46 3 mins 9 yrs

The usual uproar surrounding the very word ‘Abortion’ commenced about five milli-seconds after the announcement that Marie Stopes was opening an abortion clinic in Belfast.

Firstly, I would like to clarify my own position on this extremely touchy subject, which is that whilst I dearly wish the mothers-to-be would not seek to terminate the new life which is inside their bodies, I hold the belief that their bodies are their own to control, and if they wish to terminate that unborn life, so be it! My reasoning has nothing to do with any religion, or indeed a belief stemming from any religion; it is just that if that future child is indeed unwanted by its mother, a life which is begun in hate, rejection and loathing bodes badly for that life.

I listened to the voice of Jim Allister this morning as he placed his views on record that the proposed Clinic has no place in Northern Ireland because of the Province’s culture, and this is maybe where I part company with Mr. Allister, partly because of the many statements by the T.U.V. which encourage ever closer links and ties with the mainland of the British Isles. I would say to Mr. Allister that you cannot pick and choose which parts of the United Kingdom’s Laws should be held to a higher standard in Northern Ireland than on the mainland. Abortion is a fact of life in England, Wales and Scotland, why should there be any difference in the Province of Northern Ireland? The Law is more strictly controlled in Northern Ireland, is much more restrictive, and the question which should be asked is simply ‘Why is Northern Ireland so special?’ Is life, or future life, looked upon as more precious than in, say, London, Bristol or Arbroath? I would also ask Mr. Allister if he likes being of one mind with Sinn Fein on this, or any issue of individual judgement or morality?

I am a great believer in having one set of laws for everyone, with no special dispensation or caveats for ‘certain areas, cultures or creeds’. If we all have to obey the same Law, then the same facilities, legal and lawful, should be available to all the Subjects of the Crown, wherever that Rule pertains!

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46 thoughts on “to form a more perfect Union!

  1. Well, I suppose Jim can answer for himself but I have a few responses.

    1. As you know, there is NO commonality of law across the UK. There is English/Welsh, Scottish and NI. There is much in common but also substantial areas of difference. Jim simply pointed this out.
    2. As regards human life and the price placed on it, in Northern Ireland we released those from prison who have taken many lives. Jim opposed that. His record on the sanctity of life is clear.
    3. Maybe the rest of the UK needs to look to its own values when it comes to this topic? Maybe secularism uber alles carries a price in aborted foetuses?

  2. First of all let’s nail the ‘abortion clinic’ shock – horror sensationalism:

    A wide range of sexual and reproductive services are available from the centre, including: short and long-term contraceptive options (including condoms, injection, IUD); emergency contraception; HIV testing; STI testing and treatment; ultrasound scanning; and medical abortion up to nine weeks’ gestation. Our provision of early medical abortion will be the same service that is currently available from the NHS in Northern Ireland, available only within the current legal framework, when the life of the pregnant woman is at immediate risk and / or if there is a long term or permanent risk to her physical or mental health


    Maybe the rest of the UK needs to look to its own values when it comes to this topic? Maybe secularism uber alles carries a price in aborted foetuses?

    Or maybe it’s ‘the most loyal people in the UK’ showing again how conditional their loyalty is?

  3. Whilst I reckon Allister was talking cobblers,, at least he has had the courage to come on the radio and state his position clearly. The rest of the cowards in the political parties here have suddenly become ‘unavailable’ for interview.

  4. I haven’t heard JJ on the radio iluvni but if he was on credit where credit is due.

    I’ve heard that Anna Lo released a statement welcoming it. The rest of the spineless cowards won’t put their head above the parapet for fear of losing votes.

  5. I think the ‘dead hand of the state’ (and the assorted clergy, RC and Others) have no place being in womens knickers. 😉

    Keep out unless your personally (and specifically) invited in.

    You won’t go far wrong with them rules.

  6. The other interesting question is how the Marie Stopes organisation manages to sail on serenely despite being the successor to, inspired by and named after one of the most unpleasant women who ever lived.

    Like a number of prominent progressives and Fabians of the time, she was a full-on anti-semite and eugenicist who spoke of her wish to kill off the “feeble” and create a master race by way of racial purification.

    Peter Hitchens had it spot on:

    Abortion and its repellent heroine

    I say that Marie Stopes International (which receives about £25 million a year from the NHS, much of it for killing unborn babies under contract) should be allowed to advertise its repellent services on TV. But on one condition. That each advertisement is followed by both of these: film of an actual abortion of a 24-week-old baby, and a brief documentary reminding viewers that Marie Stopes sent love poems to Adolf Hitler in August 1939, advocated compulsory sterilisation for the ‘unfit’, and cut her own son out of her will because he married a girl who wore glasses.

    What sort of organisation would name itself after such a monstrous woman?

  7. Pete

    Did you know who her daughter in law was? Who had such bad genes as to pollute her family gene pool?

    Barnes Wallis’s daughter!

    Good job she wasn’t too choosey about the family she married into!

  8. Pete

    I saw a programme about her years ago and the stories of her son’s upbringing were just awful- not common or garden abuse but very bizarre and unhealthy. I was expecting to be informed that he has ended up as an axe murderer or that he had made another form of bad end. However he defied her to marry the woman he loved and we saw them together as a nice ordinary looking devoted elderly married couple. Spoilt of course by her obvious infirmity 😉

  9. “Like a number of prominent progressives and Fabians of the time, she was a full-on anti-semite and eugenicist who spoke of her wish to kill off the “feeble” and create a master race by way of racial purification.”

