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Abortion again

Posted By Sunny On 6th June, 2007 @ 2:13 am In Civil liberties, Sex equality | Comments Disabled

Tory MP Ann Winterton’s bill on abortion was [1] defeated in parliament today. That is the good news because, as campaigners and the medical establishment point out, there was little merit to her case. The bad news is that the British anti-abortion lobby, taking their cue from American counterparts, are increasingly trying to chip away at abortion rights. There was an interesting article in [2] yesterday’s Guardian and another in last week’s [3] Independent about upcoming bills on the issue and how battle is being prepared for on either side.

I say bring it on. But this means the broader liberal-left in the UK, which for a long time has avoided talking about abortion and assumed that everything was fine, will have to get talking and organised on this issue. As Joan Smith pointed out [4] last week:

Hardline anti-abortionists have nothing to lose from making abortion a political issue, but it would threaten freedom of choice for millions of women who don’t accept the Catholic Church’s extreme view. And this is the fundamental dishonesty of their position: how can you have a political debate with anti-abortionists who don’t like the present law and are set upon imposing their morality on everyone else?

I’ll be following this debate more closely from now on too.


Comments Disabled To "Abortion again"

#1 Comment By jamal On 6th June, 2007 @ 3:31 am

Abortion is always an interesting debate, particualrly when the christians start picketing outside. The funny thing is that this is one issues where MP let their subjectivity show to evidence that birtish politics is not as secular as some people think.

#2 Comment By jamal On 6th June, 2007 @ 3:38 am

this may be of interest too [5] http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/buildmosque/

#3 Comment By Don On 6th June, 2007 @ 8:29 am

This article makes some very salient points,

[6] http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/features/display.var.1446717.0.0.php

#4 Comment By G. Tingey On 6th June, 2007 @ 9:12 am

Just for the purposes of argument:

If “human life” begins at conception, as the religious claim, then …

Why, when abortions (natural ones) are more common than live births - and this has always been the case - do they object to an artificial iteration of this procedure?
If the “soul” enters at conception, then what about the natural abortions mentioned?

I have yet to recieve ANY answer from a believer on this one.

#5 Comment By ChrisC On 6th June, 2007 @ 9:47 am

There are plenty of natural and/or accidental deaths too.

But I (not a believer by the way) would object to an “artificial iteration of this procedure” which I believe we would call murder.

Abortion is the lesser of two evils. But it is nonetheless killing.

#6 Comment By Chairwoman On 6th June, 2007 @ 10:50 am

G.Tingey - Excellent points.

ChrisC - I must disagree. Although there are probably some organisms that are designed to live as parasites (I mean this literally), mammals are not amongst them. I strongly feel that it is not killing a mammal that cannot live indepentently. If we’re talking about aborting and killing a viable foetus of 24 weeks and over, then, yes, it is killing. Even though I would still support it in the event of extreme disability.

Before anybody comes back at me by saying what a wonderful gift a seriously disabled child can be, I had the opportunity to talk to many parents of seriously disabled children when Katy was in hospital as a baby. A seriously disabled child completely changes the dynamics of a family. Apart from wearing the parents down, any siblings take second place to the disabled child, and as they grow up, have to help to take care of it, often at the expense of their own lives, studies, and opportunities.

I distinctly remember a particularly articulate, but severely physically handicapped 13 year old berating her mother for not having aborted her, but forcrd her to live an extremely painful and unfulfilling life.

I would like to hear how the pro-lifers would have justified her daily suffering to her.

#7 Comment By Rumbold On 6th June, 2007 @ 10:57 am

“how can you have a political debate with anti-abortionists who don’t like the present law and are set upon imposing their morality on everyone else?”

People who question the science behind global warming are ‘deniers’. Those who are opposed to abortion are not worth debating with. This sort of attitude seems increasingly common, and worries me. Presumably the pro-abortionists should only debate with the, er…, pro-abortionists on the matter of abortion. Then there would be a consensus.

Just to clarify my position, I believe that abortion should be legal but more restricted then it is. I supported Ann Winterton’s bill. Some anti-abortionists are beyond the pale, as are some animal rights activists and environmentalists. Most anti-abortionists simply do not like the idea of killing what they see as a child.

#8 Comment By sonia On 6th June, 2007 @ 11:56 am

i think Chairwoman makes some excellent points and she has brought up Katy so no doubt can speak about the whole being a mother issue.

