24 reasons for 24 weeks


1:54 pm - May 8th 2008

by Laurie Penny    


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As part of her campaign to force the government to reduce the 24 week limit within which women can legally have abortions, the MP Nadine Dorries yesterday unveiled 20 reasons for 20 weeks.

Today, we publish 24 reasons for 24 weeks, as part of our own campaign to fight for women’s rights to abortion.

1. There has been no improvement in the survival rates of infants born before the 24-week time limit during the past decade, according to the British Association of Prenatal Medicine, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the British Medical Association and The Royal College of Nursing.

2. Last autumn, the Commons Science and Technology Committee of MPs found no medical basis for a change in the law.

3. No contraception is foolproof, and anyone can find themselves pregnant against their will; until foolproof contraception is available, legal pregnancy termination up to 24 weeks will remain necessary.

4. Research shows that lowering the time limit does nothing to lower the number of abortions taking place.

5. There are many far better ways to reduce the number of later abortions. People who object to late term abortions should be fighting to make early abortions easier to obtain, and to increase the availability of proper sex education and access to contraceptives.

6. Some vulnerable women need later abortions because severe abnormalities in pregnancy, such as Edward’s syndrome, are rarely identified until 20-21 weeks. Reducing the time limit would force some women to have unwanted disabled babies.

7. Some vulnerable women need later abortions because an abrupt change in personal circumstances – such as domestic violence, which often escalates in pregnancy – leaves them unable to continue with the pregnancy.

8. Only a small proportion of terminations take place after 20 weeks – 90% of all abortions in the UK are carried out before 12 weeks.

9. Obtaining an abortion is already difficult and traumatic enough. The UK does not have abortion on request, unlike many European countries – it can take months for a woman to negotiate the system. Hostile doctors can make the process more difficult or delay women until beyond 20 weeks. , especially for Irish women who have crossed the sea to access abortion services in the UK.

10. Less than 10% of foetuses born before 24 weeks survive to leave their neo-natal units, and most will suffer severe health and/or physical problems.

11. There is no option for ‘viable’ foetuses to be removed from the womb early, so women who carry unwanted pregnancies to term after 20 weeks are forced to carry the growing foetus in their body for months more and then undergo labour, causing permanent physical scars, pain and trauma.

12. When women have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, they risk losing their jobs and damaging their long-term mental and physical health.

13. Foetuses cannot feel pain until much later in the pregnancy, according to experts. “The idea of foetal pain is an absurd and cruel one,” said Dr Stuart Derbyshire of Birmingham University.

14. Without sophisticated neonatal support the rare foetus born with a heart-beat or who takes a breath cannot survive, because their lungs are not developed sufficiently and their brains are not developed enough to sense, think or feel pain.

15. Lowering the time limit to 20 weeks will create a black market trade in unsafe later abortions, endangering some women’s lives. Sixty-eight thousand women worldwide every year are known to die from complications following unsafe abortions. We don’t want that to start happening in the UK.

16. Foetuses are not viable at 20 weeks: they cannot survive alone, and keeping them alive outside the womb requires complicated and expensive medical technology. Even with that technology few survive for long, causing incredible heartbreak to all involved. The idea that foetuses usually survive alone before 24 weeks is “a cruel deception for prospective parents with premature babies,” according to Dr Evan Harris MP.

17. Safe, legal abortions at 20-24 weeks rarely have negative psychological effects – but the mental trauma of undergoing an unwanted pregnancy can last a lifetime.

18. Babies born as prematurely as 20-23 weeks are nearly always born brain damaged and severely disabled – meaning that they have very little quality of life to look forward to.

19. In this country, we do not legislate over moral questions such as adultery, and abortion laws should not be the exception to that proud tradition. It is unacceptable to make laws on a moral question where there is any doubt. Anti-abortion campaigners are already free to make their views heard and to influence individual decisions.

20. Keeping later abortion legal will mean that abortions which some women will resort to anyway will be carried out safely and hygienically. Many thousands of abortions up to and beyond 24 weeks happened annually before abortion was legalised in the UK in 1967. Those abortions were unsafe and many women died as a result. “We used to see women from the local community bleeding to death in accident and emergency after backstreet abortions,” said retired nurse Iris Fudge.

