The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation


8:30 am - February 23rd 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

The Daily Telegraph today splashes with an investigation into abortion – highlighting some examples of doctors agreeing to abortions on spurious grounds ‘no questions asked’.

There’s a key reason why this story is being pushed now, but first there’s a few points to be made about the story itself.

The first point – I think it’s completely wrong and immoral to abort a foetus because of the sex of the child. Female foeticide is common across South Asia and I’ve railed against it numerous times. It isn’t a surprise some minority communities do the same here too and it should be condemned.

Secondly, the abortions were asked for via private clinics. In the first instance the doctor from Pall Mall Medical states: “This [the termination] will be under private, she doesn’t want to go through NHS.” In the second case the Healthwise clinic in Harley Street is mentioned.

Women are instead recorded going by themselves into private clinics and asking for an abortion. They have a legal right to do that, much as we might dislike the intention behind it.

But the real agenda behind the story is revealed further down:

MPs have raised concerns over the growing commercialisation of abortion clinics and David Cameron and Mr Lansley are under pressure to accept proposals that women should receive independent counselling before a procedure takes place.

The Conservative MP Nadine Dorries did raise this issue with Frank Field last year but badly lost the vote in Parliament.

The investigation says nothing about independent counselling. No providers of counselling (such as BPAS or Marie Stopes) are mentioned.

This is being pushed now because the government is in the final stages of putting out a sham consultation on abortion counselling. I say sham because its outcome has already been decided.

I’ll say it again – I think abortion for gender selection is abhorrent. But it should not be used as a political football to undermine existing abortion counselling when critics have no evidence whatsoever that they’re failing women. This is the worst kind of right-wing politics.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Feminism

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Can I have a list of these doctors for my girlfriend?
Just in case.

Good points Sunny. In fact the whole Telegraph piece reeks of entrapment because it is perfectly legal to simply go into a clinic and ask for a termination and not give detailed reasons and for the doctor to approve that. So the doctors are being compromised by being told information they haven’t asked for which affects the legality of the situation. It’s a bit like going into B&Q and saying “have you got some wood, I’m building a secret dungeon?” then running with the front-page “shocker” B&Q KNOWINGLY SELLS WOOD FOR SECRET DUNGEON.

On the subject of sex-selective abortion. I agree it’s a nightmare in certain parts of the world. Although I also think if people desperately don’t want a girl forcing them to have one is hardly going to reduce abuse and mistreatment. We need instead to attack the sexism that drives the problem. In the west most people who want to select are doing so for reasons of “balancing” i.e. cos they’ve got three boys and now they want a girl. Arguably by making it possible to select (which for the record it already is if you can afford to go have treatment in the US and various other places) you encourage people to have less kids – most people who care want a boy and a girl. And that is good for reducing over-population, which on a planet of 7 billion is probably not a bad thing.

“Spurious reasoning”?! “No questions asked”? There shouldn’t be any questions asked besides “do you want this procedure?”.

Any attempt to find a story here comes from a dangerous place: the idea that there are times when the State or public opinion can trump the right to bodily autonomy.

“The first point – I think it’s completely wrong and immoral to abort a foetus because of the sex of the child.”

What do you consider to be the right and moral reasons?

5. the a&e charge nurse

“I think it’s completely wrong and immoral to abort a foetus because of the sex of the child” – reasons for termination (from a medico-legal perspective) are virtually irrelevant since the woman’s right to choose trumps all other considerations.

From a moral perspective all you are saying is that it is OK to terminate providing I approve of your motives but the current arrangements mean that women are no longer compelled to give birth – neither are they obliged to tell us why.

BTW am I wrong in thinking that you were saying it was OK to abort at 39 weeks – perhaps you should have added providing the foetus is not female

Janvier: ” a dangerous place: the idea that there are times when the State or public opinion can trump the right to bodily autonomy.”

I find it curious that it can be completely immoral and wrong that girl foetuses are aborted because of their sex, and at the same time it is an absolute right that women can decide to abort any foetus just because a pregnancy could be inconvenient or not fun, or for any other reason.

If you accept abortion for any reason, then you accept also sex selection, because sex selection is “any reason”. If abortion for any reason is moral and not wrong, then sex selection is also moral and not wrong.

I don’t have very strong opinions as to what should be done. But we could approach this from a market point of view. Girls will be very valuable in China and India, and any Asian culture, in a few decades. There will be a surplus of men. In a few decades, baby girls will be wanted because there is a shortage of women. This will be good for women, because they will be more valuable. Market forces will achieve what tons of propaganda and well-meaning indignation can not.

“Spurious reasoning”?! “No questions asked”? There shouldn’t be any questions asked besides “do you want this procedure?”.

That’s not the law we have. This isn’t the US, and there’s no constitutional right to an abortion here. That right flows from legislation and, in theory (although not so much in practice) there are only four valid reasons for a termination:

Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith—

(a)that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or

(b)that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or

(c)that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated; or

(d)that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

It’s quite hard to fit ‘because it’s a girl’ into those categories.

8. Chaise Guevara

@ 6 pjt

“If abortion for any reason is moral and not wrong, then sex selection is also moral and not wrong.”

To be fair, it’s not inconsistent to support the right to abortion but to consider people’s motives in getting sex-selective abortion to be immoral.

@TimJ, I dunno, I think you could squeeze it into (a). If we assume (i) the woman really, really wants a boy, and (ii) is emotionally completely unconcerned about the procedure.

10. Chaise Guevara

@ pjt again

“In a few decades, baby girls will be wanted because there is a shortage of women.”

Why? Individual couples don’t make family planning decisions based on what’s best for the country. In China, unfortunately, the Single Child Policy combines with local religion and culture to create a strong incentive to ensure your child is male. I don’t think that’s going to go away just because the nation has considerably more men than women.

11. the a&e charge nurse

[8] “To be fair, it’s not inconsistent to support the right to abortion but to consider people’s motives in getting sex-selective abortion to be immoral” – to the extent that you would prevent women from aborting (if dissatisfied with gender) – and if gender is insufficient reason, are there any others?.

This is not the worst kind of right wing politics. Not even close

13. Chaise Guevara

@ 11 a&e

“to the extent that you would prevent women from aborting (if dissatisfied with gender)”

No.

“and if gender is insufficient reason, are there any others?.”

Not in terms of motivation for abortion. Late-term abortion (however you define it) is a different matter.

Chaise @8: “To be fair, it’s not inconsistent to support the right to abortion but to consider people’s motives in getting sex-selective abortion to be immoral.”

But why would sex-selection be any different from other motives? Someone could need an abortion in order to have a better career, or in order to have a nicer holiday, or just because they don’t feel like having a baby, or because they changed their mind. Choosing the sex of a child is a *better* reason than many others.

Which brings me to my position: I really dislike abortion, but since it must be possible for really “good” reasons (like when pregnancy endangers the life of the mother), it is not really plausible to deny it for “bad” reasons (like “I changed my mind and I want to fly to a binge-drinking holiday at Ibiza next month”) either, because outsiders have great difficulty assessing how good these reasons really are (“I’ll just die if I don’t get to Ibiza!”).

Maybe if women had more rights over things like their own reproduction and were treated equally with less sexism then fewer people would consider it a bad thing to have a female baby?

Just a lil suggestion!

16. Common Sense

Last year the Council of Europe recommended that pregnant women should not be told the sex of the fetus – problem solved without any other restrictions on abortion.

17. the a&e charge nurse

[7] “It’s quite hard to fit ‘because it’s a girl’ into those categories” – and I would imagine that it is quite hard to apply any of the four categories to most abortions beyond the fact the foetus is unwanted and therefore termination is necessary to prevent a “grave permanent injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman”.

In 2007 the total number of abortions on residents of England and Wales was 198,500.
The vast majority (98%) of abortions were undertaken under grounds that continuation of the pregnancy would involve great risk to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.
Less than half a percent of these were performed because of risk to the woman’s physical health.
1% of abortions were undertaken on grounds that continuation of pregnancy would involve risk of injury to the mental or physical health of existing children in the pregnant woman’s family.
1,900 abortions (1%) were performed for risk that the child would be born handicapped.
Less than 1% of abortions were undertaken on grounds of risk to the pregnant woman’s life or to prevent permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.
Abortions are rarely performed to save the life of a pregnant woman.

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 pjt

“But why would sex-selection be any different from other motives?”

Cos it’s sexist.

“Someone could need an abortion in order to have a better career, or in order to have a nicer holiday, or just because they don’t feel like having a baby, or because they changed their mind. Choosing the sex of a child is a *better* reason than many others.”

Sure. I’m not saying that it’s an unsually bad reason for having an abortion, or that other people think that. I’m saying it’s not inconsistent to support abortion rights but dislike sexism.

@16: “Last year the Council of Europe recommended that pregnant women should not be told the sex of the fetus – problem solved”

Facepalm. Problem solved, because someone *recommended* something?

Those who want to select the sex of their baby will find out. They may have to pay a bit for finding out, perhaps even travel, but finding out the sex of a foetus is nowadays not such a big deal.

If women have a right to their body so that they can decide whether to abort a baby or not, they also have a right to their body so that they can find out what grows inside.

Chaise @10:
>“In a few decades, baby girls will be wanted because there is a shortage of women.”
>
>Why? Individual couples don’t make family planning decisions based on what’s best for the country.

No, they make family planning decisions based on what’s best for the family. At some point, people will realise that if they select a baby boy, they will in good likelihood die without grandchildren, because men will have a hard time finding spouses. While by selecting a baby girl they can get to choose from a large number of potential suitors for having the family line extended. (Yes, in these cultures it is often the parents that select the spouse, and who are we to tell that’s not right?)

@ Chaise

But why would sex-selection be any different from other motives?”

Cos it’s sexist.

So what about aborting because of Downs or some other physical or mental abnormality?

Does supporting that make you disablist?

Once you start to try to legislate on abortion based on the rationale of the choice being made, you lose.

You either agree it is the right of the woman to choose, or you don’t.

What LibertarianLou said @16 basically.

In the states Homocons justify their opposition to abortion on the basis that if it could be discovered in the womb that your child will grow up to be gay, then allowing abortion would basically allow for the systematic elimination of gay people from the states as (apparently all) mothers would abort their pregnancy upon finding out this information. The real problem is of course homophobia which is what would compel women to follow such a course of action. Course being Homocons, and thus wedded to the Republican party, they don’t much bother tackling that one.

Last year the Council of Europe recommended that pregnant women should not be told the sex of the fetus – problem solved without any other restrictions on abortion.

if they didn’t tell them they were pregnant and that it was probably just trapped wind there wouldn’t be any abortion at all.

It’s not a doctor’s job to keep their patients ignorant.

24. Chaise Guevara

@ 21 pjt

“So what about aborting because of Downs or some other physical or mental abnormality?

Does supporting that make you disablist?”

Yes, but there can be a moral argument for it (e.g. if you know you’re only going to have two kids, there’s sense in making sure that neither of those kids suffer from an unpleasant condition). TBH this one is an absolute minefield and I’m really not sure how I feel about it.

“Once you start to try to legislate on abortion based on the rationale of the choice being made, you lose.

You either agree it is the right of the woman to choose, or you don’t.”

Well, yes. I’m not saying otherwise.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 20 pjt

“No, they make family planning decisions based on what’s best for the family. At some point, people will realise that if they select a baby boy, they will in good likelihood die without grandchildren, because men will have a hard time finding spouses. While by selecting a baby girl they can get to choose from a large number of potential suitors for having the family line extended.”

Not in China, if I’m right. Generally, after marriage a couple effectively become part of the husband’s family. Therefore, if you’re poor and you only have a daughter, you have nobody to support you in your old age. If you’re religious, you also have nobody to venerate you (I’m not solid on Chinese religion so I may be describing this bit wrong).

Even with a very male-heavy society, that means a son represents a chance of extending the family line, whereas a daughter doesn’t. Note that this is specific to China: your argument holds in other countries.

“(Yes, in these cultures it is often the parents that select the spouse, and who are we to tell that’s not right?)”

In my case, a liberal who doesn’t believe in using cultural relativism as an excuse for illiberal behaviour.

This isn’t really about abortion, because if you support the right for a mother to choose abortion then we need to respect her wishes, no matter how misplaced or misguided her reasoning behind it are.

If there are problems with cultural issueas is some communties as the Telegraph are clearly suggesting, then we need to engage those communities, not stop abortions at a clinic.

What happens if these women shun medical establishment and go to back street abortionists? We need to condemn the Telegraph because it tackles the wrong problem.

@ Chaise

You either agree it is the right of the woman to choose, or you don’t.”

Well, yes. I’m not saying otherwise.

But you were.

You were saying it was sexist to abort a female foetus because you want a boy.

And would it be homophobic to abort a foetus with a gay gene because you want a heterosexual son?

It is interesting this, because it is often assumed that support for freedom of choice is a no cost option. It isn’t.

So how much are you willing to pay?

28. Chaise Guevara

@ 27 pagar

“But you were.

You were saying it was sexist to abort a female foetus because you want a boy.”

Since when did “I think it’s sexist” mean the same thing as “I think it should be illegal?” Put the straw man back in the box.

“And would it be homophobic to abort a foetus with a gay gene because you want a heterosexual son?”

Yep.

“It is interesting this, because it is often assumed that support for freedom of choice is a no cost option. It isn’t. ”

Agreed.

“So how much are you willing to pay?”

You might need to be more specific.

Chaise @24: what you quote was by pagar, not me. But no problem.

Chaise @25: “Not in China, if I’m right. Generally, after marriage a couple effectively become part of the husband’s family. Therefore, if you’re poor and you only have a daughter, you have nobody to support you in your old age. If you’re religious, you also have nobody to venerate you (I’m not solid on Chinese religion so I may be describing this bit wrong).”

This is the tradition, yes. But China modernises fast, not least due to the huge economic development (what they call “socialist market economy” and what I call “communistic capitalism”, communism being the administrative model and capitalism being the economic model).

What really changes things is not just the modernisation but also the one-child policy. Now, that is significant, and it does it from top down, as always. The tradition that family line is continued by male heirs is a top-down thing from the way Chinese dynasties were ruled for several millenia: from emperors to nobilities, nobilities to civil servants, from them to merchants and land-owners, to handcrafters, to peasants. Women were a sort of property, in each class of the society.

Today, even in the top echelons of the society, the family can have just one child. That means that there isn’t going to be anyone (of family) taking care of you when you’re old, or visiting your grave when you’re dead, unless you accept and insist that the anyone is your daughter’s family and children. So girls will naturally start to share the role that used to belong to sons only. And once this is the established pattern of the elite, it will flow down: from political and commercial elite to middle class, to workers and farmers.

So, what is important for China is that the one child policy continues and is applied consistently, even among the rich and the political elite. Of course, people can still leave the country and have more children if they move abroad, but then they will not be there setting a bad example that people can see locally.

(Note that even today the one child policy isn’t absolute: for instance, certain ethnic minorities are allowed to have more than one child.)

@ Chaise

“So how much are you willing to pay?”

You might need to be more specific.

Sorry, I thought I was.

