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Doctor: Why I changed my mind about abortion

Full transcript below

 

Medical Doctor and Research Associate in Bioethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Oxford, Dr Calum Miller, shares why he changed his mind on abortion along with answering a number of objections to the pro-life position on abortion.

Drawing on personal experiences, secular philosophers and academic research, he explains how the pro-life view cares for both the mother and child.

Triggernometry is a YouTube show and podcast hosted by Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster. The duo have had several high-profile guests including political commentators, comedians, social scientists and others. Kisin has made appearances on BBC Question Time, Good Morning Britain, the Bill Maher show and the Dr Jordan B Peterson podcast. Both Kisin and Foster have also appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience.

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Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.

Dr Callum Miller

Full transcript

Francis Foster

Hello and welcome to Triggernometry I’m Francis Foster.

Konstantin Kisin

I’m Konstantin Kisin and this is a show for you if you want honest conversations with fascinating people. Our brilliant guest today is a medical doctor and a researcher at the University of Oxford specializing in medical ethics, Dr Calum Miller welcome to Triggernometry.

Dr Calum Miller

Thank you so much for having me here.

Konstantin Kisin

It’s great to have you on the show. Before we get into it, I should say, you know, usually we talk about controversial issues, but we decided to take a week off that and talk about something that won’t piss anyone off. It’s three guys talking about abortion, right? That’s great! Before we get into that though, tell everybody a little bit about who you are, how you are, where you are, and what has been your journey through life that leads you to be sitting here talking to us.

Dr Calum Miller

Sure, well, thank you so much, and thank you to everyone who’s listening for having the patience to hear three men talking about abortion, which I can appreciate can be a little bit sort of incongruous. Um, so I’m really grateful for you for having me here. Um, I guess I was always surprised to be in this position. I never thought I’d end up speaking most of my life about this topic. I’d grown up in a fairly liberal family, never heard anything about this topic at home or at school, and really it was only at university that I even began to think about this topic.

I was never pro-life. I didn’t kind of have any particularly strong opinions about the topic, but as I went through medical school, it was the kind of thing as a doctor you have to have some sort of opinion on. You have to think something about abortion because you might be asked to refer for one or to take part in one and so on. And so, it was something that I began to grapple with. And as I did this, I was kind of surprised because I had always grown up as a fairly left-leaning person. I was someone who went to medical school because I wanted to look out for the most marginalized in the world. I went really to do global health work on HIV and AIDS because I thought those are the people who most need help in the world, or so I thought at the time. And of course, they do need significant medical help and support in many poorer parts of the world. Um, but as I went through medical school, I began to find that there was this argument that people came to me with, usually from America, and I admit to being somewhat influenced by Americans on this, but they came with persuasive arguments that really made sense to me.

And so, as I went through medical school, I began to think firstly about the reality of life in the womb, and I began to understand the scientific facts about how human life develops in the womb. I also began to look at the arguments, the ethical arguments, which you could look at from a reasonable or rational perspective, and I began to find those compelling. I also saw the reality of abortion and what it involves that I had never learned before, and that was a surprise and a shock to me. And then finally, I saw the impact of abortion on women. I began to speak with women who’d had abortions or were considering abortions, and I began to see that the narrative that I’ve been told about it was not actually true.

And I think one of the most kind of shocking or illustrative things for me was in my obstetrics and gynaecology placements where we were doing a cesarean section on twin babies. And it was a really surreal moment because, obviously, being a medical student, I wasn’t the main surgeon doing this operation, but I did get the privilege of pulling these babies out of their mummy’s tummy. And that was a really surreal thing to do, but I kind of noticed, you know, I pulled one baby out of the tummy, and it was outside, and it was a living breathing human being. And of course, there was one baby still inside, and I saw that transition from inside of the mother to outside. And at one point, there was one baby outside, one baby inside, and I thought, “What is the difference between these? Why is it that we treat one of these as a member of the human community with full human rights and who deserves our utmost protection and support, and we treat the other as having almost no legal rights at all?” And that really kind of grinded on me, and I didn’t really know what to think.

And so, gradually as I went through medical school, and I began to realize that this was an issue I had to take seriously. And I gradually came round to the position that actually, abortion is something that is a societal failing that harms both a child and their mother. There should be a better way, a better narrative, a better conversation, and a better approach where we can actually support both of those lives. And as I say, I gradually became persuaded that supporting both of those lives, rather than pitting them against each other, was the best approach we can take as people who are concerned about the vulnerable and about human rights.

Konstantin Kisin

Well, we’ll talk about all of that in a second, but yeah, it’s all. This is almost our first foray into this issue. I think we talked to Ella Whelan maybe a couple of years ago, yeah, just for a brief period of time. And her position is the exact opposite of yours. But I actually, I should say, given that it’s our first foray, and we’ll almost certainly be talking to someone from the opposite side of what you’re talking about but exploring your point of view. Now, my wife is 22 weeks pregnant today.

Dr Calum Miller

Congratulations!

Konstantin Kisin

Thank you. And I haven’t looked into this issue at all, really. It’s not been something I’ve ever thought about, I have to say. I’ve just gone, “Look, it’s not something that particularly is likely to affect me. I didn’t necessarily know we were going to be having children anyway, but my wife is 22 weeks pregnant. There is a baby inside of her that is kicking, that is moving, that has a heartbeat, all of that. And for another two weeks under the law of this country, my wife could just randomly go, you know what, I’m not sure.” You know that that is the law. And when I realized that, I have to be honest, I was quite horrified. You know, I don’t know whether this is reflective of other people or just my own ignorance and stupidity, but I sort of assumed that abortions happen like when it’s a tiny fetus, but actually, you can have an abortion all the way up to 24 weeks, which, there, I know somebody who was born at 23 weeks and lived in 1985. Yeah, so what is the legal situation in this country? Just give people first of all a summary of that

Dr Calum Miller

Yeah, well, as you say, it’s something that really surprises people and most people don’t realize. Now, it is fair to say that most abortions are much earlier in pregnancy, but it is true to say that there are a couple of thousand abortions after 20 weeks in the country, and most of those, according to official data, are not because of extreme circumstances like the woman’s life is at risk or the child has a really serious disability. Most of those abortions after 20 weeks even are for the same sort of socio-economic reasons that most abortions are for. And, as I say, most people don’t realize this. And viability is now about 21 weeks. A baby was born last year who was born at 21 weeks in two days. And yet, as you say, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks pretty much for any reason in the UK. When people find this out, they’re usually horrified, and opinion polling actually shows most people in the UK think that should be lowered. And actually, women have more restrictive views than men. Women think it should be lowered by a much bigger kind of margin than men do. So women actually have more pro-life opinions than men do in the UK, at least. And so, there are slight nuances to this law. So if the child has any disability, that can be a very serious disability, or it can be a very minor one, like having a cleft lip, it’s legal to abort them at any point up until birth in the country.

