Saturday, May 17, 2008

Women still need safe, legal abortions

Early next week sees the controversial votes on the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill.

The Bill itself has had extensive scrutiny already (considered by a Joint Committee) and already passed throught the Lords.

On top of the 3 so-called controversial areas (need for a father, hybrid embryos and 'savious siblings') there will the tabling of motions to reduce the time limit on abortion.

Personally I support 'abortion rights' for women i.e. access to safe and legal abortions where a woman decides she needs it. This is not the same as saying that aboriton is right or wrong only that it the individual woman's own choices over her own body and reproductive rights rather than society defining it.

In that sense our abortion laws are imperfect. They lay out all sorts of conditions to be met for the abortion to be lawful. I would allow only one condition, that a woman decides after all options are explained to have an abortion and there is no compulsion or coercion (i.e. it's a free and informed decision - the usual standard for important medical procedures.)

Whilst I have no problem whatever for different groups believing different things (abortion is wrong under all or some circumstances/after a certain time limit) I tend to take a more rigorous position about where the law should be.

The right of a woman to choose is the woman's and hers alone in this matter.

Link to Abortion Rights

It is not too late to contact your MP ahead of these votes. The best way is through

I do not object to the decision to grant free votes in the Bill (it's a bit misleading as no-one would be forced against their will to vote and so in that sense the votes are always free) but I think it's odd to allow a 'free' vote on the 'need for a father' when it's Governement policy to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and to support same sex parenting.

Children born to lesbian parents are of course going to meet boys and men in their immediate family, school, community and wider society and in any case it is far more important for children to have good, loving and balanced role models of either gender than having strong role models but bad ones.

For more extensive coverage see Lou's Blog


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