21. Seventy-five percent of people polled in the United Kingdom are pro-choice. The majority of women in the UK want their rights to safe, legal termination to be protected.

22. Many of those who are campaigning to reduce the time limit want to end legal abortion entirely – a dangerous and arcane concept. Reducing the time limit will bring them one step closer to their goals.

23. If faced with an unintended pregnancy, a woman in consultation with her doctor is the best person to decide on how to proceed.

24. The right of a woman to decide what happens to her own body should not be subject to the whims of changing public opinion.

Use the Coalition for Choice website to get in touch with your MP and urge them to support the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

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About the author
Laurie Penny is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She is a journalist, blogger and feminist activist. She is Features Assistant at the Morning Star, and blogs at Penny Red and for Red Pepper magazine.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,e) Briefings ,Feminism ,Nadine Dorries ,Sex equality

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Reader comments


What would be good, and show us up better, would be to source each of those with links to the relevant sites/studies etc.

An excellent piece – links or not.

And remember the golden rule: Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one!

I don’t agree with reason 6. That sounds like you support abortion of disabled babies.

My view on that? if you’re going to get pregnant, then be prepared to love your child, disability or not. Thank God, my parents agree- I am a person with a disability.

But I do have a reason 25: David Cameron wants to support the abortion of disabled babies up to 39 weeks into pregnancy. At least at 24 weeks, you’re not a fully developed little person.

Sarah do you think women should have to carry babies to term when there is no chance of them surviving?

5. Laurie Penny

‘I don’t agree with reason 6. That sounds like you support abortion of disabled babies. My view on that? if you’re going to get pregnant, then be prepared to love your child, disability or not. Thank God, my parents agree- I am a person with a disability.’ – I completely understand where you’re coming from.

Note that the pro-life lobby are trying to reduce *all* terminations to the 20 week limit – even if a person discovers after that point a foetal abnormality which would affect their decision to continue with the pregnancy.

I support abortion for whatever reason a woman chooses to have one, and not being able to cope with a severely disabled child is one of those reasons – I say that as someone who is the main carer for a disabled partner, who has a genetic disorder which can easily be passed on to the children we plan to have together, who might have the illness much worse (It’s MED, for what it’s worth, which is a cripplingly painful bone and joint disorder). So I’ve considered this question at length. And personally? I think if I’d carried a child in my womb for 24 weeks I wouldn’t want to abort it if I found out it was disabled, unless that disability was so severe that the life of the child – and that of both of its parents – would be severely restricted. But at the same time, just because that’s not a choice I’d make, it’s not a choice I’d deny to anyone else.

What about people who find out they are pregnant with severely brain-damaged children when they are already 20 weeks in? It happens, and sometimes it happens to very young women. What about incest victims? Should they be told they should ‘just love their children’?

Fortunately, key members of disability rights’ organisations (such as the NUS disability officer) have spoken out against the amendment, protesting that their issues have been hijacked by pro-lifers to attack a woman’s right to choose.

Laurie- The pro-lifers won’t be voting Conservative, then! What a relief!

Your view is your view and that’s perfectly fine. I just don’t agree with abortion, for any reason. Not when there is adoption or fostering available for those who decide they don’t want their child. Of course, the idea of aborting a child just because, for any reason, you don’t want a disabled child, makes me want to cry.

Nicola- women who get pregnant should carry babies until they naturally go into labour. This is England, in 2008- there is some small chance of every baby surviving.

If you don’t agree with abortion, then that’s your moral view and that’s commendable. All pro-choice people ask is that you don’t ask for your views to be enshrined in law so noone can behave differently. 🙂

I’m sorry the idea of aborting children partly on the grounds of disability makes you want to cry. But a lot of things make me cry that are still perfectly legal, and many of them should remain so.

This is a powerful and emotive issue, which is why we need to be absolutely objective on the legal elements – i.e, whatever your personal experiences and feelings or mine, we shouldn’t be using them to posit law-changes.

