Reflection on the 50th Anniversary of the Abortion Act

December 19, 2017

To mark the occasion of 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act, in October, ARCHBISHOP TARTAGLIA released the following reflection. We have copied this article with kind permission from Flourish, the journal of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

We have just marked the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Act of Parliament which permitted abortion.

I was 16 at the time. I vaguely remember it. I think some people were telling us it wouldn’t be as bad we feared. But in 2015 alone, there were almost 200,000 abortions in Great Britain. Based on a five-day week, that’s about 760 abortions every working day. In Scotland alone last year, there were about 12,000 abortions. That’s about 40 every working day. No one in 1967 when the legislation was enacted expected those kinds of figures. And now the Scottish Government has taken measures to make medical abortions even more easy and accessible.

I don’t draw your attention to this matter in any spirit of condemnation. I don’t stand in judgment over anyone. I accept that few people consider abortion to be the desirable or best solution to a pregnancy which may be for various reasons challenging. I accept too that there may be circumstances which limit the exercise of a woman’s freedom and diminish moral culpability. I know too that God is unfailingly merciful and the promise of forgiveness through the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is always available. There is always a way home to a deeper relationship with God and with the Church.

Rather I draw your attention to this baleful anniversary in order to lament the loss of life due to abortion and to seek a change of minds and hearts about the good of the child in the womb and the care of mothers who are pregnant. We need a new understanding of the intrinsic value and worth of every human life in the womb. We need a deeper appreciation of the meaning of choice. Free choice cannot be simply about what I feel to be right for me. It’s got to be more than that. It must take into account a wider set of fundamental values. We also need better protection for unborn children diagnosed with disability. And we need to ensure respect for conscientious objection for medical professionals. There just has to be a better informed conversation in our society about these things.

In our society as it is currently, these challenges will be difficult to meet. But we need to take this forward in truth, in charity and in compassion. We look to the Gospel for hope. Jesus tells us the greatest of the commandments is to love God above all things. The second resembles it: Love your neighbour as yourself. No Christian would quibble with that. The fact that many hearts still resound to the truth and the good of those fundamental commandments gives us the hope that the Gospel of Life can continue to be proclaimed to the people of our time.

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50 Questions About Abortion: 41 – Circumstances under which you would allow abortion?

December 15, 2017

This year is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act in the UK. Sr Roseann is answering 50 questions about abortion, to mark the 50th anniversary.

Question 41: “Are there any circumstances under which you would allow abortion?”


Right Side Tour – Edinburgh 12th December

December 9, 2017

SPUC is doing a ‘Right Side Tour’ around Scotland to inform and resist the campaign to decriminalise abortion.

Edinburgh: Tuesday 12th December, 7pm, Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge

There are further details on this website:

www.abortion-decriminalisation.org

Looking to host a RIGHT SIDE tour stop in your area? Contact Margaret, email: margaret@spucscotland.org


50 Questions About Abortion: 40 – How would you like to see the law changed?

December 7, 2017

This year is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act in the UK. Sr Roseann is answering 50 questions about abortion, to mark the 50th anniversary.

Question 40: “How would you like to see the law changed?”


Right Side Tour – Aberdeen 6th December

December 5, 2017

SPUC is doing a ‘Right Side Tour’ around Scotland to inform and resist the campaign to decriminalise abortion.

They have already had their first talk in Paisley. There are 2 more dates for December and more to come!

Aberdeen: Wednesday 6th December, 7pm, St Mary’s Cathedral Hall, Huntly Street

Edinburgh: Tuesday 12th December, 7pm, Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge

There are further details on this website:

www.abortion-decriminalisation.org

Looking to host a RIGHT SIDE tour stop in your area? Contact Margaret, email: margaret@spucscotland.org


50 Questions About Abortion: 39 – Should we reduce the time limit?

December 5, 2017

This year is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act in the UK. Sr Roseann is answering 50 questions about abortion, to mark the 50th anniversary.

