I like to think of myself as being consistently pro-life. That means I am anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia and anti-death penalty. Here in the UK there is a quite remarkable consensus in favour of abortion, re-enforced by the family planning (or should that be family prevention) industry. So it was good news when the Conservative leader, Michael Howard, said he personally believed the time limit should be reduced to 20 weeks. Also, following the case where a child was aborted very late for having a curable jaw defect, we need to ensure the rules are enforced and those who break them are prosecuted regardless of whether they acted in 'good faith'. Sadly, we can no longer trust doctors to make the correct decisions as so many have become inured to the culture of abortion. Late abortions must be subject to court approval with a lawyer appointed to protect the interests of the child.
In the United States, the Schiavo case is making headlines. While it is self evident that there is no reason to remove the feeding tube beyond the say-so of Mrs Schiavo's husband, the real argument is about state versus federal jurisdiction. For me, this is interesting and I fear that the pro-life lobby might come to regret their actions. The medium term aim of pro-life activism is to return jurisdiction on abortion to the states. Roe v Wade is a legal anomaly that grants a new federal right that the constitution says nothing about and might even contradict. If it was struck down, each state would have to formulate its own policy on abortion. In the Schiavo case, the pro-life lobby has brought in federal jurisdiction over an area previously subject only to the states - the exact opposite of what they are trying to achieve for abortion. Of course, the other side are being equally contradictory by insisting that no federal oversight is allowed for euthanasia when they insist on it for capital punishment cases.
But then this whole subject is chock full on contradictions, none of which look like being resolved any time soon. I am pleased that in the UK we are seeing some movement on abortion and still forbid euthanasia but in both cases opposition to the pro-life position remains very strong.