Why not to demonise those who don’t support full abortion law reform

Kate Nicholl is a former candidate for the Alliance Party. She writes for us today on the issue of abortion rights & in defence of those who oppose an extension of the 1967 act. 

I’m going to say something unpopular about abortion. And defend those who don’t support the extension of the 1967 Act.

Right now there is a very real debate going on in our society about a woman’s right to choose.

For the past 4 years I worked for Anna Lo – who along with Steven Agnew, Basil McCrea and Trevor Lunn were the only MLAs out of 108 to openly describe themselves as pro choice. I share Anna’s views, I think abortion is a health issue and I believe the person best placed to make decisions about her body is the woman herself. I also respect those who do not share my view, I know people who identify as pro life who are not hard line and they are as passionate in their position as I am in mine. It’s why I argue that abortion should be a matter of conscience for political parties.

A few months ago at a pro-choice panel event when the chance of getting the amendment to the Justice Bill on FFA passed was still alive, I asked the question: how do you respond to those who think this will open the floodgates? The answer was “good I hope it does”. That’s an honest response. But that answer doesn’t secure the votes we need for change. Given our political climate, given the number of pro-choice candidates who are running and the total number of seats available – the political reality is that for change to happen small steps will need to be taken first. Labeling politicians as being anti-choice when they are only in favour of liberalising the law in narrow cases does not help the cause. If we couldn’t even get an amendment to allow abortion in the case of rape, what prospect do we have of the extension of 1967? It’s a depressing truth that for progressives in Northern Ireland what we want and what is enactable are nearly always different. That certainly doesn’t mean sanitise the debate, but be conscious of what you are trying to achieve.

For me the hero of the last mandate was Trevor Lunn who opposed equal marriage time and time again, through internal and diplomatic dialogue he changed his mind. He had the bravery to do so and offered us all hope that change is possible. Call out those who refuse change, challenge those who claim to be protecting civil liberties but are actually hindering them. But be patient with those who are moving on the issue of abortion, they exist in all parties, and help them to get to the page you are on. I’d argue that’s the most progressive and feminist position you can take, because that’s the only way we get to where we so desperately need to be.

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  • Ernekid

    The reality here is that you are either for abortion law reform or you are happy with the current situation that essentially criminalises women for undergoing a medical procedure, a situation that forces women to travel to other parts of the UK at great expense and situation that leads women to source dangerous medication from the Internet and to take in an unsupervised environment without professional medical assistance.

    Abortion is going to happen whether you like it or not. The options here is whether it will happen under safe and legal conditions or dangerous unregulated conditions.

  • Kate Nicholl

    I’m not arguing with that at all. Im asking how you ensure abortion happens under safe and legal conditions? With legislation. How do you we realistically get the legislation needed given Assembly make up, petition of concern etc? Im arguing not by demonisation, but by small steps.

  • Croiteir

    The fact that people kill other people is never grounds for legitimising it. Abortion is the vilest and cruellest firm of murder. It can never be justified.
    The issue here is
    Whether the protection of human life is paramount to other considerations or dependant on others and their priorities.

    Abortion cheapens and degrades humanity. There is no moral argument or indeed any other argument which can remotely justify it.

  • Ernekid

    Bugger small steps. The current system is untenable. The Assembly has proved to be useless so the best option I can see is go over their heads and push for legislation in Westminster. Westminster has primacy on all matters over the devolved NI Assembly as the Sovereign national Parliament. Either by an order of council or through a Private Members Bill to amend the current UK abortion legislation to extent it to NI. If local politicians won’t do their jobs then it’s time for some one else to do it for them.

  • Kate Nicholl

    I’m not arguing that Stormont hasn’t done enough either. I’m interested in what can *actually* be done, how likely do you think it is that Westminster will intervene?

