Cross-bench support

In an unprecendented move, a joint letter has been sent to all MP’s from the party leaders of the four largest NI parties opposing the Lib Dems proposal to extend abortion to Northern Ireland.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Malcolm Redfellow
    In England and Wales in 2006 there were 669601 live births and 201100 abortions an increase of 3.9% on the previous year.I cannot see what is wrong with saying that almost 1 in 4 pregnancies in England and Wales results in the killing of a baby -it is a fact.

  • Harry Flashman

    “No doubt we’ll get another spit foam flecked post along in a minute to tell me once again what I know and think.”

    Naw, Taffy old chap, I leave the spittle flecked posts to you, you’re so much better at it.

    Does your support for allowing free choice among voters extend to bringing back capital punishment? Or is it only right-on issues that get your democratic seal of approval?

    (PS Aren’t surgical scissor type instruments used in abortions or should I have said “suck it out with a hoover?” If you doubt my assertion about the hysterical nonsense surrounding the executions of convicted murderers Google “Tookie Williams” and see what you come up with).

  • Dec

    Malcolm

    Once in almost 30 years (recent memory?) when there were exactly zero SF MPs.

    Elvis

    Thanks for making my point. What was yours exactly?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry, sorry but I think you lost the plot a bit there.

    pfhl,

    I rarely agree with you but i like that last post. It reminds me of a t-shirt i saw advertised saying,’Why save the whale when you want to kill babies?’. Sums up a lot of the left.

    But the left don’t “want to kill babies”. Try actually comprehending what the argument is here.

    No nuclear power but cut down on pollution is another great one they like to come out with.

    I’m completely in favour of nuclear power. Funnily enough, so is France, and several of the lefty European countries generate more of their energy through nuclear power stations than the USA does.

    The fact that you highlighted when you you compare the support for playing with human dna and the disgust at GM crops was great. Well done Harry!

    Who said anything about GM crops ? This is what goes wrong when you try to tar everyone with the same brush. It’s stupid.

  • Danny O’Connor on May 13, 2008 @ 04:20 AM:

    Nobody is “killing” babies. If you believe that, then look at the figures for natural miscarriages: on your argument divine providence (or whatever force you invoke) is a pretty efficient abortionist.

    I cannot see what is wrong with saying that almost 1 in 4 pregnancies in England and Wales results in the killing of a baby.

    That’s the difference between a realist and a hysterical propagandist. Which is why I gave you a link to the statistical information, which shows that yours is the exaggeration of a charlatan.

    You are the kind of fabulist who argues that a potato is the same as a tomato. After all, they are only one letter of six, just three alphanumerics apart, different:

    so — 3/(26×6)= “less than 2%, which is statistically insignificant”.
    Qua stultitia demonstranda est.

    Surely the debate deserves better than such triteness.

  • willowfield

    Comrade Stalin

    If you played a role in creating the child, you must face the consequences, the availability of abortion has no bearing on the matter and indeed should not.

    By the same logic, surely the woman should also face the consequences. If she and the man play an equal role in creating a child, why should the decision about whether to abort or not rest exclusively with the woman? Why should the woman have the right to abort the man’s child without even having to inform the man, but if the woman chooses to keep the child, the man is legally responsible for it?

  • willowfield

    Malcolm

    If Danny’s statistics are wrong, could you post up the accurate statistics?

    (The earlier link you posted didn’t work.)

  • Dec @ 07:51 AM:

    Once in almost 30 years (recent memory?) when there were exactly zero SF MPs.

    You asked for an example of republican abstention having consequences. I gave you a prime one.

    If 1979 is not “recent”, either you are very young, or that makes 1916 pre-history. Shall we therefore disqualify from all future discussion any events before … precisely when?

    Those of us longer in the tooth bear the scars of eleven years of Thatcherism: we remember and we do not easily forgive.

    And there have been other, more honourable, more worthy standard-bearers of republicanism than just the present generation of SF politicos. Frank Maguire, however, was not one of them.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Not that it really matters whether we can find examples in the past because my post was addressing the future.

  • willowfield @ 09:28 AM:

    As you say, the National Statistics line seems to be delivering a proxy error. I can assure you that

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=68

    seemed to work last evening.

