12 November 2007

The campaign against late abortions is a smokescreen for a total ban.

Most people who want a reduction in the time limit for abortions actually just want a return to a complete ban on abortions and the barbaric...
back street abortions, wealth apartheid on safe abortion and the death of 50 (working class) women every year (and untold injuries) that would follow.

The best way of demonstrating this is their opposition to the rule change getting rid of the archaic red line bureaucracy that requires two doctor signatures before an abortion can commence. This only serves to delay abortion. If those wanting to reduce the limit really cared about the number of late abortions and if they really cared about a woman's health (both mental and physical) they would support this rule change, do they? Do they heck as like! This more than anything gives away their true motives - religious moralism. Religious moralism means following a book written two thousand years (or more) ago by people that were by today's standards far from moral. It also means relying on the moral interpretations of said book by people who still think homosexuality and contraception immoral. It is wrong, they are wrong and the majority of people only tolerate this nonsense argument because they are either a) scared b) conform to peer pressure on everything c) completely mad or d) all three.

The number of late abortions in the UK is very low and most of these abortions only happen because women either find out late they are pregnant, have repressed this fact because of fear they will be victimised (sometimes violently) for being - too young, too old, too fat, too poor, too unreligious, too socially or culturally ostracised. Whatever the reason, it is not because they have taken the decision to have a late abortion lightly. These women are usually victims of circumstance and a moral judgement on whatever failing label religion or society in general wants to put on them is usually incorrect.

Lets hope that despite the best efforts of religious groups to skew the results, that MPs get the right information and take the right decision. The upper limit should be scrapped (or at least kept the same) and the ridiculously bureaucratic two doctors signatures most definitely should be scrapped as it's only result seems to be to delay abortions.


  1. So Neil, the upper limit should be scrapped??? What do you mean by that? Abortion till full term, I doubt that you do, but it's how that read to me.

    I'm of the view that with all the money being spent on contraception and sex education of the young, and the inescapable fact that adults know all about contraception, that abortion is now being used as just that. There is no rational excuse for 200,000 abortions per year.

    The total UK birth rate in 2005 was around 645,000 source: Statistics.gov PDF (1.6Mb), while the only reasonable statistic I could find gives a rate of 184,000 (in England and Wales) for 2005 - source: Dept of Health webpage. Given Scotland and NI make up around about 10% of the population, I'm putting forward a figure of 200,000.

    So essentially approximately 1/4 of all pregnancies that have the potential to become births (no statistics on the early miscarriage data). That's a disgrace, when there is plentiful, cheap and well promoted contraception. The statistics quoted give a figure of 24% medical abortions, so that still leaves 150,000 abortions on demand.

    Now my question then is, given the information available throughout our society, is it acceptable to have to use a medical procedure which is proven to have future mental health effects on many people who go through with that procedure as a backup form of contraception?

    The single biggest demographic undergoing abortion by the way are 20 - 24 years olds, so it's not a problem of lack of information to young women.

  2. Shug, yes, I am saying abortion till full term - this would only be a tiny amount of the total (if any) - the wealthy can go now to Spain for an abortion after 24 weeks if they want. If a woman wants an abortion at this late stage then she definitely is not ready to be a mother. Why force her?

    Education does reduce abortions, teenage pregnancies, and STIs. Otherwise explain how Holland does it? They have abortion more freely available than us, yet a lower rate, why?

    There is a lot of misinformation out there and yes people generally know about sex and pregnancy but there are all sorts of cultural reasons why this does not get across to them the seriousness of the situation. Inequality, deprivation, poor edcational standards, lack of personal worth etc. all contribute to our poor record.

    Anyway, I suspect you are the right wing sort who wants to stop immigration. What would we do with the extra 200k kids? Unlike the 200k (net) immigrants, they are a massive burden for 16 years guaranteed, and you lot keep telling us how crowded our 'little island' is. Have some consistency please.

  3. Neil,

    You can come with a good reason for every single abortion carried out worldwide. I'm not suggesting for a moment that there are not reasons why women take the option, what I'm suggesting is that our entire approach to this issue is a mess.

    Your coverall excusing every abortion does not hide the fact that there are so many carried out. Those who legislated the original law are shocked, those in power now are shocked - and you're solution is to campaign for full-term abortions. Frankly, I'm surprised that someone with an allegedly egalitarian mindset can think in this way. Your viewpoint is not about empowering women, it's about tolerating anything.

    Would it be OK for a woman to have a handicapped child and then decide after 2 or 3 weeks it was going to be too difficult and have the child destroyed?

    As to your frankly outrageous inference that I am a racist of some description - you don't even know me, I'm making a point you don't agree with so you attempt to smear me with racist taunts. That's utterly pathetic.

  4. Neil, don't be silly. On this issue there are no 'smokescreens'. The Catholics are unashamedly against abortion, full stop. Others prevaricate. Feminists want to make it easier to get an abortion.

    Yes, late abortions are somehow disturbing or unsettling to common morality (even to a rabid libertarian like me), but the best way to avoid late abortions is to make early abortions easier.

    So, sod all this 'two doctors' lark, provided pregnant girl/woman has looked a doctor or nurse in the eye and said 'I do not want this child' that is qualification enough AFAIAC. Get it over with. Move on.

