Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Yesterday, hybrid embryos; today, as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill makes its way through the parliamentary mill, the abortion time limit comes up for debate. Both sides are playing 'viability' as their trump card - on the one side, because of an undoubted historic reduction in the age of foetal viablity, on the other side because of a recent research report finding that overall the viability age, in the context of preterm babies, has not come down in the most recent years. This latter has been seized on with particular relish by the no-changers, even though, in every interview he's given, the Professor who led the study has tried to point out that, in terms of the current debate, it's more or less irrelevant, since it only considers babies born early because there's something wrong, and who therefore are much less likely to survive. Anyway, is viability the clincher? I don't think so. Perhaps it's time to wheel out this thought experiment again.


  1. Well, am I surprised, one of the most contentious issues in modern times and no comments, the abortion law was brought about for the very best of reasons but then, as often is the case, badly misused by a mindless minority, indeed there are some instances where the word murder springs to mind. I cannot imagine what the medical profession makes of being asked to kill a fully formed human being, whatever the reasons given.

  2. "one of the most contentious issues in modern times and no comments"

    Malty, I think that people were vaguely exhausted by the thought of having to don the armour, mount the steed and pick up the lance. Anyway it's all too late now: the status quo stands.

  3. Exactly - what else is there to say about the ethics of abortion that hasn't been screamed a million times?

    The only thing a reasonable person can conclude is that the extremists on both sides are obviously wrong, but no one else is obviously right and we just have to muddle along as best we can.