Leon:

Already working up a series of fact-sheets covering the evidence base…

Sarah: if you don’t agree with abortion, don’t have one. I, personally, couldn’t and didn’t have an abortion when I discovered that (despite the contraceptive pill) I was pregnant. But I would never, EVER presume to make that decision for anybody else.

Good piece as ever Laurie! Well done for putting this together so quickly…

Already working up a series of fact-sheets covering the evidence base…

Excellent. Not mean to badger but make sure it’s concise, easy for MPs and media folk to read and it can be used well as a briefing document. 😉

12. Matt Munro

“3. Research shows that lowering the time limit does nothing to lower the number of abortions taking place.”

You haven’t cited the research, or any research that contradicts this conslusion but If it makes no difference then why not lower it ?

“5. No contraception is foolproof…..”

Indeed – but then neither is casual sex compulsory……

“7. Some vulnerable women need late-term abortions because an abrupt change in personal circumstances – such as domestic violence, which often escalates in pregnancy – leaves them unable to continue with the pregnancy.”

In other words trapping someone into unwanted parenthood. Perhaps they should be more carefull about who they mate with then – most perpetrators of domestic violence are violent in all areas of their lives, something that seems to attract a certain class/type of women.

8. “Some vulnerable women do not realise that they are pregnant until later in the pregnancy, because they are taking contraceptives, because they are menopausal, or because their periods do not stop. Young women in particular may also go into denial, a serious psychological phenomenon, before they find the courage to approach their GP.”

Able to get pregnant like anyone else but suddenly “vulenerable” when it comes to dealing with the consequences of their actions ? Tough.

“11. . Babies born as prematurely as 21-22 weeks are nearly always born brain damaged and severely disabled – meaning that they may have very little quality of life to look forward to.”

You’re not qualified to make that choice on their behalf. Why not just go the whole hog and gas anyone who isn’t perfect ?

14. Fetuses cannot feel pain until much later in the pregnancy, according to experts. “The idea of fetal pain is an absurd and cruel one,” said Dr Stuart Derbyshire PhD, a researcher at Birmingham University.

You say “experts” and then quote one doctor……..

15. Fetuses are never ‘alive’ after abortions, because their brains are not developed enough to sense, think or feel pain.

Depends on your definition of “alive”. No one can know what they “feel” but they do have pysiological response that in any other context indicate the perception of noxious stimuli (pain in laymans terms)

17. Fetuses are not viable at 20 weeks: they cannot survive alone, and keeping them alive outside the womb requires complicated and expensive medical technology. Even with that technology few survive for long, causing incredible heartbreak to all involved. The idea that fetuses usually survive alone before 24 weeks is “a cruel deception for prospective parents with
premature babies,” according to Dr Evan Harris MP.

Many foetues at full term (and not a few adults) wouldn’t survive without constant medical assistance either – shall we just let them die too ? There’s this little thing called “medical science” we use nowadays to help people who can’t help themselves……and An MP is the “expert” now ?

I’ll demolish the rest of your “argument” when I’ve got another 30 seconds to spare….

13. Margin4 Error

As I’ve said before – As a guy this is none of my business. I will of course never have to make this decision one way or another. And I guess that seeing it that way makes me inherrantly pro-choice.

That said – I think it is worth stressing why 20 weeks matters in campaign terms.

the 20 week debate is a vital first hook for a longer term campaign by people who want to ban abotions.

Once people back a movement, even if only a small aspect of that movement, then they are quickly more inclined to back additional steps along the same road.

Those who have read Mein Kampf will have seen this process in writing at its most simple and with the most powerful consequences.

Likewise it has worked brilliantly with smoking. By getting people to back a simple warning on packets, the anti-smoking lobby succesfully hooked a majority of people to a direction that has now led to smoking being banned for 17 year olds, and being banned in pubs (places historically created to serve vice) for everyone. If it were not for that early hook, the anti-smoking lobby could never have achieved such massive results.

So the 20 week argument has to be overcome. Not because of the importance of those four weeks for a small number of women. But because once arguments such as “its only a relatively small number of people” and “people should take more responsibility sooner” have won that small argument – they will carry people forward to win additional changes.

