Nigel Biggar, one of 45 new ordinary members chosen to serve a five-year term on the Vatican's pro-life academy, believes it's morally acceptable to abort a person before 18 weeks of gestation.
During an interview in 2011 Nigel, an Anglican minister and Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the U.K.'s University of Oxford, stated, "I would be inclined to draw the line for abortion at 18 weeks after conception, which is roughly about the earliest time when there is some evidence of brain activity and therefore of consciousness."
The title of that 2011 interview was "Putting a Value on Human and Animal Life." During the interview, Biggar professed his belief that babies in the womb for some period of time after conception aren't really human:
[It's] not clear that a human fetus is the same kind of thing as an adult or a mature human being, and therefore deserves quite the same treatment. It then becomes a question of where we draw the line, and there is no absolutely cogent reason for drawing it in one place over another.
For Biggar, drawing the line of when it's morally acceptable to abort a baby isn't based on the fact that the baby is human from the moment of conception but rather on some nebulous need of not becoming "too casual" with killing babies. He says during the interview, "In terms of maintaining a strong social commitment to preserving human life in hindered forms, and in terms of not becoming too casual about killing human life, we need to draw the line much more conservatively."
Speaking in 2012 at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Biggar rejected the notion that abortion can always be equated with murder. "[It] is not true that all abortion is equivalent to murder," he claimed Biggar.
The reason he was chosen for the academy, according to Biggar, was owing to his work pertaining to euthanasia and assisted suicide. "I believe that the reason for my recent appointment," says Biggar, "lies in my sustained work on the issues of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. On those issues my conclusions are consonant with the Church's."
The appointment of a pro-abortion philosopher to the academy contradicts the recent assurance given by the head of the institute, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, that all members would be completely pro-life. On June 6, Abp. Paglia expressed his hope that "membership will be seen as not only talented and accomplished, but also as truly representative of all who value life at all its stages."
The statutes of the academy were changed last November to no longer require members to sign "a declaration of fidelity to the Church's pro-life teachings." Asked by Vaticanista Ed Pentin about this omission in the new statutes, Abp. Paglia responded, "The new statutes themselves require members to promote and defend the principles of the value of life and the dignity of the person, interpreted in conformity with the Magisterium of the Church."
The Church upholds the reality that a human person is formed at conception. It therefore, defends the value of human life from "womb to tomb" — from the moment of conception until natural death. Professor Nigel Biggar, by his own admission, is missing half of this equation.