Blog Themes

[General | Cerebral Palsy | Philosophy | Politics | Soccer | Real Ale]

NB: To post a blog comment, simply click on the link at the end of the post that indicate how many comments there currently are.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Sexual Ethics: Abortion and Condom Advertisments before the Watershed?

As I type, my mother is drawing up a petition against the news that the advertising agency are planning to air TV advertisements giving pregnancy advice before the 2100 watershed.

You can read the planned news here
You can read news on anti-abortion agency being against this proposal here.
And a heartwarming mother’s perspective on the blogosophere on the nature of abortion, here.

There are various positions we can argue from; for and against. The debate rages and comes to light in this blog in light of my own Catholic beliefs and my philosophical background. They are, it seems to be at odds and it is a very emotional issue. So, what’s the fuss about?


The sanctity of life is a moral imperative for Catholics. It would be quiet controversial to suppose that murder is acceptable. Abortion and the morning-after pill equals murder. Condoms and the pill for contraceptive use prevents the possibility of life, the natural order of things. Abstinence is the answer - STIs are avoided and babies can be raised in a traditional, nuclear family.


The reality is different: STIs are on the increase, media sensationalization of sex and the acceptance of sexual promiscuity is clearly the problem and we must respect the rights of the mother and the social circumstances that lead to use of contraception and abortion methods. A last resort, is needed to prevent the breakdown of society and we must provide for the circumstances in abortion and condom use is sensible and necessary.


Speaking with my philosopher’s hat on, it is not disputed that abortion is abhorrent, the destruction of life. I would have to agree with BBC Mark Easton’s blog:

“What stops teen pregnancies: condoms or family meals? I suspect that the problem is more down to lifestyle than to lack of information.” [Read blog here]

This hits the nail on the head and fits into both arguments - the conservative, religious view and the liberal, pro-choice view. So what’s the answer?

The reality must be accepted - that we exist in a society where sex is apparent, and yet it seems that discussion of sex and sexual ethics is a ‘taboo subject’. It is not the place of government is legislate what is right and wrong on this personal issue, but some guidance and acceptance in the difference of opinions should allow people to make a rational choice. Perhaps this is too philosophical to contemplate, maybe no society can become one-dimensional in its moral directives. Yet if the education is there, condoms and abortions can be used for the more rational and acceptable means: Preventing spread of STIs, Family planning, abortion to protect the life and welfare of the mother and child. To resolve this dilemma of ‘what is right’ here is an age-old question that I cannot answer. Something to consider…

PS: You can read my personal opinion in the comments section here.


  1. In the blog, I was trying to give a somewhat level approach given my background. Here is what I would personally argue (for those interested):

    Being born with Cerebral Palsy at 11 weeks early, had this been known mid-pregnancy, I could have been aborted up until full-term. Being so, abortion for such reasons is inexplicably wrong. If you have a condition or not, just contemplate that position for a second. This is just a narrow area of the wide field of medical ethics, I know. The ‘Anything goes’ approach and yet regulating the law on a particular view of sexual ethics not allowing for any means of personal reflection and reason is not the way to go either. The choice is perhaps there, but it doesn’t mean we should exercise that ‘right’. After all, if the parents of children are unwilling to educate their teenagers on sexual morality and won’t overcome the taboo barrier, then something has got to give. It follows then, that our choice and these advertisements (not forcing us, just giving advice and information) does not hurt anybody. Ignoring and hoping for the best hasn’t worked until now, action and education is needed. To say to person B ‘x is wrong because person A believes y’ does not prevent X for person B. For person B to believe Y also, it is necessary to convince and education on their level to achieve that level of reasoning. It will not simply happen because person A disagrees on the basis of a belief, correct or otherwise.

    I do fully accept the view that this question is a lot bigger is more paradoxical than it may first appear if your mind is already up. That is not the end of the matter, only the beginning.

  2. I've thought about this from all sides - as a Catholic, as a student of philosophy, as a mother, and as a woman who's actually done it - and I still don't know what the answer to this question is.

    All we can do, really, is keep our hearts and our minds open as we grapple with the issues.

  3. Thanks for replying HBM - and I have to agree. The interesting thing, I think is that for the majority, every person would agree it is a very complicated and personal issue as there is a life at stake, potential or actual depending on your position.

    And of course there are circumstances I believe given this clash of rights 'Mother v. Child' - where we could understand why a mother would choose to abort.

    This whole issue can all be too easily undermined by some in defense of pro-choice when they haven't face the realities of many of the circumstances that could arise. Through experience, I think this issue becomes more personal to people than ever.

    In hindsight, I'm not so sure anymore whether it is easy to place yourself in one category or another (pro-choice v. pro-life)


All posts are moderated before publication. This may take typically 1-2 days. Constructive criticism is welcome, destructive criticism in the form of discrimination of any kind, malice, spam will not be accepted for publication.

Thank you for visiting - and come again!