  • Ernekid

    You know your attitude is quite a modern one? The process of abortion is probably one as old as human civilisation. Archeologists have found implements that may have been used in Ancient Egypt in abortive procedures. In the Medieval era, drugs designed to induce miscarriage were commonplace and were used as form of contraception. In medieval Christian ruling the idea was that life began at the point of ‘the Quickening’ when the foetus would be felt kicking in the womb.

    The adoption by Christians ,of the idea that life begins at conception, an idea that very few, if any embryologists would agree with ( most biologists would disagree on how to define “life”) happened quite recently in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There’s several moral arguments that one can employ in support of abortion but I shan’t bother right now with you Croitier. You are so ingrained in your own position I might as well have an argument with the Sea.

  • Ernekid

    I think it’s time to start a lobbying campaign for an audience in the ‘mainland’ bringing attention to the fact that there is a part of the UK where the law is literally Victorian. Try to build a coalition of supporters in the media, academia and in British politics to put pressure on the UK government to change the situation in Northern Ireland or to attract the support of Labour, Lib Dem or SNP MPs to put forward a Private Members Bill to extent UK abortion legislation to Northern Ireland.

  • Croiteir

    I could say the same as you but as I believe the pro life stance is superior I am quite happy to argue it.

    The above post adds nothing to the debate. It seems to claim historical justification that murder of children is fine. They may as well argue for the legalisation of all forms of human sacrifice and start throwing grandda into the bog after garotting after a good breakfast of muesli.

    As far as the Christian view of quickening is concerned that was simply the Church being consistent with scientific advice. The scientists believed that life started with the quickening and needed protection from that point. Once science discovered it’s mistake and corrected it the Church accepted that.

  • Ernekid

    Science you say?
    Give me any piece of peer reviewed research from a reputable Scientific journal that would define a foetus ‘a child’ and abortion as ‘murder’.

    Don’t knock human sacrifice. After we threw granny in the bog, we had a bumper potato harvest. 😜

  • Dominic Hendron

    Is this the same mainland were 90% of down syndrome children are aborted?

  • Croiteir

    I could google looking for an article that calls a zygote an embryo, or an embryo a foetus, or a foetus a child or a child an adult. But I am not going to. Instead next time a pregnant women of your aquaintance talks excitedly of her foetus and not her baby take note of it. You won’t hear it too often.

  • Ernekid

    So you don’t have any scientific backing for your position then. Just a bunch of emotive claptrap that’s designed to play to the theocratic leaning people who prefer blind belief in ideology than actual evidence.

  • Croiteir

    I will not find it as they are two different terms which describe different stages of human development. If you can find any scientific article denying the humanity of a foetus I would be interested in reading it.

  • csb

    Even the most limited proposals for reform of abortion law are stopped dead in their tracks in the Assembly, so your argument that we can have gradual change in this area is nonsense from the start. It will be a matter for the courts or Westminster in the end.

  • Korhomme

    When I open this post, I can read it normally; but the comments are in grey on a darkish red background, and I can’t read them.

    I can open comments separately, when they appear (black text on white) as normal. Is there a technical problem/bug?

  • Katyusha

    The idea of this being about “the right to choose” has always struck me as disigneous. We already have the right to choose – to choose to use contraception or to choose to abstain from sex when it is likely to conceive a child. You do not have the choice to wilfully terminate the life of a child.

    If you are an adult, you are expected to take responsibility for your actions. Raising our children is probably the most important task any of us have and neither mother or father should have the right to abandon this responsibility. You knew what you were doing, you are not a child or a teenager that doesn’t realise the consequences of their actions (and therefore cannot provide consent)

    Really, in my view, the only two exceptions in abortion law should be in the case of rape (why should an innocent woman have to bear responsibility for the actions of a rapist) and if either the child or the mother will not survive the pregnancy. Casual abortion is not far from infanticide (which was also practiced throughout history in many different cultures) and is often motivated by people putting their sex lives above the right to life of the unborn. A very selfish and immature attitude to justify a barbaric practice.