14. Matt Munro

“As I’ve said before – As a guy this is none of my business”

Why not – all children have fathers who are guys, maybe one day you’ll be one of them. As I’ve said before it’s absurd to couch this debate in terms of “womens rights” when it imapacts on others – from the father/siblings all the way up to taxpayers who end up funding it. You wouldn’t stand by and watch a murder in the street (at least I hope you wouldn’t) so why is it suddenly none of your business because it involves a choice made by a woman ?

Apart from that some interesting arguments – being pro-life makes you analagous to a nazi (a bizarre statement if you consider some of the “experiments” they carried out especially in twin research), and the smoking ban is good (despite banning a rational, legal choice made by informed adults) but an abortion ban (an irrational choice by a woman to murder a child) is bad ?

Hopefully when labour get booted, we’ll get rid of this relic of 1970s feminism and make it illegal.

15. Margin4 Error

Matt

on my quote. I’d have thought it was clear that I can never, nor would I ever wish to tell a woman what to do with her body. Any woman. Least of all my wife.

not sure what your nazi thing is about.

Matt Munro, why is abortion an irrational choice?

For that matter, why is smoking rational?

Abortion is a powerful and direct subject which goes straight to the heart of the relationship between politics and behaviour as well as between government and the individual.

The law is failing if it is telling us what we can and can’t do, when it should be providing guidance about what can be done safely and how to go about doing it without causing further damage to any situation we may find ourselves.

Information, consultation and consent all require participation in dialogue, all of which are obviated by the diktat of book definitions, and which must be policed by the dark knights of oppression.

For anyone who gets excitable over this sad issue they are failing to understand the trauma and tragedy, greif and relief that it can cause to those affected by it.

Nobody who argues for a permanent fixed-definition set on the statute book is taking it seriously enough. This is a matter of life and death, after all.

Matt,

I don’t think you’ve demolished anything, darling. Practically every point you put across is a moral judgement on women implying that they shouldn’t be having sex, they should be fully blamed for the consequences of ‘choosing the wrong man’, and if they get pregnant that’s ‘tough.’

How disgustingly misogynistic : your male privilege is showing. I hasten to add that not all rabid pro-lifers are necessarily incurable misogynists, but you clearly are. I feel sorry for you.

“Able to get pregnant like anyone else but suddenly “vulenerable” when it comes to dealing with the consequences of their actions ? Tough.”

I cannot accurately describe how wrong you are without spitting on the keyboard, but no, dear, not everyone is able to get pregnant. The fact that (most) women are able to become pregnant accidentally makes them vulnerable. The fact that men can’t, and can have sex relatively consequence-free, is a privilege. Think about that privilege for a moment and consider what that means in this argument.

Dr Evan Harris MP is a qualified medical doctor and a member of the British Medical Association advisory board. He and many other people I could point you towards are unanimous that there is no medical basis for lowering the time limit. No medical basis whatsoever.

Also, Matt –

‘Why not just go the whole hog and gas anyone who isn’t perfect ? ‘

As a Jewish woman, and as the partner of a severely disabled man, I find this indescribably distasteful.

Grow up, do some reading and keep your prejudices off the bodies of me and my sisters.

Laurie,

I think you are going overboard in an unfair characterisation of MattMunro. Maybe he is showing a slightly uncompassionate stance, but your unconsidered and undignified reaction counts unfavourable against your argument by showing you can slip into irrationalism too.

I agree he looks misogynistic on first glance, but I’d say his attitude is more opposed to the commoditisation of the heterogenous sex act – which may indicate either he has some cautious inter-relationship tendencies, he may be a homo-extremist, or simply have a bad body-image of himself – any of which may result in his opinion to create distinctions for himself.

It is true decisions can’t be safely made on a lack of evidence, but neither is that lack a certain disproof.

Must do better.

I’m always trying to do better, and thank you for the heads-up. But ill-thought-through attacks on female sexuality really tickle my attack-womb into action.
Yes, I’m 21 years old and don’t know everything, but I’m already sick to all hell of people telling me and my little sisters in school to keep our legs shut or face the consequences. I’m sick of people telling women what to do from a cosy seat of privilege without thinking about it, I’m sick of the terrible hatred of female bodies and female decisions I see everywhere around me.

