I don’t have the time or internet access to blog about this in detail; just read these and know I am as angry as Zoe Williams:

And while I’m here, something I saw a few weeks ago but didn’t have the connection to post (grrr):

  • Foetus Scans Fuel Abortion Debate – if I can quote Doctor Who, "just because something looks like a footprint doesn’t mean it’s a boot"; ie, just because it looks like a baby, doesn’t mean it necessarily is one yet.

And another one falls:


8 responses to “Abortion

  1. Amy October 27, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    Yes, but Zoe Williams never has much in the way of shades of grey. Does she remind anyone else of Julie Burchill in style, or is that just me?
    I think she is trivialising the issue somewhat, although I agree that a cooling off period isn’t really respecting the thinking woman’s ability to make a considered choice.
    Equally, I think that no-one seriously considers abortion to be an easy option, but when all is said and done, why should it be easy? What about taking responsibility for your actions?
    It may not be a “boot” but there is no getting away from the fact in most cases it is a probable and indeed likely boot. Potentially I could go to work tomorrow but it is unlikely I will, as it is the weekend. So this will not take place unless I take action to make it happen. Whereas if I set fire to the stairs, it is probable the house will burn down unless I do not action to stop it happening. There’s not much “maybe” about potential babies once they are gestating.
    Surely the ideal would be to make sure people are better educated about not getting pregnant in the first place, than dealing with the unfortunate cases where abortion is the last resort? The point should be less arguing about the pros and cons of abortion, and more trying to make sure less people get put in the position where that is their only option. The majority of abortions are girls from socially deprived backgrounds. Address these sorts of issues, and the abortion stuff works itself out.
    Here’s a thought though – compare and contrast (from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (one of the largest social policy research and development charities, which does not appear to be pursuing any particular agenda on this issue as far as I can tell – http://www.jrf.org.uk/knowledge/findings/socialpolicy/684.asp_)
    Of socially deprived young females: “While some did associate motherhood with ‘missing out’, their feelings of excitement about pregnancy compensated for this. Some viewed motherhood as rewarding, associating it with responsibility, and as a spur to achievement.” – this of young mothers from socially deprived backgrounds. Interesting, I think, that this cohort see going through with pregnancy as a responsible thing to do.
    Compared to females from “privileged” backgrounds: “There was no question of me keeping it because I knew I was going to go to university … I’d had a good education and I had a career path to go down, it was all laid out for me.” Surely there should have been some questioning, and discussion? Note it was “all laid out FOR me” – my emphasis – not “laid out BY me”. Makes me wonder about how much social pressure there is “not to ruin your life”.
    And why does having a baby necessarily ruin your life? Sure, plenty of people have perfectly fulfilled lives child-free, but so do plenty of people who do have kids. Are we really talking informed choices or just social conditioning?
    What really gets me is that there seems to be a very diminished sense of taking responsibility for your actions in the current culture, which is why I find it surprising that the above views contrast so strongly with respect to the responsibility issue. If you have the means to raise a child with a good standard of living within a stable domestic background, and still want an abortion, then the only reason to abort is purely selfish (with the exception of abortions resulting from cases of rape, which clearly would stand entirely separate to this debate).
    Fair enough if your kid would have a crap life but otherwise putting yourself before the child is, I think, unethical. But maybe I am old-fashioned in my thinking.

  2. Amy October 27, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    Oh my gawd… I really can’t write short posts, can I?!!

  3. kate October 28, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    “If you have the means to raise a child with a good standard of living within a stable domestic background, and still want an abortion, then the only reason to abort is purely selfish”
    if you don’t want children, then you don’t want children. bringing a child you don’t want into the world is pretty irresponsible. i see nothing wrong with having an abortion.
    and this stuff about ‘taking responsibility’ – so contraception is 100% effective? puh-lease. i presume you use contraception (or have done in the past) because you don’t want to get pregnant. so if that contraception fails, you’re saying you’d be fine with seeing the pregnancy through, at whatever point in your life you happened to be at?
    that’s fine, if that’s what you’d choose. but it’s not what i’d choose and that’s ultimately what it comes down to – choice. i guess you could come back and say ‘yes well you’re choosing to be selfish, you could choose not to be selfish’ i suppose …

