Monday, May 19, 2008

Terrifying Times...

I haven't blogged for a while, mainly because everything is a little bit too depressing (or too frustrating) to want to write about it. However, it does feel that I'm not doing my bloggerly-duty: here is an important issue for me to write about on my supposedly feminist blog and I shirk it. So here we go.

The Embryology Bill is due to be voted on, as well as the terrifying amendment to cut the abortion time limit to twenty weeks. In this post, I think I'll focus mostly on the amendment - mainly because it's an area I feel very strongly about and because to discuss the whole bill would take more time than I currently have available.

Okay - so cutting the time limit. 3 Reasons why it's bad:

1)It's just intrinsically a bad thing. It feels as though any ground that we give on this issue will inevitably lead to a strengthening of the anti-abortion movement and (I fear) gradually, eat away at women's right to choose. I'm using the term "anti-abortion" instead of "pro-life" as I think that the latter is misleading in terms of casting the pro-choice lobby as "anti-life" when clearly, that is not the case.

2) Most abortions that take place during the later weeks of the limit are done for medical reasons and *all* for important reasons, not just on a whim. Cutting the time limit will ultimately lead to more distress for those women who have to make these difficult choices. Arguing that the scan for genetic deformations etc takes place at 20 weeks and therefore that's when the abortion should take place if needed is, in my opinion, cruel and callous. It seems to suggest that it's an easy decision to make (which is pretty hypocritical, as they don't seem to think it *is* an easy decision at any other point in the pregnancy).

3) A lot of the reasoning behind this amendment is misleading. Yes, there may well be an increase in survival rates at 24 weeks, but there is not at 23 weeks and those who do survive at 24 weeks often have severe learning disabilities and/or development problems. It's not as though you can give birth at 24 weeks and then it's all very straightforward. This also seems very cruel - to those people who *do* have the misfortune of a very premature birth and have had their expectations raised to unrealistic levels by this kind of statistic.

Obviously there are more, and I could go into it in more detail. However, for the moment, this will have to suffice.

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