Francis Foster

For having a cleft lip?

Dr Calum Miller

Yeah. So you can look at the official UK statistics, and that will say, these are the disabilities that abortions took place for, and cleft lip and/or cleft palate is down.

Francis Foster

That’s a relatively minor operation that lots of people have, right? That’s not a disability.

Dr Calum Miller

Well, it is completely surgically correctable, but nevertheless, because the law says, if there’s a substantial risk of a serious handicap in the archaic terms of the act, it’s legal to abort at any point up until birth. And we know that most children diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth are aborted as a result of that. And so, it’s had a huge impact on the disabled community.

Francis Foster

So, that being the case, what was there a particular moment for you where you thought, “I that completely changed your mind?” Was it the twins or was it a gradual process?

Dr Calum Miller

I think it was a gradual process, and I think that, you know, it differs between different people. I’ve had people who have just suddenly had a moment and say, “I get it, this is why I am pro-life.” For some people, I know some of my non-religious friends, it was reading secular philosophers who were pro-choice because some of these philosophers say there is no difference between the baby before and after birth, and so because abortion is okay, infanticide is okay as well. And some of my non-religious friends have said that makes sense, but I disagree with the conclusion because there’s no difference before and after birth. I think we have to go back and say maybe we should value life before birth a bit more. So for me, it was more gradual, and that’s because I think, you know, I want to be a thoughtful person. It’s not just a trivial matter to say, “I think unborn babies should have legal protection.” Of course, it sounds straightforward when you put it that way, but at the same time, that does lead to situations where a woman has to be incredibly brave and courageous to go through a pregnancy in a difficult situation. And so, in that sense, I don’t think anyone can just take the pro-life position lightly, but I think nevertheless, when you really think it through and you see the impact on women and you see what abortion involves, I do think that it is the most reasonable position to take.

Francis Foster

Well, let’s talk about it brutally and honestly. What does abortion actually involve? Because we use that word, “so-and-so has had an abortion” or that they’re going to have an abortion. From a medical perspective, what does that actually mean?

Dr Calum Miller

Yeah, so it’s, unfortunately, a little bit complicated because there are two broad kinds of abortion. There’s medical abortion and surgical abortion. In this country, most abortions are medical, but in the U.S., most are surgical, and it differs between country to country. Medical abortions generally involve two pills. The first of the pills kind of breaks down the lining of the womb so that it can no longer provide nutrients and oxygen to the baby. Sometimes this ends the baby’s life in itself, sometimes it requires the second pill to be taken which causes a miscarriage and expels the baby. Sometimes the baby survives even for a little bit outside of the womb but then passes away, especially before viability. At a late stage, these abortions, because the baby can survive outside of the womb, require a procedure technically called feticide which you can guess what that means. What this basically involves is injecting potassium chloride into the heart of the baby so that the baby doesn’t come out alive. And this has been studied in an academic perspective. People who perform feticide are often traumatized by it. They’ve said that it involves stabbing the baby in the heart, and they’ve said it’s horrific and it made them sick. But nevertheless, it is what has to be done in a late abortion to make sure the baby doesn’t come out alive. Surgical abortions are quite different. So, in the early stages up to about 13 or 14 weeks, it’s done by a vacuum. Essentially, the baby is destroyed by the force of the vacuum and is taken out of the womb that way. And then later on, about 14 weeks onwards, a procedure called dilation and evacuation is needed, which is also known as dismemberment abortion. Essentially, because the baby is too big and too tough to be vacuumed and it needs to be dismembered in order to be taken out. Sometimes, if the skull is stuck on its way out, they will have to crush the skull in order to get it out. So again, I don’t say any of this lightly, and it’s I’m very sorry to have to say on a show run by two comedians because it’s actually quite a harrowing procedure. But nevertheless, there are about 9,000 of those dismemberment abortions in the UK every year on a baby that probably can feel pain, that is probably sentient and so on. And the truth, I think unfortunately has to be said, and I see that as part of my duty as a doctor and as a human being.

Konstantin Kisin

I think certainly realizing some of the things that are often involved in abortion changes a lot of people’s minds. I think a lot of people’s opinions are based on ignorance, like mine were and still are to some extent, I think. But there are a few big things, and all of this discussion is just incredibly toxic because you refer to your position as pro-life and other people refer to their position as pro-choice, and both of these things are, you know, the propagandist terms, if you forget you’re saying it right, that they just are. But let’s explore some of the real ethical and medical underpinning issues that determine all of this. So, first of all, when does life begin, in your opinion?

Dr Calum Miller

So, this is something that I’ve, it’s almost a frustrating question because, and meaning no discredit to you, it is seen as a matter of opinion. And as I kind of said, you know, when I was studying medicine and I wasn’t pro-life or wasn’t opposed to abortion however you want to frame it, um, this was just a question in basic biology of the human being that life begins at fertilization. That’s what the embryology textbooks say, it’s not really debated. You could, you know, there are countless textbooks and journal articles saying life begins at fertilization. And what we mean by that is this is when an individual human organism begins to exist, and it can help to clarify it in that way. I think what I’d say is that there’s a study that’s been done a few years ago by a researcher at the University of Chicago, and he thought, let’s get this settled once and for all, and so he did a survey of the public, and he said, who are the experts on this question, and about 80 of them said, biologists. It’s a biological question, life is a biological concept, we are biological things, this is a biology question. So he then said, okay, let’s speak to biologists, and he surveyed five and a half thousand biologists and said, is it true that a human organism, a new individual human organism, is created at fertilization, and he found that 95% of them said yes, and the other 5% we don’t know exactly what they think, but he got some reply saying, this is pro-life propaganda, I’m going to ruin your survey, so we can imagine that some of that dissent was propagandistic.

Konstantin Kisin

I see what you’re saying. Yeah, in the Bible, and that makes sense. But I think the reason this conversation is being had, and I understand why you’re frustrated by the question because biologically, yes, the egg and the sperm coming together in that way begins the process, but I think most people would also accept that that fertilized egg aborting that versus dismembering if a two or three-month-old baby or whatever, they’re very different things, right? And I think, you know, certainly for me, I think if you’re dealing with a recently fertilized egg, that’s a very different conversation to a creature with a heartbeat that you know and all of that. Do you know what I mean?

Dr Calum Miller

I certainly do. And so, one of the reasons I try and clarify what the biology says is to help clarify the debate because what we’re not actually debating is, is this a human being? It clearly is a human being, even when it is a zygote.

