UK Catholic Bishops Join Anglican Leader to Condemn Abortion Anniversary

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 23, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

UK Catholic Bishops Join Anglican Leader to Condemn Abortion Anniversary Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 23,

London, England ( — The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Scotland and England and Wales have issued a joint letter condemning the 40th anniversary of legalized abortion in the UK. Their comments follow on the heels of a pro-life editorial the leader of the Anglican Church submitted to a British newspaper.

The Catholic leaders said that abortion "is always a choice between life and death" and urged Catholics in Great Britain to do more politically to get involved in reducing and eliminating abortions.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, were behind the letter.

They said they had a duty as leaders of the Catholic Church to speak up and motivate people to engage in social action against abortion.

"It is both licit and important for those in public life who oppose abortion on principle to work and vote for achievable incremental improvement to what is an unjust law," they wrote.

They endorsed legislation that would reduce abortions even if it does not eliminate them entirely.

"The law affects attitudes, but it does not itself compel anyone to have an abortion," they wrote. "Even without a change in the law the abortion rate could fall dramatically if enough minds and hearts were changed."

"Abortion is a moment of choice. Abortion is always a choice between life and death, but we recognize that it is made in complex personal and domestic situations," they added.

The leaders also noted the growing number of women who are speaking out and saying they regret their decision to have an abortion and urge other women to keep their babies.

Yesterday, the leader of the Church of England and the world’s 77 million Anglicans said abortion has extreme consequences for women and children.

Archbishop Rowan Williams says abortion is too commonplace in England and around the world and noted how so many women regret their abortions.

“We are not now dealing with a relatively small number of extreme cases," he said.

He also condemned the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug as further devaluing human life.

England has long had one of the more permissive abortion laws in Europe, allowing abortions up to 24 weeks into pregnancy and even until birth in cases of unborn children with disabilities.

Recent figures show more than 200,000 abortions done there every year and the number of abortions on teenagers and repeat abortions are on the rise.

British lawmakers approved the Abortion Act in October 1967 and it eventually went into effect in April 1968.