    However, you can access the same information, as a .pdf, at:

    http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=142305&Rendition=Web

    I abhor wild generalisation, but I have heard one gynaecologist ascribe recent increases in the rate (especially among older women) to “health tourism” which is not picked up in the residency checks. [He actually referred to wards “blocked with west Africans”.] I pass on quickly …

    For reasons on which we might speculate, the Department is very unwilling to produce reasonable statistics on incoming “health tourism”: however there was an initial 2003(!) estimate of a cost to the NHS more than £200M. See (and I wary of using hot-links today):
    http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=142305&Rendition=Web

    When costs are attributable, it appears that 36% of the cost of incoming “health tourism” involves maternal care. See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article2374072.ece

  • kensei

    Malcolm

    Nobody is “killing” babies. If you believe that, then look at the figures for natural miscarriages: on your argument divine providence (or whatever force you invoke) is a pretty efficient abortionist.

    Odd then how women who suffer a miscarriage talk of “losing the baby”. People also tend not to refer to a “foetus” if they are going for a scan and getting the pictures. Cognitive dissonance going on here.

    Is it only a baby if you want it?

    That’s the difference between a realist and a hysterical propagandist. Which is why I gave you a link to the statistical information, which shows that yours is the exaggeration of a charlatan.

    I still see 193,000 abortions. Is the live births figure wrong? Perhaps you’d care to further explain your point?

  • Dec

    Malcolm

    You gave me one. If you think Thatcherism was ultimately preventable, then we’ll have to disagree. Likewise, if you think one of the last true tenets of Republicanism should be abandoned on the off-chance of some once in a lifetime possibility then we’ll disagree too.

    BTW I’m off the age to remember Thatcher well. She even stole my milk. I just happen to think letting others run the people of Ireland’s affairs is the root cause of the problem, not Frank Maguire.

  • Dec @ 11:44 AM:

    I just happen to think letting others run the people of Ireland’s affairs is the root cause of the problem, not Frank Maguire.

    I totally agree, except for those three last words.

    In that context, the problem very much was Frank Maguire.

    He ignored the evidence. The Scots had voted in a referendum for an Assembly. Scottish MPs were 43 to 19 against repeal of the Scotland Act, which would have established an Assembly (it was negatived by 282 English MPs to 163, thus causing the vote of confidence). Polling suggests that just 26% of Scots favoured the scrapping of the Assembly proposals.

    Maguire deliberately travelled to London (a rare appearance indeed: he had never spoken in Parliament) and “abstained in person”: in doing so he betrayed republicanism and nationalism. So much for the preservation of a shining Irish republican purity. He was fully conscious and fully advised that the consequence would be a General Election delivering a Tory majority. Remember the Tories, those great friends of Ireland?

    In the same action he denied Scottish devolution for a further 18 years. Smiling Gerry Fitt was equally culpable. The Unionists split 2-8 in favour of the Tories. The Liberals were opposed, too. Plaid, bless their devious black hearts, voted with the Government.

    Then, and now, the issue of “independence” or “devolution” or “nationalism” (or whatever alternative to the present Union you care to call it) doesn’t stop the moment you come down the gangway at Belfast International. It is an issue that will have to be resolved by and at Westminster … unless you think it can be delivered through the barrel of a gun?

  • zoonpol

    So the Church still rules our lives!

  • Garibaldy

    Dec,

    That’s a very narrow view of republicanism to think that abstention from Westminster is its last true tenet. Which bears little relation to the revolutionary democratic and egalitarian agenda pushed by Tone and Connolly.

    The point being if it after the next election there were a situation where local MPs could potentially decide between a relatively progressive or a much more reactionary government, then people should think very seriously about that. After all, if you can overturn no return to Stormont on pragmatic grounds why not that? And imagine the publicity coup worldwide.

  • I’d welcome a thread on abstentionism again, if only for the opportunity to find agreement with Garibaldy @ 12:46 PM.

    I feel somewhat off-topic, even embarrassed and constrained, doing it under this particular heading.

  • Garibaldy

    Maybe Mark could help us out. Might be something he’d be interested in discussing. Perhaps suggest it on the eirigi thread.

  • Danny O’Connor

    ok Malcolm let us take the statistics and state from my figures that for every 66 babies born 20 are killed in abortions.

  • Danny O’Connor @ 01:28 PM:

    From “your” figures you can state what you like: it does not make them accurate. Why do you feel the need to invent or extrapolate? It does not help your argument.

    Why can we not stick with the “official” statement? —

    the total number of abortions was 193,700, compared with 186,400 in 2005, a rise of 3.9%
    the age-standardised abortion rate was 18.3 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, compared with 17.8 in 2005

    Of those, 30% were for medical reasons and 2,000 were on the “risk that the child would be born handicapped”.

