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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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Apr. 07, 2004 10:56 AM ET USA

    "The Catholic Church condemned the programme....;" But DID the "Catholic Church" "condemn" the programme??? Most certainly the ARCHBISHOP condemned the programme. But does he (the Archbishop) generally have the authority to make such a sweeping pronouncement??? And if he does...what would that mean for any Catholic who would choose to disagree?

  • Posted by: - Apr. 05, 2004 6:43 PM ET USA

    (B)ut the archbishop has a graphic image of a man tortured to death in the most prominent place of his cathedral. Can we be sure?

  • Posted by: - Apr. 04, 2004 11:29 PM ET USA

    Until Mel Gibson's film, imagery of the Passion had grown so conventional that we were effectively desensitized to the reality of its horrors. Perhaps the strategy behind this pro-choice subterfuge is just such clinical sanitization: after viewing the fruits of an abortion procedure we are encouraged to conclude -- what's the big deal? After repeated exposures, even with recognizable human parts, it may begin to look more and more like the innocent results of a tonsillectomy.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 04, 2004 3:37 PM ET USA

    Although I agree with you that it may cause more people to deplore this horrible proceedure, which is obviously good, I am sure the Bishop's point that for the actual murder of a human being to be shown on television is wrong. I mean, do we really live in a society that needs to see this to believe it is wrong? Perhaps we do..... The big question I have is why is this pro-choice person doing this? It seems to me like shooting oneself in the foot.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 04, 2004 2:26 PM ET USA

    The image is abhorrent if you wish to convince everyone that you've lost the war; if not, then its a call to arms. Vae Victus.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 04, 2004 12:26 PM ET USA

    Yes, the actof abortion is aborhent, but opeing the eyes of the blind is something we are supposed to do.