It would appear that there is going to be a legal, permitted termination option offered to Irish doctors, on foot of the Savita Scandal. This means, or appears to suggest that if the life of a woman is in danger, a hospital/doctor will not be prosecuted if a termination is carried out. This option does not come into play if the health of the woman is in danger, but the risk to life is now a factor.
Of course, this is a good thing, in that the removal of legal doubt, and danger, to patients is to be welcomed. However, this is an area where there is an absence of clear thought or clarity. Instead, what I see happening is that we are once again creating legal situations on the basis of poorly thought out assumptions and beliefs, and that was huge injustice arises. So I’d like to take half an hour to write out some ideas and thoughts, and would very very much appreciate your views on this.
Lets say there is no such thing as a soul. Doesn’t matter if you are thinking of a catholic one, or any other type of religion. We’re just some what astute apes, who have managed to walk upright for about a hundred thousand years. What would that mean? What implications would exist, if we decided there was no afterlife? Would that mean we could treat each other any way we wanted, without consequence? And what would that mean to the idea of maternal care? Who cares if a baby survives pregnancy? Would we be happy with the situation that is said to exist in China, of late terminations in the seventh, eighth and ninth month? There are photos that exist, via Google, of a late termination at eight months; you can enter “late term abortion china” into the search engine and hit ‘Images’, and up they’ll come. If we’re soulless, why would this matter?
It would matter, even if we’re soulless. We may not have a God to exert approval over us, but we can exert approval, or an ethical approval, over ourselves. We would be our own references, and the behaviour we exert over others would be the criteria for how all of us would be treated, potentially. By failing to treat the unborn with respect, we create a world where none of us have respect. We fail them, we fail ourselves and in that failure is the creation of a hell on earth, soulless humans or not. The criteria here, would be to have a society of best practice; what action or actions does the least harm or corruption of an ideal of respect for all? A pregnancy shouldn’t end, to avoid a fine, this means that the death of an unborn is a means to a lesser end.
Lets try it another way. Let’s say we do have souls. All of us, before we are born, are granted a form of immortality in the manner described by the Catholic Church. Should we then, when a woman is dying because of a failing pregnancy, let her die rather than remove the unborn child? The fear in that circumstance is that the child’s soul is equal to the soul of the mother. However, one important point to note is the amount of pregnancies that terminate naturally by themselves. And that is about half. Many of them end in their first month, without the parent even being sure they were pregnant. This ending of a pregnancy is something that is completely unremarked by those that call themselves Pro-life. There are no calls for research to prevent these losses of souls, no suggestion that this should be halted or even any concern over them at all. It would appear that the major concern is the intentional removal of an unborn. If that is the case, would it not be the case that the saving of the parent’s life is a sufficient reason, for if it is not preserved, neither the mother nor the child are saved? If we cannot keep the soul of the mother, how can we describe ourselves as moral at all?
As I said, I would very much welcome your thoughts.