Knowing right from wrong
Via Liberal Conspiracy, the Daily Telegraph reports on the almost unimaginably horrific and tragic case of an 11 year old Romanian girl who was raped by her uncle and only discovered she was pregnant after 17 weeks. Romanian law only allows abortions up to 14 weeks. She was examined by two different medical panels in Romania, the first of which recommended that she should be able to have an abortion, the second turned it down on the grounds that the pregnancy was 'natural'.
Twenty pro-life Christian Orthodox groups threatened to press charges if the girl was allowed to have a termination in Romania on exceptional grounds. The girl's mother is quoted as saying, "Panel after panel, meeting after meeting. In the meantime, my poor girl gets more and more terrified. The last thing she needs is more talk."
Someone in Britain heard about this, and has paid for the family to fly to Britain for the abortion to take place here. This is a tribute to the compassion and humanity of the (anonymous) donor. It is also a small light in the darkness that Britain is a country where someone in this kind of desperate situation can come and get the help that she needs. I think most people in this country, on hearing of what this little girl has had to endure, would think it right that our laws and our doctors do what they can to help.
But not everyone thinks like this. Take this repellent little Tory, who left a comment on the story:
"Excuse me? Since when was it the responsibility of the UK to pass judgement on abortion laws in other countries, and since when was it the responsibility of the NHS to help those who are not even resident in the UK? If this case goes through, the UK will become ‘abortion central’ for everyone in the EU who disagrees with their own national abortion laws (which, given that the UK has a much higher limit than almost every other country, will be quite a few people).
And guess who is going to pay for these abortions? Yes, you guessed it, we will - British taxpayers."Of course, he got his facts wrong (the taxpayer won't be paying, for starters). But it's not about that. How much do you have to lack in basic human decency in order that when you read that story, your first thought is about the cost to the taxpayer??
I do think this is a symptom of a wider problem. There is a multi million pound industry which manufactures outrage about what an immense and terrible burden it is to have to pay taxes, and spews out propaganda about how the greatest danger to our way of life is from immigrants. Over time, this outrage and propaganda twists people's minds and undermines basic morality, sympathy for those who need our help and compassion.
As another commentator wrote in response to the twisted Tory rant:
"Good. Let them come. Let them come and have medical procedures that are outlawed by unethical laws in their own country...Let them come and demonstrate that they’re not going to stand and be victimised by bullying tactics by the lobbyists in their own country. Let them come and show that the UK ’s abortion laws, while still stupid, are what women want and need.
And let us accept them. We have a human rights responsibility here."