The Shouty Woman

June 21, 2006

Just when I thought it was safe to blog about something else for a change…

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 1:27 pm

Some arsehole is trying to reignite the abortion debate.

I am so angry right now. How dare this man, simply because of his religion, presume to tell me what I can and can't do with my body? Will he ever be pregnant? Will he ever have to make the agonising decision to terminate a pregancy? Will he ever have to cope with the terror of being pregnant and knowing he can't afford to have the baby? No, no and no.

The government, thank God, is seeing sense and has made clear that there are no plans to change the law. However, can we be sure this will last? 31 MPs have signed a motion calling for a review of current regulations. That may not be many, but how many more will change their minds under pressure from the religious lobby? Seeing the way the wind is blowing in America, with abortion already illegal in South Dakota and numerous other states trying to go the same way, how long can it be before our rights are eroded here?

Don't get me wrong – I respect the right of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, and anyone else for that matter, to practise their religion. What I don't respect, however, is his attempt to impose his version of morality on others. Having faith does not give one moral superiority, and it certainly does not give one the right to take away women's bodily autonomy.

Yes, abortion is a difficult issue. Contrary to what some people seem to believe, no-one -not even feminists – gets out of bed in the morning thinking 'great, I can have an abortion today!' For us pro-choicers, the clue's in the name – it's exactly that, a choice. I don't want to live in a world where a woman is forced to give birth to her rapist's baby, or to return to a time when a woman's sole function was to breed until she died. The more abortion rights are restricted, the closer we come to Gilead

So, Cardinal, if you believe abortion is murder, don't have one. But don't you fucking dare impose your beliefs on me.

FOOTNOTE: The BBC article linked to above has an interesting diagram showing the percentage of abortions that are performed at different stages of pregnancy. Contrary to the anti-choicers' rhetoric, it seems that only 1.6% of abortions are done after 20 weeks, and that these are usually exceptional cases. So much for the idea of hordes of women casually murdering their babies at the last minute…



  1. I was a staff nurse on Gynae’ for a year, and the latest abortion i saw was 16 weeks. The vast majority were performed before 12wks. I also, did not experience any problems assisting in abortions, i used to view as none of my dammed business! My job was to support the woman in HER decision

    Comment by anna — June 21, 2006 @ 2:31 pm |Reply

  2. The whole situation makes me very nervous. It’s like, as soon as we as women, get some rights, there’s always people trying to take them away again. We can’t EVER just seem to have absolute rights, and once they’re established that’s it. Nope, it seems as subhumans we have to constantly fight for the basics. Very worrying- the point is that if less than 2 percent of abortions are taking place after that late stage, why are they bothering to set back the limit?? And also, it’s a slippery slope you know? Once it’s been set back once, people will be pushing for it to be set back more and more…… Apparently women still aren’t allowed to be in control of our own bodies. Just typing this has made me so mad thinking about it.

    Comment by Purpleheart — June 21, 2006 @ 6:36 pm |Reply

  3. Yes, it’s getting a bit scary. There was a decent editorial in the Independent today praising the Cardinal’s approach but rejecting his reasoning. Not going off on a fundy rant about murder, he has apparently been “sensible” and reasonably suggested lowering the time limit rather than banning abortion altogether. An unusual step for a cardinal! The Independent thinks this is a promising start to a reasoned dialogue about abortion. I call it the thin end of the wedge. I want free abortion on demand, nothing else will do. Cheers, Pippa

    Comment by Pippa — June 22, 2006 @ 6:55 pm |Reply

  4. I, too, want free abortion on demand.

    I saw Germaine Greer speak last year and abortion was one of the issues she spoke about – ‘late’ abortion, in particular. She said the percentage of late abortions was miniscule and the majority of them occurred because the results of foetal tests had shown un-survivable abnormalities. The abnormalities wouldn’t have shown up if the tests were performed earlier. The parents needed thinking time but termination was usually the medical professional’s advice.

    Late abortion on a whim? I don’t think so. Any abortion on a whim? Nah.

    Comment by witchy-woo — June 23, 2006 @ 11:38 pm |Reply

  5. Starwatcher has done an excellent post at her spot. She’s unpicked a lot of the anti-brigade’s main morsels ..Yummy!

    Comment by LB — June 27, 2006 @ 9:00 pm |Reply

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