Abortion to be reduced to 20 weeks

(506 Posts)
avenueone Tue 02-Oct-12 22:51:00

There is a story on the front page of the Telegraph tomorrow (paper review) saying that in brief due to babies? being able to survive from a younger age it should be reduced.
I personally don't think this is an argument as I doubt they could survive without medical intervention. I feel it is just another attempt to undermine a woman's right to choose what we do with out bodies. Sorry no link but there should be one around tomorrow and I will try and post it.

whistlestopcafe Tue 02-Oct-12 23:32:13

I don't know how I feel. If it is to chip chip away at abortion rights well that is obviously wrong.

However I know someone with a baby who was born at 23 weeks and because he survived it makes me feel uncomfortable that babies can be aborted at this stage.

I think they're right to lower it. I agree with whistle about babies younger than 24 weeks surviving. I know that they can't survive without help, but they can survive, and that to me is the point.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 02-Oct-12 23:43:05

I think it should be much lower than even twenty weeks. No issue with this at all.

Half a pregnancy and allowing for an Anomoly Scan is entirely appropriate. To know about a pregnancy and take longer than 20 weeks to decide what to do is unreasonable.

lubeybooby Tue 02-Oct-12 23:49:03

I am totally pro choice and would agree with lowering it, at least to 21/22 weeks, now that 23 weekers have a chance.

crackcrackcrak Tue 02-Oct-12 23:49:15

This again? I don't agree - it is chipping away at women's rights sad

How is it chipping away at womens rights? The woman still has the right. She has half of her pregnancy, nearly five months of choice.

mumnosGOLDisbest Tue 02-Oct-12 23:55:40

i agree and would like to see it lower still except for cases where there are medical reasons. yes give women the choice but 5 months is too far in imo. my scans at 12wks were definately 'babies'.

sashh Wed 03-Oct-12 05:10:53

I think it should be on demand until term.

I look at abortion as being about the woman and her body, not the viability of what she is carrying.

I also believe women should not be forced to return to a clinic for the second part of a chemical abortion, there is no medical reason for it.

I know a lot of people do not agree with me.

WofflingOn Wed 03-Oct-12 05:23:17

I am pro-choice and in theory I agree with the reduction to 20 weeks, That is long enough to give the woman a reasonable period of time to decide whilst recognising that the longer she delays for whatever reason, the more of a lifeform she is carrying.
I would want a fast and efficient appeals system to make a judgement on individual cases too.

ShobGiteTheKnid Wed 03-Oct-12 05:23:34

I think 12 weeks is plenty. The idea that you could kill a baby at term legally is just reprehensible in my opinion. Sassh, do you think that mothers should be allowed to kill a baby shortly after delivery too? What is the difference?

ripsishere Wed 03-Oct-12 05:36:57

Unpopular though Sassh;s opinion is, I agree with her.

ShobGiteTheKnid Wed 03-Oct-12 05:44:32

Can you answer my question then rip?

ripsishere Wed 03-Oct-12 06:26:49

TBH, in some cases I do. I know (and don't care) that that makes me a bad person.
TBH, I don't think you would find many doctors agreeing to terminate at term so it's a moot point.

Orchidskeepdying Wed 03-Oct-12 06:46:02

Gold plate.. what about the rights of the baby?

Def the law needs to be changed.. I find it discusting that they current law would allow one baby to be killed at 23 weeks then the next would be saved... oh but we mustn't refer to an aborted fetus as a baby must we...

SaraBellumHertz Wed 03-Oct-12 06:54:49

We already allow abortion up to term where the baby is disabled or the mothers health is at serious risk. I believe this is appropriate.

If we allow it in these circumstances I struggle to understand why we don't allow it in any - it makes no logical sense rather the distinction exists to pacify those who don't really believe a woman's rights are sufficiently important

Orchidskeepdying Wed 03-Oct-12 07:02:54

You have consentual sex Sara then you should be fully aware of the consequences. If you don't want to risk getting pregnant so much you will have an abortion... Don't have sex! Its not that hard...
Women's rights crap is a smoke screen hiding what's going on. Please understand I am not including rape or insest...

OpheliasWeepingWillow Wed 03-Oct-12 07:05:55

I agree with it. Totally and I am pro choice. The thought of aborting a baby (yes a baby) at 23 weeks who could have been born breathing, twitching, crying is just abhorrent.

Marcheline Wed 03-Oct-12 07:11:13

I don't know why but I had expected more posts to be not in favour of lowering the threshold?

I am 20 weeks pg at the moment and yes, my foetus is certainly a baby to me, as was DD. I had emotionally invested in them from before they were conceived.

BUT I totally support other women's right to an abortion up to 23 weeks. How I feel about my babies is not an indicator of what all other women should feel. I don't think that advances in medicine should diminish the rights of women, in fact the idea of that makes me feel quite angry.

I have been trying to think of the right way to put this and not sure if it will sound flippant on screen, but I honestly believe that a baby born to a mother who doesn't want it will not have a good start in life. The mother's life will probably take a negative turn as well. I fail to understand how laws forcing women to give birth to babies that they don't want could make a better life for anyone.

It's not government policy, it's just what the new women's minister thinks.

But rape and incest happen - so what do we do, do we make exceptions for them?

What about women and girls who don't receive good enough sex education to understand what's going on, or who're too scared to admit it to themselves? Don't they deserve help?

I would be less concerned about lowering the limit if we had brilliant sex education and good access for women to birth control - but I don't believe we do.

I think this move will end up discriminating against young girls, who may not yet even be very familiar with their cycle (you have to have a stunningly regular cycle to have known you're pregnant in a month without testing, I think), and who may be scared to come forward or not know how to get access to a test if they need one.

Marcheline Wed 03-Oct-12 07:14:41

Orchids - 'women's rights crap is a smokescreen'? What is 'going on'?

Women's rights are NOT crap. They are vital and relevant. Do you not like being able to vote and own property? Are you a woman?

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Wed 03-Oct-12 07:19:13

Surely it is as it is to allow a fee weeks after the anomaly scan. Rightly or wrongly, some terminations are carried out as a result of that. If its reduced to 20 weeks it gives women very little or no time after the scan to talk, decide, make the appointment. How would that work?

I agree completely with sassh and ripsishere. I find it uncomfortable to get sentimental over a foetus of a certain gestation just because of that very fact. I don't think anyone would go through a late stage termination without it bring their absolute last and only option. I think a woman who needs a late abortion needs listening to.

So naive to say you've got half your pregnancy to decide what to do. As if someone will just wake up one day with their bump and think 'nah, changed my mind' and trot off to a clinic on a whim.

Yes, and there are quite long waiting lists in some areas, too. It's not as if you can do a test in week 8-9 then snap your fingers and have it done.

Orchidskeepdying Wed 03-Oct-12 07:27:16

Yes women should vote and own property. I'm not arguing against women's rights I just think it gets trotted out to stop debate in stopping legal murder. I don't see the difference in a baby in the womb or out of it.... yet its illegal to kill a new born. That doest make sense to me.

whatinthewhatnow Wed 03-Oct-12 07:28:08

everyone's getting confused, surely. If there are problems at the anomaly scan then a termination can be carried out an any stage up to term, so the 'allowing some time after anomaly scan' is irrelevant. This is only about terminations not due to medical complications, so why would the anomaly scan matter? It's a question of viability only, and even though some units are resuscitating babies before 24 weeks the legal definition of viability is 24 weeks, so until this is changed I can't see how the time limits for termination can be changed. A baby born at 23 weeks is still classed as a miscarriage under law if it shows no signs of life, not a stillbirth. That's the issue.

twoGoldfingerstoGideon Wed 03-Oct-12 07:30:32

You have consentual sex Sara then you should be fully aware of the consequences. If you don't want to risk getting pregnant so much you will have an abortion... Don't have sex! Its not that hard...
Women's rights crap is a smoke screen hiding what's going on. *Please understand I am not including rape or insest...*

Why wouldn't you include rape or incest? Are babies born from rape or incest different in some way? People who take an anti-abortion stance while being happy to have exceptions in certain cases really are illogical.

And as for the 'women's rights crap' comment - where to begin?

For the avoidance of doubt I am completely pro-choice.

SaraBellumHertz Wed 03-Oct-12 07:30:53

The current period is nothing to do with the anomaly scan.

You can terminate a pregnancy due to an anomaly at any stage in a pregnancy.

twoGoldfingerstoGideon Wed 03-Oct-12 07:31:49

Legal murder - bingo (already!)

orchid - a foetus in the womb is dependent on the mother's body, that's the difference.

SaraBellumHertz Wed 03-Oct-12 07:33:57

Why die an unwanted child have to be a consequence of consensual sex? Suggesting that any woman who wouldn't continue a pregnancy should have sex is absurd: talk about shackles hmm

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Wed 03-Oct-12 07:35:18

Yes, that's true.

Marcheline Wed 03-Oct-12 07:36:26

Legal murder? I don't think using sensationalist terms like 'legal murder' is particularly helpful in this argument.

I agree with LRD, I think it will disproportionately affect young women / girls who might not find out that they are pregnant until quite late, and need some time to process the information.

I also agree that we need MUCH better sex ed and provision for teens.

whatisleonathinking Wed 03-Oct-12 07:37:03

Why do people think it is ok to kill a baby? It's sickening. Legal murder? Totally.

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Wed 03-Oct-12 07:42:07

It is not ok to "kill a baby". It is ok to end a pregnancy when the alternative is unviable. Why do the rights of the foetus come before the rights of the mother, in your opinion?

AThingInYourLife Wed 03-Oct-12 07:42:16

Oh Christ, not this shit again.

All these lies about earlier and earlier survival rates FFS.

A women's minister who wants to reduce women's rights - I guess it makes sense in a government with a philistine for an education minister and a health minister who doesn't want to be responsible for making sure the population has access to healthcare.

Fuckers to a man or woman.

Just to repeat, this is not government policy. Maria Miller previously voted for a reduction to 20 weeks and was asked if she had changed her mind, she said she hadn't. The reason it's now newsworthy is she's now women's minister.

A reduction in the legal limit for abortion would almost certainly be the subject of a free vote in the House of Commons as it's an issue of conscience. If it were given government time. Which I think is unlikely. It would use up a lot of government time, and they have a lot they want to get through before the next election.

So if you're worried this will actually happen, I really wouldn't be.

She mentions the "science" in the Telegraph interview, I think she's misinformed on that, the BMA were very clear little has changed pre-23 weeks.

I do worry it might happen. I saw the OP said it's a telegraph headline, not policy, but I still worry, especially as she's women's minister.

NewNames Wed 03-Oct-12 07:53:30

Only two per cent of all abortions happen after 20 weeks.

Those having later abortions are often young, and vulnerable, disabled. They may have been in denial, their circumstances may have changed, they may have just gathered the strength to leave a violent partner, they may not have known they were pregnant or their may have been medical reasons for delaying or the waiting list may have been too long.

A massive 87 per cent are carried out under 13 weeks.

Why on earth would you want to make things more difficult for women who are already in a horrible situation?

What we should actually be doing is making it easier for women to have early abortions. At the moment, women who want to abortion pill get one and then have to go buy for another. Not everyone has a clinic around the corner. It seems ridiculous that a woman can't take both with her.

NewNames Wed 03-Oct-12 07:56:26

Maria Miller, equalities minister. Brilliant.

I think the abortion laws need to be tightened tbh. I am in favour of the reduction to 20 weeks. I think that the rules that enable a woman to abort a viable foetus at any time merely because it had a cleft palate or club foot need to be abolished - if the foetus has a disability that is incompatible with life then I can see the sense in being able to abort to term, but not otherwise.

Pumpster Wed 03-Oct-12 08:11:25

I think the current limit is right.

porcamiseria Wed 03-Oct-12 08:18:53

I dont see this is feminist issue at all

Its a human issue, and for a long time I have felt very uncomfotable around late abortions

and I am pro choice, and I have personally had an abortion

But I think using the argument of "womens rights" to justify killing a baby that might have survived is sick to be honest

IceBergJam Wed 03-Oct-12 08:21:32

You mention its s bad argument because of medical intervention. Dont we use medical intervention to keep people alive? Thats what it is for.

SkaterGrrrrl Wed 03-Oct-12 08:28:16

My body, my choice.

msrisotto Wed 03-Oct-12 08:29:02

Hypocrite much porcamisieria? Your aborted baby might have survived too you know.

And of course this is a feminist fucking issue, to suggest otherwise is completely outrageous. Not only do women carry babies but the vast majority of the time, they look after them (often solely) too.

limitedperiodonly Wed 03-Oct-12 08:33:12

I agree with sassh. I believe the present laws are correct.

I can find a kind of respect for people who say abortion is wrong in all circumstances even though I strongly disagree with them. They are being honest.

I can't respect people who weasel with exceptions - 'it's okay up to a number of weeks', 'it's okay in cases of incest or rape', 'it's okay if the woman's life is in grave danger'.

What they mean is that they oppose all abortion but want to chip away at the right so as not to frighten the rest of us. They are working towards the day when abortion is illegal.

Trills Wed 03-Oct-12 08:36:06

YOur title reads as if this is going to happen, rather than just "someone wrote in a newspaper that they think this should happen".

AuntPepita Wed 03-Oct-12 08:36:54

As early as possible, as late as necessary.

LST Wed 03-Oct-12 08:37:32

It should be lowered. IMO.

Trills Wed 03-Oct-12 08:40:26

I am strongly against reducing the time.

Very few abortions happen after 12 weeks as it is, and the number that take place after 20 weeks is tiny. But the people who have those abortions are often more vulnerable - they are likely to be people who did not realise they were pregnant (perhaps because they are very young, or have other health issues), or who are in abusive or controlling relationships and couldn't access advice earlier. In terms of "consequences if forced to continue the pregnancy" the women seeking late abortions could be judged to be more in need of an abortion, not less.

I would rather 100 abortions happened for "frivolous" reasons than one woman was denied an abortion that she needed.

Trills Wed 03-Oct-12 08:41:13

NewNames said a lot of what I said already - sorry.

InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Wed 03-Oct-12 08:41:40

Agree with limitedperiid

What a ridiculous statement limited. I can see the necessity of placing some restrictions on abortion as I posted earlier but I am staunchly pro-choice.

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Wed 03-Oct-12 08:44:38

I thought most abortions happened under 12 weeks anyway? The later ones i thought tended to be either very young girls who are too scared to admit they are pregnant or women where disabilities can not be detected until a later stage in development.

To force 14, 15 year olds to give birth rather tahn having an abortion would be barbaric. And to force women to give birth to severely disabled children, because w dont have the tests for earlier detection, also seems barbaric.

So I would be strongly against this.

Annabel7 Wed 03-Oct-12 09:11:01

Someone mentioned earlier that those whose anomaly scan showed severed disabilities can abort up to term. i don think this is true. I know a woman who discovered severe disabilities at 25 weeks and decided to go overseas for a termination. Lowering the limit to 20 weeks would be terrible for those who discover severe disability later on. I also agree that it will impact vulnerable women.

Most terminations are undertaken much earlier anyhow.

CremeEggThief Wed 03-Oct-12 09:20:13

I would like to see it lowered further to 16 weeks .

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Wed 03-Oct-12 09:25:45

cremeegg - so women should be forced to give birth to children with sebere disabilities? Because that is what you are talking about.

MrsHardigan Wed 03-Oct-12 09:26:15

I am against reducing it, it is nothing more than chipping away at women's rights. No woman wakes up at 23 weeks and suddenly decides she wants an abortion, the people making this choice at this stage of pregnancy are likely to be vulnerable women and quite possibly girls. There was a case not long ago of a woman who aborted an almost full term fetus with drugs she bought on the internet and a case in America of a young girl who gave birth in secret and choked the infant to death. You mark my words, we'll see an increase in cases like this if this ban goes ahead.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 03-Oct-12 09:28:04

A tiny proportion of terminations happen beyond 20 weeks, and I would hazard a guess that those terminations occur for good reason. Even fewer happen beyond the 24 week mark - this is for foetuses with severe abnormalities or women whose lives are in danger. Women are already self-moderating (if that's the right word?), a change in the law is not required.

