Thursday, 1 September 2011

Abortion: why it's not a simple as it seems to some folk....


I used to think things were simple. You remove barriers to people’s rights and they behave like grown ups. And for most of us this is true, most of the time, under most circumstances. But let’s paint a little picture, tell a story – one that’s only too real for many young women.

A 17 year-old girl gets pregnant. She know who the Dad is but isn’t in a relationship with him any more, she’s going out with a different bloke who isn’t all than keen on his woman carrying some other man’s child – especially when that man is the spotty Darren from Eccles Street.

Now the girl – let’s call her Carol – tells her Mum and her best friend Shazza that she’s going to keep the baby. They’re happy with this, just as they’d have been happy if Carol had chosen to have an abortion. Happy in her choice and supported by friends and family, Carol trogs off to tell her boyfriend – we’ll call him Karl. Who hits the roof. And Carol.

 The police are called. And, because Carol’s pregnant, unmarried and under 18, social services get involved – after all Carol has decided to keep the baby and that is the proper concern of social services.

Social services tell Carol that, because of her circumstances and her boyfriend’s violence, it’s very likely that the baby will be taken into care straight after birth. Understandably Carol’s pretty distraught and confused. She thought she was going to have a lovely baby to care for but instead she’s become just breeder – having a baby for somebody else.

 And Karl’s on the phone, on Facebook. Begging forgiveness saying he’ll not hit her again. So she goes to meet him. And he says again that she should get rid of the baby.

So she goes to the doctor…

I’m making no moral judgments here about abortion merely pointing out how ignorant it is to say abortion is as simple as this:

…if a woman seeks an abortion within the first 24 weeks of her pregnancy, it is surely then a matter for her alone, subject only to medical advice and approval.

That may be a stripped down description of the law. It may be the case for some women – even for many women. But the reality out there is that plenty of ‘unwanted’ pregnancies are simply not that simple. Young women don’t arrive at the decision to terminate on their own (with their doctors) but do so after speaking with mum, with friends and with others involved in their life. This may not fit that simple picture but it is the real world - and we should deal with the real world rather than one stripped of social interaction where decisions are taken in isolation.

Is it really such a bad thing to say that the NHS should make impartial counselling and advice available to young women in such circumstances? Is it such a bad thing that women contemplating termination should receive the information about their options allowing that “informed choice” the law speaks of?

Personally I don’t think so.



Anonymous said...

I think you have misrepresented Jack of Kent's stance and Nadine Dorries' proposals on independent advice.

I don't see anywhere in Jack of Kent's piece where he says that women ought to make the decision unsupported. Or that they should be denied access to counselling and advice should they need it.

However, ironically perhaps, the effect of the proposal would be precisely this. If only those counsellors who were independent of abortion providers were entitled to counsel, the range of counselling available would be inevitably limited. We are not starting from a position where there is no counselling available and thinking about what sort of counselling ought to be introduced, but one where there is a wide range of sources of advice, both from abortion providers and from religious and voluntary groups.

It is not at all clear that advice from an independent counsellor which has a moral pro-life stance would be more valuable to the young woman in your scenario than from a counsellor taking a more pro-choice approach who happens also to be part of an organisation which provides abortions. On this basis, banning the latter from being allowed ever to advise would be counter-productive.

Oop Norf. said...

The problem isn't impartial advice. The problem is the pretence that Nadine Dorries or her religious fundamentalist backers are impartial, coupled with the insinuation that the likes of BPAS and Marie Stopes are tainted by a profit motive, when they're actually not-for-profit charities.

Anonymous said...

In simple terms,the extermination
of innocent human life,whether in the womb or outside,whether by the idividual or the State is a crime against humanity.
To kill a human form simply because he/she is not wanted,with
the support of the State,cannot be justifiad on any count.If we cannot
defend the helpless foetus,then
human society will slip into an
abyss where the strong will tread
all over the weak,individual greed
will suffocate the sick and the poor reduced to beasts.
The warning signs are plentifull,
it would be wise to heed them.

Unwanted child of war