“the right to have access to safe and legal abortion..”

Mick’s note on the Brit Blog Round Up, and the use there of a quote, from the comments zone here, on Hazel Blears’ discomforture on Hearts and Minds last week..

“Anyone who saw Hazel Blears’ discomfiture when asked about her voting intentions on Hearts and Minds can see the problem facing many Labour MPs, especially women like Blears, Harman, Hewitt etc. who made their names as women’s rights activists and are now being asked to say they believe a woman’s right to choose is a fundamental right for women in Scotland, England and Wales but not NI. Some will abstain and that may lose us the vote, but it is a free vote and many will vote with their consciences despite what Gordon brown is saying to them.”

.. reminded me that I posted the full interview on YouTube [Part 1 and Part 2]. That “discomforture” is worth highlighting.

It’s a discomforture which might suggest the briefest of victories ahead with the first amendment to the Embryology Bill being passed, only to be curtailed by the second. Thereby allowing Labour MPs to claim a clear conscience on the issue whilst placing any decision on the “right to have access to safe and legal abortion” back in the hands of our local legislators administrators.. where it’s been stagnating for some time..

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  • I was amused at how she kept repeating I am a UK MP. I think she meant to say British as opposed to UK, otherwise she was undermining her own argument.

  • It’s perfectly consistent with British Labour’s hands-off approach to Northern Ireland, but given she was sitting in a studio in Belfast she presumably didn’t want to say ‘I don’t give a shit about you lot’. So we’ll have to rely on the SDLP’s votes, then 🙂

  • Danny Boy

    Funny how all our MPs happily voted to limit access to abortion for women in England, Scotland and Wales to twelve weeks, but are now claiming it’s unfair for MPs from the rest of the UK to vote to change the (appalling) situation here…

  • eranu

    Vote “Kill the babies!!” should be the slogan. or is that putting it in too uncomfortable terms?
    Lets make it a ‘rights’ thing and then whoever is asking for the rights can claim to be discriminated against, thereby creating a ‘wrong’ that must be righted by giving them what they want. then use words like abort and foetus instead of disturbing words like kill and baby.
    How could anyone argue against a woman who just wanted the right to abort a foetus? awwww….

  • manichaeism

    The way she kept referring to the UK it was obvious that she didn’t really think that Northern Ireland was really a part of it!!

  • michael

    …then use words like kill and baby, instead of accurate words like abort and foetus.

  • michael

    Also,

    Edmund burke and his speech to the electors of Bristol:

    Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect.

  • Ellen

    “abort and foetus”

    “kill and baby”

    Abort is not accurate re: willfull child destuction or deliberate causation of miscarriage. Abort can mean Spontaneous abortion, accidental abortion, indirecta abortion etc etc.

    Kill on the other hand is quite clear and correct.

    Foetus means young one (greek)
    Hmmmm….. Young what in this case…..Human?
    What is a young human often called? ah yes , a BABY!

    Jackpot.

  • NP

    just give the women the choice !!!

  • Ellen

    “just give the women the choice !!!”

    any one who gives me the “choice” to kill my baby might find I am not prepaerd to break sections of the Offences against the Person Act involving Illegal Abortion but I might be tempted to break those involving murder! Or at least GBH.

  • sammaguire

    just give the women the choice !!!

    Posted by NP on Oct 14, 2008 @ 01:18 AM

    As a liberal (rather than a pseudo liberal) I say give the weakest and most defenceless in society the choice (ie the foetuses).

  • abucs

    “the right to have access to safe and legal mutilation of little babies”. ??!!!

  • cynic

    My God…something other than the reality of the Great Flood that many the Prods and Catholics seem to agree on.

    Still its great to see them fighting to stop legal abortion morally polluting our wee bit of Ireland….while we pack our wives and daughters off to England to get it done quietly there.

    Is it such a noisy process we don’t want our consciences disturbed?

  • Ellen

    Cynic,

    There are people also going to Thailand to abuse children, on your rational we should legalise the abuse of children then?

    If people breaking the law or going to other countries to avail of a more lax system meant that there should be no law in the first place there wouldnt be many criminal statutes left.

  • Danny Boy

    A fetus, or an embryo, or a fertilised egg is not a child. All these things are only POTENTIAL people. It takes more than being born to make an embryo a baby. It’s a pity that such archaic, hysterical rhetoric has been allowed to flourish unchallenged here for so long. Good luck to the pro-choice campaign.

