Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Q&A: Abortion case: "In 1991 Mrs. Thi-Nho Vo had her healthy pregnancy terminated by mistake after she was mixed up with another patient. Since then, she has been unsuccessfully attempting to prosecute the doctor who carried out the procedure for unintentional homicide, the French equivalent of involuntary manslaughter.

"Mrs. Vo has failed because the courts do not recognise the foetus' right to life. Her lawyer, Bruno Le Griel, argues that the unborn child is protected by article 2 of the European convention on human rights, which guarantees the right to life. He said: 'I will be asking the court to recognise reality. That is to say that human life begins at the moment of conception.'"

"The case is in its first stage, an admissibility hearing, where the court will decide if it should go ahead and hear full arguments. Although this case is individual, the court has been asked to consider other cases. … On each occasion, the European Court shied away from taking a decision because each member state has very different abortion laws.

"It is possible they may again leave the decision to national courts. … The court rules on individual cases, and its rulings are binding only on the respondent states—which in this case would be France."

The end here, to legally protect unborn human life that is created in the image of God, is good. The means by which this is being pursued are questionable. Should the national sovereignty of any nation be usurped because a local wrong cannot be righted?

Though many people could easily be classified as having blinders on to all other political implications, save the life of the unborn, they must see the potentially greater concerns involved such as the centralization of power that for the moment may be good, but could eventually once again lead to tyranny.

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