Do you think we should legislate to prohibit the procurement of abortions based on the gender or sexual orientation of the foetus?

And if you pass that one.

Same question based on the racial characteristics of the unborn child?

31. the a&e charge nurse

[23] “It’s not a doctor’s job to keep their patients ignorant” – no, it’s their job to play the game, and tick “the grave permanent injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman” box.

I wonder what criteria is used in arriving at such a judgement?
I mean how can any doc honestly predict if the effect will be either grave or permanent, so if the process is a sham why does it need their participation at all?

The 1967 Abortion Act states that an abortion in the UK is legal, provided “that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family”

Regardless of a woman’s reasons for choosing abortion, it always poses a substantially lower risk to her physical health than giving birth (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/01/24/abortion-is-14-times-safer-than-child-birth_n_1226683.html). Not to mention the fact that forcing someone to give birth to a female foetus against her will and against the will of her family is inevitably going to put an enormous strain on her mental health. Therefore, sex-selective abortion (indeed, abortion for any reason) is entirely within the law.

Doctors are providing a legal medical procedure to their patients without putting unnecessary obstacles in their way. Surely this is a thing to be celebrated?

33. the a&e charge nurse

[31] and do we continue to refuse parents who are receiving fertility treatment the option of selecting the sex of their prospective baby?

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 pjt

True, the social setting in China could change and make my objections moot. However, I think the penalty for having a second child is financial; if true, the rich can bypass the system easily enough.

Apologies for mixing you up with pagar.

35. Chaise Guevara

@ 30 pagar

“Do you think we should legislate to prohibit the procurement of abortions based on the gender or sexual orientation of the foetus?

And if you pass that one.

Same question based on the racial characteristics of the unborn child?”

No, no, and no (and in the case of the gender question: yeesh. There’s only so many times I need to say it, surely.)

36. the a&e charge nurse

[32] celebrate! – not for all parties, in some cases the man might be a tad upset about termination, while of course the foetus is reduced to a thing without legal status.

I was thinking about this the other day – the man who allegedly murdered a pregnant woman presumably has no charges to answer in terms of the death of the foetus – Tim J might be able to clarify here?
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/01/18/nightclub-bouncer-stabbed-pregnant-teen-nikitta-grender-and-her-unborn-baby-to-death-court-told-91466-30151353/

37. the a&e charge nurse

Therefore, sex-selective abortion (indeed, abortion for any reason) is entirely within the law.

Not according to the Courts and Parliament. But you have put your finger on the whacking great dissonance between the law as drafted, and the law as applied.

37/8 – Yes, you’ve got it. He’s been convicted (as well as of rape and murder) of destruction of the foetus. Although, given that both rape & murder carry life sentences, and you don’t have consecutive sentences here, it’s arguably more for the sake of expressing legitimate moral outrage than for affecting sentencing. A minimum 35 years is a long time, but not long enough.

David Wooler, Crown Advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wales, added: “The severity of the offences were such that I felt it important to acknowledge Kelsey-May’s death with a separate charge in its own right. However, offences relating to unborn children cannot be charged as murder.

“This is an offence which prohibits wilful acts causing the death of any child capable of being born alive – and given the advanced stage of Nikitta Grender’s pregnancy, Kelsey May certainly fit that description.

I think I’ve mentioned it before – it’s a classic criminal law problem question – a heavily pregnant woman is punched in the stomach, causing her bruising, but killing the baby. What can the assailant be charged with?

39. Robin Levett

@aecn #36:

I was thinking about this the other day – the man who allegedly murdered a pregnant woman presumably has no charges to answer in terms of the death of the foetus – Tim J might be able to clarify here?

If there was intent to destroy the life of the foetus; the charge would be under the Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929; in any event, a manslaughter charge would be available (but not a murder charge) – Attorney General’s reference no 3 of 1994 (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199798/ldjudgmt/jd970724/gneral01.htm)

40. Chaise Guevara

@ a&e

It’s really unclear what that means by “capable of being born alive”. Does that mean capable of surviving birth *at the time of the attack*? It’s kinda important for how this lines up with abortion law.

Certainly, I can’t see how it could be justified as manslaughter in situations where the mother and doctor wouldn’t have received that charge for carrying out the abortion. Where the treatment of child destruction varies from the treatment of abortion, this should focus on the mother: “involuntary abortion”, perhaps, or maybe GBH with a side-order of causing mental anguish.

41. Robin Levett

@TimJ #38:

Your comment was posted while I was drafting mine…

The answer to the final question; depending upon the precise facts – assault occasioning ABH upon her, and manslaughter to the foetus.

@ Chaise

No, no, and no (and in the case of the gender question: yeesh. There’s only so many times I need to say it, surely.)

Not sure I understand your answer. So, to be clear.

You are saying that you agree with foetuses being permitted to be aborted because they are gay or black, but not on account of their gender and you are equivocal if the foetus has a congenital disability?

That’s your position?

I only ask again because it seems a little…..bizarre.

43. Chaise Guevara

@ 42 pagar

“Not sure I understand your answer. So, to be clear.

You are saying that you agree with foetuses being permitted to be aborted because they are gay or black, but not on account of their gender and you are equivocal if the foetus has a congenital disability?

That’s your position?”

WTF? Why do you keep asking the same bloody question if you’re just going to ignore the answer?

No, that is not my position. I support the right to abort in all of those cases, as I just told you. I’m not going to tell you again, because this is bordering on feeding trolls.

“I only ask again because it seems a little…..bizarre.”

The only thing that’s bizarre about this conversation is that I keep telling you I support the right to abort based on gender, and yet you keep pretending that I don’t support that right, based on your apparent inability to differentiate between “I don’t like this” and “I want this banned”.

@TimJ

“Not according to the Courts and Parliament. But you have put your finger on the whacking great dissonance between the law as drafted, and the law as applied.”

Can you point me in the direction of the law that is being broken when a doctor signs off on a sex-selective abortion? Because it’s not the Abortion Act 1967, which states that an abortion is legal if it reduces risk to the mother, which ALL abortions do.

41 – The answer’s right there in section 2 of the Act (as a sidenote, hurrah for short, simply drafted statutes!)

For the purposes of this Act, evidence that a woman had at any material time been pregnant for a period of twenty-eight weeks or more shall be primâ facie proof that she was at that time pregnant of a child capable of being born alive.

Although I’m pretty sure that this would be reduced in line with the Abortion Act and would now be 24 weeks. In the case Robin cites, the baby was 22 weeks at the time of the stabbing, although the reason that didn’t cite the Infant Life Act was because of lack of intent to kill either the mother or the child.

46. Robin Levett

@pagar:

Do you know the difference between the statements:

“I disagree profoundly with what you say”

and

“I will fight to the death for your right to say it”.

45 – Guidance published by Parliament.
http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/pn198.pdf

As I said, you’re pointing out the gap between the law as drafted and the law as practiced. Regardless, however, if the reason for wanting an abortion is stated as being solely sex-selection, that’s not a reason covered by the Act, and would therefore be prima facie illegal. You’d have to argue health reasons.

Maybe if women had more rights over things like their own reproduction and were treated equally with less sexism then fewer people would consider it a bad thing to have a female baby?

Can you explain, I thought women had complete rights over their own reproduction? Is this just a troll?

49. Robin Levett

@Hannah #44:

Can you point me in the direction of the law that is being broken when a doctor signs off on a sex-selective abortion? Because it’s not the Abortion Act 1967, which states that an abortion is legal if it reduces risk to the mother, which ALL abortions do.

The Abortion Act 1967 does not state that; it states (as relevant) that:

“a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith (a) that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, or of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated”

So two RMPs must sign off on the opinion mentioned; if they don’t, and simply record that the mother wants a boy instead of a girl, and the abortion goes ahead, that’s illegal. It matters not that, as a generality, the risks of a continuation of pregnancy are greater than the risks of an abortion; that fact may inform the opinion in the specific case, but the opinion must still be formed, and recorded as having been formed.

50. Robin Levett

@TimJ:

Will you please stop commenting while I’m drafting!

So all a woman really needs to do is go in to the doctors and say that if they don’t provide an abortion she’ll find someone on the black market to do it. Bang, instant health risk to the mother, potentially her life, and immediate reason for the abortion to go ahead based entirely on the wishes of the woman.

52. Chaise Guevara

@ 46 Robin

Cheers, I was wondering the same thing!

53. Robin Levett

One general point.

Where are “Just Visiting” and the others who say that LibCon only ever publishes articles attacking Christians and their cultural preferences?

@TimJ

“So two RMPs must sign off on the opinion mentioned; if they don’t, and simply record that the mother wants a boy instead of a girl, and the abortion goes ahead, that’s illegal. It matters not that, as a generality, the risks of a continuation of pregnancy are greater than the risks of an abortion; that fact may inform the opinion in the specific case, but the opinion must still be formed, and recorded as having been formed.”

I see. So the uproar is about poor decisions made in recording the reasons? But can’t the law read between the lines of what is recorded as the official reason? In what possible universe does forcing a woman to give birth to a child she doesn’t want (regardless of her reasons for not wanting it) not pose a risk to her mental health?

Sunny

I think you forgot to actually cite the evidence you have in support of your assertion that the Telegraph are ‘pushing’ this story now for political reasons.

This oversight is significant ‘cos the journalists who wrote the story say their investigation was in response to specific complaints of illegality. Are you calling them liars?

Hmm.

I think I have a logical problem here. I am an extreme advocate of abortion – up to birth is fine as far as I am concerned – since I believe that this is about the rights of the clearly living and extant human being involved – the mother. In effect, I am unable to deny that whilst dependent on the mother, the foetus is either her possession (in the same way as her appendix I suppose – a part of her that is not vital, but is hers to dispose of as she wishes), or, if unwanted, a parasite, and therefore in either case the mother may dispose of it as she (and perhaps he…) wishes.

But by this logic, there is no justification for stopping a mother aborting a baby because it is the wrong sex, as that is her choice, and we do not have the right to force another person to do (or not do) something of their own choice to their body.

I understand the abhorence at sex-selection of children, but if we are going to dictate what people can and cannot do with their body (or even know about their body if the idea of not identifying sex of foeti is suggested) then we are implicitly allowing those who oppose abortion to stop this as well – it is the same level of intervention in someone’s life (and their ‘in defence of the unborn life’ routine is equally morally valid as ‘in defence of equality of the sex’ unfortunately – they are both trying to apply human rights to something that is not (yet – and may never be) a functioning human). I would also argue as the entire abortion debate is sexist, in that it effectively is about all people, including men, telling only women what they may do with their bodies, then it is equally sexist to tell women what they cannot do with their own body…

Can anyone explain to me how I can adopt a saner position (and no, ‘we have the right to stop other people doing as they wish with their bodies because of the ‘unborn child” is not a sane position – it is almost always based on the concept of the soul)?

57. the a&e charge nurse

[54] “In what possible universe does forcing a woman to give birth to a child she doesn’t want (regardless of her reasons for not wanting it) not pose a risk to her mental health?” – for such statements to be meaningful one is bound to quantify the risk, and whether or not the actions that arise from it are commensurate with the measures that are then taken (terminating pregnancy for the mental well being of the mother).

For example, it is possible that a mother may be considering abortion but for some reason is persuaded not to go ahead with it.
Birth and motherhood can never be risk free but it is also possible the the baby goes on to to be the most important thing in that woman’s life (a fact which ultimately outweighs the initial risk).
In this sense the risk associated with birth and motherhood are not in the normal course of events enough to warrant abortion – the law stipulates that doctors must judge if any of the conditions outlined by Tim J [7] are present.

I would say that there is a dissonance between the original intentions of the abortion act compared to what is actually practised (abortion on demand) not least because medical assessment is a token rather than meaningful exercise.
In the light of this culture the lament about termination of females seems slightly disingenuous.

WTF? Why do you keep asking the same bloody question if you’re just going to ignore the answer?

Because your answer

No, no, and no (and in the case of the gender question: yeesh.

was ambiguous.

However we now have

I support the right to abort in all of those cases

which is unambiguous, and I’m impressed.

You’ll make it as a libertarian yet!!!! (Don’t respond to that, I’m pulling your tail).

However there does seem to be something of a logical dissonance between permitting the lethal homophobia or racism of the pregnant woman and supporting legislation to criminalise the application of the same bigoted ideas in society.

Just saying.

@37

“Repealed by the Criminal Law Act 1967″

60. Chaise Guevara

@ 58

“Because your answer

No, no, and no (and in the case of the gender question: yeesh.

was ambiguous.”

I’ll remember from now on that “no” in response to a yes/no question is ambigious, even when you’ve already answered the question, at least when you’re talking to pagar.

“However there does seem to be something of a logical dissonance between permitting the lethal homophobia or racism of the pregnant woman and supporting legislation to criminalise the application of the same bigoted ideas in society.

Just saying.”

Two reasons. Firstly, I think the amount of control you are entitled to over your body is higher than the amount of control you are entitled to over, say, your business (in the case of illegalising discriminatory hiring policies). It also trumps anti-bigotry (imagine if you could be sued for refusing to sleep with someone because of their gender etc).

Secondly, I think the whole question is moot, as banning such practices would just lead to people lying about their motives.

61. Robin Levett

@Spike1138 #59:

What the curate said.

62. Chaise Guevara

Shorter answer, pagar: born humans have rights that can be infringed. Early-term foetuses don’t.

The 1967 Abortion Act is one of the best written laws concerning legalised and regulated abortion ever enacted by any government, worldwide.

This is bourne out by the fact there has been no serious effort to repeal, modify or ammend the existing Act in over 45 years.

It’s also thoughtful, humane, clinical, fair and (most importantly) clear.

Quite simply, no clear consensus has emerged opposing it, since no-one has been able to propose anything more practical or sensible.

The beef anti-abortionists have with current abortion law is not about current abortion law; the Dorries-Field unholy pact were lobbying for extra provisions which for the most part are already provided under the current law.

Their beef is not with the current law; their beef is with enforcing it. And since (quite rightly), it is self-policing by the Doctors and clinicians concerned and covered under doctor-patient confidentiality, the only way to know for certain whether the law is being enforced is to undertake undercover entrapment and dishonestly solicit the aid of doctors and clinicians to break it.

The last time I was in Goa, by the way, there were huge roadside billboards next to major roads and clinics openly offering gender-determined abortion services on demand – we are not doing badly on that score at the moment, in terms of the wider scope of how f**ked up our access to those services is in this country right now. Not by a long chalk. Don’t delude yourselves.

60 – Parts of S.2 were repealed by the Abortion Act, but as Robin says the Act itself is still in force.

I see. So the uproar is about poor decisions made in recording the reasons?

Not really. We have an extremely broadly drafted abortion law, but it is designed to be applied to medical reasons for termination. The uproar here is that explicitly social and cultural reasons are being given (and ones that every good liberal should at least hesitate at endorsing), not that they are being recorded.

I suspect that at least some of the disquiet is because people don’t like to think about their position on abortion too deeply, because it leads you to some uncomfortable conclusions.

