British abortion activist Ann Furedi’s new book “The Moral Case for Abortion” has received a lot of media attention since its release earlier this year.
The CEO of the abortion chain British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Furedi attempts to argue that an abortion — which she readily admits is an act of killing – is a moral action and should be a legal choice for women at any stage of pregnancy.
But her arguments fail on multiple levels, Catholic World Report’s Fiorella Nash points out in her review of Furedi’s book. Nash says there are numerous flaws with Furedi’s arguments, and her zeal on the matter is similar to that of a religious “fundamentalist.”
“For all its intellectual posturing, at no point is there any real attempt at facing the arguments against abortion in any depth; the pro-life side is just assumed to be wrong …” Nash writes.
Several times in her book, Furedi compares abortion to miscarriage – an argument that not only is hurtful to women who have lost babies to miscarriage, but also is a false analogy, Nash writes.
[Furedi] attempts on more than one occasion to conflate abortion and miscarriage: “in effect, the abortion pill causes a miscarriage much the same as the loss through ‘natural’ spontaneous miscarriages experienced by millions of women around the world.” Comparing the two experiences is wrong on so many levels, but using miscarriage as some kind of justification for abortion is hurtful to those very millions of women who go through the misery of losing a baby. It is also blatantly illogical. Millions die of disease every year, but this sad reality would hardly justify rounding up and hanging the same number of individuals.
Abortion and miscarriage are two entirely different things, even though the result is similar. In an abortion, an unborn child is directly and deliberately killed; in a miscarriage, the unborn child experiences an unintended death due to natural circumstances.
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In another section of the book, Furedi claims that unborn babies are property, according to Nash:
Few people today, I suspect, would assert that children are the property of their parents in the same way that an adult might own a bookcase or a potted plant … But it is precisely this incredibly anachronistic belief that parents own their children and have absolute rights over them that Furedi upholds in her defense of abortion. “The contents of her womb are hers and hers alone, by virtue of their location in her womb. How she values the embryo or fetus that she carries inside her body is for her to decide.” Geography is not and has never been an adequate defense of extermination—a baby is no more “the contents of the uterus” than my children are the contents of my house. Clearly the fact that the baby develops inside the body of a woman is highly significant and must always be taken into account within both the abortion debate and with regard to the treatment of pregnant women by society (for an in-depth analysis of the symbiotic relationship between mother and baby, see Dr. Helen Watt’s scholarly work on the ethics of pregnancy), but the baby’s absolute state of dependency does not end with birth, and few advocate the “termination” of newborns.
Nash refutes more of Furedi’s arguments point-by-point in her thorough, well-reasoned review here.
Along with writing and debating, Furedi also is actively involved on a practical level as she pushes for late-term abortions in the UK. In her book and in the public square, she argues that getting an abortion should be as easy as buying condoms, and that abortion is a “safe, effective means of birth control” that should not be restricted in any way.
Currently, in England, abortions are allowed for any reason up until 24 weeks when the unborn baby is viable outside the womb, and after that in certain circumstances. However, some British abortion activists are pushing for even more radical legislation that would allow women to have abortions for any reason up until birth. Furedi is one of them.
A strong majority of people oppose mid- and late-term abortions. A 2016 Marist poll found 61 percent of Americans, including those who identify as “pro-choice,” support laws banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. An unofficial reader poll on the UK Metro recently showed 84 percent of its readers saying England should keep its current abortion limits and 16 percent saying the abortion time limit should be scrapped.