Yes, my reaction was undignified, remains undignified, and that’s because it’s a comment thread and I’m angry. When I write campaigning notes and articles I rein everything in, but actually I’m stunningly angry about this attack on my rights and the rights of every woman to control her own reproductive potential. This is an emotional issue, fantastically so, and that means that everyone’s allowed an emotional reaction – just as long as that reaction isn’t translated into law.

Laurie,

I’m not sure it is possible to defend one’s personal rights to the exclusion of anothers when it is in the face of a third-party’s rights.

I’m also a little worried by your description of what you call the ‘terrible hatred of female bodies and female decisions’, as though women belonged to some different species.

Politcally-speaking, it is impossible to create a reductive situation where all interests are represented by single groups, as although this may strip away the confusion and frustration caused by inevitable disagreements it also abolishes the joy and fulfillment that comes from partnership. And, to speak plainly, your anger at the restraints placed on female reproductive capacity is something that every man has had to deal with since the moment in each of our teen years we realised budding and cloning were messy longshots which would anyway create our nightmare doppelgaengers.

So, on abortion it is neither a matter simply for the woman in question or women in general, nor of just the progeny or the science involved, and to which no sane person will fall outside of the framework created by comparison to Nadine Dorries and Evan Davies at either end of this spectrum – wherever the majority may rest an unsatisfactory compromise will reside.

oh, and the line “keep your legs shut, or face the consequences” is just a perfect example of what is wrong with how the debate is framed and education is failing: there are always consequences, whatever the choice, so we’d be better off trying to explain what they are and getting kids to understand the differences than harping on about the theme.

‘Politcally-speaking, it is impossible to create a reductive situation where all interests are represented by single groups, as although this may strip away the confusion and frustration caused by inevitable disagreements it also abolishes the joy and fulfillment that comes from partnership. And, to speak plainly, your anger at the restraints placed on female reproductive capacity is something that every man has had to deal with since the moment in each of our teen years we realised budding and cloning were messy longshots which would anyway create our nightmare doppelgaengers.’

Now, this is an interesting one and gets, I think, to the heart of the debate. Women’s reproductive capacity gives them immense power, and that is precisely why controlling that potential lies at the heart of patriarchy. Taking ultimate control over the future of the species away from women has been one of the keystones of patriarchy since abortion was first criminalised. That amount of power terrifies men when they worry that it might not do what they say.

You seem to be arguing that it’s only fair to allow men to control women’s baby-making capacity, since they can’t have babies themselves. I’ve encountered this view many times in men that I like and respect, often when they’re drunk and speaking, as you put it, plainly. It frightens me.

Because I don’t think we should have to subvert our political power any longer. And make no mistake, reproductive potential is political as well as personal -whatever you choose to do with it.

Matt:
“most perpetrators of domestic violence are violent in all areas of their lives, something that seems to attract a certain class/type of women.”

I’d be fascinated to find out what sources you have for abusive partners being “violent in all areas of their lives”, considering your hatred of unsources statements. Because as far as I’m aware, that’s simply not the case. I’d also love to know what certain “class/type of women” you’re referring to, as from here it looks like you’re making sweeping generalisations based on your own ill-defined prejudices. Which I’m sure can’t be the case.

Moreover, casual sex is not “compulsory”, but unwanted pregnancy can, believe it or not, occur in a variety of different sex/relationship configurations. There are plenty of reasons why even established or married couples end up having to deal with unwanted pregnancy through the aforementioned contraceptive failure. Nor should the aforementioned occurring as a result of casual sex prejudice the rights of the women involved, surely?

“Tough”, is not a useful response, really, now is it? Especially as the examples given are cases where the women in question are not aware they are pregnant until much later on. It’s hard to deal with the “consequences” of your actions if you don’t know what they are.

RE: Point 11, I think you’re missing the point that this isn’t a case of premature babies being “gassed”, it’s a case where the alternative to 22/23-week abortion isn’t particularly desirable in the first place.

