Book Review

Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for a New Generation

Charles C.  Camosy
William Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN 978-0-8028-7128-2

Book CoverIn this highly readable and challenging work, the author argues that we need to go beyond the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" categories. Most people favour a middle ground where abortion is seen as a tragic choice to be made in some rare circumstances.

The first chapter introduces us to certain facts. One in five pregnancies in the US end in abortion and in certain areas the figure is much higher. More than fifty per cent of women having abortion have had one or more already. Only one per cent of abortions are carried out for reasons of rape or when the mother's life is in danger. Women tend to be more opposed to abortion than men.

The second chapter is especially helpful. Is the foetus a mere potential person or a person with potential? If a human being needs to be self-aware in order to become a person, what about new born infants? Peter Singer may be wrong in saying that new born infants are not persons but at least he is being consistent. The author examines pro-choice arguments such as the well known one put forward by Judith Jarvis Thomson and concludes that the foetus is indeed a person with human rights.

The third chapter is the most controversial. The pro-life position is that abortion is an act of intentional killing while, according to the author, the pro-choice position is to regard abortion as ceasing to aid and it is therefore not an act of direct killing. But surely a whole host of pro-choice academics are prepared to accept abortion as an act of killing? Camosy also states that RU-486 "may not aim at death by intention". I beg to differ. 

The rest of the book examines such questions as ought abortion be made illegal. I agree that the most important task ahead is to show people the beauty and sanctity of human life from conception. The author also convincingly shows that the choice of abortion serves male interests more than female. He writes that for every church pro-life group, there ought to be a pregnancy centre to support women with crisis pregnancies. With that I agree and that is why we should support our wonderful pro-life groups.