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Feminists shouldn't try to stifle debate about abortion

(92 Posts)
Bennifer Thu 26-May-11 09:41:34

I don't know whether this has already been posted, but there's a Deborah Orr article in the guardian that some of you might find interesting

LoopyLoopsBettyBoops Thu 26-May-11 09:43:39

I have to say that I do struggle as someone who doesn't believe in the right to choose an abortion, and someone who believes in feminism. I don't see why the two factions have to be mutually exclusive, but there are many who think that is the case.

TheProvincialLady Thu 26-May-11 09:49:41

I read that this morning and I agree with her to some extent. I am someone who finds abortion abhorrent but would defend anyone's right to have one. I see her argument about suppressing debate, but on the other hand I don't think we would want to see the BNP and other extremist political groups on every government committee just to maintain 'balance.' The anti abortion debate has already been lost - abortion is legal, and so it should be.

HerBeX Thu 26-May-11 09:53:00

I didn't get past "I'm struggling to understand quite why it is so terrible that the anti-abortion charity, Life, has been invited to join a government- advisory sexual health forum"

If she's really struggling to understand why an organisation that stands for denying women sovereignty over their own bodies, sitting on a government advisory forum, is a BAD THING, then she's a bit thick frankly.

But I will try and read the rest of the articel when I get time. She's usually quite good.

RunnerHasbeen Thu 26-May-11 09:58:28

I don't think it is a case of different ideologies competing as she suggests, but about the government doing something that completely contradicts the evidence base - the outcome of which is one that feminists may feel is important (women having control of their reproduction and reduction in unplanned pregnancy). It seems a mad things to do just as things were starting to improve. I would be more worried about their condom messages, for example and do think in general that people on panels should prove they can understand and listen to real evidence in their field, not cherry pick in a dangerous way.

"You cannot call yourself 'pro-choice' and then bar people who disagree with you from expressing their view" - it is the form the expression takes that people object to, trying to control the government and harassing women at clinics. The pro-choice group do not try to enforce an opinion on others, so can't see a contradiction in her sentence beyond semantics. I also think people who expect the "pro-life" group to be as respectful to other groups are misguided - to them this will not be a chance to discuss things rationally but proof that they were right all along. We have seen this take off in America, so it seems sensible to be at least wary of the movement here.

swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 09:59:26

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swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 10:03:15

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swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 10:11:11

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swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 10:14:52

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swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 10:20:15

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swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 10:28:15

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swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 10:36:23

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ChristinedePizan Thu 26-May-11 10:45:37

Good work on this thread SAF. Sorry, got to post and run but wanted to add that every teenage mum I know has been shoved into a hostel for teenage mums, not given a gorgeous council home a free Sky subscription.

ChristinedePizan Thu 26-May-11 10:45:58

and a free ...

slug Thu 26-May-11 10:56:57

To be totally honest, apart from the fact that I take issue with the term "pro-life" when really what is meant is "anti-choice", I have a real problem with men in the argument. Since they do not get pregnant and can therefore have no idea of the very visceral feelings that accompany a pregnancy wanted or not. Nort can they understand the conflicting pressures that society puts on women, much less pregnant ones.

Whenever a man starts pontificating on feckless pregnant women and how life is sacred, I just want to tell them to but out. So sue me.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 26-May-11 11:00:33

"In fact, it's quite understandable that people should be horrified by the idea of foetuses being terminated" - is it? Some animals can miscarry on purpose, we can't, does that make rabbits etc "horrifying"?

swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 11:00:52

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VictorGollancz Thu 26-May-11 11:05:56

I usually agree with everything that Deborah Orr writes but on this occasion she can fuck right off. I thought she had a better political brain than to resort to such women-hating, Littlejohn-esque nonsense.

'It is perfectly legitimate to be anti-abortion'. Um, of course it is - with regards to yourself. Don't want an abortion under any circumstances? Don't have one. It is not remotely fucking legitimate to attempt to force these beliefs - with the attendant guilt and shame - onto the bodies of others. I cannot understand, not for one minute, a forced birth position. Because that's what it is, if you deny women's access to abortion. Forced. Birth.

And while I'm on this soapbox, Deborah, your idea that LIFE's views on sexual health aren't wanted in government because they're not 'agreeable' is a pile of old shite; actually, you might find that we can all read the evidence filtering over from the US about the abject, abject failure of 'Just Say No' programmes. Pregnancy rates rising, STD's through the roof, anal sex becoming the sex du jour because vaginal viginity is all that matters, don't you know. Don't make out we're too busy lentil-weaving to listen to the sensible abstinencers. Just fuck right off with your deliberately polemical nonsense.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 26-May-11 11:09:08

"But you simply cannot call yourself "pro-choice" and then bar people who do not agree with you from expressing their opposing view. It's an oxymoronic position. People who defend such regressive behaviour, simply mirror that of the dictatorial hardliners they supposedly stand against. Then they wonder why they get called "feminazis"."

Did she just resign from feminism? No-one is being barred from expressing their opinion, unless I am being barred from expressing my opinion because the government haven't called ME in to advise them? But that is nonsensical. They can express it all they like, it doesn't mean we all/the government have to listen.

VictorGollancz Thu 26-May-11 11:16:23

Elephants That makes my blood bloody boil. Within the law of the UK, a pro-choice or pro-life individual can express their views however they see fit. If they're six weeks pregnant, they can have an abortion, or not have one. If they're sixteen weeks pregnant, they can have an abortion, or not have one. If their pregnancy has terrible complications very late on, they can have an abortion, or not have one. That is literally the end of it.

It's not simply wanting to ban people 'who don't agree with' me. It's about pointing out that these people - with no scientific evidence whatsoever, and who consistently smear and lie in order to discredit the medical community - want to change the law. It's not about 'expressing themselves' (and surely their most powerful 'expression' is, um, not having an abortion), it's about compromising the bodily autonomy of others.

I don't want to change the law so that all women have to have at least one abortion. If I did, perhaps everyone would tell me I had no place in the government of the UK. I see these forced birthers as no different.

PrinceHumperdink Thu 26-May-11 11:16:33

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PrinceHumperdink Thu 26-May-11 11:20:28

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dittany Thu 26-May-11 11:25:04

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swallowedAfly Thu 26-May-11 11:26:32

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dittany Thu 26-May-11 11:27:42

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