There has, naturally, been a lot of talk over the last few days about abortion. Abortion is one of those issues where virtually everyone has an opinion, but few of us get to have ours heard.
The papers have been full of various commentators and opinion-formers putting their two penneth worth in - but the debate has mostly focused around the time-limit and the question of viability.
I think this has obscured the issue myself.
For a start, the time-limit has never been hard and fast. Women have been having abortions well beyond 24 weeks for decades. It doesn't matter if you change the time-limit to 22 or 12 weeks - if there is a very good reason why the pregnancy should not go ahead then any woman will get an abortion after 24 weeks.
On the question of viability, in the majority of abortion cases the child would - given the opportunity - go to term and live a normal life. Left alone to develop normally, virtually all fetuses are "viable" from the moment they are conceived. It is only when someone decides arbitrarily to rip them from their habitat that their viability becomes an issue.
If you take a litter of kittens away from their mother at birth, stick them in a plastic sack and throw them in the reservoir then guess what? They die. Does that mean they weren't "viable"? Of course not - it means that someone chose to take away their viability.
I'm not and never have been anti-abortion. I am opposed to abortion on demand which sees some 200,000 or more perfectly "viable" children consigned to the incinerator for the "crime" of being inconvenient. The science is irrelevant. The vast majority of these unborn children would survive IF they were given the chance.
The question of abortion is not about viability, science or choice - the choice is made when one chooses to have sexual intercourse. It is about how it affects society and the affect abortion on demand has had is to help create the responsibility and consequence free society of modern Britain.
Knowing that abortions are available whenever they want one has meant that people - men and women - no longer feel the need to be sexually responsible. It costs society dear in terms of sexually transmitted disease, teenage pregnancies and, of course, finance - someone ends up paying for all this in the long run and it is usually the taxpayer.
Abortion should be available for everyone with a GENUINE need for it, but it should not be available to ANYONE who does not have a real medical reason for terminating the child. People have to learn to face the fact that their actions have consequences - that is what moderates behaviour.