Letter: The 'hidden suffering' behind abortion

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The Independent Online
Sir: George Garner's anger (Letters, 8 May) at Cardinal Hume's comparison between the campaign to outlaw slavery and our duty to abolish "abortion virtually on demand" may stem from a misunderstanding.

The Cardinal described abortion as a scandal "not only because of the destruction of human life, but also because of the hidden suffering of so many women". He was not saying that each woman who has an abortion is forced to do so, although many say afterwards that they were not acting with complete freedom.

Millions were forced into slavery in the last century. Nowadays, force is being used against millions of living, developing and defenceless human lives. What actually happens in abortion is truly horrible; the broadcasters refused to screen a pro-life film which, the Cardinal said, is shocking but not as shocking as the reality. Until most of us know much more than we do at present about these harsh realities, we cannot claim that there is a well-informed public opinion, on which our public legislation is based.


Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria

The writer was Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, 1974-92