Steph was an active participant in Life and APS' Connect Conference this July. She has written her moving testimony of how she became prolife to help others on their journey. Her testimony is in two parts, below is Part two of her incredible journey. Do show her your support and share her story.
Part one of Steph’s story can be read here.
I mentioned in my last post that my studies of Human Biology and Law made me pro-life. Langman’s Medical Embryology by T. W. Sadler PhD – which is dedicated “to each and every child” – was a Rubicon for me. I realised preborn children are not “potential human beings” but actual human beings. I have since watched medical videos of abortion procedures at different stages of foetal development and there is no doubt abortion kills a living human being. I wonder sometimes how many pro-choicers have actually seen what “choice” looks like?
Now, whenever I hear the cliched phrase, “Don’t like abortion – don’t have one”, I answer, “Abortion has a victim. In any other situation where someone is victimised – child abuse, sexism, homophobia, bullying – being a bystander is not admirable. Why should preborn rights be different? Abortion is a hollow supremacy of power over a helpless human being. Anyone who cares about the underdog should defend the children killed in abortion.”
Abortion is wrong – but what to do about it? I’m studying law so I tend to think in terms of how to win a legal case. I’d argue the very first page of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says, “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” Britain signed in 1990 and it came into force in 1992. Here, a child is defined as “a human being under eighteen” – philosophical debates about personhood are irrelevant. Article 6 states every child has the right to life.
So often “bodily autonomy” is used as a buzzword to defend abortion but this is neither a legal nor a medical term. The medical term is “medical autonomy” – which is the right of a consenting adult to refuse treatment even when the doctor thinks it is best – and the human right is “bodily integrity”. Bodily integrity does not depend on size, appearance, age, physical dependency or convenience to others – it is a human right we have because we are human – therefore preborn children have it too.
You might answer by saying abortion is okay because a preborn child isn’t conscious and is dependent on the mother’s body. I’d point to the tragic case of Re A Children (Conjoined twins) 2001 which stated that a child with minimal brain function and completely dependent on the body of another was “equal in the eyes of God and of the law”. In this case the court allowed the twins to be separated to save the life of one of them (if they didn’t operate both twins would have died) but would not have allowed “intentional killing”. If this judgment were used for pregnancy it would allow C-Section, induced labour or treatment such as chemo to save the mother’s life but would not allow abortion. Abortion would be seen as a violation of the bodily integrity of the child.
My aim for the future is to make elective and eugenic abortion illegal in Britain* – with penalties for the doctors who perform the operations or prescribe the pills, not the women who have them – but I know this is not enough. Society, jobs and universities have to support mothers.
We must do better. I am glad to support the work that Life does in supporting mothers.
Being prolife is not a religious issue but a human rights issue. I believe civil, women’s, LGBTI, disability and preborn rights are all human rights and intend to defend them. To me, being prolife means supporting mothers, not just opposing abortion, so I aim to do both. Wish me luck 😊
Stephanie J Major (@StephanieJMajor on twitter)
* Technically, elective abortion is not legal in Britain (though it will be if pro-choicers succeed in removing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861) but in practice Ground C abortions are elective. When pregnancy is a genuine threat to the life, health or mental health of the mother abortions are performed on Grounds A or B. Eugenic abortions are Ground E. So, in practice I am talking about making Ground C and E abortions illegal (though not the part that allows for abortions under Ground F or G which again is the mother’s life or health).