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Church responds to proposed changes in UK abortion law

There has been a cautious welcome to yesterday's news that the British Government is considering cutting the legal 24 week time limit for abortions, because medical advances are enabling very young unborn babies to survive.

Independent Catholic News reports taht Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, said: "The Catholic Church has always been totally opposed to abortion. The latest pictures of a child in the womb have rightly shocked people into rethinking the morality of the present law. I am very glad the Prime Minister has given his support to a review."

Cardiff Archbishop Peter Smith, who chairs the Bishops' Conference Department of Christian responsibility and Citizenship, said: "I would warmly welcome a review of the legal time limit for abortions. Advances in foetal medicine reveal more and more clearly the humanity of the unborn child. Faced with this evidence, it is not surprising that so many people now call for a change in the abortion law.

"Tragically, our present law has been used to sanction killing the unborn on a massive scale. I hope that people of all faiths and none will mobilise the political will to curb the practice of abortion which undermines the very foundation of a civilised society."

In a statement, Professor Jack Scarisbrick, chairman of LIFE said: "Of course we welcome any measure that will reduce the destruction of unborn children. All abortions are wrong and damage women psychologically and physically.

"But there is a worrying aspect to this review. The pro-abortion lobby (and in particular Lord Steel, the architect of the 1967 Abortion Act, and leading abortion providers such as the FPA) has seized upon this re-think on the time limit to call for early abortion to be made even easier. If this is the eventual outcome then it is something to be feared.

"The latest pictures of children 'walking' in the womb, sucking their thumbs, smiling and even crying in the womb, have certainly pricked consciences. But it seems that we are considering lowering the legal limit dependent on the stage at which the most striking and appealing pictures of unborn babies occur. An unborn child's life is just as valuable on the day of its conception as it is when it begins 'walking' smiling and sucking its thumb.

"Although we welcome any lowering of the legal limit, it is shameful that our moral judgement on abortion is being most strongly influenced by emotion and not by common sense.

"We are calling upon the Government to lower the limit but not to simultaneously make early abortions easier. This will simply mean the death of more innocent unborn."

First responses to proposed change in abortion law (Independent Catholic News 8/7/04)

ABC to televise abortion (The Australian 9/7/04)
British Prime Minister, Lawmaker Want Review of Abortion Law ( 8/6/04)
PM: we may look at abortion law (Evening Standard 7/7/04)
U.K. Abortion Law Goes Too Far, Its Architect Tells the Times (Bloomberg/Sunday Times 4/7/04)

9 Jul 2004