While it is true that the choice to abort a pregnancy “imapacts (sic) on others – from the father/siblings all the way up to taxpayers who end up funding it”, I suspect you’re simply lacking any conception of scale here. That is to say, no matter what the father/siblings/taxpayer may think or feel about the whole thing, they’re not actually pregnant, are they? I mean, I’m sure the taxpayer will be awfully upset at the tiny percentile of a tiny percentile of his money that goes to the NHS being spent on running abortion clinics, but it’s not like he has to incubate an unwanted foetus, is it? Nor are the wishes of the father particularly relevant, the material, emotional, social and economic effects, let alone the actual effort involved, being far more pronounced for the prospective mother. Whose body it is. In the first place.

I mean, you’ve put your cards on the table here, for sure. I’d be interested to hear in what cases you’d like to make abortion illegal, seeing as you can’t get pregnant, have no empathy, have no idea of the realities of the situation, and no sense of proportion. Just to see the depths to which one can sink, you know?
However, if you’ve got any sources or other means of proof that you’re not talking reactionary piffle, please do present them, as maybe I’ve missed some logical and scientific gems, belieing as I do in a woman’s right to “a relic of 1970s feminism”.

no, I’m saying it takes two to tango.

It is childish to think that anything is absolutely controlled, and it is misguided adolescent wankery to pretend that womens domination of the reproductive sphere is an adequate recompense for any male domination in other spheres.

Matriarchy is as bad as patriarchy, so don’t fall into the same trap as your enemy that one is rank evil so the opposite must be perfect.

Laurie, you’ve started making excuses by misinterpreting what I wrote for your own purposes, which is to make a selfish and dishonest sham of your argument by playing to the gallery. Your original 24 reasons were a tolerable compromise under the current circumstances, but like I said, you can do better than that.

When on earth did I advocate matriarchy? That kind of binary thinking is rather masculine, really, isn’t it. 😛

What I’m proposing is radical systemic change, allowing rather than fearing women’s reproductive self-determination. Why does that equate to matriarchy? I simply want the right to control my own body, my own political, economic and social potential, as safely as modern technology allows me to, and I want that right for my baby sisters and for my children.

I’m terribly sorry that you can’t clone yourself. I’m sorry that you and other good-hearted men have to check your privilege when it comes to women’s rights. I’m sorry that we have power you don’t have, but not sorry enough for one moment to let the hegemony stamp on my uterus.

Thomas: “I’m not sure it is possible to defend one’s personal rights to the exclusion of anothers when it is in the face of a third-party’s rights.”

Who are the three parties here? I’m not sure I follow your meaning. So “one” is the fertile woman, who may or may not want an abortion. “Another’s” refers to- the foetus? The father of the child? Same problem with the “third-party”. Any expansion or explanation here would be nice.

As for your argument that…I don’t know, women should be denied reproductive rights in order for them to be able to empathise with biological males who can’t get pregnant?
Well, while I feel for your plight in not being able to carry and give birth to a little Thomas of your very own, I think it’s rather selfish (not to say COMPLETELY IGNORING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEGAL AND BIOLOGICAL POSSIBILITIES) to be in favour of restricting reproductive rights on the grounds of encouraging gender empathy.
In fact, I suspect that your biological incapability of bringing a special new life into the world yourself is not, in fact, the most important factor in gender politics right now. You have plenty of advantages to being male which you could perhaps console yourself with. Such as being paid more, being more likely to be promoted, relative freedom from pervasive sexual harrassment, and NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT BEING LEGALLY COMPELLED TO BEAR AN UNWANTED FOETUS.
I apologise for harping on about this but:

“to speak plainly, your anger at the restraints placed on female reproductive capacity is something that every man has had to deal with since the moment”

To speak plainly, NO IT’S NOT. Because you just can’t bear a darling little sprog. You just can’t. It’s not like you could have one and be forced to keep it. It’s not the same sort of anger. Not only is it not similar in scale, it is not similar in political relevance. You might be sad that a particular situation can’t arise due to your biology. Very well, but if you do love children so much, adoption is always a possibility.

Furthermore, women being able to choose whether or not they terminate a pregnancy is not a matter, as a man, for you to deny. Because you don’t have to worry about that, bemoan the situation as you might. And unless you’ve got some radical information about the “rights of the unborn” to bring up, it’s really not your place to stand in the way of legal rights that you’ve already established beyond a shadow of a doubt DON’T AFFECT YOU IN ANY WAY.

