Saturday, 9 July 2011

Highly billed London pro-abortion rally draws small group of ‘usual suspects’

The pro-abortion lobby has been working up to it for months but today’s rally in Old Palace Yard Westminster has broken records only for deep yawns and low attendance.

The event was trailed by the Guardian, trumpeted by Abortion Rights, promoted by Liberal Conspiracy, the country’s most popular blog, and even featured on the new British version of Huffington Post.

It was even pre-tweeted by Polly Toynbee and blogged by Hackney MP Diane Abbott.

So people might have been led to believe that we were in for a repeat of the crowds seen at the royal wedding. Actually no.

The demo was organised in reaction to what we had been told was a growing concern with moves to restrict abortion. The pro-abortionists’ main concerns, according to their press office (aka the Guardian newspaper) are the admission of the pro-life charity LIFE to the government’s new sexual health advisory forum, and the attempt by two MPs, Nadine Dorries and Frank Field, to procure an offer of independent counselling for women with unplanned pregnancies.

These fears are well justified as the government is apparently about to act on Dorries and Field’s recommendations without even taking the matter to a vote in the Commons.

So the pro-abortion lobby’s fears that they are losing their strangle-hold have a strong evidence base. However they seem to be badly mistaken in their assessment of how much support their position has amongst the general public.

I decided to log in to twitter to follow events as they unfolded. First we had a few tweets from prospective attendees about how excited they were to be going, then posted photos of protestors carrying placards, then further tweets about who was speaking.

But not that many!

The reason why was immediately clear from the pictures. Very few people had actually turned up. I looked through the tweets to find a reference to numbers but found only one by former MP Evan Harris referring to ‘hundreds’.

I didn’t have long to wait for this to be confirmed as the Guardian journalist who had been called along to cover the event very quickly posted a report in which he claimed that – wait for it – ‘more than 300 people’ attended. Wow 300! Enough to fill an enclosure measuring almost ten meters square. The police must have been terrified!

If a mere 300 is all that the pro-abortion lobby can gather on a sunny Saturday afternoon in London (why they held it on a Saturday when no MPs are present in Westminster remains a mystery) then Dorries and Field should encounter very little difficulty in their attempts to provide women with a properly informed choice.

In fact the Guardian reports a Health Department spokesman saying in response to the protest that the government is already ‘working on proposals to allow all women seeking abortion to be offered access to independent counselling by appropriately qualified individuals’.

He went on to add, ‘It is vital that any woman considering an abortion is given full and accurate information so she can make an informed decision. Government policy and good practice is that she should be fully informed of the choices available, including alternatives to abortion. Independent counseling would only be for those women who choose to have it. More information will be available after proposals have been finalised.’

Well that sounds pretty reasonable to me. And I suspect it will sound pretty reasonable to the overwhelming majority of people on this planet; which perhaps explains why so few people turned up for the rally.

What the pro-abortion lobby, stuck in their 1960s time-warp, seem not to have noticed is that the nation has moved on.

Most people now think that there are too many abortions, are seriously disturbed by late abortions and are increasingly convinced, especially by fetal ultrasound and fetal sentience studies, of the humanity of life before birth. And abortion is no longer seen simply as a left/right political issue. The abortion enthusiasts will no longer be able to rely on the unthinking reflex support of trade unions and other traditional Labour voters. It just ain’t that simple any more.

Judging by today’s rally, the pro-abortion lobby are sounding more and more like diehard extremists; too shrill and strident; a case of ‘argument weak, shout louder’.

I can feel a post titled ‘Twenty reasons why the pro-abortion lobby is losing ground’ coming on. Maybe tomorrow.


  1. But what you don't realise is that each person at the rally was representing all others like me who weren't able to be there in person.
    You are also incorrect in calling a pro-abortion rally. It was a pro *choice* rally.

  2. Pro abortion is indeed incorrect. As someone much wiser than I said "I am pro abortion in the same way I am pro triple by-pass, I hope I don't need one but I am very relieved that the option is there". I was there yesterday and every person there for the rally was passionate about choice. I was there to protect my two young daughter's rights. The thought of their right to choose what goes on with their own bodies is being eroded is one that haunts me constantly.

  3. Pro-abortion is a very inflammatory turn of phrase. I was there supporting pro-choice - no-one should be able to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body.

  4. Surely a "properly informed choice" can only be made when in possession of the full facts, not just those cherry-picked by an organisation morally opposed to abortion? The charities currently providing abortion counselling and services are regulated by the Department of Health, and are obliged to present full, factual information to women considering abortion. There us nothing broken about the current system, and the Dorries/Field attempt to "fix" it would result only in confusion and delays for those in need of speedy, unbiased information.

  5. I've not been on a demo for many years - and never one related to this issue. The 'usual suspects' tag is incorrect - there were many women there like me.

  6. Pro-abortion is the correct factual description. It means believing that a woman should have the legal right to kill her own defenceless young. If you believe this you are pro-abortion.

    Pro-choice by contrast means respecting the right of vulnerable people before or after birth to choose not to be killed. People who take a pro-abortion position do not respect this right.

    A baby is not part of a woman's body. It is a genetically distinct highly vulnerable human being brought into existence through no choice of its own. Vulnerable human beings I believe deserve legal protection against those who might have an interest in their deaths.

  7. Peter, you are using emotive language to hide the lack of substance behind your argument. It's not a right to kill 'defenceless young' - this right does not exist, born children have all the protection afforded to any other human life and rightly so. A baby IS a part of it's mother's body and remains so until birth. To deny this is an utterly ludicrous argument. To suggest that forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child for 9 months is to take us back to the dark days of backstreet abortions. The only choice in a civilised country is for a woman to have total control over her own body in the same way men do. To quote a wiser person than I am 'Every baby a wanted baby, every mother a willing mother'. Our body, our choice. Never yours.

  8. > Pro-choice by contrast means respecting the
    > right of vulnerable people before or after
    > birth to choose not to be killed.
    It also means respecting the right of potentially vulnerable women to choose what happens to their bodies. I find very sad and worrying that you do not feel that you can support this choice.

    > People who take a pro-abortion position do not > respect this right.
    I would be interested if you could share the evidence on which to base this.

    > A baby is not part of a woman's body.
    In which case, where does a baby come from ?! I am assuming that you realise the stories about gooseberry bushes are a fallacy.

    If you look at the full range of photos, you will see that at least two of the women present had babies with them. If they really were 'pro-abortion' as you are trying to make out, then those babies wouldn't exist.

    You are using emotive language to hide the lack of logic and substance in your argument. Please explain, why the right for a woman to choose what happens to her body scares you so much.

    Liz M

  9. Three comments and three questions:


    1. I certainly do not believe that a man has the absolute right to do what he wants with his own body. Absolutely not! I sincerely hope that you don't either.

    2. A women who aborts only some of her progeny whilst sparing others has still denied those progeny the opportunity of life however well she treats her surviving children.

    3. Nine months carrying a pregnancy in order that the baby might then have an opportunity to live a normal life with adoptive parents is I think a good thing to do.


    1. Given that individual rights will inevitably conflict, what do you consider is the most fundamental of all human rights?

    2. Is the baby a genetically distinct resident in the mother's body or is it part of the mother's body? And why?

    3. What status do you give to human life before birth? And by what means do you decide?

  10. By the way, may I welcome you all onto my blog and thank you for your comments and your willingness to discuss these important matters.

