Friday, 2 October 2009

Mahatma Gandhi opposed abortion and contraception

Today is the 140th birthday of the late Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian civil rights leader. President Barack Obama has said today that: "We must renew our commitment to live his ideals and to celebrate the dignity of all human beings." The Telegraph reports that Mr Obama "has been given a book of Gandhi quotes to mark the anniversary."

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, reminds me that at the pro-abortion Women Deliver conference in London in 2007, one of the Indian speakers offered the thought of Gandhi as an inspiration for the anti-life lobby's work. Anthony asks rhetorically: "Surely this man was aware that Gandhi condemned both abortion and contraception?" The anti-life lobby don't let facts get in the way of a good story!

Although Gandhi was, sad to say, in favour of euthanasia (and voluntary sterilisation), Gandhi wrote extensively against contraception* - in fact, he debated against Margaret Sanger, the founder of the worldwide abortion movement. Here are some of his best quotes:
  • "It seems to me clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime." (quoted in Krishna Kripalani's "All Men Are Brothers: The Life and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi")
  • "If it is contended that birth–control is necessary for the nation because of over-population, I dispute the proposition. It has never been proved. In my opinion, by a proper land system, better agriculture and a supplementary industry, this country is capable of supporting twice as many people as there are in it today."
  • "Population...regulation or restriction by artificial methods is a calamity of the first grade, whether we know it or not."
  • "This little globe of ours is not a toy of yesterday. It has not suffered from the weight of over-population through its age of countless millions. How can it be that the truth has suddenly dawned upon some people that it is in danger of perishing of shortage of food unless the birth-rate is checked through the use of contraceptives."
  • "Artificial methods are like putting a premium upon vice. They make man and woman reckless."
  • "Man easily capitulates when sin is presented in the garb of virtue, and that is what Marie Stopes and others are doing."
  • "In my opinion, it is an insult to the fair sex to put up her case in support of birth–control by artificial methods. As it is, man has sufficiently degraded her for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her."
  • "I urge the advocates of artificial methods to consider the consequences."
  • "I know what havoc secret vice has played among school boys and school girls. The introduction of contraceptives under the name of science and the imprimatur of known leaders of society has intensified the complication and made the task of reformers who work for purity of social life well-nigh impossible."
  • "Contraceptives are an insult to womanhood."
*The manufacturers of contraceptive drugs and devices acknowledge that their products may, as one of their modes of action, kill a developing embryo by preventing him or her from implanting in the lining of the womb. The population control movement and western governments promote contraception claiming that it reduces the incidence of abortion. Professor David Paton, who holds a chair in Economics at Nottingham University, has said: "I find no evidence that greater access to family planning has reduced underage conceptions or abortions. Indeed, there is some evidence that greater access is associated with an increase in underage conceptions..."

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