Wednesday 30 May 2012

There are few things more horrifying than the slaughter of innocent children

BBC Radio Four led on the Syrian massacre this morning describing it in graphic terms as the ‘deliberate mass killing of children’ who ’were murdered one by one’.

The story was also one of the top three on the BBC website earlier today along with the account of six children dying in a house fire in the north of England.

These would have been the top two reports had it not been for Mitt Romney gaining the Republican nomination for the US presidential elections yesterday.

There are few things more gut-wrenching than the death of children but these two stories have grabbed the media spotlight mainly because of the particular circumstances involved.

It now appears that most of the 49 killed in the village of Taldou were summarily executed, with UN observers claiming that many of them had been killed by close-range gunfire or knife attacks.

And there are now questions being asked about whether the fire that resulted in the deaths of six siblings in Derby may have been started deliberately.

Every child’s death is a tragedy but there are few things more reprehensible than the killing of children by adults. Children are rightly seen as amongst the most vulnerable and defenceless members of society and deserving of special protection.

It is therefore not surprising that Western governments are acting quickly at the highest level to expel Syrian diplomats and impose sanctions and the police are giving high priority to investigating the Derby fire for which the children’s own parents are now suspects.

Whether or it turns out that the Syrian government was directly involved in the latest atrocities, or whether or not the parents are charged with starting the fire, it is nonetheless deeply ingrained in the human psyche that public authorities have a duty to protect the vulnerable and that the strongest advocates for children should be their own parents.

It is for this reason that I find the relatively low prominence given to the 2011 abortion statistics also published yesterday profoundly bizarre.

The BBC report highlights the fact that 34% of the 189,931 women having an abortion last year in England and Wales had had one before and most newspapers note the fact that repeat abortions now make up 36% of the total, over a third.

The Independent further notes that for the first time last year more mothers had abortions than childless women. 51% of women undergoing abortions already had at least one child.

Other press reports give more detailed analysis with most reproducing the figures highlighted by the Press Association.

But as far as I can see no one has yet commented on the fact that 98% of the total are funded by the NHS through tax revenues and also that 98% were carried out on mental health grounds (see section 2.9 of report).

As I have pointed out before, this latter 98% are also technically illegal as there is no evidence that continuing with an unplanned pregnancy poses any greater risk to a mother’s mental health than having an abortion.

And yet doctors continue performing them regardless while government, police and the crown prosecution service stand idly by and the major abortion providers justify it as necessary.

There is no one more vulnerable, more innocent and being killed in greater numbers than the unborn child. Each year around the world there are 42 million abortions, against only 57 million deaths from all other causes except abortion.

And in Britain there have already been over 7 million abortions in the 45 years since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967.

It is understandable that people are shocked and outraged by child deaths in Syria and Derby.

But the fact that we can barely raise an eyebrow at abortion in Britain is a chilling testimony to our astounding spiritual blindness and breath-taking hypocrisy.

189,931 unborn children died in England and Wales last year – under their mothers’ instructions, at the hands of doctors and paid for by tax payers’ money. And parliament, police and prosecution service did nothing.

If the Syrian massacre was the ‘deliberate mass killing of children’ who ’were murdered one by one’ then what was this?


  1. I can't help but agree. These statistics sadden me beyond words... I just don't know what we can do against such a tide of public opinion that it's ok.

  2. As you say, hypocrisy. I do think that we should concentrate on displaying the bad ethical positions of doctors (and other medical professions) regarding the taking of life; many, I think, are already uneasy at the increasingly-obvious fact that they are savers of life while also being providers of death (the constant rise of euthanasia is making their pro-death position more explicit). Let's work on the consciences of medical personmnel.

  3. Peter, when will you get it through your head that terminating a foetus is not the same as killing a child?

    One would think a Doctor would know better than to spout the nonsense about killing 'unborn children' when in the vast majority of cases we are talking of no more than a cluster of cells.

    You say "Children are rightly seen as amongst the most vulnerable and defenceless members of society and deserving of special protection." and yet we have churches and religious fanatics indoctrinating vast numbers of children into a chosen religion. If you really think that the lives of children should be protected from any harm (and we all should think that way) then why aren't you protesting about the millions of children who are indoctrinated into religions each year in this country? Every child deserves to grow up and make their own choice, not to have it thrust upon them.

    Your figure of 7 million abortions is paltry compared to the amount that are forced into religion.

    Additionally, I don't mind to seeing a figure of 190,000 abortions, it gives me some hope that there are people out there that are smart enough to know that they aren't ready to have children or wouldn't be able to cope with any extra. It is better that a foetus is terminated that to carry it to term and not be able to provide for it or to have it unloved.

    The real problem, it seems to me, is men who try and make choices on what women should or shouldn't do with their bodies. None of these men will ever have to go through pregnancy and yet they think its ok to tell women what they should or shouldn't do.

    If you don't have a womb then you shouldn't have an opinion on abortion. It is that simple.

  4. "There are few things more gut-wrenching than the death of children ..."

    Unless of course, god commands it.

    Pregnant women, old men, beasts and children.

    "Put your swords into them lads. God has commanded it."


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