Tuesday, 1 October 2013

It's my body – not yours

London protest against harassment at clinics
It’s difficult – if not downright impossible – to imagine that anyone could consider abortion to be ‘nice’.

But while many countries now have legal abortion, there are still countries that do not – and plenty of campaigners that would like to stop for former having legal abortion too.

From 25 September, in response to the campaign 40 Days for Life, a counter campaign, in support of reproductive rights, was launched: 40 Days for Choice.

40 Days for Life is not a new group, and it uses US-style tactics, picketing clinics where abortions are carried out or at least discussed: in other words, harassing those entering or leaving.

The campaign states quite clearly that it wishes to see “an end to abortion”.

Not just a reduction in times within which an abortion can legally be carried out, but an end to all abortions.

Now just think what that actually means.

It means that, even if a woman is likely to die unless she has an abortion ... well, she’ll just have to get on with it and die, won’t she: preferably as quietly as possible. Because, the message goes, the ‘unborn child’ is more important than her.

In Nicaragua, where an incoming government sucked up to the Catholic Church by introducing precisely such a ban, women have died and are dying because of it.

If there is a hell, then Daniel Ortega deserves to go there for this one move – and all to get himself off the hook over accusations of abusing his own daughter.

Which also says something about the church’s attitude to the rights of children once they’ve actually popped out, although we probably already knew that.

Indeed, to stay with Nicragaua, there have been at least two cases of a young girls being made pregnant as a result of rape.

The Catholic Church has squealed at the prospect of them having an abortion, threatening excommunication – but not for the rapist.

But setting that aside, such an aim works, philosophically, on the premise that life begins at the moment of conception. And that, if you’re religiously minded, is when the soul is miraculously ‘born’ too.

However, just one of the problems with this approach is that of spontaneous or natural abortion.

If one describes any fertilised human egg as a ‘unborn child’ (ie a human person), then there’s a lot of ‘children’ who ‘die’ when the body naturally or spontaneously aborts.

Scientific research suggests that less than 50% of all fertilised eggs will even be successfully implanted into a woman’s womb causing pregnancy to continue.

There is then a 25-50% chance of aborting before the woman even realises that she is pregnant. If, however, she makes it to a month, then the odds go up to 75% chance of carrying to term.

So if we accept the belief that life begins at conception, then nature herself is a mass murderer. Or, more pertinently, God, the creator of everything, is a mass murderer.

Mind, fundamentalists and their supporters in the US are trying hard to tackle this natural deviation from the plan that God himself obviously got somewhat wrong by bringing in laws to prosecute women who miscarry, if it is decided that they did something that may have brought that miscarriage on.

So, watch out with that glass of wine with your dinner – you might be pregnant and if you miscarry, you might then be responsible for murder.

In case you’re wondering whether this campaign really has a religious link, the campaign blog hopes “That all the campaigns across the UK will be blessed with God’s grace”, while the Twitter account says that the 40 days will be accompanied by “peaceful prayer”.

So what do they do? They harass people who are probably in a fairly conflicted and vulnerable state to start with.

In the meantime, we have a global population that is rising to levels that present problems when it comes to sustainability.

No – I’m not suggesting that abortion is the key, but pointing out that we’re hardly short of new human life as a result of abortion.

It’s a popular approach for anti-abortionists to claim that abortion is being used as a contraception, yet one that is not supported by research among those who seek a termination.

Of course part of the religious answer is that one should not have sex unless one is, at the least, prepared to get pregnant and, for many, unless one is intending to procreate.

Damn that God geezer again: makes sex so damnably pleasurable and then has his squaddies wandering around telling people not to do it because it’s sinful.

Worse still, if you’re a Catholic, then even a relieving wank is out of the question because that’s a mortal sin. Far better just to increase the global population. Or be celibate. Like priests.

Not only do anti-abortionists play to a sentimental view of when ‘life’ begins and what it means, they also like to pretend that they are ‘pro-life’. As opposed to anyone else.

It gets particularly amusing in the US, where many of the same ‘pro-lifers’ turn distinctly anti-life if there’s the chance of a nice execution going.

Simply, it is far better to describe them as being anti-abortion or even anti-choice.

Those who are pro-choice believe that a woman has the right to choose – whether that be to have an abortion or not.

There is something rather disturbing about a group of people wanting to control the sex life and body of complete strangers.

Not only wanting to, but believing that they have the right to.

In the US again, it’s doubly creepy – and hypocritical – since many of the same people who oppose abortion also like to rant and rave about keeping the state out of as much as possible.

Expect women’s reproductive systems. Obviously.

The idea that a foetus – a life that is not realised – should take precedence over a realised, developed life, even if that kills the latter, is one that can only come about, ultimately, through a hatred of women: in most cases, a hatred either borne of religious belief or lent some form of legitimacy by it.

A belief that women are to blame for sin, for The Fall.

It also comes with a view that sex, outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage, is wrong, and that female sexuality in particular is dangerous and needs to be controlled.

A few other religions have similar ideas too.

It's quite remarkable just how dangerous to civilisation my cunt appears to be.

It is difficult to imagine any other circumstance in which people seem to imagine that they have a right to control another human being’s body – apart from the question of the right to die, where religion also gets involved, and where those who otherwise want the state out of private lives suddenly want it to defend what they believe to be God’s will.

People have every right to believe that abortion is wrong. They have every right to campaign openly and honestly.

They do not have the right to bully and harass in an underhand effort to get their way.

It would be nice if anti-abortion campaigners would start a political party and stand for election, just to see how popular their views are. But they won’t. For obvious reasons.

As a placard at one protest against 40 Days For Life put it: 'Keep your rosaries out of my ovaries'.

• You can keep up to date with the campaign at the following:



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