It is always interesting to follow debates in places other than America. Often, other countries can be more enlightened, or simply provide an alternate perspective on an issue. In Great Britain’s case, our shared language and culture often lead to exchanges in philosophies and political attitudes. That’s what makes Antonia Senior’s op-ed “Yes, Abortion is Killing. But It’s the Lesser Evil,” which appeared in the London Times, so interesting. It provides a glimpse into what very well may be the future of the abortion debate.
The article is gaining considerable attention in the pro-life community because of its candor and honesty. Senior presents herself as a once blind adherent to the pro-abortion party line, shouting its catch phrases and following the movement without question. However, she says, when she had children, her perspective changed, as she realized that her daughter was “unmistakingly herself, her own person—forged in [Senior’s] womb, not by [Senior’s] mothering.” She states that a fetus is life “by any subjective measure.”
You would think that these revelations would lead Senior to a more pro-life stance. However, she takes it even a step further and says that the “nearly 200,000 aborted babies in the UK every year are the lesser evil,” because “you cannot separate women’s rights from their right to fertility control.” Why do I believe this to be the future of the debate? Because, over time, more and more people will realize the truth that life begins at conception. It has been scientifically confirmed over and over. After that, a new rationale will have to be found. Luckily, this is even easier to counter, thanks to the new feminism that is spreading throughout the country. People like Janet Smith know better (see especially “Abortion as a Feminist Concern”), understanding that women have inherent dignity that is not derived from a freedom to kill the unborn. I believe Senior’s admission can only help the pro-life cause, as more pro-abortion advocates are forced to admit that they are advocating murder.
On a related note, I wonder what Senior would think of the over 100 million girls that have been killed due to preference for male children, many of them the victims of abortion (the link is to an article in The Economist—sign up for a temporary pass to read the article). The Economist uses the term “Gendercide” to underscore the destruction of unborn and baby women in the East. Something tells me that the dearth of women in China and Northern India will not help out women’s rights in those countries, even though women have full access to abortion. This is just one way the myth of abortion as feminism is displaced. Hopefully Senior’s article is a sign of debates to come, when we can shift from arguing about whether a fetus is alive and begin making meaningful progress towards the other myths of the pro-abortion side. The thought of sacrificing a third of our youngest generation for any cause, even one as important as women’s rights, should be enough to turn one’s stomach.