  • save the trees

    kill the children

  • is it sensible?

  • “It takes more than being born to make an embryo a baby.”

    Em, can you explain this statement? I assume it’s a joke.

  • joeCanuck

    while we pack our wives and daughters off to England to get it done quietly there

    The well to do don’t have to do that, Cynic. They just go and see their friend the surgeon and have themselves a comfortable D&C;.

  • Ellen

    Danny Boy,

    “POTENTIAL people”

    Ahh yes, that well know medical phenomenon.

    “archaic, hysterical rhetoric”

    Other wise known as the “fall back position of the lunatic left”.

    Reality sucks dosen’t it Danny Boy? Cant keep being a New Egotist when things like babies get in the way.

    Your statement is not only senseless but its terrilbe metaphisics, and worse biology.

    I cant remember whan I was in hospital with my babies (in utero) any Consultant saying “your potential person is doing well, look there are his arms and legs and his wee face, what a lovely potential person yo have there!”

    Wise up.

  • Garibaldy

    Ellen,

    Surely the abortion issue cuts well across left/right divisions, especially here. There are plenty of left-wing people opposed to abortion, and plenty of right-wing people in favour of it. In the UK, there is no significant opposition from the political right, unlike the US. The opposition is mainly religious.

  • Ellen

    Garibaldy,

    I agree. It is not a right /left argument. Personally I treat with suspicion both of these political wings and speak as a Catholic.

    I used the term “luntic left” because I suspect that someone who levels the particular accusation of “archaic, hysterical rhetoric” might fall into that camp. I accept it might have been “sweeping”.

    However I am aware that in this country especially, many people are against abortion, whatever their politics.

  • Harry Flashman

    “POTENTIAL people”

    Ah yes and so reminiscent of that fine policy upheld by US courts in the 19th century that asserted a black slave was only, what was it again, one eighth human?

    Funny how we sit back in smug self congratulation at how enlightened we are today about such things and judge the men of the past by our modern standards. I wonder how well our society will be judged in future centuries when we applaud silly women who throw themselves to their deaths to protest the poor treatment of veal calves but who believe it is a fundamental human right to stick a fork in the brain of a baby already half way out of the birth canal, or worse leaving it to die in a surgical tray having been born alive (ask Barack Obama, he seems quite keen on this).

    My wife is currently pregnant, try telling her that the living being inside her womb is not a human baby and you might need some reconstructive dental surgery.

  • Danny Boy

    No-one should be forced to be pregnant. I, like many other people, including most of the medical profession, do not think a fetus is a living human person. Regardless of whether you think they are or not, there is no other circumstance in which the law requires a person to relinquish control over their own body in order to make someone else live – even in cases where organ donation is a human being’s only hope of survival, nobody is legally required to submit to invasive and dangerous procedures to share part of their body with them. Pregnancy and childbirth is a hell of a lot more invasive than most surgical donations I can think of. The fact that women are legally required to submit to it against their will here says more about how little we value women’s humanity than how much we value that of fertilised eggs.

  • Yvette Doll

    “It takes more than being born to make an embryo a baby.”

    A press agent helps in Malibu

  • Ellen

    Danny Boy,

    Please stop insulting women with this diatribe against pregnancy and childbirth. It is because of people like you that pregnant women suffer most. What do you think a woman cares about more than the world when she is pregnant? Her BABY. Your attitude of, its not a person is indefensible and cruel.

    How dare you state that my children are not human, not persons, and then pretend to say this on my behalf.

    you say

    “there is no other circumstance in which the law requires a person to relinquish control over their own body in order to make someone else live”

    and yet, of course the Abortion Act requires the DEATH of a person (the infant “en ventre sa mere” a legal definition/ see Lord Denning, Court of Appeal, also Judicial Definitions etc.)so that another person can, not just survive, but be free of the first person.

    You say,

    “I, like many other people, including most of the medical profession, do not think a fetus is a living human person”

    Maybe you should add …”in the ancient ages before obstetric medicine had made any headway” to this sentance.

  • Big Maggie

    My older sister underwent a backstreet abortion when she was 19. It nearly killed her. Emergency surgery was needed and she was given a hysterectomy. I suppose that’s what many people here want is it? You younger women should be grateful you have the choices we didn’t have.

  • Ellen – you don’t represent the women of Northern Ireland any more than Danny Boy does. The difference is Danny Boy is talking sense.

    Abortion rights are coming whether you like it or not and it’s about bloody time!

