John Smeaton deplorers the Archbishop of Canterbury’s involvement in the Guernsey abortion debate

Undoubtedly the most disastrous mistake made in 1967 by pro-lifers fighting against the Abortion Act which was then being debated in Parliament was in trying to be “reasonable”. Persistently pro-abortionists used the tactic of calling for the debate “to be conducted in a calm and civilized way”.

They pleaded that they did not want easy abortion. All they wanted was to “clarify” the law to enable women in desperate need or who were ill, suicidal, or their lives otherwise in danger to be allowed to have abortions without doctors being faced with the threat of criminal charges.

Indeed, the long title of the Bill began with the words “An Act to amend and clarify the law relating to termination of pregnancy…”

Pro-lifers sought to present themselves as calm and reasoned to the point that they failed fully to alert the public to the truth of the situation. Ever since, SPUC leaders have persistently urged that others should not make the same mistake – particularly as the same tactic has been used in country after country by pro-abortionists seeking abortion on demand.

Precisely the same tactic is being used in Guernsey. The law there is not unclear. Indeed, it simply makes it absolutely clear that abortion is not allowed excepting to save the life of the mother – and in these days the world’s leading obstetricians affirm that this is never the case. In fact Ireland, one of the only countries of the world still to have an absolute law against abortion, has a maternal mortality rate four times lower than the rates in the abortion paradises of Britain and the USA.

In just the same way, the rates of children killed as a result of physical abuse in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland (which has persistently rejected the Abortion Act) stands at 0.0 meaning that the numbers are too low to quantify. In stark contrast, the British rates are the fourth highest in the industrial world and stand 5.5 per 100,000. Yet death to the mother, the call for every child to be a wanted child, dignity for women, are the arguments put forward by pro-abortionists in Guernsey. However, a massive educational programme on the island has won the minds and hearts of the ordinary people.

As a result – reduced to desperation – the pro-abortionists have imported one “eminent” personality after another from Britain each one attacking the island for rejecting “a woman’s choice”. These have included Dr. Wendy Savage, (the leading woman abortionist in Britain); Ms. Claire Rayner who will need no description in New Directions; Ms. Ann Furedi, Director of the Birth Control Trust, originally established to promote abortion as a method of birth control and whose chairman Dr David Paintin won public notoriety when he appeared on television to demonstrate the “art” of carrying out a late abortion by dismemberment.

On the island Evangelical churches and Catholics have stood united against the onslaught – because very obviously money is being poured into the campaign to promote the killing of the unborn child.

The outstanding exceptions have been the present Anglican Dean of Guernsey, the Very Reverend Canon Marc Trickey and his predecessor the Very Reverend Jeffery Fenwick. Both are adamant that they do not want abortion easily available. They only want it to save the life and health of the mother (where have we heard that before?), in cases of hardship and where the child is thought to be seriously handicapped.

During this last week the islanders – a straightforward, honest people – witnessed the sorry spectacle of the Archbishop of Canterbury joining the chorus. He stated that the island should not pass the moral responsibility for the subject onto the UK: “Exporting the problem was not acceptable” he said.

He repeated that he considered abortion only acceptable when the life or health of the mother was at risk (evidently His Grace has never checked on medical data showing that direct abortion is never justified for such reasons) and where the foetus suffers from “irreparable damage”.

“Life is sacred” he litanized – except, it appears from his comments, if the baby has the misfortune to be handicapped! This scenario was accompanied by Mr. Trickey pleading for “the debate to be conducted in a calm and civilised way”, completely overlooking the barbarity of putting to death by the most cruel means the unborn who are the most defenceless of all God’s children.

It also overlooks the body of evidence assembled by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children working in conjunction with the Channel Island Right to Life.

In addition, it has left people in the Channel Islands and in many parts of this country with the impression that Anglicans are the only Christian body which supports liberal abortion (because that is what the whole of the pro-abortion campaign has been geared for and why their visiting speakers have included one abortion-on-demander after another).

The Archbishop’s statement also totally ignores the General Synod affirmation first made in 1983 and restated in 1988 “This Synod believes that all human life including life developing in the womb, is created by God in His own image and is therefore to be nurtured, supported and protected”.

John Smeaton is the National Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.