“It is childish to think that anything is absolutely controlled, and it is misguided adolescent wankery to pretend that womens domination of the reproductive sphere is an adequate recompense for any male domination in other spheres.

Matriarchy is as bad as patriarchy, so don’t fall into the same trap as your enemy that one is rank evil so the opposite must be perfect.

Laurie, you’ve started making excuses by misinterpreting what I wrote for your own purposes, which is to make a selfish and dishonest sham of your argument by playing to the gallery. Your original 24 reasons were a tolerable compromise under the current circumstances, but like I said, you can do better than that”

“pretend that womens domination of the reproductive sphere is an adequate recompense for any male domination in other spheres.”
What? Please point to the bit where anyone has said that. Of course it’s not, and you’d be an idiot to suggest it. Moreover, it’s a bit facile to talk about women’s “domination” of the reproductive sphere given the nature of the debate, no?

“a selfish and dishonest sham of your argument by playing to the gallery.”
Selfish? In what way. I have to way I’m not seeing any evidence of this particular accusation. What you’re presenting is a nebulous semi-argument seemingly based upon the idea that various parties not actually bearing the child in a case of unwanted pregnancy (for whatever reason, apparently) have rights similar or equivalent to the pregnant party. For which you’ve provided no explanation or rationale. What Laurie is trying to do is address and disagree with your statements. Which is difficult because they make so little sense.

that’s exactly the misinterpretation I was tring to warn you against, so you resort to accusing me of it – do you wonder why people get turned off the political process?

Apologising from one side of the debate isn’t enough to create equality amidst our differences, rather we need to find common ground on which we can agree – which is also the purpose of this site, so I’m not sure that moderating intervention isn’t called for or whether to tell you to lay of the wine while composing responses.

I think you are being incredibly insensitive in the way you are using your language and I’m not sure you are creating the impression you desire.

1.) To whom are you addressing these remarks?
2.) With which side of the debate do you identify, to be clear?

Laurie, word to the wise. MattMunro is a troll. He’s a troll on other blogs, and he’s a troll here. I take the tradional response to him: I don’t feed him.

Withiel,

I don’t feel I need to justify myself in your eyes, but for your information I try not to be partial, so you can take previous comments as you find them.

As I keep trying to show, and with which I am in full agreement with Laurie on the point that binary opposition is fruitless, the progress of debate towards practical benefit is only possible by taking nuanced positions against the extremes.

As a result I find it natural, ironic and unhelpful that both sides are attempting to divide support for their positions along gender sympathy lines.

I am also very clear on my personal position towards abortion, that the legal definitions are insufficient, insufficiently accurate and cannot be otherwise since it relates to life pre-birth, and therefore adequate information must be provided in consultations and decisions made on a case-by-case basis. If that means that women are best served by devolving some of their rights to a more participative process (as is closer to the truth of current practise than has been presented above), then so be it, but women’s consent (as the directly involved party) remains the bar for action and should remain so.

I just don’t get the blinkered view that rights don’t overlap and are to be ring-fenced in order to protect the interests of those who hold them irrespective of any wider benefit – nor I am fooled by this diversionary squabble over the number of weeks which abortion remains legal, as it is an abstraction of the real humanitarian concerns.

In relation to the current question I don’t see that the real situation will be improved by making the proposed changes law, but I also don’t see that the pro-choice camp will have much longevity while it continues to advocate the status quo.

I hope all that puts me firmly in the liberal camp, and keeps me out of the right-wing, left-wing and conventionally central camps.

I think you are going overboard in an unfair characterisation of MattMunro. Maybe he is showing a slightly uncompassionate stance,

This is a bit patronising isn’t it thomas?

seeing as we haven’t had a response yet, I think it is better to be indulgent and give the benefit of the doubt rather than be judgemental. Shall I take it you disagree?

I think it is better to be indulgent and give the benefit of the doubt rather than be judgemental

Normally maybe, but given the amount of vitriol usually thrown at feminist bloggers on most places, I think MM should do more to understand Laurie’s stance than vice versa.

