Nadine Dorries and her abortion flip-flops


by Sunny Hundal    
3:57 pm - April 20th 2012

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Yesterday the Tory MP Nadine Dorries took to Twitter to fulminate against the Libdem chair.

So Nadine Dorries makes it clear her opposition to abortion is more to do with religion than women’s health.

But how opposed to abortion is Nadine Dorries?

A few weeks ago she said:

So, being Christian is defined as being against abortion after 20 weeks? Interesting.

And then

But is that true?

This is what Nadine Dorries posted on the Spectator magazine website a few years ago

A few years ago Dorries told Salvation Army magazine:

My faith constantly gives me my reference point. It keeps me grounded. I am not an MP for any reason other than because God wants me to be. There is nothing I did that got me here; it is what God did. There is nothing amazing or special about me, I am just a conduit for God to use.

Update: Can’t believe I forgot this, but Nadine Dorries voted to change the legal abortion limit from 24 weeks to 12 weeks in 2008. (via @roreiy)

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Good grief, I knew she was loopy but I didn’t realise she was quite as loopy as that Sally Ann comment suggests.

2. Chaise Guevara

Abortion flip-flops: support women’s right to shoes!

I’ll get me coat.

I really like the idea that she genuinely hadn’t heard the word “guttural” before and so couldn’t reply.

@2 Are abortion flip-flops what some women need after wearing fuck-me shoes?

Already got my coat

NADINE DORRIES IN LIE SHOCKER.

You act like you’re surprised??

But good work getting it documented. Something to refer to next time she goes on a batshit rant about how everyone is lying about her.

6. Chaise Guevara

@ 4 Schmidt

The real question, of course, is whether foetuses have soles.

Does she eat shellfish on Sundays? Because the Bible says you should not to that.

Of course she lies. As far as those who push her brand of christianity go, lying is the small sin required to stop the bigger sin of ‘murdering babies’, or anything else you find them opposed to, quite frankly.

9. Shatterface

Abortion flip-flops are the worst beachwear ever.

It’s not inconcievable that her views could have changed since 2007, is it? If she formerly wanted to reduce the time period for abortion to 9 or 13 weeks, but now only wants to reduce it to 20 weeks, I guess that’s progress of a sort…

@10, Indeed, it’s not inconceivable that her views have changed. However, in that case, her statement that she will never, ever, ever do what she previously wanted to do can’t be taken seriously, since she could easily change her mind back again. Further, the implication that the Guardian’s statements about her are deliberately or consciously untrue is severely undermined by the fact that the statements used to be true, whether or not they are now. And if she can switch between favouring different numbers of weeks, why should it be inherently and indisputably wrong and un-Christian for Farron to favour the current number of weeks? Perhaps the current number of weeks will be Dorries’ preference in a few years’ time – we can only hope.

12. Robin Levett

@Chaise #6:

The real question, of course, is whether foetuses have soles.

Heel not answer that. I think the cat’s got his tongue.

(I wasn’t wearing a coat – it makes the getaway quicker).

13. Chaise Guevara

@ 12 Robin

I guess not. He must be pretty straight-laced.

(And, dammit, you took the “tongue” gag I was saving for later! It appears I’m no longer en brogue.)

14. Chaise Guevara

If you’re wincing at reading “en brogue”, don’t worry: that’s just the sound of me scraping the bottom of the barrel. With my coat.

This has to be one of the most amusing abortion ‘n’ Dorries threads I’ve come across.

Not sure why everyone is sharing an image of Dorries’ Spectator comment when it’s still available on the Spectator web site. See http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/284926/abortion-lobby-on-the-back-foot.thtml

@16

It’s just a hedge against the possibility of that comment falling down the Internet memory hole, nothing more.

When dealing with a known bullshitter like Dorries, its best to have as many copies of her comments floating around as possible.

18. Robin Levett

@Chaise #13:

And, dammit, you took the “tongue” gag…

TMI

19. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Poor Nadine finds herself in that peculiar place that I imagine many Christians must find themselves. If God has spoken to her, then of course she is enlightenend,but as everyone knows, hearing voices is a symptom of insanity. If one the other hand she hasn’t heard the word of God ,she is essentially a robot without instructions.Either way not a person whose judgement is worth anything.