    My blog software is telling me that many of you are being directed from a website called - is that correct?

  11. Well said Peter.

  12. Also headed here from that same website. Don't place any significance in our name, we were members of a wedding forum who were once described as the old "dead wood". Now we are a group of, mostly, women who met on line and continue to do so. We come from all walks of life and from many backgrounds. We have lawyers and doctors and teachers.
    We are mothers and fathers and people who have decided not to have children.
    Christians and Atheists and those of other faiths, and we come together, on line to discuss what is going on in the world at large and in our own private worlds.
    Recently we have discussed a couple of cases - in the US - where women are seen very much as vessels for the child they are carrying, there's a 15 yr old facing life imprisonment over the death of her child - stillborn at 36weeks. The mother had taken drugs but there is no proven link between that and the baby's death. Nevertheless, she stands trial.
    This, and other cases, raised strong feelings and useful discussion was had. As a result a group of those who were able, attended the rally on Saturday.
    We're not a pro-abortion lobbying group.

    We are a group of, mostly, women who care about how we, and more importantly those who will come after us and about us, are treated.

    For what it's worth the vast majority of us would far rather see a world where abortion was totally unnecessary, but until we do we want to be in a world where it is legal.

    For myself, I am anti-abortion, I do think that all these pregnancies are lives which could be wonderful but I am also not about to be the one to tell a woman she has to have her baby or face a backstreet abortion.

  13. God gave us free will, that would make Him pro-choice right?

    I am grateful for the women that protested not because I am pro-abortion but because I am pro-choice, I am pro-free will, I am pro-woman and pro-family and I am a mother.

  14. Thanks for the background information on deadwood Tilly.

    The sorts of cases you raise make up a tiny precentage of the 200,000 abortions that take place in this country or the 1.5 million in the US each year. There is no plan to make abortion illegal in this country that I am aware of.

    The move by Dorries and Field, which prompted this demo, is simply about offering women a chance to have counselling independent of abortion providers. I'm struggling to understand why that is a problem for people with the kind of views you claim to have.

    On what grounds do you believe abortion should be available? Do you think there should be any limits? And if so what limits?

  15. Jo, Do you think there are any limits to free will? Or do you think everybody should be able to do anything they choose to do? As a society we do actually believe that there are limits to choice. That is why have laws. Every law limits someone's choice. I believe God also thinks there are limits to choice. Please elaborate on your position which I am struggling to understand.

  16. Pro abortion, pro murder, no difference.

    Inflammatory words? No just the truth.

    What about the rights of the baby?

    No I will not dehumanize an unborn baby and call it a fetus.

  17. Anonymous, a huge difference in terms of the law of this country for a start. At the moment our country draws a difference between the rights of a baby and the rights of a foetus and that is what we do not want to see change. Why do you feel the right of the baby come above the right of the woman? Because that is what you are proposing - that the woman gives away her human rights in favour of a person as yet to be born.

    I do believe I have a choice to do as I wish with my own body - this is not the same as doing what I want full stop, I operate strictly within the limits of the law of this country. Laws which I do not think should be decided on the basis of a religious concept of morality. I do not count a foetus which is entirely reliant on my body and has no independent ability for survival. And yes, I do have a baby, a very much loved and wanted baby. All I ask is that every woman has the right to choose when to have a baby (and indeed not to if that's their preference). Yes, in a perfect world contraception would deal with that for us, but this is a far from perfect world and so a safety net is required.

    As for 'simply allowing independent counselling' - the implication of it being independent of abortion providers is that it would be pro-life in slant. I think you will find that the counselling BPAS (for example) provide has no interest in forcing women into any decisions, only in enabling them to make an informed decision free of judgement.

  18. > Pro abortion, pro murder, no difference.
    Terminating a group of cells is no more or less murder than cutting your hair or nails.

    > Inflammatory words? No just the truth.
    I think you need to look up the definition of inflammatory.

    > No I will not dehumanize an unborn baby and
    > call it a fetus.

    Yet you are quite happy to dehumanize yourself by hiding behind an anon ID.

    Liz M

  19. Mel,

    You are talking about two different rights. The right not to be killed and the right not to carry a baby to term. Are you really saying that the second right trumps the first? And if so why? Or are you saying that women's rights are more important than those of their children? Isn't that profoundly ageist?

    A pregnant woman already has a baby inside her. She is already a mother. So the decision is whether or not to end her baby's life, not whether or not to become a mother.

    Are you really suggesting that someone with 'no independent ability for survival' can be justifiably killed? Many of us fall within that category at some stage after birth: babies, young children, many elderly, sick and disabled people, many women might say 'most husbands'! Why draw the line at birth?

    Counselling 'independent of abortion providers' does not mean pro-life counselling. It just means giving a woman the time, space and opportunity to reflect on the three possible choices the law allows - abortion, adoption and keeping the baby - along with receiving information on the strengths and weaknesses of each and how to explore each option. Many women today claim they chose abortion because they felt they were given no other choice.

    BPAS does not empower and equip women to make choices 2 and 3 and profits financially only from choice 1. That is not right which is why the government is going to change it.

  20. Liz, You said that 'Terminating a group of cells is no more or less murder than cutting your hair or nails.'

    The human fetus is a genetically unique and distinct living organism only separated by nutrition and time from you or I. Your analogy makes no biological sense and many people would find it highly offensive.

    By 8 weeks after conception all organs are present and functioning and the heart is beating from 21 days. Every abortion therefore stops a human heart beating and ends a human life.

    By contrast hair and nails are aggregates of keratin protein, which arise from cells genetically indistinct from any of our other body cells. There is simply no comparison.

  21. > Every abortion therefore stops a human heart
    > beating and ends a human life.

    In your opinion. Being a doctor, I'm sure you aware that it's not until week 23 that the brain develops to an extent that it can support life outside the womb. It is *your opinion* that terminating a pregnancy is akin to killing a baby; an opinion I find offensive. Isn't it wonderful that we live in a country with free speech ?

    I am still waiting to hear why you have a problem with a woman deciding what happens to her body.

    Liz M

  22. Getting counselling re your options from BPAS is like getting advice about which medication to take from a drug rep. I imagine there are BPAS counsellors, most of them even, who do their best to be genuinely unbiased but it seems pretty obvious to me that it is problematic to expect unbiased counselling from a provider who earns money from only one of the available options.

  23. Liz M,

    >> I'm sure you aware that it's not until week 23 that the brain develops to an extent that it can support life outside the womb

    You're displaying remarkable ignorance here. Surviving outside the womb has less to do with brain development than a number of other physiological and anatomical factors. Even anencephalic fetuses can survive outside the womb for several hours - these are babies without a brain. So brain development is not the sole issue here.

    Calling a fetus a "part of a woman's body" is ludicrous. I am a woman, and to my shock and horror I was created without a fetus attached, believe it or not!! A fetus is merely resident inside the womb - it is a temporary passenger, not a permanent appendage. Your attempts to equate it to an appendage of the human body, like a liver or appendix, are simply absurd.

    Women who want "choice" should choose abstinence if they wish not to get pregnant. One of the physiological hazards of having intercourse is a pregnancy. If you wish to avoid this, simple - don't have sex. Calling a pregancy a "part of your body" is both stupid and offensive. It is nothing of the sort.

