Persuasive Speeches Against Abortion

Persuasive Speeches Against Abortion-6
And we know that only 190 of these 185,000 abortions – 0.1 per cent of them – were performed on women who were more than 24 weeks pregnant. Do any of you really think these 190 women and their decisions are products of some cloudy culture, a culture imperceptibly cajoling them to ‘treat human life carelessly’?

And we know that only 190 of these 185,000 abortions – 0.1 per cent of them – were performed on women who were more than 24 weeks pregnant. Do any of you really think these 190 women and their decisions are products of some cloudy culture, a culture imperceptibly cajoling them to ‘treat human life carelessly’?

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Suddenly, what is a very small problem in Britain – the use of guns for criminal ends – gets blown up into a spectre haunting the nation.

If you want people to think more about rape, you say ‘rape culture’.

This is the very opposite of a culture programming women to behave in a particular way – it is individual women striking back against the circumstances they find themselves in and using their moral agency to take greater control over their bodies and futures. Our right to think and speak for ourselves, to act on our consciences, to pursue what we consider to be the good life, to determine our destinies for ourselves, to be the authors of our circumstances, is under attack.

They aren’t being shaped by some ominous culture; they are shaping their own culture, their own lives, as they see fit. The content of the decision matters only to the woman and her loved ones; but the act of making a decision, the act of exercising moral choice, is something we all have a very real interest in defending. In fact, the very Enlightenment view of individuals as, in Kant’s words, ‘more than machines’, who should ‘cultivate their own minds’ and ‘walk firmly’, is being assaulted today by a new culture – we can all use that word!

Some of the 185,000 will have found their abortions stressful, others will have seen them as a minor inconvenience; but all of them chose, all of them made a decision. It makes not a bit of difference to me whether a woman chooses to continue her pregnancy or end it. It isn’t the abortion I cheer – it is the fact that a choice is being taken by an individual over a key aspect of her life and future. – which says that actually we are weak and fragile creatures who can’t be trusted to make our way through life without lifestyle gurus, experts and officialdom to hold our hands.

And to my mind, that means all of them did something intrinsically good: they exercised their moral and mental muscles and took responsibility for their life’s path. And it isn’t only the state carrying out this assault on the very ideal of autonomy. The alarmingly intolerant students who wanted to shut down tonight’s debate* also call into question the idea of autonomy.

So we know 92 per cent of the 185,000 abortions were carried out in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy – which means the vast majority of women who access abortions services do so speedily and efficiently.

They do so before ‘the quickening’, a term I’m sure will be familiar to the Catholic members of Oxford Students for Life here tonight.

Suddenly, a terrible but discrete crime that happens between individuals gets turned into a secular form of evil that permeates all areas of life. And how can we be harmed by something which doesn’t exist?

And on it goes: lad culture, booze culture, gang culture, cultures cultures everywhere, bearing down on everyone, every day. How can you make what is a pretty mundane medical procedure that British women have been legally accessing for nearly 50 years sound like something terrifying? That is what we’ve been invited here tonight to talk about: ‘abortion culture’. The promotional blurb for tonight’s debate tells us that 185,000 abortions were carried out in Britain last year, and apparently this is evidence of an ‘abortion culture’, that a powerful and negative culture is pressuring or conditioning women to ‘treat human life carelessly’.

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