20. Chaise Guevara

@ MoCO

Hard to know what form her delusions take. If she thinks she can actually hear God’s voice in her head then maybe she’s schizophrenic. If she just “feels” that God approves of her actions, that’s more like good old-fashioned wishful thinking. Either way, can’t argue with your last sentence.

“So, being Christian is defined as being against abortion after 20 weeks?”

Erm, saying “I’m against abortion after 20 weeks” isn’t the same as saying “Being Christian is defined as being against abortion after 20 weeks”. Most liberals would probably oppose banning alcohol sales, but that doesn’t mean that “liberal” is defined as “somebody who would oppose banning alcohol sales”.

Sally:

“Does she eat shellfish on Sundays? Because the Bible says you should not to that.”

If you’re going to start pontificating on what the Bible says, you might want to read the sections dealing with how far Christians should follow the laws of the Old Testament. I’m sure you wouldn’t want people to think that you didn’t know what you were talking about, after all.

MCO @ 19:

“If one the other hand she hasn’t heard the word of God ,she is essentially a robot without instructions”

Erm, what?

Chaise @ 20:

“If she just “feels” that God approves of her actions, that’s more like good old-fashioned wishful thinking.”

Probably more like the moral sense idea, with the source of morality being identified as God.

24. Trooper Thompson

Sunny,

another bloody Nadine Dorries post – just ask her out! It’s obvious that you can’t get her out of your mind. Buy her a drink. Maybe you’ll hit it off.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ P ve M

“Erm, saying “I’m against abortion after 20 weeks” isn’t the same as saying “Being Christian is defined as being against abortion after 20 weeks”. ”

Yeah, but earlier she implies that Farron isn’t a proper Christian for failing to support making abortion more restrictive. So it’s a bit of a jump by Sunny, but not a long one.

“Probably more like the moral sense idea, with the source of morality being identified as God.”

Probably both, to be fair. You need wishful thinking (if not something worse) to use God as part of the explanation.

26. Robin Levett

@P Ve M #22:

Much as it goes against the grain to defend Sally;

If you’re going to start pontificating on what the Bible says, you might want to read the sections dealing with how far Christians should follow the laws of the Old Testament. I’m sure you wouldn’t want people to think that you didn’t know what you were talking about, after all.

As far as my reading has extended, JHC didn’t produce a handy-dandy list of chapters/verses from Leviticus he’d repealed. Do you have a reference for one? Matthew 5:17-18 suggests that it all remains in full force.

The bans on shellfish and mixed fibre clothes tend to be referred to, on this blog and others, when someone treats the OT as final and binding authority on what Christians have to believe.

Chaise @ 25:

“Yeah, but earlier she implies that Farron isn’t a proper Christian for failing to support making abortion more restrictive. So it’s a bit of a jump by Sunny, but not a long one.”

But “being a proper Christian” has more aspects to it than just “being against abortion”, so whilst Dorries might say that a proper Christian would be against abortion, that’s not the same as defining “proper Christian” as “someone who is against abortion”.

“Probably both, to be fair. You need wishful thinking (if not something worse) to use God as part of the explanation.”

Well, if one believes in objective morality, it makes sense that there would be some source for that morality. So “using God as part of the explanation” is quite a logical next step, not just something tacked on, as you seem to think.

Robin @ 26:

St. Paul’s letters are where you’d want to look. The issue of whether non-Jewish converts to Christianity needed to obey the Jewish Law was quite a contentious one in the early Church, and Paul was one of the main proponents of the idea that they didn’t.

“Matthew 5:17-18 suggests that it all remains in full force.”

Traditional Christian teaching has it that the “fulfilment” Jeus talks about was accomplished by the crucifixion and resurrestion, and that the old Jewish Law has been fulfilled and superceded by the teachings of Christ (which, as far as I am aware, make no mention of shellfish or of mixed fibres). You may disagree with this argument, but it will take more than “What about the OT rules?” to show that Dorries is being inconsistent.

