End to abortion needs attitude change, says bishop

The Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster told the BBC's The Politics Show on Sunday that an end to abortion in the UK would be possible if people changed their attitude to the procedure.

While October marks 40 years since abortion became legal in England, Wales and Scotland, the abortion debate has been reignited recently by the controversial Human Embryo and Tissue Bill to be introduced by Government this autumn.

The Rt Rev John Arnold told the show on Sunday, "The abortion question is not really about law. It is about peoples' attitudes. We have about 200,000 abortions a year in this country. We could actually have no abortions at all without changing a word in the law because we don't have a law which makes abortion compulsory in any single event.

"But we can change peoples' attitudes and help people to understand the sorts of decisions they are making; the importance of those decisions and based on research help them to understand what life is all about in the womb."

Last month, the Pope told European leaders that abortion is not a human right.

"The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself," he said in an address at the former imperial Hofburg Palace.

"This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right - it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society."

Around 6.7 million abortions have taken place in the UK since 1967, and an average of 465 abortions continues to take place each day.

A number of churches across England will be holding special services of remembrance, healing and hope on 27 October to mark the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act, including Westminster Cathedral, Salford Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, meanwhile, is inviting Christians to take part in an anti-abortion rally outside Parliament on 27 October.

The LCF said: "This is a chance for the church to show we are serious about making a difference, and to make up for the lost time when we have been all too silent on behalf of the unborn child."

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