What about the 'hard cases'?
The Life Affirmation rejects abortion in all circumstances. There are three situations in which people who are generally opposed to abortion are often less certain that it would be wrong for a woman to have an abortion: when the mother’s life is at risk; when the baby was conceived through sexual crime (rape or incest); and when the baby has an abnormality, especially one which may cause him/her to die before or soon after birth. The following explanatory comments are intended to help those who may be unclear on these issues.
Three simple principles explain why abortion should be rejected even in the ‘hard cases’:
1. Abortion is never right. It is never acceptable to kill an innocent human person, whatever the circumstances of his/her conception and whatever his/her condition.
2. Abortion is never necessary. It is never necessary to intentionally kill one innocent human person to save or enhance the life of another.
3. Abortion is never compassionate. It is never truly in the best interests of a mother to intentionally end the life of her unborn child.
In each of the ‘hard’ cases, consistent regard for the value of life and true compassion demands a different response:
Risk to the mother’s life
It is never medically necessary intentionally to end the life of a baby in the womb to save the life of the mother. It may be medically necessary to deliver the baby prematurely in an emergency to save the mother’s life, but it would be more dangerous to the mother to take the time to intentionally kill the baby in the womb first. After delivery, every reasonable effort should be made to sustain and enhance the life of the baby, although, tragically, in some cases the baby may not survive. In other cases, tragically the mother may not survive whilst the baby does. But the aim should always be to preserve as much life as possible.
Conception through sexual crime
We condemn and abhor all sexual crime. Perpetrators should be brought to justice and victims should be given every possible support. However, we reject the idea that supporting a woman who has become the victim of sexual crime can ever take the form of intentionally killing her unborn child. We deny that this wipes away the first trauma, that it helps her towards true healing, or that it could ever be morally justifiable to intentionally kill one innocent human being in an attempt to help another innocent human being, whatever the circumstances. Far from addressing or reversing the initial crime, abortion merely adds another victim.
If a baby receives a serious diagnosis or a poor prognosis, we maintain that even if it proves to be accurate (and it is not always), genetic weakness or physical condition can never justify intentionally killing that baby. Rather, like any person, the child should receive the best care possible, even if only palliative care is possible. This is good for the baby and for the mother, since she is enabled and supported to love and nurture her child for as long as possible. If we would not kill a toddler for having Downs Syndrome or for being given 6 months' prognosis, why would we kill a baby in the womb for the same reasons?