As a sidenote, my old Equity & Trusts tutor, John Hopkins, told us about the reaction to the Act by his old law tutor, and Kenneth Robinson the then Minister of Health. His tutor sat next to Robinson at a dinner and said words to the effect of ‘So then, abortion on demand eh?’ Robinson was appalled and said ‘No, no – we have all these safeguards: two doctors need to sign off, and there needs to be a genuine medical reason for the abortion!’ Point being that the threshold for ‘medical reason’ was actually so low that it more or less does equate to abortion on demand, despite the fact that this wasn’t the intention of the legislators.

This is bourne out by the fact there has been no serious effort to repeal, modify or ammend the existing Act in over 45 years.

It’s been amended at least a dozen times over that period.

@ Chaise

banning such practices would just lead to people lying about their motives.

True.

But of course the bigot refusing a job to a woman, black, homosexual of disabled person will also lie about their motives.

Anyway, sounds like we’re on the same page on this issue.

@65

It’s been amended at least a dozen times over that period.

It was updated to reflect changes in the medical research unpinning as part of the 1990 Human Fertilization and Embryology Act, which also added some clarifying language, but the original intent and provisions have not been altered or changed substantially since then. There have been no significant tightening or liberalising of the original 1967 Act and no attempts to overturn it or have it struck off the books and replaced wholesale with something else.

It’s basically a good law, and intelligently thought out and drafted as such.

I have primary sources, hang on….

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1967/87/section/1

There have been no significant tightening or liberalising of the original 1967 Act

The original 28 week limit has been reduced (twice I think) and is now 24 weeks. That’s a reasonably siginficant tightening. Otherwise, yes. Abortion is still legal.

It’s basically a good law, and intelligently thought out and drafted as such.

Maybe, although it’s a more-or-less uncontroversial view that it has been much more widely than was intended by its drafters.

69. Chaise Guevara

@ 66 pagar

“But of course the bigot refusing a job to a woman, black, homosexual of disabled person will also lie about their motives.”

Sure, but you can at least catch large companies if they have 5,000 employees, all of them white, and no explanation for it. And you can test that by sending them fake job applications for British- and foreign-sounding people and seeing who gets called back.

In individual cases, which are more analogous to the abortion thing, it’s almost impossible to catch someone out, as all they have to do is say “This candidate seemed a better fit for our team”. You’d need leaked correspondence of something.

“up to birth is fine as far as I am concerned”

Head out or the whole body?

Fortunately you are in a small minority.

It’s basically a good law, and intelligently thought out and drafted as such.

Actually, no. I’ll go further than that. It’s a basically good law, but it’s badly drafted. The effect of the drafting (as noted above) is that anybody can get an abortion before 24 weeks for any reason, because the process of giving birth is intrinsically more risky than the process of having an abortion.

So bloody well say that then. Don’t cock about with seemingly restrictive provisions that don’t actually act to restrict anything. If the intention was (or is) for there to be abortion on demand before 24 weeks, just have an act saying that abortion is legal prior to 24 weeks. What’s the need for the medical sign-off if it’s nothing more than an inevitable formality.

If, on the other hand, the intention was (or is) to restrict access to abortions to those who will suffer a specific amount of physical/mental damage (and thereby exclude people who will suffer no more than the ordinary risks of childbirth) then the Act doesn’t work at all as drafted.

So, it’s either needlessly complex and lengthy, or it’s so poorly drafted as to fail to work in the way it was intended. Either way, that’s poor drafting.

@62

That’s even true in America. Under the 14th Amendment, a US citizen is “any person born or naturalised in the United States”, so foetuses have no rights under US law, as they haven’t been born there.

So it should be a non-issue, even there.

Unfortunately, the 14th is the most abused and misinterpreted of ALL US amendments, given the fact that it doesn’t explicitly clarify that “a person” equates to “a human being”… Which is why Corporations are considered people (with personal rights as US citizens), and why PETA feel that they are able to file lawsuits on behalf of Orca whales (naming them as plaintiffs) and sue SeaWorld for enslaving them. Presumably on the basis that Orcas are more intelligent than infants, persons in a persistent vegitative state and some drunks.

All of whom have rights. Foetuses don’t.

Thank God.

(Although SeaWorld may actually have a fight on their hands….)

@71

If the intention was (or is) for there to be abortion on demand before 24 weeks, just have an act saying that abortion is legal prior to 24 weeks. What’s the need for the medical sign-off if it’s nothing more than an inevitable formality.

If, on the other hand, the intention was (or is) to restrict access to abortions to those who will suffer a specific amount of physical/mental damage (and thereby exclude people who will suffer no more than the ordinary risks of childbirth) then the Act doesn’t work at all as drafted

It’s vagueness is an asset for my money.

Abortion on demand is a bad thing. Denying abortion to those who desperately need it is also a bad thing. This strikes the right balance out of an imperfect compromise that otherwise would have condemned the issue in British politics to being the kind of culture-war inconsistent legal hot potato it has been in the stares since the day Roe vs Wade was handed down.

This is an issue too important, too urgent and too controversial to be left up to politicians and the 1967 Act places the decision firmly with Doctors and clinicians, which is where it belongs and from where no party since has felt the need to retrieve it.

It’s the same reasoning as empowering the Bank of England to raise and interest rates, independent from the Treasury – you can debate how independent they really are and how competent they are in terms of steering the economy, but you can’t argue with the inherent sensibleness in removing the issue from the political sphere, even symbolically.

Old men in Westminster with degrees in Law and Economics should not be making medical or gynaecological judgements (beyond their own social lives, of course, we can’t help that): it has to be up to women and Doctors and the law has to acknowledge and defer to their superior judgement, which it does under the 1967 law.

@70 Laws don’t really need to cover never-going-to-happen situations.

@72: “That’s even true in America. Under the 14th Amendment, a US citizen is “any person born or naturalised in the United States”, so foetuses have no rights under US law, as they haven’t been born there.”

That is a very illogical statement. The 14th amendment is about who can be a citizen. It is not about who has rights or no rights in the US.

Or would you say that it would be OK to kill illegal immigrants, who are not citizens, just like foetuses? Absurd. The 14th amendment surely has nothing to do with abortion rights.

@71

So, it’s either needlessly complex and lengthy, or it’s so poorly drafted as to fail to work in the way it was intended. Either way, that’s poor drafting.

I am of the opinion that it was intentionally vague to allow clinicians the leeway to do their jobs properly, exercise their own best judgement and discretion without having the worry of potential criminal charges lurking at the back of their heads.

That’s the last thing anyone wants.

And the loose language was adopted as a means by which to accommodate shifting moral and social mores whilst also allowing for expansion in accordance with changing medical and scientific orthodoxy.

When science moves apace far swifter than legislators, you have to build in some wiggle-room to allow for potential problems before they’re even thought of.

cjcjc,

“up to birth is fine as far as I am concerned”

Head out or the whole body?

I’d say the start of labour myself – as I think abortion is a bit impractical at that point. I would point out that if the doctors thought the child would be viable, I would have no objection to a caesarean and adoption rather than an outright abortion – it is the right of the woman not to carry an unwanted parasite or to take responsibility for an unwanted child that is paramount to me, not how the problem is dealt with.

Fortunately you are in a small minority.

Indeed. But then I am in the minority with an excellent logical position not crippled by feelings, religion or the problem of explaining what the difference between twenty-four and twenty-five weeks is (or comes to that the difference between twenty-three weeks, five days, seven hours and twenty-seven weeks, two days, three hours and nine minutes): any position with purely arbitary dividing lines in units of human time is clearly not logical. You might be able to construct a logical argument for a certain point in development (which cannot be done according to weeks – apart from anything else, the time of conception is not an exact figure), but you then need to prove that in individual cases surely?

I would dearly love to be the sort of person who could hate abortion (as sally would surely observe, it would make me fit in much better when reciting the things we are obliged to do for the sake of Satan at the secret right-wingers’ conspiracy to rule the world get-togethers…), as that sort of wooly thinking seems to make its adherants happy, whilst my logic is blunt and has horrible outcomes (there is no justification for sex-selection of children, but I cannot oppose it despite the fact that in many cultures it is clearly done for the wrong reasons), but unfortunately I am even more commited to the idea of individual rights, especially the right to control your own body. Ultimately, even if my wife wishes to have an abortion, I have no right to stop her, and neither does anyone else in my view.

Abortion on demand is a bad thing. Denying abortion to those who desperately need it is also a bad thing. This strikes the right balance out of an imperfect compromise.

No it doesn’t – it creates an entitlement to abortion on demand (below a threshold). That may or may not be a bad thing, but that’s what the Act has created.

79. the a&e charge nurse

[71] “Either way, that’s poor drafting” – indeed, the very phrase “termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman” is has become virtually meaningless (not least because very few, if any, women are ever prevented from aborting).

Under the current law it is the job of doctors to determine the presence or absence of such factors – I wonder what objective criteria is used in order to arrive at a decision?

Does the doctor have a quick chat with the woman before deciding yes, grave permanent physical or mental health likely, tick – or does the doctor look at the women and think, no, I realise pregnancy may be difficult but I doubt if there will be any grave or permanent damage.

When did peering into a crystal ball become acceptable medical practice?
You might as well as enlist the likes of Russell Grant, or mystic meg for all the authority such an approach carries – this is hardly medicine but rather some sort of palliating social ceremony?

The Tory graph just gets worse and worse. Did you see the pathetic hatchet job they tried to do on Dawkins in Sunday rag?

Apparently they have discovered that his great,great, great,great great grandfather was a slave owner in WI. So as Dawkins believes in evolution that makes him a slave owner too……….Or something.

They should rename the paper The Daily Vatican.

Molech is hungry and demands food

@75

That is a very illogical statement. The 14th amendment is about who can be a citizen. It is not about who has rights or no rights in the US.

That’s actually ALL it’s about.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Dredd Scott decision a decade earlier that black people were not citizens of the United States, nor ever would be, even if they were born free and not enslaved.

The 14th says who is and isn’t a citizen and who is protected by the US constitution.

If you are an illegal alien or a tourist in the US, you are not protected by the US constitution. You are, however, protected by the law. That’s not the same.

It’s illegal to assault someone or commit murder. But if I get murdered in the US, and I’m not a US citizen, that’s a human rights violation, rather than a personal rights violation.

I might be part of an invading army, for instance. I’m not protected by the US Constitution, but I am protected by the Crown as a British Subject, provided I’m there legally (or illegally, come to that).

But the point is, if you murder an infant (and for some reason, the courts don’t act to convict), you can be sued through the courts violating that child’s rights; whereas, if you cause a child to die in utereo, you can only be sued for injury to the mother, not injury to the unborn child, because the unborn child has no rights or protection under the constitution. It’s not a citizen, whereas the already-born infant is.

That was a key part of the basis for the ruling in Roe v Wade.

Yeah, it seems stupid – but I’m not making this stuff up.

@74

Don’t tempt fate.

@77: “I’d say the start of labour myself – as I think abortion is a bit impractical at that point.”

Actually, the procedure to administer an abortion at later phases is often induced labour.

To pick a random link, at the top of my Google search:
http://www.awomansright.org/LaborInduction.html

In China, with forced abortions, the procedure is supposed to be to give a lethal injection to the brain of the foetus, then induce labour, and if the foetus is still alive after birth, give another lethal injection. Though just yesterday I saw an interview with a woman who was seeking justice after a forced abortion that she though was wrong, and there the procedure had been to induce labour and then drown the foetus in a bucket.

@77: “I’d say the start of labour myself – as I think abortion is a bit impractical at that point.”

Actually, the procedure to administer an abortion at later phases is often induced labour.

To pick a random link, at the top of my Google search:
http://www.awomansright.org/LaborInduction.html

In China, with forced late abortions, the procedure is supposed to be to give a lethal injection to the brain of the foetus, then induce labour, and if the foetus is still alive after birth, give another lethal injection. Though yesterday I just saw an interview with a woman who was seeking justice after a forced abortion that she though was wrong, and there the procedure had been to induce labour and then drown the foetus in a bucket.

(Sorry for double post, LC site gives errors when posting.)

87. Robin Levett

@a&ecn #79:

When did peering into a crystal ball become acceptable medical practice?

I’d imagine at the point when medicine actually started to be effective. Virtually no drug or medical procedure is without risks or side-effects. Every treatment decision therefore inevitably involves a judgment as to whether the cure will be better than the disease.

By the way, where does this “grave and permanent” language come from? It’s not in the Abortion Act, which I quote in relevant part above.

88. Robin Levett

@Spike1138 #72:

…PETA feel that they are able to file lawsuits on behalf of Orca whales (naming them as plaintiffs) and sue SeaWorld for enslaving them. Presumably on the basis that Orcas are more intelligent than infants, persons in a persistent vegitative state and some drunks.

Since rights co-exist with responsibilities; how about the poor b***** who has to look after the holding pens for a pod of drunken Orcas apprehended after a particularly boisterous night out…

@87

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1967/87/section/1

“(b)that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman;”

And

(4)Subsection (3) of this section, and so much of subsection (1) as relates to the opinion of two registered medical practitioners, shall not apply to the termination of a pregnancy by a registered medical practitioner in a case where he is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.

The second section is indeed from the Abortion Act 1967, and has been unamended since it passed; the first section was inserted in 1990 as part of the
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.

Both are now included in the currently amended version of the 1967 Statute currently on the books.

@88

I’m not going to be drawn on the Orcas…

That’s a real can of worms.

@88

It is interesting to note though that even in 1865, Congress declined to define who was and was not a citizen based on whether or not they were actually human.

Thus, someone with a pacemaker fitted or an artificial heart (therefore argueably a cyborg and therefore no longer entirely 100% human) is still a person, so also an AI might conceivably be, provided it can pass enough Turing tests and tell a joke properly without telegraphing a punchline.

Didn’t Johnny 5 become a naturalised US Citizen at the end of Short Circuit 2?

That may actually be legally possible!

But foetuses aren’t citizens and never can be, according to the Constitution. Even if they are “people”.

Unless it’s a partial birth abortion, in which case….

Oh crap. Did it again with the can of worms, there….

92. the a&e charge nurse

[87] see 7.

I agree with you about doctors and treatment decision, but according to the stats as many as 98% cases do not entail any medical agenda [see 17] – why do we think doctors have any more authority than a psychologist, say to pronounce on such matters.

Here is the form docs fill in – in my opinion the mental state of an otherwise well woman who requests an abortion is an existential, rather than medical matter.
http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4139098.pdf

@ 90

I’m not going to be drawn on the Orcas…

The group’s conclusion that dolphins should be considered equivalent to homo sapiens met with a fierce chorus of squeaks and clicks from the coastline near the conference centre, with several windows being broken by large multicoloured balls.

Tom Logan, a four-year-old bottlenose dolphin from the Atlantic Ocean, said: “While we’re very flattered you think we rank alongside the cast of Glee we’d much rather carry on being considered as those smiling fish terminally-ill people swim with.

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/dolphins-reject-human-status-201202224924/

94. Dick the Prick

Girls are sweeter than boys

@92

I am largely of the view that anyone who sincerely feels that they need to have access to an abortion should never be told they can’t have it.

