UPDATE (12/08/17): We have obscured the identity of the perpetrator of the message. Whilst his identity will already be known by those who saw the previous image, this now means that there will not be a permanent record on the Internet against him. Anyone who did not see the original will not, we believe, be able to discern his name or face from the obscured picture above. We do this out of gratuitous good will and magnanimity, but do not consider the actions in which this individual engaged any the less reprehensible. We hope this will help him to apologise.

Sadly, yesterday, we received the above message from an abortion supporter. We wouldn’t generally point out such hate-filled and spiteful correspondence, and we have obscured the worst language. We think exposing this kind of abusive messaging however and shaming the author for harassment using violently misogynistic references, maybe just this once, is the best way to illustrate it and help stop it.

The extreme name-calling and irrelevant religious prejudice in the message – we are not a ‘Christian’ campaign, anyway – is bad enough, and sadly not uncommon in comments online. The exhortation for people to kill themselves and the wishing of sexual assault on female right-to-life campaigners however, is utterly disgusting. It has been reported to the police.

We need to have a civil and charitable discussion on the Island, but increasingly some pro-abortion ideologues have become extremely and unjustifiably hostile in online fora. Thankfully, we have not seen any analogous language from the right-to-life side, but we call on everyone from both sides of what is always a debate with very strong feelings involved, to exercise kindness to their opponents and self-control.

Strong dislike of someone else’s strongly-held views does not justify, as with some comments and messages, hatred and prejudice. Let’s have a meaningful and rational debate, with kind-heartedness to those with whom we profoundly disagree.

Finally, and just so the author and others like him know: To say to a right-to-lifer, “Does abortion affect you?” or “Is it your foetus?” is about as meaningful as asking an anti-slavery campaigner, “Does slavery affect you?” or “Is it your slave?”. In both cases, the campaigner is fighting for the dignity of, and in solidarity with, other human beings whose full humanity and rights are being denied unto serious and lethal abuse.

So far from being ‘archaic’, such views and campaigning are perennially relevant. Indeed, rather think that people who write the kind of bile he sent to us are what’s wrong with the world, not those who stand for the right to life of unborn children.

Meanwhile, it certainly is “our money”, given that the Allinson Bill proposes that Manx taxpayers fund abortions on the NHS.

We will continue caring about “what other people do” as long as it gravely affects vulnerable human beings, and whether we lose or not, we will always continue to contend not only for the human equality of unborn children but greater and better support for pregnant mothers.

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