Konstantin Kisin

Hold on well that kind of depends on your definition of a human being, doesn’t it?

Dr Calum Miller

Yeah, so you know the standard human being is a member of our species which again is a sort of biological concept in individual organisms.

Konstantin Kisin

I don’t recognize a fertilized egg as a member of the human race. Do you?

Dr Calum Miller

Well, what I would want to say is that there’s a sort of moral dimension which we want to get at, and I try to say that a human being is a biological concept, but we want to know if it is also a person, if it is something that has full moral status, if it is the kind of thing that we treat as a human being in the sense of one of us, a member of the moral community. So, I would say it is a human being in that biological sense, and a human being is a biological concept, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a person. And so, what we’re really debating is, is it a person?

Konstantin Kisin

Well, yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Like if I saw a fertilized egg floating down the street, I wouldn’t be like, “Oh, that’s Gary,” you know what I mean? Like that is not instantly recognizable to me as a member of the human race. And therefore, what happens to it, to me, and I’m working these arguments out and challenging you on it because that’s what I’m trying to do, what happens to a fertilized egg or to a tiny zygote is not necessarily to me to be treated in the same way morally as doing that very same thing to an older baby or an adult human being or somebody outside of that situation.

Dr Calum Miller

I completely understand that intuition, and I, for a long time, had the same intuition that, you know, this is a cell or two cells, and it’s so different from our understanding of a person or a character or a personality. What I think changed my mind on this was a couple of things. The first is that we have to have a reasoned basis for attributing moral value, and what we’re essentially saying is that because this two-celled embryo doesn’t have cognitive abilities, or because it’s a certain size or whatever, the actual sort of intuition there is because it doesn’t have those abilities, we’re excluding it from the moral community. The problem that I began to see with this is that when you go down that line of thinking, it begins to create problems for other human beings who might have lesser cognitive abilities. What about someone who certainly is conscious, but only in a very minimal way? You know, I have patients who are clearly human beings, clearly very valued and loved by their families, who we give a name to and we treat as equal human beings. But when you actually look at their cognitive abilities, they would have fewer cognitive abilities than a mouse or a rat. And so we have a sort of incongruity here that we don’t think mice are people or equal to the rest of us, but we do treat severely disabled people as equals, and I think that’s right. And the only reason we can do that is because we share something in common with them, which is our humanity. So once we go down the route of saying if you don’t have these abilities, you’re no longer human and you’re not a person or you’re not a moral human being, then I think it actually completely undermines our entire idea of human equality, and I think that becomes really problematic.

Francis Foster

So, by this argument, the morning-after pill is that a type of abortion?

Dr Calum Miller

It’s kind of controversial exactly how that operates. So, how does it operate? Well, it’s kind of hard to say. Some, what’s called emergency contraception, like the copper coil, uncontroversially can act after fertilization. So, there’s not really any serious debate that the copper coil does act after fertilization and therefore does end the life of a very early, immature, underdeveloped human being. Other emergency contraception, whether it’s Desi gestural or something else, it’s kind of controversial and we don’t really know exactly the main way that it operates, so it’s sort of difficult to say. And I know that’s a little bit underwhelming.

Francis Foster

No, that’s absolutely fine. So, Calum, what is your position when it comes to abortion? Do you think under absolutely no circumstances should it be allowed? Should it only be allowed for women within a certain time frame, etc.?

Dr Calum Miller

Yeah, thank you for that question. Um, I think what I’d say is that if we really value human equality, we have to value and protect human life regardless of how it came about and regardless of its inconvenience to other people. And sometimes, that has serious implications. It does mean that we have to protect human life even when doing so can be very costly. One of the ways we’ve seen that is through the COVID pandemic. You know, so many people have been through so much sacrifice in order to protect vulnerable human life. And while of course, we all disagree about which restrictions and which rules should be in place and which of them are too much, I think all of us would agree that we do have some duty to go to considerable lengths to protect vulnerable human lives. I think all of us would want to say at least that basic principle. So, I would say that regardless of how a human being came about, regardless of whether it has a disability, regardless of how old it is, regardless of how developed it is, if we really think humans are equal, we have to treat them all as equal and give them all the same legal protection. The exception to this, I think, is if a woman’s life is at risk. And, you know, we as adult human beings sometimes think it’s okay to take human life even when that human is an adult. We sometimes think it’s okay to kill adults but only in very exceptional circumstances if the adult is posing an immediate risk to someone’s life, for example, or walking too slowly. Yeah, well, exactly. Naturally, I thought that went without saying. Um, so, so what I’m saying is in the case of a woman’s life being at risk, you’re wanting to uphold life and you’re wanting to save as much life as possible. In most of these cases, the overwhelming majority, actually, there’s no way that you can save the baby either way because if the woman dies, then the baby will die because the woman is supporting the baby. So it’s very rare that there’s a case where you have to choose between the woman and the child, but I would say in those cases, what you want to do is save the maximum amount of life and therefore you can deliver the baby early in order to save the woman’s life.

Konstantin Kisin

Can we come back to this point? Because you haven’t convinced me that a fertilized egg is a human being in the sense that it has the same moral value as a baby or an adult human. And, as I said, it’s not just that. You talk about cognitive ability. I don’t think being human comprises solely of that. I think being human is a combination of a few different things. And it’s, are you mostly fully formed? Human beings have a recognizable shape. Now, I’m not saying that someone who has no legs isn’t a human being, but generally speaking, we kind of get what a human looks like, right? If a bunch of aliens that look like fertilized eggs descended from the sky, we would be like, “Those are aliens. They’re different from us.” Do you know what I mean? So, I do think that, and again, I’m only putting this out there as a devil’s advocate argument, it’s not an issue I’ve thought about much, so I’m really keen to hear your thoughts. But, like that fertilized egg, it is the potential for human life, and if given the right environment, it will develop into one. But to suggest that doing something to that is exactly the same as killing me or you, I’m not convinced by that argument. Convince me more.

Dr Calum Miller

So, I think one of the things, there’s a couple of things that we could say here. The first is that we have a sort of sense that you have to be conscious or that consciousness is really important to being morally considerable. I mean, if you thought of it this way, imagine that a two-celled embryo was completely conscious. They were like a little Socrates, they were completely, incredibly intelligent, could feel pain, could do all these sorts of things. I think the form wouldn’t matter so much to us. I think we’d think, “This is really weird, but you know, this is something we have to treat as a morally valuable entity.” I think that’s true. And so, I think we can talk about form, but ultimately, if something has almost no human form but thinks in a similar sort of way to us, we’d think that is something we should protect.