Agreed Sunny,

however as I haven’t read enough of MM’s comments to properly inform any view of whether or not he is a troll, I’m not in a position to take Jennie’s stance.

Also, considering the thoughtless vitriol thrown at me by some of the feminists on this thread I don’t think they can either necessarily or automatically be assumed to be blameless angels of the cause either.

This article really needs to have to typos and spelling mistakes fixed.

40. Ellie Barnett

hmmm…

I truly despair at the bussle of his life if Matt Monroe, who can i add is being unashamedly narrow-minded and derogatory in his depiction of the pregnant woman, has no spare extra thirty seconds to demolish the rest of the above argument. i’m sure if he was able to, he would be delighted to propogate the continuance of his lazy, tory arm-chair politics by further poo-pooing what is a factually based and politically sound set of arguments. He seems to be grabbing at whatever he possibly can to fault it – making sweeping and WRONG generalisations, topped up with a yummy dose of self-righteous pathriacism. Just because only one expert is cited in #17, does not mean that their comment is not fully relevant. 20 Reasons for 20 Weeks is emotionally-blackmailing bullshit and troglodytes who uphold its views should (and hopefully will) be first against the wall. It all comes down to the fact that Mr Monroe and those like him have no right to judge these women who, they had control, would be inexorably slipping into a life they did not choose and should by no means be forced into, whatever their previous actions and whatever their socio-economic status. Or else do they deserve it? I suppose if men were the reproducers in this society, Monroe would be taking a significantly less nonchanlant view.
Take your utter crap elsewhere, we have no need to be burdened with it

41. Ellie Barnett

and yes, he IS a troll
(if it alleviates any of tomas’ remaining doubt)

Love you sis, nice to see you on here. We’ll take them all down together once you’ve finished your GCSEs.

43. Ellie Barnett

hurrah! the feckless wankers wont know whats hit em! …after my GCSEs. Go procrastination!

My mother had an abortion and as a result my twin sister died . I on the other hand survived. I cannot begin to tell you the devastating consequences this has had on my life emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Because my mother never wanted me I have grown up feeling totally rejected and unwanted. I have always felt like I shouldn’t be here. The emotional neglect I have suffered is unbearable. I have suffered with depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies all my life. Not to mention the grief I feel at the loss of a sister I could and should have had. Because my mother was unable to bond with me a lot of my needs went unmet. This has left me unable to form healthy relationships. While I cannot begin to understand what makes a woman take such drastic action (it is still murder at the end of the day however you try and justify it), I do not set myself up as judge and jury. I myself have done things wrong and have no right to judge anyone. I totally and completely forgive my mother and know that had she felt she had a choice she would not have done what she did. It still does not change the fact that abortion is wrong and I personally would like to see it banned. I understand what problems illegal abortions can bring but the consequences of legal abortions are just as devastating. While I understand women want the right to choose what to do with their own bodies, it is not just their body they are affecting. They are also affecting the body of a small, fragile innocent baby. Not to mention the emotional and spiritual aspect of that baby. I don’t agree that foetuses cannot feel pain. Even if the statements about them not feeling physical pain are true (which I doubt), they still have a spirit and a soul and as such are capable of feeling emotionally and spiritually. Emotional and spiritual pain is far more devastating and has longer lasting consequences. Physical scars can heal. Emotional and spiritual ones continue to devastate. Just because the body of a baby has perished does not mean it’s life has ended. Imagine the emotional pain that child feels when it passes to the next life, knowing that it’s own mother didn’t even want it. I have to live with that pain every day of my life. I strongly urge anyone who is considering having an abortion to carefully consider what they are doing. Surviving siblings (even older ones) can sense that a loss has taken place (check out the websites on abortion survivors and post abortion survivors syndrome). If you really feel there is no way that you can bring up a baby, please consider adoption as an alternative to abortion. At least give the children the right and chance to live.
In an ideal world no-one would be in a position where they feel an abortion is the only way out. It is not however, a perfect world. Therefore I can only conclude that the best solution to unwanted pregnancies is adoption. At least the children have a chance to grow up in a loving home where they are wanted, no-one has to kill anyone and the women who would have had an abortion don’t suffer the emotional,psychological and spiritual damage that occurs when they do have one.


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