  • Annie Breensson

    Kate, The comments are almost unreadable – which will almost certainly stifle debate.

    If you can edit your post close the link to the Guardian article by putting after the word choose, but omit the dots.

  • Annie Breensson

    Not much can be done locally while the local politicians are locked in a “holy” alliance on this issue. Representation at Westminster is unlikely as all the local MPs are anti. The only recourse would seem to be via the ECHR.

  • Jenny Muir

    This is an important post, because two things are needed to change the law here: building a much broader and overt coalition of support (which needs more recognition that it’s a difficult subject for many women and men), and for politicians to change their views so that the law can be changed in the Assembly. I dont think the 2nd of these will happen and so the focus shoudl be much more on trying to get Westminster to intervene on a human rights basis: http://east-belfast-diary.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/abortion-law-in-northern-ireland-what.html

    PS please sort out the layout on this post as it is almost impossible to read the comments

  • Annie Breensson

    But how to get broader support from the movers and shakers? In the main, they are ethically conservative, influenced by religious dogma.

    Getting Westminster to intervene is not an easy option.

    a) Until APNI are represented at Westminster who will champion a motion? Possibly UUP – if they get elected? I don’t know – do they have a position on this?
    It’s unlikely that any GB MP would be willing to devote time and energy to a project that is seen as a local difficulty.

    b) In general, the UK executive (all shades) want to forget about NI. Current policy is obviously to keep a lid on the pot until something changes. To impose an unpopular law at the risk of incurring the wrath of angry clerics (although Dr No has left the stage) would be seen as unwise.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Apologies to Kate and the commentators. A link in the post was not put in right and it messed up the formatting of this page. All is fixed now.

  • Granni Trixie

    Where did you get this statistic from? Seems incredible.

  • Granni Trixie

    Clearly the current laws and so called guidelines are not fit for purpose. Kate’s contribution (like yours) usefully draws attention to the need for change rather than the usual,polarising debate on pro or anti abortion. I personally for instance do,not agree with “a woman’s right to chose”
    argument but I am at one with calls for change,

  • Shar

    Your post echoes conversation I’ve had with my Dad on the matter. I feel if you will support abortion in cases of rape, in situations where the life of the woman is in danger, or where the foetus is unviable; and you don’t support it in other situations, you are making a moral judgement on women’s sexuality. You are asking all women to live by your beliefs.

    No woman I’ve spoken to on the matter has approached it with a “casual” mindset. They’ve put the standard of living of their existing children above that of “the unborn”. They’ve put their need to escape an abusive partner above that of “the unborn”. They’ve put the need to avoid ostracization from their family above that of “the unborn”. Not one of them has mentioned their sex life.

    But, uncomfortable as those conversations with my parents initially were, talking openly and non-judgementally about abortion is the only way we as a society can consider the way our current laws are impacting parts of our society. So I wholeheartedly agree with Kate. Demonising anyone who doesn’t support the extension of the 1967 Act is not constructive. In some cases it ends up in a position which mirrors that of the anti-abortion protestors outside Marie Stopes.

    And the last thing Northern Ireland needs is further entrenchment.

  • Shar

    It’s such a personal thing, Granni, isn’t it. I do agree with a woman’s right to choose, and think that up to around 12 weeks, medical abortion should be freely available. This is similar to the approach France takes. At 12-24 weeks I would still support the woman’s right to choose, but not if the decision was being taken on grounds of sex selection. With the caveat that, if the parents carry a genetic disorder that’s more likely to affect one gender than another, then I would support them choosing based on the sex of the foetus. Other people’s mileage will, most certainly, vary.

    But most of all, I wish we could do a better job of equipping our young adults to understand sex and reproduction, and of removing shame from women who become pregnant when they don’t want to be.