Konstantin Kisin

You’re not suggesting that a fertilized egg is….?

Dr Calum Miller

No, no, no, no, I’m not saying it is. But just for the sake of imagination, and likewise, you know, I have had patients in hospitals that are not really recognizable in the sense of, you know, the human form. And you know, in older times, where people went to different countries and saw that people had different color skin, people in older times thought, “That is so different to what the human form looks like, they cannot be our species.” And so, I think we are vulnerable to kind of a sort of bias about the shape that human beings are when really, we know that that’s not really what contributes to them having basic rights or the same value as the rest.

Konstantin Kisin

But come on, you talk about polling. How many people do you think, if you polled the public, would say a two-celled organism is a human?

Dr Calum Miller

So, that’s what I’m getting at, yeah, absolutely. And I’d be completely open that had the kind of complete pro-life view, I’m in a small minority. Another thing I’d say on that though, is that this sort of conscious bias, I think makes things a bit tricky, because we think harming people is about harming someone who is conscious. If someone’s completely unconscious, how can you harm them? How can you deprive them of rights and things? But then, I think there are instances where you can harm people, and they never experience any sort of harm. So, for example, say I’m not married, but imagine I were. Suppose I go out and cheat on my wife, and she never finds out, and no one ever feels any sort of harm from it. They never feel any physical pain, they never feel any emotional pain, they never have any sort of negative feeling from it.

Konstantin Kisin

I can tell he’s not married mate because that is not a viable situation of course now

Francis Foster

I was just going to say in Venezuela that made you a real man

Dr Calum Miller

I’ve clearly harmed someone even if they never found out, even if no one ever feels anything kind of negative from it. I’ve nevertheless done something that is seriously wrong. And so, that’s how I try and think about the early embryo, who at a very early stage is not sentient, is not conscious. I think, can it still be wrong even though they don’t feel anything bad? And my thoughts about those other situations make me think, actually, maybe it is possible that you can seriously harm something or someone, even though they never experience the negative effects of that harm. And so, I appreciate that from a sort of intuitive perspective, it’s completely counterintuitive, and I get that. And I’m not saying that you’re crazy for having that reaction. But the first thing I would say is we know that we can harm people even if they never feel any negative consequences from it. And secondly, when we do think really carefully about what is it that gives people value, the only way we can say that they have the same value is by something that they all share in common. Now, we all have the human form to different degrees. Some people have it to a sort of 90, they look 90% human. I say I’m in that category because I’m a little bit fat and I don’t look like the perfect human form. Some people have maybe 50% of the human form because they’ve had amputations or they have a disfigurement to their face and so on. The only thing we all have to the same degree is being a human. And so, what I’m saying is, if we really think carefully about human equality and what it’s based on, it has to be something that we all have to the same degree. And the only thing that fits those criteria is being a human being in the biological sense. And so, what I’d say is, I get that it’s counterintuitive, and I’m sure many people listening will say, “I agree with Konstantin, this is completely crazy to think that this is a person.” But what I’d say is that morality often is counter-intuitive. Often when we think through it very carefully, we come to conclusions that seem counter-intuitive. But when we do that hard work of thinking through them in real detail, sometimes that counter-intuitive thing is the only conclusion we’re left with. And that was the case for me on this issue.

What would you say to people, particularly women, who say, ‘Well, it’s my body, my choice? I am the one who is carrying this, and I can make the decision in order to have an abortion, and that is my choice and it’s my right?

Dr Calum Miller

I think it’s a natural thing to say, and I think there’s certainly a grain, more than a grain, of truth in it. In the sense that women, you know, often in history and in many places around the world and in many places in the UK, don’t have the right to basic bodily privacy. Whether it’s forced sterilizations across the world, whether it’s sexual assault or even rape within marriage, whether it’s all sorts of ways that abusers control women, and with that context and so much widespread mistreatment of women by men, particularly about decisions relating to their body, you can easily see why there would be this defensiveness about a woman’s body and her privacy, and so on. And I get that, and I don’t want to demean that in any way. What I’d say is that when we think about choice, we have to think about choice for everyone, and we, you know, if the slogan is “my body, my choice,” we have to think about how many bodies are there. Now, if we believe the science on this, then there are two bodies. That’s uncontroversial. There are two human bodies in the situation. And if that’s the case, then what about the bodily autonomy, what about the bodily integrity of the child who, whose life is ended through abortion or, in later abortions, is even dismembered in the way that I’ve described? I think that makes it much more challenging than to just say, “This is my choice.” I think all of us realize that choices can be limited in order to protect the vulnerable. That’s why we’ve all been going around with masks on for the last two years, because we say in some cases, when there’s such a severe threat and when someone is so vulnerable, we have to, you know, forego some of our choices in order to protect the vulnerable. And I think the same is true here, that no one has a choice to end the life of another human being. And this is why, you know, the pro-life, pro-choice terminology is so unhelpful. I believe in choice. I believe that people should be able to do what they want, generally. It’s not as if I just think everyone should be controlled in every decision they make. But obviously, all of us think that choices have limits in order to protect other people. And so, I’d say that the same is true here. It’s a pretty simple principle: you should be allowed to do what you want, but that has limits when it comes to taking another human being’s life. And I think the same principle is just true in this case.

Francis Foster

But isn’t the problem that you’re effectively asking the woman to carry this baby, to give birth to this baby when the baby is unwanted? And as someone who used to teach and used to see unwanted children every day of their lives, it’s the most heartbreaking thing, because you know most of those kids are never going to stand a chance, they’re just not.

Dr Calum Miller

So what I’d say, I guess, on this question of unwanted children is that I think it’s helpful to recall that abortion was originally seen as a solution to that problem, and yet more and more these days we have this so-called problem of so-called unwanted children. Now, I don’t think it’s ever really accurate to call any child unwanted because I think every child actually has infinite human value, in the same way that the woman does, and every child will be wanted by someone. You know, if you look at the statistics on trying to adopt a newborn baby in the UK, it’s pretty much impossible. There are so few newborn babies available for adoption and so many parents who want a child that I think calling them unwanted is probably not very accurate – meant unwanted by the parents, right? Of course, yeah.

What I’d say is that actually, when you look at the outcomes of children from unwanted pregnancies, their outcomes are not very significantly different from children from wanted pregnancies. When you look at the studies on this, they do slightly worse than the average child when it comes to certain educational outcomes, but on the whole, most of them are pretty much the same. They have pretty much the same mental health outcomes, and the most important thing is, do they feel like their life was worth living? Even if their life was significantly worse than the average child, most of them would still say, “I’m glad to be alive.” And so, I think what we really need to do if we’re concerned about these unwanted children and their well-being is simply ask them. Speak to people who have come from an unwanted pregnancy, speak to people who have been placed for adoption, perhaps. And obviously, in some cases, they will say, “I wish I wasn’t alive,” but in the overwhelming majority of cases, they will say, “I’m glad to be here, and I’m glad that although it was very difficult for my mum, I’m so grateful to my mum that they went through that for me, and I’m so glad that I’m here as a result.”