    As for backstreet abortions, not only were they few and far between, they occurred in the old days ONLY because there was a social stigma attached to unwed mothers. That stigma no longer exists (especially in the west, where unmarried parents indeed seem to revel in their unwed status, and there are several high-profile celebs who are unwed and parents), so there is no longer any need for legal abortion except where it endangers the mother's life. The number of women seeking abortions today has increased by a factor of heaven knows how much - this is NOT because all these women would have been seeking backstreet abortions had they lived prior to 1967, but because abortion is "there", it's legal.

    In short, it is akin to George Mallory's famous response when asked WHY he climbed Everest - "Because it was there". Similarly, women today are doing it simply because it's there - i.e. they are taking advantage of the fact that the LAW permits it. In other words, if it were illegal, they wouldn't be having it - because the reason to resort to backstreet abortions no longer exists. The reason nowdays is CONVENIENCE - abortion is available on tap, and women no longer take adequate precautions to prevent a pregnancy. You can sleep around with whomever you want, whenever you want, without thought for the consequences, because if you get pregnant you still have the "safety net" of being permitted to kill your own child anyway. Women who did not have such a safety net might think twice before engaging in irresponsible behaviour (obviously this applies to the men too).

    The abortion industry has tried to put a spin on this by claiming that it's a woman's "right" to choose, when in fact it is NOTHING of the sort. The Abortion act merely decriminalises abortion in cases where the woman's life/mental health is deemed to be at risk - there is absolutely nothing in there about women having "choice", or it being a "right". That bit has been dreamt up by pro-abortionists like yourself who think the law allows social abortions. It does NOT. The law is being subverted simply because my doctor colleagues, and society at large, are turning a blind eye to it - that still does not make it about "choice". Read the 1967 Abortion act and you will note that there is nothing in there about women getting to "choose", or it being their right.

    As for getting counselling from BPAS, it is like asking a cat to guard a piece of fried fish (fried fish emits a much stronger smell than the raw variety, btw). Hardly in their interests to give independent unbiased advice.


    (Am medically qualified and pro-choice too - the choice to *avoid* an unwanted pregnancy and thus the choice to avoid the immoral killing of unborn babies).

  24. Continued:

    As for inflammatory, I think what some of you really mean is that you don't like facing up to the consequences of your actions. You'd prefer them whitewashed and couched in "nice" fluffy language so you can feel better about killing a small human being. But there would be no need for anyone to get inflamed unless it caused some stirrings of conscience deep down (which I suspect is the case - hence the desperate rationalisations and the convincing of oneself that it's "alright" really).

    But using euphemisms does not change what you are doing - destroying another life. You can rationalise and justify all you want, but that's what it boils down to.


  25. I cannot believe in the honesty of the pro-abortionists / pro-'choicers'. Here are four among many questions I hope (in vain?) they will not continue to avoid:
    (1) When a baby begins is a manmade semantic issue, but when a human being begins is a biological issue concerning a particular species, and therefore pretty much irrefutable.
    (2) If 'I can do what I like with my body' (can't you just sense the me-first selfish babyish adolescence here?) why would that not include rape?
    (3) If a baby is part of your body surely it is suspicious that it has different DNA / genetic code from you. How can this be?
    (4) Pro-lifer Alcorn wrote a book Pro-Life Answers that has 219 rational/logical non-religious arguments. How many arguments (not soundbites or slogans) can the abortionists muster, and why do they think they have arrived at a conclusion without having first addressed any of his 219 points?
    Prove to us that you are to be traken intellectually seriously.
    Thanks - Dr Christopher Shell

  26. There's been a lot of offensive comments posted on both sides of this debate.

    Pro Life people are not all God botherers who simply want to push their religious views onto everyone else and stop women having the right to choose. From their point of view, the "feotus" is a "baby" and thus for them whether it is alright to abort a baby is no more a religious issue than whether it was alright for baby P to be killed. You might not agree with this point of view, but surely if you can understand that if someone differs from you in where they believe the life of a human being starts then they are going to have naturally fierce desire to protect what they see as a baby, equal to what you would have for where you perceive life to start
    And pro choice people aren't all lazy women who just want to sleep around and then carelessley kill their child to save themselves any responsibility. They simply differ from you in where they see a life starting, so from their worldview they are not ending a life, they are merely stopping one from starting, and it's not always about taking an easy option either, for many women who have an abortion it's what they see as a difficult painful decision to choose the lesser of two evils.
    So, if we're ever going to achieve any kind of outcome on this issue a bit of understanding and empathy of one another's viewpoints wouldn't go amiss.

    Now for what I AM struggling with.

    Why is it that the pro life people are FOR the proposals that Nadine Dorris and Frank Field have put forward and the Pro Choice people are AGAINST. I don't get it?

    From a pro life point of view, the proposals do nothing to stop women having abortions, in fact if anything they help them make an informed and empowered choice as to whether they should or not- yes more women might realise that what they are doing has consequences, might realise that there are other options, but really they don't do anything to stop abortion and do more to normalise it, they are about presenting it as a viable option alongside adoption, surely this isn't what pro-life people want? Isn't it like opening up a "murder supplies store" where at least murders can buy the right tools and find out how to murder people properly?

    From a pro choice point of view, pro choice is about being for abortion because it empowers women to make choices about what to do with their own bodies. The proposals are about making sure women have all the information necessary to make that choice, that they are fully aware of all options not just one, and that they are fully aware of all the consequences of all the options. There is nothing in them about making them "pro life", quite the opposite, the proposals say that at the moment women aren't given all the FACTS (not opinions about what's right or wrong) and so lets INDEPENDENTLY give them FACTS. Surely this would empower women, surely if you're pro-choice you're also pro information?

  27. LR -
    I must take exception to the inference that Backstreet abortions happened only because of social stigma. I think that is ludicrous. Even if I take on board your point - that women have abortions because they can, look at the reasons for those.
    Women terminate pregnancies because they are told that their baby has no chance of survival, in some cases as far as birth, in others that the baby will die soon after birth.
    Women have terminations because they are told that their baby will be disabled to a point that will give that child no quality of life.
    Women have terminations because their family could not cope, financially, physically emotionally or psychologically with another baby.
    Women have terminations because they are not themselves able to raise a child.
    Women have terminations because the conception of their child was foist upon them.
    Women have abortions because they are too young or too old to cope.
    And yes, women do have abortions because they simply didn't think and became pregnant when they hadn't wanted to.
    If you think that all goes away because there is no longer a social stigma attached to single motherhood you are very wrong.
    And the alternative? For the woman who is pregnant but is unable, incapable or simply unwilling to care for a child? What is it? It's not adoption, our society is simply not geared up to cope with ordinary women, with jobs and a place in society, going through a pregnancy, being treated as an expectant "mother" and then giving that child away. Would that it were! It's not. In the 50s a woman in my family had an illegitimate child, her family supported her and kept her and the child with them for 6 months which is when she decided to give that child up for adoption, and in return she was thought of as hard, uncaring and unfeeling, unwomanly.
    I don't think society has changed that much, if anything it is harder now in this aspect.
    Abortion is not available "on tap" the law still demands that two doctors agree that there is reason to terminate. But you know that, as you state it in your contradictory post.