My opinion is the same as an earlier poster - termination should be available on demand until term. I find it quite horrifying that the Minister for Women and Equalities of all people thinks we should further limit women's right to abortion.

limitedperiodonly Wed 03-Oct-12 09:28:45

What you call 'necessities' are just your choices joyful.

Why do you seek to limit the choices of others?

PropertyNightmare Wed 03-Oct-12 09:29:25

I am pro choice but yes, to reduce it to 20 weeks is right i think. By 20 weeks you could see my babies moving from looking at the outside of my stomach. You could also feel movement by placing a hand on my tummy. It made me think very carefully about the act of killing a fetus at that stage of development. I think ideally I would prefer to see the abortion limit reduced to 12 weeks.

MrsHardigan Wed 03-Oct-12 09:30:44

Also in response to orchid 'I'm not arguing against women's rights I just think it gets trotted out to stop debate in stopping legal murder.'

There's no such thing as 'legal murder' and abortion is not murder. Murder is the unlawful killing of a person with malice aforethought. You can't have a legal, illegal killing. Stop banding around terms you clearly don't understand.

SarryB Wed 03-Oct-12 09:30:58

What happens if you don't find out about your unwanted pregnancy until 22 weeks?

MrsHardigan Wed 03-Oct-12 09:32:15

PropertyNightmare how can you can you call yourself pro-choice but wish to see abortion reduced to 12 weeks? You're no better than a pro-lifer.

PropertyNightmare Wed 03-Oct-12 09:32:31

Just to clarify, although I would prefer a 12 week limit I would accept that it should not apply in cases of severe abnormalities given that severe defects might not be discoverable by that point (CVS, Amnio, detailed scans can't happen at that stage).

PropertyNightmare Wed 03-Oct-12 09:36:21

I see it as a balancing of rights. Additionally i also think when a baby is killed in utero as a result of a violent attack on/murder of their mother the attacker should be tried for murder of the baby too.

drjohnsonscat Wed 03-Oct-12 09:40:44

Until a baby can be removed from me at any point in the pg and kept healthily alive until term, my rights trump the baby's. I think this insidious and we should fight it wholeheartedly.

Abortion on demand is critical. I will change my mind when the unwanted child can be painlessly and easily removed from my body and placed into the body of the minister for equalities for him/her to carry to term.

MrsHardigan Wed 03-Oct-12 09:43:05

A balancing of rights? No, you're giving a fetus the right to use a woman's body against her will - a right the woman actually doesn't have. Fetuses don't have rights for good reason, and even if they did their rights shouldn't supersede that of an actual born woman. How about you go see what person-hood laws are doing to women in America, who are forced to undergo unnecessary C-sections against their will? Absolutely ridiculous.

How about if a woman doesn't find out she's pregnant until after 12 weeks? Or she's a victim of rape and incest who is unable to get an abortion up until that point? Or she has a sudden change of circumstances that means she's now unable to care for a child? Too bad, now you have a baby, deal with it.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 03-Oct-12 09:43:06

Property there is already a crime of child destruction for use in those cases, it was used in the Nikitta Grender case IIRC. Choosing to abort a pregnancy occurring in your own body is totally different to somebody committing a violent assault on you and killing the foetus against your will.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Wed 03-Oct-12 09:43:44

I don't think we should lower the limit. It really is chipping away at women's rights, and has no basis in scientific fact. And as someone pointed out upthread, only 2% of abortions take place after 20 weeks anyway.

I think it should be easier to get an earlier abortion - a friend of mine had to wait which took her over the 12 weeks.

drjohnsonscat Wed 03-Oct-12 09:44:11

Propertynightmare the fact that you can feel a baby moving is neither here nor there when making a policy decision that will affect everyone. It might affect your personal decision but it's not based on science or ethics or anything. It's your personal connection with your baby and therefore your choice. Other people should have their choice too.

I had a relatively late termination and went on to have two babies. Having a baby post termination didn't make me wobby on abortion - it made me more convinced of the importance of it. That's just my experience. So I don't pay any regard to people who say "Oh I could never do that because when I was pregnant xyz..." It's just your personal experience and mine was different.

tilder Wed 03-Oct-12 09:46:52

If they want to change the limit then they need to change the 20 week scan and tests. This info may form the basis of a decision and needs to be available before the abortion limit.

Pyrrah Wed 03-Oct-12 09:52:02

The best change would to bring in abortion on demand up to 12 weeks - make it easily accessible with no waiting times etc (countries like Italy have systems like this).

I doubt there are many doctors who would carry out a 'social' termination after around 16 weeks - even so, I would be okay with a drop to 20 weeks for such reasons.

For abnormalities or risks to the mother's life then it should remain legal till term.

It was also be good if results from amnio could be speeded up in some way so as to avoid causing more distress to families.

ChunkyPickle Wed 03-Oct-12 09:52:30

I do hope all the people that are calling it legal murder give blood regularly, are registered on all live donor organ registers (you have a spare kidney, bits of liver can be donated, bone marrow, even a lung perhaps!) or would be willing to be hooked up to another person for 9 months to share some vital system while the patients recovered.

If not, why not? You could be letting someone die by your in-action.

I am firmly pro-choice. Someone should not be made to jump through hoops, or have vital medical treatment denied because of an arbitrary limit. Someone should not be forced to compromise their own health for another, and all that aside, I don't think that it's necessary. People aborting this late have very, very good reasons for doing so - either mental, or physical, and if you manage to find one person who does it for 'frivolous' reasons then I'm afraid that is better than the alternative.

aufaniae Wed 03-Oct-12 09:58:05

"Additionally i also think when a baby is killed in utero as a result of a violent attack on/murder of their mother the attacker should be tried for murder of the baby too."

This is a very dangerous path to go down.

They've extended murder to cover fetuses in some American states (e.g. Alabama). They said it was to convict men who attacked pregnant women. However of the 300+ people who have been prosecuted under this law, only one has been a man; the law has actually been used to dish out long - often life - sentences for murder, to women who have had miscarriages or stillborn babies.

Article on this: Outcry in America as pregnant women who lose babies face murder charges

It's barbaric.

MrsHardigan Wed 03-Oct-12 09:59:20

Pyrrah What about women who don't find out they're pregnant until after 12 weeks? Victims of domestic abuse, rape and incest who have been prevented from having access to an abortion? Young girls too scared to tell an adult they're pregnant? People with changes in circumstances which means they can't care for a child i.e. loss of a job, homelessness? Is your solution what's best for them? I don't think so.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 03-Oct-12 10:01:42

I was right, Carl Whant was convicted of both child destruction (of the unborn child) and murder (of the pregnant mother) here so women and foetuses in those cases are already covered in law.

OneMoreChap Wed 03-Oct-12 10:02:26

Like most of these things, if your initial reaction is "Oh, that sounds like a good idea" - look at who else supports it.

I used to be a Christian; I opposed women clergy - until I saw who else did, and I ended up supporting a woman to lead our church.

Any reduction in abortion rights plays into the hands of pro-lifers, Catholics, and the US religious right. It's an awful idea.

avenueone Wed 03-Oct-12 10:04:35

The headline does not refelect the actual post - apologies if it mislead, need to go to bed earlier.
Surprised that some didn't see this as it being a feminist issue. If it were men who had the children, I do wonder how the issue would be addressed.
Sorry if it has been mentioned before (to those who posted not again) but not everyone has used the site for a long time.
I agee that it is only in a small number of cases that abortion would take place at this time anyway and that these are not just people waking up one day and changing thier mind but are often due to a range of complex/difficult circumstances. For me, this isn't about just us posting on here and how we see the world and how we behave, it is broader for me and reviews of legislation should take into account the more vunerable people in soceity and a wide variety of circumstances. My fear is that it does chip away at the issue and it gives those who are entitiled to thier religious view another chance to make women feel bad.

MousyMouse Wed 03-Oct-12 10:08:22

I'm on the fence for this one.
on one hand I agree that abortion other than for life threatening conditions (for mother and fetus) should be able to be done until very late in pregnancy. but other abortions should be done as soon as possible.

knowing the nhs and just how long some things take and the need for councelling (the woman has to make a very important life changing decision after all) I think 20 weeks is a bit early. just imagine you have made your mind up and get told 'you are one day over, you have to have this baby'.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 03-Oct-12 10:11:08

I think on the last thread somebody used the phrase "as early as possible, as late as necessary" which describes my feelings exactly. Early termination is obviously physically easier for a woman to go through and recover from than a later procedure, and obviously for many it is easier to cope with mentally.

There are massive problems with access to early abortion, if Maria Miller really cared about making sure termination occurred earlier surely that's the area she'd be focusing on?

TheLaineyWayIsEssex Wed 03-Oct-12 10:11:45

joyful Is it currently legal to terminate at any point a foetus who has cleft lip/palate or club foot? shock

FionaOJ Wed 03-Oct-12 10:12:35

Sorry if this has already been asked, but for those who support abortion to term - if a woman was 30+ weeks pregnant and still undecided whether to have an abortion, or had booked an abortion for the following week, went into labour, or developed pre-eclampsia and needed an emergency c-section, and the baby was delivered alive. What would you want to happen to that unwanted baby? There would have to be systems in place for soon to be aborted babies, that were born alive, before the abortion. Or would you expect the mother to keep the child?

I'm genuinely interested in what you would expect in those circumstances. FWIW I had my daughter at 28 weeks.

AThingInYourLife Wed 03-Oct-12 10:19:24

"I would rather 100 abortions happened for "frivolous" reasons than one woman was denied an abortion that she needed."

Absolutely agree.

Having my 3 babies has made me ever more convinced that no woman should be made carry on with a pregnancy against her will.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 03-Oct-12 10:24:01

There are two separate decision process there, the first is whether to continue the pregnancy (which in your scenario can no longer be made - the baby is born) and the second is if the pregnancy is continued (which in your scenario it has to the point of the baby being born), whether to raise the resulting baby or give it for adoption. If the baby has been born the mother can still either decide to keep it or give it up for adoption, the same as after a pregnancy where the mother hadn't intended to abort. I wouldn't think badly of someone who intended to abort but gave birth before it could take place and decided to keep the baby, nor would I if she still felt unable to raise it and decided to give the baby for adoption. I would compare it to surrogacy - before the birth the mother may intend to give it to the intended couple but in law she can change her mind and decide to keep it.

ChunkyPickle Wed 03-Oct-12 10:24:33

Fiona - I would expect the mother to be able to make a choice about what happens to the baby, presumably with a fair bit of counselling.

I'm not sure where you're going with the question.

mcmooncup Wed 03-Oct-12 10:28:16

It works fine as it is as far as I'm concerned.

So, for me, this is just a way to erode women's rights.

There are many other issues the Women's Minister should be tackling as a matter of priority..........but no, it has to be the one area where women are given rights <sigh>

mcmooncup Wed 03-Oct-12 10:31:33

aufaniae that article is shocking.

aufaniae Wed 03-Oct-12 10:43:46

I know sad

I knew things were getting bad in the US, but I didn't realise it had come to this. They've given a 15 year old a life sentence for being addicted to coke and subsequently having a stillborn baby at 36 weeks. They haven't actually proved that the cocaine addiction is what killed the baby (plenty of babies are born to mothers addicted to cocaine).

It seems obvious she's a child herself, in need of some serious help, not criminalising and locking up for life sad

What if it was one of our children?

FionaOJ Wed 03-Oct-12 10:57:24

I was just interested, as someone who has delivered a baby early. If abortions were available for every woman up to term, then sooner or later a woman will deliver a baby that she planned to abort. And I expect that would leave the woman in a very difficult position. I was just wondering what the supporters of term abortions would do/expect to happen next.

Another angle is that if women go into pregnancy thinking they have 40 weeks to have an abortion, then deliver between 26-37 weeks there will be a lot of unwanted babies on SCBU, and a lot of babies going into care or being put up for adoption unnecessarily.

To me it seems to open up a whole new set of problems.

FionaOJ Wed 03-Oct-12 10:59:58

Sorry that should say 23-37 weeks.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 03-Oct-12 11:05:39

But I don't think women would go into pregnancy thinking they have 40 weeks to have an abortion confused given that currently the majority of abortions are carried out early, I see no reason why that would change. I doubt there is a large number of women currently thinking they have 24 weeks to have an abortion, most want it carried out as quickly as possible.

nellyjelly Wed 03-Oct-12 11:08:50

I am a feminist and pro choice but agree 20 wks should be limit. It is not like years ago when women didn't find out they were pregnant for weeks and weeks. The ability for some exceptions should be built in though.

NewNames Wed 03-Oct-12 11:14:22

Fiona The baby could be adopted or fostered or the mother could be supported to keep the child. There are choices. You simply can not compare a foetus on the inside with a baby on the outside.

slug Wed 03-Oct-12 11:22:13

When pregnant with DD I had to have some tests as it was high risk pregnancy. These tests could not be done until 18 weeks. I remember the doctor making the point that if I chose to have the tests done, then the timescale between the test results being returned and the legal deadline for a termination was pretty fine.

Lowering the abortion limit puts women like me with pregnancies like mine into an impossible situation. Do you continue with the pregnancy and hope of the best or live with the knowledge that there is a real chance of giving birth (and possibly dying during it) only to see your child live a short, agonizing life? A fact made all the harder by the knowledge that all of the pain could have been avoided if the govt just respected women's right to know what is best for their own bodies and their own children.

FionaOJ Wed 03-Oct-12 11:24:52

But surely that is the case already, if a woman goes past 24 weeks without being able to have an abortion, for whatever reason, then they still have choices other than abortion.
I am not against abortion, but I think the line should be drawn when a foetus is viable. So 23 weeks max. I can't carry on posting now, but I will come back and read later, I'm not trying to cause an argument, just putting across some possible issues.

mcmooncup Wed 03-Oct-12 11:32:47

I'm not sure why we are even talking about rights up to term. It is diverting from the point as that is not what is the opposing argument to a lowering to 20 weeks. The opposing argument is to keep the law as it stands at 24 weeks unless the pregnancy is life threatening to the mother.

The 24 weeks limit covers most situations. A very small minority of cases have to use the 'unless' clause. We need to be discussing what is wrong with the 24 week law.........and I guess this all centres on the following stats:

Survival rates:

21 weeks and less 0%

22 weeks 0-10%*

23 weeks 10-35%

24 weeks 40-70%

I have seen these stats quoted in many places. I do not know what the repercussion are in terms of long-term health for the 10-35% in the 23 week bracket.

But I will say that there are so few abortions in these periods that it is becoming a moral argument that ultimately is used to fire up a political storm. And that is what I am uncomfortable with.

SarryB Wed 03-Oct-12 11:39:14

Fiona I think you have a very good point about the 'what if a woman gives birth to a live baby she was thinking about aborting'. I do think there should be a limit on abortion, but I really don't think it should be any sooner than 23 weeks.

This allows for medical tests, counselling, and in the vast majority of cases, a woman would already know she is pregnant. But still, it's a very tight turn-around point for those that choose to have medical tests.

samandi Wed 03-Oct-12 12:15:20

I don't particularly agree with the viability argument anyway, but 20 weeks seems quite reasonable to me.

drjohnsonscat Wed 03-Oct-12 12:51:55

FionaOJ if the baby can survive outside the mother (and is taken outside of the mother) then the baby has independent rights. But if the baby is inside the mother then it doesn't have independent rights.

Whether it could live outside the mother or not at that point of gestation is moot because we are not at a point where we extract live babies from their mothers other than to deliver them. All the while that the woman is a vessel, in my view the woman gets absolute rights over what happens. When she is not a vessel she doesn't.

So I could imagine a science fiction situation where a woman decides she doesn't want a baby but rather than have a termination, the baby is taken out and grown to term "in vitro". That baby has its own rights because the mother has been taken out of the equation. But this is not a real world situation and nobody even suggests it for late term where the baby would survive perfectly easily. So until we get to that futuristic point, the whole issue is moot for me. The woman has ultimate control. She chooses whether to give life or not - and sometimes she chooses not. And yes that does mean very late term abortion is ok in my world. Women have to give birth - they provide literal access to the world. I don't think it's too much to say that they decide whether to give access or not - simply because of the physical imposition on their bodie3s and their lives. Once access is given, every individual has their independent rights but until that point they don't.