    What is disgraceful is that, amid all the shroud-waving, we have not had attention to the Royal College of Gynaecologists’ balanced comment on the figures:

    The latest Abortion Statistics 2006 show yet again a rise in the number of abortions in the UK (a 3.9% rise to 193,700 abortions carried out over the year). This is very disappointing and points to a failure to address the problem of unplanned pregnancy, particularly in teenagers and young women. In light of widely available contraception, this now represents a major public health issue and a failure of preventive medicine

    If abortions carried out on unplanned teenage pregnancies are to be reduced, due attention needs to be paid to increasing the practical research into these areas to assist in the development and implementation of preventive programmes on sexual and reproductive healthcare, public information campaigns, workforce training and the commissioning of services.

    The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) believes there needs to be a rethink in the way Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) is provided in the country with the aim of changing attitudes and behaviour across all ages. A co-ordinated, multi-channel, multi-agency approach with local strategies is needed to tackle the problem.

    The RCOG would support better and more effective SRE in schools and local communities and a greater role of the media in r[a]ising awareness about sexual and reproductive health.

    My emphases. Any chance that Mr Donaldson could do something of real substance, and achieve cross-party consensus on that positive agenda?

  • kensei

    Malcolm

    My emphases. Any chance that Mr Donaldson could do something of real substance, and achieve cross-party consensus on that positive agenda?

    I’m sure he could and still oppose the extension of abortion here.

    What are you disputing about the figures? That’s 19.3 killed for every 66.9 born? What?

    Still no explanation.

  • Garibaldy

    There is a thread on this very topic at Comment is Free.

  • Dec

    Garibaldy

    To clarify, I did say “one of the last true tenets of Republicanism”. Though, to echo Malcolm, we are seriously off-topic now. Mea culpa.

  • willowfield

    Kensei

    I’m guessing that Malcolm is making the point that included in the 193,000 are abortions for medical reasons of the type which are already permitted in NI. Therefore, you would have to remove these from the total in order to make a comparison with the NI figures (1,154 or something).

  • kensei

    willow

    I’m guessing that Malcolm is making the point that included in the 193,000 are abortions for medical reasons of the type which are already permitted in NI. Therefore, you would have to remove these from the total in order to make a comparison with the NI figures (1,154 or something).

    Ah. I’m guessing you’ll still run at substantially more than 1 in 20, however.

  • Who is disputing the figures? I am disputing that:

    That two different statistics, from two different data-bases, with different methodologies, definitions and assumptions are randomly plucked out of the air. They are then rubbed up against each other until they are “shown” to prove something. That’s Dr Goebbels at work. And that’s what’s been happening throughout this thread, by both sides.

    That, for purposes of generating hysteria, all abortions for all reasons are referred to as “killing”. Numbers are irrelevant if that is the level of argument.

    That implicit in the argument is that multiple births, the kind my nth-great-grandmother had to undergo, are somehow good for society.

    That equally implicit in this argument is the assumption that “bad” and “feckless” girls (i.e. other people’s daughters) must be punished with unwanted pregnancies as an example to keep other girls “good” and “chaste”.

    That we need to encourage births of a certain “x-factor”. As soon as we fill in the “x” with a racial, national, religious or cultural definition, that’s eugenics. And that’s a very slippery slope.

    Now discuss the RCOG agenda, which is thoughtful, practical and helpful.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Malcolm,medical reasons,is the whole figure bearing in mind that to get an abortion you have to be referred by a medical practitioner,l% of the figure is in relation to a child being handicapped.
    The reason I included the 7400 non residents who obtained abortions,is, we have no statistics within the live births who were born to non residents.
    therefore, the numbers are total births,total abortions,you cannot factor in non residents in the births if you are not going to do the same for the number of abortions.

  • TAFKABO

    The numbers game is a red herring, it’s the principle of the thing that counts. A woman has the ultimate right to chosse whether or not to go through with an unplanned pregnancy, or she doesn’t.
    It wouldn’t matter to me if 99% of pregnancies ended in abortion, if that’s what the women chose.
    They should still have the right to choose.

    The Taliban on this thread and elsewhere are hatefilled misogynists who have deepseated fear of women and their sexuality.
    This is abut the control of women, it’s about punishing women for having sex.

  • willowfield

    KENSEI

    Ah. I’m guessing you’ll still run at substantially more than 1 in 20, however.

    Almost certainly

    MALCOLM

    That implicit in the argument is that multiple births, the kind my nth-great-grandmother had to undergo, are somehow good for society.