If aborting a foetus is murder, then surely removal of a kidney or some such organ could be posited as murder of some sort too. ( and probably was in the early days of surgery..OOh you’re playing God)

Where do you draw the line between ‘life’ as in a living cell, or life as in human being. I don’t feel we currently have enough fundamental biological understanding to be able to morally say that aborting a foetus is ‘murder’.

my personal opinion is that until the damn thing is born i.e. out of the mother’s body with the umbilical cord cut, it ain’t a separate thing - it is part of the Mother. Biologically so! What you do to the mother affects the baby and vice versa. I don’t think you can treat ‘them’ as not having interdependent fates so basically it becomes very troublesome thinking about ‘rights’ separately. Regardless of which ’side’ of the debate you are on this should be Bloody Obvious.

#9 Comment By sonia On 6th June, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

And for bringing this up politically - it isn’t going to be much good unless these People are willing to take on everyone’s unaborted Babies and bring them up - so I expect to see a Bill for the funds to do this.

Or - they’d better start saying something along the lines of - prevention is better than cure, and either exhorting everyone to not have sex - or make damn sure they’ve educated everyone about contraception.

#10 Comment By sonia On 6th June, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

I don’t think anyone thinks abortion is Nice - but- that’s the point anti-abortionists seem to lose.

There seems to be this view floataing around that instead of an excruciating position it must be simple easy like going for a facial. I don’t know where this idea comes from -simply from not being in that position? or having a cynical view of women as not thinking very clearly - silly types - or that people simply aren’t very moral or ethical?

It is hardly the kind of thing you decide to do randomly - personally I don’t think anyone wants to end up in that position and many people who are not at all religious, when they find themselves pregnant unexpectedly - don’t want to go for an abortion, just because the option is available to them. It is something you have to think about, and NOT a decision taken lightly. I don’t think too many people think it is a desirable course of action. HOWEVER it is another matter to then talk about not having access to abortions. As far as I am aware - the set-up in this country strikes a good balance and i can’t see why it would need to be ‘tightened’.

If people feel there are too many people having abortions willy nilly ( !) then look into the root causes, not much point saying right pop the baby out love.

#11 Comment By Leon On 6th June, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

I’m pro choice. Always have been, always will be. It’s a womans body, and her right to choose. It’s not murder and it’s not killing, these are emotive terms used to debase debate and increase irrationality. We should be for reason and a humane/rational yet fair minded approach.

There got that of the way…

Anyway, yes this will be interesting (be good to show just how fundy Christians can be and might help take the heat of Muslims) although I worry the lurch toward a culture war, might not be a good idea in this country…

#12 Comment By Alison On 6th June, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

How can the catholic church pretend to hold the moral high ground on this issue when it covers up paedophilia in its midst (i say this as a relaxed catholic who has always criticised the church and who has had an abortion). I didnt see the church call the priests involved ‘evil’ or grandstand on such cruelty against children then.

This made me check my MPs view on abortion. I was pleased to find she has been leading the pro choice debate throughout. She is excellent at delivering the argument, very knowledgeable and makes Anne’s ill informed position look absurd. Good to know.

I get the feeling the church feels marginalised after the badly managed equality debate earlier this year. With a new influx of catholics and this abortion law ‘anniversary’ it is cynically manipulating the agenda. Of course it finds strength in numbers here now (and from the US as Sunny says).

I hope the church continues to deliver the debate though - it is much easier to demolish their position.

#13 Comment By Rumbold On 6th June, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

Sonia:

“Where do you draw the line between ‘life’ as in a living cell, or life as in human being. I don’t feel we currently have enough fundamental biological understanding to be able to morally say that aborting a foetus is ‘murder’.”

Well if we do not know enough to label it murder, how can we label it not murder?

“If aborting a foetus is murder, then surely removal of a kidney or some such organ could be posited as murder of some sort too. ( and probably was in the early days of surgery..OOh you’re playing God).”

I doubt that any historical treatises refer to the removal of organs as murder.

“And for bringing this up politically - it isn’t going to be much good unless these People are willing to take on everyone’s unaborted Babies and bring them up - so I expect to see a Bill for the funds to do this.”

Good point. Perhaps one way would be to relax the adoption process. There are plenty of couples who want to adopt but are prevented from doing so because of minor technical hitches or because they do not fit the perfect profile of the left-wing social worker dealing with their case.