  28. Someone asked why counselling was a bad idea, it's not, in and of itself but may I refer you to this article:

  29. That took me to a rather tasty Victoria Sponge recipe which I may bake but I'm still none the wiser about why pro choice people don't want good information given to women in crisis pregnancy? ;o)

  30. Tilly Floss- Just a note on what I said about understanding each others points of view. You've given a really good list of why women have abortions to LF. But I have a feeling that LF's response might be to ask you if you would ever consider any of those to be good reasons to kill a living born human being? Now I also have a feeling that you'd say "of course not" which is why all these emotive appeals about poor women and their circumstances never work with pro life people, because where you differ is in that they see the "feotus" as a human being, a life, and like you they don't think any of those things are good enough reason to to kill a person.
    Likewise, when pro life people start using words like "kill" and "murder" and "life" they don't work with pro choice people, because again, it's unlikely you disagree on the morality of whether it is wrong or right to kill someone, you just disagree about whether a "feotus" is "someone"
    So really, if you're going to debate abortion, without getting all offensive and upset with one another, why don't you accept that you do have common ground and your point of difference is simply at what point life begins.....then you can just focus on this and avoid all the emotive stuff which in all honesty we probably all broadly agree on.

  31. Sara- I wouldn't kill a 2 day old FOETUS for any of those reasons. I'm a Christian, for me life begins at conception, in every single one of those cases I would continue with the pregnancy and trust to God to deal with what befell me.

    But I am not all women.

    Hope you enjoy the cake, I'll look for the other link ;-)


    It's a good job I didn't post my Olympics account actually!

  33. Sarah, I think the key issue is not when life begins - we all know that biologically speaking human life begins at conception. The key issue is what status we give to human life at its different stages of development and why.

    The prolife position is that all human life at whatever stage of development, regardless of degree of disability or intellectual capacity is worthy of respect, protection, empathy and wonder - and that the right to life (ie. not to be killed) is the right on which all other rights are based.

    Christians in addition believe that human beings have dignity because fundamentally they are made in the image of God, but many prolifers are not Christian. The prolife position, although it precludes the taking of innocent human life, also underlines the responsibility to care for, support and protect the pregnant woman who, as you say, is often a vulnerable human being in great crisis and in great need.

    With respect to your question about why prolifers should back the Dorries/Field amendment, many actually don't on the grounds that neither Dorries nor Field are prolife - they support, for example, the morning after pill, early abortion and abortion for disability.

    But others, like me, support them as we feel that their amendment will offer better protection for women and babies than at present and will mean both that fewer women are pressured (often by others) to choose abortion and also that more babies will survive.

    As a doctor who has counselled women in this situation, and knowing many others who do, I can tell you that about one out of three will choose to keep their babies or have them adopted if they are given time, space, support and information about alternatives to abortion. And they will have fewer regrets afterwards.

    I remember a young woman who I supported through a change of mind some years ago who sent me a picture of her little boy two years later with a card saying 'thank you for helping me avoid making the worst decision of my life'.

    For every baby saved and every women supported it is worth it. That is why, although I do not share all Dorries' and Field's beliefs, I nonetheless think that they are fighting for a better situation than we have at present. Just because we do not agree with someone in full does not mean that we cannot find common ground, a point which you have made yourself.

    As to why 'pro-choice' people will not support Dorries and Field, it is a mystery to me. I think they believe that if they give one inch they will lose a mile.

  34. Tilly, You haven't really addressed any of the very good points that LR made in her post above. None of the justifications you have given for abortion actually justifies the taking on an innocent life. She is also right that backstreet abortion was very rare before the law changed and that abortion is legal now only on medical grounds. She is also right in her point about abstinence. Apart from the very small number of women who have unplanned pregnancies as a result of rape or incest the overwhelming majority of those 200,000 people in the UK each year who have abortions are pregnant because they chose to have sex.

  35. Peter, I haven't addressed the remainder of LR's comments because I didn't feel they were addressed to me or to my standpoint.
    I don't think that there is a "justification" for abortion. I haven't denied that abortion is legal only on medical grounds - in fact I made that point, it was LR who said that abortions were available "on tap", I quote:

    "women today are doing it simply because it's there - i.e. they are taking advantage of the fact that the LAW permits it. In other words, if it were illegal, they wouldn't be having it - because the reason to resort to backstreet abortions no longer exists. The reason nowdays is CONVENIENCE - abortion is available on tap, and women no longer take adequate precautions to prevent a pregnancy. You can sleep around with whomever you want, whenever you want, without thought for the consequences, because if you get pregnant you still have the "safety net" of being permitted to kill your own child anyway. Women who did not have such a safety net might think twice before engaging in irresponsible behaviour (obviously this applies to the men too)."

    It is not my opinion that a foetus is an appendage.

    I do think that suggesting abstinence as the ONLY way to avoid pregnancy is disingenuous. I have had sex with only one man, my husband, we used the contraceptive pill but (we think probably due to at the time undiagnosed coeliac disease) it was ineffective for me, and I became pregnant, not once but 3 times in the space of the three years immediately following our marriage. Now for us, there was no need for discussion, children were always in our hopes for the future and though we hadn't planned them yet there was no doubt that we would continue the pregnancies and raise our children. But that is me and I have the beliefs I do.
    Would your response to another woman, finding herself in my position, married, having acted responsibly but nevertheless unexpectedly pregnant, be: "well you shouldn't have had sex"?
    What about friends of mine who's child died, horribly, because of a rare genetic problem they both carry, they're married, should they never have sex because a pregnancy might ensue?
    Abstinence is not a good enough answer for the majority of the population.

    We cannot state that the number of backstreet abortions performed was tiny, we can't there is no real evidence to give us any clear idea of how prolific the practice was.

    And I never used the word inflammatory.

    I think that about covers it.

  36. Peter, you wrote way back towards the beginning of these comments "Vulnerable human beings I believe deserve legal protection against those who might have an interest in their deaths." OK, true story. The daughter of a friend of mine became pregnant with twins. She, her husband and the whole family were thrilled. Some months into the pregnancy, however, and it was apparent that something was horribly wrong. One baby, Rose, was flourishing at the expense of the other. Rose grew stronger while Chloe weakened. At just over seven months, the birth was induced but, sadly, Chloe died within a few days. So how would you have saved baby Chloe from baby Rose?

    My point is that in your choice of vocabularly, the use of words like "innocent", "defenceless" and so on, you tend to present a rather romantic view of foetal development.

    The foetus is not a moral being, it has no ethics, scruples or principles and is incapable of remorse. It will kill siblings, leach whatever nutrients it needs from its mother irrespective of any long-term health problems this might give her, even kill her. None of this is fluffy, cuddly or particularly nice so let's have some realism when we talk about foetal development. Fern Winter

  37. Sarah Willis - you are so wrong in saying there are different 'views' and implying that is teh end of the matter. (1) Of course scientifically informed and uninformed people will hold different 'views' from each other; (2) of course people without and with a vested interest will hold different 'views'; (3) of course altruistic and selfish people will hold different 'views'. Who would expect otherwise? But it is certainly eccentric (plain wrong) to give equal weight to the latter as to the former in each case 1,2,3. -Dr Christopher Shell

  38. Dr Christopher Shell, I don't suggest giving equal weight to every viewpoint I suggest giving equal respect to every human being and in order to do that one must try to understand other peoples viewpoints.

    I hate abortion. I think it's horrific. Up until about 12 months ago I couldn't conceive that anyone in their right mind could think abortion was okay, in my mind the only kind of people that could think abortion was okay were the same kind of people who think murder is okay.

    But evidently this isn't the case. In fact the majority of the population think abortion is okay. I came to a point where I had to reconcile that mothers, wives, carers, ordinary loving human beings didn't abhor abortion. Normal everyday people who love children and care about other human beings, who don't want to murder kids for their own convenience are pro choice.