I also think that allowing abortion on demand is a highly undesirable thing and sends entirely the wrong message.

Every abortion is a tragedy. And we shouldn’t be encouraging the belief that they’re not or that they’re no big deal or even desirable.

They are a refuge of last resort and have to always be presented as such.

They are a BIG DEAL. Always.

I think the law currently allows us to have our cake and eat it to a certain extent; announcing open season on abortion on demand is political suicide and sends entirely the wrong message, setting completely the wrong tone.

At the minute, we have it, but we don’t advertise it, advocate it or recommend it.

That’s an imperfect solution, but it works in practice better than almost any other alternative approach yet proposed.

96. So Much For Subtlety

47. TimJ

As I said, you’re pointing out the gap between the law as drafted and the law as practiced. Regardless, however, if the reason for wanting an abortion is stated as being solely sex-selection, that’s not a reason covered by the Act, and would therefore be prima facie illegal. You’d have to argue health reasons.

If anyone can argue that having a female baby would place grave strains on her mental (and perhaps even physical, depending on how her in-laws feel about it) well being, it would be a South Asian bride.

What we have is a fig leaf covering abortion on demand. It is absurd to pretend the law means anything other than that we have abortion on demand. For any reason whatsoever.

97. So Much For Subtlety

2. Kate Smurthwaite

In fact the whole Telegraph piece reeks of entrapment because it is perfectly legal to simply go into a clinic and ask for a termination and not give detailed reasons and for the doctor to approve that. So the doctors are being compromised by being told information they haven’t asked for which affects the legality of the situation. It’s a bit like going into B&Q and saying “have you got some wood, I’m building a secret dungeon?” then running with the front-page “shocker” B&Q KNOWINGLY SELLS WOOD FOR SECRET DUNGEON.

I am sorry but this strikes me as so logically incoherent I am not sure I have understood it properly. You mean that if someone went into B&Q and asked for some wood because they had a secret dungeon, and B&Q sold it to them, the only person who did anything wrong was the person who told B&Q? Suppose I went into a gun shop and said I wanted to murder all my colleagues, and after all, who doesn’t? They sold me a gun. You don’t think that someone might be a little justified in criticising the gun shop for selling me the gun?

If the doctor does not know, the doctor does not know. Perhaps the doctor has a moral and legal obligation to ask a few questions to make sure there is some grave risk to the mental or physical health of the woman. Except we all know there isn’t. But the situation is very different if the doctor *knows* something that would mean the abortion was illegal. Then the doctor must act differently.

Who would suggest otherwise?

98. Chaise Guevara

@ 88 Robin

“Since rights co-exist with responsibilities; how about the poor b***** who has to look after the holding pens for a pod of drunken Orcas apprehended after a particularly boisterous night out…”

I remember someone pointing out that one of the Orcas who PETA wanted to be treated like a human being had drowned his trainer. And therefore would presumably be serving 10-20 in an underwater jail.

On a separate-but-related note, the recent story about “experts” declaring that dolphins are people too (Pagar’s linked to the piss-take of it above) was hilarious. The “experts” were people like “an expert in ethics”. By the sounds of it, a group of animal rights people put out an unfounded press release while waving their irrelevant qualifications arounds.

I have four sons, whom I love dearly, two of whom are autistic. Where 1 in 110 children are now being diagnosed with autism, 1 in 70 boys have it. If one has one child on the autism spectrum in a family, then the chances of having a second child on the spectrum are 30% higher, and the chances of a third child on the spectrum are a full 50% higher. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my autistic sons devoutly, but when I became pregnant with boy #4, considering the odds, his sex, we did seriously consider terminating the pregnancy, because two autistic children is the most we can handle both emotionally and financially. Here in the United States, it is legal for healthcare providers to deny medical treatment to autistic children in most states, so the out of pocket expense is astronomical. I never thought I’d even consider such a thing before I had children, but drastic circumstances can often change a person’s point of view entirely. As it is, I did not terminate boy #4 and he seems not to have autism thankfully.

But I must say, these choices, in my opinion should always be the choice of the woman first, and the family. I don’t judge ANYone making the decision to terminate a pregnancy, and nobody makes this decision lightly. I think it’s a very slippery slope when a state starts making rules about a woman’s right to choose, restricting the right. If you need any proof of that, look at the United States. Here in my state of Virginia, our state legislature and governor just passed a law that any woman who wants or needs to terminate her pregnancy, which is a constitutionally protected right, must undergo an invasive vaginal ultrasound, non-consensual, wait for 48 hours and have the sono image of the embryo placed in her medical file, all at her expense by the way. There is no reason at all for this law, except to demean and shame the woman.

No, in most cases, aborting over the sex is deplorable, but to every rule, there is an exception. Because of exceptions, abortion rights need to be protected at all costs. The choice to terminate a pregnancy, ultimately needs to remain a choice between a woman, perhaps her partner, and perhaps her doctor, but in the end, the final choice is ours. Restricting abortion rights essentially gives an embryonic mass more rights to a woman’s body than the woman herself carrying the embryo.

100. Robin Levett

@Spike1138 #89:

Yabbutt…

Both provisions you cite deal with post 24th week abortions; which are exceedingly rare. The usual case – of pre-24th week abortions – does not require grave or permanent damage to health.

101. So Much For Subtlety

99. JenniTidd

If one has one child on the autism spectrum in a family, then the chances of having a second child on the spectrum are 30% higher, and the chances of a third child on the spectrum are a full 50% higher.

Yes but as autism is over-diagnosed, that may have more to do with the family’s doctor or the family itself than the biology of the child.

I don’t judge ANYone making the decision to terminate a pregnancy, and nobody makes this decision lightly.

Self-evidently this last claim is not true. Plenty of people make the decision lightly. And why not? It is just a lump of tissue, right? A parasite as we often hear. Some studies have actually been done on this. And the number of people who have abortions for what the pro-abortion lobby likes to cite as reasons – rape and incest – is tiny. The more common reasons are things like not wanting to miss a chance at promotion, not the right time, or even wanting to go on holiday.

I think it’s a very slippery slope when a state starts making rules about a woman’s right to choose, restricting the right. If you need any proof of that, look at the United States. Here in my state of Virginia, our state legislature and governor just passed a law that any woman who wants or needs to terminate her pregnancy, which is a constitutionally protected right, must undergo an invasive vaginal ultrasound, non-consensual, wait for 48 hours and have the sono image of the embryo placed in her medical file, all at her expense by the way. There is no reason at all for this law, except to demean and shame the woman.

Where to start with this? Of course they are not making rules about a woman’s right to choose. They are not allowed to do that. Secondly the ultrasound is not done vaginally. It is a simple scan over the stomach of the woman. Thus it is not invasive at all. The point is clearly to make sure the woman knows what she is terminating. You can debate the rights and wrongs of that, but it is not true that the intent is to demean and shame. And of course the tax payer is likely to pick up the bill in most cases.

102. Robin Levett

@SMFS #97:

If the doctor does not know, the doctor does not know. Perhaps the doctor has a moral and legal obligation to ask a few questions to make sure there is some grave risk to the mental or physical health of the woman. Except we all know there isn’t. But the situation is very different if the doctor *knows* something that would mean the abortion was illegal. Then the doctor must act differently.

But the woman wanting the abortion so as not to have a girl doesn’t make the abortion illegal. The issue – and the only relevant issue – is whether “the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, or of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated”.

Provided the doctors are of the opinion that that criterion is satisfied, it doesn’t matter what the woman’s motivation is.

#101:

Self-evidently this last claim is not true. Plenty of people make the decision lightly. And why not? It is just a lump of tissue, right? A parasite as we often hear. Some studies have actually been done on this. And the number of people who have abortions for what the pro-abortion lobby likes to cite as reasons – rape and incest – is tiny. The more common reasons are things like not wanting to miss a chance at promotion, not the right time, or even wanting to go on holiday.

Back to that evidence problem again – got any for each (or indeed any) of your multiple claims above? For the UK?

@100

And that’s as it should be. The longer you wait to perform a termination, the greater the risk.

If a pregnancy is going to self-terminate (as is common), it’s practicality always going to happen in the first 12 weeks, certainly within the first 15.

After that point, things become significantly more complicated.

One you get to SIX months, you’re basically looking at a partial birth scenario – if you’re going to propose or attempt that, and the pregnancy hasn’t already self-terminated, you’d better have a damn good reason for even considering it, even as a Doctor.

Up to 12 weeks, a pregnancy might self-terminate if you have a bad case of the flu or food poisoning.

You have to trust the body a little to know when things aren’t right and how to prioritise – if the body reckons that a case of the flu coupled with being pregnant is enough of a risk to the mother’s health to ditch the pregnancy, that’s a reasonably good rule of thumb.

Provided you act early enough, there’s no reason that you can’t take a cue from the body on this one.

It doesn’t have to be a grave risk, just [a] risk… of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family .

Not a grave risk. If it leaves you vulnerable to chronic asthma, or depression or suicidal thoughts, that’s reason enough.

@83

Don’t tempt fate.

I’m pretty sure even the most ‘flightiest’ women will have long made her mind up by 9 months, plus if we’re talking about cjcjc’s “head out or full body” scenario, then technically carrying on birthing the child IS terminating the pregnancy. Given that pregnancies generally end once the child is born…

@104

I’m pretty sure even the most ‘flightiest’ women will have long made her mind up by 9 months, plus if we’re talking about cjcjc’s “head out or full body” scenario, then technically carrying on birthing the child IS terminating the pregnancy. Given that pregnancies generally end once the child is born…

I’m sure you’re right, but all the same – do not mock the gods, that’s the easiest surefire way to come a cropper.

On a more serious note, you raising that point actually made me realise something about the wording they added to the act in 1990 – it’s insufficiently well-formulated to give legal protection and guidance in the instance of multiple concurrent pregnancies… Twins, triplets and higher etc.

The text

the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family;

and

… the opinion of two registered medical practitioners, shall not apply to the termination of a pregnancy by a registered medical practitioner in a case where he is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.

I think has been worded that way to allow termination of one pregnancy where it threatens the viability of the others… OR, more crucially, it gives doctors in the delivery room to give additional legal leeway and cover to all them to make a call as to allow one or more child to be stillborn in order to ensure the best chance for the survival firstly of the mother and then of any other children being born at the same time.

And also to allow surgeons operating on a comatose patient in emergency surgery the freedom to act in a way calculated to ensure the survival of the mother, but sacrificing the pregnancy, without first waking her (if that’s even possible, much less safe) to obtain consent.

You can’t have doctors acting hesitantly under such circumstances, you have to have a robust legal position telling them what they can and cannot do unilaterally.

106. Frances_coppola

pjt, Watchman, cjcjc and others

I may be wrong about this, but I believe that post-24 week abortions are usually surgical, not induced. As I understand it, with late-term induced abortions there is a serious risk that a child will be born alive and viable, in which case they then have a legal right to the same care as any other newborn. Surgical abortions kill the child and deliver the body in pieces – which obviously eliminates the risk of live delivery.

Are there any folk out there who can confirm this?

Spike1138,

@75

That is a very illogical statement. The 14th amendment is about who can be a citizen. It is not about who has rights or no rights in the US.

That’s actually ALL it’s about.

That seems inaccurate. The Fourteenth Amendment – specifically, section one – is comprised of several clauses. One of them is about citizenship. Another is due process.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv

The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade interprets a (qualified) right to privacy from the due process clause.

A state criminal abortion statute of the current Texas type, that excepts from criminality only a lifesaving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

They did discuss whether the “unborn” count as “persons”, and concluded that they don’t. But neither this nor the ‘right to privacy’ means the State is entirely prohibited from regulating or proscribing abortion.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0410_0113_ZO.html

If you are an illegal alien or a tourist in the US, you are not protected by the US constitution. You are, however, protected by the law. That’s not the same.

Well, the Supreme Court in Boumediene v Bush found that aliens are protected by the Constitution.

108. Chaise Guevara

@ 102 Robin

“But the woman wanting the abortion so as not to have a girl doesn’t make the abortion illegal.”

BBC called them “illegal abortions”. Is that wrong, or was the subject being misrepresented? For the record, I disagree with making abortions illegal under these circumstances, but I’d like clarification.

@107

BBC called them “illegal abortions”. Is that wrong, or was the subject being misrepresented? For the record, I disagree with making abortions illegal under these circumstances, but I’d like clarification.

I for one, quite apart from anything else, was quite appalled by how this was reported – they certainly aren’t illegal in the sense that there isn’t anything in the law that specifically says that you can’t use foetal gender as a basis for the decision to terminate.

Provided that two doctors concur that not terminating a pregnancy presents a risk (no-one mentioned anything about the risk being “significant”, just existent, which leaves it all in the interpretation), the termination can be performed.

From the footage they showed on the news from the Telegraph sting, one doctor on camera said “I don’t ask any questions” when their shill volunteered gender as the reason she wanted the procedure done – the Doctor had not asked and her phrasing was self-incriminating, but appropriate (in my view) – she doesn’t want to know, and I can’t blame her. No one who sincerely feels they need an abortion should be denied one. Their shill clearly didn’t, however.

What the doctor said on camera probably wasn’t illegal, but it was certainly a serious – no doubt incredibly common – breech of medical ethics, to admit to signing off on an elective proceedure without taking a full medical history, assessing the mental soundness of the patient etc., and basically aborogating here own judgement.

What offended me about the way it was done was this – Doctor/patient confidentiality is a two-way arrangement. Not only did they film this consultation via hidden cameras (illegal), they showed this doctor’s face and gave her name (highly illegal, compromising, unethical and dangerous from the point of view of her personal safety). They also presumably didn’t get her to sign a release to allow them to screen the footage and use her name publicly; that woman’s career is ruined, and her safety placed in jeopardy. She’s already lost her job at the clinic, we know this.

And this is for carrying out essentially standard medical practice.

It’s gutter journalism.

110. So Much For Subtlety

102. Robin Levett

But the woman wanting the abortion so as not to have a girl doesn’t make the abortion illegal.

I did not say it did. So …. what is the point of the rest of this?

The issue – and the only relevant issue – is whether “the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, or of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated”.

Provided the doctors are of the opinion that that criterion is satisfied, it doesn’t matter what the woman’s motivation is.

Although if a woman came in and admitted she lied about the health risks in order to get rid of a female foetus, as if she would have to, then the situation would be a little more complicated. As I pointed out.

Back to that evidence problem again – got any for each (or indeed any) of your multiple claims above? For the UK?

Sure. For the UK may be harder. But which do you think is problematic?

111. So Much For Subtlety

106. Frances_coppola

As I understand it, with late-term induced abortions there is a serious risk that a child will be born alive and viable, in which case they then have a legal right to the same care as any other newborn.

They may in law, but they clearly do not in practise. Depending on your jurisdiction. There was a recent case in Australia where the baby was left crying in a dish and the nurses were reprimanded when they went to save it. It was left to die. And quietly Obama is trying to smudge over his record of opposing a bill in Chicago which would have mandated hospitals save babies born alive. Obama’s position was to leave them to die.

I would be surprised if British practise was not exactly the same.

