Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reproductive rights

In the next few weeks there is going to be a vote on a possible reduction in the time limit for abortion in the UK. This is not a subject I would usually touch with a barge-pole, however...

I strongly believe that the reduction in time limit would only affect the most vulnerable of women.

Less than 2% of abortions are performed after 20 weeks; 89% are before 13 weeks. Of course, this is not the picture the pro-lifers want to present: a cluster of cells versus a 4D picture of a 5-month foetus? No contest.

But you may think: well, that's not affecting many people, why worry?

Because that less than 2% are mostly comprised of the women who are most vulnerable: unaware of their pregnancy, due to suspected menopause, faulty contraception or being so young their cycle is unsettled or hasn't properly begun. Or they are the ones most likely to be mentally ill or disadvantaged, so not realising/understanding/denying their pregnancy until the later stages. Or traumatised by rape or domestic abuse.

Contrary to hopeful media coverage, advances in technology have not significantly increased the survival chances of premature births under 24 weeks... Look it up - the nationwide EPICURE survey.

Unless you are wholly opposed to abortion under any circumstances, in which case you're not really my ideal audience, haha, the 20/24 weeks change is futile and will only affect those in desperate straits. Please lobby your MP to prevent this change.


Anonymous said...

Interesting comment - I do get annoyed with how extreme the views of each side in the debate can get, and I wish they'd all calm down a bit.

My own view is that abortion is almost always a horrible experience for the woman concerned, and in an ideal world there would be much less of it, but the genie has been let out of the bottle, and banning it would not solve anything at all. Therefore the 20 week thing is a bad compromise, that ultimately, by the looks of things, won't do much at all.

I'd like to see the number of abortions reduced by better sex education (none of this abstinence faith-based crap, thanks very much) and better support for pregnant women in difficult circumstances. The two put together could really help. But...ultimately, you can't legislate morality, and changing the law won't make horribly difficult decisions and problems magically vanish.

Sensible debate is needed, as ever.

Mephitis said...

I think the European model of a scarily frank approach to the subject is quite successful in reducing unwanted pregnancies.

But there are always failures and varying circumstances so I see the right to choose as a necessity.

Up until the point we can teleport the embryo into an adoptive womb :D.

Mephitis said...

And even that wouldn't be unproblematic. Hmm.