abhorrent?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Apr 04, 2004

A pro-choice woman who wants to “kick-start” the abortion debate has made a program showing the procedure and the dismembered baby. Britain's Channel 4 plans to broadcast it.

My Foetus, to be screened at the end of this month, will show a woman who is four weeks pregnant having a 'vacuum pump' abortion. The results of the procedure are then placed on a petri dish and shown to viewers.

They will also see pictures of foetuses aborted at 10 weeks and 21 weeks, when limbs and a face can clearly be seen. Similar images were banned by broadcasters, who were backed by the courts, as being 'offensive' when the Pro-life Alliance tried to show them as part of a general election broadcast in 2001.

Most pro-lifers will see this as good news – even though we’d be nervous about the anticipated editorial spin. The fact that a pro-choicer could admit that there's anything left to debate is miraculous in itself, and It’s almost unimaginable that a public discussion centered on "what's there" could leave us worse off in the legal-political sphere than we are already. So I was puzzled by the following:

The Catholic Church condemned the programme. A spokesman for the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Birmingham, said: 'Any film that shows an abortion is abhorrent to Catholics.'

I don’t get it. Were the abortion to be performed solely for the sake of video footage, it would be an abomination. But this isn’t a snuff film, this is bringing into the open a crime that up til now has been largely hidden from view. The notion of torturing a man to death is also abhorrent, but the archbishop has a graphic image of a man tortured to death in the most prominent place of his cathedral.

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