Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Leave Well Alone

Honestly I really think that there are some battles worth fighting but that this isn’t one of them. The existing legislation doesn’t need tinkering with – access is already adequate, one or two doctors signatures on a form makes little bureacratic difference in surgeries staffed by several and the involvement of a doctor should surely remain paramount as a duty of care (it is ridiculous to suggest a nurse be in charge). Additionally rattling cages gives rise to this sort of nonsense.

The call, at a time of concern about teenage pregnancy, will increase concerns that women will turn to abortion instead of contraception.

Will we? Thanks for telling me. What an absolutely appauling and ludicrous generalisation. To suggest that most women would seek abortions rather than contraception is a sensational press tactic aimed at ramping up the abortion debate for all the wrong reasons. The regulations on abortion ‘bureaucracy’ don’t need messing with, and even less so when they are seized upon to present all women as heartless thoughtless morons or conflate the issue with failing attempts to reduce teen pregnancy, another scaremongering tactic – and all in one fully loaded alarmist sentence!

If an objective is to lower the numbers of teen pregnancies then start by looking at the ‘incentives’ to leave it to chance in the first place. A pregnancy represents a shoe-in to a council property, the socialist legacy of rewarding you for being ‘poor’.

An abortion remains a last resort for most women and more worryingly now in the UK is becoming an increasingly contentious 'right' (if you can call it that). The arguments in favour of attacking legislation use statistics to present their case. This one from Canada where completely relaxed legislation is argued as the factor for 90% of abortions being undertaken early on in a pregnancy. But compare that with the UK where the stats are the same under existing tighter legislation. (89% of abortions were carried out at 13 weeks; 67% were at under 10 weeks).

If anything amending the law will send out an unnecessary and confused message on such a sensitive issue. I think The British Pregnancy and Advisory Service should leave the more than adequate UK legislation as it is and refocus their efforts on the teen pregnancy debate, eg prevention.

At the same time today the same issue is viewed from the other end of the spectrum by The Washington Post reporting on the effects of Nicaragua’s absolutist abortion laws. An estimated 32,500 women get illegal and potentially unsafe (‘backstreet’) abortions in Nicaragua every year and account for 16 percent of the more than 100 maternal deaths there annually. Worldwide - 70,000 women die each year from the same.

For the UK pre-the 1967 Abortion Act it was estimated by a parliamentary committee that the treatment of abortion accounted for as many as 20% of gynaelogical admissions. An estimated 100,000 to 150,000 abortions were carried out illegally in 1966 ~ this compares with 185,000 legal abortions carried out in 2005.


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