is in fact abortion on demand.)
Other people believe that to interfere with a woman’s rights over her own body, ie to abort her unborn child, is simply sexism, pure and simple, end of story.
Opposition to abortion, and to either tightening up or relaxing of laws on abortion, arouses furious emotions, and even violence. This issue has been brought into prominence recently with Theresa May’s negotiations with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, where abortion is very difficult to obtain legally.
Well. Abortion is the deliberate destruction of a human embryo, isn’t it?
Does it make a difference whether the embryo is in the womb or not?
My husband and I were fortunate enough to conceive two lovely healthy children without trouble, but this is not the case for everyone. There are many women, and many couples, who cannot conceive naturally.
Since we live in a society which assumes that on the whole couples should have children, being infertile may be pretty annoying even if you’re not desperate to be parents. If you are, it must be almost unbearable.
One possible solution is IVF. We probably all know couples who have had the joy of a child born in this way. Simply put, as I understand it, the woman’s eggs are removed, and fertilised with sperm from her partner (or a donor if necessary), and one or more embryo is implanted back in her womb.
My understanding (please correct me if I’m wrong) is that there are often more fertilised embryos than are implanted. The ones left over can be frozen for possible later use by the couple, donated to other couples, thawed out (destroyed – I’ve seen this referred to as “allowing them to succumb”) or used for medical research. The choice is given to the couple. If they choose to keep them, they have to pay an annual charge, which presumably at some point they or their heirs may decide not to continue paying.
I’ve seen a few articles about the strangeness for the couple of knowing that these embryos are there, and the difficulty of the decision, which has to be repeatedly made. There was even one by a woman who conceived two children at the same time, and then gave birth to them a year or two apart, so they were “twins but not twins”, as it were.
I haven’t often seen this related to the abortion debate, but maybe I just don’t read the right magazines. The relevance to me seems obvious.
Do Christians picket IVF clinics to save the extra embryos soon? Do any of us? I’m not saying we should, but if we feel squeamish about the right to life of an aborted foetus, why don’t we feel squeamish about the rights of these “extra” embryos?
An article by someone else who wonders this can be found here: http://bigthink.com/harpys-review/the-paradox-of-the-ivf-clinic-and-the-abortion-clinic-are-some-embryos-more-persons-than-others
There may be lots of reasons, but I can’t help feeling that the reasons are a bit murky. Abortions are for single parents, feckless and irresponsible people, and especially lower-class women. IVF is for lovely loving couples, people we know.
Now that’s sexism.
Love from the PPI Blogger