Abortion was legalised for Britain in 1967 by the Labour Party. It was formally legal only in a limited number of cases and up to 28 weeks from conception. If Labour ever formed a government again, and legalised abortion up to birth, this would constitute yet another step of the ‘pro-choice’ lobby’s ‘mission creep’ and amount to a vindication of those who predicted just this kind of slippery slope.
Of all the arguments against abortion that of the slippery slope is by no means the strongest. The question comes down to where life begins. It is generally accepted that human life is sacred and inviolable, and according to core western traditions those creatures with it ‘are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights’ and ‘that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. The pro-choice argument in practice denies humanity to the unborn. The grounds vary from lack of viability outside the womb to lack of development. But, if life does begin at conception abortion can never be justifiable: not even in extreme cases where the mother’s life is in danger (which situation accounted for less than 1% of all abortions in Britain during 2018). The end, as ever, can never justify the means.
The secularisation of the West has weakened instinctive comprehension of this argument because God is the foundation of man’s intrinsic worth. This and a systematic de-humanisation of the unborn child has led to a weakening of consciences around this issue. Words like ‘foetus’ and ‘embryo’ are deliberately favoured instead of ‘baby’ or ‘child’. Warren Hern, a prominent abortionist, said ‘unborn children should be viewed not as people, but as a disease’. If unborn children are not subconsciously viewed as human beings it makes the slope all the more slippery. One of the most shocking results of this process is to be found in Iceland. The introduction of prenatal scans has led to almost 100% of women aborting children who test positive for Down Sydrome. This is eugenics pure and simple.
Where does the slope end? If those who argued that the legalisation of abortion would end up being a slippery slope have been vindicated, it is reasonable to assume it will continue. It is reasonable also to hypothesise that people will eventually reach the inevitable conclusion that infanticide, too, is justifiable. Plutarch said that Spartans used to cast weak infants into the Apothetae pit. On what grounds can the pro-choice advocate condemn this? Famously, the philosopher Peter Singer advocates for infanticide, and though he is (at present) widely denounced by all and sundry, he is in fact merely following the pro-choice logic.