by Susan Richardson
Last week, we considered the profound and dangerous failure of a 16-year old Manx girl by the British abortion industry, as was recently reported in the Examiner. These are dangers that we open more girls and women to on the Island if we were to remove vital protections in our laws, and introduce permissive abortion such as that practised across.
Also important, however, and literally vital to note, are the further failures of the girl and her unborn child evidenced by the account the piece gives of the abortion that ended the baby’s life, by omission as well as content.
We are told by the girl in the article that she was 6 weeks and 6 days pregnant when she went through with an abortion. The picture at the top of this post, and the pictures and the video below, portray an unborn baby at precisely that stage of pregnancy. The bottom left photo shows a baby at 7 weeks, just two days later. Some further legal context: the upper limit for abortion for disabled children on the Island is 24 weeks, and for babies conceived in sexual assault it is 12 weeks. In Britain, the upper limit for de facto abortion on demand is 24 weeks, and for babies with disabilities, it is up to birth.
When the baby is this developed, the arms, legs, jaw, cheeks, and internal organs are continually forming. An ultrasound would show a pre-formed face, and the baby’s heart-beat. In fact her heart has been beating for at least 2-to-3 weeks, and will be going at between 80-150 beats a minute. She has begun to move, and can be less than a week away from her first hiccups!
This is the human reality in question, subjected to abortion.
What did this particular abortion involve? Well, the girl describes that she opted for a chemical abortion – generally referred to as a ‘medical’ abortion, despite its total lack of any proper medicinal effect – the action of which she very accurately describes. The effect on the baby of such a procedure is never properly discussed however, even though it is crucially relevant to know.
As we describe in detail elsewhere on our website, a chemical abortion involves administering an abortifacient (a drug that causes the miscarriage of a baby) called mifepristone to the mother. This blocks progesterone, the hormone produced in the ovaries that makes the endometrium (the lining of the womb) suitable for the unborn child to be ‘gestated’: given necessary nutrients from her mother, which at 6 weeks takes the form of ‘histiotrophe’ – the so-called ‘uterine milk’. The blocking of progesterone causes the lining to break down, which breaks the baby’s attachment to her mother, again essentially starving her to death.
An entirely accurate video illustration of chemical abortion can be seen here:
This unavoidable set of empirical facts, about the humanity of the unborn child and the barbaric reality of abortion, is quite literally vital to considering abortion on a practical and moral level.
Sadly, these facts are not related in the article. The girl describes her baby for example, as merely a “cluster of cells”. Obviously, in a reductive sense we are all a ‘cluster of cells’, but that it is not all that we are, either as adults or as unborn children. What matters is what kind of cell clusters we are – human beings – and like us, as we can easily see above, the baby at six weeks gestation is undeniably human. This is not controversial, it is a matter of basic and obvious scientific fact, recognised by literally dozens of objective scientific studies and standard embryological textbooks.
Given this, it is unsurprising that her aborted baby is also described as merely having the ‘potential’ to be a person. Yet all humans are persons; there are no non-personal human beings. The truth then, is that her baby was an actual person. What s/he had the potential to be was an infant, a toddler, a pre-pubescent, a teenager, and an adult. Yet this was denied to her or him, because s/he was destroyed in the very place s/he should have been safest. No-one has the right to make the ‘choice’ to cause that.
These are not the only misconceptions exhibited in the article. It cites what is technically called a ‘junk statistic’: that 95% of women do not regret their abortions, despite the clear flaws in the study behind that claim.
The girl also pleads with pro-life readers to “consider that women aren’t looking at their growing uterus in anger and aborting a foetus out of malice”. Yet few if any defenders of the right to life of unborn children seriously think women normally have abortions out of hatred for their unborn child (though a recent case in Northern Ireland shows that that malice certainly can exist). What we simply point out is the sad truth that the “choice” some women make for “themselves, their quality of life”, as she puts it, is actually a choice to have another vulnerable human being killed, violating their right to life.
Obviously, this does not mean that right-to-lifers value the life of the mother less than that of the child. On the contrary, it means that they value all human beings equally.
All these misconceptions and omissions in the article show another of the ways in which the girl has been failed extensively: a radical failure in her education. This is by no means her fault: it is the fault of those who should have properly taught her.
Given the context, this failure is not only manifested academically. Why, after all, in 2016 (she conceived last year) was a girl getting pregnant at 16-years old? We might look to her teaching about relationships and sex (including birth control), which might have given her the personal and practical ability to avoid this situation. Clearly, she was failed by many of those around her on a number of important levels.
So in one sense, the second more biased title for the Examiner article was actually right: this teenager’s plight should ‘shame us all’. It should shame Manx society that she was so poorly educated about the nature of human life, relationships, and sex. It should also shame the Government that any member of our society should be made to feel that she could not cope with an unplanned pregnancy due to youth, or lack of material resources.
When we really listen to and properly ‘hear’ the true lessons of this story, we can work to achieve the real answers to the issue of unplanned pregnancy, and bring about the reforms to education, to social support, and to any other area of Manx life that will mean that no woman or girl should ever feel abortion is her necessary option. Let compassion, not killing, continue to be the answer for the Isle of Man.