  5. yes, I am saying abortion till full term

    Think about what you are saying Neil. You are saying that in one part of the hospital doctors would be killing babies capable of an independent existence from their mothers and in the other they would be putting them in cribs. Clearly that would be appalling prospect and could not be workable. It seems to me that once the foetus is capable of an independent existence from its mother then it is no longer a 'parasite' and has rights as a person. There will always be a grey area where a very premature foetus might be able to survive with very significant medical intervention, and in that grey area the least worst option would be the favour the rights of the mother. But abortion up to full term? Now that would be 'baby killing'.

  6. Shug, you are the one that brought up racism. All I said was, why is 200,000 burdensome unwanted births ok but not 200,000 productive and economically necessary immigrants? Answer the question.

    As for your question, once someone is born they become a person and therefore have the full protection of our laws, until that time they are not a person. It is very clear and simple.

  7. As for your question, once someone is born they become a person and therefore have the full protection of our laws, until that time they are not a person. It is very clear and simple

    Your grasp of ethics is as faulty as your appreciation of the practical politics of this. There might ot might not be some tinkering with the upper limit to relect advances in the care of premature babies but no government is going to permit 9 month foetuses being aborted, so you can forget full term abortions right now. Public opinion and medical opinion would simply not accept it. End of.

  8. Stephen - "no government is going to permit 9 month foetuses being aborted".

    Oh yes they do! The USA, Spain and Netherlands for starters. If it is politically possible in the religiously charged US environment, it is certainly possible here.

  9. Neil, you are wrong. The US prohibits abortions after 26 weeks and Spain after 24 weeks. I have to go out now so I can't check Holland. Why don' you as an exercise.

  10. Stephen, there is no fixed limit on abortions in the US. Roe v Wade suggested a viability test based on current medical opinion - this is usually placed around 26-28 weeks but can be later (or earlier at 24 weeks) than this. Check Wikipedia here.

    Abortion in the Netherlands is effectively allowed anytime between conception and viability - in practise 24 weeks - but there is (like the US) no specific limit.

    In Spain ditto - women from the UK go to Spain to have an abortion later than 24 weeks - "Spanish law is less permissive, but does allow abortion when the woman's physical or mental health is at serious risk. In this situation, there is no time limit". From BBC website.

  11. there is no fixed limit on abortions in the US. Roe v Wade suggested a viability test based on current medical opinion

    Which is my point. Viability means whether the foetus could survive outside the womb, which is what this debate is all about. If medical opinion decides that younger foetuses may be viabile then that may reduce the limit. Even prior to the 1967 act, abortions were permitted in the UK in extreme circumstances, such as to save the mother's life.

  12. In the US and Spain and to a lesser extent the Netherlands, the risks to the mental and physical health of the pregnant woman overide the viability of the foetus (right up until full term).

  13. In the US and Spain and to a lesser extent the Netherlands, the risks to the mental and physical health of the pregnant woman overide the viability of the foetus (right up until full term)

    But not 'abortion on demand' up to the point of delivery, which appears to be the position you are advocating.

  14. Stephen, I do think abortion on demand is the right way to go. These countries do not subscribe to that, but any woman in real stress would not be subject to an arbitrary 'viability' limit either.

  15. To abort a baby one day from birth is infanticide so I would completely and utterly reject your views on full term abortions. I am confident that British law will continue to defer to medical opinion on the viability of the foetus. If the baby can surive independently outside the mother then it is a person and should have the rights of a person.izuko

  16. I suppose to abort a 'baby' one week or three or five weeks from birth could be described as infanticide as well, but none of them would be because to be a person a 'baby' has actually to be born and none of them have been. The viability or otherwise is irrelevant. While an abortion at 12 weeks or 20 weeks is better than one at 35 weeks - none of these is infanticide because the foetus is not an infant. If we believe that a woman should have a right to choose an abortion - we believe she has the right - we do not impose arbitrary conditions. The point is, it is better to have safe abortions than to have unsafe abortions, the position of the morality or otherwise of abortion is irrelevant.

  17. The viability or otherwise is irrelevant

    Let's think. Am I going to rely on medical opinion or am I going to rely on you? I think I shall rely on medical opinion, which certainly does not consider viability to be an irrelevance.

    If we believe that a woman should have a right to choose an abortion - we believe she has the right - we do not impose arbitrary conditions

    There are very few absolute rights. A point that you agree with when people complain about restrictions on freedom of speech or civil liberties. And I do not consider that viability is arbitrary. I do believe in the right to abortion but I do not agree with it up to the point of birth or after the point of medically agreed viability of the foetus. It is not my business to declare when that point occurs; there are those much better qualified than I to make that determination. In this respect I am content with the status quo on UK abortion law. If you want to portray that position as my being hostile to the right to abortion, then go ahead. You won't be right but I think I have made my position as clear as I can and can say no more.

  18. Stephen, we are clearly on the same side here. I think the present law is almost perfect - just need to abolish the 'two doctor' rule (which I think you also agree with me on), remove the stigma that surrounds abortion and make it 'on demand' and in some extreme circumstances accept a handful of post 24 weeks abortions. I don't see the need for the viability limit. The abortion act is useful in that it saves us from unsafe abortions - the moral judgement is to save real lives not potential ones. Maybe I am taking an absolute position on this - but like you say, sometimes that is justified.