  4. Amy October 29, 2006 at 11:02 am

    “f you don’t want children, then you don’t want children. bringing a child you don’t want into the world is pretty irresponsible.” There’s always adoption – plenty of people out there wanting babies but can’t have them, and as far as adoption stats go, babies get picked up and placed far more quickly than kids who are older.
    And contraception isn’t 100% effective, but it’s pretty darned good, and the cases where it fails are usually do to an education problem, e.g. how many people don’t realise antibiotics interfere with the Pill, or how many people forget to take a pill and then don’t use extra contraception for the next 7 days. It usually fails due to “user error”. If your contraception fails and you know about it, e.g. condom split, there is always the morning after pill, which I don’t personally put in the same camp as abortion, as if you take it within the first 3 days the zygote would probably not even have implanted into the womb yet, so its not really developing. (This is splitting hairs slightly in some people’s eyes, I know). If you are unlucky enough to get pregnant when you have used contraception properly, then provided you have the set up where you can give a child a decent life/home, is it so bad to go ahead with it?
    And I didn’t say that I’d be fine at seeing a pregnancy through at any stage of life – if I was pregnant and DIDN’T have the means to raise a child with a good standard of living within a stable domestic background then that would put an entirely different complexion on things. If those factors are in place and you still choose to abort, then I do think it is selfish. How else would you describe it?

  5. Nick October 30, 2006 at 9:39 am

    But with adoption that means carrying the baby to term and therefore you would end up with a someone whose body is geared up for motherhood but then has nothing to mother. This can be extremely pychologically damaging to someone. I think the adoption argument ignores the wellfare of both mother and child and TBH that is far more selfish.

  6. Rachel October 30, 2006 at 9:48 am

    You know what, I think it’s fine to be “selfish”. I don’t think I have any kind of duty to raise a child just because I happen to have been born with a uterus! (Especially as I’m contra-indicated for the most reliable form of contraception… ever since I found out I was banned from the pill for ever more, this whole debate has taken on a somewhat more important tinge…)
    I think the best possible attitude towards an unexpected, unwanted pregnancy is not to think “oh God, I really don’t want this but I’m iffy with abortion so, go on then”, but rather “after some serious thought and consideration, I really really want this baby, therefore I will continue with the pregnancy”. I would like to see abortion viewed as a responsible part of planned parenthood – seriously! Imagine a world where all children are genuinely wanted! Where the defining factor for every pregnancy would be the positive wanting the child rather than a negative not wanting to have an abortion.
    Everyone is different; everyone will have their own criteria to go through to determine whether to keep or not (and of course a foetus is potential; but it does need a woman’s permission to fulfil that potential). Personally, I don’t even like kids – I’ve met two in my entire life I wanted to spend time with (hello Finn!) – I can think of nothing worse for a child than to end up with me as its indifferent mother! I know I quote Zoe Williams rather too much on here 🙂 but her views on abortion are actually incredibly similar to mine. If I’m ever unfortunate eneough to have to have an abortion, I don’t want people around me in the health service or wherever looking at me with disapproval. It’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s my choice, the emphasis being on my. That MP tabling a motion on the basis that it “feels right”; well, I hope she won’t mind me smacking her in the mouth because it “felt right” to me. God, some people…

  7. kate October 30, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    how else would i describe it? informed and responsible choice.

  8. Amy October 30, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Well, I guess responsibility is in the eye of the beholder on that point.
    I’m not saying you have a duty to have a kid just because you are built to breed – just that if you have the means to support a child and you get pregnant and you abort it because you don’t want to be “burdened” with it, then that’s your call, but don’t delude yourself you are doing it for any other reason than selfishness.
    I’m also not saying everyone who gets up the duff unexpectedly has a duty to therefore give birth. Just if your social circumstances would comfortably accomodate a kid then the only reason you’re getting rid of the baby is it’s inconvenient/cramps your style/career, then don’t hide behind the “it’s for its own good” argument.
    And you don’t know whether you would be an indifferent mother until you have kids really – look at people who want kids so badly and then get post-natal depression because it’s not living up to expectations (yes, I know PN depression is a lot more complicated but that can be a contributory factor). Unless you’ve been in that position you don’t really know. To be fair, contraception isn’t so unreliable – usually it goes wrong because people don’t read the instructions, or are drunk when trying to use it, or are drunk and just don’t use it. You’d have to be bl**dy unlucky to have contraception fail, and then have morning after contraception fail on top of that.
    The adoption thing is a bit of a red herring. Plenty of mothers give birth but then can’t breast feed/bond for whatever reasons (I assume that is what you mean by the body being geared up for motherhood) – they generally cope. But giving birth just to give a baby up is not ideal, agreed.
    I’m not saying “all abortion is bad, end of”. I’m just saying I think people like Zoe Williams do trivialise it. It doesn’t have to be the defining moment of your life, gnashing of teeth and wailing thereafter til the end of days etc, but I don’t think it should be on a par with popping down the shop for a loaf of bread.
    Clearly if a friend of mine went down the abortion route despite being happily set up with a stable domestic situation and decent source of income, I wouldn’t be moralising at her about it. The friendship would be more important to me than the unborn baby. Which probably makes me a hypocrite on some level. But there you go.

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