Abortion cruel, law should change: British poll

Most British people believe that too many abortions are being carried out and want the toll reduced, according to a poll commissioned by a British pro-life group.

Independent Catholic News reports that another key finding is that women overwhelmingly want Government money spent on charities offering alternatives to abortion, such as adoption.

The poll, carried out by CommunicateResearch for the campaigning group Choose Life, found that 85 per cent want to see more help given to women who want to keep their baby rather than further moves to make abortion easier.

The poll suggests that women will not be satisfied with a simple reduction in the upper time limit of 24 weeks if that simply results in an increase in early abortions. Most want to see fewer terminations overall and wider availability of alternatives to abortion.

Seventy-eight per cent of women want a compulsory cooling-off period between diagnosis of pregnancy and any abortion. 96 per cent of women want a right to be fully informed of the medical risks associated with abortion.

Tory leader David Cameron and his predecessor Michael Howard have both backed calls for a lower limit and the leader of the UK Church Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is to meet Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt next week to press for a tightening of the law.

Meanwhile, a Vatican foreign affairs official has called on members of the United Nations' new Human Rights Council to demonstrate their commitment to upholding human dignity by defending the right to life and religious freedom.

Catholic News Service reports that Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo was representing the Vatican at the inaugural meeting starting this week of the new 47-member council charged with monitoring the human rights situation around the world.

Archbishop Lajolo told the Council that recognition of the dignity and value of each human being is at the basis of all human rights and of all peaceful social orders.

The first human right, he said, is "the right to life from the first moment of human existence, that is, from the moment of conception."

Human beings have value, dignity and rights simply because they exist, he said. Their value and rights are not based on what they produce or the relationships they have.

After the right to life, Archbishop Lajolo said, the right to freedom of religion and conscience is the next important because it concerns the most intimate part of a person's being and expresses his or her relationship to God.

The Archbishop also called on wealthy nations to respect the human rights of every person living in their country, "including immigrants."

Survey shows most women think abortion is cruel and want change in law (Independent Catholic News 20/6/06)
Vatican official says new UN council members should defend life (Catholic News Service 20/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Poll Digest(Communicate Research)

Bishop says abortion figures a "national disgrace" (CathNews 29/4/05)
Survey reveals Australians want fewer abortions (CathNews 3/5/2005)

21 Jun 2006