  • goldilocks

    On this issue our local politicians have been elected to represent the people of Northern Ireland – both men and women. While not able to agree on much at the monent all four political parties in the Executive oppose the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

  • Just because the executive oppose the extension of the Act doesn’t mean the majority of the people do. NI politicians have not been elected on the basis of their stance on abortion. The electorate have never been asked to vote on the issue of abortion.

    Given that tens of thousands of women in NI have had abortions and most of those women have had help in obtaining their abortions, if a referendum was held the politicians would very quickly realise they don’t have the sort of majority support on this issue they like to pretend they do.

  • joeCanuck

    Don’t be silly Goldilocks. They mainly represent men. Hysteria prone women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions. I don’t know why men ever gave women the vote in the first place.

  • Ellen

    “Abortion rights are coming whether you like it or not and it’s about bloody time!”

    Think so do you Joanne?

    See you out there.

    Big Maggie
    “My older sister underwent a backstreet abortion when she was 19. It nearly killed her.”

    My best friend at school had a LEGAL abortion in England. It nearly killed her. It did kill her baby. We called the baby a name, Jude, (hopeless cases) We talked about the baby all the time. She grieved for years and suffered physical illness to the point where she collapsed and fell downstairs a year after the abortion. We were children ourselves at the time, still in school.

    Is that what you want Big Maggie, dead children and suffering, grieving women?

    We all have stories, the old back street abortion one doesn’t wash with me. All abortion kills.

  • I find the argument that there is some secret groundswell of support for abortion unlikely. I would agree that there is probably more support than there has ever been, but I would think the vast majority remain opposed to it here. In a referendum on the issue, i think there would be only one winner.

  • Cahal

    “My older sister underwent a backstreet abortion when she was 19. It nearly killed her. ”

    Probably wasn’t too pleasant for the baby either.

  • Ellen – you’re right, we all have stories. For every woman who’s had an abortion and regrets it, there are countless others who don’t and who would make exactly the same choice again without hesitation. What makes you think that your story is more important, more relevant and your views more worthy of being imposed on all Northern Irish women than mine?

    See you out there.

    Yeah, you will. You know, I’ve been having this debate for a long time. Well, it feels like a long time, but I’m only in my 20s so not nearly as long as the women who’ve been leading the pro-choice cause for decades. But I’ve always taken a pretty moderate position on most issues, including this one, maybe because of having a pretty religious background and understanding the anti-abortion position quite well since I used to share it. But for all my attempts to be moderate, to try and engage with ‘pro-lifers’, to try and have sensible, reasonable debates, all I’ve ever got in response is aggression, abuse, threats and hate mail. Oh, and not to mention the ridiculous, intellectually vacuous verbal diarrhoea which passes for an argument among you lot.

    So I’ve come to the realisation that reasoning with anti-abortionists is impossible. Just can’t be done. And I’m tired of trying. I’ve never been a radical and I would never have imagined taking the view that radical action or civil disobedience would be the best way to fight for what you believe in – but now I find myself taking exactly this position, because the situation Northern Irish women have been put into is outrageous and it needs to end now.

    See you out there indeed.

  • Ellen

    Joanne
    “What makes you think that your story is more important, more relevant and your views more worthy of being imposed on all Northern Irish women than mine?”

    I don’t. thats why I can’t stand the way pro abortionists always use the so called “hard luck” story. My story was to show that anecdotal evidence is not conclusive. The issue is one of morality.

    “But for all my attempts to be moderate, to try and engage with ‘pro-lifers’, to try and have sensible, reasonable debates..”

    Oh, sorry, but when you’re opening gambit was:
    “Abortion rights are coming whether you like it or not and it’s about bloody time!” I think I might be forgiven for thinking you were laying down the gauntlet, “street fighter” style.

    “all I’ve ever got in response is aggression, abuse, threats and hate mail. Oh, and not to mention the ridiculous, intellectually vacuous verbal diarrhoea which passes for an argument among you lot.”

    Och, Pet. and all you want is the right to tear your unborn child limb from limb if it doesn’t suit you. Diddums.

    Turn off the tears Baby face. No can do. You want the extention of the Abortion Act, this allows for the direct killing of unborn children to FULL TERM for the crime of being disabled. (a hair lip will do. See the Joanna Jepson case)

    “I’ve never been a radical and I would never have imagined taking the view that radical action or civil disobedience would be the best way to fight for what you believe in”

    Dialectical materialist- thats what you are, in case you want to use it in one of your “intelectual” discussions.

