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Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Another epsilon flushed down the loo.

An Anglican clergywoman has won the right to sue the police for failure to enforce British abortion laws. Bluntly, a British mother killed her six month old in utero because it was going to be ugly for a while:

"The case revolves around West Mercia Constabulary's failure to investigate allegations of unlawful killing made against doctors in Hereford who terminated a pregnancy at six months because the mother-to-be did not want to give birth to a baby with a cleft lip and palate."

A cleft lip and palate. Why, there's your George Tiller "fetus-is-going-to-be-born-inside-out-if-I-can't-get-in-there-to-crush-its-skull-first" hard case, if I've ever heard it. Of course, cleft palate can be fixed with surgery (take a good look at the pictures on the right), and given Britain's universal health coverage, minimal cost.

To the American abhorrence of the disabled, we can now add Europe's Fear of the Fugly.

Good on the Rev. Jepson, willing to name names, and draw a line, clearly gifted with more stones than a certain continental religious episcopate I could mention. A few hundred more like her, and I'd have to revisit my pragmatic argument against women's ordination.

Alas, ours being a fallen world, there are the morally-obtuse willing to do a Pilate impression and exonerate the poor woman cursed with a child temporarily displeasing to the eye. Like John Chamless, editorial writer for the Dallas Morning News. For Mr. Chamless, such are tragically necessary sacrifices to the greater god--er, good of Choice. Here he is, shrugging in the DMN blog (scroll down--no permalinks):

Re: Designer babies

Rod, yes, cleft palates as a reason for abortions seems extreme to most of us, but it's the mother's decision. We've established general guidelines for at what point abortions can be performed (plus a gray area when more substantial reasons are required), and then it is the mother's choice. A lot of abortions, after all, have nothing to do with the fetus. They have to do with all sorts of factors about the mother. I suspect most of us have friends who have been through a wide array of situations that have left abortion as the most favored choice. Some are physical, some psychological, some social.
It may seem reasonable to you to deny a woman a right to an abortion because of a cleft palate. But some would deny the right to an abortion for any birth defect, no matter how severe. In many cases, those of us on the outside might never learn the reason. But we don't want to give that control to others.
Freedom encompasses the right to make personal choices that appear bad to many other people. That happens in a free society.

posted by John Chamless @ Dec 2, 9:50 AM

Note the wording: "Appear bad," "may seem reasonable to you," "seems extreme to most of us," etc. If there's any evidence for the ability to form a moral judgment here, other than to exalt "choice" as a unchallengeable absolute, please e-mail me and point it out. For the life of me, I can't see it.

Still, keep talking, Mr. Chamless. Believe it or not, the world is listening and the culture is being shaped by your words--far more than by those of the benighted religious and others who oppose dispatching children for appearances' sake.

At the rate things are going, that emerging world view should be fully formed in about twenty years. Right about the time you reach retirement.

Just in time to "help" you "choose" the right medical and other life and death decisions for you and your loved ones.

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