    Now, of course, as I am not pro-choice I believe they are wrong. As a Christian I believe they are deceived. But I don't believe they are malicious, lazy selfish people. I do not respect their point of view, but I make an effort to empathise with and understand their point of view so that I can respect them as people, and I hope that this goes some way towards them also listening to me and respecting me a bit more, and perhaps then we can have a more productive dialogue where we find solutions rather than just shouting at one another

  39. > Women who want "choice" should choose
    > abstinence if they wish not to get pregnant.

    I will make sure to tell my husband that, as much as he loves me, I'm not going to let him show that physically, just in case my chosen form of contraception fails.

    What about women who make it clear to a man that they don't want to have sex with a man and then gets raped. Are you trying to imply that it's her fault that she gets raped, even though she has consciously decided that she doesn't want sex ?

    Using the abstinence argument against unwanted pregnancies is the most black and white (and ignorant) argument going. It misses all the reasons that lead to pregnancy in the first place. Not all women are drunken teenagers sleeping around willy nilly, much as you'd like to pretend otherwise.

    > Calling a pregancy a "part of your body" is
    > both stupid and offensive. It is nothing of
    > the sort.
    Well, if a fetus is not part of a woman's body, then logically it wouldn't need a woman's body to develop to full term. Logically if a fetus isn't part of a woman's body then it cold be grown in a petri dish or test tube. We're not currently at a point in science when we can do that.

    I don't know whether all you pro-life Christians have a misogynistic god, or whether you just have a misogynistic interpretation of scripture - but your desire to keep the status of women stuck in the last century is downright scary.

    Liz M

  40. Liz, First of all less than 1% of abortions are carried out because of rape so why don't we leave that to one side for the time being and concentrate on the other 99% ;o)

    The pro choice argument is simply that actions have consequences, the consequence of the CHOICE to have sex is that you might get pregnant, the consequence of this is a child. The argument that human beings should be responsible for their actions does not negate the right to make a choice, it simply says that there comes a point when you have already made that choice and you have to live with it, I think we'd agree that once a child has been created it's too late to change your mind on whether or not you want to live with the consequences of your choice wouldn't we? Unless you think it would be alright for me to get rid of my seven year old because i didn't mean to get pregnant with him in the first place? Not being facetious, just pointing out that I am sure you agree that there comes a point in time that a woman who has CHOSEN to have sex and make a baby cannot choose to simply do away with that child- the point of difference between us then is simply at what point this is, for a pro life person, once conception has taken place a baby has been created and to abort that baby isn't any different from me smothering my seven year old- whether or not the reasons are good and understandable.

    I agree that just saying "don't have sex then" shows a lack of understanding and empathy, however the pro life stance is that whilst a woman should be cared for and supported if she's in a situation where she's having an unwanted pregnancy that doesn't make it alright to have an abortion, because from the pro life point of view an abortion is ending a life and I am sure if you can understand that a pro life person believes a feotus is no different to a child (whether or not you agree with it) then surely you can see that wanting to protect a child does not necessarily mean you don't want to support the mother.

    Neither then does wanting to protect a child make you a misogynist. Just like us pro life people shouldn't be calling you pro choice people selfish lazy murderers because that's not true neither should you be saying it's mysoginistic to want to protect a child. If I can understand that your motivation is to give women choices and control over their bodies rather than simply to do away with children that may cause you an inconvenience surely you can see that my motivation is simply to protect children rather than make women lesser human beings.

    Finally- Your reference to Christians and God seems a little weird- you don't have to be a Christian to be pro life....and does the fact that I feel upset that baby P was murdered also mean I have a mysoginistic God? From my point of view there is no difference between the two. I appreciate you don't view a feotus as a baby but I do, how does this make me anti women and what does it have to do with God?

    One other thing though, this demonstration was against proposals that don't even discuss the rights and wrongs of abortion so I don't even know why we're discussing them. The proposals are about giving women considering an abortion proper independent information about all their options and all the consequences of their options, so really that's what this debate SHOULD be about. If you're pro choice how can you be against giving women full and prOper information on which to make an INFORMED choice?

  41. Liz M,

    First of all, let me make it quite clear that I was directed to this website by a medical colleague who thought I might add to the debate - I wasn't aware of its existence prior to that. The chap who suggested I post happens to be christian, but that is irrelevant. I have only skim-read the posts above, but there seems to be an absurd assumption (not least by you) that views that are pro-life (a term I abhor ALMOST as much as the absurd euphemism "pro-choice") are almost universally "christian". I have not stated my religion anywhere (or even if I HAVE any!), nor my ethnicity, nor anything else of my background, other than to say that I am female, medical, and against abortion. I only stated my gender because all too often there are women claiming that they hold the exclusive copyright/patent on pregnancy and its consequences, and that men have no right to talk about abortion (unless of course they are supportive, in which case they are welcomed into the sisterhood). Well, I am a woman and I disagree. Men contribute to the process (I believe no-one has yet patented cloning, or reproduction without sperm), and a man is forced to pay child support even when he does NOT wish the pregnancy to continue. We can't have it both ways - and yet, sadly, our society permits us to, and men get a raw deal all round when it comes to their offspring).

    I have had a quick look at another couple of "abortion articles" on this forum, and I note that there is at least ONE pro-life poster who has stated unequivocally that he is NOT a christian, while his name betrays the fact that he is unlikely to be white (also gives a clue as to ethnicity). So it's pretty clear that anti-abortion views have *nothing* to do with one's stated religion or anything else.

    Re your point about marriage and sex - irrelevant. There is a very BASIC physiological principle that most intelligent individuals would follow - viz, that no contraception is 100% protective, and pregnancy is always a PHSYSIOLOGICAL (i.e. written into the code by pretty much immutable laws of nature) RISK, ergo if you wish to avoid it, there IS only ONE fool-proof way - and that is abstinence. Your extrapolating from this to state that I am advising married people (or indeed anyone else) to never have sex is so ludicrous as to be laughable. The point, which you appear to have missed spectacularly, is that pregnancy CAN be an UNAVOIDABLE consequence of having sex. In short, every time I indulge (whether with a long-term partner or anyone else) I should, if I had any sense at all, be acutely aware that I am setting myself up for trouble (assuming a pregnancy is the last thing I want). Providing abortion as essentially a means of contraception (because ultimately that's what social abortions amount to), in order to overcome this problem of failed contraception and a resultant unwanted pregnancy, is morally and ethically wrong.

    Most people (whether married or unmarried) would want to have sex. Ergo, take precautions - but if it fails, suck it up (not literally, I hasten to add!!) and deal with it - not by "termination" (another loathsome euphemism) but by welcoming another life into the world.

    Also, the vast majority of abortions in this country, particularly the REPEAT terminations undertaken as a substitute for contraception, are "social" abortions undertaken by women who tend to be *unmarried*. But you knew that.

    The fact that there are *exceptions* is irrelevant - if anything, they only prove the rule.

    This forum software does not seem to support long diatribes, so I will continue below!


  42. (Continued).