112. kevin smith

Would it be fair to say that christian fundamentalists in america are pumping money into the UK to push their agendae here? I get a shudder whenever I hear of another xxxxxfoundation and Cameron courting (get a room!). Are american funded organisations queueing up to lead the ‘Big Society’?
I noted with some interest the egyptian moves to exert some control over foreign NGOrganisations acting to control their culture. (And don’t get me started on the israelis in the UK)
America, though they make some really cute TV programmes, more or less in our language, are *foreign*.
I don’t hear the churches of england, scotland, or the quakers, the methodists episcopalians or even the wee frees pushing this anti-abortion agenda. It is purely american, grafted onto our culture. Frustrated, except in the most backward counties in their homeland, they are pushing their poison over here.
Ten years ago it would have been unthinkable that we would be signing petitions to keep ‘intelligent design’ out of our schools, but here we are.
Read a first year psychology text and you will find that *Gambling* is a fundamental *mammalian*, not just human weakness. No one should be allowed to profit from it. Yet these ‘christians’ currently see ‘satan’ in abortion, porn and gay relationships. Note to christians: if you want to go head on with satan, go after gambling, not sexuality!

113. Chaise Guevara

@ 109 Spike

I agree that wrecking this woman’s career and making her into a potential public hate figure is massively callous and irresponsible. I’m not convinced, however, that hidden cameras are illegal. And I don’t agree that doctor-patient confidentiality works both ways: it’s the patient, not the doctor, who has to reveal personal information.

Imagine that this had been a *real* scandal, e.g. a pro-life doctor lying about the effects of abortion to trick a patient into not seeking one. If hidden cameras are out and doctor-patient confidentiality is sacred even on the side of the doctor, how could we possibly catch them?

Back to that evidence problem again – got any for each (or indeed any) of your multiple claims above? For the UK?

With regard to the claim that all abortions are a very grave step, and never entered into lightly etc etc, I’m afraid I don’t really buy it.

Last year I had an abortion, and I can honestly say it was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I’m not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what work-tops to have in the kitchen than whether I was prepared to spend the rest of my life being responsible for a further human being.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/caitlin_moran/article1645946.ece

I for one, quite apart from anything else, was quite appalled by how this was reported – they certainly aren’t illegal in the sense that there isn’t anything in the law that specifically says that you can’t use foetal gender as a basis for the decision to terminate.

That’s not how the law works. Killing an unborn child is illegal, unless it’s done for reasons set out in the Abortion Act 1967. As I’ve linked twice above, there’s specific Parliamentary guidance that abortion solely on the grounds of sex-selection is illegal.

@107

That’s actually ALL it’s about.

That seems inaccurate. The Fourteenth Amendment – specifically, section one – is comprised of several clauses. One of them is about citizenship. Another is due process.

Sorry, I’ll rephrase – it gives the right to equal protection and due process, but it is also intended to clarify who is able to sue through the courts for the redress of rights that have been infringed.

It was drafted to overturn the Dredd Scott decision a decade earlier where, (very briefly), an elderly slave and his family who had lived with his master for an extended period in a free state or territory where there was no slavery sued through the courts arguing that since he had been free whilst he was out of the slave states, he had now been re-enslaved by returning, violating his Constitutional rights as US citizen (which, he argued, he became when he became free).

The court ruled that free blacks were not included in Constiution, were not protected by it, could not become citizens and never could be in the future.

Under the 14th Ammednment, a US citizen is person born there or naturalised there. And any citizen can sue (or others can sue on your behalf) for redress of rights. You don’t have to be alive, and you don’t have to be strictly human (corporations are treated as people under the 14th).

If you have a dead child due to medical intervention, you can sue the hospital on their behalf, and on your behalf and name them as a plaintif or party to the case.

If you suffer an terminated pregnancy, you can’t sue on behalf of the foetus; you can only sue for damage to your own health and in relation to your own rights; even if the foetus is viable and capable (maybe) of supporting itself in vivo, it’s still considered part of your body.

Until or unless someone fills out the paperwork on a birth certificate, that is.

The child might be “delivered”, but they’re not legally “born” until someone files the appropriate admin.

116. Chaise Guevara

@ 115 Spike

“The child might be “delivered”, but they’re not legally “born” until someone files the appropriate admin.”

I have a sneaking suspicion that this would not work as a defense in an infanticide trial.

@113

Imagine that this had been a *real* scandal, e.g. a pro-life doctor lying about the effects of abortion to trick a patient into not seeking one. If hidden cameras are out and doctor-patient confidentiality is sacred even on the side of the doctor, how could we possibly catch them?

This isn’t “catching” them, this is broadcasting their faces and using their real names, editing and quoting out of context to get headlines and push an agenda.

There’s absolutely no need or justification for that.

If the GMC or even the Primary Care Trust has had credible accounts brought to them of a particular Doctor’s conduct, they are welcome to investigate – covert taping and deception are a last resort only, as it amounts to entrapment. Send investigators undercover if you must, to get first hand accounts of bad advice if you must, but these people don’t even know they’re under suspicion, much less being investigated.

It wouldn’t be admissible in court and it shouldn’t be on television. And it wouldn’t (in all likelihood) be admissible at a disciplinary hearing; they have to investigate whether such claims are *credible*, whether they could have happened, not trick or entrap the people they are investigating into repeating their indescressions on camera.

118. Chaise Guevara

@ 117 Spike

“This isn’t “catching” them, this is broadcasting their faces and using their real names, editing and quoting out of context to get headlines and push an agenda.”

I did just say that I’m not arguing about that. I’m talking about the importance of undercover stings, including hidden recordings, in catching criminals and revealing corruption.

“If the GMC or even the Primary Care Trust has had credible accounts brought to them of a particular Doctor’s conduct, they are welcome to investigate – covert taping and deception are a last resort only, as it amounts to entrapment.”

I think you’re wrong on two counts here:

1) Entrapment refers to convincing someone to commit a crime so you can arrest them for it – arguably relevant in this example, but it doesn’t rule out all covert recording.

2) I’m pretty sure you can only commit entrapment if you’re a member of the police, or possibly if you’re working with the police.

Also, is covert surveillance not permissable in court? I thought that only applied to covert surveillance by police officers without a permit.

119. the a&e charge nurse

[114] ‘there’s specific Parliamentary guidance that abortion solely on the grounds of sex-selection is illegal’ – unless knowledge of gender results in “injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman”.

A culture has developed around abortion were an unwanted baby and injury to mental health are, in effect, synonyms – in other words there is not an approved list, or meaningful test as to what does or doesn’t constitute injury to mental health, it simply means the women does not want the baby, or has been persuaded by a third party (e.g.parents) that a baby is a bad idea.

@118

Sorry, I meant moral entrapment, not criminal entrapment.

In this case, asking someone to do something they’re not supposed to do, receiving an “I don’t want to know, I don’t need to know” answer as to why, insisting on telling them anyway that you have morally questionable motivations for requesting the procedure (dishonestly) when they have made it clear they are a not going to stand in the way or interpose their own judgement or morality onto the decision and then not (presumably) going through with the treatment after all, having no intention of doing so from the beginning.

I think it’s safe to presume that the female undercover journalist in the Telegraph study didn’t go through with any of the 11 or so abortions she was able to procure offers for. I’m also highly skeptical to the notion that she ever identified herself as a journalist or made it clear to any of her marks that they were talking to a journalists, even within the context of a consultation room, which should be sacrosanct and free from external moral forces beyond those contained within the character of the people in the room.

I’m off to self-righteously watch All The Presidents’ Men again and get angry about this.

You should know if you’re talking to a journalist and you should know if you’re going to be quoted and go on the record.

@120

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9102232/Abortion-investigation-Doctor-admits-procedure-tantamount-to-female-infanticide.html

See, this makes me flat-out angry….

The Doctor *tells* her that wanting a termination on the basis of gender selection is “not a good reason” and tantamount to “female infanticide” and “it’s not really fair….”, and is very hesitant about signing off on the proceedure.

He’s not allowed to try to talk her out of stand she asks him to “put another reason”, which he does, having pretty much no choice at this point.

Worth noting also that the undercover jorno (who of course has *her* face obscured the whole time) is flat out lying the entire time – we know for certain that she *does* want that pregnancy, and I think we can be fairly certain also that she never went to France and never took that test.

122. Chaise Guevara

@ 120 Spike

I really don’t get why you think that using undercover techniques to discover *whether people are breaking the law* is somehow wrong. If journos had to identify themselves they’d be at an extreme disadvantage when trying to expose corruption.

Again: if a doctor was going around telling women that 25% of abortions resulted in the patient’s death, as an attempt to trick them into carrying their children to term, and someone used the same techniques as in the case above to expose this, would you think a great wrong had been done to the doctor and that doctor/patient confidentiality had been breached?

123. Chaise Guevara

@ 121 Spike

I agree with your take on how that was handled, but it’s hardly a big deal that she was lying. Kinda hard to maintain a facade if you’re a Vulcan: “Are you secretly a reporter?” “Oh yes, I am, you got me”.

Spike1138 @115,

[the Fourteenth Amendment] was drafted to overturn the Dredd Scott decision a decade earlier…

I’m struggling to find mention of Dred Scott in the debates.

Under the 14th Ammednment, a US citizen is person born there or naturalised there. And any citizen can sue (or others can sue on your behalf) for redress of rights. You don’t have to be alive, and you don’t have to be strictly human (corporations are treated as people under the 14th).

citizen != person != natural person != legal person.

a corporation is a legal person.

@122

I really don’t get why you think that using undercover techniques to discover *whether people are breaking the law* is somehow wrong. If journos had to identify themselves they’d be at an extreme disadvantage when trying to expose corruption.

This isn’t that. If elected officials or senior civil servants are breaking the law, that’s a public interest story.

If people are asking or expecting clinicians to break the law, if it’s common practice and if the clinician either turns a blind eye or spins it ON BEHALF OF THE PATIENT, and when asked to, rather than for personal gain or prestige, that’s very different.

I want doctors to be able to be free to exercise their own best judgement in clinical matters. I don’t want them to be compromised in their decision making by any other considerations, particularly fear of self-incrimination.

These aren’t cowboy builders we’re talking about.

These people have studied for a LONG time and are schooled in and held to a high standard of professional ethics.

They have more than enough people and bodies providing oversight as it is.

When a Doctor breaches medical ethics, it’s usually either something trivial or it’s something huge, like waving through an elective proceedure like this on the nod or systematically abusing all of his female paitents.

There’s no real middle ground. It’s not the same as overcharging by a couple of hundred quid to Tarmac over someone’s drive.

Hidden cameras are not the way to investigate these things.

If people are asking or expecting clinicians to break the law, if it’s common practice and if the clinician either turns a blind eye or spins it ON BEHALF OF THE PATIENT, and when asked to, rather than for personal gain or prestige, that’s very different.

Um, it’s still very definitely a public interest story. Virtually definitionally, in fact. An undercover exposure of systematic subversion of the law – and given that these were private clinics, it was also done for personal gain.

You can argue whether this should actually be ‘news’*, but there’s no question that it’s newsworthy.

*V rare plug of my thoughts here:
http://partyreptile.blogspot.com/2012/02/abortion-were-we-all-just-not-paying.html

127. Chaise Guevara

@ 125 Spike

“This isn’t that. If elected officials or senior civil servants are breaking the law, that’s a public interest story.”

If people are breaking the law, it’s at least potentially public interest by definition. The law protects the public.

“If people are asking or expecting clinicians to break the law, if it’s common practice and if the clinician either turns a blind eye or spins it ON BEHALF OF THE PATIENT, and when asked to, rather than for personal gain or prestige, that’s very different.”

I agree – but this goes to how we assess the behaviour, including things like sentencing. You seem to be arguing that the law shouldn’t be enforced in cases of law-breaking you personally approve of.

“I want doctors to be able to be free to exercise their own best judgement in clinical matters. I don’t want them to be compromised in their decision making by any other considerations, particularly fear of self-incrimination.”

Then the law needs to be changed so that the actions in question are legal, rather than granting doctors legal immunity and carte blanche to do what they like.

“These people have studied for a LONG time and are schooled in and held to a high standard of professional ethics.”

So? One person, regardless of their education in their field and their training in probity, does not trump the law. Studying ethics does not make someone an authority on right and wrong, it just makes them more informed about the debate. Obviously the law isn’t an authority on right and wrong either, but it’s the best way we have of applying ethics as a democracy. Special pleading for educated people screws that up.

“They have more than enough people and bodies providing oversight as it is.”

Irrelevant: nobody should be beyond the reach of the law.

“Hidden cameras are not the way to investigate these things.”

Then what is, in situations like this where it would otherwise be word-against-word?

128. Frances_coppola

SMFS

The question I asked was whether anyone could confirm that late-term abortions were generally done surgically in the UK, which eliminates the risk of live delivery. An anecdotal description of an aborted baby in Australia born alive and left to die doesn’t answer my question, does it?

Robin

Back to that evidence problem again – got any for each (or indeed any) of your multiple claims above? For the UK?

To the Caitlin Moran quote that TimJ proferred I’ll add Julie Burchill’s frank admission……

“No woman takes abortion lightly,” even the valiant pro-choice spokeswomen have taken to saying, not realising that they are adding to the illusion that abortion is a serious, murderous, life-changing act. It isn’t – unless your life is so sadly lacking in incident and interest that you make it so.

Myself, I’d as soon weep over my taken tonsils or my absent appendix as snivel over those abortions. I had a choice, and I chose life – mine.

[*] proffered

(Sorry for the dull comment. Here, have a cookie.)

@124

a corporation is a legal person.

Which is why it’s not *necessarily* absurd to argue in court that Orcas, whales and dolphins aren’t people, with rights. Or chimps that can learn to communicate in human sign language.

After all, in the 1860s, genetics as a science did not exist – it was not an uncommon belief that Africans and Europeans might constitute different species, even amongst abolitionists. A great many held that Negros were innately inferior and therefore in some sense “not fully human”, which is presumably why it says “person”, not “human being”.

If someone can be in a road accident and suffer 90% cortical leisioning, leaving them incapable of higher thought or reasoning, does that mean they stop being a person and loose their rights? The law says no. Does a chimp who can communicate using human language present many more innate attributes of personhood than someone in such a vegitative state? It’s not difficult to argue that they do. So if an ape or a whale presents in most aspects as a person, and if they’re born or naturalised in the US, they might qualify for citizenship rights.

The reasoning of the Dredd Scot decision was that Africans were never intended to be US citizens and could never become so; they were never included in “We the people…” and had been purposely excluded for reasons why Chief Justice Tawney in his opinion felt to be obvious and manifest.

The founders just hadn’t bothered to actually say so in the document. Because it was bloody obvious, they argued.

That’s the same reasoning why you can turn around now and say “Of course whales aren’t people, of course they don’t have any rights! The law is meant for us, not for them! That’s perfectly plain and obvious! Don’t be stupid!”

Given that the Dredd Scott decision was purposefully overturned by the 14th and is one of the most widely ridiculed and repudiated decisions ever made by the court, we can say that that reasoning is totally wrong.

