Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Changing attitudes towards abortion

It's interesting to see how attitudes towards abortion have changed in Britain. It used to be seen in the simplistic light of religious Americans (pro life) vs enlightened secular Europeans (pro choice).

Clearly it's more complicated than that. Contrary to popular belief, abortion is legal in ALL states of the US (where you have a constitutional right to an abortion) whereas it is still illegal in some European countries such as Poland and Ireland. Secondly, it is no longer a religious vs secular debate. Scientific advances have increased the viability of the foetus to a much earlier stage of pregnancy. And we now understand that the foetus can experience pain at a much earlier stage than was previously thought.

In the light of this, I wonder whether progressives will one day re-examine their attitude towards abortion. For over 40 years now, they have been chanting the mantra about "a woman's right to choose". But there's nothing progressive about killing a human being. You don't have to be a right wing born again Christian to realise this. As our understanding of foetal development improves and as scientific advances continue, we may one day ask ourselves how we allowed abortions to take place at all.