Francis Foster

And what about the women when they had these unwanted pregnancies and unwanted babies? What was the effect on their lives?

Dr Calum Miller

Well, so this is something that again is extraordinarily counter-intuitive. You think obviously putting them through that is going to lead to, you know, massive suffering on their part. And in the last few years, there’s been a greater recognition, even from researchers who support abortion and use their research to support abortion rights and access. There’s been an increasing admission that actually, if you don’t provide women that option of abortion, people, women who become pregnant don’t want the child. Even women who try and get an abortion and are turned away, the overwhelming majority of them eventually have the baby. They don’t seek abortion elsewhere, and the overwhelming majority of women who have the baby are glad that they had the baby.

And I think we can often get into a situation where we’re thinking, kind of in the immediate situation, a woman’s become pregnant, she doesn’t want to be, and it’s potentially a horrendous situation. All of us can empathize with that situation and think that must be a horrendous, panic situation. The woman at that point must feel absolutely horrendous, and most likely she does in many of those cases, and it’s complete panic, and abortion is therefore seen as a huge relief. But when you give this situation time, what the researchers found from this study in the US is that most of those women who were denied an abortion kept the baby, and of those who kept the baby, 96% of them at the child’s fifth birthday say, “I’m glad that I kept the baby,” even though they didn’t have a choice about it, this is a statistic that I think is not very widely known: that when you actually give people the time and give them the support, almost everyone comes around and says, “I’m glad I had the baby in the end.” Whereas, by contrast, in the case of abortion, there are significant rates of regret. It’s not that most women regret abortion; most of them don’t. But a significant minority of women regret abortion, and we know that objectively, they have poorer mental health outcomes. So, if you take women that have an unwanted pregnancy, and some of them have an abortion, some of them keep the baby, the women who have an abortion have higher rates of suicide, of anxiety, of drug misuse, of alcohol misuse, and they’re more likely to die within the following year than women who keep the baby.

So again, it’s an absolutely intuitive and understandable thought: a woman who’s in a crisis pregnancy situation, surely the best thing for her to do is for her to choose to have an abortion, and that’s the end of the situation. But when you look at the empirical reality, when you speak to the women who’ve been in this situation and you collect all those stories and voices together, you find that actually, abortion is not the kind of liberating kind of solution that it is portrayed as. Actually, it is often another trauma. Whereas, by contrast, having the baby, of course, is stressful, and I’m sure you’ll find this out in due course. I wish you the best of luck. But actually, when it comes to that fundamental question, “am I glad this happened?” the overwhelming majority of women who keep the baby after seeking an abortion are glad that it happened. And I think sometimes all it takes is time and support, and thankfully, that support is usually available.

There’s one more question I want to ask for, which is this, right? So let’s say we take the approach of banning abortion apart from in certain cases. Isn’t that just going to mean that there’s going to be backstreet abortions? That actually, what we’re going to do is create an unregulated service which is going to put these women, and particularly vulnerable women’s lives at risk and in danger.

Dr Calum Miller

Yeah, and that’s obviously a common question, and a very good one, and a very reasonable one, and that’s why one of the main reasons we have abortion legalized in the UK. It wasn’t seen as a woman’s right at the time, it wasn’t seen as something that we should have, it was something that was seen as a bad thing, but it was better for it to be safe and legal rather than be dangerous and lead to women dying as well. And obviously, the women that do die of backstreet abortions is one of the most grievous ills of society that we can imagine. What a horrible situation for her to be in, what a horrible situation for her family.

When you look at the empirical data as I’ve done over the last two years on this specific topic, it really tells a different story. So, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, in 1966, a year before abortion was legalized, published a report on this question. They said actually, of the women who come into hospital because they’ve had an abortion and need medical treatment, sometimes even die, 20 of those at most have had an induced abortion. The large majority were actually from natural miscarriages, and tragically as a result of those had complications and sometimes passed away. But only a tiny proportion of those were actually from backstreet abortions.

And then they noted, what about those women? Because of course, there are not many of those women who were dying from backstreet abortions. There were 50 maximum in the UK each year. Those women, of course, still matter. Those 50 lives matter infinitely, and they should be protected. But they said, what happens if a country legalizes abortion? Does it suddenly make it safe and prevent those women from dying? And the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said when you look at the other countries, that’s not the case. When you look at the experience of Eastern Europe which legalized abortion prior to that, it didn’t necessarily lead to fewer deaths. In Sweden, it didn’t lead to fewer deaths. What you actually find in many countries is that because legalized abortion encourages abortion and increases the numbers, what it can do is increase the number of women dying from backstreet abortions. We’ve seen that in the Netherlands in the 60s, in Rwanda about 10 years ago, in Ethiopia about 15 years ago. In many cases, in fact in most cases, the trend is that women die from abortions, and this decreases over time. But when abortion is legalized, the same trend carries on. In some countries, when abortion is legalized, it goes back up, and by contrast, in countries that ban abortion like Poland or Chile about 30 years ago, that trend carried on going down. So women were dying from abortion, but they were getting fewer in number all the time. Then Poland and Chile banned abortion and still the number kept on getting smaller and smaller.

So, what I found on this particular question is that women dying from abortion is of course a tragedy, but it’s not really resolved by any legal change on abortion. It’s resolved simply by better healthcare, better emergency care. And so, I published a paper on this recently, which people who want to know more can read about if you go on my website. It’s a paper about illegal abortion in Malawi, so more can be read there.

