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​The Agony of the Foetus

IF THE ABORTION debate were as simple as deciding which opposing viewpoint, “pro-choice” or “pro-life”, was right, it would have been over a long time ago. The reason the debate goes on, and will continue to go on, until honesty infiltrates it on both sides, is because abortion is not as straightforward as either side presents it, but distressingly complex all round; indeed, it is near impossible to think of a clearer, and more devastating, human dilemma.

For all their strident protests that the other side’s position is totally untenable, neither perspective is cut-and-dried. Women incontestably have the right to make personal decisions affecting their own health, and no health decision is more personal than whether or not a woman should become a mother; but, at a stage those of us who declare ourselves pro-choice would prefer not to recognise, it seems equally undeniable that the thing growing inside the free woman ceases being an unwanted pregnancy and becomes an unwanted child; and, with a sweet ironical twist, medical science, that Great White pro-choice Hope, moves the point at which the foetus becomes independently viable ever closer to the very start of the second trimester, where all the trouble lies.

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