That's how it seems to me. Obviously not everyone sees it that way but that's my interpretation of it. Incidentally, I studied philosophy at university and it was shocking to me that the inter-relationship of women and foetuses was never discussed throughout a three year degree - this issue on which all of our understanding of "individual rights" - what it is to be an individual with rights - can founder, was ignored in favour of various male philosophers' meanderings on the subject.

Smellslikecatspee Wed 03-Oct-12 12:53:42

I have written on here before about my gyne problems. I could easily be 16-18 weeks pregnant or more and not know. And I am no innocent, am actually an ex HCP.

There was a thread recently somewhere where a woman had given birth not knowing that she was pregnant and the amount of women that posted saying that actually they didn’t know till they were 18, 20, 22, 24 weeks gone.

Sometimes because of their personal medical history, sometimes their circumstances.

Why would all of these women have fewer rights?

You either agree or don’t, no sitting on the fence.

As for the comments what if a woman gave birth to a 24+ weeker that she had planned to abort, well as in the main abortions given at this time are usually due to conditions that will not /cannot sustain life chances of a live birth are low, or if it is a live birth most will die soon after a short, agonizing life, surrounded by bright lights and noise and pain and confusion.

It is a feminist issue, and it is a chipping away of women’s rights

AThingInYourLife Wed 03-Oct-12 13:02:22

Very well said dr, I agree entirely.

ReallyTired Wed 03-Oct-12 13:06:01

If there was research into better ante natal testing at an early stage then women could have their abortions early. If access to a chemical abortion was made easier then late abortions would not be easier. Maybe the school nurse should be allowed to arrange early chemical abortions for school girls without parental permission.

I think the present law is about right. Abortion is never an easy decision and women need to offered skilled councelling and the chance to discuss their options.

I accidently got pregnant at 25 years old and I chose to continue with the pregnancy. I now have a beautiful ten year old, but I really had a baby at completely the wrong time of my life. In some respects it has messed up my life totally as I lost a fanastic career. I can understand and emphasise with someone who chooses to have an abortion.

I feel that better access to early abortions will reduce the number of late abortions.

TeaAndHugs Wed 03-Oct-12 13:24:28

Here is an excellent case study of the reasons why women request abortion after 22 weeks. It's not simply because they change their mind. A quarter of the women in the study did not know they were pregnant, some of them having continued to have periods and negative pregnancy test results. One had her pregnancy dated incorrectly by her GP. One was lied to by her GP about the options available to her when she requested an early abortion. Nearly 10% were struggling with addiction. Some already had children in care. Some were recent immigrants with poor English skills and no knowledge of the UK system. Nearly one third were teenagers.
I would like Maria Miller to read this and rethink her comments about late-term abortion having a damaging effect on women - what exactly does she think forced childbirth is going to do to these people?

I still don't understand why the possibility that a baby can survive outside the womb is an argument for forcing it to stay in there. There is another person involved here - the woman who is forced to go through the later stages of pregnancy against her will. Why is she so often ignored in this discussion?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 03-Oct-12 13:43:47

Ah, thanks Tea, was just coming on to post that link. In particular the woman given bad advice by her HCP was awful.

Fiona, my understanding is that the foetal heart is stopped by an injection prior to any late-term abortion, so the situation you describe shouldn't arise. I'm working from memory though so may be wrong.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 03-Oct-12 13:48:22

I understood Fiona to be referring to the possibility of the mother going into spontaneous labour before the abortion had been carried out? Quite an unusual scenario I would have thought.

KillerRack Wed 03-Oct-12 14:09:52

I think it should be lowered, 4 months is long enough to make an informed decision on whether you want.

I can believe anyone would condone an abortion to term there has to be a line somewhere.

JuliaScurr Wed 03-Oct-12 14:18:29

Smells you are right

KRITIQ Wed 03-Oct-12 14:48:34

Good post Tea and Hugs. Numbers of abortions even after 20 weeks are relatively few, but again it's rarely because someone has just "changed their mind" late in the day.

I support no reduction in the time limit and maintaining the same conditions regarding later abortions. I also support removing the requirement for the approval of two doctors, particularly up to 24 weeks gestation, but at least up to 12 weeks. Actually, up to 12 weeks, I believe it should be on request of the patient.

ReallyTired Wed 03-Oct-12 14:54:02

"I would like Maria Miller to read this and rethink her comments about late-term abortion having a damaging effect on women - what exactly does she think forced childbirth is going to do to these people?"

With a late abortion the foetus/baby/whatever you call it/him/her has to come out someway. There is no way you magically wave a wand to get the fetus out.

Either the fetus comes out vaginally (ie. labour) or its a c-section. A late miscarriage/ abortion is a similar experience to labour. The women who have late abortions are forced to give birth to a dead fetus or have a c-section. These women will in effect experience childbirth without the living baby.

I find it hard to imagine someone going through that experience unless there are some desperate reasons. It would be interesting to know how many people have an abortion after 20 weeks for social reasons. Maybe women should be allowed to induce their babies early and have the children adopted if they can technically survive.

The only person I know who had a late termination had a baby with anencephaly at 28 weeks. The experience has scarred her.

Misslb88 Wed 03-Oct-12 15:04:12

Y does it take 20 weeks to decide whether u want to keep a baby or not?? Its disgusting to leave it until 20 weeks if u dont want a baby then the simple answer is use contraception get ur man to put something on the end of it not rocket science. Think of the poor people that cannot carry a baby. Reduce it alot lower. To all the people agree with it being 20 weeks ur all just messed up in the head and obviously dont really care!! angry

KRITIQ Wed 03-Oct-12 15:16:44

Misslb88, I take it you haven't bothered to read anything above your post. hmm

Startailoforangeandgold Wed 03-Oct-12 15:26:06

Given there must be an exception for problems identified at 20 week scan.

Surely this reduction only serves to hurt very venerable, very frightened and often very young women.

I can't imagine many women taking until the 5th month of pregnancy to decide on an abortion unless they genuinely didn't know (it happens), were too frightened to admit it or were in very difficult personal circumstances.

Thairishmum Wed 03-Oct-12 15:50:30

Marcheline, as someone who has been lucky enough to have been born, I would have preferred a 'bad start' in life than no start at all. Abortions at such a late stage are totally wrong. I would be greatly interested to hear what reasons women would have for allowing the pregnancy to progress so far anyway? Just can't fathom the logic that allows '"foetuses" to be aborted in one part of a hospital and same gestation babies to be resuscitated in another. Women's rights should not be allowed to impinge on the rights of the baby at such a late stage.

Startailoforangeandgold Wed 03-Oct-12 15:53:01

Please can everyone read TeaandHandbags link!!!

I've known 3 very sensible women who haven't know they were pregnant and continued to have period type bleeding.

One had two DCs and a new job and was mega embarrassed as she must have been PG at interview and was certain they'd think she'd known.

One who felt awful and who's GP found she had high blood pressure due to being 5+ months PG.

And one who lovely big young lady who'd been had glandular fever and expected to feel tired and grotty. She'd long since split up with her BF and labour was a total shock, her DC was put up for adoption.

The other two kept theirs.

However all 3 had very supportive families, that can not be the case for all women.

I'm 28 weeks pregnant now. I cannot imagine myself in early August turning around and saying "Whoops, changed my mind! Five months of puking, sweating, swelling and feeling like shite weren't enough to convince me that I don't want to have a baby, but suddenly I've changed my fickle ladybrain and so I want an abortion right now!" Whoever imagines this kind of woman doesn't like women very much.

Less than 2% of all abortions happen after 20 weeks.

These abortions are invariably tragic stories; it's an unpleasant procedure for which no woman would volunteer on a whim.

I trust women to make the right decisions about their health and their lives and their families.

If people want to reduce the amount of late-term abortions in the UK (Which, as noted above, is a tiny amount of all abortions) they they should do the following things:

(1) Support comprehensive, mandatory sex education
(2) Support increased access to family planning clinics and rape advisory services
(3) Support abortion upon patient request up to 12 weeks, not this '2 doctors sign off' paternalistic delaying nonsense
(4) Support easier access to medical abortion

Oh, and those who are anti-abortion, I do hope you all give blood and bone marrow tissue regularly? Have donated one of your kidneys? And adopt and foster children?
Yeah, thought so.

OneMoreChap Wed 03-Oct-12 15:58:26


Abortion isn't, and has never been, a simple issue Misslb88 read some of the links and learn a bit more about it [from the perspective pf a pro-abortion campaigner in the 70s, if you want to know my interest]

slug Wed 03-Oct-12 16:11:33

Blackcurrants, can I add to your list

(5) Support enforceable mandatory child support payments from the father/sperm donor

Just saying..as so often women are quite literally left holding the baby having been forced to give birth to it.

BasicallySFB Wed 03-Oct-12 16:32:53

Yep I'm in the camp of abortion on demand (why does it still need 2 doctors?) as early as possible, for free, in a setting of the women's choice (i.e. Clinic or hospital, whatever they felt most comfortable and was safest) and absolutely without needing to run the gauntlet of anti-choice campaigners first.

Definitely no lowering of the limit.

I think very, very few women would opt for a late abortion unless in desperate circumstances.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 03-Oct-12 16:40:42

Sorry you had a bad start thairish but there would have been no "you" to have an opinion if your mother had made a different decision. Other posters have previously stated that their own bad starts led them to a strong pro-choice position as they feel that an abortion would have been better for their mothers.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Wed 03-Oct-12 16:53:30
TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 03-Oct-12 16:59:14

Good article Sunny

Nahla321 Wed 03-Oct-12 17:49:52

I am just uncomfortable with the fact that aborting at 24 weeks as you legally can at the moment in one room they could be fighting to save the life of a wanted baby and somewhere else they are destroying the life . I think 20 weeks is perfectly reasonable and is more than enough time to make the decision on wether you are opting to keep the baby or not.

avenueone Wed 03-Oct-12 20:25:32

yes it is good Sunny thanks for posting.

WidowWadman Wed 03-Oct-12 20:33:36

Since the anomaly scan is done at 20 weeks, it'd be inhumane to have the cut-off date for abortion reduced - a woman should not be forced to carry a pregnancy with a severely disabled, possibly incompatible with life, child to term.

NewNames Wed 03-Oct-12 22:38:50

Well thank goodness we don't make laws based on what makes people a bit uncomfy.

Another in favour of 'as early as possible, as late as necessary'.

I think it vanishingly unlikely that any woman would choose a late abortion if her circumstances weren't desperate, and if she really can't bear to remain pregnant then why the hell should she.

I do think it would be reasonable to have early induction followed by adoption as another option for women in this circumstance, alongside late abortion.

Also, for those who say abortion/late abortion only in cases of rape, do you really think it realistic or ok to make a woman go through a court case first? Because we all know how easy it is to get a conviction hmm

Trills Thu 04-Oct-12 08:51:30

Making exceptions for rape or incest or whatever makes no sense.

Either the woman has the right to choose what happens to her body or she does not.

Either the fetus has independent rights or it does not.

A fetus produced by rape is no different to one produced by any other means.

Meglet Thu 04-Oct-12 09:23:13

I would prefer it to be an option until 30 weeks or so.

Very, very few women would leave it so late but they still need to know they can do it if they have to. And no, I've never had an abortion, I've had 2 planned children and would still support the right of mothers to have the choice.

Smellslikecatspee Thu 04-Oct-12 09:24:35

Misslb88:Think of the poor people that cannot carry a baby.

That would be me then. . .

So does that mean I have the right to make decisions over your life and your fertility does it?

I do care. I care about my rights over MY body. I care that you have rights over your body.

I worry that we are going blindly along a path where someone else, some random person will suddenly have the right to decide important matters to me without my input.

samandi Thu 04-Oct-12 10:26:11

Since the anomaly scan is done at 20 weeks, it'd be inhumane to have the cut-off date for abortion reduced - a woman should not be forced to carry a pregnancy with a severely disabled, possibly incompatible with life, child to term.

No, I agree.

MsGee Thu 04-Oct-12 10:45:08

I promised myself I would never come on another abortion thread on MN but here I am.

I Do Not Understand why it is so hard for people to realise that anyone having an abortion post 20 weeks is in an incredibly difficult position. For most, the system (either healthcare or wider) will have let them down somewhere along the way. For others it will be a heartbreaking decision following an anomaly scan. None of them will waltz into it.

People - you can have all the bonkers views you like but that does not give you the right to legislate over another woman's body.

If you are pro-choice you are pro-choice, stop fucking about with the fence sitting.

FWIW I had a termination last year at 12 weeks. I was 'lucky' - a private scan picked up anecephaly. I might have otherwise got to 20 weeks and had to terminate then. It was the hardest time of my life but it would have been infinitely worse had I got to 20 weeks and had my right to choose removed.

I am pro-choice and I know that abortions can be heartbreaking. But I am pro-CHOICE. Because I believe that women can make their own decisions about their own bodies. Whatever their situation.

This is a feminist issue. No doubt about it. It sickens me that the minister for women is taking away choices from women. The fact that she dresses it up as being in the women's interests is even worse. The only way you fight for women's interests is to fight for them to have choices.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Oct-12 10:46:35

YY msgee

SaraBellumHertz Thu 04-Oct-12 10:48:02

There was a poster on here who had a late abortion for "social reasons". She posted her story several times and I found it exceptionally moving.

It is quite clear that no woman chooses such a path without much soul searching and pain.

drjohnsonscat Thu 04-Oct-12 11:02:26

"Making exceptions for rape or incest or whatever makes no sense.
Either the woman has the right to choose what happens to her body or she does not.
Either the fetus has independent rights or it does not.
A fetus produced by rape is no different to one produced by any other means."

Spot on.

And someone else said that "women's rights must not conflict with a foetus's rights". Well they do. They do all the time. There is a massive conflict - if you believe in rights, pregnancy is one huge conflict. The only way to resolve it is to allow that the already existing independent being has rights that the dependent being does not. Unless independent beings' rights have a sanctity, we are all at risk of being made to be living life support machines for other beings against our will.

Uppercut Thu 04-Oct-12 11:12:36

"I think it should be on demand until term.

I look at abortion as being about the woman and her body, not the viability of what she is carrying."

Yes, I suppose ignoring the (fully-functioning) viability of your near 9-month old offspring would be critical to convincing yourself you aren't committing murder.

I would rather not see it lowered, by all means lower the stage at which a baby is considered 'viable', but not the legal abortion limit.
The vast vast majority of terminations are done before 12 weeks. Terminating a pregnancy that late on won't be lightly undertaken (show me a person who has a temination 'lightly'!) on a whim.

MousyMouse Thu 04-Oct-12 11:29:29

I am confused now.
I thought this is only for 'social reasons' abortions (what a horrid term) and that medical 'neccessary' ones can still be carried out until very late in pregnancy?

KillerRack Thu 04-Oct-12 11:55:40

I'm confused as to what 'social reasons' are makes it sound a bit flimsy.

It jusy seems very nihilistic , What sort of person would abort a 36 weeks plus baby other than a complete monster? I'm sorry if that's controversial but the baby will cry and everything when delivered, then take it to be killed?. No, I'm sorry can't think of any reason where that would be okay.

MousyMouse Thu 04-Oct-12 11:58:49

a fetus that is aborted at a late stage will be given an injection in utero to stop the heart. so the fetus delivered will be dead.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Oct-12 12:14:42

KillerRack, did you read TeaAndHugs link above? I'll link again. It's an audit of those requesting abortion at 22 weeks +, some of whom were in drug treatment programmes, or were teenagers hoping it would go away or who had false-negative pregnancy tests.


I realise that wasn't quite your point but might give some insights into what the reasons were for late abortions. Indeed, some women were too late in the BPAS audit as they were more pregnant than they thought etc.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Oct-12 12:15:06

|Sorry, further along in tthe pregnancy than they thought - pregnancy is of course binary blush

GuybrushThreepwodWasHere Thu 04-Oct-12 13:30:58

Thank god this won't actually happen..

This minister is completely uninformed. A number of doctors have come forward and said that there have been no recent changes in the survival rates of babies born before 24 weeks. Why would she say such an emotive thing without finding proper sources to back up her opinions! hmm

drjohnsonscat Thu 04-Oct-12 15:33:39

Also Telegraph ran this story of the possible change in policy with the journalist's own story of abortion entitled "My abortion agony..." or something like that. Where are the voices of the many millions of women saying "My abortion was bearable, ok, really quite a good thing..."?