Konstantin Kisin

Well, it’s really interesting because your position is not widely held by people in the public eye in the UK, of course. I think that would be fair to say. I think you’d acknowledge that. And yet, I’m sitting here listening to you, and we’re supposed to believe that people who hold your views are some kind of moral monsters who–and I’m not seeing the moral monstrosity in your argument. In many ways, I find it odd, the realization of my baby kicking inside my wife’s womb, and it has a heartbeat, and by saying that maybe I don’t think you should just be able to kill that baby for your own convenience right this second, which you’re legally allowed to do, I don’t think saying that is a moral monstrosity. In fact, I think saying that not saying that is a moral monster, not saying you shouldn’t be able to just kill a baby at that point. So why is it that your view is so demonized and so difficult to express in the public domain without–you know, I’ve seen your interviews in the mainstream media. Let’s just say they’re not giving you as much of a fair hearing as we are. Got a bit feisty on the old beat, didn’t it? It did, it yeah. I was a victim of BBC neutrality. Yeah. So why is your position so demonized? And why is it that we think that–look, I understand why people want to ensure that women have the freedom to do with their body what they want to do. That instinct is perfectly understandable to me as someone who really respects bodily autonomy and thinks it’s very important. But I equally understand that also there is another life involved, right? And there’s a tension between the two, and there’s maybe a line to be found between those things. And your position might be a bit extreme for most people, but you don’t strike me as someone who’s coming from a terrible bad place. And yet, if the PR for your position is to be believed, then you are evil people who want to control women and oppress them and whatever. Why is it that you’re so demonized?

Dr Calum Miller

Yeah, good question. I think it’s probably for a few reasons. One is that, um, part of the general polarization in society – you know, you’re demonized for some of your positions – it’s, um, it’s part of our society which is failing to talk to each other and failing to just be charitable towards each other. Um, you know, when I found when I’ve spoken to people who perform abortions, you know, leading abortion advocates in this country, I have a friend who is one of the leading abortion advocates in the country, and we get on absolutely fine. We get on very well, and it’s because we trust that we have, you know, we’re talking in good faith, we can actually have a conversation, we’ll be honest, and people don’t talk anymore. They go on social media and they complain and they alienate each other. And so I think part of it is just not meeting pro-lifers. You know, if you walk around England, you’re not going to bump into a pro-lifer very often. You’re not going to hear them out or listen to what they actually believe, and so I think that’s a part of it. Um, I think part of it is sort of exported from America where, you know, we see pro-life Americans as also being crazy capitalist and all in favor of guns and shooting people and all sorts of other sort of there’s all sorts of ideological baggage. You know, we see pictures of people outside abortion clinics shouting that women are murderers, and I think part of it is that there’s been a sort of exploitation of that image of pro-lifers to the UK. Um, I don’t even think that’s accurate in America. I mean, in America, there are 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers looking after women in crisis pregnancies. They outnumber abortion providers by many, many to one, and when you add all the kind of pro-life work in the US up, it’s the pro-life help which just practically helps women on the ground that vastly outnumbers and outweighs any other pro-life activity that Americans do. But those sorts of things are just not known, um, and so I think, you know, there’s a lot of bad PR and so on. And then I think some of this is obviously, you know, deliberate. There are people in powerful positions who have a narrative and want to portray pro-life as evil people because they know that that’s the easiest way to stop us having a real conversation. And so I think, you know, you get plenty of that whether it’s the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, whether it’s certain media outlets, you know, people have access to grind, and for some people, this image of us is convenient, even if it’s not very accurate.

Konstantin Kisin

So speaking of having the conversation what if you were in charge of the world if you were king of the world for a few days what legislative changes would you make what would you ban all abortion completely or what other what measures would you introduce to to regulate this particular issue

Dr Calum Miller

I think it’s you know there’s a there’s a question of what would be practical if I was a dictator things are very differentwell in an ideal world what would you like to see because once you get to the practical stuff you start to compromise on value so if you believe that that as i go is a human life well you can’t really compromise with that because all at least in our society because we believe that human beings have a right to life right so what i would say is that in an ideal world i would want no women to ever feel like she wanted or needed i think yeah obviously there will always be situations desperate situations where a woman feels like she wants and needs an abortion what i would say is that you can get to a point where that’s very few women um so i would so i would say you have to think that the approach that we have here is that both lives matter in this situation i think it’s inhumane to take away that option from women putting the burden of pregnancy on her while at the same time walking away from her and expecting her to shoulder that burden herself so i would say we have to have responsibility from society that they gather around women and support women who feel like they need an abortion so to give them the practical materials the relationships the support that she needs to go through that pregnancy there should also be support from the father and one of the things that we haven’t spoken about is in my view the way that abortion has facilitated male irresponsibility there’s actually a really um really interesting paper from a nobel prize-winning economist george akeloff and his wife who is actually president biden’s uh treasury secretary and this is from the 90s where it was a bit less polarized but not very much and what they said is that since abortion in the 1970s what that has done is effectively it has said it has allowed men to say to women because this is now your issue because you are now the final arbiter of what happens to this baby if you choose to keep the baby it’s on you so i don’t have any responsibility because it’s your choice to keep the baby previously the man should or at least usually would feel a responsibility i’ve done this i have a responsibility to the mother and to the child and that completely vanished in the 1970s and what they said is before the 1970s you had people being lifted out of poverty you had children being lifted out of poverty and you had high rates of families staying together once you had widespread abortion because of that mentality men disappeared but that doesn’t make it easy for women because it’s not as if a woman can just trivially say oh well that’s fine i’ll just have an abortion abortion is a hard thing for a woman to go through in most cases almost every case and so when you had that situation men were deserting women and you had women being forced to either go through a traumatic abortion by themselves or in many cases most cases raise the baby by themselves and what you found is that at that point rather than women being liberated to achieve more in their careers which it allowed that for some women the women at the very bottom of society who didn’t have those kind of illustrious careers to look forward to without a child they were the ones who were left with a child and without a partner to help them look after the child and so what you found is that the rate of women in poverty massively increased the rate of children in poverty massively increased this was far worse among the working-class population and it was far worse among ethnic minority populations and that is what has caused the massive disparity in wealth and equality in the us and in many other western countries so all of that to come back to your question which i don’t want to ignore but to say that in an ideal society part of what the government should be doing is not only making sure that society provides a safety net for these women also making sure that men step up and take their responsibility for this situation so that they look after not only the child but also make sure that the woman is looked after in her job in the time and in all the things that she needs to do with her life and then as i say provide that legal protection for unborn children so that once you have all of this packaged together you say that both lives matter the government is protecting unborn children and supporting and encouraging others to support the woman and the child all of that together will get to a place i think where maybe there will be some women who feel they want and need an abortion but that number would be much much smaller than it is at the moment and that’s where i’d like to get it

Konstantin Kisin

So to summarize then you would put things in place for the child and the mother uh to support them after birth but in addition to that you would you would ban abortion except in cases of threat to the mother uh what about ex like serious disability

