Sorry this is a bit late as the media debate has moved on, but I was considering my response before I posted it. David Cameron recently caused some controversy by saying that he agreed with claims that the abortion limit should be reduced from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. He does so in defiance of BMA recommendations. I am glad he has. There has been and will continue to be a rise in the survival rates of foetuses born at 24 weeks and although it is a very small amount, that is enough for a change.

 I however would like to see further reforms of abortion law. Around 97% of women justify their abortion by saying they are not mentally or physically able to cope with a child, with the majority citing mental health reasons. This needs to be addressed with narrower or more specific reasons needed before being given access to abortion. Obviously in the case of rape or incest this increased stringency does not apply. 

According to the independent, citing information it gained through the freedom of information act more than 100 girls under the age of 18 are on their second abortion. This is a gross statistic. It shows a complete lack of knowledge about sex management and family planning, but it also shows a system that is being abused and life is being destroyed at levels which are just unacceptable. A further reform needed regarding those girls under 16 is that an adult should be informed before any abortion is undertaken, that adult should be a relative but not necessarily a parent. This is essential as the decision being made is so huge that someone under 16 should not be left to deal with it alone.

  Women have the right to choose what happens to their bodies, that choice lies not in abortion but in using contraception well, choosing to perhaps have less sex. Men are not without a huge responsibility too, they need to be actively choosing to use contraception and both parties should understand that if you have sex you risk creating another life.  

A tightening in the categories that allow women to have abortions would help reduce this increasing culture of contraceptive abortion. Do not forget that life in this world is precious, that does need to be balanced with women’s rights, but with those rights come sexual responsibility. Accidents happen the throws of passion can consume one, there is a place for abortion in our society but at the moment its usage is far too high and a small but increasing minority are abusing it.


I am pro life and pro choice, women have the choice before they get pregnant once they are, they need to have a very good reason to not have the baby.


20 thoughts on “Abortion

  1. ‘the throws of passion can consume one’ – I think think this should win the award for the best sentence on this blog this year.

  2. I am usually the last to agree with George Monbiot in the Guardian. However, his article is well researched. Contraception is key to bringing down abortion rates Ryan – however restricting abortion is not. Legality and a tightening of restrictions will not curb abortion, it will simply curb legal abortion. Please think about the consequences of this.

    As Monbiot correctly reports ‘The Lancet paper shows, there is no relationship between the legality and the incidence of abortion. Women with no access to contraceptives will try to terminate unwanted pregnancies. A World Health Organisation report shows that almost half the world’s abortions are unauthorised and unsafe. In East Africa and Latin America, where religious conservatives ensure that terminations remain illegal, they account for almost all abortions. Methods include drinking turpentine or bleach, shoving sticks or coathangers into the uterus, and pummelling the abdomen, which often causes the uterus to burst, killing the patient. The WHO estimates that between 65,000 and 70,000 women die as a result of illegal abortions every year, while 5 million suffer severe complications. These effects, the organisation says, “are the visible consequences of restrictive legal codes”.’

  3. This isn’t East Africa or Latin South America, this is the UK for a start and this is the context in which i am willing to debate. My blog actually mentions that education is dire on this issue at the moment and better sex education is essential to reducing unwanted pregnacies in the firrst place. better access to contraception is also key, i would almost suggest that the government should pay for condoms to be free for all.

    and if a women is determined to go stick a knitting needle into her womb then i think she would be classed as mentally unstable and therefore would remain able to have an abortion. however i do think sexual responsibility has to be increased and women need to understand that sex sometimes is not baby risk free.

    i stand by what i have said here and in the blog.

  4. I think this will be interesting to see how this plays out with American voters over the coming months, historically it has been a far more decisive topic in America than here.

    As for the sentence of the year, it certainly has to be a contender, a long with.

    ‘Later in the day rain came, and the strikers went inside (God obviously isn’t a Union man!)’

  5. Sophie,

    I don’t think that a possible rise in the number of illegal abortions is reason enough to prevent tighter legislation aimed at reducing the increasing number of abortions.

    There might be cases whereby under tighter abortion law, an abortion is not permitted. The possibility that some may continue and break the law does not mean the law should not exist. On that basis you would wipe scores of laws of the statute.

  6. To be honest, whatever the government decides to do will never be good enough due to the topic dividing opinion so much. I find it too difficult to call what should be done, because when it comes to it I could never possibly hope to be right on a topic like this. I find it quite puzzling though, that when the government has such low approval ratings and isn’t particularly liked, it opens up such a great big topic!