28. Chaise Guevara

@ 27 P Ve M

“But “being a proper Christian” has more aspects to it than just “being against abortion”, so whilst Dorries might say that a proper Christian would be against abortion, that’s not the same as defining “proper Christian” as “someone who is against abortion”.

OK, but you’re splitting hairs. Looking back I can see that Sunny put it that way, but I seriously doubt he meant to imply that she defines Christianity *only* by stance on abortion. Much more likely he meant that she thinks that it is a requirement of being Christian, which she all but declares above.

“Well, if one believes in objective morality, it makes sense that there would be some source for that morality. So “using God as part of the explanation” is quite a logical next step, not just something tacked on, as you seem to think.”

Leaving aside the fact that that’s a pretty big “if”: using something with no evidence for its existence as part of your explanation is not logical. Using something of that type that you have an emotional desire to believe in (because of upbrinding, fear of death, a need for a “purpose”, or whatever) adds the “wishful thinking” aspect.

Chaise @ 28:

“Leaving aside the fact that that’s a pretty big “if”:”

Well, if you don’t believe in objective morality, you obviously don’t need to try and explain where it comes from. But Dorries seems to (or, at least, her strong views on abortion suggest she thinks there’s something actually wrong with it, rather than it being a matter of personal choice).

“using something with no evidence for its existence as part of your explanation is not logical.”

If you accept the premises “objective morality exists” (which Dorries seems to) and “objective morality requires some sort of God to give it force” (and I can’t think where else it could come from, although I wouldn’t want to completely rule out the idea that there could be another source), then objective morality is evidence for God.

“Using something of that type that you have an emotional desire to believe in (because of upbrinding, fear of death, a need for a “purpose”, or whatever) adds the “wishful thinking” aspect.”

Perhaps, although one could equally point to people who have an emotional desire not to believe (because of upbringing, fear of punishment after death, the idea that life without God is somehow more “free”, desire to think of themselves as cleverer or more advanced than other people, or whatever).

30. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 P Ve M

“Well, if you don’t believe in objective morality, you obviously don’t need to try and explain where it comes from. But Dorries seems to (or, at least, her strong views on abortion suggest she thinks there’s something actually wrong with it, rather than it being a matter of personal choice).”

Hang on. Give me your definition of objective morality. Because I don’t believe in what I’d define as objective morality, but I’d still say “this is wrong, that is right”.

“If you accept the premises “objective morality exists” (which Dorries seems to) and “objective morality requires some sort of God to give it force” (and I can’t think where else it could come from, although I wouldn’t want to completely rule out the idea that there could be another source), then objective morality is evidence for God.”

If you accept the premise “all moons are populated by unicorns”, then the existence of the Moon is evidence of the existence of unicorns. This is not compelling. If your example given above (which uses premises designed to make God’s existence true by definition) is an accurate representation of Dorries’ logic, then her logic failed on the acceptance of those premises.

“Perhaps, although one could equally point to people who have an emotional desire not to believe (because of upbringing, fear of punishment after death, the idea that life without God is somehow more “free”, desire to think of themselves as cleverer or more advanced than other people, or whatever).”

Atheism is not immune to confirmation bias, certainly. Two points though:

1) Trivially, deities and their policies towards the afterlife tend to be defined vaguely enough to allow people to bend their belief towards positivity. I.E if you believe God sends some people to Hell, you probably don’t think you’ll be one of them. I suspect a religious hell-fearer is more likely to convince themselves that they are worthy of heaven than to convince themselves that the whole edifice is a lie – at least if fear of hell is the only driver of change.

2) Much less trivially, you don’t need to find explanations for the beliefs of atheists because *they believe what the evidence shows*. I’m speaking here of atheists in the “there’s no evidence for God so odds are he doesn’t exist” camp, not the “God doesn’t exist FACT!” camp. That doesn’t mean atheists don’t suffer these biases, just that their beliefs would be explicable even without bias.