And there are millions of them, by the way. Something like 300,000 terminations per year. Everyone knows lots of women who've had one, statistically. Everyone I know who's had one (inc me) is content with their decision. So even if my sample is very skewed and the number who are ok with it is not 100% - so let's be very generous to the other side and say on average only 50% are ok with it. That means millions of actual women out there being content with their decision and all we ever read is "my abortion guilt/anguish".

I'm not saying the women who are ok with their decision are pleased that the whole thing happened. Mine was sad because it was a wanted baby but had a genetic disease. So it was sad but I'm very happy with what I chose. Where are those stories?

limitedperiodonly Thu 04-Oct-12 16:41:32

Where are the voices of the many millions of women saying "My abortion was bearable, ok, really quite a good thing..."?

Because if people countenance abortion at all, they want to hear that you've suffered drjohnsonscat but I'm sure you know that. Some women do suffer, whereas some feel relief, or nothing at all. That's their business not anyone elses.

As newnames said sarcastically yesterday in answer to someone who felt 'uncomfortable' with abortions that didn't tick her boxes: 'thank goodness we don't make laws on uncomfy decisions'.

We do, and I'm sure newnames knows it too, not just on abortion but on issues such as assisted suicide where moralists feel free to stick their oars in just in case those choosing it haven't really thought about it much.

Yesterday I said I was content with abortion law. Actually I'm not: I'd love to do away with that nonsense about two doctors and complying with defined reasons.

But if that's the price people who feel 'uncomfy' about it want women to pay then I suppose I'll put up with it until people start to grow up. But I'm not conceding any more ground to them.

limitedperiodonly Thu 04-Oct-12 16:45:28

'if people countenance abortion at all...'

Obviously I meant only those people who don't credit their fellow human beings with with the sense to make decisions about their own lives with all that entails.

panicnotanymore Thu 04-Oct-12 16:51:38

I've just had my 20 week anomaly scan so have been reading up on all the severe abnormalities that are picked up at that scan. I think it would be criminal to force a woman to carry a child so unwell that it would have at best a lifetime of suffering, at worst die shortly after birth. Some allowance has to be made for this surely?

If a pregnancy is 100% healthy, then I can understand a lower limit, but we can't know it is healthy until after the scan. Catch 22 situation.

drjohnsonscat Thu 04-Oct-12 16:52:56

Yesterday I said I was content with abortion law. Actually I'm not: I'd love to do away with that nonsense about two doctors and complying with defined reasons. But if that's the price people who feel 'uncomfy' about it want women to pay then I suppose I'll put up with it until people start to grow up. But I'm not conceding any more ground to them.

Totally agree with all of this Limited. Bloody ridiculous that I had to get two drs to agree with what I wanted to do. I don't even remember meeting them or talking to them although I'm sure I did. It was just another thing to get through. But it is tick box nonsense put there to reassure people that we don't just let silly women do their own thing without proper people checking on them.

OrangeandGoldMrsDeVere Thu 04-Oct-12 16:57:22

I think it is interesting that many people make exceptions to there anti abortion stance for disability.
Then fail to understand just how disabled children born prematurely are likely to be.

Maria Miller didn't actually bother to check any actual facts either, did she?

OrangeandGoldMrsDeVere Thu 04-Oct-12 16:57:40


OneMoreChap Thu 04-Oct-12 17:22:08

Two doctors is basically a sop to right to lifers; if you have a few anti-abortion staff in hospitals, you can get issues with timing.

AFAICR, the easier you make abortion, the less late term abortions you get.

Mind you, when you get people saying the MAP is abortion... and it should be harder to get hold of, it's crazy.

It's not just a sop, though.

It can be a serious barrier to women getting abortions.

I agree with you about the relationship between ease of access and number of late term abortions, though - completely.

limitedperiodonly Thu 04-Oct-12 17:31:58

Two doctors is basically a sop to right to lifers; if you have a few anti-abortion staff in hospitals, you can get issues with timing.

YY onemorechap. That was my thinking when I said people who put up arguments actually want to ban abortion but don't like to frighten us by coming out and saying so.

I suppose I should have said some people. But there are a lot of them about and they're able to pose as reasonable, especially when dealing with people who aren't good at standing up to authority particularly at a vulnerable point in their lives.

That's most of us at some point or other.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Thu 04-Oct-12 17:48:55

At a personal level, I do not think I could ever consider an abortion (except possibly where the feotus had a condition incompatible with life). I also don't feel personally comfortable with the MAP, or the standard coil. That's my emotional response to my own body.

BUT at a political level, my views are totally different. I think that the current limit is fine. I don't understand the obsession with the idea of viability outside womb. It may be possible to save some 24 week babies, with massive medical intervention and often long term health problems, but why should that have a bearing on the deadline for termination?

I also agree that the two doctor thing should be removed, to allow more women who want abortions to have them faster.

mumnosGOLDisbest Thu 04-Oct-12 17:59:47

i agree that some professionals can be difficult when they disagree with abortion. a relative of mine, 16yrs, fell pg. she made the decision to have an abortion at about 7wks after lots of talking and thinking about it. her doctor made it very dificult to have an abortion and she finally has to have a surgical abortion at 15 wks! It would have been much less traumatic earlier on.

I am anti-abortion for any reason other than medical, particularly when the pg could have been prevented but respect other womens choices. this was an eye opener, to see how a healthy but unwanted pg can affect a woman.

i'd like to see the time limit lowered but the system made quicker and easier.

blackcats73 Thu 04-Oct-12 18:21:49

I think the limit is right.

The law has to be based on medical evidence and not feminist (abortion to term) or pro life (no abortion)dogma. The Royal college of gynes and obsys stated that there was no case to reduce the abortion limit from 24 weeks.

The medics have decided that viability should be the deciding factor.
A 24 week fetus can survive with intervention a, 20 week fetus cannot. If a woman doesn't want to be pregnant at 30 weeks, then remove it and put it in an incubator and have him/her adopted. (though `i can't see many medical professionals agreeing to do that). (and as a mum of a 30 week prem baby I wouldn't want the baby to suffer the way my DS did).

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Thu 04-Oct-12 19:00:54

I see what you are saying Blackcats, but it isn't a medical decision where the cut off for abortion is.

If you decide that the cut off is viability, then the Royal College can advise on the point at which that occurs. That is a role they are well equipped to perform and I understand that their opinion that there was no basis for changing the limit was in answer to the question whether there had been a material change in the point of viability.

But there is nothing inherently 'medical' in deciding that the cut off is viability. You could, for example, equally say that the cut off is the existence of a heart beat. Or viability without medical intervention. Or 'quickening'.

The decision what you use as a trigger will always be a political decision.

JustSpiro Thu 04-Oct-12 19:05:28

I know someone who earlier this year had to terminate after their 20-week scan showed such severe foetal abnormalities the baby would be unlikely to survive birth in the unlikely event they made it to full term.

This was a very much wanted and planned for first baby for the couple and they and their extended family were utterly devastated and heartbroken.

The last thing we need is the limit lowered to 20-weeks so others in this horrible position don't have the 'luxury' of a brief period of grace/counselling before having to go through such a traumatic ordeal.

Narked Thu 04-Oct-12 19:09:51

24 weeks is there for a reason. Lots of issues only show at the 20 week scan. This is a push to chip away at rights by first targeting the edges of the law. What % of abortions are carried out between 20 and 24 weeks for non medical reasons?

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 04-Oct-12 19:12:19

I think the logical limit to abortion has to be around when the baby could survive if born, or possibly depending on it's level of development. So, I'm in favour of a reduction in the limit to 20 weeks.

Personally I'm pretty much mid-way between pro-choice and pro-life ( a rarity I think - but moderation in views can be a good thing IMHO)

I'd like to advocate for greater awareness, availability, and use of contraception - as in the recent Gates campaign. In addition to this as necessary more early abortions rather than later ones. Let's talk more !

The Netherlands etc are much better than us in the sexual education of their young people.

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 04-Oct-12 19:15:25

Could there be a 19 week scan for anomaly and say a 21 week limit ? ( A 2 week period for decision making and counseling for all involved ? )

wigglesrock Thu 04-Oct-12 19:15:54

I think those who argue the 20 weeks is enough time to decide etc miss a few valid arguments.

I'm in NI, where I would most likely have to travel if I chose to have an abortion. I'm a fairly sensible 38 year old and when I had my first child I didn't realise I was pregnant until about 8 weeks or so. If I chose abortion, I would need to save for procedure and travel and accommodation if needed, organise time off work, think of plausible excuses as to where the fuck I was.

I also think those who feel uncomfortable about abortion should think long and hard about eroding the rights of women. I have seen friends petrified on ferries, borrow money, lie, do it all alone - in a part of the UK.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Oct-12 19:19:11

Juggling did you read the BPAS audit linked above?

Also, no, the NHS could not guarantee getting all scans in counselling done referrals made and abortions carried out in a two week period.

JustSpiro Thu 04-Oct-12 19:19:20

My 20-week scan was inconclusive in some areas and I had to go back the following week for another.

Wouldn't have left much of a window for me, and I'm sure it's not uncommon.

Narked Thu 04-Oct-12 19:19:42

'The Netherlands etc are much better than us in the sexual education of their young people'

Why are you asuming that it's 'young people' having abortions hmm

Married women in their 30s also have abortions.

Narked Thu 04-Oct-12 19:34:43


Over half the women having abortions are 25 or older

Over 30% are 30 or older

77.7% of abortion took place at < 10 weeks

91.1% of abortions took place at < 13 weeks

98.6% of abortions took place at < 20 weeks

Narked Thu 04-Oct-12 19:39:05

15% of abortions are carried out on girls under 18 in England and Wales.

Adding to what Narked has posted, I don't know the statistics for the UK but I heard that 3 out of 5 women seeking to terminate a pregnancy in the USA are already mothers.

When I think of women having abortions I don't think of feckless teens. I think of women like me: who know their bodies, families and finances can't support an unplanned extra child.

Iggly Thu 04-Oct-12 19:41:01

Reading this thread has been an eye opener. I think the limit should be based on scientific evidence about viability.

I'm sad to hear women described simply as vessels, as if being pregnant and carrying a child is some sort of cold transaction at the end of which a baby appears.

Is it really the only feminist stance that women should be allowed to terminate as and when they wish?

Are babies simply seen as leeches or parasites sucking the life out of a pregnant mother? (technically I'd say no, babies aren't parasites as they're not a different species nor do they benefit at the expense of the mother unless something goes wrong).

Nature is such that for the human race to continue, women carry and grow babies. It feels wider than being about just the woman.

To me, feminism should be about asserting the rights of women, particularly where they are limited on the premise that we have vaginas and breasts for no logical reason. Abortion, however, is wider than that because it is about other human beings. Yes they are dependant on their mothers but you can't just write them off and ignore it.

SarryB Thu 04-Oct-12 19:43:06

Can I ask...What is considered a 'social reason' for an abortion? Does it mean "I already have two small children, and couldn't cope with another" type of situation?

Narked - in fact, wasn't a thing a few weeks ago that said more women in their 30's are having abortions then ever before?

I hate this 2 doctors nonsense. If a woman goes to her GP to ask for an abortion, she should be referred to a counsellor for a wee chat about it, and if she still wants to go ahead, then there should be nothing in her way. It's her body.

Narked Thu 04-Oct-12 19:46:00

I don't think it's the only feminist stance. Also, I think it's something of a straw man. If women have free and open access to abortion for 24 weeks, the idea that they are going to suddenly decide to terminate at 32 weeks for non-medical reasons is absurd.

Narked Thu 04-Oct-12 19:47:35

I don't think she should be referred to a counsellor. I think she should be offered a counselling appointment.

Narked Thu 04-Oct-12 19:49:35

If you removed the women who have abortions after 20 weeks for medical reasons, I think you'd mainly be left with women with severe substance abuse issues and chaotic lives.

JugglingWithPossibilities Thu 04-Oct-12 19:59:11

I mainly mentioned the young people and sex ed in the Netherlands because it's part of a positive attitude to contraception, sex ed, and availability of contraception generally over there and in several other countries. Also what we learn when younger we remember and influences us for many years. Also you say "over half of abortions are carried out for women over 25" so nearly half are under 25 I assume.
Still, some interesting information that I'm willing to take on board.
But I'm likely to hold to my views in the middle ground of this debate as far as I can see.

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Thu 04-Oct-12 20:09:46

I don't think it should be reduced to 20 weeks.

I think the limit for abortion should be when the fetus can survive outside of the mother without major medical intervention. I don't know what point this would be, but it would have to be the point where the baby could be delivered without major cost to the NHS.

I'm very pro-choice, but the thought of aborting a full term, healthy, baby is horrifying to me.

Iggly Thu 04-Oct-12 20:12:52

Yes Narked I see what you mean about being a straw man but people are actually saying that it's fine to abort at 40weeks etc. Doesn't matter that it's rare, the fact that someone would think that that was ok just feels me with sad

lotsofcheese Thu 04-Oct-12 20:14:07

Although 23/4 weeks is technically the start-off point for viability, babies born at this stage don't survive without MASSIVE intervention. They will require ventilation in NICU & a hospital stay of 10-15+ weeks. And very likely have disabilities. If they survive at all.

It's only really above 32 weeks gestation that survivability & a reduced disability rate become possibilities.

And believe me, as the mother of an ex-premature baby, that these babies SUFFER in NICU - we're talking ventilation without sedation, lumbar punctures, bacterial infections.

So I don't think the argument should be about visibility, but whether the mother wants the baby (or not). Just because a baby could potentially survive at great cost doesn't mean women should be denied terminations.

lotsofcheese Thu 04-Oct-12 20:16:54

Ps a NICU cot costs £1K per day to run. My DS, a premature baby who survived at great cost is a £100K+ baby.

KillerRack Thu 04-Oct-12 20:20:29

In reference to the link, it hasn't really changed my opinion much tbh, at my most lenient I would grant the abortion but (controversial) should remain on enforced contraception until they are fit to carry a child full term or abort at a more appropriate stage.

The idea of having it done once is horrific, twice is just nihilistic.

IMO dating scans should be given much earlier.

Ok, I stand corrected mousymouse but even so you are killing something that could survive on the outside world 36+ baby.

blackcats73 Thu 04-Oct-12 20:27:19


Where did you get your information from? My 30 weeker is 9, fit healthy and doing well. I think it's 28 weeks that there is little risk of permament damage. Term babies can be damaged..

"So I don't think the argument should be about visibility, but whether the mother wants the baby (or not). Just because a baby could potentially survive at great cost doesn't mean women should be denied terminations."

I couldn't disagree with your post more. And I think that you'd struggle to find healthcare professionals who would terminate a post 24 week fetus.

"My DS, a premature baby who survived at great cost is a £100K+ baby. "
So if he had a car accident and would cost 100k he should be left to die?

I would pay more taxes if they went towards saving ill babies lives. As a tax payer your DS was worth every penny. As was mine, at your reckoning a 42K baby and worth every penny.

DowagersHump Thu 04-Oct-12 20:40:04

Make no woman carry a foetus to term unless she wants to is what I believe.

Maria Miller being Minister for Women is a fucking joke. Then again, David Cameron, father of disabled child, doesn't give a fuck about them either.

lotsofcheese Thu 04-Oct-12 20:40:07

blackcats yes, I agree my DS was worth every penny. And yours too. There is no debate about that. Or anyone being involved in a car crash requiring treatment which costs that much, either.

I wanted to dispel the myth that babies born very prematurely can survive easily, without intervention, which seems to be the view of some posters on this thread.

I am a HCP. Part of my clinical role involves working in an obstetric service. Plus I have extensive first-hand experience of life in NICU. So that's where my information comes from.

OrangeandGoldMrsDeVere Thu 04-Oct-12 22:27:59

blackcats I think it is because of the way the pro-life movement tries to gloss over the issues that very prem babies face. NOT because lotsof or me think prem babies are not worth saving.

I am very positive about disability (iyswim) so do not think a disabled child is a tragedy but it is dishonest of people like Maria Miller to pretend that if prem babies survive they do so with no problems.
Of course some do.
But I work with preschool children with delays and disabilities and a large percentage were prem. Sometimes their problems are not apparent until they are due to start school, often they are present from a very early age.

