Monday 20 November 2017

John Waters: We have been conditioned to think of pregnancy as an imposition on a woman

In a controversial article for 'The Irish Catholic' John Waters wrote that most of us, including those who call themselves pro-life, are easy prey in the hands of those seeking to manipulate public emotion in relation to abortion

John Waters
John Waters

'WHAT is the difference, in human rights terms, between a situation in which a distraught male goes in to his doctor and says that his partner is making him suicidal and that he fears that unless he/she (the doctor) arranges to have the partner killed he will kill himself, and a situation in which a distraught female goes to her doctor and says that her unborn child is making her suicidal and that she fears that unless he/she (the doctor) arranges to have the child killed she will kill herself?"

I received this single-sentence letter from a reader, who had sent it out to several newspapers in the previous week, in a fruitless bid to have it published.

The letter is interesting, and the refusal to publish it equally so. But even more interesting is the emotions I intuit it to generate in the average reader, who, if he or she is anything like me, will instantly comprehend why it was not published, and may even be inclined to feel that the intuited reasons for its non-publication are, at the very least, not entirely outrageous. In other words, something about the proposition contained in that sentence seems unreasonable, and this sense of its unreasonableness is probably very widely shared, if not universally held. Even people who consider themselves 'pro-life' will stop somewhat short of endorsing the comparison made in the letter, perhaps feeling it to withhold sympathy from the 'distraught female' referred to. And yet, if you think that an unborn child is a full human being from the moment of conception, there is no wiggle-room, and no absurdity in the question above, because there can be no moral distinction between the idea of killing an adult woman and killing an unborn child.

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