Abortion: for a woman's right to choose

Submitted by Matthew on 28 March, 2012 - 5:50

The latest US craze to hit the UK is for religious nutcases to gather outside abortion clinics hassling staff and patients.

In Brighton “pro lifers” gather twice weekly to harangue and intimidate women trying to access services they are legally entitled to.

In Bloomsbury daily “prayer vigils” are being held outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) throughout Lent.

Suggestion: why not try giving up chocolate for Lent, instead of stuffing your hateful, misogynistic, outdated crap down vulnerable women’s throats? Women will always need abortions. Let’s not go back to rusty coat hangers.

If only these zealots were the only threat to reproductive rights in the UK.

That great champion of women’s rights the Conservative Party has some frankly terrifying ideas for your uterus!

Nadine Dorries and chums continue to campaign for schools to preach sexual abstinence, rather than giving kids access to the information they need to make informed decisions about what they are doing. Why? Because sex is... what? Dangerous? Sinful?

The abstinence strategy has been tried and tested in the USA and failed miserably. Eventually most teenagers will have sex (it is a fun, healthy and free activity, after all).

If they have only been told not to do it, they don’t have a clue about contraception, or ideas to negotiate what they want in sexual relationships — they will be the first in line at the abortion clinic!

Dorries wants to restrict the range of bodies that can advise women seeking NHS abortion to statutory run ones (facing cuts) and places that do not provide abortions.

For her, the BPAS cannot be trusted not to encourage women to have abortions!

Better, she thinks, that women turn to the not-for-profit crisis pregnancy centres popping up across the county... yes, where you are likely to be told that having an abortion will leave you infertile and mentally ill, if not destined to burn in hell.

Before too long these people will be coming back to their plan to reduce the time limit for having an abortion.

I’m for no time cap on abortion. It is my body, no matter how pregnant I am! I struggle to imagine many reasons why a nine months pregnant woman would choose to have an abortion but the evidence shows that late abortions are extremely rare and are undertaken for extremely pressing reasons.

When it comes down to it that decision should be mine, not the church’s, not the state’s, and not the bunch of people yelling “murderer” at me as I walk into the clinic.

Defending reproductive rights is one thing, getting what we really need is another.

Getting an abortion is still an unholy struggle. You need two doctors to state that you need one for a rather limited range of reasons and in parts of the UK, notably Birmingham, it’s surprisingly difficult to get even this.

Then there is the waiting time for the procedure, with some women waiting seven weeks for one. My periods aren’t that regular and it would probably take me a couple of months to notice if I was pregnant — what would I do if I had to “add on” such a waiting period?

I’m glad I don’t live in Northern Ireland. Thanks to the cowardly Labour government selling women out when they had the chance to change the situation, women there still have to come across to England for abortions. Not cheap. Mind you, neither is another mouth to feed.

What is a woman to do? Ask someone to punch them really hard in the stomach? Start the fightback!

* More: Bloomsbury Pro-Choice Alliance

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