My DD cost tens of thousands of pounds. She wasn't prem but she got cancer. Some of her injections cost 1k each! She was worth every penny as is your child.

lotsofcheese Thu 04-Oct-12 22:37:18

Maria Miller, the Women's Minister, is saying that it makes "common sense" to lower the limit to 20 weeks, based on an assertion that "care for extremely premature babies has improved rapidly"

The RCOG dispute this & say there is no evidence to support the statement.

It's not about the care of premature babies!!! I really wish people would understand how much premature babies suffer in NICU & the rates of disability & poor health.

Nor I am saying we shouldn't spend money on premature babies.

It's not that simple!

Narked Fri 05-Oct-12 01:14:16

Maria Miller is anti abortion. One of the few MPs who voted for Nadine Dorries (AKA fruit loop) amendment intended to ban BPAS from pre abortion counselling and open it up to church funded anti abortion groups.

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 09:36:03

i think we should differentiate rules and opinions depending on reasons for the abortion. I don't think many would oppose abortion even to term when the mothers life or health is at risk. Surely in really late cases the baby could be delivered and adopted out though?

i have a bit ofc a problem with the idea of 'mothers health' being affected. This is a bit blurry to me. physical health yes but i'm not sure about emotional health (prepared to be convimced otherwise). my
relative had an abortion on these grounds but i'm not sure that the upset she would have suffered outweigh the baby's rights to live. I know pg can't always be prevented currently cuddling my much loved accident but i know of people who have had multiple abortions because of breakups with partners/lack of education/care/not using contracrption/even reality kicking in sad imo that is wrong.

wigglesrock Fri 05-Oct-12 10:26:40

I have to laugh at the adopted out idea - really? So force a woman to carry the child, deliver it, then what? - would the woman go to a post delivery ward, a special ward?, a ward with women whose babies have died?

Countries where abortion is illegal, as far as I know don't have an endless ream of babies waiting to be "adopted out".

I wouldn't have a late abortion (well I hope I never have to face that choice), but no way do I want to legislate on other womens emotional health. I really do doubt that as many posters have said that a woman is going to wake up and go "oh think I'll abort my 30 week foetus today" Any women that I know who've had an abortion have thought long and hard and tearfully about it and have made a choice which as far as I know was, they feel, the right decision for them.

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 11:04:04

i'm talking about women where the risks are only emotional. not belittling depression either but where a baby doesn't fit in with a life plan or isn't planned/wanted. i don't think these problems out weigh the rights of the fetus/baby. Nor did i suggest putting them on a ward with mums and babies --don't think women who have mc or lost babies should be on these wards either.

WidowWadman Fri 05-Oct-12 11:24:17

mumnos - why is mental health less important than other health aspects? Mental health problems can be and often are lethal.

I think it's a bit more complicated than "oh but the pretty little babies can all just be adopted and everything's fine and dandy".

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 11:36:54

maybe i'm not explaining myself clearly. i'm not against abortion if it will be detrimental to health physical or mental but find the term wooly and could be applied to most situations imo.

DowagersHump Fri 05-Oct-12 11:46:24

mumnows - the current legislation is that abortion can only be carried out until 24 weeks unless the foetus has a condition incompatible with life. So your relative can't have been about to give birth when she had her abortion.

Are you saying that no women should be allowed abortion unless there's a good medical reason?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Oct-12 11:48:24

Very few babies are actually put up for adoption, especially now coercion is much more difficult and forced adoptions have a lot of oversight and bureaucracy. I don't think the alternative to late abortion is adoption - it just doesn't work out that way.

The real alternative to abortion on demand is children being brought up by women who didn't want them or in circumstances women felt were not suitable.

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 11:59:53

as i posted ^thread my relative was 15wks due to the time it took for docs to arrange.

i don't pretend to have all the answers or thankfully even personal experience. i do have opinions but am open to changing them which is why ive entered this debate. just putting some ideas out there. i think personally i'd find having a baby adopted out would be less traumatic than aborting it. so far i still feel 24wks is just too late to abort a healthy fetus, most women could do it earlier.

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 12:03:37

dowa medical or emotional yes but how do you define emotional? theres a big difference between the person who is upset by ab unexpected pg and has to rethink plans budget etc and the woman who is depressed or unable to come to terms with being pg.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 05-Oct-12 12:09:26

Mumno are you against abortion at any gestation unless the mother's life or health is in serious danger? Or are you in favour of a lower limit? Sorry I am not quite clear on your position.

OneMoreChap Fri 05-Oct-12 12:12:22

The real alternative to abortion on demand is children being brought up by women who didn't want them or in circumstances women felt were not suitable.

I can't believe there are women who seem to think oh well, everyone is having abortions at 24 weeks/wants to abort at 30 weeks.

But start putting more limits,a nd you play into the hand of pro-lifers. I expect if Romney gets in Wade v Roe is for the chop...

MrsTittleMouse Fri 05-Oct-12 12:14:15

Here you go blackcurrants - nearly 60% of all women who have an abortion in the USA already have a child.


It doesn't surprise me - healthcare costs are crippling and there is so little welfare; a new child could have a devastating effect on the family and ruin the life of an older sibling. sad

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Oct-12 12:15:55

"i think personally i'd find having a baby adopted out would be less traumatic than aborting it. so far i still feel 24wks is just too late to abort a healthy fetus, most women could do it earlier."

Those who think they would find abortion more traumatic than adoption don't abort. It's a very valid reason not to abort - but it isn't impacted by a law that allows abortion, it would only be impacted by one that requires abortion. The UK doesn't require women to abort in any circumstances.

Also, most women do have abortions earlier than 24 weeks. Even after 20 weeks is very rare.

OptimisticPessimist Fri 05-Oct-12 12:22:29

i think personally i'd find having a baby adopted out would be less traumatic than aborting it

That's how you feel, and that's fine, no one is going to stop you doing that should you ever be in that situation.

Personally for me, adoption isn't an option. If I had an unexpected pregnancy it would be abortion or keep the baby, adoption wouldn't even be on the table. That's how I feel, and those feelings are equally as valid as yours.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 05-Oct-12 12:26:23

I think there was a survey once linked on here comparing mental health outcomes for women who aborted an unwanted pregnancy vs those who carried it through and went for adoption. I don't remember the details but I think adoption in those cases led to some mental health issues.

OneMoreChap Fri 05-Oct-12 12:27:43

Isn't abortion a bit like gay marriage in the;

"If you don't want gay marriage, don't have one"
"If you don't want abortion, don't have one"


Why should you limit what others choose to do.

GuybrushThreepwodWasHere Fri 05-Oct-12 12:32:46

i think personally i'd find having a baby adopted out would be less traumatic than aborting it.

That's how you feel and that's fine, but I'm nearly at the end of a planned but truely horrific pregnancy involving several hospital stays and long periods of pain and sickness. Even though I always wanted my baby not a day went by without considering the option of abortion. I can't imagine how other ladies that went through a horrible pregnancy (that was for some reason unwanted), but who were forced to keep it feel.

Isn't abortion a bit like gay marriage in the;

"If you don't want gay marriage, don't have one"
"If you don't want abortion, don't have one"


Why should you limit what others choose to do.

Very well said

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 05-Oct-12 12:34:32

Is it to be reduced or did they say that it should be?
Either which way, I don't agree that it should be reduced.

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 12:42:19

doctrine probably because i'm not completely certain where i stand myself grin. i think i'd like the option not to be there to abort at all except for health (physical/emotional). however whilst it is an option i would/did support a woman who takes that option. i also understand that if the option was removed women would find other ways (not all safe as history has proven).
abortion should and for most women is the last and only option imo

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 12:54:37

just caught up with the other posts inbetween mine. i really don't doubt there are lots of cases where abortion is a hard and necessary decision but i do know of some where it hasn't been the only option and even, dare i say, used almost as a form of contraception (talking early abortions).

just to make clear, i am only airing my opinions, mean no offence and respect other opinions smile

SarryB Fri 05-Oct-12 12:57:07

I'm with optimistic - adoption would never be an option. It would be abortion or keep the child. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have to go through labour (especially if it was as painful as last time!!), and give the child away because I didn't think I could look after it (for whatever reason).

I think a woman's right trumps any right the foetus has.

SarryB Fri 05-Oct-12 13:01:16

I agree that it shouldn't be used an contraception, but that comes down to another matter - about sexual and birth control education.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 05-Oct-12 13:11:13

I've got to say, I'm never sure what "abortion as a form of contraception" means. Can you explain what it means to you, mumno?

drjohnsonscat Fri 05-Oct-12 13:15:37

I don't understand that either Doctrine.

I think it's a way of saying I'm ok with sensible, organised women whose contraception doesn't fail having access to an abortion (though they won't need it) but I'm not happy for disorganised women to have one, or women who had a stomach bug, or any other number of women that I don't like the sound of.

GuybrushThreepwodWasHere Fri 05-Oct-12 13:20:09


Some clinicians have referred to it when they have done studies on the number of times women have had abortions and found some women that have aborted up to seven times. These statistics are rarely properly examined in context (e.g. is abuse or a lack of education to blame rather then the lady finding it to be an acceptable form of contraception) and are used as 'republican' or 'conservative' fodder very blindly. It's a vile phrase that shouldn't be used but is hmm

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 05-Oct-12 13:27:09

ZOmbies, the Women's Minister voted for it to be reduced the last time there was a free vote and she hasn't changed her opinion. As far as I know, there are no current plans to allow another free vote on it.

drjohnsonscat Fri 05-Oct-12 13:27:10

also can we hear a round of applause for those women who go through abortion seven times. Something is going wrong in their lives - but they are not prepared to let that wrong thing perpetuate and become an unwanted, unloved child in a chaotic home environment.

MooncupGoddess Fri 05-Oct-12 13:28:09

Yes quite drjohnsonscat. There are a lot of people who want to scrutinise in great detail the lives of women seeking abortions before making a decision: 'Ooh, well, she missed her pill three times and had sex with someone she'd only met the day before. No way are we letting that careless trollop have an abortion.'


'Well, Mrs X has three small children and a disabled husband, and she's very unlucky that her coil came out of position. I think we'll allow her the procedure.'

Thank God these people are not in charge of the law.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Fri 05-Oct-12 13:30:54

I would be interested to see a proper study on that Guybrush. I would be extremely surprised if women who had had multiple multiple abortions (i.e not two or three) were not overwhelming women with drug issues or similarly chaotic personal lives.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Fri 05-Oct-12 13:38:50

MrsTittleMouse - That article is interesting. I couldn't disagree more with the 'giving out condoms encourages sex, which results in more unintended pregnancies' argument from Ms King. I do sometimes wonder whether condoms are the right focus for these programs though. Obviously, it is an extremely tricky area as only condoms give protection from STIs. But I wonder whether a better focus isn't long term contraception like the injection, mirena and implant, rather than something you have to use every single time. (It is, of course, a whole feminist issue why women end up taking responsibility for contraception, but I'm focusing at the moment on protecting women as best as possible within that unfair situation).

GuybrushThreepwodWasHere Fri 05-Oct-12 13:39:11

You'llLaugh I agree, the lack of of proper research in anything to do with pregnancy or women's health is frankly quite disturbing. I've worked with several high ranking medical professionals that have said flippantly that women's health is about 100 years behind what it would have been if the medical profession hadn't started out so male dominated and had 2000 years of everything being attributed to hysteria.

MooncupGoddess Fri 05-Oct-12 13:50:31

Guybrush, that is terrifying! And quite rage-inducing.

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 13:53:10

I'm never sure what "abortion as a form of contraception" means. Can you explain what it means to you, mumno? To me contraception is a way to stop sex leading to pregnancy. For some that I know, it's taken that step further and considered as a way to stop sex leading to a baby, regardles of the pg already having started. Ok the term is incorrect but that's how some see it/use it.

I think it's a way of saying I'm ok with sensible, organised women whose contraception doesn't fail having access to an abortion (though they won't need it) but I'm not happy for disorganised women to have one, or women who had a stomach bug, or any other number of women that I don't like the sound of. Not at all. I think the system is abused in that some (I know not all or even the majority) use it as an extension of contraception or the morning after pill.

I would be extremely surprised if women who had had multiple multiple abortions (i.e not two or three) were not overwhelming women with drug issues or similarly chaotic personal lives. I know of at least 3 women who between the ages of 19-25 have had 4+ abortions because they were a bit careless but could have continued with their pgs and gone on to be loving, responsible mums. 1 wanted to continue her uni career (understandable but worth a life?), 2 felt they were too young both of whom went on to have children with the same jobs, partners, life as they had a few years before.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Oct-12 14:05:34

I had an abortion when I felt I was too young. I suppose you could say that I used abortion as contraception - we were using condoms but I got pregnant anyway and had an abortion so as to not end up with a baby. I didn't want the risk to my health at the time, but mainly the impact on my ability to make the most of my life. I didn't think I'd be a very good mother and there were lots of things I did actually want to do that weren't compatible with being pregnant or having a child.

More than a decade later I had children with the same partner (obviously my life and job had moved on a bit though). But I highly doubt the children I do have would be here if I hadn't had that abortion. I can't see that my partner and I would have stayed together. I don't think the child we would have had if I hadn't aborted would have had as good a life as the children we now have.

Our bodies make decisions all the time about continuing pregnancy. Some estimates suggest more than half of all pregnancies are naturally aborted. Why is our mind the only organ that shouldn't be involved in deciding whether our bodies should continue with a pregnancy?

TeaAndHugs Fri 05-Oct-12 14:11:05


Why do you feel that you know better than those women about whether they could have been good mothers? If they didn't feel able to do it, I would be inclined to trust their judgement. Are you suggesting you know them better than they know themselves? Just because their life circumstances stayed the same between their abortions and their deciding to have children, it doesn't mean their mental state or readiness for motherhood didn't change dramatically during that time.

drjohnsonscat Fri 05-Oct-12 14:13:41

I think the system is abused in that some (I know not all or even the majority) use it as an extension of contraception or the morning after pill

How on earth is that an abuse? Contraception, MAP and abortion are all ways not to have an unwanted child. Some act on processes before conception, some after conception but before implantation and some after implantation. The net result is the same.

OneMoreChap Fri 05-Oct-12 14:17:21

Isn't MAP sometimes regarded as an abortion by some activists?

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 14:17:30

good points emmeline and glad things worked out.

i'm just not sure where the line between a persons rights and responsibilities should be drawn. we all know sex, even protected sex can result in pg so at what point do we say sorry for the cliche a person should take responsibility for their actions? maybe having an abortion is taking responsibility but not if you do it again and again.

MooncupGoddess Fri 05-Oct-12 14:20:12

"I know of at least 3 women who between the ages of 19-25 have had 4+ abortions because they were a bit careless but could have continued with their pgs and gone on to be loving, responsible mums."

Are you suggesting these women should not have been allowed access to legal abortion?

Have you ever read any accounts of illegal abortions? Desperate women do not always just bite the bullet and go, 'oh, never mind, I'll have to become a loving responsible mum then'.

I believe it is a womans choice until the baby becomes capable of living-that can be as young as 21 weeks in some cases so i don't have a problem with this new legislation.
Obviously medical reasons are a different matter altogether but a normal pregnancy after 20 weeks should be aborted just because its the womans body as that fetus inside of her is also entitled to life.

Shouldn't not should -stupi phone

OptimisticPessimist Fri 05-Oct-12 14:28:21

I would say that having an abortion is just as much taking responsibility as continuing the pregnancy. It is accepting that conception has occurred and deciding the best course of action for yourself, your unborn child and anyone else needing consideration. In some cases it could be considered less responsible to continue the pregnancy than to abort.

And I don't think it matters whether someone might have been fine if they hadn't had an abortion, what's important is that they didn't want to remain pregnant. It's not just about "coping fine with motherhood". I can't verbalise what I want to say here but I find it so wrong that just because women would cope fine then they shouldn't have the option of not having to.

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 14:29:26

MAP i don't see as killing a foetus. maybe because if the uncertainty over being pg or not (not sure on that one but dont have an issue with it).

contraception hopefully prevents a life beginning.

abortion ends a life

teaandhugs i get your point but the girls i know had a very different attitude towards it. imo there is also a baby to consider, to them their decisions were only about them. of cause i don't know them better but i think sometimes concessions have to be made in your plans, eg pospone study or study part time.

