Home » Where I stand » Life: abortion and assisted dying

I believe everyone has the right to their own person and a moral duty to sustain life.

The abortion debate is then a conflict between the mother’s right to her own person and her duty to sustain the life of the unborn. The questions are when the unborn gains a right to their own person, when the mother’s duty to sustain the life of the unborn takes effect and whether and when the law should transform that duty into a legal obligation.

Logically, I see no choice but to accept that a person first exists with a right to their own life when unique DNA is created, that is, at the point of conception.

The mother’s moral duty, and her partner’s, begins before conception with the matter of contraception. I hope few would argue to legislate for people’s action at that point.

The question is when the mother’s moral duty becomes a legal obligation not to terminate a pregnancy. It seems to me impossible in a world of imperfect morality to legislate for every circumstance in the earliest stages of pregnancy and so there must be a role for conscience in those stages.

I accept the tragic, lamentable right of a person to take their own life, but I reject the idea that such a right conveys on another person any obligation to assist. I am convinced that no person should be compelled to assist dying nor should they be compelled to accept within the vicinity of their property or locality the imposition of a facility within which dying is assisted.

Therefore, if we are to have a state with a duty to protect life, liberty and property:

  • I am opposed to the creation of embryos which will be deliberately destroyed.
  • I support reducing the time limit within which abortion is permitted.
  • I recognise that extreme circumstances, conscience and differences of opinion over the nature of embryos in the earliest stages of development make it impossible to eradicate abortion and related actions completely.
  • I am opposed to some of the potential consequences of legalising assisted dying outlined above.

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