Sometimes you read something that leaves you feeling as though the ceiling has swapped places with the floor and the room is spinning in five different directions at once.
Like this letter published in The Irish Times today:
Sir, – Much of the confusion around the subject of abortion seems to have its origins in the inability to distinguish between a foetus and a child. The latter is self-explanatory. Having entered the world and had its birth recorded, it has a name and an identity.
A foetus is rather different. It depends completely on its host for its blood supply and nourishment, and the possibility of a future independent existence.
Much of our contemporary thinking emphasises individual rights and the ability to choose the course of our lives. Given the effect that pregnancy has on the lives of one gender in particular, it would seem that those (including the Catholic church) who oppose abortion are seeking to turn the clock back. There are enough unwanted babies in the world, and it would serve no purpose to increase the supply. – Yours, etc,
Not a single line in this missive seems to flow naturally or logically from the line before it.
My favourite line is "Given the effect that pregnancy has on the lives of one gender in particular, it would seem that those (including the Catholic church) who oppose abortion are seeking to turn the clock back." What does it mean? Why should the fact that pregnancy has more of an effect on women mean the Catholic Church wants to turn the clock back? It's a bit like saying, "Given that Lima is the capital of Peru, there is little chance of an English tennis player winning Wimbledon this year."
How is a baby any less dependent than a foetus? What does having your birth recorded have to do with anything? What "purpose" do babies serve, anyway?
A real chestnut.