Jeremy Hunt has now added his voice to that of Maria Miller, only this time he’s gone even further, stating that he would like to see the abortion limit dropped to 12 weeks.
Whilst many of us are delighted to see abortion back up at the top of the political agenda, I can’t help but inwardly sigh at all the inevitable clichés that are going to be trotted out by all sides.
Abortion is an apolitical, secular issue which requires neither recourse to any sort of theism or tribal party loyalty of any description. It boils down to one very simple question: is it ever morally justified to take the life of an unborn child? A negative answer does not necessitate an appeal to God or any belief as to a free-market economy, as evidenced by the various commie, atheist and pagan members of the UK secular pro-life society.
Anyone care to guess how many articles are going to be churned out by the Guardian on this over the weekend? Smoke is already erupting from the keyboards of Diane Abbot and Sarah Ditum. Christian right wing, US tactics, culture wars, women’s health, blah blah.
Nope, just a bunch of people who think killing unborn children is quite wrong. Women do not need direct abortion for their health and how, in this instance late term abortion with all its horrors and side effects can be justified as healthy, is beyond me.
As far as pro-life is concerned, Andy Stephenson is quite correct, this is all a total irrelevance. Time limits and survival rates of premature babies are not the main issue here. The question is when does life begin? Not when does sentience start or when can the baby be said to be alive or philosophical beard stroking as to definitions of awareness, but when does human life begin? If not at conception when precisely does the unborn child suddenly become either human or alive?
The science is firmly on the side of the pro-lifers, even Ann Furedi of BPAS admits as much, writing that
“the question is not when does life begin but when does it begin to matter?”
The answer to that does not depend upon religious views or political leanings although of course they may influence one’s answer. I can’t reconcile myself with how the Labour party, once traditionally preoccupied with the protection of the poorest and most vulnerable in society, with its traditional ideology of solidarity, can ride roughshod over the rights of humanity on the grounds that it is not yet born. The lives of those humans who are yet to make the journey through the birth canal are not as important as those who have?
Abortion limits matter little when one is talking about the lives of the unborn. It is as abhorrent to kill a three week old unborn baby (who incidentally has a heartbeat) as it is one at twenty four weeks.
Whilst all pro lifers support measures that would reduce the amount of abortions being performed and suffering caused to women, actually what we want to see is an end to abortion.
Neither Jeremy Hunt, Maria Miller or even Nadine Dorries are pro life as they all support a lowering of limits and nothing more. It’s laughable when they are portrayed as pro-life bigots when the truth is that pro-lifers are crying out for politicians who openly support the cause and not what they believe to be achievable.
Personally, like many others I am in favour of a reduction in limits as it will save lives and avert terrible suffering, but there is the risk that such a measure could backfire. We know that women are often pressured and coerced by others, not least by the abortion industry itself. An early limit could in some cases cause a woman to rush her decision and make a mistake that she will regret for the rest of her life. It will however spare some women the agony of late term abortion and could force the unwanted pregnancy rate down.
There is no comparable statistical data available as to what happens when a country drastically reduces the limits on abortion after 40 years of effective abortion on demand, so whatever side of the debate you are on, pro choice, incrementalist or absolutist, the consequences are, to a great extent, guesswork.
It’s great to see the topic of abortion back in the spotlight, public opinion is beginning to change, but the cynic in me scents a distraction. Maria Miller and Jeremy Hunt have not proposed any such legislation or even consultation on the matter, this is simply their personal views. Cameron’s Conservatives are doing appallingly, his personal rating is at an all time low, Osborne is not doing much better, the department of Transport made a huge Horlicks last week, the re-shuffle was a damp squib, Ed Milipede has begun to emerge from his chrysalis, the government have made more u-turns than a motorist who’s switched their sat-nav to Apple maps and suddenly the focus is on private views held about abortion?
Either it’s a total distraction to keep the media and masses talking or they’ve run out of ideas and want the coalition government to be seen to have been decisive and achieved at least one thing over their disastrous tenure.
There is nonsensical talk emanating from the pro-choice lobby about an “abortion policy fit for the 21st century”. What does that mean, teleporting unborn children out of wombs? It’s a desperate attempt to make those who oppose the killing of our unborn seem out of touch, Victorian, paternalistic and uncaring. At least the Victorians actually took some responsibility for the poor and weak, as opposed to outwardly killing them off. What this talk is aimed at is reforming our abortion laws in order to enshrine abortion on demand as a right and removing current medical safeguards. What could happen in practice is we see a reduction in limits coupled with unrestricted early stage abortion, something that would neither be good for women or children, however politicians and members of the public would feel appeased by an intellectually dishonest and unsatisfying compromise.
If the government or an MP really wants to make a difference in terms of reducing abortion, they should stop funding the abortion clinics who make money off the back of women’s misery, not just in the UK but as in the case of Marie Stopes, in China. They’ll also stop funding organisations who promote abortion as being the main option for unplanned teen pregnancies. They’ll ban advertisements for abortion services and pour money into helping mothers, especially young or single mothers and heavily subsidise childcare for those in greatest need. They’ll also give pro life organisations funds to properly counsel and support frightened pregnant women.
Unless and until all of those things happen, it’s all tinkering around the edges, a lot of unnecessary conjecture and a contrived escalation of the perceived culture wars. Let’s face it, the government has firmly stuck its fingers in its ears over the overwhelming majority who do not wish marriage to be re-defined, why are they suddenly going to introduce legislation to cut abortion limits?
The fewer babies killed and women hurt the better, but let’s be honest, without the above measures, bringing limits down is of very little import if one’s ultimate destination is in the sluice of BPAS.