    You call me a pro-life christian, when you have no clue at all as to my religion or if I even have one! FYI, there are many atheists among my close family and friends who are much more vociferously anti-abortion than I am. Most of them are not from "christian" backgrounds either. You really should shed this absurd Eurocentric/Christianocentric worldview - there are people other than Europeans and christians in this world. It may interest you to know I wasn't always anti-abortion. As a young medical student, I too blindly swallowed the propaganda that was fed to me via teachers, elders, and textbooks - after all abortion was legal, so it can't be wrong. Like many others before me (and, sadly, after me) I was led by the law rather than my own conscience. After all, if it's lawful, it must be ethical, right? Wrong. Some countries have horrendouslyy immoral and unethical laws. In Saudi Arabia, for example, it is lawful to punish offenders with amputation. As decent civilised people, most of us would be horrified by this - and rightly so. And yet we have the arrogance to claim that the laws of ONE country are "right" simply because "it's the law", while the laws of those countries we despise and view as "morally inferior" are allegedly wrong. I think some Saudi nationals may disagree.

    As I got older and started thinking for myself, thankfully I shed the brainwashing I'd been subjected to earlier. FYI most of the alleged christians I have met (particularly in my home country) have tended to be heavily pro-abortion - so another massive error on your part, if you assume I have been "christianised" into being anti-abortion.

    Some things are just ethically and morally wrong - but the problem is we have allowed our moral compasses to become skewed by the law. We assume that just because something is "legal", that it MUST be, by extension, also "ok".

    The truth is you, like most others, are led by the law when you talk of being dragged back into the previous century. The only issue relevant here is whether something is morally and ethically right, not whether the law permits it - laws come and go, but our moral standards should always remain the same.


  43. > Re your point about marriage and sex -
    > irrelevant.

    Well that's good and sound debating then!

  44. >> Well, if a fetus is not part of a woman's body, then logically it wouldn't need a woman's body to develop to full term. (Liz M)

    Wrong again.

    A lot of living things can only grow to maturity with the nutrition provided by a host body - whether this host is a human or some other living creature. We term these dependent entities "foreign bodies" i.e. not intrinically or "naturally" part of the host, but alien to it. These foreign bodies do not become "part" of the body, they are parasitic and resident there. Only a very foolish individual would claim, for example, that a tapeworm is "part" of a human being's body. It's a parasite - it feeds and grows inside the host. If expelled, it cannot survive on its own.

    >> Logically if a fetus isn't part of a woman's body then it cold be grown in a petri dish or test tube.

    Wrong - see above. In a sense, the human fetus is a parasite, as it needs ongoing nutrition from a living source. This nutrition is conveyed through its host's body - this is the reason we are able to use surrogate mothers to act as hosts for other people's sperm and eggs. It would be ludicrous for a surrogate to claim that an embryo is part of HER body just because she agrees to be the vehicle! No, it isn't part of her body - she's merely the human petri-dish.

    The *important* difference between ordinary parasites and the human fetus, of course, is that the fetus has been created as the result of a physiological process and not a pathological one. One cannot, therefore, use the same argument re expulsion as for pathological parasites.

    If I get on a bus, and it conveys me from point A to point B, I don't become "part" of the bus, not even if the bus driver/owner gives me free food and drink and supports me during the journey - I am merely a temporary resident.

    There are also some non-living things that can only grow inside a host body - for e.g. kidney stones, bladder stones. These entities too need a host. No-one in their right mind would claim that a bladder stone was "part" of them. The reason that patients wish to expel these things (whether stones or parasitic worms) is because they are HUGELY detrimental to their health. Of course, a pregancy CAN be detrimental in a minority of cases, and can endanger the mother's life. In all my professional life, I have come across fewer than 5 of these cases. All were women in remote areas of the 3rd world who had NOT received proper ante-natal care (had they done so, this could have been avoided), because none was available in the boondocks where they lived - consequently they had developed a condition which would have been fatal had the pregnancy not been terminated. Termination was done *reluctantly*, after ALL other medical measures failed, in order to save the mother's life.

    The vast majority of cases in the UK, however, do not fall under this category - I don't think anyone can pretend otherwise. Pregnancy, it must be remembered, is a physiological state, and we have made such ENORMOUS strides in maternal and fetal care, that the 3rd world scenario mentioned above is practically unheard of in the West.

  45. Sorry, that last post was from me.


  46. "Re your point about marriage and sex -
    >> Well that's good and sound debating then!

    Dear Anonymous,
    Actually, it IS good and sound debating. It's a technique that lawyers frequently employ, as it is based on sound logic and not rampant emotionalism - you seem to be unfamiliar with the concept. So let me clue you in - some things are relevant to the discussion. Other things are red herrings DELIBERATELY meant to derail the discussion, by pretending that the author actually said/implied something they actually never had. Liz M attributed motives and sayings to me that I most defintely did NOT state.

    To explain it in simple terms - it does not matter whether I'm married or having a one-night stand with a stranger I picked up in a bar. The only way I can get pregnant (other than by Artificial insemination) is by having sex. The only SURE-fire way to AVOID a pregnancy is by avoiding sex.

    Geddit now?

    Liz M set up a strawman argument and then resorted to drawing ludicrous conclusions (that I was advocating abstinence for married women!!) that I most def did not suggest.

    I was merely pointing out that people should choose to take responsibility for their actions. The question of marriage simply does not come into it.

    I am sure you are intelligent enough to see that - although it would not suit your purposes to admit it, perhaps.

    I am married, but I don't think this gives me a right to be irresponsible.

    Btw, surely Liz M is not suggesting that married women have MORE right to sex than unmarried ones!! See, I too can put words in people's mouths and evoke my own moral indigation.


  47. Tilly Floss,

    You too appear to be missing the point. I fear some of you would fare very badly as witnesses in a court of law! You all seem to think that if a person states this or that, that it is a "suggestion" for the rest of the population to follow.

    So let me spell it out.

    >> I do think that suggesting abstinence as the ONLY way to avoid pregnancy is disingenuous

    Firstly, not a *suggestion*. I was stating FACTS. Medically, it IS the only way to avoid a pregnancy that has a HUNDRED PERCENT success. All other methods have a tiny failure rate. Abstinence does not (well, not unless you believe in virgin births).

    Whether you choose abstinence or not is not the point. The point I was trying to counter was the one about "choice" i.e. women having the choice NOT to be pregnant. Yes, women have this choice. They should exercise it better by trying not to GET pregnant in the first place (by whatever is their preferred method of contraception), and if that fails they should be responsible and allow the end-product of their intercourse (i.e. a baby) to be given a chance. Getting preg and then killing the conceptus is not correct.

    To claim that it is NOT their fault they got pregnant is disingenuous. When you have sex, there is a very real risk of getting pregnant. If you wish NOT to take this risk, the correct thing to do is either abstain OR keep the baby, not kill it.

    Most of us cannot abstain - so we should be prepared to be responsbile enough to keep the baby in case contraception fails.


  48. Tilly Floss,

    >> LR - I must take exception to the inference that Backstreet abortions happened only because of social stigma.

    FYI it ain't "inference", it's FACT. In your haste to fall over yourself to appease the pro-abortion gang (I note you are sitting on the fence by seeming to appreciate *both* sides of the divide - very commendable and all that, but you simply can't have it both ways - sorry. This is an ethical discussion about ONE medical procedure, i.e. the deliberate destruction of a conceptus - so both parties simply cannot be right), you seem to be resorting to fiction.

    Of course they also happened in cases of rape, but those were the minority - and social stigma still applied.

    I would be interested to hear if you have any other hypotheses to offer. You might like to educate yourself, in the meantime, by reading some well-reserached authors on the subject. There are even pro-abortionists who will confirm this, if only you care to look (and not on the internet - try your local library).