    I don’t think that’s implicit in the argument. I think those making the anti-abortion argument would say that prevention is better than abortion. The flipside of your characterisation is that the pro-abortion lobby thinks that abortions are somehow good for society.

    That equally implicit in this argument is the assumption that “bad” and “feckless” girls (i.e. other people’s daughters) must be punished with unwanted pregnancies as an example to keep other girls “good” and “chaste”.

    Ironically you appear to be guilty yourself of that of which you accuse your opponents. The anti-abortion lobby would say that people should take responsibility for their actions and if someone is responsible enough to have sex, knowing the full implications and risks, then they have to accept the possible outcomes of taking those risks (as Bobby in Saturday Night Fever said: “you play, you pay”).

    That we need to encourage births of a certain “x-factor”. As soon as we fill in the “x” with a racial, national, religious or cultural definition, that’s eugenics. And that’s a very slippery slope.

    No idea where this comes from.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Malcolm,I find it interesting that you mention the term eugenics.Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes were both into eugenics and consequently big supporters of abortion,poor people,according to them ,should not be allowed to have children as they weakened the species etc…
    Marie stopes clinics and planned parenthoodfounded by Margaret Sanger,who was a racist bigot

  • willowfield

    TAFKABO

    A woman has the ultimate right to chosse whether or not to go through with an unplanned pregnancy, or she doesn’t.

    So the man should have no rights, in your view, in relation to unplanned pregnancy. Do you think that is fair on the man? How would you feel if your girlfriend or wife aborted your child against your wishes?

    And what about in relation to a planned pregnancy?

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah yes, TAF, the spittle flecked post, just as I predicted, “Taliban”, “hatefilled mysogynists”, “deepseated fear of women” indeed, precisely to whom are you referring in that category?

    As far as I can see the rationalists and humanists here who support the idea that unborn babies are also human beings are the ones who seem to be able to posit our arguments in terms of logic rather than hysterical nonsense like the above.

    On the other hand your assertion that “It wouldn’t matter to me if 99% of pregnancies ended in abortion, if that’s what the women chose.” is the language of the Nazi gauleiter or the Soviet Kommissar written in truly ghastly form.

  • TAFKABO

    I don’t think that’s implicit in the argument. I think those making the anti-abortion argument would say that prevention is better than abortion.

    Sorry, but an awful lot of the people against abortions are equally against the use of contrceptives, the morning after pill and sex education for our teenagers.

    So the man should have no rights, in your view, in relation to unplanned pregnancy. Do you think that is fair on the man? How would you feel if your girlfriend or wife aborted your child against your wishes?

    I’d feel that ultimately it was their body and their decision, I’d like to think I was man enough to support them whatever they decided.

  • TAFKABO

    Ah yes, TAF, the spittle flecked post, just as I predicted, “Taliban”, “hatefilled mysogynists”, “deepseated fear of women” indeed, precisely to whom are you referring in that category?

    Well Harry, I’m referring to you amongst others. Your earlier comment, and I quote “shove the scissors up there and get rid of it ” Shows a disturbing use of language in relation to a woman’s body.

    Anyone who talks about “shoving something up” a woman has issues as far as I’m concerned.

  • Garibaldy

    Dec,

    My apologies. I misread you totally.

    Tafkabo
    “The Taliban on this thread and elsewhere are hatefilled misogynists who have deepseated fear of women and their sexuality.
    This is abut the control of women, it’s about punishing women for having sex.”

    Much as it pains me to agree with Harry, I’m not at all convinced that this reflects the reality of the debate here. On top of which, it is totally possible to be in favour of women pursuing their sexuality (my problem being mainly that they choose to pursue it elsewhere) yet feel that life starts at conception. For scientific as well as moral reasons.

    There have been calls here for open and reasonable discussions of the issue. Surely that applies to both sides.

  • Garibaldy

    Oh by the way, in order not to agree with Harry, I should point out that the Soviets regarded abortion as a necessary evil. Once again, the facile Nazi comparison so beloved of Harry and his ilk is shown to be nonsense.

    Phew. Feel much better now.

  • kensei

    Malcolm

    Your off on one. For a start, I had hoped of more from you than descending into Nazi comparisons, but everyone has the capacity to disappoint.

    The question is asked why retain this when people simply hop on a plane. The point made didn’t require huge accuracy. If it is 1 in 20 versus 1 in 4 or 1 in 8, how does it substantially change the point if you think abortion=killing babies? Either the figures are wrong or they are not, and if you are going to pursue this then time to show me the money, Malcolm.

