Monday, 8 October 2012

A complete abortion of a policy

The very aptly named Jeremy Hunt MP (pronounced with a silent "C") the Chancellor George Osborne, gave us a graphic illustration of  just how detacthed from reality (or at least the reality of the plebs they rule), they really are.  Firstly Jeremy Hunt explained his aspiration to reduce the legal limit for abortions to 12 weeks. Hot on his heels, George Osborne outlined plans to make it unaffordable for plebs to have babies.

Both of these numpties have managed to sum up the complete lack of understanding of the lives of millions of citizens of the UK. First lets look at Mr Hunt and his suggestions for abortion policy. Lets ask ourselves why women have an invasive procedure which  is deeply stressful for many people and as with all medical procedures carries a degree of inherent risk. The reason is because something has gone wrong. We incorrectly label people who believe abortion should be unlawful as pro life and those who believe abortion should be legal as pro choice. Mr  Hunt does not recognise the fact that no one is pro abortion. It is no more a recreational activity than chemotytherapy. People have chemo therapy because they believe it may solve a problem for them. As I understand it there are two mainstream ethical viewpoints with which we approach abortion. The absolute sanctity of life perspective, most commonly associated with the Roman Catholic church, who believe abortion from day 1 is immoral. The other position, which is the generally accepted one in the UK is that abortion is allowed until the point where the foetus becomes a viable baby and is likely to have a degree of consciousness. As this is virtually impossible to actually measure, an arbitary limit of 24 weeks has been agreed. I personally have no idea whether this accurately reflects the age at which a foetus experiences pain or not. I suspect that Mr Hunt has no better an informed view than I have. My guess is that you could ask 10 experets this question you would get ten different answers.

Mr Hunt has chosen twelve weeks. My guess (again I'm not an expert) is that a foetus at this stage is unlikley to have any great degree of consciousness. I suspect that Mr Hunt has based his opinion on  the morality rather than the scientific evidence. I have no problem with people saying "I am fundametally against this on principle". I have a big issue when people don't say this but they try and use dodgy information to distort an argument. I am never going to have an abortion, so whatever I say is pontification. I beleive any argument should be honest and it seems to me that Mr Hunt is not being honest.

Then we have Mr Osborne. Having his colleague, who is the health secretary, express an aspiration to massively reduce the number of abortions in the UK, Mr Osborne announces a policy which will force many couples who want children to have abortions for economic reasons. Mr Osborne wants to make parenthood an exclusive hobby for the well to do. If you get pregnant and you are on benefits,  they will be cut off, leaving  you  and your baby impoverished. Rather bizzarely, Mr Osborne doesn't wish to cut child benefit for people who are better off.

What is most repulsive is the scenario where a couple in work concieve. They are all very happy and then on the 12th week of their pregnancy, the breadwinner loses their job. Do they have to have an abortion under Mr Osbornes rules. What if Mr Hunt gets his way and they are banned? How long do you have to be out of work before you get banned from procreating?

Like Mr Hunt, I would love to see a dramatic fall in the number of abortions in the UK. Where I differ from Mr Hunt is on how this should be achieved. I'd like to see better sex education for young people. I'd like to see more help, not less for people who want children and cannot afford them, due to the economic policies of this government. If you are putting off having children, due to the economic uncertainty, you might find that by the time the economy has recovered, you have left it too late. This country will have a massive problem with an ageing population. If we don't have a new generation of young people, then we will either require mass immigration to care for us or we will simply be left to rot.

What we need is proper policies to address benefits depedencies, based on education and training rather than marginalisation. Mr Osborne is seeking to demonise parents on benefits. I cannot think of anything more repulsive. I await with interest the response of the religious right to this attack on basic human rights.

1 comment:

valblog said...

As a Registered Nurse with over 30 years experience of caring for women, I have seen the effects of criminalizing abortion. As a simple but dangerous illegal procedure the risk to the mother is huge. However, desperate women will still resort to an abortion if they so choose. It is vital to keep this option safe, legal and a matter between a woman, her conscience and her doctor.