    >> I think that is ludicrous.

    Hmmm.... so if someone say NATO bombed Libya, that would be "ludicrous" just because you don't LIKE the idea?! I believe it, cos my sources are reliable, even though I dislike the idea (about Libya, I mean). Some folks just can't take the truth, huh.

    >> Even if I take on board your point - that women have abortions because they can, look at the reasons for those.

    Not relevant - because reasons don't justify killing. One may have any number of reasons, all of them good, for getting rid of a number of unpleasant individuals. I don't think anyone will buy the line that one had "good reason" (even if they have the utmost sympathy for your circumstances) if one committed an act which was unethical. For example (and it's only an example, so don't draw correlations which don't exist) I will sympathise enormously with women or men in abusive relationships who kill their tormentors - but what they do is independent of my sympathy and still morally WRONG, *regardless* of the circs, not *because* of them.

    "Your honour - my client did indeed commit this murder - but he had good reason, my Lord" is unlikely to result in an acquittal!

    >> Women terminate pregnancies because....

    Yah, yah - a multitude of reasons. So what? Either a thing is good, or it is bad. A bad action cannot suddenly become "good" just because X, Y or Z occurred to make it so. So while I might empathise (and I do) with those women who abort out of "necessity", I can still hate what they do without hating THEM, or failing to understand why they felt driven to it.

    >> If you think that all goes away because there is no longer a social stigma attached to single motherhood you are very wrong.

    Who said any of that went away?

    My point is they would be having their babies if the law didn't offer them this so-called choice.

    My post was made in response to someone's comment about BACKSTREET abortions - you seem to have missed that bit. B.street abortions were almost SOLELY due to social stigma - the odd married woman might have resorted to them, but *most* of these women were unmarried and carrying illegitimate children - this is not a figment of my imagination, or something I conjured up to bolster my case, but indisputable FACT.

    So yes, my point still stands. The social stigma is not there - so backstreet abortions are NOT going to be rampant even if abortion were made illegal today (fat chance!!).

  49. Sorry, forgot to sign - the above post was from me as well.


    Tilly Floss,

    As for all the other categories you mention - none of them existed prior to 1967, as there was no ultrasound or triple test to tell you that your baby had a cleft lip or Down syndrome, or PGD to warn you that it might carry the gene for diabetes or whatever unspeakable illness you wish for your offspring to avoid (note : I use "you" for convenience, it's not personal).

    The BIGGEST reason for having abortions in this country is still SOCIAL - not disability, not anything else. This too is fact, however much you wish to avoid hearing the truth.

    As for the hardluck stories by various posters about children with disabilities - spare me. My extended family is full of disabled people. Their parents didn't decide to kill them (although they could have), they chose instead to give them life. Some of these disabled individuals have contributed more to society than some able-bodied people I know.

    The fact that society puts a *value* on people's lives, by judging how "perfect" their bodies are, is surely cause for disquiet - not a reason to destroy. Any human being, even one born "perfect", can develop minor/major imperfections (whether by disease, accident or some other tragedy) at ANY stage in their lives - life has a habit of doing this to people. I don't think anyone has as yet found a foolproof recipe for having a perfect disease- and disability-free body OR life (if they do, let me know. I'll buy it!!).

    If you strive for perfection so early on, by eliminating all the imperfect (whether it is the mother's poor financial status, or the baby's cardiac anomaly), you are bound to be disappointed as imperfection will surely catch up later in life - and the fall-out might be much worse than having a baby with a disablity. It's called the law of karma - but this being a christian site and all, you might be more familiar with the biblical "As ye sow, so shall ye reap". Actions have consequences.


  50. Tilly Floss,

    >> Abortion is not available "on tap"

    Yes, it is. But you still have to take yourself to the mains supply - viz, your doctor's surgery.

    >> the law still demands that two doctors agree that there is reason to terminate.

    So? The 2 doctors are simply rubber-stamping the procedure. For practical purps, no-one is ever turned away because they don't "qualify".

    >> But you know that, as you state it in your contradictory post.

    How is my post contradictory, when NO doctor has ever turned away a woman who wants an abortion? Even those who have qualms end up sending their patients to OTHER docs for the rubber stamp.

    This undermines my point HOW exactly?


  51. Fern Winter,

    Although your q. was addressed to the author of the blog, I'd like to answer if I may. I'm not quite sure what your point is, re Chloe and Rose.

    >> So how would you have saved baby Chloe from baby Rose?

    Unfortunately medical science has not progressed to the degree where it is possible to "save" one twin from the other. The phenomenon you describe is well-known, and occurs in a minority of cases - one fetus basically acts like a parasite, sucking nutrition from the other, to the detriment of its companion fetus.

    Your friend's unfortunate experience has no bearing on the ethicality of abortion law.

    Bear in mind also that hard cases make bad law.

    Re romantic view of fetal development, the fact that *sometimes* a fetus' parasitic tendencies can be harmful to its fellow-twin does NOT cancel out the fetus' intrinsic innocence.

    >> The foetus is not a moral being, it has no ethics, scruples or principles and is incapable of remorse.

    Sure. It's still a living organism, though - remorse and scruples are not the criteria for life! Besides, neither is a baby a moral being, it has no ethics, and is incapable of remorse. Surely you don't suggest babies aren't "innocent" just because they are capable of committing acts which can result in harm to someone else (maybe another child, perhaps a parent/other adult)?

    I have heard of babies and very young children inadvertently harming their parents. By definition these babies are STILL innocent and vulnerable.

    >> None of this is fluffy, cuddly or particularly nice

    Of course not - but it still does not negate the points about innocence and vulnerablity.

    Some of the most innocent and vulnerable people I know have no moral sense - some are profoundly mentally handicapped, some have mental illness. They are hard to live with - but they are still innocent and vulnerable, I hope you'll agree. If nothing, the recent debacle with the Bristol care home for the Learning Disabled should tell us all exactly HOW vulnerable these people are.


  52. > Actually, it IS good and sound debating.
    Dismissing somebody else's argument, simply because you do not agree with it or because it shows the flaws in your argument is not good and sound debating.

    > The only SURE-fire way to AVOID a pregnancy is > by avoiding sex.
    Actually, lesbianism is the other way for a woman to avoid pregnancy. You forgot that one.

    > Liz M set up a strawman argument and then
    > resorted to drawing ludicrous conclusions
    > (that I was advocating abstinence for married > women!!)

    No I didn't. I know full well that (for many reasons) my husband and I are not in a position to have a family at this point in time, therefore I use contraception as I do not want an unplanned pregnancy. I believe that it is highly irresponsible to bring a child into the world if you cannot provide that child with a half decent quality of life.

    You said (quite accurately) that no form of contraception is 100% reliable. You also said that the only way you can guarantee not getting pregnant is by not having sex. You can't pick and choose which women you apply that to.

    The idea that a woman should go through the physical and emotional trauma of taking a pregnancy to full term against her will is, in my opinion, highly misogynistic. Why should women be punished for the failure of their contraception, if they are trying to be responsible and avoid bringing unwanted life into the world ? (Let alone any potential emotional damage that does to the child or the extra financial burden on the state).

    As for your opinion that woman are merely human petri-dishes; sadly that really shows quite how little you value women.

    If you wish to ignore the inconsistencies in my argument by ignoring or discarding my comment, or attributing opinions to me that I didn't actually express - please feel free.

