Renaissance or requiem?BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5045 (Published 02 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5045
All rapid responses
The recent Lancet editorial on the 50th anniversary of the introduction of abortion into England and the blog in the present BMJ by Joanna Erdman complaining about the Irish pro-life constitution, are both sad requiems.1 Do the 9 million lives lost through abortion in UK over those years mean nothing? Do the 100,00 lives of people now living in Ireland thanks to the protection of the 8th Amendment in our constitution mean nothing? Decriminalising abortion and giving it the status of "treatment as usual" like an appendectomy or OGD is where this process is going. Most people appreciate the difference between an appendix and a tiny baby and no one would say their excision are equally routine "procedures." People who long for a baby cherish and celebrate the arrival of the foetus/embryo/zygote and take every precaution to bring it to term in best health. They are not in love with a "clump of cells" or an appendix because they know it is their baby. There are powerful human emotions and expectations and affection for an unborn child. These human responses to new life are proper to pregnancy as any expectant couple knows.
The grief reactions and mental guilt and anguish following loss of an unborn baby are also profoundly human and understandable. What do you do when you lose a loved "one?" You grieve. The creature in the gravid womb is the flesh and blood of the parents and also a human being in intensive care - the intensive care of the mother's womb. Why would someone not see that a 12 week old baby in the womb is the same as the person in ITU for 12 weeks - excepting that the 12 week old baby has a much better prognosis? The renaissance - new birth - should now start. The scourge of abortion on population demographics, women's and men's lives and on our future happiness and well being needs to be stopped. The medical community especially have a duty to publicise the health and happiness that new life brings and so improve the health of the population. (There are data supporting the benefits of new life which can be shown in a longer article perhaps commissioned by the BMJ?)
1 The British 1967 Abortion Act—still fit for purpose? https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32753-8
Competing interests: No competing interests