    Unwanted pregnancy and its effect on women is something we become aware of in Northern Ireland before we are even sexually mature. My heart still breaks for the 16 year old “big girl” at my school, who just disappeared from school one day. The word eventually filtered down to us 11 year olds that she had “disgraced her family” and they’d “had to move.” We had no idea what “disgraced her family” meant, but we knew we certainly didn’t want to do something that ended up with those hushed whispers being about us. The following year we found out she’d been pregnant.

  • Graham Parsons

    “how do you respond to those who think this will open the floodgates?”

    1. The floodgates have already opened. Many just go to England.

    2. None of your business what a woman chooses to do with her own body.

    3. We already destroy millions of fertilised eggs as part of IVF.

  • Jenny Muir

    Broader support needs to be measured from outside the policy bubble, for starters, and trends need to be monitored. A module in the Life and Times Survey would be good – the Amnesty survey shows around 60% support for abortion in certain restricted cases but 5 or 6 questions need to be asked by an independent source, covering the full range of options from no change in the current law to full decriminalisation. Second, there needs to be a way for women and men to indicate their support without feeling the need to break the law or ‘tell their story’ – both are valid but only involve a minority. I suspect many are just not thinking about this issue until it comes to their door, then they deal with it. I don’t know how that could be done but it must be, to uncover latent support. Third, Westminster intervention would have to involve GB MPs and I think if they knew it was a human rights issue then they might – the reluctance to intervene here is often about the troubles specifically and if they knew parties from each community thought the same then it might make them feel they could do something. But I also though the UK *Government* might – OK I know this is a long shot – but for me it comes back to what you do when a human rights violation is taking place in what is still your country. I know we have human rights violations during the troubles but even so…. I certainly wouldn’t rely on our MPs from any party, sorry

  • Dominic Hendron

    A spokeswoman for the Evangelic Alliance revealed it on the Nolan show. She also said that a student at a conference at Queens came up to her afterwards totally incredulous. It’s a frightening statistic

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    How on earth can science define humanity? While sections of the scientific world might be attempting to explore the question of consciousness, science’s role is not really concerned with either denying nor confirming ‘humanity’: an abstract that is largely defined on an individual’s terms and therefore open to personal interpretation. Personal morality is just as abstract and is not quite as absolute as you assert.
    The world’s religions often respond pragmatically over time to the changing demands of the society that they represent to the point that they are unrecognisable to the original concept (look at CofE) or they embrace an absolutism (that’s not quite fundamentalism) in the pursuit of temporal and spiritual power. Both Roman Catholicism and Daesh/ISIS/ISIL are good examples of the latter.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Is this then evidence of your 90% figure? If this or any other figure is true then your own moral guidelines on this issue may or may not be replicated by many other people in this and other states. It’s a consideration even if you’re uncomfortable with it.

  • Dominic Hendron

    As an interested party I’m only reporting a statistic as part of of a debate, a statistic that has obviously shocked at least three people, myself included. I don’t issue guidelines I ask questions

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    While that’s a good enough analysis of our devolved status within the custodianship of Westminster, I’m saddened by your pessimism and sense of powerlessness. Some of the best legislation in NI has been imposed during periods of direct rule. http://www.equalityni.org/ECNI/media/ECNI/Publications/Individuals/RaceDiscrimShortGuide2010.pdf
    Fair employment legislation was lobbied for by the Trades Unions. Lobbies exist and the squeak of their wheels is not always made audible by our quiescent and cowed media. What is ‘unpopular’ among the noisiest is not necessarily universally unpopular. Critical citizenry here enjoys a ruder health than is often imagined.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    So I ask again is this a reliable statistic?

  • Dominic Hendron

    Ask the person who gave it

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Please identify that spokesperson! N.b. you posted what you posted.

  • Dominic Hendron

    I can’t remember her name but if you listen to the recent recordings of Nolan you’ll find her.