    Liz M

    Liz M

  53. "The idea that a woman should go through the physical and emotional trauma of taking a pregnancy to full term against her will is, in my opinion, highly misogynistic. Why should women be punished for the failure of their contraception, if they are trying to be responsible and avoid bringing unwanted life into the world ? " (Liz M)

    Taking responsibility for your actions is not a punishment. That's such an irresponsible attitude. When a COUPLE (ie a man AND a woman- lets remove the mysoginy rubbish they are both responsible here) CHOOSE to have sex using contraception they KNOW there is a 1% chance they will get pregnant. Therefore, if they get pregnant the reason a life has been created is not because of a failure of something outwith their control, but because they took a calculated risk and it didn't go in their favour- there are then consequences to this.....this isn't a punishment.

    If it's a punishment, do you believe that people with gambling debts are being "punished" because their horse "failed" to win, and that it's not their fault, or do you think they are dealing with the consequences of their actions of CHOOSING to gamble more than they could afford?

    Life is full of choices and decisions and all of these decisions and choices come with potential consequences. The potential consequence of having sex is that you could have a baby- that's not mysoginy or punishment, it's biology.

    Also Liz M You still haven't answered my question about why you claim to be pro choice yet are against these pro choice proposals that are designed to give women more accurate and independent information to make empowered choices. I do really understand (although I disagree with) the pro choice argument, but I don't understand how you can be pro-choice and anti-information? Please help me because I'd like to understand you better ;o)

  54. Liz M,

    >> As for your opinion that woman are merely human petri-dishes

    I was referring to surrogates - but you knew that.

    The petri-dish comment was specifically in response to the comment you had made earlier about fetuses being a "part" of the mother's body. I merely showed that your premise was false.

    Again, you knew that.

    Still, feel free to distort what I actually wrote, if that's the only way you can bolster your own arguments.

    >> sadly that really shows quite how little you value women.

    Yes, I must hate women, what with being a woman myself! That's really funny ;-)

    I could say it really shows how little you value vulnerable babies (fetuses are just small babies really), and accuse you just as much for having little regard for human life....

    >> If you wish to ignore the inconsistencies in my argument

    Errrmmm.... I thought I was *pointing* out the inconsistencies in your argument. Btw, good of you to acknowledge that there are inconsistencies in your argument!

    >> by... attributing opinions to me that I didn't actually express - please feel free.

    Pots and kettles spring to mind - *you* were attributing opinions to me that I do not hold.

    >> You also said that the only way you can guarantee not getting pregnant is by not having sex. You can't pick and choose which women you apply that to

    I didn't - I specifically indicated that it applied to *all* women, regardless of marital status (it was you who implied that marriage confers special rights re sex).

    >> Actually, lesbianism is the other way for a woman to avoid pregnancy.

    Wrong - lesbians can go ahead and have penetrative sex with a man, OR have Artificial insemination with donor sperm. Sexuality plays no part in avoiding a pregnancy. It's the sex act (penetrative intercourse) that counts, not sexuality.

    >> You forgot that one.

    Not at all - see above.

    >> Why should women be punished for the failure of their contraception

    It's not "punishment", it's the phsyiological consequence of our own actions - unless someone put a gun to their heads and forced them to have sex, any ensuing pregnancy can scarcely be viewed as "punishment".

    It's like saying, "Why should I be punished for eating something that causes me to break out in a rash 3 times out of 50" - in short, I knew the *possibility* was there, however remote, so I should accept the consequences. Being a risk-taker myself, I would probably go ahead and eat and take the risk - but I wouldn't whine about it later if I had to pay the price. Nor would I demand that someone else sort out the situation.

    With rights come responsibilities.

    One cannot demand endless rights while relinquishing all responsibility.


    PS: I seem to be hogging the blog - so will take myself off and try to avoid posting again. May I, however, urge posters to please READ - slowly and carefully - before actually jumping to erroneous conclusions?

  55. I cross-posted with Sarah Willis who has made some excellent points re "punishment" - the gambling thing is a good analogy. Practically all of our life choices are gambles. Every time we take a decision, we have to accept that it could turn out "good" (i.e. the way we want it) or it could go the other way and turn sour or "bad" (i.e. the way we deffo DON'T want it - which, ironically enough, may well turn out eventually to have been the better consequence).

    So all of our life-choices are ultimately about risk. We have to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether the risk is WORTH taking or not. The only way we can ever predict outcome with a 100% accuracy in ANY situation (e.g. choosing a life partner, choosing jobs, choosing a career, etc. etc.) is by abstaining - that way we won't ever be disappointed, but neither will we ever be fulfilled. Which is NOT a good thing!

    Contrary to what other posters have implied, I deffo do NOT endorse abstention in any area of life, because a life without risk is a life not worth living.

    I've taken many risks in my life, and continue to do - some have had good consequences, while others have had rotten outcomes. I don't view the former as "rewards" and the latter as "punishment" - both are valuable life lessons. One learns from them what one can repeat with impunity (pun unintended!), and what one should avoid in future.

    One's philosophy should be to calculate the risk and take it only IF one deems it negligible, and IF one is prepared to live with the consequences - demanding "safety nets" such as termination is abrogating responsibility.


  56. Absolutely LR. At the moment I'm CHOOSING to use a contraceptive implant, because of the medication I use for my migraines I have a higher chance of falling pregnant using this form of contraception than other women, my alternative would be to use condoms which would give me a better chance of not getting pregnant or to abstain altogether.

    I've weighed up the consequences of getting pregnant, and chosen to take a risk because I don't want to use condoms or abstain. I know I might get pregnant, and if I do I will have a child and I will take responsibility for that child- it won't be a punishment, it will be the results of my choice.

    If I felt getting pregnant would be an utter disaster in my life at the moment I would more likely use condoms and to be on the safe side would use them AS WELL as the implant. And if I still got pregnant, again would view it as a consequence of my CHOICE.

    When I was a 17 year old whose life would have been absolutely ruined by a pregnancy I abstained altogether. It's about making choices.

    I know that not everyone makes the same choices as me and that's okay and I've made bad choices in my life too and have been fortunate enough to have been supported when I have. I don't for one minute think that if a 17 year old girl makes a bad choice and ends up pregnant we should all just walk away and leave her to it as some kind of punishment, however, she should be helped to handle the consequences of that choice, not helped to abrogate them.

  57. Wow - I am very impressed. You have drawn quite a crowd on your blog, Peter! Unfortunately most of them appear to be pro-abortion, but still it is good to see there are some female posters who are opposed to abortion and see it for what it is - exploitation and abuse of the vulnerable child. LR and Sarah Tilley, I could not agree with you both more - well said. You have both made some very good arguments which no-one can answer. Pregnancy is not a "punishment" for those who do not wish it. It is a natural consequence of having sex, as LR points out. Calling it punishment is an awful thing to say - it is one of the most beautiful things in nature. Treating it as a punishment to be endured is not right. Pregnancy is also known to give protection against many reproductive diseases and malignancies in the future - this is well-known. So women should see it as a plus, not a minus.


  58. Sarah Willis,
    I am sorry, I called you Sarah Tilley by mistake.

  59. I decided to eve isk sale log in to twitter to follow events as they unfolded. First we had a few tweets from prospective attendees about how excited they were to be going, then posted photos of protestors carrying placards, then further tweets Rift Plat who was speaking.


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