Getting Started

Freedom from or Freedom for abortion.

It strikes me that there are only two stances in relation to the abortion question.

a) Those who say we should be free to choose abortion and
b) Those who say we should be free to live in a world without it.

Those who say that it should be available in limited circumstances would presumably never force someone
to have an abortion. Rather it should be the individuals choice in the difficult circumstances.

a)Each individual should be able to choose what to do with their own bodies. We could suggest that people, if they object to abortion, should avoid it. But their personal objections should not impose on another's personal freedoms to choose as they please.

b)On the other hand we can recognise the humanity and dignity of the unborn in utero (in the womb) and that to acknowledge abortion as a legitimate procedure undermines the freedom of the unborn. Essentially, that abortion is not really a choice we are free to make.

It seems to be a matter of Autonomy of the Mother Vs. Autonomy of the baby.

At what stage does human life begin?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Scandal of Genderside

The reality has been known for years now, though the Western media have generally resisted any direct coverage of the horror. That changed this week when The Economist published its stunning cover story -- "Gendercide -- What Happened to 100 Million Baby Girls?"

View Full ImageIn many nations of the world, there is an all-out war on baby girls. In 1990, economist Amartya Sen estimated that 100 million baby girls were missing -- sacrificed by parents who desired a son. Two decades later, multiple millions of missing baby girls must be added to that total, victims of abortion, infanticide, or fatal neglect.

The murder of girls is especially common in China and northern India, where a preference for sons produces a situation that is nothing less than critical for baby girls. In these regions, there are 120 baby boys born for every 100 baby girls. As The Economist explains, "Nature dictates that slightly more males are born than females to offset boys' greater susceptibility to infant disease. But nothing on this scale."

In its lead editorial, the magazine gets right to the essential point: "It is no exaggeration to call this gendercide. Women are missing in their millions--aborted, killed, neglected to death."

In its detailed and extensive investigative report, the magazine opens its article with chilling force. A baby girl is born in China's Shandong province. Chinese writer Xinran Xue, present for the birth, then hears a man's voice respond to the sight of the newborn baby girl. "Useless thing," he cried in disappointment. The witness then heard a plop in the slops pail. "To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail!" When she tried to intervene she was restrained by police. An older woman simply explained to her, "Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here."

The numbers of dead and missing baby girls is astounding. In some Chinese provinces, there are more than 130 baby boys for every 100 baby girls. The culture places a premium value on sons, and girls are considered an economic drain. A Hindu saying conveys this prejudice: "Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbor's garden."

Midwives even charge more for the birth of a baby boy. But the preference for a boy rises with both economic power and the number of children born to a couple. The imbalance of boys to girls is no accident -- it reflects a prejudice that runs throughout the societies where the abortion and killing of baby girls is considered both understandable and routine.

Add to this the widespread availability of ultrasound imaging services. Even though the governments of China and India have officially declared sex-selection abortions to be illegal, they persist by the millions. (And, interestingly, the magazine notes that Sweden actually legalized sex-selection abortions in 2009.)

This sentence from the investigative report is particularly horrifying: "In one hospital in Punjab, in northern India, the only girls born after a round of ultrasound scans had been mistakenly identified as boys, or else had a male twin."

In other words, even as the spread of ultrasound technology has greatly aided the pro-life movement by making the humanity of the unborn baby visible and undeniable, among those determined to give birth only to baby boys, in millions of cases the same technology has meant a death warrant for a baby girl in the womb.

There are multiple factors that lead to the preference for boys over girls. In China, the government's draconian "one child only" policy has led to both forced abortions and an effective death sentence for baby girls when a couple is determined that, if their children are to be so drastically limited, they will insist on having a son. As the magazine explains, "For millions of couples, the answer is: abort the daughter, try for a son."

Originally from:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thoughts on freedom

Our trusty online dictionary defines freedom as follows:

free·dom (frē′dəm)


1.the state or quality of being free; esp.,
a.exemption or liberation from the control of some other person or some arbitrary power; liberty; independence
b.exemption from arbitrary restrictions on a specified civil right; civil or political liberty: freedom of speech
c.exemption or immunity from a specified obligation, discomfort, etc.: freedom from want
d.exemption or release from imprisonment
e.a being able to act, move, use, etc. without hindrance or restraint: to have the freedom of the house
f.a being able of itself to choose or determine action freely: freedom of the will
g.ease of movement or performance; facility
h.a being free from the usual rules, patterns, etc.
i.frankness or easiness of manner; sometimes, an excessive frankness or familiarity

Does anything seem missing from these definitions?
Let me suggest otherwise by way of example.

An alcoholic goes into a bar and sits down.
Let us assume that if he begins to drink he will not stop until he is thrown out/drunk or out of money.

My question is, does the alcoholic have a free choice?
If he chooses to take a drink he is giving in to his alcoholic addiction which inhibits his freedom. If he chooses not to buy a drink he opposes his addiction and exercises his free will not to drink.
But as I am sure you can see he only has one choice which is free and in that case is he really free? It is hardly a choice at all if there is only one option.

I suggest that our definition of freedom is what is at fault. Freedom is not to be able to choose as we please rather it is the ability to choose what we ought to choose; a freedom for excellence.

If as a child we are put into a room with a piano to practice our simple pieces, we are free to practice or not to practice. This is a real choice we can make. We can choose to work hard and become better or smash the piano with a hammer and never practice again.

If we choose to work hard at our piano we become more free because we are now able to play more complicated pieces, improvise and even compose. But if we do not practice we inhibit what we can become. When we make our initial choice it is free but it is a choice to end our freedom (not to practice) or enhance our freedom(practice).