  • Skibo

    Why use unproven facts from a radio programme when you can use the Department of Health statisticshttps://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwinmpSIsYHMAhVG2BoKHQQNDysQFggjMAE&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gov.uk%2Fgovernment%2Fuploads%2Fsystem%2Fuploads%2Fattachment_data%2Ffile%2F433437%2F2014_Commentary__5_.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEW2DiS0ZwA2NQ2VQWdr7xN566_HQ&sig2=yu7unSvd354SbyFGdblGSg. Big difference in 90% and 2% Ground E abortions but whay let facts get in the way of a good story.

  • Skibo

    We do not deal with the abortion question here. We export it to GB. I think it is time to demand a referendum on this and same sex marriage. Let the people decide rather that politicians who are mainly elected on whether they are Nationalist or Unionist.

  • Skibo

    Just noticed the statistics do not answer the question properly as they state the percentage of abortions that were Ground E were 2%.
    The belief is that 90% of those women who request prenatal diagnosis request an abortion when given the diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome. The rate of births of D S babies in the UK has reduced by 48%.

  • Roger

    “Abortion is going to happen whether you like it or not.”

    I don’t full agree with that. I asked a Professor at Trinity, recently whether it was true that Ireland has far more people with Downs Syndrome than other European countries. She said it was true and that the reason was because abortion is not as prevalent as in other European countries.

  • Seamus

    === Labeling politicians as being anti-choice when they are only in favour of liberalising the law in narrow cases does not help the cause. ===

    It’s also very disingenuous. The abortion debate boils down to how one views the child/foetus/clump of cells etc. etc. etc. Put 100 pro-choice people in the room and they will not see it as a child. It is an extension of the woman’s body and she should be allowed to do what she wants with her own body. Put 100 pro-life in the room and they will see it as a child and that abortion is the same as killing a two year old.

    People don’t describe other laws as anti-choice despite the fact that almost all laws are about limiting the choices of individual. To most pro-life people the idea of ‘choice’ in the topic is saying that you should have a choice to kill someone. In most circumstances that wouldn’t be identified as a legitimate choice, and so would not be labelled as anti-choice for making it illegal.

  • Roger

    Agreed that it’s a personal thing for the woman….But then for the baby concerned, it’s not really: the issue is always the exact same, life or death.

  • Dominic Hendron

    I notice it wasn’t challenged by the other side

  • Croiteir

    It can define the stages of human development as that is within their area of competence. Just as the can define a vein or artery. As to the whole of a human they cannot. But they try. They try to measure emotion for example by observing the effects on the nervous system but they are limited to what they can measure.

    Religion always responds to the environment it exists in. But it does not change its core. Which is why the philosophy of the left hates it. It does not turn the subjective into the objective, even the current Pope could not do that. The frauds of the modern world cannot cope with this. That is why they rail against it calling it extremism while in effect they are the extremist

  • Skibo

    There have been a number of issues of facts raised on the Nolan programme that do not get challenged. I’m sure Vinny will get round to it eventually.

  • Shar

    According to The World Health Organisation, rates of abortion are similar in countries where abortion is legal, and those where it is not, “suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it”. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/world/12abortion.html?_r=1

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    So, while the discipline of science is limited to what it can measure that allows us to interpret the blanks at will. Fine!
    You have simply stated that the elusiveness of certainty doesn’t stop us looking for it. However, not all of us need certainty and are happy with unanswerables. If one feels that one is coping fine one doesn’t need salvation from any ideological quarter.

  • Dominic Hendron

    Not one as shocking as that

  • Lionel Hutz

    One of the key problems with the argument of extending the 1967 Act is that any N.I. executive will be doing it with its eyes open to the actual effect of the act.

    The UK governement of the time did not intend to legislate for abortion on demand. At least not openly. It’s hard to envisage how Northern Ireland could ever pass legislation that has an effect in practice that is markedly different from its effect on paper

  • Croiteir

    Sounds like the emptiness of the neo Marxists like Sartre and Foucault still have its fadherents. The followers of the hollow philosophy.