Dr Calum Miller

yeah so in the case of serious disability um what i’d say is that again when when you look at the studies on this and again it’s counterintuitive you ask people who have been through this situation there are many many studies of women who have kept a child with down syndrome or something more serious like edward syndrome or patau syndrome and they overwhelmingly say i’m glad i did this there’s one study in particular which surveys women who have been through this situation specifically the situation where the child dies shortly after birth 98 of those women said i have no regrets and i would do that make the same decision again and although that time was incredibly short and incredibly um grief-filled to go through that that was some of the most profound time i had in my life and i’m so glad i did it and i would never make a different decision whereas by contrast when you look at women who have abortions in the case of these dreadful conditions where the child is bound to die shortly after birth a horrific situation that we hope no one we know would ever be in but sadly it does happen when women have those abortions in those situations they describe them as torture they say it was one of the worst things i’ve done in my life and so i think part of what what goes on here is we think this is a terrible situation abortion seems like a helpful solution to that to limit some of the pain and that’s a natural instinct abortion is the sort of great reliever it relieves people of an immediate panic and an immediate difficult situation but when you look at these things more in a more rounded way and when you speak to women and listen to their voices in these situations that’s not the picture that builds up instead the picture is abortion isn’t a solution the pain is still there whereas by contrast keeping the baby doesn’t make everything rosy as well the baby still passes away shortly after birth and it’s tragic but nevertheless those women don’t say i consider this a tragedy that i should never have been put through and i wish i’d had the abortion they say it was a tragedy but it was such a meaningful tragedy that i wouldn’t have had it differently i would have made the same decision so that’s i think what the evidence shows and i think that should be a factor in public policy

Francis Foster

Calum you’re making great points and it’s it’s genuinely fascinating and these are issues that i’ve never explored and these are arguments that i’ve never really thought about my question to you would be isn’t it somewhat redundant we’re never going to change our position on abortion we’re just not that’s not the way society has gone we’re becoming ever more progressive we’re becoming ever more hyper liberal abortion is just a done issue isn’t it

Dr Calum Miller

um it can feel like that way if you’re on my end of the the debate um so yeah i mean i i think it’s easy to be defeatist but you know on the other hand there are so many issues where people would have felt defeatist i mean every sort of infrastructural injustice throughout history has felt monumental and i i tried to avoid you know linking it to other structural injustices throughout history but we can all think of some um and you know when you go back 500 years to something that was just part of society then people would have said this is never going to be ended this is such an integral part of what our society is built on and it would have felt like how can you take that sort of foundation away from a building it would just collapse and no one would ever tolerate that

Konstantin Kisin

I mean for example I know you don’t want to go into the examples but i think it’s a pertinent one here slavery not only was a common practice throughout human history but actually it was a huge part of the economic right arrangements that made those societies function and yet here we are more slaves than ever but yeah but but but we have eliminated at least illegal uh you know in the western world uh the legal situation so i i i actually agree with you on that uh you know francis is right that i think it’s hard to see how you get from where we are to where you’d like to be but it’s also we also know that it’s possible that right historically speaking

Dr Calum Miller

I think that’s true. I mean, I watched the film “Amazing Grace” the other day about William Wilberforce, the kind of foremost abolitionist in the UK. The sort of rhetoric and the immense money that was in the slave trade, it was seen as absolutely formidable. It was such a basic part of society, how could you possibly get rid? It was almost like getting rid of electricity; it’s what society ran on. But it was run on the back of slaves who were human beings with dignity and honor, and in my view, made in the image of God. And so, you have to persevere because if this is an injustice, people do eventually come around. And I think people do come around. I meet people in my life, whether sometimes they’re Christians, sometimes they’re Muslims, sometimes they’re not religious at all. When they look at the argument, many of them do come around and say, “Actually, I do think this is an injustice, and this is a societal problem that we should try and remedy.” And I think if you persevere, you can get to that point.

One thing I think is really, really interesting in all of this is how kind of global factors play into this. Now, what we’ve seen in the last few years is Russia make it official government policy to try and limit abortions. They haven’t tried to ban it, but they said we should reduce the number because our population is falling. China is pretty much coming to do the same thing. I don’t read Chinese, so I don’t know exactly what the media is saying, but it looks to me like they’re trying to limit abortion because of the population. Now, what I’d say there is this is a helpful illustration because it also shows why the pro-life attitude is very different from the controlling women attitudes. You’ve had many societies in history which have abolished or banned abortion because they thought the population was important and they needed to control women in order to increase the population. Ancient Rome did this, Romania did this, Russia and China may be going that way. That’s not the pro-life position. The pro-life position is unborn children should be protected not because it’s convenient to society, not because women can be controlled for the good of society, but because they have dignity and basic human rights. And so, in that sense, those sort of societal shifts are in some ways encouraging because they show that attitudes can change and they do change for factors way beyond our control in geopolitics. But it’s also something that I’d really want to separate the pro-life position from and say, although some of the sort of conclusions they’re reaching are encouraging, the means and the attitude are completely wrong. This shouldn’t be about population, which is a problem. This should be about protecting the most vulnerable people in society. So yeah, I think it’s swings and roundabouts.

Konstantin Kisin

Would you would you still think what you think if you weren’t christian?

Dr Calum Miller

Absolutely, um, and I have really no doubt about that. Um, the reason I say that is because my Christian convictions were completely separate in terms of timing, in terms of the basis from my convictions on abortion. So, I had, you know, I believed in some of the basic truths of the Christian faith long before I came to a pro-life position. And I thought it was completely compatible to say that you could be a Christian and be generally pro-choice. It was really thinking through these arguments, seeing the reality at university of fetal development and of abortion, seeing the impact on women, and thinking through these secular philosophical arguments. And I mentioned earlier one of my really good friends became convinced of the pro-life position. He’s an atheist because he read Peter Singer. We were doing a lot of this debate ourselves at university at the same time, and we were reading these secular philosophers and ethicists to see what they said. And he read Peter Singer, and Peter Singer says unborn children and born children are not really morally different. If you can end the life of one, you can end the life of the other, and therefore infanticide is okay. And my atheist friend was like, the logic is impeccable, but the conclusion is completely wrong. And so he became pro-life. And so we, you know, I was on this journey with other people, but it was really a matter of looking at those arguments in detail and coming to a sincere conviction that this is where they pointed. So yeah, I know there will always be people listening in who just don’t believe me. They just think, “You’re Christian.” That’s fine. Believe what you want. But for me, really, it was a matter of looking at those arguments and coming to that position.

Francis Foster

And I know this is an extreme question and one that you’re asked all the time, so what happens if a woman has been raped? She’s now carrying the rapist’s child. She doesn’t want the rapist to have this child, understandably so. What do you say to someone like that?