TeaAndHugs Fri 05-Oct-12 14:37:52


Fair enough. Personally, though, I wouldn't want to grow up knowing that my mother had chosen the option that wasn't best for her out of a sense of duty towards me. I would rather not have been born in that situation.

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 05-Oct-12 14:47:46

don't know why there's a __ end a life ? I'll blame my phone blush

WidowWadman Fri 05-Oct-12 14:57:02

maybe because your phone is wiser than you.

Abortion ends a pregnancy.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 05-Oct-12 14:59:00

mumnos "maybe having an abortion is taking responsibility but not if you do it again and again."

But from an entirely pragmatic perspective - why on earth would you want the people who you think don't take responsibility for their actions becoming parents? I can't see how that would be a good thing.

"Abortion ends a life" - see here's where I really don't understand the forced birth brigade; if you really think abortion ends a life, why do you think that is sometimes allowable and sometimes not? Are some lives more valuable than others to. you?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 05-Oct-12 15:06:11

Mumnos if your POV is that life begins at implantation and the only reason for an abortion is a kind of triage situation where the doctor is choosing between saving one life or saving the other then it is unlikely any of us will be able to persuade you out of this view.

CakeBump Fri 05-Oct-12 15:15:21

Hmm I'm totally pro choice too, but after experiencing pregnancy myself (currently 29 weeks) I think it would be right to lower the limit at which you can have an abortion.

If you feel the baby moving around 18 weeks (on average) I find it incredible that some people could go on to terminate as late as 20-odd weeks.

I think the limit should be around 12 to 15 weeks - later in extenuating circumstances eg disability (although I personally don't agree with abortion on the grounds of disability and wouldn't do it) or later finding out.

Happy for other people to have other opinions though smile Live and let live...

OneMoreChap Fri 05-Oct-12 15:37:24


When I was abortion campaigning in the 70s, I didn't expect to see this anti-abortion stuff in Women's Rights area in the 21st Century...

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 05-Oct-12 15:46:51

I think too many people feel pulled towards taking an absolutist stand-point on the issue of abortion. Either people saying that life begins at conception and is sacred and sacrosanct from that point onwards - goodness the Catholic church even having major issues with the use and promotion of contraception ...

... And quite a number of feminists saying that a woman should be free to choose what happens to her body and therefore that abortion should be available on request up until the due date.

Well, I'd just like to say that I think when thinking about this discussion more pragmatism, wisdom, and compassion is called for all round. Which to me means a reasonable, moderate policy, such as abortion available to 20 weeks, but more done both to promote contraception and to ensure any abortions carried out are offered as soon as possible in a pregnancy to women making this decision.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Fri 05-Oct-12 15:57:00

I have an issue with the whole 'when does life begin' approach to abortion. To me, some form of 'life' begins at fertilisation. The cells can multiply and divide and, eventually, become a foetus. They do that independently of any form of outside impetus. Then, if all goes well, it can become a baby. It isn't an independent life. It isn't a 'baby' at that point. But it is, in some way, alive.

To me, an abortion is ending some form of 'life', but it doesn't mean that it is the same as killing a baby, or any of those things anti-abortion campaigners claim. I think it's about balancing the point at which the rights of the foetus override the decision making right of the woman. I think the law is about right on that. The cut off is well before the foetus is viable without massive medical intervention (and, sadly, many wanted 24 weekers do not survive even then).

BatterseaGirl Fri 05-Oct-12 16:30:28

I've always been pro choice but always thought that I couldn't go through with a termination myself. However, when I accidentally fell pregnant (mistake with contraception and morning after pill not working and already having 4 children)) I knew straight away that I would go ahead with termination. I think it shows that you never know what you'll think unless you are actually in the situation. Which makes it such a nonsense that laws on abortion are mainly made by men (and minister for women trying to reduce women's rights is an absolute affront to women).

CakeBump Fri 05-Oct-12 16:43:09

Did anyone see the news article about a woman who got 8 years for taking abortion inducing drugs at 39 weeks?

How does that work with regard to the baby? Wouldn't most babies survive being born at 39 weeks? Or maybe the baby was dead already, or did she kill it afterwards (in which case isn't it murder?)?

And if you have an abortion at 24 weeks, surely the baby might be born alive, and if so, then what happens?

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Fri 05-Oct-12 16:46:55

Cake - in late abortions they inject the baby with something to stop the heart. It would not be born alive. The 'abortion inducing' drugs that woman took were to kill the baby, then bring on labour. It wasn't just an induction drug.

CakeBump Fri 05-Oct-12 16:58:37

Thanks for clearing that up for me.

It does seem wrong to purposefully stop the heart imo. That kind of seems like killing the baby to me, even though it's inside the womb.

CakeBump Fri 05-Oct-12 16:59:37

I wonder why that lady did it? She must have had mental health issues or an extremely distressing home life....

MooncupGoddess Fri 05-Oct-12 17:34:33

Yes - if you read up on the background to that story it is all terribly sad. The sentence is ridiculous IMO and serves no public interest whatever. A suspended/community sentence would have been much more sensible in every way.

CakeBump Fri 05-Oct-12 17:49:42

The judge was some kind of Christian fundamentalist, poor woman.

WithoutCaution Fri 05-Oct-12 17:56:18

Abortion should be freely available for all women religion shouldn't come into it at all stages of pregnancy. Women shouldn't be pressured into keeping an unwanted fetus just because abortion makes some people uncomfortable. I'd like to have the option to abort if I ever felt the need. It's my body, my life, my (and my DHs) decision, end of.

Is it really better for a baby to be kept to term and then live with a mother who didn't want it and may even resent it as she can't do what she'd planned with her life? What if keeping the unwanted child causes a happy marriage to break down? An old friend of mine kept her unplanned, severely disabled baby despite her husband wanting her to get an abortion. Her husband couldn't cope and cited the only reason he wanted a divorce was because of the child and the constant stress and disruption the child caused to their once happy life sad She's struggling to cope with the strains of having the child and being an only parent since her ex wants nothing to do with the child. She's often thought about how life would have been if she'd had the abortion.

LonelyCloud Fri 05-Oct-12 22:22:25

The thing about lowering the abortion limit to 20 weeks, is that you'd have no time to consider options if the anomoly scan showed something seriously wrong with the baby. Even if abortions in the case of severe deformity are permitted after the cut-off time, I'd imagine it's still more difficult to get one.

The other thing, which some previous posters have mentioned, is the viability issue. mcmooncup quoted some statistics earlier -

Survival rates:

21 weeks and less 0%

22 weeks 0-10%*

23 weeks 10-35%

24 weeks 40-70%

Extremely premature babies born at these gestations who survive are far more likely to be severely disabled than babies who are full-term or less premature.

About 50% of surviving babies born before 26 weeks have severe or moderate disabilities - only about 20% of them have no disabilities. And that covers all babies born before 26 weeks - the earlier the birth, the higher the chance of disabilities.

The people campaigning for lowered abortion limits are happy to gloss over this, and let people assume that all these extremely premature babies are at no more risk of severe disability than a full term baby, and are all going to grow up into normal healthy children. Sadly that just isn't the case.

lotsofcheese Sat 06-Oct-12 08:17:25

I've just seen the news this morning & Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, is saying 12 weeks - aaargh!

Looks like there's a faction of the conservative party determined to hijack the forthcoming party conference with an anti-abortion agenda. angry

wigglesrock Sat 06-Oct-12 08:23:14

I know, I've just seen it too, but its just his own personal viewpoint, so lets not worry that David Cameron saw fit to appoint a Health Secretary whose competency for any job in government is dodgy never mind one who couldn't wait to spout his own viewpoint angry. The only saving grace is that Mr Hunt is as thick as champ at the best of times.

lotsofcheese Sat 06-Oct-12 08:29:26

I prefer to call him Mr Cunt.

OneMoreChap Sat 06-Oct-12 16:20:33

Astonishing, isn't it.

This is why I think any reduction has to be opposed, as it will be used to ratchet the age downwards until abortion is banned - or at least that's the aim I expect.

Xenia Sat 06-Oct-12 16:39:12

This thread has a very confusing headline as there are no plans by anyone to bring the limit down to 20 weeks and it remains at 40 weeks plus for disabled chidlren. The Government has made this clear.

Hunt has a first class Oxbridge degree so it may be a little unfair to suggest he is thick. There is certainly something about him behind the scenes one would like to know about why it took him to over 40 to marry and why he married in China, a Chinese lady etc. He also has babies of 2 and newborn so presumbly most women on here can sympathise although I hope he doesn't have a housewife at home and I wish his wife not he were in the cabinet.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sat 06-Oct-12 16:47:35

Thick as champ. Ha ha Wigglesrock. I have never heard that from any of my Irish family. I am totally stealing that one for my own use.

GuybrushThreepwodWasHere Sat 06-Oct-12 18:07:01

Hunt has a first class Oxbridge degree so it may be a little unfair to suggest he is thick.

He is thick to make such a silly comment and expect it to slide, as Minister of Health just because he says that it's his personal opinion.

twoGoldfingerstoGideon Sat 06-Oct-12 18:49:09

People can be academic, ie. good at learning/remembering things and thick at the same time IMO. He is an example of this. No emotional intelligence whatsoever.

slug Sat 06-Oct-12 19:01:34

I totally agree two gold. I work in a university and I deal daily with PhDs who can't follow simple instructions or who have the emotional literacy of your average piranha.

twoGoldfingerstoGideon Sat 06-Oct-12 19:01:38

Just to clarify: not implying that being academic is only down to learning and remembering (just in case colleagues are reading grin)

twoGoldfingerstoGideon Sat 06-Oct-12 19:02:44

I agree Slug - I have a similar job!

Ahh, Glosswitch is on the case.
In her blog post [['No, actually, I won't be ''even handed'' when it comes to debating abortion rights'

She writes

Harking back to Bill Clinton’s “safe, legal and rare” ideal, there are a whole host of pro-choicers who are more than happy to reveal their moral qualms, as though this somehow backs up, rather than undermines, their case. 'I’m pro-choice but I’m not happy about being pro-choice.' This always strikes me as disrespectful to the women whose choices we seek to defend. We have chosen to put their bodily integrity first. Let’s do it properly, bravely and honestly, with faith in these individuals and their decisions, and not with sad, disapproving eyes. Our abstract regret betrays, not some hidden “truth” about life, but an ongoing expectation that these women should be giving more than anyone has ever had the right to ask of them.

I love this. This is how I feel. This isn't about wrangling over if a foetus is a person or how bad we personally feel about the idea of `12,20 or 24 weeks - do we say to women "actually, this isn't your decision, you can be forced to be pregnant and give birth against your will" - or do we say "I trust you. It's your body. You own it and get to decide what happens to it" ?

When it boils down to it, I trust women. And that's why I am happy to be pro-choice. And so, from now on I'm going to push back a lot harder in conversations about this. It's not my right to force women to be pregnant and give birth against their will. It's not anyone's right.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 06-Oct-12 23:54:03

Did anyone read The Times today? The front page appeared (read as I passed by on the way to the checkout) to be entirely about slating Hunt on his stance. A tag line under the headline said something about "an insult to women" and the article appeared to have three female authors. But I didn't get a chance to read more than a few words, and I feel dirty if I actually buy a News International paper, so I wondered if anyone else saw it...

Xenia Sun 07-Oct-12 07:59:25

I buy the TImes and subscribe to it on line.

Given politicians have always had a free vote on this issue and the Tories do not intend to bring abortion law changes forwards it was a fairyl pointless headline. The Times had secured an interview with Hunt although there was nothing interesting in it about his business career up to when he entered Parliament nor revelations about his time in Japan nor marrying his Chinese wife in China realyl so the journalist did not really did out anything of much interest. I suppose the only nugget was about the 12 weeks limit which as he is a man married to someone from a culture which routinely kills more baby girls than anyone on the planet at almost all stages of pregnancy is not really much of a nugget.

LonelyCloud Sun 07-Oct-12 12:26:00

BBC Breakfast today had a discussion on reducing abortion to 12 weeks, did anyone else see that?

Jeremy Hunt wasn't on, they had a different Tory MP who was a member of the parlimentary pro-life group instead. I didn't catch his name.

Xenia Sun 07-Oct-12 14:47:54

It is cetainly a very important issue for many voters. Some will pick their vote based on abortion concerns which is probably why it's better if the Government leaves well alone.

Islam is not as strict at Catholicism on this or rather has a different view:

"Muslim views on abortion are shaped by the Hadith as well as by the opinions of legal and religious scholars and commentators. In Islam, the fetus is believed to become a living soul after four months of gestation,[1] and abortion after that point is generally viewed as impermissible. Many Islamic thinkers recognize exceptions to this rule for certain circumstances; indeed, Azizah Y. al-Hibri notes that "the majority of Muslim scholars permit abortion, although they differ on the stage of fetal development beyond which it becomes prohibited."[2] According to Sherman Jackson, "while abortion, even during the first trimester, is forbidden according to a minority of jurists, it is not held to be an offense for which there are criminal or even civil sanctions. On this understanding, Muslim-Americans who oppose abortion should assiduously limit their activism to the moral sphere and avoid supporting positions that favor the imposition of criminal or civil sanctions in an area into which Islamic law itself never contemplated injecting these."[3]"

So they are saying four months - 17 weeks.

I think the vast majority of women decide whether to progress with a pregnancy or not very quickly. I decided within two weeks of finding out. If someone only requests an abortion around the 20 week mark they must have good reason? Don't they have to actually go through with a birth at that point?

'Don't have sex' is such an odd and simplistic thing to say to an adult. How about - use contraception?

Misslb88 Wed 10-Oct-12 21:46:23

In certain circumstances i agree but i meant for someone to just think i dont want this baby anymore because someone has changed there mind or its not the right sex there r some sick minded people out there or people to young to understand. When it comes to health issues then thats understandable. So the abortion should be reduced to 12 weeks. I look at a scan picture of my baby at 20weeks and i could never imagine having an abortion

Miss there are lots of things I could never imagine doing, but my imagination is not a basis on which to make laws about what other people can and cannot do.

After all, it was people who 'couldn't imagine' being gay who made gay sex illegal for so many years. Living in society requires that one doesn't legislate away the choices of others just because their choices are unappealling.

larrygrylls Thu 11-Oct-12 09:06:26


Most of us cannot imagine being thieves, pirates, blackmailers etc etc. Most people are decent. That is not an argument against laws, in fact it is the reverse. Laws are to protect society and individuals against the few rare exceptions who do choose to make poor, selfish and immoral decisions.

The fact that very very few women would choose to have a late abortion is not an argument against having a law against it, more the opposite. The only argument for allowing very late abortions is if you buy into the argument that a foetus is not a human being until it is born. Personally, I don't. For most people, abortion is a balancing of the woman's and the foetus's/baby's rights and that means it being time limited unless the woman's health is compromised (as the law is at the moment).

larry if you have read this thread or the one rumbling along in AIBU, there are some very, very brave women who have posted their late-abortion stories. I think you'll find that no women feel that they 'choose' to have late abortions - they feel compelled to end a wanted pregnancy by devastating medical news, of ten they decide to prevent the future suffering and death of a longed-for baby. Very, very few abortions happen after 12 weeks, and those that do are generally unhappy stories. Why should those families be punished by making it harder to abort, because you, me, or anyone else 'can't imagine' their situations? We should think ourselves lucky we can't imagine how awful it must be.

larrygrylls Thu 11-Oct-12 12:06:19


If I posted a thread about theft, for instance, I would read many devastating stories about people having to steel a loaf of bread to feed their family and my heart would feel for them as I have never been that desperate or in that position. That does not mean that no people steel for bad reasons. Ditto, I cannot imagine anyone posting on one of these threads that they managed to procure a late abortion because they had just started a new relationship and their partner did not want the baby. I am 100% sure that that kind of story is very very rare although I have no idea exactly how rare but I am equally sure that it does happen. You cannot imagine making that kind of decision as you are not that kind of person, nor can I. The law exists for those rare cases where people decide to step outside societal norms.

I consider myself lucky in all sorts of ways and, in another life, maybe I would have been someone who felt forced to do things which society deemed unacceptable. That is not a reason not to have laws.

