In Northern Ireland, two hundred and five women have signed an open letter admitting to having broken Northern Irish law by either taking abortificients or obtaining them for others. This in response to the planned prosecution of a woman (unnamed, to protect her daughter) who obtained such drugs on behalf of her young daughter.
For those who don't know, Northern Ireland's abortion laws are just about the most restrictive in Europe, with abortion only being legal in cases where the pregnant woman's (not 'mother,' thank you—that word does not apply until after the birth) health is at risk, or in cases of foetal abnormality. Well, technically legal. In practice, even that isn't guaranteed. As Amnesty International puts it…
[…] due to restrictive laws, harsh criminal penalties and a lack of guidance from the Department of Health, medical professionals are fearful of providing even lawful abortions, leading to a "postcode lottery" for women trying to access abortion advice and services across Northern Ireland. This has resulted in women in certain health trust areas, such as western and rural areas, being unable to access termination of pregnancy services.
Or, in other words, the law is so draconian, and guide-lines to what exactly counts as sufficient risk are so sloppy, that health-care workers are too scared to do their jobs even when a life is at risk because to perform this perfectly safe procedure could put them at risk of punishments up to and including life imprisonment, both for them and for the person they treat. A situation which, the cynic in me thinks, those who oppose legal abortion are not exactly unhappy with.
And meanwhile, at an undisclosed location 'Somewhere In The UK'…
An abortion clinic has been shut down due to continued harassment by so-called 'pro-life' supporters. As far as I know this is a first in recent times, for the UK, but it's a worrying occurrence, nonetheless. According to Ruth Rawlins of anti-abortion group Abort67…
We simply present educational displays outside clinics to show women the results of abortion procedures.
Which would seem to be something of a lie by omission, since protesters usually turn up with the tired old 'horror pictures' of 'aborted children' and are known to often film patients as they enter and leave clinics. And if genteel, peaceful protest is all they're interested in, one has to wonder why, as quoted in the same story, Andy Stephenson of the same group is so worried about the possibility of the introduction of buffer zones between protesters and clinics. After all, you don't need to get up close and personal if you're not planning on harassing people, right?
Oh and the result of an abortion procedure is, would you believe it, a woman who is no longer pregnant. End of story. Quite why they need to 'present educational displays' in order to show that, I have no clue. We're all quite familiar with what non-pregnant women look like, after all.
 Thanks to Rustiguzzi for reminding me: There’s a petition on Change.org to have the buffer zones mentioned above made law. This would allow protests near the clinic, but prevent the participants from getting close enough to harass patients and staff. [/edit]
And then there's our new Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron who, in 2006, voted in favour of Nadine 'Complete & Utter Loon' Dorries's Termination Of Pregnancy Bill, which would have shortened the time limit on abortions by three weeks, from twenty four to twenty one and would have introduced a ten-day 'cooling off' period, and would have required applicants for an abortion to undergo counselling "about the medical risk of, and about matters relating to, termination and carrying a pregnancy to term."
He has, in recent months (as he was running for the leadership), walked back on that, saying in a tweet, that…
on abortion I'm guided by the science so I would not change the limit
And I'm unsure whether to be happy about this apparent change of heart, or whether to allow my inner cynic free reign once again, and speculate as to whether there might be a hint of PR involved. Mind you, for someone who claims to regard the Bible as 'literal truth,' he does have some quite pro-science views which don't usually go with such beliefs. (He's done a similar apparent U-turn on homeopathy, and also recently voted in favour of mitochondrial donation. He also spoke out in support of the MMR vaccine and appears to have been a long-time believer in the importance of climate change, and (though somewhat lukewarm) a supporter of LGBT rights. Some quite odd views for a Biblical literalist. But back to the abortion stuff…)
Then, finally, there's Ken Ham, who took to the internet to decry a recent graphic novel about two women's experience of abortion, Not Funny Ha-Ha, on the grounds that 'Oh Em Gee! You can't possibly laugh at abortion, you heartless baby-killing bastards!' (Okay, I paraphrase.)
Now, I've not read the book, or even looked for reviews, so I have no idea of how good it is at what the author sets out to do, or—more to the point—whether the intended humour is funny or not, or how well it walks what is obviously a fine line between guffaw and 'ugh.' I do know one thing though, which Kenny Boy doesn't seem to understand. Us human beings seem to manage to find humour in almost any and every circumstance. In fact, we tend to turn to humour of one kind or another in precisely the sort of circumstances Ken would have us believe that abortions constitute—you know, the Horrible Heart-Wrenching moments in our lives. People make jokes at funerals fer Pete's sake!
But on that point; I've known several people who've had abortions, and precisely none of them went through any moral trauma because of what they did. (That isn't to say, of course, that some women, for whatever reason, don't experience trauma or even feelings of guilt following an abortion, but this myth that all, or even most, do so is just that—a myth; one which 'pro-life' scum happily play upon and exaggerate.) It seems more likely, to me, that any given woman is more likely to suffer from anxiety brought on by harassment and vilification by 'pro-lifers' than she is to suffer from any post-abortion trauma stronger or longer-lasting than the possible post-partum trauma which her harassers would happily force upon her.
But back to Ken. First off, notice the bare-faced lie he peppers his little diatribe with.
'A baby on the ultrasound screen monitor.' 'A baby inside of his or her mother's womb.' 'A real baby inside the womb.' 'Perhaps the author should try writing a graphic novel about abortion from the baby's (the person made in God's image) point of view.' 'The murder of unborn babies.' 'Fifty-five million children have been aborted in America since Roe v. Wade.' 'Each one of those children.'
Complete and utter bullshit. Lies intended to bring about an emotional response. Propaganda. No baby, no person, no child, has ever been aborted. Those terms apply to independent entities which exist outside the womb, and therefore cannot be aborted; they do not apply to foetuses, which can.
And lastly, for a view of Hammie's priorities, take a look at how many times he mentions, outside quotes from the book's blurb, the pregnant person. Once; and then only in passing, in her capacity as a 'mother,' a vessel in which the Holy Unborn resides. She's faceless, characterless, and, outside her capacity and duty to play host to the Blessed And Inviolate Parasite, seems to matter not a single jot. She has no rights to decide what happens to her own body, or whether or not she wants to spend the next sixteen to twenty years of her life being held responsible for the care, education and upkeep of an unwanted child. Are her rights, and her happiness, not important, Kenny me lad?
Obviously not. Silly me, getting all hot 'n' bothered over the 'rights' of a walking incubator.
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