Wicked Vatters

Rape is used as a weapon of war. Cath Elliot thinks bishops and their churches ought to ponder that fact a little more deeply.

What the bishop and his church fail to understand is that forcing a woman to continue with a pregnancy against her will is a continuation of the violence against her. It doesn’t matter how much empathy and support is on offer, at the end of the day it is the woman, not the church, who is faced with the reality of an unwanted child…When they occur as part of an armed conflict, forced pregnancy and forced maternity are regarded as war crimes and are breaches of the Geneva convention.

But no matter – there’s always someone around to give them a nice soothing pat, so that’s all right then.

Why should Amnesty now leave its traditional focus and take up a position supporting abortion? It is not a hands-on welfare body dealing with cases on the ground. Those women who have suffered the horror and indignity of rape will not be short of pastoral care from a range of humanitarian groups.

So no problem about forcing them to carry and bear a child implanted in them by their attacker. They won’t be short of pastoral care, so that takes care of that.

Unborn children also have human rights. In a country like ours, in which almost 200,000 unborn growing children are killed every year, there should be a debate about abortion. It has to be and is a very serious moral issue, not just for Catholics.

There are no ‘unborn children’; there’s no such thing as an unborn child; mawkish language-manipulation is no substitute for argument. Notice the bluntness where it serves the purpose and the triple mawkish denialism where it suits that purpose – unborn growing children are killed. No; foetuses are aborted; not the same thing as killing growing children. If it’s such a serious moral issue, then address it seriously, not with tricks.

And it’s not all that serious anyway. It’s worked up, rather than serious. A serious moral issue is what happens to women and girls in DRC and Darfur, not what happens to foetuses. Get your priorities straight.

But with the Vatican’s example at hand, how can Catholics get their priorities straight?

The gravity of the problem comes from the fact that in certain cases, perhaps in quite a considerable number of cases, by denying abortion one endangers important values to which it is normal to attach great value, and which may sometimes even seem to have priority. We do not deny these very great difficulties. It may be a serious question of health, sometimes of life or death, for the mother…We proclaim only that none of these reasons can ever objectively confer the right to dispose of another’s life, even when that life is only beginning.

Even if it’s a question of life or death for the mother. She has no right to choose her own life over that of an embryo or a foetus. Furthermore –

The movement for the emancipation of women, insofar as it seeks essentially to free them from all unjust discrimination, is on perfectly sound ground…But one cannot change nature. Nor can one exempt women, any more than men, from what nature demands of them.

Really? What if nature demands of them that they get infected by a virus or a bacterium, and die? Can one not exempt women, or men, from that demand? Do all Catholics abstain from all medical treatment? What if nature demands of them that they be cold because it’s cold, or wet because it’s raining, or hungry because there’s no food nearby? In other words what a stupid smug selective sonorous bit of claptrap. Tell that to the women in the Democratic Republic of Congo gang-raped by a bunch of soldiers – tell them that’s nature’s demand and that no one can exempt them from it. Then go empty the Vatican’s bank account to fund hospitals in DRC to repair all the fistulas that leave the women incontinent and stinking and shunned by their families and friends.

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