In some ways, British abortion advocate Ann Furedi is more honest than many in her movement.
Furedi, the CEO of the abortion chain British Pregnancy Advisory Services, admits that “abortion may be an act of killing – but it kills a being that has no sense of life or death, and no awareness of itself as distinct from others.”
She also says she does not shy away from telling women the truth at her abortion facilities, according to the Irish Times’ review of Furedi’s new book.
“Well, it would be far more diplomatic to say ‘end the life of’ rather than ‘kills’,” she says. “But I don’t think it helps to obfuscate or be mealy-mouthed. That creates the impression that you want to draw a veil over what happens.”
Yet, the abortion CEO also believes that abortions should be legal through all nine months of pregnancy. Currently in England, abortions are legal up until 24 weeks and after that in certain circumstances. However, Furedi and other British abortion activists are pushing radical legislation that would allow women to have abortions for any reason up until birth.
Furedi believes that abortions should be legal because unborn babies lack “awareness” and women deserve “entirely sovereign rights over her body.” In her new book, she argues that being a unique human being biologically is not enough to justify an unborn child’s right to life.
“You cannot accord human life in the womb the same value as people once they are born,” she says.
Furedi contends that while abortion involves a “killing”, in the sense that it stops a beating heart, it does not stop a person from living. “The end of a life in the womb does not compare with infanticide, euthanasia or any other taking of human life,” she writes. “Abortion does not assault an individual that is living a biologically independent existence of its own. Whatever the foetus experiences, it is not human life as we know it, with its joys and sorrows, fears, hopes and expectations. It knows nothing of itself, nor of others. And others know nothing of it.”
Without reading her whole book, it appears that at least part of Furedi’s argument is similar to one promoted by Princeton University Professor Peter Singer. Taken to its logical conclusion, Singer acknowledges that the “self-awareness” argument allows for infanticide as well as abortion.
Furedi tries to be logical and reasonable with her arguments, but, based on her statements in the Irish Times’ review, she appears to falter when explaining her support for unrestricted late-term abortions.
“If you accept that a woman should be able to have an abortion because the pregnancy resides within her – and our bodies are our own – then why should it matter if the pregnancy has been developing for three weeks, or 23 weeks, or 33 weeks?” Furedi writes.
At one point, she claims that abortion should be viewed as morally good and even questions the societal stigma attached to women who use abortion as a method of birth control. But while arguing for the legalization of late-term abortions, Furedi claims (falsely) that they only will be done in “exceptional circumstances.”
“Women do not want later abortions, and doctors do not perform them except in exceptional circumstances,” she wrote in the Daily Telegraph earlier this year. “Removing abortion from the criminal law would not change this. No woman turns up at 30 weeks pregnant requesting abortion because she’s a bit weary of it all – and no doctor would perform an abortion on that basis. To suggest otherwise is absurd and offensive to both women and those who care for them.”
If it does not matter why a woman has an abortion, early or late in her pregnancy, why does Furedi bother trying to justify late-term abortions? Because the truth is that our human nature is troubled by the idea that an abortion kills a human being, and for good reason. Pro-life philosophers have been arguing for decades that the only logically consistent line that determines the value of human life is the moment when life begins — at conception.