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The subtitle to the conference upon which this journal issue is based invited us to ‘follow Crowter’. This paper does so primarily by following the person and only thereby attends to the legal judgment. In particular, it will attend to her comment that When mum told me about the discrimination against babies like me in the womb, I felt like a knife had been put into my heart. It made me feel less valued than other people. The argument is that (I) there are strong reasons for such an approach from the field of theological ethics and that this is valuable for pastoral theology and for bioethics. With this case made, the argument proceeds (II) by following and building on three elements of Heidi Crowter’s words concerning (a) the knife (b) the heart and (c) the person. The argument concludes (III) with theological reflection and deliberation regarding institutions, practices and actions which will make for ‘ethical society’, principally focussed on ecclesial life.


Journal article


The New Bioethics

Publication Date



Compassion, pre-natal testing, abortion, Down’s syndrome, persons, church