Question 39: “I agree that science now proves that at 24 weeks babies can be born alive and survive, so shouldn’t we just reduce the time limit to say 20 weeks?”


A Place to Grieve

November 29, 2017

While we’re still in November, and continuing that excellent practice of praying more intently for our beloved dead, I wonder if I might draw your attention to a beautiful memorial that stands in a fairly prominent spot in a circular patch of grass in Bent Cemetery in Hamilton.  The inscription reads: ‘In loving memory of all unborn children whose lives have been lost to abortion.’

The memorial was erected at the request of the Hamilton SPUC branch in 1995. A member of the branch had just been to the US on holiday, and had come across not one but several memorials to the aborted unborn in various cemeteries throughout her travels. She put the idea to the group, who agreed to approach the local council and request that a similar memorial be installed in Hamilton. Very much to their credit, the council readily agreed, and when the branch starting hunting for a stonemason, one by the name of Domenico’s immediately came to the fore and offered to donate it.

I know that memorials such as these can be controversial. In Hamilton at the time, people were scandalised and objected that its very presence in the cemetery would cause an unnecessary and unwanted guilt trip. More recently, parishes have created memorial gardens for all unborn children – those who have died through miscarriage or stillborn – and the inclusion of children who have died through abortion has caused offence. But surely this is unjust. An abortion decision does not exclude the presence of grief – far from it. It usually entails a far more complicated grief that, too often, never properly heals.

The fact of abortion means that somebody didn’t want the child, but that somebody is not necessarily the mother. Often enough, she herself wants the child very badly, but feels powerless in the face of explicit or implicit pressure from elsewhere. In the aftermath, all she knows and remembers is that she signed the consent form, she submitted to the procedure. The blame, as far as she sees it, lies entirely at her door.  Yet she does not bear the full responsibility of what happened, as St John Paul II clearly stated in Evangelium Vitae (#99).

In any case, the point is this:  countless women and men grieve the death of their aborted children and it’s entirely hidden. Society does not acknowledge, quite simply, that there should be any grief at all; friends and family want to spare their loved ones unwanted distress. And so it never gets mentioned and the wound becomes deeper. It’s a grief of the worst kind: there’s no funeral, no headstone, no anniversary to share with others, no photo to keep on your phone or purse and say, ‘This is my son’, no possession of theirs to treasure. Theirs is a haunting, never-properly-graspable pain.

The memorial in Bent Cemetery gives people broken by abortion an opportunity to express their grief and let their tears flow. Where else can they acknowledge that their children lived, even for a very short time? It’s a place to go to, and we all know how important that can be. Even if we’re not especially inclined to visit the graves of our family members, we often like to visit places associated with them and places they loved, places we spent time together.  (My Dad’s ashes rest in a crypt in a church in Madrid, but I only have to go to Largs to hear him telling me to breathe the glorious air and marvel at the Clyde.) It was Margaret Cuthill who took me to Bent Cemetery the first time. In her many, dedicated years of healing people hurt by abortion through her work in ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care Helpline), she would often take her clients there to help bring them some kind of closure. It was she and a few others who chose an additional inscription on the Hamilton stone: “I wish there was something I could do or say to turn back the hands of time and bring you, my child, back to me.”

So if there’s any talk in your parishes or local cemeteries of erecting such memorials, I appeal to your generosity of spirit and understanding. The aborted unborn more than deserve formal recognition of their existence; and it will do untold good for those who grieve their loss.  Over and above that, however, my prayer is that – on this 50th anniversary year of the passing of the Abortion Act, when we reflect on the unspeakable number of lives lost to abortion and hearts torn apart – each one of us might become that oasis in an otherwise parched land in which broken souls can pour out their story and their grief without fear of misunderstanding and judgement.

We all know that memorials are a good thing.  An infinitely better thing is a person who cries with us and feels the pain with us, because that’s when the road to healing begins.