And given that the lawyer from SeaWorld was first quoted as saying “I don’t think that the founders meant for “We, the people…” to include whales when they wrote it…” raises the intriguing possibility that SeaWorld may actually loose…

Because their lawyer’s an idiot.

@127

One person, regardless of their education in their field and their training in probity, does not trump the law.

It doesn’t need to. The law places the decision at the discretion of the Doctor and his or her judgement and professional opinion. As it should.

This isn’t “If the President does it, it’s not illegal”; it’s “if two qualified professionals agree it’s in the best interests of the patient and both sign off formally to that effect, the law will back them up”.

It’s a question covered under clinical best practice better than law.

The medical profession is the best arbiter of professional conduct that the Police or the courts and it’s in no-one’s best interests to have clodhopping CID detectives raiding clinics or surgeries with no clue what they’re doing or where to start.

The average Detective Inspector wouldn’t know what one end of an endoscope from the other if you shoved it up his arse.

Doctors should be investigating Doctors in the first instance, never Police first. It’s not appropriate and they don’t know how to handle that kind of investigation.

Isn’t refusing an abortion on the basis that it is desired for reasons of sexual selection still compelling a women to be pregnant against her will?
Jus sayin

@126

Um, it’s still very definitely a public interest story. Virtually definitionally, in fact. An undercover exposure of systematic subversion of the law – and given that these were private clinics, it was also done for personal gain.

You can argue whether this should actually be ‘news’*, but there’s no question that it’s newsworthy.

In which case, given that it’s an open secret and everyone knows that it’s going on (just never spoken of or reported fully), the next obvious question becomes – why now?

No newspaper or radio station during FDR’s lifetime ever reported on or showed proof of the fact that he couldn’t walk – all the press barons and most of the press corps knew that he couldn’t. Yet none of them broke their silence. Likewise for many of JFK’s infidelities.

Had any of them done so, and broken the silence to deliver a killing stroke, the question then, as now, becomes :- why now?

If this is a public interest story, it has been for decades, and so I have to ask of this coverage : – why now?

135. Robin Levett

@Chaise #108:

BBC called them “illegal abortions”. Is that wrong, or was the subject being misrepresented?

In my view, they’d only be illegal if the signing RMPs did not in good faith consider that the continuance of the pregnancy posed greater risk to the health etc of the mother etc than abortion. The woman’s motive in seeking an abortion is entirely irrelevant; she can want the abortion because the child is male and she prefers pink clothes – but if the condition is met, the abortion is legal. We can argue, of course, about the morality of that attitude.

In which case, given that it’s an open secret and everyone knows that it’s going on (just never spoken of or reported fully), the next obvious question becomes – why now? </blockquote

See also: expenses, MP's; and hacking, phone.

137. the a&e charge nurse

[133] “Isn’t refusing an abortion on the basis that it is desired for reasons of sexual selection still compelling a women to be pregnant against her will?” – so why continue with the medico-legal charade.

The reasons for termination from a legal perspective to all intents and purposes are irrelevant (at least from an operational perspective since in 98% of cases the reason the form is signed is due to ‘grave’ and ‘permanent’ risk to the mothers mental health) – so why not just have a box that says ‘doesn’t want it’, surely this would be a more honest and accurate?

138. Chaise Guevara

@ 132 Spike

“It doesn’t need to. The law places the decision at the discretion of the Doctor and his or her judgement and professional opinion. As it should. ”

There seems to be some conufsion about that. But this I’m fine with, if it’s mandated. My issue is with the idea that doctors should be allowed to break the law because “they know best”.

“Doctors should be investigating Doctors in the first instance, never Police first. It’s not appropriate and they don’t know how to handle that kind of investigation.”

What kind of investigation? Where does professional misconduct end and normal criminality begin?

Sure, doctors should investigate doctors where they are experts in the relevant fields. But always under the auspices of the law.

139. Chaise Guevara

@ 133 Cylux

“Isn’t refusing an abortion on the basis that it is desired for reasons of sexual selection still compelling a women to be pregnant against her will?”

Yes – the problem seems to be that “women less than 24 weeks pregnant have the right to relinquish their pregnancy” seems to be the system in practice but not in law.

140. Flowerpower

Chaise

The problem with doctors investigating doctors is that they take so long.

Back in 2004, the Sunday Telegraph exposed another GP involved in an illegal late term abortion racket.

The GP was immediately suspended by her local NHS PCT – on full pay.

In the almost five years it then took to bring her before the GMC and get her struck off, the taxpayer shelled out >£600,000 while she sat at home twiddling her thumbs.

Okay, so she was struck off in the end – but 5 years paid holiday
must have gone a long way towards sweetening that bitter pill.

It also rather suggests that a doc nearing retirement can do do just WTF he/she likes without much fear of sanction.

spike1138

a corporation is a legal person.

Which is why it’s not *necessarily* absurd to argue in court that Orcas, whales and dolphins aren’t people, with rights.

You appear to misapprehend the ‘why’.

(You said earlier, the 14th is the most abused and misinterpreted of ALL US amendments, given the fact that it doesn’t explicitly clarify that “a person” equates to “a human being”… Which is why Corporations are considered people (with personal rights as US citizens))

A corporation is a legal person, has particular rights, because it is an organisation of natural persons and it would be odd to deny free speech (say) to an organisation if you don’t deny free speech to the individuals. But corporations do not have the same rights, to the same extent as natural persons.

It doesn’t logically follow, then, that because there are corporate persons we should grant rights to a species of non-humans. What must be shown is that the entity is some kind of “person”.

@138

Sure, doctors should investigate doctors where they are experts in the relevant fields. But always under the auspices of the law.

My point is that Doctors (not police) are those best qualified to ascertain whether or not the law has actually been broken.

There are all sorts of examples of police investigating crimes in areas in which they are inexpert and getting it completely wrong.

Phone hacking was a big one initially. As is any form of computer crime. Operation Ore is one example of a magnificent shambles that lead to ruined lives and reputations and innocent people topping themselves left right and centre.

The police don’t know what they’re doing in these cases, which are resource intensive to investigate and they are wrong as often as they are right in their assumptions.

@141 While a corporation may be an organisation of natural persons, it only speaks for a few specific individuals within that organisation. Mainly those found in the boardroom.
This also becomes very interesting when you take on board the fact that a number of GOP members are now agitating to have unions stripped of the rights that corporations just gained from the citizens united case.
Unelected corporate leaders > democratically elected union leaders. Apparently.

144. Robin Levett

@SMFS #110:

Although if a woman came in and admitted she lied about the
health risks in order to get rid of a female foetus, as if she would
have to, then the situation would be a little more complicated. As I
pointed out.

No, that wasn’t what you pointed out. What you said was:

Perhaps the doctor has a moral and legal obligation to ask a
few questions to make sure there is some grave risk to the mental or
physical health of the woman. Except we all know there isn’t. But the
situation is very different if the doctor *knows* something that would
mean the abortion was illegal.

Three points on this – one is that “grave” risk isn’t required in the cases we are talking about; simply more risk in continuance than associated with abortion. Secondly what “we all know” is that the general case is that continuance involves greater risk than abortion.

But mainly: the “something” that the doctor knows is clearly not that the woman is lying about the health risk – the paragraph would make little sense if it did. Mention of her sex preference doesn’t convey such knowledge anyway.

Back to that evidence problem again – got any for each (or indeed any) of your multiple claims above? For the UK?

Sure. For the UK may be harder. But which do you think is problematic?

For the record the claims were that:

Plenty of people make the decision [to abort] lightly.

Once we’ve established what you mean by plenty (presumably more than just couple of newspaper columnists writing for effect), we can see what evidence this needs.

…the number of people who have abortions for what the pro-abortion lobby likes to cite as reasons – rape and incest – is tiny.

Subject to what “tiny” means, this may well be correct.

The more common reasons are things like not wanting to miss a chance at promotion, not the right time, or even wanting to go on holiday.

But these are the claims requiring evidencing. The DoH stats show that the vast majority of abortions are because of risk to the woman’s physical or mental health – Category C, in their categorisation. Where are your stats showing to the contrary?

#111:

There was a recent case in Australia where the baby was left crying in a dish and the nurses were reprimanded when they went to save it. It was left to die.

Cite.

@TimJ #114 and BenM #129:

Anecdote * 2 != evidence.

Particularly when the two anecdotes are by journalists.

More importantly – the main claim that SMFS must back up is his positivie one in relation to what he considers the more common reasons for abortion.

But these are the claims requiring evidencing. The DoH stats show that the vast majority of abortions are because of risk to the woman’s physical or mental health – Category C, in their categorisation. Where are your stats showing to the contrary?

I think that this is the point you’re making anyway, but of course the DOH won’t hold stats on people wanting abortions ‘because they wanted to go on holiday’. All ‘convenience’ type reasons will get filed under “risk to the woman’s physical or mental health”.

Since official data won’t be collated, all that there is to go on is anecdotal data.

146. Chaise Guevara

@ 142 Spike

“My point is that Doctors (not police) are those best qualified to ascertain whether or not the law has actually been broken. ”

No. They’re trained in medicine, not law. They might be the best people to decide if medical rules have been broken, and obviously their potential status as expert witnesses is vital, but to determine whether the law has been broken you want a court.

And as I already asked, where’s the line between a professional matter and a police matter? Should doctors have handled the Shipman case? What if a doctor just robs his local surgery? If doctors are supposed to be entirely self-regulating, even in cases of criminality, what if the majority of senior doctors happen to disagree with a law and just tacitly agree to ignore it?

147. Robin Levett

a&ecn ‘137:

since in 98% of cases the reason the form is signed is due to ‘grave’ and ‘permanent’ risk to the mothers mental health

No. Around that proportion of cases proceed under 1(1)(a) – which doesn’t require “grave and permanent” anything.

148. Robin Levett

@TimJ #145:

I think that this is the point you’re making anyway, but of course the DOH won’t hold stats on people wanting abortions ‘because they wanted to go on holiday’. All ‘convenience’ type reasons will get filed under “risk to the woman’s physical or mental health”.

You’re reading my mind.

149. the a&e charge nurse

[147] see [17] + [92] – yes, thanks for the correction Robin, most women (as many as 98% according to the 2007 stats) fall into the category “the pregnancy has NOT exceeded its 24th week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman” – but the degree of risk is an academic distinction since abortion is effectively available on demand in the vast majority of cases.

Interestingly this study claimed “The low rate of deaths from external causes suggests the protective effect of childbirth, but the elevated risk after a terminated pregnancy needs to be recognized in the provision of health care and social services” – and, “in the year after undergoing an abortion, a woman’s mortality rate for unintentional injuries, suicide and homicide was substantially higher than among non-pregnant women in all age groups combined”.
http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/5/459.full

More food for thought?

Cylux,

@141 While a corporation may be an organisation of natural persons, it only speaks for a few specific individuals within that organisation. Mainly those found in the boardroom.

As Justice Scalia said in Citizens United, the First Amendment is “written in terms of ‘speech,’ not speakers.”

[Justice Stevens's dissent] never shows why “the freedom of speech” that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form. To be sure, in 1791 (as now) corporations could pursue only the objectives set forth in their charters; but the dissent provides no evidence that their speech in the pursuit of those objectives could be censored.

The Amendment is written in terms of “speech,” not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals—and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion. We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is “speech” covered by the First Amendment . No one says otherwise.

Also pertinent to your point, this from a footnote:
The dissent says that “ ‘speech’ ” refers to oral communications of human beings, and since corporations are not human beings they cannot speak. Post, at 37, n. 55. This is sophistry. The authorized spokesman of a corporation is a human being, who speaks on behalf of the human beings who have formed that association—just as the spokesman of an unincorporated association speaks on behalf of its members.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZC1.html

This also becomes very interesting when you take on board the fact that a number of GOP members are now agitating to have unions stripped of the rights that corporations just gained from the citizens united case.
Unelected corporate leaders > democratically elected union leaders. Apparently.

On the face of it, then, those GOP members are wrong.

Important to note: “The Government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether.”
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZO.html

@146

No. They’re trained in medicine, not law. They might be the best people to decide if medical rules have been broken, and obviously their potential status as expert witnesses is vital, but to determine whether the law has been broken you want a court.

And police, juries and judges are not trained in medicine. And since the law in this regard rests on the expert opinion of doctors administering treatment, you have to trust the professionals and defer to the judgement of the qualified people who were in the room.

Otherwise, the police will make a complete pig’s ear of it, potentially.

You mentioned the Shipman case – well, the fact that he supposedly had a garage full of trophies he stole off each of his victims marks out the fact that he was in no sense an ordinary case of medical malpractice. He was clearly deranged. But in terms of policing the system, you can’t operate on the basis that GPs might be deranged unless they can demonstrate otherwise, you have to work on the assumption that the majority of them *won’t* be deranged and are in the business of saving lives rather than doing harm.

The flip side to that is the Rebecca Leighton case – overzelously and incompently handled by Greater Manchester Police still presumably reeling from criticism doled out during the Shipman investigation, but investigated so ham-fistedly, they probably let the real killer (if there is one) get away by focusing their entire resources on investigating this one nurse they were convinced had to be a crazed mass-murderer.

They don’t have a clue what they’re doing.

152. Chaise Guevara

@ 150 Spike

“And police, juries and judges are not trained in medicine. And since the law in this regard rests on the expert opinion of doctors administering treatment, you have to trust the professionals and defer to the judgement of the qualified people who were in the room.”

Sure. Expert witnesses. Look, doctors can’t impose sentences on people, so what would they even do with a serious criminal allegation?

“You mentioned the Shipman case – well, the fact that he supposedly had a garage full of trophies he stole off each of his victims marks out the fact that he was in no sense an ordinary case of medical malpractice. He was clearly deranged.”

Yes, but as I keep asking, where do you draw the line between a case for doctors and a case for police?

“But in terms of policing the system, you can’t operate on the basis that GPs might be deranged unless they can demonstrate otherwise, you have to work on the assumption that the majority of them *won’t* be deranged and are in the business of saving lives rather than doing harm.”

Well, obviously, who’s saying otherwise?

153. Robin Levett

@a&ecn #149:

You’re welcome.

Interestingly this study claimed “The low rate of deaths from external causes suggests the protective effect of childbirth, but the elevated risk after a terminated pregnancy needs to be recognized in the provision of health care and social services” – and, “in the year after undergoing an abortion, a woman’s mortality rate for unintentional injuries, suicide and homicide was substantially higher than among non-pregnant women in all age groups combined”.

It disclaimed any causative relationship:

It is unlikely that induced abortion itself causes death due to injury; instead, it is more likely that induced abortions and deaths due to injury share common risk factors

and went on to point out that:

Changes in the characteristics of women having an induced abortion may help provide an explanation. During the study period, the general rate for induced abortions per 1000 women aged 15–44 years initially decreased significantly from 12 to less than nine in the mid-1990s, but then leveled off at 10 in the late 1990s.14 The evolution differed by age: the rate of induced abortions among women aged 19 years and younger who, in general, have a relatively low mortality from unintentional injuries, increased, whereas for women aged 20 years or older the rates were more stable. At the same time, a significant increase occurred in the number of non-Finnish-born women in the population, especially women coming from the Russian Federation and the Baltic States, all of which have traditionally had more induced abortions.15 Since the Finnish Abortion Register does not gather information on women’s ethnicity or nationality, we were unable to evaluate the effect of this demographic change. The preliminary results from a register study suggest, however, that non-Finnish women have a lower percentage of teenage induced abortions than do Finnish women.