Dr Calum Miller

I think the first thing to say is nothing. I think the first thing to do is listen and hear what the situation is and listen to the voices of women who have been in that situation. I think we’re in danger of speaking too quickly, especially as someone who’s a man. I obviously think that men should be allowed to speak about this topic, in part because they have responsibility for it, but at the same time, I have to realize my limitations. I will never be in the position of being raped and becoming pregnant as a result, and so I have to come at this with a significant amount of humility and really trying my very best to empathize about that situation. The first thing I would say is that we have to listen to the voices of women who have been in this situation because I think we’re in danger of making many assumptions about them.

Konstantin Kisin

It’s a good point. I’ll interrupt you briefly there to say that we know someone who was raped and who had the child, and for her, that was massively radicalizing in favor of the pro-life position. So she says, “it’s not the baby’s fault, whatever happened happened, and it was not good, but it’s not the baby’s fault, and I’ve brought up my child to be the way that I’ve brought him up to be, not to be his biological father, right?” So you’re right, the assumption, I think, always is, well, if a woman’s been raped and then had the child, then she’s obviously not happy. Well, she’s not going to be happy, but we make the assumption that women in that position are all pro-abortion, which is just not my experience.

Dr Calum Miller

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, so the statistics we have show that about half of women who have been raped and become pregnant keep the baby, and there was a study done of those women, and not a single one said that they regret it. And even of the women considering abortion, when you take women who kept the baby and who had the abortion, only a tiny proportion of them said, “The thing I’m most worried about is that it will remind me of the trauma.” It was a very small minority. That’s what we think. We always think, “How can you encourage a woman to have a baby that will remind her of the trauma?” Women who have been in that situation, only a small minority of them say, “This is what worries me.” What worries them most is the stigma of having a child out of wedlock, or these other societal factors that are nothing to do with the effect of the baby. So what I would say is, absolutely, we have to listen to women, hear what they say, hear women who have been through that situation and kept the baby. None of them say that they regret it. Hear women who have been through that situation and had an abortion, many of whom do say they regret it.

But I think there are two kind of key things to think through here. The first is the life of the child. We all think that children should have their right to life protected, no matter how they were conceived. So once a child has been born, no one would ever think of saying, if the woman feels that the child now that it’s been born is a reminder of the trauma that she’s been through, she should be allowed to end the life of the child. No one would say that that should be allowed. So we all think that in theory, if there is a human being with full moral status, with human rights, their life should be protected no matter how they were conceived. And so the fundamental question is, in a sense, is this a human being, a child with those human rights?

But the second question that I’ve really thought through as a doctor is, will abortion help in the situation? Will it help heal the trauma? Again, it comes back to this point where I said, abortion is seen as the great reliever. It relieves a crisis situation, and it seems to sort of just get rid of an urgent immediate problem which a woman feels, and that’s completely understandable. And that’s why so many women feel relief after having an abortion. But in the long run, does it actually help? Will it get rid of that horrific, horrendous trauma that she’s been through? I don’t think there’s any psychologist in the world who will say yes, it will get rid of that. The trauma will still be there, and she will be going through that regardless of whether she has an abortion or not. On the other hand, is there a potential that the baby could actually help? Now, you say in the case of your friend that actually made her far more pro-life, and some of the limited opinion polling we have shows that women who have been the victim of unwanted sexual abuse are more pro-life than women who are not. When you read the testimonies, and there’s a great book on this, it’s called “Victims and Victors,” it’s just a whole kind of catalogue of testimonies of women who have been in this situation, giving them their own voice so you don’t have to listen to a man talk about this, what they say is, “This was the only thing that gave me meaning and helped me to make sense of the trauma and suffering that I had been through, and that abortion would rob me of that.” This isn’t just one woman who says this. This is a recurring theme time and time again, and what we know is that in trauma, one of the most important things for healing is finding meaning in that trauma. And the evidence we have seems to suggest that abortion is worse for a woman’s mental health and subjects her to further trauma. Whereas having the baby, and this isn’t to trivialize it because I think it’s far braver than anything I would ever do or even be in a position to do, I’m not trivializing it in any way, but those women who do have that courage and go through that, what they eventually find is that it is one of the most profound ways they could have to try and find some meaning in that trauma and to heal from that trauma. So as I say, you know, there’s so much that could be said about this, especially from voices that are female and that really have been in that situation. So I don’t want to pretend that this is just a simple issue that I’ve, you know, conclusively summed up. But I do want to encourage people to read more about that, go to my website where there’s more information about that, and listen primarily to those women who have been in that situation because I think they have the most powerful voices.

Francis Foster

Dr. Calum Miller, it has been an absolute pleasure! It’s been so, so interesting. Before we go and before we do our questions for Locals, we always end our interviews with one final question, which is: what’s the one thing we’re not talking about but we really should be?

Dr Calum Miller

It’s such a difficult question because there are so many things. One thing that we didn’t really touch on in the interview is money that’s spent overseas on abortion. So, the UK government spends millions and millions of pounds overseas trying to change other countries’ laws, which is pretty much the definition of colonialism or imperialism. Millions are spent on it, often through organizations with links to the one-child policy, through organizations that have been banned from countries for criminal activity, and so on. Um, so I know this is sort of coming out of left field to some extent, but it’s another element of the debate which I think really isn’t spoken about much. And we, you know, as people paying taxes in this country who want our tax to go to people who really need it, to people who are at the margins of society, I think it’s really, really concerning that it goes basically to abortion and promoting abortion in countries where the public don’t agree with it. Um, and so I think that’s something that we really need more of a conversation on in this country about, in particular.

Konstantin Kisin

Well, thank you for coming on the show and bringing all of those points to our attention. We really appreciate it. If people want to follow up on this and read more of your work and find out some of the detail of what we’ve been talking about, where’s the best place to do that?

Dr Calum Miller

Well, thank you for that opportunity. Um, so I have a website called calumsblog.com. It’s very simple, but one thing I just want to highlight on there is that I’ve tried to put together all the common questions on abortion and say more than I have done today. So if you’re not convinced by something, as I’m sure you’re not, um, please do go ahead to that website and there will be more information available. If you want to get in contact as well, I’m more than happy to answer questions. So, thank you so much, Konstantin and Francis, for having me on. It’s been really a delight and I’m so grateful. No, thank you.

Konstantin Kisin

So, much for coming on. We’re going to ask you a couple of questions for our locals-only supporters, but in the meantime, thanks for coming on and thank you for watching and listening. We will see you very soon with another brilliant episode like this one or Raw Show. All of them go out at 7 PM UK time.

Francis Foster

And for those of you who like your Triggernometry on the go, it’s also available as a podcast. Take care and see you soon, guys. He actually thought pro-lifers were a nuisance. He, we pissed him off, and he was quite open about that, but he said he was surprised when he looked at this evidence. He thought abortion would help things, but he had to stick to the scientific evidence, and he said this is what it shows.