Flouting abortion laws
As Weblog has noted earlier, Britain seems to be in the middle of a soul-searching moment when it comes to abortion, and is seriously considering an extension of its limits on late-term abortions. The country currently bans abortion past the 24th week of gestation, but may roll that back—even to as early as 12 weeks.

But would it really matter? Would it stop a single abortion? A horrific exposé in The Telegraph newspaper yesterday suggests that it might not. But the exposé itself might lead to some important and positive changes in changing British minds about late-term abortions and the country's abortion industry.

Here's the bottom line from yesterday's Telegraph package:

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the NHS-funded charity that is the country's largest abortion provider, is facilitating illegal late terminations of healthy pregnancies for hundreds of women without medical justification, an investigation by The Telegraph has revealed.
Extensive covert video and audio recordings exposed a horrific underground industry in which women carrying healthy fetuses beyond the 24-week legal cutoff and who want to end their pregnancies for "social" reasons, travel to an abortion clinic in Spain on the recommendation of BPAS. The organization refers them there as a matter of "policy."

That violates both British and Spanish law, the newspaper notes. Britain bans "anything done with intent to procure the miscarriage" after 24 weeks unless the fetus is seriously handicapped or if the mother's health is in grave danger. Spain only allows abortions after 22 weeks if the mother's health is in grave danger. So, the paper reveals, staff at the Spanish clinic falsely certify that every woman who comes to the clinic is in grave danger. "There is a loophole in the law," a staff member flatly explained to the paper's undercover, pregnant reporter. "If you have a normal pregnancy but still you want to do it, what we do is put on the paper that there was a gynecological emergency."

"I am not in favor of making all abortion illegal," the undercover reporter, Charlotte Edwardes, writes in an op-ed. "I strongly believe, however, that there now needs to be a fresh debate about the number of weeks at which a pregnancy can be legally terminated. … Doctors should not be aborting fetuses at a stage at which another doctor — operating under a different set of instructions — could give that same baby a reasonable chance of leading a full and healthy life."

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The BPAS "views the provision of abortion through crusaders' eyes," a Telegrapheditorial concludes. And that's not a compliment. The paper calls the organization's efforts "shockingly dishonest," says, "It is hard to conceive of a more grotesque personification of callousness and indifference," and calls for specific governmental actions in both the U.K. and Spain. Here's how the editorial ends:

What BPAS advises [women] to do is illegal in Spain. Worse, it dehumanizes the woman herself, reducing her to the status of a "client," steered cheerily towards late abortion as an easily available service rather than a horrendous last resort. As for the unborn child, it is swallowed up in a tide of lies, deceit and — in Spain at least — easy money. How ironic that those who campaigned most vigorously against back-street abortions have conspired to create a new, glossier, but no less sinister marketplace of death.

Already British health secretary John Reid has promised to examine whether the BPAS is breaking the law.

If the government does in fact take action against BPAS—dropping its funding, for example, or even jailing the chief conspirators, that would be significant. Likewise, if the Spanish police raid the Clinica Ginemedex in Barcelona, it would be dramatic news. But the chief effect of the controversy will probably be in the hearts and minds of British (and possibly Spanish) citizens. The BPAS is claiming that it would be "morally reprehensible" not to send mothers overseas for abortions if they have potentially viable unborn children. That argument simply won't wash for anyone who has read the Telegraph's tale of callous and eager abortionists. The BPAS certainly appears to be crusading not for women, but for the death of children who could probably survive outside the womb.

And they keep crusading. Abortion-rights supporters say that the Telegraph exposé should mean relaxing, not extending, abortion limits in Britain. "It means women are not getting the services they need in Britain, which is regrettable," Abortion Rights director Anne Quesney told The Scotsman. "There should be a provision made in the law for women who need the services at a later stage."

But one of the major points of the Telegraph's reporting is that the reporter was never asked if she needed it, was never offered alternatives, was never told that late-term abortions are potentially very traumatic, and was never told that her baby might even be viable outside the womb. The reporter didn't need to abort her pregnancy, but at every opportunity she was encouraged to do so.

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No doubt there are people who go to work for the abortion industry with a true, if misguided, desire to help women in difficult situations. But their faces are less and less the face of the industry. Instead, abortionists and their advocates are with increasing regularity showing the face of Molech.

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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