Food for thought?

@151

Sure. Expert witnesses. Look, doctors can’t impose sentences on people, so what would they even do with a serious criminal allegation?

Expert witnesses are no good until you get to court. If you can make the charges stick. And if you have enough evidence to even arrest. They’re useless for stopping something current that is going on, rather than something which happened some time ago that was wrong.

Even then, they’re of limited use and far from reliable. They’re not primary witnesses. All they can do is provide context and interpretation, offer their opinion and too often they are found to be wrong. Plus, relatively few clinicians are prepared to go on the stand and try to convict another doctor who claimed to be practicing his art to the best of his ability and skill. Quite apart from anything else, it opens that witness up to public scrutiny and cross-examination of their own record and it’s not the done thing to criticise other clinicians outside the profession, least of all in a public forum.

Well, obviously, who’s saying otherwise?

Shipman was a highly unusual case in as much as he was a Serial Killer who also happened to be a GP, rather than a GP committing systematic malpractice.

As such, the GMC self-regulation failed, since it wasn’t designed or intended to detect, identify or punish serial killers, so he fell into the gap between that and ordinary policing.

Yes, but as I keep asking, where do you draw the line between a case for doctors and a case for police?

I’m not for a moment going to pretend that I’m clever enough or qualified enough to draw that line or that I know enough to list all the criteria and considerations that ought to be taken into account when deciding where it should be drawn; all I can say is that in my view, regulating abortion clearly lies on the clinical side and Shipman lies on the criminal side.

As for thieving from the surgery? Clearly criminal, not clinically.

156. the a&e charge nurse

[152] “It is unlikely that induced abortion itself causes death due to injury; instead, it is more likely that induced abortions and deaths due to injury share common risk factors” – I’m sure that’s true in the main but a few cases have been recorded linking self harm and suicide to abortion, for example;
“An artist killed herself after aborting her twins when she was eight weeks pregnant, leaving a note saying: “I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum.” Emma Beck was found hanging at her home in Helston, Cornwall, on Feb 1 2007. She was declared dead early the following day – her 31st birthday. Her suicide note read: “I told everyone I didn’t want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies: they need me, no-one else does.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1579455/Artist-hanged-herself-after-aborting-her-twins.html

Irrespective of the absence of a direct causal link the study still raises questions about possible risk stratification in this population – this to my mind is the point of interest.
In parenthesis it should be added that no systemic study has found a direct effect between termination and mental health problems (leaving aside the technical difficulties of conceptualising any form of mental illness)

Sorry, the NHS is failing pregnant women.
My daughter was thinking about it six years ago and she asked for counseling so the GP sent her to this clinic in Birmingham.
When she entered she was asked the usual questions about health history etc, then about how she was getting home etc then the penny dropped.
They were going to do a DNC there and then, the scum.
She ran out in disgust.
All they wanted was the fee from the NHS.
We told her we would support her with time and finances and we now have a fantastic grand daughter i wouldn’t be without and i would do the same again.
Though i appreciate not everyone has the support to do this, so i don’t judge.
Is it any wonder women choose abortion especially if single in this hypocritical two faced nation who critisise if they do or if they don’t, but fails to hold the male 50% accountable.
I’m male!

158. So Much For Subtlety

144. Robin Levett

No, that wasn’t what you pointed out.

I fail to see the distinction.

Three points on this – one is that “grave” risk isn’t required in the cases we are talking about; simply more risk in continuance than associated with abortion. Secondly what “we all know” is that the general case is that continuance involves greater risk than abortion.

The general case – for women on average. The doctors are required to comment in good faith on the particular case in front of them. Not on the global issue of all women everywhere. There may be a statistical risk associated with pregnancy but they cannot in good faith make that claim about an otherwise healthy woman sitting in front of them. That clause was clearly put in there for those cases where a woman’s life would be in danger if the pregnancy continued. Not some general case allowing any abortion at any time.

But mainly: the “something” that the doctor knows is clearly not that the woman is lying about the health risk – the paragraph would make little sense if it did. Mention of her sex preference doesn’t convey such knowledge anyway.

Actually I tend to think it did. It is a pity if you did not follow what I said, but that is not because I was not clear. As I said, if a woman comes to her doctor and claims to be at risk, then the doctor can sign off. But if she comes to her doctor admits to lying about being at risk, then the doctor has a different set of legal and moral obligations. Knowledge you see.

Once we’ve established what you mean by plenty (presumably more than just couple of newspaper columnists writing for effect), we can see what evidence this needs.

You could try this:

http://womensissues.about.com/od/reproductiverights/a/AbortionReasons.htm

But these are the claims requiring evidencing. The DoH stats show that the vast majority of abortions are because of risk to the woman’s physical or mental health – Category C, in their categorisation. Where are your stats showing to the contrary?

But we have established that it requires doctors to sign off for those reasons. It does not follow that the doctors do actually believe it or that these stated reasons are the genuine ones. If you say that people can only have an abortion if they claim those reasons, they will claim those reasons. Yes, over 95% of abortions in the UK fall into Category C. Which kind of proves the point. The exact figures taken from a site too graphic to link to:

The total number of abortions in England and Wales including those performed on non-residents amounted to 196,109 in 2010 alone. The following statistics are taken from only those resident in England and Wales. This total number being 189,574.
The number of abortions to actually save the life of the mother are between 0 and 9. (Category F alone) The Department of Health would not disclose actual number.

So we can see this category is tiny. As a problem it more or less does not exist in the UK.

In 2010, the vast majority (97.7% or 185,291) of abortions were undertaken under Category C which is effectively for social reasons. For example if a pregnant woman does not wish to change her lifestyle by remaining pregnant.

And there is the largest category. Which allows, most people here seem to think, abortion on demand.

41 abortions were performed because of risk to the life of the mother. (Categories A,B,C,F and G combined together to make a large enough number)

Again so small as to be negligible.

1635 abortions were undertaken on grounds that continuation of pregnancy would involve risk of injury to the mental or physical health of existing children in the pregnant woman’s family. (Category D alone or combined with C)

Not negligible but still under 1%.

2290 abortions were performed for risk that the child would be born handicapped (Category E). This could include Downs Syndrome, cleft palate, spina bifida or club foot.

Larger but still small.

So, suppose we abolished Category C. It would have little impact on women who had genuine health concerns. But it would more or less abolish abortion in the UK.

Cite.

Now you’re just wasting my time:

http://www.humanrightsforunbornchildren.com/facts/24.html

Note – The Executive advisors failed to mention at least one officially reported case:
A coroner’s hearing in Darwin reported how ‘Jessica Jane’, was born alive and left to die in a Darwin hospital in 1998 after a botched abortion. Northern Territory coroner, Greg Cavanagh, was told of how Jessica’s a tiny but perfect little body, was slipped into a stainless steel dish and left alone in a room where she cried until she died, 80 minutes later.

At the inquest Cavanagh called, he was also told that other late-term babies had been born alive after abortions in the NT, only to be left to die. And none of those deaths had been officially reported or publicised. [11]

That footnote goes to here:

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/but_killing_is_killing_after_all/P40/

Which contains more links I can’t be bothered with.

And of course, not to forget this one either:

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=7906881

159. Robin Levett

@a&ecn #154:

I’m sure that’s true in the main but a few cases have been recorded linking self harm and suicide to abortion

Of course; but “post-natal depression” is hardly unknown. But anecdote * n != data; for any value of n.

160. Chaise Guevara

@ 153 Spike

“Expert witnesses are no good until you get to court. If you can make the charges stick. And if you have enough evidence to even arrest. They’re useless for stopping something current that is going on, rather than something which happened some time ago that was wrong.

Even then, they’re of limited use and far from reliable.”

Surely a board of doctors has exactly the same problems?

“I’m not for a moment going to pretend that I’m clever enough or qualified enough to draw that line or that I know enough to list all the criteria and considerations that ought to be taken into account when deciding where it should be drawn; all I can say is that in my view, regulating abortion clearly lies on the clinical side and Shipman lies on the criminal side.

As for thieving from the surgery? Clearly criminal, not clinically.”

I think a rather obvious place to draw the line is to put it on the criminal side when the alleged action is a criminal offence. Otherwise, law enforcement are knowingly ignoring criminal action, and there’s a weird two-tier system where doctors get different treatment under the law to everyone else provided their alleged crimes are sufficiently clinical.

161. Chaise Guevara

@ Spike again

It occurs to me that the most sensible practice – as I believe we do now – is to treat criminal offenses and unprofessional behaviour as seperate issues even when they both refer to the same action. So if a surgeon accidently kills a patient while drunk, he might get jailed for manslaughter by a court, and struck off by the relevant overseeing body, rather than both issues being dealt with by one or the other. Obviously you’d need people who knew about the medical stuff involved to be in that courtroom.

@157

Even then, they’re of limited use and far from reliable.”

Surely a board of doctors has exactly the same problems?

Not really in the same way – with a medical board, everyone making the decision is an expert and knows from personal experience the ethical haze (the Fog of Medicine) that surrounds normal practice and proceedure, as well as the spurious allegations that can be made by grieving relatives – “This proceedure has a 10% fatality risk, my dad died under the knife from ‘complications’ (he was 85 and a lifelong smoker), that must mean you were negligent or made a mistake, therefore you killed my father”.

They’ve all been there. They know when something doesn’t sound right or doesn’t add up.

Juries are all chosen to be inexpert, neutral arbiters of the facts. Medical technicalities are confusing, as are forensics. Expert witnesses are called to offer their opinion in support of either side’s case and place the evidence in context, but it’s the nature of the cross-examination process that one side or the other will try to cast doubt on professed certainties or temper personal ideas or theories into immutable facts when in reality, it is just the opinion of one man.

Harold Shipman is the only Doctor EVER to be convicted in Britain of murdering a patient; in previous cases of clear euthanasia, there has either been instances of jury nullification or (in one case) the prosecution declining to present a case. But there was another case in the 1950s (John Bodkin Adams), which clearly prefigured Shipman, where he quite obviously WAS bumping off his patients in huge numbers (and, like Shipman, faking their Wills to benefit himself), but the jury couldn’t convict on a murder charge, since there was no way to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Legislators and the medical profession are conscious of this, and that’s my main point.

A jury of 12 laymen is not the judgement of a Doctor’s peers and the burden of proof is too high to be effective – jurors can only decide on the basis of what they have been told, not what they know; to do otherwise is a basis for a mistrial.

A medical board don’t need to see evidence establishing proof beyond reasonable doubt, they just need to be convinced and be of the oppinion that wrongdoing has taken place to act accordingly and discipline the Doctor in question.

If a complaint is made and they see documentary evidence and hear testimonials that suggest “No, something’s not right here… Something seems to be fishy, and what we’re hearing makes us doubt what we’re heard from the subject of the complaint”, they can act.

It’s much more of a No Smoke Without Fire basis of operating, rather than establishing beyond reasonable doubt that something was done wrong and the accused was not acting in good faith.

That’s why the Shipman prosecution was so potentially risky; it wasn’t hard at all to prove that he was a tea-leaf and a fraudster, and it was pretty easy to surmise that he had hastened the death of a great many elderly or infirm patients in his care, but making the case that it was deliberate or premeditated in each case was difficult to prove and making the case for homicidal intent in each individual instance, getting it to stick and then proving it beyond reasonable doubt to a jury was an incredibly big ask – it’s only because they were able to present the bulk of his killings together, en masse and argue that it clearly represented a pattern of behavior consistent with disregard for human life on a massive scale that they were able to pin murder charges to him and get them to stick; had any of the cases been tried and heard individually or even in groups of 5 or 10, he probably would have got off or the Crown might have made manslaughter – when bunched together by the hundred, it’s obvious that he just wasn’t messing about and being negligent and the whole thing just wasn’t funny anymore (not that it was to begin with, but you know what I mean – patience was tested beyond the limit of the courts)

@158

It occurs to me that the most sensible practice – as I believe we do now – is to treat criminal offenses and unprofessional behaviour as seperate issues even when they both refer to the same action. So if a surgeon accidently kills a patient while drunk, he might get jailed for manslaughter by a court, and struck off by the relevant overseeing body, rather than both issues being dealt with by one or the other. Obviously you’d need people who knew about the medical stuff involved to be in that courtroom.

For some reason, when you said that, my first thought was of Alien^3 and Charles Dance with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head…

This is the problem though, the investigations end up getting on top of one-another; typically, the professional body will allow the criminal justice system go first and begin their own proceedings once the courts are done, charges are dropped etc., then the profession will conduct its own enquiry and refer it back to the police (with advice as to how to proceed) if there is in their view a criminal case to answer:

The person accused obviously will likely be suspended during this time and with various appeals, the process is lengthy. Provided the person has a case, the appeals process can go on for years.

Which is why you get doctors suspended from PCTs fighting cases for 5 years or more on full-pay.

I don’t know how you get around that. But perhaps it might be an idea for the profession to provide clinicians with a salary suspension insurance scheme to reimburse the taxpayer for the cost of paying their salaries while investigations and their suspension is ongoing? That way, we might not have the use of their labour for the duration, but at least we’re not paying for them to do nothing but fight the allegations against them in the interim…

164. Abdul Abulbul Emir

Mrs A says

(waxing lyrical)

‘We humans are so destructive. If we’re not killing others we kill our own children then ourselves’.

I don’t where you get these ideas I say.

Have you been at the Nietzsche again woman ?

Peace

165. the a&e charge nurse

[156] ‘anecdote * n != data; for any value of n’ – perhaps you overlooked my closing comment @154, anyway, let me repeat it “In parenthesis it should be added that no systemic STUDY has found a direct effect between termination and mental health problems (leaving aside the technical difficulties of conceptualising any form of mental illness)”.

Having said that only somebody with a closed mind would entirely discount the value of anecdotes – individual experience may be an important starting point in garnering more substantial evidence.

spike1138,

it’s only because they were able to present the bulk of his killings together, en masse and argue that it clearly represented a pattern of behavior consistent with disregard for human life on a massive scale that they were able to pin murder charges to him and get them to stick; had any of the cases been tried and heard individually or even in groups of 5 or 10, he probably would have got off or the Crown might have made manslaughter – when bunched together by the hundred, …

Shipman was charged with 15 murders, not a hundred, to avoid overwhelming the trial (apparently).

@163

Shipman was charged with 15 murders, not a hundred, to avoid overwhelming the trial (apparently).

That makes good sense. If you can prove one murder, try that one and get a conviction. After that, retry any others once he’s locked up. That’s pretty standard methodology for trying serial killer.

If you go in there and say “He killed 962 people!”, you have to justify how you arrived at that figure and scrupulously make the case for every single one; the less obvious cases will haze over the more obvious and clear cases and a competent defence team will use that as a means to fudge the whole case and leverage the reasonable doubt that casts on the whole.