  • Roger

    Does the same study cover rates of Downs Syndrome between jurisdictions? Look around the streets in Ireland…

  • SDLP supporter

    Ernekid, you say:

    “The adoption by Christians of the idea that life begins at conception [is] an idea that very few, if any embryologists would agree with (most biologists would disagree on how to define “life”) happened quite recently in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”
    I’m not a scientist, still less an embryologist, but I have been given a list of citations by a very well qualified medical friend which, to me as a layman, seems pretty conclusive as to when human life begins. They are here:

    1. Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp.16, 2.
    “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon development) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”
    “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e. an embryo).”
    2. T.W. Sadler, Langman’s Medical Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. p.11
    “Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the female gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote.”
    3. Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p.2.
    “[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being.”
    4. Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p.8. Essentials of Human Embryology

    “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.”

    Other textbook sources
    1. William J. Larsen, (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998), 1-17.
    “In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual. … Fertilization takes place in the oviduct … resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus. Embryonic development is considered to begin at this point… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.”

    2. Human Embryology & Teratology, Ronan R. O’Rahilly, Fabiola Muller, (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996), 5-55.
    “Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed… Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments… The zygote … is a unicellular embryo… “The ill-defined and inaccurate term pre-embryo, which includes the embryonic disc, is said either to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or … to include neurulation. The term is not used in this book.”

  • SDLP supporter

    Your arrogance is breath-taking. Democracy clearly means nothing to you and you tug the forelock to Westminster while declaring elsewhere that you are an Irish ‘republican’.

  • SDLP supporter

    I actually wouldn’t mind if there was a referendum on changing the law and I would recognise the reality of the situation if the law changed. But it’s quite clear that pro-abortion zealots like Ernekid are anti-democratic and would ignore the result IF it went against their views.

  • Skibo

    How do you work out Ernekid is anti-democratic? Not that he needs me to defend him but I don’t think is comments come across as anti-democratic.
    A referendum would be the simplest way to resolve the issue of abortion but how to phrase the question would be interesting.

  • Cosmo

    Thank you for putting together the list of documents…. and for helping to acknowledge the shades of grey in opinion; and the shifts that can take place when people understand things in practical and not just theoretical manner.

  • Cavehill

    Of course, if the fact is wrong (as shown above), how do you expect someone on Nolan to a) be aware of it and b) be prepared to refute it.

  • SDLP supporter

    Skibo, from his own words:
    “The Assembly has proved to be useless so the best option I can see is go over their heads and push for legislation in Westminster. Westminster has primacy on all matters over the devolved NI Assembly as the Sovereign national Parliament. Either by an order of council or through a Private Members Bill to amend the current UK abortion legislation to extent it to NI. If local politicians won’t do their jobs then it’s time for some one else to do it for them.”

  • Granni Trixie

    I do not agree with your “none of your businness” assertion. The values we live by ARE societies business.. Such as value for life or equal value for disabled people etc.
    That is why although I agree to guidelines and legal reform I do not agree with abortion on demand as you appear to do.

  • Granni Trixie

    Surely a referendum is too blunt an instrument for dealing with nuanced positions?
    Or are you proposing that it’s a simple matter of putting the question of do we want to change the law so that women can procure abortions in NI? If so, you would have the dice loaded for people such as myself who take a kinda middle ground change.

  • Granni Trixie

    I have never felt demonised because of my views on abortion. What experience makes you (and Kate) assume that people do tend to demonise others who do not share the view that they want an extension of the act to NI? Must depend heavily n the circles in which one moves?

  • Skibo

    Could we not have a referendum based on PR with
    A) Should the law on abortion remain the same
    B) Should the law on abortion permit abortion in fatal foetal abnormalities and rape
    C) Should the 1967 abortion act be adopted by NI.
    Vote 1,2,3 in order of reference.