“I don’t think anyone thinks abortion is Nice … There seems to be this view floataing around that instead of an excruciating position it must be simple easy like going for a facial. I don’t know where this idea comes from -simply from not being in that position?”

But this seems to be the way that some pro-abortion campaign groups want to have it. That sort of celebratory, hooray for abortions, tone that comes across.

#14 Comment By Don On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

I wonder what the catholic church’s position would be towards a woman contemplating abortion who agrees to caryy the fetus to full term - but only if they will arrange for it to be adopted by a gay couple.

‘That sort of celebratory, hooray for abortions, tone…’

Really? Can’t say I’ve ever seen that. But then, I have limited experience.

#15 Comment By sonia On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

Yes there are lots of problems with the way campaigns are handled. and yes sure you don’t conversely know it’s not murder. obviously - as leon points out - it’s a question of how ‘emotive’ one wants the debate to be, and one’s priorities.

I personally don’t actually believe that the people who are so concerned about abortion - the ones who really make it their lifes’ work to take abortion rights away - why? well there’s a lot of overt murder happening - are they bothered about that? are they campaigning about those issues too? are they against using murder themselves to further their cause? some clearly aren’t.

#16 Comment By sonia On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

I meant to say:

I personally don’t actually believe that the people who are so concerned about abortion - are bothered about the wider issue of murder much.

#17 Comment By Leon On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

I wonder what the catholic church’s position would be towards a woman contemplating abortion who agrees to caryy the fetus to full term - but only if they will arrange for it to be adopted by a gay couple.

They’d probably be against it but your post makes a good point of showing this is really all about the church (like virtually all organised religions) wanting to control peoples lives.

#18 Comment By Rumbold On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

Sonia:

“I personally don’t actually believe that the people who are so concerned about abortion - are bothered about the wider issue of murder much.”

There are a few psychos, especially in America. However, to say that they do not care about the wider issue of murder is a bit strange. A campaign tends to be single issue. A campaign group might be set up solely to highlight ‘honour-murders’, yet its members still care about murder in general- they are just campaigning on that one issue.

I do not believe that abortion is murder, or even killing, but some do, and most of them hold those beliefs not because they are bigoted or misogynists, but because they genuinely believe that abortion is murder.

#19 Comment By Soso On 6th June, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

If aborting a foetus is murder, then surely removal of a kidney or some such organ could be posited as murder of some sort too: Sonia.

All here are enlightened and courageous.

The pro-aborts speak truth-to-power!

I used to be pro-abort, but then a pro-lifer dared me to watch a video of a foetus being aborted.

I did.

Does a kidney’s face squirm with excruciating pain when it’s removed?

Allison; The fact The Church has pedophile priests changes nothing as pertains to the status of a human life.

It should be noted that many of the conservative Catholics opposing abortion are also the most vocal when it comes to denouncing an indolent and indifferent church hierarchy that SOMETIMES hinders the *outing* and prosecution of pedophile priests.

That said, I think abortion should remain legal. Women should always have the choice…..AND the facts.

I only wish the debate would widen out a bit.

No one, for example, ever talks about how abortion is a question of economic and social pressures. Many women undergo enormous arm-twisting to abort their pregnacies.

They worry about their jobs, and the potential loss of income. They worry their boyfriends will leave them. The diktats of the fashion industry makes them fear for their looks, their waistline, etc. Then there’s all the “effort” pro-aborts insist one has to undertake to raise the child.

Too much, too much, too much.

There was an “public service announcement”, posted at a Catholic website, broadcast about 2 years ago on German (I think) TV.

Shows a father and a small child in a supermarket. Kid puts a bag of candies in the cart. Dad says no and puts the bag back on the shelf.

Kid starts to cry, then bawl. He then throws a full-blown temper-tantrum while other shoppers back off, all nervous and embarassed.

Dad doesn’t know what to do. He’s stumped.

Caption then reads; “If you wish to avoid such embarassing situations use a condom”.

Nearly fell off my chair.

Faulty disciplinary measures? Nope.

A good tap on the bum, perhaps? Nope.

Perenting skills probleme? Nope.

Naw, the whole incident was merely a probleme of contraception.

Children, you see, are an embarrassment; they should be seen and not heard even when allowed to live.

And women? Well they should remain permenantly available (foetus free) so that men can have sex anytime they choose, and so that the economy ( a man’s world) can generate more wealth.