  7. Two points…

    First, the best description for girls under 18yrs undergoing second abortions is irresponsible trollops, I’m afraid. Unfortunately, there is not much policy can do to resolve this problem; although fortunately, they do represent only a tiny proportion of women undergoing abortions.

    Second, despite a well argued blog, and the following insightful commentary, there has been no mention of adoption. Safe sex is certainly a way of preventing the situation in which a woman would have to make the decision with regards to abortion from arising in the first place. Accepting the inevitability of those situations, however, should lead us to place greater emphasis on the option of adoption. Asking a woman to sacrifice 9 months of her life (and perhaps some guilt at having given up her child), is relatively insignificant, surely, to the sacrifice abortion asks of an unborn child.

    Without digressing into the ethics and morals of the debate, suffice it to say that much more should be done to tackle abortion in the United Kingdom. The limit needs to be reduced from 24 weeks, as survivals are now being recorded after a pregnancy of a mere 21 weeks! France has a limit of 12 weeks. In short, I cannot see how maintaining the 24 week limit can possibly be justified.

  8. Right, I wasn’t going to say anything until I saw the very dismissive and sweeping statement “irresponsible trollops”.
    According to the NSPCC, during 2004-5 there were 8637 reports of sexual abuse, of which 51% were rape related incidents. This is just an extract from the article:

    “Children have phoned in to talk in confidence about having been raped in toilets, phone-boxes, cars, bedrooms, bushes, parks and elsewhere.”

    The rest of the article: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/whatwedo/mediacentre/pressreleases/15_may_2006_nspccdont_hide_it_launch_wdn33556.html

    It should be noted that the NSPCC suggests that a child is under 16.
    For you Jack to suggest therefore that girls undergoing abortions (first or second) before they are 18 is “irresponsible”, I would ask you to think about considering other circumstances before simply saying they are stupid.

    To be honest, I don’t really know where to stand on this whole abortion issue, and it’s obviously a divisive point, and not something I’ve really thought about too much before. As a guy, I’m not sure whether my opinion is as valid as a woman who has to make the decision anyway. Therefore, I find myself agreeing with what Joseph said entirely, and likewise wondering whether it was perhaps the right time for this particular can of worms to be opened.

  9. i thank you jack for adding your point on abortion i had not thought about it in the context fo this debate. bizzarly i admit.

  10. pro choice meaning taking all the precautions possible to not get pregnant in the first place, pro life that once you are pregnant you should have to have a pretty good reason to not have the child.

  11. If you are pro choice that entails empowering the woman to have an abortion. If you are a pro lifer you deny this right. They are logically opposed. There is no middle ground.

    From what you have written in your previous post one can only infer that you are reluctantly pro choice.

  12. One can be ‘pro-choice’ insofar as one respects the right of others to make their own decisions, whilst remaining ‘pro-life’ on a personal and private level. I’m sure many of our own MPs who have voted in favour of legalised abortion in the past would disclose their own personal opposition, if challenged.

  13. There is a middle ground, it is what i have stated, i am not callingf or abortion to be banned, but i am calling for it increased restriction based on scientific grounds, but also my own moral stance.

    i will just restate that if we do not consider rape, or any unconcensual sex or abuse, the chances of contraception going wrong are slim, so women have the choice ot use contraception to avoid pregnacy.

    in the unlikely event that contraception does not work, then of course abortion should be an option avaliable.

    however the limit should be reduced, and the catagories bye which abortions are judged need to be more specific so a woman (in some cases) can not simply fain the mental incapacity to have a child as a legitimate reason.

    just to add i think jack is more and more right when i think about it too that those children that are born but unwanted could be effectivly adaopted by a loving family.

  14. Of course there is middle ground. But it is incompatible with the concepts you have been using. If you think abortion is wrong then say so. There is always the Norman Tebbit option open to you. Which means declaring where you stand.

    Saying “I am a leftie and I am not a leftie” makes no sense, it is logically contradictory. Saying “I am not sure what to think” makes you a LibDem. And you definitely do not want that, do you.

  15. Pingback: Abortion: is it time to change the law? « Birmingham University Labour Students

  16. It is interesting to see people promoting giving the child up for adoption as if that is any less stressful for the Mother. 9 months, giving birth and then the few moments she is allowed to hold her baby are obviously not viewed as being as traumatic as an abortion then…

    Oh, and then there is the assumption that there will be willing, caring adoptive parents to take the child…

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