I am confused as to why you keep comparing a legal medical proceedure which thousands of women undertake every year, to a criminal act.

Is it just to be inflammatory?

slug Thu 11-Oct-12 12:59:42

Thank you for mansplaining that to us larry.

However, as a non-possessor of a uterus I respectfully suggest that it is not your business to tell women what they can and can't do with their own bodies.

Trills Thu 11-Oct-12 13:05:41

As a possessor of a uterus (which is in fact irrelevant to my opinion) I respectfully suggest that it is not anyone's business to tell someone else what they can and can't do with their own body - whether you would choose to do that with yours or not.

drjohnsonscat Thu 11-Oct-12 13:12:25

YY to this

This isn't about wrangling over if a foetus is a person or how bad we personally feel about the idea of `12,20 or 24 weeks - do we say to women "actually, this isn't your decision, you can be forced to be pregnant and give birth against your will" - or do we say "I trust you. It's your body. You own it and get to decide what happens to it" ?

I am going to come out and say it. Abortions are a good thing. Not "sad but..." or "well, maybe in this case it's different". Just a good thing. Not a compulsory thing and not something that everyone should do. But a good thing that's available in the world if you want it. You wanting an abortion is a good enough reason to have one and for the rest of us to say "You chose your own destiny, I'm pleased that we live in a world where you can do this".

And to reiterate what I said on the thread earlier, we should really be applauding those women who have multiple abortions, not demonising them. They know they don't want to be or are not able to be a mother to a child. We should view that as a powerful and humane decision. Multiple abortions cannot be physically easy and that situation is unlikely to happen to a woman who is wholly in control of her life. So hats off to any woman in that situation if she still has the wherewithall and clearsightedness to take control of her life by deciding not to add an unwanted child to the mix.

Trills Thu 11-Oct-12 13:56:56

I agree.

I would prefer to live in a world where abortions are available for those who want them than to live in a world where abortions are not allowed.

Therefore abortions are a good thing.

Abortions make the world a better place.

larrygrylls Thu 11-Oct-12 13:57:18


This thread concerns whether to reduce the legal term for abortion. It is therefore about law and whether there should be one. What do you think this thread is about?

As a possessor of a human body, I feel that it is entirely my right to comment on what people do to other human bodies, albeit small ones.

My position is hardly pro-life so I am not extreme. I merely believe that there should come a time in pregnancy where the rights of the foetus are considered and the rights of the mother, whilst paramount, are not the sole consideration.

Trills Thu 11-Oct-12 13:59:47

paramount: chief in importance or impact

If the rights of the woman are paramount then it does not matter whether the fetus has rights or not, the mother gets to decide.

Personally I'm not keen on the fact that you are calling her "the mother" - the whole point here is that a woman wants an abortion in order to not be the mother of this potential child.

larrygrylls Thu 11-Oct-12 14:04:42


Paramount means that if the mother risks physical or mental harm through carrying the foetus, she has the right to abort at any point. If she merely risks inconvenience or annoyance, than the right of the foetus (I am talking 20 weeks + here) to life trumps her right to avoid the annoyance and/or inconvenience. Although the mother comes first on a like-for-like basis, the right to life weighs heavily against the absolute right to do as she chooses.

Trills, have you tried telling any heavily pregnant women that they are NOT the mother of the baby they are carrying yet and will only become so at birth? Works both ways...

Trills Thu 11-Oct-12 14:08:29

If they consider themselves to be a mother then they are, If they do not, then they are not.

Just another way in which people who wish to reduce or remove access to abortion seem to be ignoring the most important thing - what the woman wants or feels.

grimbletart Thu 11-Oct-12 14:11:36

I'm not sure it is possible to have a meaningful exchange of views with someone who can describe an unwanted pregnancy as something which "merely risks annoyance and/or inconvenience". There speaks someone who has no possible conception of the effect that an unplanned pregnancy can have.

Annoyance is something you feel when someone pinches your parking place.
Inconvenience is something you undergo when someone turns up unexpectedly as you are about to sit down to dinner.

slug Thu 11-Oct-12 14:17:51

Again with the mansplaining larry.

You see, for millennia men have told women what they can and can't do with their bodies. You can't get pregnant. Why on earth do you think that gives you the right to dictate to those who can what they should and shouldn't do?

Women's bodies aren't public property. They are ours. That means we get the right to say who touches them, who enters them and whether or not a pregnancy in our bodies is carried to term.

larrygrylls Thu 11-Oct-12 14:22:13


Well, actually, you don't, sorry. Not legally, anyway.

And much as you would like this debate to split by sexes, it doesn't. There are as many women who find late abortion atrocious as men.

larrygrylls Thu 11-Oct-12 14:26:44

And if "bodily autonomy" is all important, should a siamese twin who shares a heart have a right to commit suicide? Easy question..or not so easy?

slug Thu 11-Oct-12 14:29:05

Well, actually Larry, I would like to be afforded the same privileges over my own body as men have over theirs thank you very much.

I respectfully suggest that anyone who finds abortion atrocious make the decision not to have one themselves and keep their opinions away from my bodily autonomy.

slug Thu 11-Oct-12 14:30:41

Since I'm not a co-joined twin Larry it is not a decision for me to make. In co-joined twin surgery the final say is given to the people concerned, it's not for the general public to wade in with their opinions.

larrygrylls Thu 11-Oct-12 14:31:18

I said LATE abortion, please don't misquote me. I am in favour of abortion on demand up to a limit.

Well, you do have. I cannot demand a surgeon or doctor do whatever operation I choose on me. They have to consent to it. So, in that sense, I don't have any more privilege than you.

slug Thu 11-Oct-12 14:46:57

I'm not misquoting you at all Larry <<sigh>>

Just for a moment, stop and try to see it from the position of a person (difficult though it may be to see women as people and not a sub-species of male) and realize just how like slavery it feels to be told that you are not allowed to make decisions about your own body. As a man you will never understand how women's bodies are public property, how men feel they have the right to touch, invade and dictate to us how they are used.

This was linked to further up the thread but it's worth linking again to dispel the myth of 'inconvenience' that you are so keen to promote.

And I'll say it again. You can't get pregnant. Butt out.

OneMoreChap Thu 11-Oct-12 16:07:30


And I'll say it again. You can't get pregnant. Butt out.

I disagree completely with his stance, and worked from the 70s on to support abortion liberalisation.

It's a feeble comment to say - you can't get pregnant, so you have no voice.

He has influence - as do all of us - with the mostly male legislators in the Commons; since the Dorries individual is a woman, we need more men on the pro-abortion side. Whatever you think is right, men do have a voice in this debate.

slug Thu 11-Oct-12 16:35:11

But he isn't exactly pro abortion is he? He's "We'll let the wimminz have some rights to shut them up but there comes a point where we must tell them what is good for them".

I, for one, am fed up to the back teeth with men telling me what I can and can't do with my body, especially the ones who feel it is their right to tell me that I don't understand the issues. Nadine Dorries on the other hand, with whom incidentally I have a frequent frank exchange of views via twitter, is, at least a woman.

EmBOOsa Thu 11-Oct-12 16:38:19

"I respectfully suggest that anyone who finds abortion atrocious make the decision not to have one themselves and keep their opinions away from my bodily autonomy."

Well said.

drjohnsonscat Thu 11-Oct-12 17:02:38

My issue with Nadine Dorries is she makes the terrible mistake of extrapolating from her own experience of pregnancy to cover all women. Her pregnancy convinced her she could never have a termination. Mine convinced me they were all the more important. But that's just my view. I'm not trying to impose it on anyone - I'm just trying to keep everyone's options open. She's taking her view and assuming its universal. Hugely arrogant.

larrygrylls Thu 11-Oct-12 17:52:09


"I'm not misquoting you at all Larry <<sigh>>"

What I said: "There are as many women who find late abortion atrocious as men"

This is what you "quoted" me as saying: "I respectfully suggest that anyone who finds abortion atrocious make the decision not to have one themselves and keep their opinions away from my bodily autonomy."

That is a misquote, according to anyone's definition of a misquote. The fact that you did not directly quote me does not mean that you did quite clearly indirectly imply that I found ALL abortion atrocious, a position a million miles away from where I am.

And it is funny that you accept OneMoreChap's contribution to the debate merely because he totally agrees with your perspective and and has probably studied feminism at some right on ex poly

And where you really rile me is in the comment "you cannot get pregnant, butt out" as if, in this day and age, there are zero consequences to a man in getting a woman pregnant. He will have to pay for 18 years at least (assuming he is not actually an involved parent) and will have NO SAY in whether the baby is born or not. In reality, in this day and age, it is a woman's PRIVILEGE (a word you like to use a lot) to decide whether her DNA combined with a MAN's DNA ends up originating a life.

OneMoreChap Thu 11-Oct-12 19:54:20


and has probably studied feminism at some right on ex poly

You would have a great deal of trouble being more wrong.
Hard science, Russel Group, close to 40 years since...

I think a lot of the stuff posted here is bollocks, but I'm interested in what people think. I disapprove very strongly of abortion... but I disapprove of bringing unwanted kids into the world and forcing women to have kids very much more.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 11-Oct-12 20:15:23

Larry, all the consequences a man risks, a woman risks too. But still men do not get pregnant and do not risk all that a woman risks. It is less a priviledge than a burden. Priviledge would be to tell others they must risk what you do not have to.

I'm with Drjohnsonscat - Abortion is good. The more we hinder abortion the less happiness and human potential we will realize.

AbigailAdams Fri 12-Oct-12 00:05:25

Susan Faludi in Backlash mentions that in 1800 abortion was legal in all states in the US and public opinion was pretty neutral. It wasn't until the middle of the 19th century when women were trying to make it legal for wives to refuse sex on health grounds hmm that reproductive rights and abortion in particular was attacked. It was a backlash. Just like all this is a backlash.

Restricting abortion has never been about the foetus and has always been about controlling women.

ParrotTulip Fri 12-Oct-12 00:29:06

If abortion is made illegal, abortions would still happen. Only the rich would be able to have safe abortions without the risk of death or permanent gynaelogical damage. Most women would have to take a risk with a knitting needle. This is why I am pro choice.

Abigail If you ever feel like it, there's an incredible book called "Crazy for God" by Francis Schaeffer, about how he and his dad (the 'evangelical Pope' of the 70s and 80s) basically pushed the religious right into an extremely politicized anti-abortion stance (which they didn't always have, it used to be a thing only Catholics and Quakers objected to, and those two denominations are pretty rigorous when it comes to life - anti-death penalty, etc).
These people then came to dominate the US's right wing party and claim that they were the voice of the majority blah blah. In fact, a huge percentage of American women have had abortions, but the culture of shame is such that it's never spoken of.

Anyway, Schaffer sincerely regrets his actions now - to the extent that he wrote the book exposing them all - and boy howdy, even he says he never expected them to be so successful, politically.

Hideous, frightening stuff.

twofingerstoGideon Fri 12-Oct-12 08:07:12

Cristina Odone perpetuating some myths on Question Time last night:

…plenty of medical and scientific breakthroughs that show us that the foetus is viable between 20-24 weeks, they survive at 20 weeks . There are thousands and thousands of Britons alive that have not only survived but thrived as premature babies who were born between 20-24 weeks

Was she deliberately lying or woefully misinformed? I'm heartily sick of the religious right presenting bullshit as if it were fact.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 08:40:48


Not so. Woman and man have sex, contraception fails. Woman wants baby, man does not. Consequence: woman has baby, man pays for 18 years +. Woman does not want baby, man does. Consequence: woman has early abortion (not trivial, but not major life trauma either). "Privilege", if you want to use that word, resides with the woman, not the man.


Did Cristina really say that? That is woefully misinformed and she should correct it. Apparently in the U.S, survival rates of 23 week olds is 53% so it is coming down but that neglects the fact that I suspect most of those will be severely handicapped. I think the record is something like 21 weeks and that is a one in a million +.

Trills Fri 12-Oct-12 08:50:56

Someone has to make the decision, larry.

If two people disagree on something that is a yes/no question, someone has to be given the "privilege" of having the deciding vote. You can't compromise and have half a baby.

It's sad if a man wants a baby and the woman does not, but giving the woman the choice is (IMO) the least-worst option.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 08:54:22


I actually agree with you that the woman should decide. Definitely the least worst option. On the other hand, I would tend to go with the option being keep the baby with sole responsibility if the father does not want it, or have an abortion. I don't feel it is fair to say I am having your baby that you do not want, but you still have to pay.

twofingerstoGideon Fri 12-Oct-12 08:54:45

Yes, larrygrylls, she most certainly did. It's on iplayer if you want to watch...

Trills Fri 12-Oct-12 08:57:54

I suppose there are four options, where the two people involved disagree

1 - woman decides
2 - man decides
3 - if at least one parent wants an abortion, get an abortion
4 - if at least one parent wants a baby, have a baby

#1 definitely "least worst".

twofingerstoGideon Fri 12-Oct-12 08:58:11

larrygrylls I don't feel it is fair to say I am having your baby that you do not want, but you still have to pay.

Really? If a man feels that strongly about not wanting children he can take precautions against that eventuality. If those precautions fail, why should the woman carry the entire financial burden of raising a child? Enough women do that, anyway; even in cases where having children was a joint decision. Strange how some men believe that contributing is optional...

Trills Fri 12-Oct-12 09:00:53

I think it would be pretty much impossible to prove legally whether the man "wanted" a baby at the time of conception, so we can't legislate that men only pay for intentional babies. The legal bring-in-the-CSA stance has to assume that men should pay to help support children they have fathered.

Which brings it down to a question of morals - is it right to ask a man to pay for and be involved with a child who he didn't want to exist in the first place? I think that's a whole different thread. (an interesting one, but one that's liable to get pretty heated)

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 09:05:54


Both parties should be equally responsible for contraception. Why should that reside solely with the man? She has to carry the entire burden because she has chosen to keep the child against the man's wishes. She has a choice.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 09:08:29


I take your point where the man's volition is contested. What if they both accept that contraception was an accident?

Trills Fri 12-Oct-12 09:08:30

I think that because abortion is such an emotive issue (and because so many people feel that it is morally wrong) it is not really possible to say "she didn't have to have the baby".

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 09:17:17


At the end of the day pregnancy is not a 50:50 situation. The man and the woman have an equal opportunity before sex to prevent conception - by not having penetrative sex, using contraception etc. in the case of accident, the woman has a second chance to decide. The man takes his first decision about penetrative sex ON THAT BASIS, knowing that is his one decision point. It's not hidden from him that that is the case.

slug Fri 12-Oct-12 09:28:26

<<Men>>"will have to pay for 18 years at least"

Ha Ha Ha. A very brief peruse of these boards will tell you that is about as much bullshit as everything else you've stated Larry.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 09:30:31


If the law were not up for discussion, there would be zero points on having any threads on this kind of issue. As the law is, you are entirely correct. But, in the same sense as pro lifers and pro choicers and everything in between discuss the morals of abortion at different points, I can put my perspective on what is fair rather than the current law and interpret the current law in terms of to whom I see the privilege attaching.

I know of one father whose daughter was hidden from him for the first seven years of his life and then contact denied for a further six years. After that the mother decided he should be involved. He stepped up to the plate, paid for private schooling for her and treated her as a full sibling to his other children. I think he did exactly the right thing and should be applauded for it. That does not mean that he was not treated appallingly and, in my view, what he did was way in excess of any moral obligation that he had.

twofingerstoGideon Fri 12-Oct-12 09:30:33


Both parties should be equally responsible for contraception. Why should that reside solely with the man? She has to carry the entire burden because she has chosen to keep the child against the man's wishes. She has a choice.

Of course both parties need to take equal responsibility for contraception, but if someone is adamant about not wanting to take responsibility for any contraceptive failure then they should probably abstain altogether. Accidents happen. When they do, both people have to take responsibility for the outcome. Paying for the upbringing of a child you have fathered should not be optional.

As for the 'she has a choice' [about continuing the pregnancy to term]: yes, she does, but if she feels unable to have a termination (her body, her decision) then the man must share the responsibility for any subsequent offspring. Complaining about 'not really wanting' to have a baby after the event is immature and frankly ridiculous.

slug Fri 12-Oct-12 09:30:49

"Apparently in the U.S, survival rates of 23 week olds is 53% "

More misinformation and outright lies. It's 10%.

twofingerstoGideon Fri 12-Oct-12 09:32:04

what he did was way in excess of any moral obligation that he had


TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 09:35:48

Larry your point makes no sense in response to mine.

