Two stories about abortion made the news recently.
The first was about an Australian couple who have three sons. The couple underwent IVF because they wanted a daughter. The wife became pregnant with twins, but both were male, so the couple aborted both babies so they could have another try.
Some people were shocked. But if abortion is acceptable under some circumstances, under what circumstances is it not acceptable?
A professor of medicine said they should be allowed to select the gender of their child (gender selection during IVF is currently unlawful in Australia). "I can't see how it could possibly hurt anyone," he said.
What about the two babies who were aborted?
The second story concerned the arrest of Kermit Gosnell, an American abortionist who is said to have made millions of dollars from late term abortions. His abortion clinic was apparently replete with bloodstained furniture, unsterilised instruments and bags of aborted babies.
With six, seven and eight-month pregnancies, Gosnell is alleged to have induced the births, then killed the live babies by stabbing them in the neck with scissors and snipping their spinal cords. He has been charged with eight counts of murder.
An official investigation turned up the fact that for political reasons - pro-abortion political reasons, that is - his abortion premises had not been inspected by the department of health since 1993.
In the UK, Conservative MP Nadine Dorries says she has been suffering vitriolic attacks on blogs and on Twitter because of her stand on abortion. "The only controversial issue I've ever taken up is abortion," she says, "and that's the only hook to hang it on."
And Mrs Dorries is not pro-life: she is not opposed to abortion under all circumstances, although she has campaigned for a reduction in the upper age limit for abortion and she is campaigning for women contemplating abortion to be given adequate information.
She says she needs the churches to be more involved. "The churches have been pathetic during the abortion debate in their support for what I was trying to do.
"The Church of England was the worst, and the only person in the Catholic Church who made any comment was Cardinal O'Brien. Everybody was silent because the churches were weak and cowardly in their position.
"I was even told by one envoy from the Church [of England] that Psalm 139 was 'just poetry.' Weeks later they timidly came out and squeaked their words of support, which were no use to me at this point."
Abortion is the deliberate taking of human life. If the church isn't going to stand up on abortion, who is?