24 October 2007

Law For The Irresponsible

Despite the insistence by some neonatal consultants that significant numbers of children born before 24 weeks survive if they are treated at top specialist centres — as many as 42% — Health Minister Dawn Primarolo will today tell MPs on the Select Committee of Science & Technology that she sees no evidence for a change in the law on abortion.

Forty years ago, Lord David Steel was influenced by the reading of Alice Jenkins' polemic, Law for the Rich, highlighting how rich or educated women were getting round the abortion ban by claiming their life was threatened by the danger to their mental health, while "ordinary" women were left turning to backstreet abortion clinics or to self-induced abortions at home, resulting in the deaths of 30 to 50 women a year.

Today, a whole generation's experience of this shadowy alternative is limited to their viewing of films such as Vera Drake and abortion has almost become a way of life or an alternative to contraception, with almost a quarter of all pregnancies ending in an abortion — 193,737 were carried out in the UK last year, an increase of 3.9% on the year before, with almost a third (32%) performed on women who had already had at least one previous pregnancy terminated and 19-year-olds the most likely of any age group to have an abortion — and this despite the introduction of the morning-after pill.

Thus, the 1967 Abortion Act no longer seems to be about saving the lives of pregnant women dying at the hands of back street abortionists or by suicide but instead appears to have become a law for the irresponsible. Yet, at the end of the day, whether you have greater sympathy for the pro-choice or the pro-life lobby, as Lord Steel notes, abortion itself is not the problem. The problem is the unwanted pregnancy. However, sex education and availablility of contraception have done nothing to prevent this trend. Instead, we will only really be able to tackle the issue when we see a shift in culture away from today's individualistic society towards one in which each person acknowledges that they have a place in a network of relationships radiating out from the family to the wider community and that even their individual and private decisions have an impact on this network.


MikeC said...

For 'see no evidence' read:

"I refuse to accept that my ideology is wrong, and in fact, believe it with such lack of humility that I arrogate to myself the absolute knowledge of all medical facts and opinions, as well their relationship to, and superiorty over, any philosophies of life. Hence, there is no reason why I should spend time considering evidence that might argue against my said position and ideology. Science is always the answer."

Anonymous said...

While is hospital some years ago for a 'female' operation, there were - on the same ward - several ladies who were trying hard to have a baby and resorted to surgery to try and achieve their aim. There were also two women having an abortion (the surgeon was nicknames "The Abortion Queen" of the area it seemed so easy to persuade her that one needed an abortion.

Most of the ladies ont he ward were agreed that if the life of the mother-to-be was THAT much in danger to warrant an abortion, then perhaps sterilisation was necessary AT THE SAME TIME! to ensure that no repeat was to occur.

A bit draconian you might day, but it would certainly stop those who took chances and needed an abortion instead of using contraceptives!

The more we teach the young about contraception, the more they want to experiment with sexual activity.

GH in Oxfordshire.

michelle said...

jnyes one can dissagree with abortion practises, epecially when it is against christiain value, however for some women who care about the feotus and still fall into the sad situation of having to make a decision of preventing their unborn child to be born out of LOVE, DOMESTIC ABUSE AND PORVERTY DUE TO unforeseen such as relationship breakdown. People often forget that there are women who are pregant due to failure of contraceptives, again they battle strongly with conscience,guilt and the religious repercution of their desicion to abort,in the interest of not wanting to have unplanned child that can become a problem to them, their community and government in future.For those women discribed above and their circumstances we need to collectively respect their point of view and decision,as we are not in their shoe because most women are intelligent enough. On the other side, in my opinion women who abuse abortion as means of contraceptives should be First Educated by showing the feotus in the womb,if unrepentance prosecuted or offer sterilisaion so as to stop them taking feotus' life that they can not make and while others are desperate to have. michelle