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We are now beginning to see some questionable stories after the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games. Two follow.

On the day that a story about mother-to-daughter womb transplants in Sweden appeared, the Telegraph also reported a request for a ‘ban’ on abortions where disability in the foetus has been detected. Interestingly, this did not come from groups of or for the disabled but from Catholic and Evangelical Protestant church groups.

The Paralympic Games were a joy to watch and, as I said previously, got many of us thinking differently about disability. This can only be a positive.

However, one has to wonder about the way disabled people are treated in general in the UK — benefits, mobility, job opportunity. Is this appeal for an abortion ban a form of emotional blackmail?

Women who want an abortion will go where they can get one, regardless of the law. Many Irishwomen came to the UK, teenage girls included, to get abortions. I don’t read so much about that now.

Here are a couple of reader responses, the first — and most recent — from a disabled person (emphases mine):

blondieuk: How dare these religious groups try to hijack the good feelings after the Paralympics for their own political and religious ends.

The athletes don’t triumph over their disabilities – they like myself, just make the best of what we can.

At a time when the disabled need all the help we can get with unfair benefit cuts, lack of access to jobs, lack of public transport we can use and an increase in hate crimes –  what do the religious groups do ? –  try to use disabled athletes for propoganda purposes.

Shame on you.

I’m disabled and fully support decisions made by families on what to do with unwanted pregnancies – even if the embryo has the same disabilities as I have.

If you want to help the disabled how about giving us a job or a tube we can get into or access to benefits when we are too sick to work instead of cynically using us for your own ends.

Anita Bellows: The Paralympics might trigger this call, but the way disabled people are treated by this government makes for the opposite argument.

MarinaS: Shame on you Telegraph for giving a platform to such an exploitative campaign. No disability campaigners or groups signed this letter; it is a case of outside religious interests exploiting the disabled (who have enough to worry about these days, thanks) to push an anti-woman agenda. 

Organisations like Life are pushing for a ban on all abortions, not just specific types. This is clearly a disingenuous wedge campaign on their part. A respectable broadsheet should not encourage such bad-faith arguments, especially ones that usurp the voices of the disabled.

This is a sensitive issue which the disabled, their families and their support groups should be mooting first.

The second news story involves an exhortation from the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to businessmen. He believes they should model themselves on Olympian ideals. I can see a case for excellence, good ethics, sporting teamwork and so forth. However, I fear this is not what he has in mind:

We have no political agenda. We have instead a moral tradition that has accumulated wisdom down the centuries, drawing on the twin sources of revelation and reason.

It has given us an outline of a paradigm of good business practice that is contained in Catholic Social Teaching. This talks of solidarity and subsidiarity and their relation to common good, of the unique human dignity of every person specially those who are poor, vulnerable or disadvantaged, and it also talks about the nature of work and human creativity. And it is intensely conscious of the content and influence of culture, the shared values of any society that can do so much good – and if they go wrong, much harm.

I am joining prominent leaders of business and industry at a conference in London today [Tuesday Sept 18] in discussion of what it would take to bring about a renewal of the business culture in Britain.

We have sub-titled it “Uniting corporate purpose and personal values to serve society”, because we have detected a tendency for business people to feel they need to adopt a different set of values in business than those which they apply in the rest of their lives. That intriguing insight clearly needs further investigation.

Hmm, that sounds suspicious, too, especially as he goes on to mention that he and the Archbishop of Canterbury are in agreement on the matter. ‘No political agenda’, only that of the social gospel. (For more on this, please see my Marxism / Communism page and the heading ‘Communism and the Church Today’.)

Neither of these news items is completely honest. And that is not necessarily the Telegraph‘s fault.

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