Chaise @ 30:

“Hang on. Give me your definition of objective morality. Because I don’t believe in what I’d define as objective morality, but I’d still say “this is wrong, that is right”.”

Actions being right or wrong for every person and society, regardless of what they think, as opposed to being contingent on what the individual/society as a whole thinks. So if you had a society where everybody thought that (say) genocide were OK, they’d still be wrong to do it, even if everybody in that society believed really strongly that massacring entire races were morally permissable.

“If your example given above (which uses premises designed to make God’s existence true by definition) is an accurate representation of Dorries’ logic, then her logic failed on the acceptance of those premises.”

What exactly is wrong with the premises? You might disagree with the first premise, but a lot of even quite intelligent people have believed in it throughout history, so accepting it clearly isn’t an automatic sign of mental deficiency. As for the second, I’d welcome any other possible explanations you might have.

“1) Trivially, deities and their policies towards the afterlife tend to be defined vaguely enough to allow people to bend their belief towards positivity. I.E if you believe God sends some people to Hell, you probably don’t think you’ll be one of them. I suspect a religious hell-fearer is more likely to convince themselves that they are worthy of heaven than to convince themselves that the whole edifice is a lie – at least if fear of hell is the only driver of change.”

That’s why I listed fear of hell as only one factor amongst several, not as a single knock-down counter-argument. Although for what it’s worth, there have been some rather famous philosophers who regarded fear of hell as one of the major obstacles to human happiness. Epicurus, for example.

“2) Much less trivially, you don’t need to find explanations for the beliefs of atheists because *they believe what the evidence shows*. I’m speaking here of atheists in the “there’s no evidence for God so odds are he doesn’t exist” camp, not the “God doesn’t exist FACT!” camp. That doesn’t mean atheists don’t suffer these biases, just that their beliefs would be explicable even without bias.”

Perhaps, although in my experience, people who say “there’s no evidence for God” tend to be working from premises which are debatable at best, outright rubbish at worst.

32. Chaise Guevara

@ 31

“Actions being right or wrong for every person and society, regardless of what they think, as opposed to being contingent on what the individual/society as a whole thinks.”

Do you mean someone applying their morals universally, or the idea that these morals are intrinsic to the universe beyond the opinions of lifeforms? Are you describing a belief or a fact?

“What exactly is wrong with the premises?”

Can’t know till you’ve clarified.

“As for the second, I’d welcome any other possible explanations you might have.”

Again, need your clarification for this.

“That’s why I listed fear of hell as only one factor amongst several, not as a single knock-down counter-argument.”

Sure, hence me saying my point was trivial.

“Perhaps, although in my experience, people who say “there’s no evidence for God” tend to be working from premises which are debatable at best, outright rubbish at worst.”

They don’t need to be working from any premises. You can’t prove a negative. It’s up to the people making the positive claim to present *their* evidence.

When millions of believers over thousands of years have been unable to do so (unless all evidence has been suppressed, which would be odd given the popularity of religion), God’s existence can be considered unlikely, although not disproved.

Chaise @ 32:

“Do you mean someone applying their morals universally, or the idea that these morals are intrinsic to the universe beyond the opinions of lifeforms? Are you describing a belief or a fact?”

The second.

“They don’t need to be working from any premises. You can’t prove a negative. It’s up to the people making the positive claim to present *their* evidence.”

Erm, yes they are working from premises. What is “the burden of proof falls on you guys” if not a premise? And the burden of proof isn’t always on those making positive claims. If I were to write history book denying that Julius Caesar ever existed, it would be up to me to prove my new historical theory, not on the historical community to refute it.

“When millions of believers over thousands of years have been unable to do so (unless all evidence has been suppressed, which would be odd given the popularity of religion), God’s existence can be considered unlikely, although not disproved.”

Well, it depends on what you consider “evidence”. Most of the no-evidence people seem to regard the matter as a scientific one, and scientific evidence as the only sort which could decide the matter. But the arguments for that position (when people actually do argue for it, as opposed to just assuming) are uncompelling, so that would be one example of a “debatable” premise. Some atheists take the matter even further, and say that scientific knowledge is the only sort of reliable knowledge. Such a proposition is, however, not amenable to scientific testing, and is therefore self-refuting. This would be an example of a premise which is “outright rubbish”.

