“It’s uterUS Marge, not uterYOU!”

May 7, 2008 rooroo

Nadine Dorries (rather like a stubborn turd that won’t flush) yesterday launched the 20 weeks campaign in an effort to reduce the UK’s legal limit of abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. I’m with Zoe Williams in that the 20 reasons read rather like a bit of GSCE coursework.

What stumps me a bit is that she insists that she supports a woman’s right to choose yet uses rather un-pro-choice sound quips like, there are ‘too many’ abortions, and we need to ‘slow down’ and have a ‘more moderate and common sense approach’ to abortion. Call me old fashioned, but isn’t the whole point of being pro-choice supporting someone to let them make their own decisions about their body, than applying some rather non-women friendly tenets that play right into the antis hands?

Now I support the legal limit as it stands as I believe women who are terminating at that gestation are among the most vulnerable women who choose to end a pregnancy. That’s not really why I’m writing on the subject, I just want to know how people decide what is ‘too many?’

It’s no surprise to me that antis take numbers and say that there are too many abortions, but with pro-choicers, that confuses me a bit. It confuses me that we use numbers at all – shouldn’t the focus be on the number of women who have been able to have the opportunity to terminate a pregnancy they didn’t want? Dare I say, isn’t that a good thing?

I guess the numbers game comes down to this for me. If 200,000 is too many, what’s to say that 100,000 won’t be? What’s to say that 50,000 isn’t to many? Or 10,000, or 5000? Or 50, 20, 10? Because what really seems to be suggested is that 1 abortion is too many.

Anyway, I hope that the campaign is unsuccessful, because I don’t believe there is a need to lower the time limit yet. I just hope any debate is structured around scientific evidence, and not froo-froo truths. Ben Goldacre wrote brilliantly on the subject.


Entry Filed under: feministing, musings

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. elle&hellip  | 

    Hmm, I hadn’t actually read the 20 reasons when we were discussing it earlier.

    I’m with you on numbers:

    The number of abortions carried out between 20 and 24 weeks has been rising in recent years. Lowering the limit to 20 weeks for normal babies will save almost 2,300 young lives per year.

    Um, isn’t the point of abortions to take lives, not save them. Or to put it another way, “hey, I’m so glad my mum only had me because she was forced into it legally”.

    I also quite liked:

    A recent Royal College of Psychiatrists report acknowledges a link between abortion and mental illness. This is worse with late abortions, especially those for fetal abnormality.

    I wonder whether she’s saying that late-stage abortion should be banned because it causes mental illness, or that it should be banned because it’s mostly sought by people with mental illness – exactly the sort of folk we should be encouraging to carry unwanted babies?

  • 2. dommebell&hellip  | 

    Yes, had these pregnancies been wanted, then of course survival would be a good thing. Then again, in years to come I wonder how those 2,300 children will fare being raised by someone who didn’t want them?

    On the mental illness issue, I think it’s the former. But to be honest, if I had terminated for foetal abnormality, I’m sure my mental health would suffer a bit afterwards through the grieving process – I think that’s allowed given the circumstances! I wonder if she’s willing to tell pregnant women of the risks of post-natal depression? It’s only fair, given she wants women to be informed of all the risks. 1

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