    Second,I don’t care if a girl is good or feckless or stupid or broke. I don’t believe I said any of that. I just don’t agree with abortion.

  • willowfield

    Sorry, but an awful lot of the people against abortions are equally against the use of contrceptives, the morning after pill and sex education for our teenagers.

    Maybe they are, but that does not make it implicit in the argument that multiple births are desirable. That is reading something into an argument that is not there, based on one’s prejudice against the person making the argument.

    I’d feel that ultimately it was their body and their decision, I’d like to think I was man enough to support them whatever they decided.

    But it’s not only an issue about “their body”: it’s an issue about a foetus which, if allowed to develop, will be born and will have a life for which the man will be responsible. And I doubt very much that if your girlfriend or wife aborted your child against your wishes that you would simply shrug your shoulders and “support” them in their decision. I suspect that you would feel angry and excluded and that an injustice had been done to you.

  • TAFKABO

    Willowfield.

    There is an irony in you feeling that you know my likely rections better than I would, since it mirrors the same notion that a group of men are better able to decide what is best for a woman’s body, regardless of her feelings on the issue.
    You asked a question, I gave an honest answer, let’s at least agree that it doesn’t really advance the argument to start using personal experiences, this issue is greater than that.

    I still say that the issue of misogyny is a valid one, since ultimately people are saying that a foetus takes precedence over a grown woman’s wishes for her own body.

  • George

    TAFKABO,
    surveys south of the border have shown that men and women are equally split on the issue of abortion so it is as live a topic for women as it is for men.

    Wheeling out the mysogyny stick won’t clear a path to true understanding on this issue and if anything could be seen as a rather crude attempt to exclude men from what is sometimes an already fractious and exclusionary discussion.

    I fully accept that some men are coming at this from the wrong angle or for the wrong reasons but comments that are tantamount to advocating a blanket exclusion of half the adult population from this important societal issue simply on grounds of gender won’t help the sitution in my view.

  • Dave

    TAFKABO, you cling to the phrase “woman’s right to choose” as if it was a mantra based on some ancient meta-moral universal law rather than a cynical piece of propaganda devised by the abortion industry to improperly invalidate other rights that it directly conflicts with, such the interests of the other parent of the unborn child and the right to life of that unborn child.

    If you argue that the female parent has the “right to choose” the life or death of an unborn child, then you also argue that the unborn child does not have an inherent right to life.

    Society should encourage respect for human life instead of fundamentally undermining the human enterprise by making the right to life into a conditional right that is subject to the ability of the child to survive independently of its mother. In relation to the unborn child that cannot survive independently of its mother, its right to life can be voided solely at the discretion of another. This is the only death penalty that is legally applied without criminal transgression by the condemned.

    “Every human being has the inherent life to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3

    So, does the woman have the right to deprive another human being of its life? Only if you accept the bogus premise that the right to life is a lesser right than the “right to choose” to arbitrarily deprive another of life. And who could possibly argue, sans the propaganda, that a person has the right to choose whether or not another person will live or die according to whichever option best suits the chooser? This is where the propaganda is complemented by attempts to denigrate the status of the unborn child from a human being with a right to life to being no more significant than an ingrown toenail, something that is a part of the mother’s body rather than being an unique individual with separate DNA, and which may be removed from its mother’s body with the same ease and freedom with which she would remove said ingrown toenail.

    In short, contrary to the propaganda, the woman does not have any right to choose whether or not another human being shall live or die. The right to life must take priority.

  • Dave

    Typo correction:

    “Every human being has the inherent [b]right[/b] to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3

  • TAFKABO

    I fully accept that some men are coming at this from the wrong angle or for the wrong reasons but comments that are tantamount to advocating a blanket exclusion of half the adult population from this important societal issue simply on grounds of gender won’t help the sitution in my view.

    You mean like a group of political parties, overwhelmingly male, getting to decide what happens to women?
    Why that’s almost as ridiulous as another exclusively male group of celibates getting to decide whether or not women can use contraception.
    I say it’s misogyny because the ultimate effects of these decisions adversely affect women.
    the utter and complete lack of understanding of what it is to be a woman in a difficult and unwanted pregnancy is nothing short of willful neglect.
    focusing all your sympathy on a group of congregated cells at the expense of a living breathing sentient human being is hatred.

  • TAFKABO

    If you argue that the female parent has the “right to choose” the life or death of an unborn child, then you also argue that the unborn child does not have an inherent right to life.