@ Man on Clapham Omnibus

Actually, I understand that hearing voices is NOT a sign of insanity. Lots of people hear voices, recognise that they are not “real” and just live with them, – usually not telling anyone else, in case they are thought to be insane.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Humphrey Cushion

    Nadine Dorries is an anagram of Pants on Fire #nobodychecksanagrams http://t.co/u2sZQ99Q

  2. Chris Richardson

    Nadine Dorries is an anagram of Pants on Fire #nobodychecksanagrams http://t.co/u2sZQ99Q

  3. Michael Haslam

    Nadine Dorries is an anagram of Pants on Fire #nobodychecksanagrams http://t.co/u2sZQ99Q

  4. Mark Williams

    Nadine Dorries MP contradicts herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/0Vd9x7as (and we have the evidence)

  5. TheCreativeCrip

    Nadine Dorries and her abortion flip-flops | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/TJ5PQDgo via @libcon

  6. Helen

    Nadine Dorries is a liar / hypocrite shock headline: http://t.co/0J0IPyFg

  7. Nathan Shickle

    MT @sunny_hundal Nadine Dorries MP contradicts herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/7EoPQmmK (and we have the evidence) < Unlike Dorries

  8. Jamie Scott

    Nadine Dorries and her abortion flip-flops http://t.co/ZFwow021

  9. Pauline Sweetman

    Nadine Dorries is an anagram of Pants on Fire #nobodychecksanagrams http://t.co/u2sZQ99Q

  10. Brian Lawton

    Nadine Dorries is an anagram of Pants on Fire #nobodychecksanagrams http://t.co/u2sZQ99Q

  11. Rory

    http://t.co/o0sRrCSM Either Dorries has changed her mind on abortion, lies blatantly, or just has no clue what she is voting on in the HoC.

  12. Sam Liu

    Nadine Dorries and her abortion flip-flops | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bbIVfkIR via @libcon

  13. Rep in the Regions

    RT @sunny_hundal: Evidence that @NadineDorriesMP keeps contradicting herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/b2tWkgyr (from yesterday)

  14. Pat Crolla

    RT @sunny_hundal Evidence that Nadine Dorries MP keeps contradicting herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/UmcVFenI (from yesterday)

  15. ste

    Evidence that Nadine Dorries MP keeps contradicting herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/0Vd9x7as (from yesterday)

  16. Vince

    Evidence that Nadine Dorries MP keeps contradicting herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/0Vd9x7as (from yesterday)

  17. BPCA

    Evidence that Nadine Dorries MP keeps contradicting herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/0Vd9x7as (from yesterday)

  18. BevR

    Evidence that Nadine Dorries MP keeps contradicting herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/0Vd9x7as (from yesterday)

  19. A Green

    Evidence that Nadine Dorries MP keeps contradicting herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/0Vd9x7as (from yesterday)

  20. Foxy52

    Evidence that Nadine Dorries MP keeps contradicting herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/0Vd9x7as (from yesterday)

  21. Dani Beckett

    Nadine Dorries MP contradicts herself on limiting abortion http://t.co/0Vd9x7as (and we have the evidence)

  22. Your conscience or mine? | Edinburgh Eye

    [...] while Dorries has publicly flip-flopped a bit on how far she wants the state to force women, her long-term strategy appears to be an extremist [...]

  23. Liz Hammond

    #NadineDorries abortion flip-flops http://t.co/y465W3ob the church and state should never meet. This woman is all the proof! All of it!

  24. Nader Khalifa

    @NadineDorriesMP @charlie_gray_ BTW Nadine, what's your view on abortion today?

    http://t.co/owCovMKI

  25. Nader Khalifa

    Just in case any non-political types want to know what kind of religious lunatic Nadine Dorries is.

    #imacelebrity

    http://t.co/owCovMKI





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