Editorial summary and comment on two recent events in Britain: "the arrival of the five-year legal deadline for the disposal of `unwanted' human embryos, frozen in the laboratory, and the news that doctors had agreed to abort one of a pair of twins because the mother had decided she could not cope with both".
Speaking of the position of the Catholic Church, the writer comments that "it is one thing to say that human life is sacred and it is wrong to destroy it; it is another to buttress this conviction by a conceptual scheme that attributes full personhood to the embryo. On this point the Church is never likely to be able to convince public opinion. Moreover, Catholic opposition to abortion is undermined by official opposition to contraception, and a readiness to speak of it in the same breath as abortion, as though the two were effectively equivalent".
"The Catholic Church also opposes all fertilization outside the womb, despite the favourable though guarded reaction of the future Pope John Paul I to the birth in 1978 of Louise Brown. In part this is a reverse deduction from Paul VI's encyclical 'Humanae Vitae' ruling out contraception; just as sex is not licit without procreation, so procreation is not licit without sex."
See also "Death of the 'ice babies'" by Gerard O'Connell, on p. 1059 and "Abortion of twin prompts new pro-life crusade" and "Hume deplores embryo destruction" on p. 1062.