    Yes, that’s what I’m arguing.

  • Philip

    The featus is not a human – look it up!

  • Dave @ 05:43 PM:

    Now compare that with the official version:

    Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Now, let us debate

    1. the idea of “liberty”, if it does not involve freedom to choose, or “security of person”, in this context.

    2. Why a faith group, making it an item of “faith” when “life” begins, should blind, or bind the rest of us to twist biological fact.

    3. Why none of these fanatics are prepared to explain what is wrong with the RCOG’s policy document, which might start to address the problem, rather than obsessing over the theology.

  • Dave

    Malcolm, the key word is “arbitrarily.”

    I dismiss the ‘right to choose’ as “a cynical piece of propaganda devised by the abortion industry” in their use of it. However, the woman does have a ‘right to choose’ outside of that illegitimate use of the term, e.g. where there is a conflict of interests in competing rights to life (abortions that are required to save the life of the mother).

    Now, in regard to definitions: some cling to them, seeing words as absolute (Philip, for example, sees ‘foetus’ as meaning non-human) in order to remain within their particular boxes. The semantics can be used as one desires. As to when a human life begins, that remains at the moment of fertilisation, and not when it can sing and dance or take its first gasp of air.

    What is needed here is consolidation within international law of the right to life of the unborn child – in order to remove it (and the right to life itself) from the lexicographers, propagandists, political hacks, and assorted hangers-on.

  • George

    You mean like a group of political parties, overwhelmingly male, getting to decide what happens to women?

    That has nothing to do with what I said. I don’t know why you bring it up.

    Why that’s almost as ridiulous as another exclusively male group of celibates getting to decide whether or not women can use contraception.

    Also irrelevant to the point.

    I say it’s misogyny because the ultimate effects of these decisions adversely affect women.

    And society as a whole. This is an issue that affects women in particular and society in general. To address the problem you need to achieve some sort of societal consensus, not gender division.

    And as I already pointed out, women are as equally split on this issue as men.

    the utter and complete lack of understanding of what it is to be a woman in a difficult and unwanted pregnancy is nothing short of willful neglect.

    Irrelevant to the point about excluding half the population from such an important societal debate on the simple grounds of gender.

    focusing all your sympathy on a group of congregated cells at the expense of a living breathing sentient human being is hatred.

    You are preaching an exclusionary gospel rather than looking at how best to address the issue.

  • Dave

    Incidentally, Mick Fealty is fond of quoting another blogger’s dictum (whose names eludes me) that “Invisible people have invisible rights.” Well, I wonder. In our superficial world it seems their invisibility means they have no rights until we can coo-coo at them in their prams.

  • TAFKABO

    As the late Mr Hicks so famously said, you aint a human till you’re in my phone book

    That has nothing to do with what I said. I don’t know why you bring it up.

    Sorry George, since you were making the point that people in the Republic (and what does that have to do with the issue of abortion on Northern Ireland, so you can’t fault me alone for introducing irrelevant topics) were split in equal numbers as regards to gender, I was making the point that this issue is not being deided by men and women, its being decided by men, men who think they have a right to vote according to their conscience in a way that prevents women from making a choice based upon their conscience.

    In other words, this is not a matter of conscience at all, it’s a matter of men deciding they know better than women what is right for a woman’s body.

    Nah, only joking, it’s not even about that, for as has been pointed out they’re not stopping abortion, merely heaping misery, inconvenience and hardship upon those women who choose it.

    So, anyone want to ask me once again why I think ther’s misogyny at play here?

  • George

    TAFKABO,
    I never said that mysogyny wasn’t an element but I am talking about how to address this issue that will work for society as a whole.

    I am critical of your absolutist position on this because of its exclusionary gender-based nature.

    That is why I said your repetition of your view was irrelevant to the point I was trying to make.

    With all the referendums down south over the years, I have had many an absolutist row myself as well as being witness to countless others, which have involved as many men as women, and it has not resulted in any degree of consensus.

    What it has done is made many people more aware of the need for some kind of societal consensus.

    A common ground has to be found and in my view it won’t be found by your exclusionary method.

  • TAFKABO

    George.

    Why not tell us which solution you think is viable and we’ll take the conversation from there?

  • OK, OK: not strictly on topic, but that’s never stopped us before.

    Once upon a time the Papacy did its level best to ban human dissection. So, in 1514 Leonardo was arraigned before a Vatican tribunal, accused of necromancy, and his note-books and drawings condemned to be destroyed. That was at a time, too, when monasteries and churches used human remains, sorry — “holy relics”, for interior decoration. So no double-standards there.