If you take a job that has a 5% chance of international travel, there is no point bitching when you are handed a plane ticket one day. There was a small but definite possibility when you took the job that travel was part of the deal and you took the decision knowing that.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 09:39:56


My post had a clear nexus to yours. I cannot see any link between my point and your reply at all. Are you sure it was to me?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 12-Oct-12 09:42:29

Larry When men and women have sexual intercourse women take on a physical risk that men do not. Abortion is still a physical risk, less so than the physical risk of bearing a baby to term, but still a physical risk. Men never take on that physical risk. And they are not required by law to take on any of the expense of pregnancy whether carried to term or aborted. You seem to be talking about pregnancy as a minor blip on the way to a child, a sort of binary switch, rather than a significant physical ordeal.

I'm not suggesting there is an equivalence in the decision making during pregnancy. There is a dfference.

But laws limiting abortion mean we force onto another what we do not bear ourselves and that is a much greater imposition than the idea someone should be able to make some else share some of the consequences of a dual action.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 09:58:06


I think the physical risk of early abortion really is minimal (of the order of <1/100,000). This is, for instance, a lower mortality risk than taking a course of penicillin for the first time. I am not sure that the risk argument really holds water on that basis.

If abortion were merely about the mother, I can totally see your point. The question is whether you believe the foetus to be a human being, or at what point that occurs. I am not sure it is going to be easy to agree on that, but most people think that at some point, whilst still in utero, that foetus acquires a degree of "humanness" and thus some rights of its own, to be balanced against those of the mother. People who are childless have no idea of the strains that newborns place on parents but, in my opinion, are perfectly entitled to be anti infanticide and have a say in making laws against it.
It ultimately comes down to when one feels tha a foetus (or even a baby) becomes a person. I believe some extreme feminists argue that a mother should have a right to infanticide (to get around what I have argued above). However, ultimately, as individuals and a society, we have to legislate on this issue somehow, as it affects three people at least, the mother, the foetus (if and when it acquires humanness) and the medical staff who are required to carry out the procedure.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 10:04:19

There can be no equivalence. A man may prefer that his child is breast fed but it isn't his body providing the sustenance, therefore the woman's view carries more weight.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 10:19:36


I think you have to be careful not to use the additional abilities of the female body to give women more rights but to carefully legislate to equalise the constraints of females due to pregnancy, birth and breast feeding. We have concepts such as maternity leave to allow a woman to get around the physical disadvantage of having children and to make her an equal player in the workplace. Similarly, with men and women being equally responsible for their children, it seems fair to override the biological imperative somewhat to allow a man some say in the birth and feeding of his child.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 10:24:44

Get back to me when you lactate, larry.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 10:31:10

Get back to me when you can asexually reproduce, TheDoctrine.

twofingerstoGideon Fri 12-Oct-12 10:35:28

We have concepts such as maternity leave to allow a woman to get around the physical disadvantage of having children and to make her an equal player in the workplace.

You are kidding right? About women being 'equal players' in the workplace. Are you actually aware of how many women end up in relatively low-paid part-time jobs because of childcare issues, despite their qualifications, skills and experience?
Are you aware of the earnings gap that still exists between men and women, which is partly due to women taking career breaks to look after children?

twofingerstoGideon Fri 12-Oct-12 10:36:57

Sorry that was off-topic, but seeing as you brought it up, larry, I felt compelled to call you on it.

larrygrylls Fri 12-Oct-12 10:40:23


A lot of that is historical. In any event, we attempt to legislate around this issue, with greater or lesser success.

I do think that we should take one of two approaches, though. Either we are basically animals and we accept that the female and males have different roles or we say that we are more evolved than that and, although we have different bodies, we try to work around the advantages and limitations of both sexes to give them more choices and more equal roles across the board. What I find surprising is how few on this board will accept that, and most feel that a woman should accrue all the rights due to her physical body but accept none of the limitations.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 10:43:09

What are the limitations you refer to, larry?

EmBOOsa Fri 12-Oct-12 10:44:43

"I think the physical risk of early abortion really is minimal"

Minimal it may be, but it is still more physical risk than a man would face.

EmBOOsa Fri 12-Oct-12 10:45:46

"I believe some extreme feminists argue that a mother should have a right to infanticide (to get around what I have argued above)."

I have never seen that argued confused

AbigailAdams Fri 12-Oct-12 11:08:00

Thanks blackcurrants I have just got it for Kindle!

Men shouldn't have any say in what a woman does with her body whether it is having an abortion, how she gives birth, whether she breastfeeds. That is controlling and quite frankly, not very nice. You can give us your opinion and...well...we can ignore it. Because women are adults and human beings and can make up our own minds.

However, the state has always felt it necessary to control women's bodies from abortion to birth to feeding babies to raping us. Some of that is now historical....some of it not so much. As I said earleir, this is all about control and larry's comments are showing that perfectly.

drjohnsonscat Fri 12-Oct-12 12:01:50

What I find surprising is how few on this board will accept that, and most feel that a woman should accrue all the rights due to her physical body but accept none of the limitations

Where am I accruing rights Larry? All I want are the same rights as you to control my own body.

Pregnancy, by the way, is a huge imposition on a woman's life. You might want it and love it but it is also a physical ordeal and by the way, carries considerable risks and costs which span the entire range from damage to the health of your teeth to catastrophic damage and death. No one can take that away from pregnancy - we do try to mitigate risks through medical intervention but pregnancy will never be risk-free. So men and women are very far from being on an equal playing field when it comes to bringing the next generation into the world, physically, let alone socially, politically and economically. Your comments make you look as though you think pregnancy is something you decide to do that is cost free. Sadly not.

My fundamental view on this is that biology has designed human beings so that life can only enter the world through a woman's body. Fine. We can't do much about that. But I must insist on the right to decide whether to be a vessel or not. If I choose to be a vessel then fine - I submit to it. But I will not have that choice taken away from me.

Once the baby is here then it's a whole different rights story. But all the while it needs to use my body as a vessel to get here, the baby has no rights. Unless I choose to give it rights by giving up my own.

Imagine a situation where a woman giving birth and the baby were both in danger and only one of them could be saved. Only the mother has the right to say "Save the baby - I sacrifice myself to the baby". No one else in the delivery room has the right to say "Sacrifice her - the baby wins". Indeed I think most doctors would, if push came to shove, agree that primacy belongs to the woman and I suspect even pro life drs would find it difficult to conclude differently.

AThingInYourLife Fri 12-Oct-12 12:13:44

"Only the mother has the right to say "Save the baby - I sacrifice myself to the baby"

Does the mother have that right?

<applauds dr's posts>

drjohnsonscat Fri 12-Oct-12 12:20:30

you are right athing. I don't know whether a dr could accept that instruction from a woman under his or her care.

I think the point is clear. When push comes to shove the woman has primacy.

AbigailAdams Fri 12-Oct-12 13:01:03

What I find surprising is how few on this board will accept that, and most feel that a woman should accrue all the rights due to her physical body but accept none of the limitations

"The most notable fact our culture imprints on women is the sense of our limits. The most important thing one woman can do for another is to illuminate and expand her sense of actual possibilities." Adrienne Rich

Someone (conveniently) just posted that on their FB wall.

The only reason women are "limited" by pregnancy is because society deems it so. From whether we can choose to continue with the pregnancy, to how we behave during pregnancy, to how we give birth, to how we are perceived, to our employment opportunities, to our worth in society.

larrygrylls Sat 13-Oct-12 09:37:53

"Imagine a situation where a woman giving birth and the baby were both in danger and only one of them could be saved. Only the mother has the right to say "Save the baby - I sacrifice myself to the baby". No one else in the delivery room has the right to say "Sacrifice her - the baby wins". Indeed I think most doctors would, if push came to shove, agree that primacy belongs to the woman and I suspect even pro life drs would find it difficult to conclude differently. "

I don't think anyone could possibly disagree with that statement but I am not sure what you are arguing by stating it? In every civilised country, the woman enjoys primacy where it comes to risk of death.

"Where am I accruing rights Larry? All I want are the same rights as you to control my own body."

If you believe in genetics, the single biggest imperative of every animal, including humans, is to propagate their DNA. If a man gets a woman pregnant, the woman has the right to decide the destiny of both sets of DNA. That is a big right.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 13-Oct-12 09:58:26

Larry are you discussing a situation where a man and a woman have accidentally conceived and the man would prefer an abortion to take place, or where a man and woman have planned to conceive and the man would prefer no abortion.

If a woman chooses not to continue a pregnancy and the man doesn't want to continue the relationship without a reasonable chance of propagation, he can choose to seek a new relationship.

larrygrylls Sat 13-Oct-12 10:03:58


Of course he can. But the woman has additional choices to the man. Surely, that is clear? I am not saying it is wrong either. I think it is a natural consequence of carrying the child. I just think these additional choices should be recognised as a woman's privilege to weigh against the men's privileges so often spoken of on these boards.

AThingInYourLife Sat 13-Oct-12 10:04:34

"In every civilised country, the woman enjoys primacy where it comes to risk of death."

So the Republic of Ireland is not civilised?

I think that's fair grin

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 13-Oct-12 10:19:13

The nature of biology and medical science mean that women have an extra chance to make a choice about pregnancy, yes.

As a counter example of where biology doesn't "privilege" women - a woman cannot forcibly impregnate someone else.

larrygrylls Sat 13-Oct-12 10:32:10


There are plenty of counter examples, including having to endure pregnancy and birth. I am not arguing that. However women do have that one important privilege on their side.

Coming back to the abortion argument and whether men should have a say, I think that, if someone said that only the parents of a child should have a say on whether to kill it, most people would regard that as a ridiculous position. After all, a young baby can hardly argue its own case for a right to life. For me, after a certain point, a foetus is a human being and all people have a right to argue on its behalf for its right to life.

Clearly this does impugn the "bodily integrity" of a woman. On the other hand, having potassium chloride injected into its heart clearly impugns the bodily integrity of the foetus/baby. The idea of forcing a woman to stay pregnant is distasteful and I can see why people feel that it is controlling. On the other hand, for me, it is the least bad option in cases where a healthy foetus has made it beyond a certain point. None of us have complete bodily integrity. There was a famous case (Regina vs Brown) concerning gay sado masochist men who were consenting to some fairly extreme S&M (think nailing scrotums to a board). They were found guilty of assault, despite all the men consenting. Similarly I cannot demand a surgeon do gender reassignment surgery on me without passing certain stringent conditions.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 14-Oct-12 11:57:51

Larry Your examples of how bodily integrity is denied to others are not really equivalent. The charges in the Spanner case were the general assault laws designed to ensure everyone's safety. Their use in the Spanner case was, and remains, controversial and has not resulted in lots of similar cases despite the mainstreaming of BDSM. More importanty from a bodily integrity perspective, though the Spanner case confirmed that consent is not a get out for the actions of others, it does not criminalize the person who consents. A person who assaults themsleves is not guilty - this is technically bodily integrity (though admittedly an empty right in many circumstances).

In terms of demanding a surgeon perform gender reassignment surgery: People cannot demand a surgeon perform any particular surgery - one person's bodily integrity does not create a right to command others. You are free to attempt gender reassignment surgery on yourself without being criminalized (please dont though!). Also, the law does not specify stringent conditions you must meet for gender reassignment, the surgeon's defence against assault is that you consent and it is medically sound for them to perform the surgery. Conditions are those the surgeon takes to make sure she does not fall foul of it being medically sound.

However, women who choose to have an abortion outside of the current provision in this country are themselves guilty of a crime for doing as they please to their own body. The law specifically calls out abortion as an act that women may not choose even if they do it themsleves. Regardless of the other aspects - the lack of bodily integrity is technically down to the woman being criminalized by the act. Seperately, HCPs who assist, who would normally be protected by the same legal framework that protects them from performing any surgery or medical procedure on a consenting adult, are specifically criminalized for this one procedure. There isn't another medical procedure they are criminalized for despite it being in the best interests of the patient.

JugglingWithPossibilities Sun 14-Oct-12 15:20:24

There do seem to be some interesting anomalies there Emmeline - thanks for your post.

larrygrylls Mon 15-Oct-12 08:55:31

I agree that Emmeline makes some good points. Pregnancy, though, is unique really. The only other relationship where one person entirely depends on another's body is conjoined twins.

Ultimately, the relationship between a mother and a growing foetus is unique and one's attitude to abortion is a matter of one's personal beliefs and morality. Laws are there to represent the weak and having some protection for a foetus beyond a certain point seems sensible to the majority of the population (and there is no strong gender split on this, as far as I know).

slug Mon 15-Oct-12 10:02:19

Actually larry, given that a third of women in the UK have an abortion at some time in their lives, and given that the majority of the UK population are in favour of a woman's right to choose, your assertion that the majority of the population accept your particular view is a bit odd.

larrygrylls Mon 15-Oct-12 10:10:54


Why do you perpetuate deliberately misstating my view? It is a really sad tactic within a discussion. For the 3rd time, I will reiterate that I am pro abortion on demand up to a certain point within a pregnancy. Beyond that point, I think that the rights of the foetus override that of the mere choice of the mother, although I do believe in exceptions to this rule too. I would like to see that point at somewhere between 18 and 24 weeks.

I suspect that even if women were allowed to legislate on this issue, with zero input from us menz, you would get pretty much that outcome.

SmashingTurnips Mon 15-Oct-12 10:15:21

I think until society addresses cultural emphasis on PIV, and the vastly different outcomes for women and men when contraception fails or is not used, it is misogynistic to erode abortion rights for women.

We also need to examine contraception itself as it is not unproblematic.

twofingerstoGideon Mon 15-Oct-12 11:20:03

"The mere choice of the mother" ???

larrygrylls Mon 15-Oct-12 11:27:46


The adjective qualifies the word "choice" and not "mother" and is used to compare the CHOICE of the mother with the LIFE of the foetus/baby who, at the age I have specified, is certainly, in some senses, sentient. Most people would say choice is mere compared to life or death. Most women, as well.

SmashingTurnips Mon 15-Oct-12 11:54:40

Right. The mere choice of the woman to exercise her human right to bodily integrity.

The mere choice of the woman to exercise her right not to continue a pregnancy, give birth, raise a child, have her life (and possible health) irrevocably and substantially altered. The mere choice not to be someone's parent for the rest of your life.

Piffling stuff hmm

aaah, there it is, the little "mere" which asserts that pregnancy and childbirth is really no big deal at all, insinuating that women decide not to go ahead with such things out of mere whimsy.


AbigailAdams Mon 15-Oct-12 14:15:01

"the mere choice of the mother"
True colours, Larry, true colours.

SmashingTurnips I agree completely with the emphasis on PIV and contraception issues. I also think that there is a societal issues where women who are pregnant unexpectedly are unsupported. Pregnancy and children are seen as inconvenient, especially out of a relationship. There is still a stigma to single motherhood. Careers are curtailed by having children etc. If having children was of a higher status and more supported than it is now then abortion rates would probably reduce.

larrygrylls Mon 15-Oct-12 14:21:52

Typical to seize on one word rather than disputing the substance of an argument. And it really is "mere" compared to having potassium chloride injected into your unanaesthetised sentient heart.

And this thread is not about anti abortion, it is about a sensible limit on the term at which abortion is unavailable. It is a straw man argument to pur forward reasons for abortion. That is a different debate entirely. I think 95%, if not all posters, on this thread, are pro choice (or whatever you want to call it).

AbigailAdams Mon 15-Oct-12 14:24:42

Nope "mere" is very indicative of your view of women, larry

EmmelineGoulden Mon 15-Oct-12 14:31:26

larry it isn't the choice of the mother comapred to the life of the baby. The mother or government make the choice, but the choice is between the life, health and experience of the mother and her family with or without the continuing pregnancy and subsequent baby.

That choice isn't simply about the life of a baby and some idea of freedom to flip a coin. It's the life of a (probable) future baby and a whole host of real physical impacts on others, mainly the mother.

In what other circumstances do we legally require others to make a physical sacrifice for another?