Abortion Reform Bill 2018: A Reflection from the Diocese of Sodor and Man
The Church of England combines strong opposition to abortion with a recognition that there can be - strictly limited - conditions under which it may be morally preferable to any available alternative.
It bases this view on the understanding that the foundational right of every human being is the right to life, and, further, that the foetus is a human life with the potential to develop relationships, think, pray, choose and love.
Every possible support, especially by church members, needs to be given to those who are pregnant in difficult circumstances, and care and compassion must be shown to all, whether or not they continue with their pregnancy.
The case for further reductions of the time limit for abortions should be sympathetically considered on the basis of advances in neo-natal care.
A fundamental principle of our understanding of human life, before and after birth, is that all people, regardless of any disability, are to be equally valued, respected and cherished.
The aspiration is to see a significant reduction in the number of abortions carried out, in the context of legislation that has been subject to academic ethical scrutiny.
The experience of pastoral care recognises that women facing an unwanted pregnancy realise the gravity of the decision they face and do not take it lightly: all abortions are tragedies, since they entail judging one person's welfare against that of another (even if one is, as yet, unborn). More support needs to be offered, including access to information, advice, and counselling from a wide range of providers, that would enable women to make a fully informed decision.
In the longer term, money and energies have to be spent in tackling the root causes of unwanted pregnancies. This must involve strategies to avoid conception, such as positive and respectful education in relationships for both boys and girls, increasing aspirations for girls in areas of deprivation, reducing poverty, and enabling a climate of responsible relationships, rather than viewing abortion as a readily accessible solution to personal or social problems.
This item includes material produced by the Mission and Public Affairs Department of the General Synod of the Church of England
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