I have been following my twitter stream and getting alternativley angry and desperately sad at what it going on in the UK.
Basically having failed at the last vote to reduce termination deadlines from 24 weeks to 20 they are now taking a vote in a week based on the idea that women should have ‘independent’ councilling before they are allowed to have their abortion – rather than those who currently provide it.
My biggest issue with this (aside from the fact that women should be trusted to know their own mind) is that the councilling will be provided by Christian, ‘pro-life’ organisations.
I don’t believe religion should have anything to do with politics, education or medical care. And yet it is increasingly taking over in all three (ok education it has always been strongly invovled with).
Really scary article with an example of the ‘councilling’ from LIFE (one of the organisations that the Government want to do the councilling) is here http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/08/30/why-the-abortion-amendments-pose-a-health-risk-to-women/
A less emotive, but still chilling one can be found here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8727514/Abortion-rules-to-be-tightened-in-biggest-shake-up-for-a-generation.html
One of the figures that is being bandied around is this will result in 60,000 less abortions each year. OK, but why is that important? I agree that would be 60,000 less women to go through an experience which ranges from traumatic to difficult. But it is a necessary service, accidents happen. Although I have never needed an abortion there have been times in my life where I may well have needed one. And I have always practiced safe sex – I was and still am quite vocal about it.
Accidents happen: condoms slip (and you know get lost inside, requiring a very undignified ‘fishing’ process); you travel and are not 100% convinced that the pill has worked properly having been through various time zones and if you have missed your bleed break because you are pregnant or if your body is just screwed up from so my flying. To the extent that you start investigating your options and for me that means what options do I have to have an abortion. (Yea, post honeymoon paranoia and pregnancy test! Oh and screwed up by flying is the answer, in my case at least)
To reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies we need to look at better education. Better long-term contraceptive options, rather than pills that totally screw up your body. Stop the idea that the only people that want abortions are those who use it as a ‘contraceptive’ or stupid teenage girls who shag everyone that walks past. Catlin Moran wrote a brilliant article about here experience here. As she says
It’s fairly inarguable to say that unhappy children, who then grew into very angry adults, have caused the great majority of mankind’s miseries. If psychoanalysis has, somewhat brutally, laid the responsibility for mental disorders at parents’ doors, the least we can do is to tip our hats to women aware enough not to create those troubled people in the first place.
This makes me so angry – why are we going back so many years? Why does it seem like recently Feminism has been for nothing and we are fighting the same battles all over again.
I have written to my MP Jackie Doyle-Price, but I am sure she will take the same line as she has done all the rest of the times that I have written to her – follow the party, don’t engage brain or stand up to anyone at all. I will shortly recieve a postcard from the House of Commons saying that she has got my email and then she will send me a letter which totally will not address my concerns at all and do nothing except make me screw up the letter and throw it at the wall.
I am hoping there will be a demo, in which case I will get over my fear of being kettled by the police and crowds of large people and get out there.
If you are in the UK write to your MP. Elsewhere, well, watch and take note. A year ago I was watching everything that is happening in America with the Christian Right and thinking, well that couldn’t happen here, we are far too sensible and British. Well it is. And I dread to see where this is going.