    Pius VI did a similar and unnecessary painting-into-a-corner job with Humanae Vitae.

    Now the theologians are in a helter-skelter rush to keep up with bioscientific advances which could not be foreseen in the 1960s. The Vatican posture is becoming progressively more uncomfortable: either it adapts or it becomes irrelevant to and excluded from the debate.

    Be prepared, then, for a subtle but significant shift. In the fullness of time, the faithful might expect exegesis of Leviticus 17.11 (the Catholic scientific community seems to be in full mutter-mode already). For, of course, it is at about 20 days the embryo first shows signs of a heart and blood.

    Hey presto! And with a single bound …

  • kensei

    MR

    3. Why none of these fanatics are prepared to explain what is wrong with the RCOG’s policy document, which might start to address the problem, rather than obsessing over the theology.

    Here is the biological fact I have never been able to get past: if my mother had snuffed out the zygote or the foetus while in the womb, I would not be here. From the moment of conception is the point where you can pluck out a bundle of cells point to and say it’s me. Harm it, and poof! I’m not here anymore.

    I am a practicing Catholic have never felt that I have the right to legislate for others spiritual well being. But that is most definitely corporeal.

  • George

    Tafkabo,
    I think consensus is possible on the point that abortion is something that should be a last resort.

    Put simply, the issue here is abortion and the objective is to reduce the need for it.

    Reducing a woman’s freedom of choice does not reduce the numbers of abortions so if the issue really is abortion and the welfare of the foetus, for me the real question for the here and now is how do you reduce the need for abortions.

    The Netherlands has one of the most liberal abortion policies in the world but still has one of the lowest abortion rates, even with all the Irish who now travel there as well as Britain.

    But the big issue is illegal abortions, of which there are about 20 million a year. I don’t hear any answers from the pro-life lobby as to how this should be addressed.

    I would prefer the debate to move towards reducing that figure and, from a local perspective, looking how to reduce the numbers of Irish women travelling and helping the many vulnerable women (and children) in need of support and protection.

    These are things that Irish society and society as a whole should be looking to address.

    I would like to see the Irish State taking a more pro-active role in this and finally to address the hypocrisy of exporting our “moral guilt” but I feel we will be waiting a little while longer for that one.

    Ann Lovett’s death shook one Irish generation and crystallised into reality so much of what everyone knew was wrong in Irish society.

    I just hope it doesn’t take another incident like that to bring us one step further down the road to reason on this issue.

  • TAFKABO

    George, I agree that we should be doing all we can to reduce the demand for abortion, it is an traumatic experience for any woman who goes through it.
    I would suggest better sex education and access to contraception for any female who asks for it, but as we have seen, places like The Brook clinic which are trying to keep women informed and in control meet the same type of small minded opposition as abortion does.
    By the way, rather than think my postion is absolutiost, I think my position is eminently fair and sensible.
    Abortion ought to be a matter of conscience, if you don’t agree with it, then you ought to have the right to not have an abortion.
    Similarly, if you think it’s acceptable then you vote with your conscience.
    the probelm at the moment is that people are being asked to act in a way that suits someone ele’s conscicence, not their own.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Abortion ought to be a matter of conscience, if you don’t agree with it, then you ought to have the right to not have an abortion.”

    And slavery? And capital punishment? If your conscience decrees that you have absolute rights over other human beings in these matters should you be allowed to exercise that conscience as you see fit?

    A simple fact which you seem to be utterly incapable of grasping in your rush to heap the charge of “misogyny” on anyone who disagrees with you (which is like screaming “racist!” at someone when you can’t defeat their argument, just for the record I’m fairly certain everyone here loves dearly the very many women friends, lovers, wives and family members in their lives, cut out your nonsense and you might stand a chance of convincing somebody) is that their are two human bodies involved, not just the woman’s.

    If we’re not human at conception will you kindly tell me at what point we become human, 22 weeks? Seven months? Eight months three weeks and six days after conception? Once the child’s head has exited the birth canal? When it’s tucked up in its cradle? University graduation?

    I know for a fact that I was a human when I was in my mother’s womb, as were my children when they were within theirs, I’m fairly certain that despite your unwillingness to grant reciprocal humanity to others you TAFKABO were also human when you were in your mother’s womb, so tell me when did your right to a life begin?