  • Skibo

    I for one would not be happy to revert to Westminster. The people of NI should decide.
    I was not happy with social welfare reverting to Westminster for a year either. Power is difficult enough to wrestle from Westminster without returning what we cannot agree on to them.

  • Korhomme

    Croiteir, I’m not going to try to argue you out of your position. But I ask; Why is abortion the vilest and cruelest form of murder?

    Secondly, if, say, your view on abortion is a minority one, why then should abortion continue to be a criminal offence?

  • Dominic Hendron

    The fact that 90% of women who test for down’s syndrome choose abortion is not wrong as acknowledged below. It’s still a shocking statistic

  • Croiteir

    Firstly it is an affront on humanity as it is an attack on the human in its most vulnerable form by those who should be able to rely most on to protect it

    Secondly it’s criminality is a legal construct and if under our system the majority changed that it would be

  • Sir Rantsalot

    “Why not to demonise those who don’t support full abortion law reform”

    Lol ! Honestly, do you think framing the issue as being pro abortion is somehow the right thing, actually fools anyone?
    Every person who supports abortion in any circumstance, does so for their own self centred reasons. They all want to be able to kill off a problem rather than have to be put out by looking after an unwanted child.

  • npbinni

    How can one ‘demonise’ someone who is not doing the killing?

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Demonise in this case means to imply that the normal response is to have a negative opinion of any counter opinion that is opposite of pro abortion. So the pro abortion people try to frame anyone who is pro life as bad ‘they deny a women’s rights’ etc. They avoid the issue that pro abortion people are actually supporting killing of unwanted children, and replace this ‘wrong’ with accusing pro life people of ‘denying rights’ . The crazy thing is that everyone who gets involved in the debate knows this.
    Makes you sick…

  • Granni Trixie

    Doesn’t Peter Emmerson talk about a Preferendum. Don’t know a lot about it but think it offers options which can reveal a consensus view.

  • Annie Breensson

    Rather than “pessimism and sense of powerlessness” I prefer to think realistic – at least in the next 10, possibly 20 years, Ben. Have you seen this BBC article? There is no support at Westminster for changing the status quo.

    Any campaign should take a long term view. A long, grim, gritty and possibly dirty campaign will be required, possibly with help from beyond the UK.

  • Graham Parsons

    IVF doctors are already aborting thousands of potential pregnancies on a daily basis. Abortion on demand already exists.

    I agree that there should be abortion on demand up to 12 weeks. After 12 weeks there should be guidelines.

  • Shar

    I can’t speak for Kate, but in my case it’s online reading of articles and blogs on the subject. Some writers seem more prone to the “good I hope it does attitude she mentions. And it’s an approach I don’t think helps us discuss things properly.

  • Abucs

    Any attempt by government to define the killing of an innocent human life as a human right necessarily alienates me from that government. It becomes a foreign government and i have no allegiance to it.

  • Cosmo

    It’s the sign of civilisation, for us not to give in to religious bullies, who have a bad track record in inhumanity.

  • Abucs

    Modern history has clearly shown that the threat to civilisation and humanity has been from the opposite direction. But then just like your attempted point, it is off topic.

    The legitimisation of the killing of humanity in the womb is certainly a threat to civilisation. The people pointing this out are not the ones who are the bullies.

  • CatholicLeft

    In 1999, the following study showed that the termination rated for Downs Syndrome across Europe, where the law so permits it, was at 92%. No study since has contradicted this figure:
    Mansfield, C; Hopfer, S; Marteau, TM (Sep 1999). “Termination rates after prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly, and Turner and Klinefelter syndromes: a systematic literature review. European Concerted Action: DADA (Decision-making After the Diagnosis of a fetal Abnormality).”. Prenatal diagnosis 19 (9): 808–12. doi:10.1002/(sici)1097-0223(199909)19:93.0.co;2-b. PMID 10521836.

  • Cosmo

    The (political) company they keep, their (true) motives and the (many) negative effects of religious zealotry is all there to be judged.

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