How is this related to my blog? I am not quite sure.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts. I am sure it has some implications for the freedom 'from' or freedom 'for' debate but I suspect it will just confuse the debate mightily.

Friday, June 11, 2010

UN Leadership in Disarray as Scientific Dispute Shatters Consensus on Maternal Health

Further evidence which undermines the access to abortion=better maternal health arguement.

By Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.

(NEW YORK – C-FAM) Deep divisions with top United Nations (UN) officials and abortion activists on one side and maternal health researchers on the other became public this week during the Women Deliver 2 conference in Washington DC. The dispute threatens to derail hopes of raising $30B for family planning at international development conferences in the coming months. These include the Group of Eight summit this month and the UN High Level Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Review in September.

The medical journal The Lancet published a study in April refuting UN research claiming 500,000+ annual maternal deaths has remained unchanged for decades. The new study put the figure at 342,900 with 60,000 of those from HIV/AIDS, and said the number has been declining since 1980.

World Health Organization (WHO) executive director Margaret Chan told journalist Christiane Amanpour that legal abortion was a key factor in reducing maternal deaths, but the Lancet study she referred to never mentioned abortion. Thoraya Obaid, director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said the UN's own report on maternal health would be published in September and show similar trends. But WHO's top statistician Ties Boerma said the UN report would likely not be published until 2011, and when pressed stated cryptically that one could expect it to have similar findings if it were to use the same data.

For full story see

Monday, May 10, 2010

Opposition to abortion is a religious point of view coming from religions who wish to restrict our freedom.

It is true that many people who are involved in the abortion debate and especially on the pro-life side are religious people. Many Christian Churches believe abortion to be a bad or evil act and they find it especially repulsive because it involves the destruction of a human life, something which they regard a very valuable. Do we then have a difficulty with entering into a debate or discussion with them? If their opposition to abortion stems from a belief in divine power of some description and we do not can we ever have a starting point?

It is not uncommon for members of the pro-life movement to be labelled ‘religious fanatics’ or ‘fundamentalists’ by those who oppose them, this however does little to help the debate. Rather its only intention is to undermine the persons credibility and in effect to destroy debate.

It is worth noting here that there are groups such as ‘Atheists for Life’ available at who are non-religious and pro-life and also Christian, even Catholic groups such as ‘Catholics for Choice’ who believe in a woman’s right to abortion. This blogger has a little difficulty with the latter group as a brief look at their website will show that they rarely give the full picture.

For example their introduction to abortion:

The morality and the legality of abortion is an important personal and political issue throughout the world. Catholic support for legal abortion is grounded in core principles of Catholic theology, which respect the moral agency of all women. It is bolstered by respect for the religious freedom and rights of people of all faiths and no religious faith, by respect for plural and tolerant democratic societies and, most importantly, by adherence to the Catholic principle of standing with the poor and marginalized of the world who are disproportionately women.

Note how there is no mention or recognition of the unborn child.

These two examples alone suggest to me that a discussion is possible between religious and non-religious people on the issue. Indeed if a religious pro-life person’s convictions are based on a fundamental respect for human life there seems to be little difficulty since this an (almost) universally held principle. If both parties are willing to start from here and both willing to be reasonable the argument can be maintained.

The issue of whether religion restricts our freedom is another issue which is beyond the scope of this blog. However I doubt there are many religious people who would agree. Many would in fact suggest that it is their religion which makes them freer that a non-religious person.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Maternal Mortality

Calls are regularly made by various lobby groups in the UN and the EU for worldwide availability of abortion to protect maternal mortality. They suggest that abortion is necessary to save the lives of mothers. They regularly use statistics about maternal mortality suggesting that up to half a million women die each year during pregnancy or child birth. However a new study says that the number is significantly less. See the story below for more details.

Even if the new statistics are accurate it is still socking that so many women die during pregnancy or child birth. But is widespread availability of abortion the answer?

The Republic of Ireland (where abortion is illegal) has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world. This fact alone would suggest that abortion does nothing to alter the maternal mortality rate. Is it not possible that the number of women dying during pregnancy is due to lacking medical facilities? And is it not then ridiculous to suggest putting money into abortion facilities rather than ones which can help people to be pregnant and give birth safely?

It appears that people wish to make their own views on abortion (as one of autonomy of the mother) heard through the medium of the developing countries. It does a grave disservice to the mothers in these countries to present them with abortion facilities but dent them basic facilities for giving birth.

Monday, April 12, 2010

'Human Rights China - Babies bodies found in river

As highlighted on SKY News last week, the bodies of 21 babies, believed dumped by hospitals, recently washed ashore on a riverbank in eastern China.

Video footage showed that the bodies "stashed in yellow plastic bags, at least one of which was marked 'medical waste'" included some infants several months old.

Some wore identification tags with their mothers' names, birth dates, measurements and weights. The official Xinhua News Agency said there were also female unborn babies among the bodies.

While this particular incident made the news the story itself is not entirely surprising given the imposition in China of the one-child policy which results in 13 million babies being aborted annually. As the recent cover story in The Economist magazine pointed out, the practice of gendercide or female foeticide means that female children are targeted both before and after birth through abortion, infanticide or neglect.

In addition to the massive human rights violations involved in ending the lives of children born and unborn the specific targeting of female babies has also created a huge gender imbalance where there are more unmarried young men in China than the entire population of young men in America.

It is incumbent therefore on pro-life groups to continue to pressure the Irish government to adopt a more robust stand in opposition to human rights abuses in China.'

Story taken from for full story see:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Welcome to my new blog. Please stay tuned for what will hopefully be a reasonable debate on life related issues. Its about time we stopped listening to sound bites and discussed the reality of the issues.