An Opportunity and a Threat

June 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm (abortion, Lib Dems, Max Dunbar, Tory scum)

Via this gloriously strident piece from Laurie Penny, here’s a long article on the F Word about a fray that’s going to be reopened any time soon.

Lisa Ansell brings fresh points to what often seems like an over-rehearsed debate.

1) Rather than on the health and protection of the patient, the abortion debate is essentially focused on the rights of a fictional person that does not exist in any legal or medical sense.

2) There is not yet a satisfactory objective answer to the question of where life begins.

3) It is the only medical issue in which the patient is deemed unable to understand the moral implications of their treatment.

4) We think that ‘pro-life’ craziness is a vulgar American phenomenon that couldn’t possibly catch on here. Unfortunately:

We have an All Party Pro Life Group within the House of Commons, whose administrator is funded by the innocuous sounding CARE.

CARE is one of a number of Christian lobby groups within Parliament. ‘Christian Action, Research and Education’ has been described as ‘architects’ of various attempts to restrict abortion provision, and its establishment of a presence in Parliament has come under scrutiny from the Charities Commission. Its annual report shows that it has had 20 interns working within the House of Commons, at a cost of £70000, even though it is prohibited from political lobbying. Its interns are present in the offices of senior members of the Conservative party, in the office of a backbench Labour MP and the offices of several Liberal Democrat spokespeople. ‘Christian Concern for our Nation’ spends a great deal of time and money supporting MPs who will further its cause.

These groups are mirroring tactics of fundamentalist Christian groups in the US, with a concerted, long-term strategy of attacking gay rights and abortion. Their influence is being keenly felt within the Conservative party, and their presence is established in a House of Commons which has changed dramatically.

In recent political history, there has been little desire among the majority of politicians and pro-choice groups for abortion to become a political issue – these groups have pushed it back onto the political agenda.

Seventy one of the MPs who voted against the cut in the upper-time-limit for abortion stood down at the end of the last parliamentary session, and little is known about the views of the MP’s who have just taken their seats. It may be tempting to dismiss Nadine Dorries MP when she says that ‘the real opportunity for abortion law reform would arise with a Conservative government’, but pre-election polls showed a majority of Conservative MPs supported a cut in the 24-week limit.

Our Prime Minister and our Equalities Minister both support a cut in the 24-week limit, and regardless of Cameron’s murmurings of ‘abortion on demand’, it seems likely that this issue will find itself discussed in Parliament sooner rather than later.

While it has always been an issue where MPs vote with their conscience, the fragile nature of our coalition government means that the need to support its policies could take precedence over legal, medical and scientific arguments which support a woman’s right to autonomy over her own body.

Image of Argentinian pro-choice demo by Gabby DC

4 Comments

  1. Jim M. said,

    ” It may be tempting to dismiss Nadine Dorries MP…… ”

    As a reluctant constituent of the Ms Dorries, may I venture to suggest that “tempting” is too weak a word to describe the stuff that dreams are of!

  2. Jim M. said,

    “… of the Ms Dorries”

    Sorry.. you’ll have to insert your choice of adjectives to describe Ms Dorries…..
    I can’t bring myself to choose!

  3. Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction - can liposuction be used to reduce weight to get into the guard or military? | said,

    […] An Opportunity and a Threat « Shiraz Socialist […]

  4. John Meredith said,

    I don’t think that Lisa Ansell’s points are necessarily that persuasive:

    “1) Rather than on the health and protection of the patient, the abortion debate is essentially focused on the rights of a fictional person that does not exist in any legal or medical sense.”

    Well, abortion and pregnancy in general are not like other medical situations and we usually take that for granted. But leaving that to one side, there is no medical sense of ‘person’. And whether the foetus is a legal person or not is precisely the point at issue.

    “2) There is not yet a satisfactory objective answer to the question of where life begins.”

    That’s true, but it is probably truer to say that there can by definition be no objective answer to this, it will always be arbitrary. That makes problems for both sides of the debate.

    “3) It is the only medical issue in which the patient is deemed unable to understand the moral implications of their treatment.”

    But that is not true. Women are deemed to be able to understand the moral implications of their actions, but there is a check in place to ensure that they are prepared for the emotional costs. And there are other medical procedures that require a second opinion before the can be done, such as voluntary organ donation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 512 other followers

%d bloggers like this: