Abortion Rights and Democracy: The Nadine Dorries Update
When I wrote a piece for Bright Green a few weeks ago on the undemocratic nature of challenges to abortion rights, I didn’t expect to be writing a follow-up quite so soon. But the attack that I feared when I wrote that is now a very real risk, as the Liverpool Post recently discovered. Anti-abortion MPs Frank Field and Nadine Dorries are trying to force through an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill without a specific vote in the Commons, which, if passed, would ban any organisation which is involved in abortion provision from also providing information and advice on the procedure, on the grounds that they have a vested interest in persuading women to choose abortion.
What you may not realise is that abortion counselling is already strictly regulated to prevent any suggestion of the impropriety that Dorries describes. It is provided by non-profit organisations such as the British Pregnancy Advice Service (who have written this informative briefing about their work), whose counselling is funded as an entirely separate function from their other services. Regardless of the outcome, the NHS will pay the counselling service for the time they have spent helping each woman, so counsellors don’t have any incentive to promote or discourage abortions. BPAS report that 1 in 6 women who attend their counselling sessions decide to continue their pregnancy; if this sounds like a relatively small proportion, bear in mind that the women who are referred to their counsellors will already be seriously considering abortion.
In a detailed blog post, Dorries explicitly describes her intentions to prevent abortion providers like BPAS from setting up new organisations which only provide counselling, as she believes these would not be suitably independent. With the government determined to outsource as many NHS functions as possible, this is likely to transfer public funding from the current providers, who are truly neutral sexual health charities, and place it in the hands of organisations called crisis pregnancy centres. Many of these centres already exist, and although they are usually run by “pro-life” organisations, they disguise themselves as unbiased advice centres (one was recently forced to change its Yellow Pages listing after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that it was misleading), in order to talk women out of abortions and distribute misinformation about the physical and psychological damage that women will suffer if they decide to proceed. In the absence of a new statutory body to provide abortion counselling, Dorries and Field would be channelling a much greater number of women through the doors of organisations with an anti-abortion bias.
By attempting to have this enforced by a bill which the Coalition government desperately want to rush through parliament, Dorries and Field are exploiting an ideal opportunity to avoid democratic scrutiny. When over three-quarters of the British population are pro-choice, the only way that anti-abortion campaigns can gain any ground is if sympathetic MPs are willing to abuse their position in this way. Since she was elected in 2005, Nadine Dorries has been on a mission to campaign against abortion, and even if the amendment is dropped, it won’t be a complete loss for her. By raising the issue on her own terms, Dorries has obtained a platform to broadcast the same misinformation that crisis pregnancy centres hand out. By making her accusations in such a high-profile way, she is planting the idea in the public consciousness that there is something untoward about the current provisions for counselling. She also frequently refers to the “abortion trauma”, despite the fact that its existence has repeatedly been disproved, but every time she mentions it, it adds credibility to the myth that abortion causes long-term damage.
Even The Guardian has published an opinion piece from Dorries, ostensibly to provide some balance after they published an article from one of their own writers which was critical of her. Without a trace of irony, she takes the opportunity to explain why placing restrictions on who can provide abortion counselling is really aimed at giving women more “choice”. At the moment, a woman who is unsure of whether to continue her pregnancy can choose to discuss it with whoever she wants – her partner, her family, friends, a member of her faith community, or even a non-judgemental counsellor – but this amendment would block access to one of those potential sources of support. It seems odd that this could be approved by Conservative MPs, who usually claim to value personal freedom so highly, and oppose state interference in the private lives of individual citizens.
Remember, you didn’t vote for this. None of us voted for this, because abortion is not considered to be a party political issue, so most parties don’t mention it in their election campaigns. “Politicians make crappy doctors” was the slogan on a placard photographed at the recent pro-choice demonstration in London, and in the context of the Health and Social Care Bill, this sentiment seems even more appropriate.
Next time you meet a poor child from a poor neighbourhood, or a physically or mentally disabled person, or a person who has a cleft lip or club foot, or perhaps a female from an ethnic minority where males are more valued than females but she was ‘unfortunate’ to be born female instead of a wanted male….ask them as simple question, are you glad to be alive or do you wish your mother had excercised her right to choose; to abort you?
A blogger I know from Cif who calls himself ‘nicetime’ made an interesting comment on my selective feminism observations: ‘So the truth is being ‘outed’ it was never about a women’s right to choose was it, it was about a woman’s right to take her babies life, it was about being pro-abortion without conscience or critisism no mater how spurious the reason or how trivial.But these feminist who are so loud when it comes to this emotive issue and shout ‘its all about women’s rights!’ from the rooftops, but aren’t these the same feminist who have nothing to say on the equal rights of muslim and ethnic women living in the UK’.
His comment is worth copying here:
“The curious thing about feminism is that its largely a culturally specific phenomena. It doesnt exist outside the Anglo-Saxon world in anything like the virulent form we know and love. Like much of what used to be radical thought and is now mainstream, it grew out of university radicalism in the 60s; distorted genuine grievance and is profoundly selective over its targets”. An interesting comment by a fellow blogger who goes by the name: ‘nicetime’.
I would post something combatting the above post but it’s so confused I don’t know where to start.