  • Of course you think your views are ‘better’ – if you didn’t you would have no problem with abortion being available, you would simply choose not to have one yourself. Pro-choicers certainly aren’t going to force abortion on anybody. And if it’s just a moral issue, then why is your moral stance correct but mine is not? Since when are you God?

    Thanks though for proving my point regarding anti-abortionists’ inability to argue without desceding into personal abuse and emotive ranting. 🙂

    P.S. Dialectical materialist? Nah, Left-Libertarian actually. But good try!

  • abucs

    when does life begin ? this is the big question………

    for me, i can’t see the cutting up of defenseless human life into little pieces as …..

    “…JUST a moral issue ……”.

    This mindset really makes all views just as good as any other and i seriously question if such a mindset can sustain a co-hesive community.

    The issue of legally murdering innocent people is one of those deal breakers where i believe many of us can’t just continue in society ‘pretending’ everything is OK. It is one of those issues where the bonds of society start to be broken which is dangerous for any societies future.

    We should know in NI where both camps claim they are justified, hard done by and the others are talking nonsense, with death mixed up in the middle of the arguement – the result can be destructive for the community as a whole.

    I’m not talking about bombs and such but simply the importance as seeing ourselves as one community, being able to work together and having confidence in eachother.

    The killing of young ones (or in Latin – foetus) is not a right it is mass murder. I can see others having different views, but that doesn’t change my view. And i can’t support mass murder because it is convenient to someone else.

    If mass murder becomes legal then any moral authority that a government, or their sponsors claim, evaporates for me. You might agree or disagree but that’s the way it is, and that’s not good for society.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Pro-choicers certainly aren’t going to force abortion on anybody.”

    Yes they are, they’re going to force it on the babies who are going to be butchered.

    Simple really.

  • I have to say I find the argument that if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one to be deliberately missing the point of the anti-abortion argument.

    Harry,

    Congratulations to yourself and the wife. Hope all goes well.

  • abucs

    Many in the Philippines are worried now about a ‘Reproductive Health bill’ being discussed by Government and being sponsored by international family planning groups.

    They are worried that their children will have to be mandatorily ‘educated’ over 6-8 years at school in the beliefs of these ‘family planning groups’ who support abortion.

    Failure to agree to this education will make parents criminals and the state will impose fines and imprisonment on families.

    People worry that the bill is on the way to a two child policy in the country and similar fines and imprisonment for those not obeying the new law.

    Forced abortion by any other name as is currently implemented in the peoples Republic of China.

    I don’t think it will get up, but the thinking is definitely there.

    http://www.philippinestoday.net/index.php?module=article&view=1161

  • Ellen

    abcu,

    thanks for thar link. My brother is out in the philippines and thay are certainly under pressure from the international abortion lobby there.

    Just for those who want to continue to deny that the British Abortion Act means abortion to full term for disabled unborn infants (and other infants in certain circumstances) I have coped the relevant part of the act here with a link in case someone thinks this is “emotive ranting”!

    ABORTION ACT 1967
    1.
    Medical termination of pregnancy.
    — (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith—
    [F1 (a)
    that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or
    (b)
    that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or
    (c)
    that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated; or
    (d)
    that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.]

    http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?activeTextDocId=1181037

  • Ellen

    Also regarding the point that a cleft lip is sufficient for “serious handicap” see

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/mar/17/health.healthandwellbeing

    The Cleft Lip and Palate Association accepted the CPS verdict.

    “Our concern was that if it was beyond all doubt that all it was a cleft lip and palate, then we could not understand why a decision to terminate had been taken,” said the chief executive, Gareth Davies.

    And also, because I like to be the bearer of goog news:

    Abortion plans for Northern Ireland abandoned due to peace process
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/northernireland/3197471/Abortion-plans-for-Northern-Ireland-abandoned-due-to-peace-process.html

    Looks like the pro abortion party might be over!
    Deo gratis.

  • Harry Flashman

    Thanks Gari, it’s very early days yet but we’re delighted, the missus wants a girl, I’ll be happy with whatever we get, but I’m getting on a bit now, I’m a wee bit too old for this new daddy lark so this will have to be the last of ’em, it’s off with my goolies after this!

  • abucs

    Congratulations as well Harry. I hope the young-un makes you feel young again yourself.
    Most of the time anyway. :o)

  • Ciaran

    Ellen, dialectic materialism doesn’t mean what you think it means.