  • willowfield

    TAFKABO

    There is an irony in you feeling that you know my likely rections better than I would, since it mirrors the same notion that a group of men are better able to decide what is best for a woman’s body, regardless of her feelings on the issue.

    First, I don’t know your likely reactions better than you would. I do, however, doubt that you would not feel angry and excluded and that an injustice had been done to you if your wife or partner aborted your child against your wishes.

    Second – as I said, and you chose to ignore – it’s not simply an issue of “what is best for a woman’s body”. It’s an issue about a pregnancy – created by both a man and a woman – that will ordinarily develop into a new person with his or her own body, and for which both the man and the woman will be responsible.

    I still say that the issue of misogyny is a valid one, since ultimately people are saying that a foetus takes precedence over a grown woman’s wishes for her own body.

    It’s not simply an issue of a woman’s wishes “for her own body”: that is a deliberate misrepresentation of the issue.

    Also, in my experience, women are more likely to be anti-abortion than men. Are those women misogynists?

  • Danny O’Connor

    Malcolm ,it was Paul vi who issued humanae vitae,and I believe it is being borne out in today’s society.Contraception leading to a greater level of promiscuity and infidelity,which leads to a breakdown in family values.

  • willowfield

    Danny

    The absence of contraception would mean that the Earth could not sustain all human life: we simply could not produce enough food and resources to feed the huge population.

    In the past, when there was no medical contraception, neither were there the medical advances which prevent so many people dying at birth, or dying young.

    If you are content to accept medical interventions which increase the population by preventing deaths, then how can you reject medical interventions which prevent the World’s population from exploding out of control?

  • TAFKABO

    Harry, Because I don’t share your view that a bunch of congregated cells has preeminence over a woman’s right to decide what is best for her own body doesn’t mean I’m incapable of grasping anything, it means I don’t agree with you.
    Do you always assume people who disagree with you “just don’t get it” the way you do in your elevated enlightened state?

    As for misogyny, I’ve explained why I think this is a valid charge, if you want to disagree with my reasons, go ahead.

  • willowfield

    “a woman’s right to decide what is best for her own body”

    Once more – this is a misrepresentation of the issue.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Willowfield,There is enough resourses (to paraphrase Gandhi)to sustain everyones need ,not everyones greed,as long as it takes enough soya beans to feed a family pf 4 for a year to produce enough bio fuel to fill a small family hatchback ,-then yes resources will be used up to satisfy ouur cultures demand for more,I would also point out that there is a thing called natural family planning,which does not expose women to the increased heath risks that come with using chemical contraception.
    I want to say that I was just trying to clarify a point to Malcolm in relation to Humanae Vitae,that the then pope,felt would lead to a breakdown in family values.In the UK in spite of all the contraception abortion rates are still on the increase,
    Since 1967 there have been millions of children killed in abortions,who is going to pay the bills as the population gets older ,with more pensioners and fewer tax payers,the disregard for the sanctity of human life,may well come into play in another area – euthanasia.

  • Danny O’Connor @ 01:13 PM:

    My apologies: “Paul” not “Pius”. Pius VI was the one with whom de Sade’s Justine had all the fun, right? Can’t think what made my fingers’ Freudian slip there.

    As for the rest of recent tosh, sorry: you’ve lost me. I looked everywhere for those “contraception abortion rates”. They don’t show up on any data-base I can access.

    Then again, I see you advocate an eternal and cumulative increase in population, that an infinite number of young people can be enslaved to the service of an ever-aging and ever-growing older cohort. Unless something else intervenes (see below, for Malthus).

    Good, too, to know that “natural family planning” — rather than those horrible, unnecessary and (as you suggest) dangerous contraceptives — is effective in an age of HIV and AIDs. I thought that view had been discredited, except among the really loopy and Thabo Mbeke. That and similar mythology did marvels for the incidence of child-rape across southern Africa.

    Now, “family values”. George W Bush believes in those so much that he and his mates cut funding and punished programs to teach birth-control and safe sex. In the developing world that might just imply starvation and/or AIDs is a “good thing”. Now, what did I intend to say about a “Malthusian crisis”? Oh yes, that’s a far better solution to the world’s woes than taking practical steps now, don’t you agree? As for us brighter, more enlightened folks, by restoring “Kinder, Küche, Kirche”, it does marvels for male job-opportunities. Neat!

    Oh, and I soooo liked your notion that we’ll all pass up our transportation (and, doubtless, much else) to underwrite the fecundity of others. That’s a very fair appreciation of the selfless philanthropy I see all around me, and can applaud every time I see a prelate in rags.