All I can say is, Combat Nadine Dorries (#combatdorries). And go Alyson.
The selective left wing feminist try to accuse ‘the right’ as the only ones wanting change; as they try to undermine this long overdue and much needed change to make sure women and teenage girls are fully informed before deciding on an abortion.
It has nothing to do with ‘the right’ it is to do with making informed choices. Something ‘the left’ have been screaming about for years. The freedom to choose, yes ok then, but only when a woman has been given full and impartial information giving her all her options, plus the detail of what an abortion is really all about, including explaining what happens to her unborn child and the process involved in destroying its life. What are the left wing feminist frightened of? …The fact that the abortion clinics won’t be able to coerce the woman into only the one ‘choice’ they offer the minute she contacts them. No, I ‘m sure ‘the left’ don’t want women to have real choice; making a decision based on impartial information. They want to keep it at it is with the unborn baby having no value whatsoever no matter how close to term or what spurious reasons are given for getting rid of this mere inconvenience to the woman’s life. (over 97% of the 200,000 abortions carried out every year in England & Wales are for social reasons only).Plus we have to think of the abortion ‘charity’ clinics funding who are no doubt paid according to how many babies are aborted. I mean there is big money at stake here, lets be very clear here this is a business, where a large number of people are makings lots of money for themselves and their business; why else would those with a vested interest in protecting their vile industry/business of taking human life, spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds lobbying MPs every year to make sure their interest are protected. And do everything they can to shout down and intimidate anyone who dares to uncover the truth or reveal the true detailed facts.This has nothing to do with ‘left’ or ‘right’ but it has everything to do with women being coerced and manipulated into the one shrill option to take the unborn baby’s life so we can celebrate women’s right to choose the one option you advocate. What hypocrites are these so called feminists, who for so long have shouted for ‘a woman’s right to choose’; it is now so obvious that’s is not what your really meant is it, as this is all about giving women real choice, not the only ONE choice that so many people have a vested interest in preserving for all the wrong reasons; including protecting their perverted financial business interests.So the truth is being ‘outed’ it was never about a women’s right to choose was it?.. it was about a woman’s right to take her babies life, it was about being pro-abortion without conscience or criticism no matter how spurious the reason or how trivial.But these feminist who are so loud when it comes to this emotive issue and shout about women’s rights from the rooftops, but aren’t these the same feminist who have nothing to say on the equal rights of many ethnic minority women in the UK.: You know the right to have a say in their community, the right to choose their own husband, the right to choose their own faith or non, the right to go out on the streets dressed how they like, the right to divorce their abusive husband, the right to leave their controlling family or just the right to speak freely or act freely without intimidation or worse, sometimes terrible violence. What about the thousands of forced marriages that take place every year, young British girls taken out of school as young as 15 who disappear for the summer holidays sent abroad ready for their forced marriage etc etc.Where are these brave feminists when you need them on the real UK issues for women’s and girl’s rights?… you know women who live in the UK and are Citizens of a democratic and free nation, yet have no one to speak up for them. As it seems the middle class white academic feminists are very selective in their right to choose their issues, just like this issue they want to deny women real choice and real access to full impartial information, these feminist don’t believe in real choice for all women nor equality for all women and all young girls living in the UK. No only if it suits them and only if there is safety in numbers, no on the real issues of women’s inequality which is under their noses these great feminist are worshipped and held on a pedestal by so many of their sisterhood are totally silent. Shame on these hypocrites, their silence is deafening. Let us hear you fight on these real women’s rights issues, otherwise you have no credibility on the easy predictable shrills that we have heard so many times before on the issue of Abortion; which is guaranteed to get the ‘selective feminists’ shouting in their tens of thousands; women who are being manipulated by the few to protect the financial interests of many: I see no courage or pioneering qualities in you to be admired, like the Emily Pankhurst or Florence Nightingale of yesterday, no I just see women acting like sheep, following the easy predictable way, pretending to care about women’s equality and women’s rights, on the back of the abortion issue.How disingenuous the feminist shrill cry is on this debate; falsely claiming this about ‘limiting a woman’s right to choose’ and does nothing to reduce teenage abortions’. This is not about limiting anything it is about making sure women have access to full and impartial information so that they can make real informed choices not the coerced manipulation one choice abortion route, that they have the minute they make contact with an abortion ‘charity’ or clinic. These ‘great selective feminist’ are protecting the financial interest of the abortion industry. Why else would the industry spend millions of pounds every year lobbying and courting favour with pro-abortion politicians. These selective feminist don’t want women to have real choice. The truth has now been ‘outed’. They have a vested interest to keep things just as they are, where the unborn child has no value whatsoever in today’s callous UK society; the right to take human life without conscience or criticism, no matter how spurious or trivial the reason to take this human life. What a hard and selfish society we have become, with such twisted materialistic values. Human life can be ‘got rid of’, just like throwing a disposable cup in the waste bin; in this UK materialistic selfish society they both have about the same value! How very sad. How twisted have our values become that we no longer value the most vulnerable and innocent of human life; the unborn human child. What does this say about those that are trying to stop women from being informed and what does it say about our modern callous society? The most dangerous time for human life to be ended in the UK is the time in the mother’s womb, which should be the safest place in a modern civilized World.