Yes, men need a good GARÇONNE.

#20 Comment By Rumbold On 6th June, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

“No one, for example, ever talks about how abortion is a question of economic and social pressures. Many women undergo enormous arm-twisting to abort their pregnacies.

They worry about their jobs, and the potential loss of income. They worry their boyfriends will leave them. The diktats of the fashion industry makes them fear for their looks, their waistline, etc. Then there’s all the “effort” pro-aborts insist one has to undertake to raise the child.

Good points Soso. Legal abortion is a necessary evil at best; women will go and keep them anyway, so there is no point criminalizing them. It also reduces the dangers that they face from the actual abortion.

#21 Comment By Alison On 6th June, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

Soso

They lecture people on morals. They are still trying to stop a BBC tv programme being shown in Italy that outs Vatican paedophile cover ups. Yet at the same time chose to call ‘me’ a ‘murderer’ and abortion an ‘evil’ act. Double standards - you couldnt make it up. Hardly a great selling point in their argument.

As a catholic I got to watch all those videos at school. I watched, i get it, I got all the facts, I was faced with a long wait on the NHS during which you get to mull it all over and are given all the information. I still chose to go ahead. I still go to Church occasionally. I care little what they think.

The anti abortion lot should try concentrating their efforts on a meaningful alternative rather than dictats and stigma.

Currently there are thousands of children who are hauled up in restrictive slow adoption processes. That isnt an alternative.

But they will always have to be mindful that most decisions come down to stigma (of being pregnant) and there is no greater incentive to having an abortion that that. Conversely, them using stigma in reverse is adding to the issues. That they cant see that is somewhat ironic.

#22 Comment By douglas clark On 6th June, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

Soso,

Perhaps it was gross, but the idea that a condom might avoid a responsibility you don’t want, or a woman having to abort because you were so pure, is a reasonable case to make, is it not?

#23 Comment By Leon On 6th June, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

As a catholic I got to watch all those videos at school. I watched,

Same here. They showed them to use in RE to ‘convince’ us (read: indoctrinate) us about the evils of abortion…

#24 Comment By Rumbold On 6th June, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

“Perhaps it was gross, but the idea that a condom might avoid a responsibility you don’t want, or a woman having to abort because you were so pure, is a reasonable case to make, is it not?”

That is what it is meant to imply, but as Soso said, it is in pretty poor taste; telling a father that he should have made sure his child was never born. What a bunch of eugenicists.

#25 Comment By douglas clark On 6th June, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

I’d agree, it was gross.

I don’t however agree it was made by a bunch of eugenecists.

I’d have thought it was quite a responsible notion to think about consequences, and use a condom.

We seem to be arguing about the way the message is put across, rather than the message itself?

#26 Comment By Rumbold On 6th June, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

I was half-joking Douglas. Promoting condom use is fine, but in that way?

#27 Comment By Soso On 7th June, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

Soso,

Perhaps it was gross, but the idea that a condom might avoid a responsibility you don’t want, or a woman having to abort because you were so pure, is a reasonable case to make, is it not? Douglas Clark

Perhaps I misinterpreted the ad. Maybe by saying “use a condom”, the authors meant as a tool of discipline, like the cane in 50s British schools!

What can one say? Germany has one of the world’s lowest birthrates, and so I guess Germans are very good at avoiding ‘responsabilites’ they don’t want.

But the cycle of life and life’s responsabilities go thus: If you are unwilling to change a baby’s diapers when young, then no one will change YOUR diapers when elderly.

No, they’ll just look at you and say; “your parents should’ve used a condom”.

I merely cited the ad to show how perverse we’ve become. Were we living in a society that appreciated children, that loved children, that valued children and that reserved a space for children, then the whole question of abortion and “unwanted” pregnancies would be pretty much a moot point.

At the present time, though, children and pregnancies and are an obstacle to profits and stay-at-home moms a clear threat to the supply of cheap labour.


Article printed from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com

URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1181

URLs in this post:
[1] defeated: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2095936,00.html
[2] yesterday’s Guardian: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/homeaffairs/story/0,,2094657,00.html
[3] Independent: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2600478.ece
[4] last week: http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnists_m_z/joan_smith/article2600457.ece
[5] http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/buildmosque/: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/buildmosque/
[6] http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/features/display.var.1446717.0.0.php: http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/features/display.var.1446717.0.0.php