It’s not pragmatic, in any case. If you can prove he killed five, why bother trying to prove 200? Someone who murders five is just as sick and malignant as someone who kills 200, just with more opportunity to get away with it for longer.

Hell, anyone who kills more than one (premeditated) has the capacity within them to kill hundreds, they just never usually manage to get that far…

@161


Mrs A says:-…

I don’t where you get these ideas I say.

Have you been at the Nietzsche again woman

Sounds far more likely to be Steve Ditko (plus a little too much Ayn Rand) on available evidence, if you ask me…

A is A

169. Chaise Guevara

@ Spike

While I’m online, apologies for not replying to you yet. I’m still not convinced by what you say, but you’ve made a lot of good points, and it’s something I need to really think over rather than just posting based on knee-jerk response. If this article vanishes off the main page in the meantime, hopefully we can pick it up in another thread.

170. Robin Levett

@SMFS #158:

I fail to see the distinction.

You don’t see a distinction between a woman admitting lying about the health risks – which she has no expert opinion on – and a doctor knowing something that would make an abortion illegal?

Let’s be absolutely clear; if a woman’s motivation, expressed to the doctor or otherwise, for seeking abortion is sex-selection, that cannot possibly make illegal an abortion that would otherwise be legal. It cannot affect the balance of risk between abortion and continuance. In the pre-24th week cases we are talking about, it is only the doctor’s knowledge of a factor that means that in the particular case before him the health risk of abortion is unquestionably equal to or greater than the health risk of continuance that could render the abortion illegal.

The general case – for women on average. The doctors are required to comment in good faith on the particular case in front of them. Not on the global issue of all women everywhere.

Exactly correct

There may be a statistical risk associated with pregnancy but they cannot in good faith make that claim about an otherwise healthy woman sitting in front of them.

Can they not? I entirely agree that they still have to make the case in relation to the woman in font of them – but the fact that the risks of a normal childbirth are greater than the risks of a normal abortion cannot be dismissed. It also means that in most cases the doctors’ view is not just defensible but correct.

(BTW – what do you mean “otherwise” healthy?).

That clause was clearly put in there for those cases where a woman’s life would be in danger if the pregnancy continued. Not some general case allowing any abortion at any time.

No it wasn’t; it was put in there for cases where there were greater risks to the woman’s (or her other children’s) health in continuance than in abortion. It even helpfully says that in the subsection, which I have quoted above in this thread.

Remember, by the way, that the Act was passed when the boot was on the other foot. At the time abortion was illegal in the UK, and generally illegal throughout the Western world (Roe v Wade wouldn’t be decided for another 6 years). The general experience was therefore of illegal abortion – rusty coathanger style – which carries a hugely elevated risk to the woman’s health by comparison with continuance. The idea was to make the abortions that were already happening safer – to stamp out backstreet abortions.

I agree that Steel’s idea was not to make available abortion on demand, and he is not necessarily, happy with the current position; but as he puts it, “…when people say there are ‘too many’ I say ‘all right, you give me the right figure’. And of course nobody can.”

Actually I tend to think it did. It is a pity if you did not follow what I said, but that is not because I was not clear. As I said, if a woman comes to her doctor and claims to be at risk, then the doctor can sign off. But if she comes to her doctor admits to lying about being at risk, then the doctor has a different set of legal and moral obligations. Knowledge you see.

And I say that (i) saying that you want an abortion for sex-selection reasons isn’t admitting that she is “lying about being at risk”; and (ii) the doctors decide on the relative risks on the basis of their examination, her medical history, and their general and specific knowledge of the various risks. The sex-selection motivation is simply a factor that means that he has to look more carefully at her statements about her health and state of mind.

You could try this:

http://womensissues.about.com/od/reproductiverights/a/AbortionReasons.htm

Oddly, I can’t see any of “not wanting to miss a chance at promotion, not the right time, or even wanting to go on holiday” on these pages. The only study detailed BTW is of US women – who are entitled to abortion on demand strictly so-called (and doesn’t mention those reasons). Even so, the headlined conclusion is that:

The decision to have an abortion is typically motivated by multiple, diverse and interrelated reasons. The themes of responsibility to others and resource limitations, such as financial constraints and lack of partner support,
recurred throughout the study.

So even their motivations aren’t frivolous – certainly not as frivolous as “wanrting to go on holiday”.

Interestingly, the proportiion who said that having a child “Would interfere with job/employment/career” declined from 50% to 38% between 1987 and 2004.

But we have established that it requires doctors to sign off for those reasons. It does not follow that the doctors do actually believe it or that these stated reasons are the genuine ones. If you say that people can only have an abortion if they claim those reasons, they will claim those reasons. Yes, over 95% of abortions in the UK fall into Category C.

We must be talking past one another. The reason a woman states for seeking an abortion is irrelevant to its legality. What matters is whether the doctors consider that the risks of continuance are greater than the risks of an abortion.

Take a hypothetical example of a woman who for reasons of pelvic anatomy and hypersensitivity to anaesthetic has, in the RMPs’ views, a 5% chance of dying or losing the child in an otherwise uncomplicated attempt at childbirth. If she decides that she wants to abort a pre-24 week female foetus because she doesn’t want to take the risk for a female child, then that doesn’t make the abortion illegal – even if she would have taken the risk for a male foetus. Nor does it make the RMP’s signed opinions non-genuine.

Again – you are trying to prove that the doctors are illegally siging off abortions on demand – it doesn’t help your argument to assume that they are lying (“It does not follow that the doctors do actually believe it”).

The exact figures taken from a site too graphic to link to:

The abort67 site came up in my google searches too… I thought you might produce something from there.

In 2010, the vast majority (97.7% or 185,291) of abortions were undertaken under Category C which is effectively for social reasons. For example if a pregnant woman does not wish to change her lifestyle by remaining pregnant.

And there is the largest category. Which allows, most people here seem to think, abortion on demand.

I had noted that abort67 considers that health is a lifestyle choice (category C is the 24 week, 2 RMPs signing off that there are greater health risks etc category). Does anything more need to be said?

Cite.

Now you’re just wasting my time:

http://www.humanrightsforunbornchildren.com/facts/24.html

Note – The Executive advisors failed to mention at least one officially reported case:

A coroner’s hearing in Darwin reported how ‘Jessica Jane’, was born alive and left to die in a Darwin hospital in 1998 after a botched abortion. Northern Territory coroner, Greg Cavanagh, was told of how Jessica’s a tiny but perfect little body, was slipped into a stainless steel dish and left alone in a room where she cried until she died, 80 minutes later.

At the inquest Cavanagh called, he was also told that other late-term babies had been born alive after abortions in the NT, only to be left to die. And none of those deaths had been officially reported or publicised. [11]

That footnote goes to here:

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/but_killing_is_killing_after_all/P40/

Which contains more links I can’t be bothered with.

You’re relying on Andrew Bolt (the footnoted link) and the freepers (the relevant link from Bolt’s blogpost – which is itself simply a repost of Bolt’s blogpost)? To each his own; but I was thinking of a cite rather closer to the source.

From this link, however:

http://rightcore.org/cu/newsletter/att-0050/03-baby_national000411.txt

one can see that the foetus was aborted at 21-22 weeks and would not have lived. It was in fact kept warm and cared for humanely for the remainder of its short life – not abandoned in a kidney dish. What would you say should have been done?

Perhaps more relevantly – where is your source for this part of your claim:

…the nurses were reprimanded when they went to save it.

And this was a viable late-term foetus? In fact, it was neither.

And of course, not to forget this one either:

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=7906881

Disgusting – he should have been closed down and prosecuted years before – but what does the story have to do with the issue under discussion. Gosnell was operating illegally as precisely the kind of back-street abortionist that Steel’s bill was brought in to stamp out – probably, given the perforated bowels, even using rusty coathangers….


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/V1nBv9P5

  2. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : The real agenda behind Telegraph ’s abortion investigation http://t.co/9I8slf9D

  3. Jason Brickley

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/Mdx4Gmxd

  4. Inna Mood

    The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/V1nBv9P5

  5. sunny hundal

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  6. Maham Hashmi

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  7. #pressreform

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  8. Sim-O

    RT @libcon: The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/5JZ9RCXF

  9. Zoe Margolis

    Unsurprising. RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/3gTiVYtj

  10. shabbir gheewalla

    "@sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/gOlMqQv2&quot;

  11. Laura Taylor

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  12. Michele Thomas

    RT @libcon: The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/5JZ9RCXF

  13. Hannah M

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/AAHYEtHg via @libcon

  14. Chris Boyle

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  15. Pascale Palmer

    RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/KMRkf080

  16. Jade Constable

    The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/V1nBv9P5

  17. Spinny

    The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/V1nBv9P5

  18. Tom Royal

    Unsurprising. RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/3gTiVYtj

  19. Sarah Ditum

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/AAHYEtHg via @libcon

  20. Paula

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  21. Rosie Walters

    The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/V1nBv9P5

  22. Siren of Brixton

    “@libcon: The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/zq6a1u1w” here we go with more attacks on women

  23. John Warrender

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/AAHYEtHg via @libcon

  24. The Tweets of March

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  25. kevinrye

    The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/V1nBv9P5

  26. Emily Wight

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  27. sianushka

    Unsurprising. RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/3gTiVYtj

  28. aquizzicalbrow

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  29. CamillaR

    Unsurprising. RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/3gTiVYtj

  30. Kelly Oakes

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/cXL374zX via @libcon

  31. Mark Clapham

    RT @boudledidge: The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/DL6oVcFl via @libcon

  32. David

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/AAHYEtHg via @libcon

  33. Tim Ireland

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/hydcdGuY via @libcon #abortion #dorries

  34. Shan Kilby

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  35. I Love The Cat

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/hydcdGuY via @libcon #abortion #dorries

  36. Anna Elizabeth

    In a move that shocks absolutely no one, the Telegraph push an anti-choice agenda on the grounds of concern for women: http://t.co/vWDRLWZa

  37. That Man Wood

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/hydcdGuY via @libcon #abortion #dorries

  38. sunny hundal

    The Telegraph’s abortion investigation today exposes clinics, but will be used to undermine counselling http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  39. Shakey

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/hydcdGuY via @libcon #abortion #dorries

  40. Girl Interrupted

    The Telegraph’s abortion investigation today exposes clinics, but will be used to undermine counselling http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  41. Cal Bryant

    Tory scum's fake abortion consultation. Disgusting. http://t.co/cXRx5jY3

  42. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/Yx8c2D6M

  43. Shirley

    The Telegraph’s abortion investigation today exposes clinics, but will be used to undermine counselling http://t.co/PVOH6eC6

  44. Paul Trembath

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/hydcdGuY via @libcon #abortion #dorries

  45. DickMandrake

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation http://t.co/3tXsj0e6 (by @sunny_hundal at @libcon) #dorries

  46. notjarvis

    Tory scum's fake abortion consultation. Disgusting. http://t.co/cXRx5jY3

  47. notjarvis

    So the abortion story is about failure of ethics in private practice http://t.co/bY3hTc3g . Tell me again why we want more prvte providers?

  48. Lily Powers

    So the abortion story is about failure of ethics in private practice http://t.co/bY3hTc3g . Tell me again why we want more prvte providers?

  49. Charlotte

    In a move that shocks absolutely no one, the Telegraph push an anti-choice agenda on the grounds of concern for women: http://t.co/vWDRLWZa

  50. Lori Smith

    Unsurprising. RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/3gTiVYtj

  51. A Green

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/AAHYEtHg via @libcon

  52. A Green

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/AAHYEtHg via @libcon

  53. Cal Bryant

    So the abortion story is about failure of ethics in private practice http://t.co/bY3hTc3g . Tell me again why we want more prvte providers?

  54. Cal Bryant

    So the abortion story is about failure of ethics in private practice http://t.co/bY3hTc3g . Tell me again why we want more prvte providers?

  55. Humphrey Cushion

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  56. Humphrey Cushion

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  57. Clemency Evans

    The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/V1nBv9P5

  58. Jessica

    Unsurprising. RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/3gTiVYtj

  59. Rob

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  60. anarchic_teapot

    So the abortion story is about failure of ethics in private practice http://t.co/bY3hTc3g . Tell me again why we want more prvte providers?

  61. Eric Marcus

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  62. Abortion Rights

    THIS > RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/VyxmNr1R

  63. Richard

    The real agenda behind Telegraph's abortion investigation http://t.co/V1nBv9P5

  64. MarinaS

    +1 MT @Abortion_Rights THIS > RT @sunny_hundal: Real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/hrWWpesP

  65. Katie

    THIS > RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/VyxmNr1R

  66. Craig Grannell

    Unsurprising. RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/3gTiVYtj

  67. Jared Earle

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  68. sunny hundal

    THIS > RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/VyxmNr1R

  69. Liza Harding

    The Telegraph’s abortion investigation today exposes clinics, but will be used to undermine counselling http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  70. Lee Griffin

    RT @sunny_hundal: The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/GXA61VOf

  71. Oliver Conner

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s front page abortion investigation http://t.co/1igs3axn – Thank-you @sunny_hundal

  72. Amy Finlayson

    A must-read! RT @oliconner: The real agenda behind Telegraph’s front page abortion investigation http://t.co/r8BeuDTN @sunny_hundal

  73. mr_hopkinson

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s front page abortion investigation http://t.co/1igs3axn – Thank-you @sunny_hundal

  74. Women are being granted illegal abortions in UK, investigation reveals: TBIJ

    [...] have questioned whether the investigation pushes a political, even anti-abortionist agenda – the government [...]

  75. Ruthie Hartnoll

    In a move that shocks absolutely no one, the Telegraph push an anti-choice agenda on the grounds of concern for women: http://t.co/vWDRLWZa

  76. David Taylor

    The real agenda behind the Daily Telegraph's abortion investigation today http://t.co/cPkMVJV2

  77. sunny hundal

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion ‘investigation’ http://t.co/cPkMVJV2 (from this morning)

  78. Chris Paul

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion ‘investigation’ http://t.co/cPkMVJV2 (from this morning)

  79. sara custer

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion ‘investigation’ http://t.co/cPkMVJV2 (from this morning)

  80. Roger Bliss

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion ‘investigation’ http://t.co/cPkMVJV2 (from this morning)

  81. John Simpson

    Interesting take on the Telegraph abortion investigation from @sunny_hundal http://t.co/TBma9jfL

  82. Steve Rose

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion investigation | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/dTO5OHlN via @libcon

  83. Joe Andrews

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion ‘investigation’ http://t.co/cPkMVJV2 (from this morning)

  84. Joseph Talbot

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion ‘investigation’ http://t.co/cPkMVJV2 (from this morning)

  85. francesca garman

    The real agenda behind Telegraph’s abortion ‘investigation’ http://t.co/cPkMVJV2 (from this morning)

  86. Lucy James

    On this week's Telegraph abortion story – http://t.co/sgsxbOdY bravo @sunny_hundal. My thoughts exactly.





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.