Time for a conscientious discussion about abortion


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Catégorie : Presse

Nombre de consultations : 31

The vice-presidents of Mars for Life NPO do not want the period in which someone can have an abortion to be extended in our country from 12 to 18 weeks. The reason for their opinion is legislative proposals that have been submitted to the Chamber to relax abortion legislation.

The original text of this contribution was published in Dutch on 24 October 2019 on vrt.be with the title: Abortus moet een tragische uitzondering blijven.

A number of legislative proposals have been submitted to the House that provide for the relaxation of abortion legislation. This includes, among other things, the lengthening of the period in which abortion can be performed, the waiting time and the introduction of total decriminalization. Socialists, Greens and Liberals support it, which means that a majority is being formed. The constant evolution over decades in this area continues: we have moved from abortion as a tragic exception to an intervention as a form of contraception. The symptom of a society that has lost all sense of the value of human life.

Term extension?​

The most discussed measure that is being proposed is the extension of the term for an abortion from 12 to 18 weeks. An argument cited for this is that Belgian women currently travel to the Netherlands if they are over the time limit. After all, the period there is more than 22 weeks. Such a line of thought, however, raises the question why any form of national legislation does not become superfluous.

We have moved from abortion as a tragic exception to an intervention as a form of contraception.

For example, Norway has a policy of prevention by imposing high taxes on alcoholic beverages and as a result many Norwegians cross the border with Sweden to make their purchases. Are Norwegian laws automatically superfluous? The logical result of this reasoning is European legal uniformity, which covers a vast area.

It would be more appropriate to discuss the advantages of the current system rather than to refer to the means by which they can be bypassed. If a shorter period (or a longer waiting period, stricter conditions, etc.) is actually preferable, the law should affirm it, not only because the legislation sends a strong message, but also because that a trip and a stay in the Netherlands constitute a significant threshold.

However, the more urgent discussion that needs to be held is the philosophical question of respect for life in our society.

However, the more urgent discussion that needs to be held is the philosophical question of respect for life in our society.Even a large proportion of those who disagree with us that a child has as much moral value from conception as any other human being, may not be indifferent to ending a life. We now want to talk to these people.

However, if we still attach some moral importance to life, it seems appropriate to be very cautious about the setting in which abortion takes place. 

Respect for human life

Do we want to live in a society in which abortion becomes a form of contraception without any consideration for the value of the child? It is after all the moral implication of a decriminalization. A study by the reputed Guttmacher Institute, an institution that supports the right to abortion, concluded that 

  • fewer than 0.5% of women in the US had an abortion for rape, and 4% for health reasons.
  • 25% and 23% cited respectively "bad timing" and "financial difficulties". 

Do we not feel uncomfortable about this?

Even when this choice is available, it must remain a thoughtful and serious decision, taken in full awareness of the importance of the case and limited as early as possible to the pregnancy 

In the US presidential campaign of 1992, Bill Clinton used for the first time a phrase that would become a popular mantra in the United States: "abortions should be safe, legal and rare". Today, however, more and more activists and politicians are demanding a form of "abortion on demand," without critical questions or moral brakes.

However, if we still attach some moral importance to life, it seems appropriate to be very cautious about the setting in which abortion takes place. Even when this choice is available, it must remain a thoughtful and serious decision, taken in full awareness of the importance of the case and limited as early as possible to the pregnancy, when the moral value of the child is the most controversial .

Better to err on the side of caution.

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