    Funny you should mention that.
    I have just gotten through a book by Sam Bourne, entitled “Pantheon” about the early days of the second world war and how the hero uncovers an American/GB
    (Gee, I hope I’ve got those nationalities right!)
    eugenicist plot to wipe out the undesirables*, whilst preserving the best and brightest. He mentions Marie Stopes in the plot. The sad fact is that in both world wars these super/master race wannabes weren’t just on the enemy’s side..

    * I think your name came up..

  10. Agit8ed –

    They weren’t just on the other side? Where do you think they got it from? Until the National Socialists discredited eugenics and the idea of racial perfection, they were thoroughly mainstream Progressive causes.

    Don’t take my word for it (which, of course, you should), take Sam Bourne’s. In real life he’s the impeccably Left Wing Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland. In 1997 he published the essay below. If you are unaware of how mainstream these disgusting ideas were it’ll be an eye-opener. Remember, Freedland is a full on Leftist.

    Master Race of the Left

    Forced sterilisations in Scandinavia have shocked the world. But the great founding fathers of British socialism, reports Jonathan Freedland, had dreams almost as vile as those of the Nazis


    On the contrary: eugenics is the dirty little secret of the British left. The names of the first champions read like a rollcall of British socialism’s best and brightest: Sidney and Beatrice Webb, George Bernard Shaw, Harold Laski, John Maynard Keynes, Marie Stopes, the New Statesman – even, lamentably, the Manchester Guardian. Nearly every one of the left’s most cherished, iconic figures espoused views which today’s progressives would find repulsive


    Eventually, in the shadow of Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor, the British left gave up its flirtation with eugenics. They saw where it had led. But, just like the governments of Scandinavia, their past was buried too quickly – and forgotten. The names of Russell, Webb and Shaw still retain their lustre – despite their association with the foulest idea of the 20th century. They escaped the reckoning. Perhaps now, posthumously, it’s time to see them, and much of socialism itself, as they truly were.

    Needless to say, do read it all.

  11. And this is a piece he had in the Guardian from earlier this year.

    Such thinking was not alien to the great Liberal titan and mastermind of the welfare state, William Beveridge, who argued that those with “general defects” should be denied not only the vote, but “civil freedom and fatherhood”. Indeed, a desire to limit the numbers of the inferior was written into modern notions of birth control from the start. That great pioneer of contraception, Marie Stopes – honoured with a postage stamp in 2008 – was a hardline eugenicist, determined that the “hordes of defectives” be reduced in number, thereby placing less of a burden on “the fit”. Stopes later disinherited her son because he had married a short-sighted woman, thereby risking a less-than-perfect grandchild.

    Yet what looks kooky or sinister in 2012 struck the prewar British left as solid and sensible.

    I love it when real history shines through the myths and propaganda.

  12. Pete,
    I know he’s a lefty, but there are reasoned lefties and doctrinaire lefties, ditto right wingers.
    I would far rather discuss with a person who has come to a conclusion, than one who has simply swallowed or been TOLD what to believe..
    I just happen to think that conservatism contains more of value than socialism. But each have their good and bad points.
    It is sobering to learn that many British intellectuals (including one of my favourite authors), supported Herr Hitler..

  13. Agit8ed –

    Many people supported Hitler until war broke out. Well, British communists continued to support him until he invaded Russia, but that aside it was war which ended support for his regime. When the National Socialist crimes were uncovered history was re-written and – voila – they were no longer referred to as National Socialists and were placed outside of the Progressive movement.

    In all, until the late thirties it was much more reprehensible to go for the full on eugenicist/anti-semitic/racial purity package than to simply profess a sympathy for the German who was then making trains run on time.

  14. Pete,
    ordinary people are really very similar, regardless of country or culture. They wan a simple life with simple pleasures. Thet want work which gives them pleasure, pride or predictability. They want a comfortable home and a telly, and perhaps a holiday abroad.
    Intellectuals enjoy being with intellectuals and snobs with (approved) snobs.

  15. Aileen –

    It’s good to know they were happy together and that they managed to overcome her severe handicap.

  16. I wish this clinic every success and fervently hope that it is indeed the thin end of the wedge as the anti-abortion fanatics claim. Reactionary misoginists like Allister and Hitchens see women as no more that brood mares who should even be forced to incubate the outcome of a rape. Outrageous.

  17. Allister and Hitchens no doubt are reactionaries. What sane man isn’t today? But misogynists? Come on, be serious.

  18. This week the charity foundation named in honour of Jimmy Savile changed it’s name becasue of the disgrace of it’s founder.

    You would think the Marie Stopes foundation would do the same.

  19. Pete Moore

    Any male who lectures women on what they can and cannot do with their own bodies deserves the misoginist tag, and especially if they insist that the offspring of a rapist must be carried to term.

    If the cap fits, wear it.

  20. I won’t lecture any woman on what she can or cannot do with her own body. I will however on what she chooses to do with someone else’s body (namely her child’s).

    Another reason why Marie Stopes International should change their name is because Marie Stopes was vehemently anti-abortion.

  21. Do I believe that mothers should be allowed to kill their kid because of the crime committed by that child’s father? No I don’t.

  22. Fintan O’Toole:

    My main problem with Irish anti-abortion campaigners is not that they are too extreme. It is that they are not extreme enough. If they really believe what they purport to believe – that a fertilised ovum is a human being in exactly the same sense as Nelson Mandela or Lady Gaga or the pope – they are disgracefully moderate. Their basic proposition is this: about 5,000 Irish people every year are being taken out of the country and massacred in cold blood.

    Over the last decade, the equivalent of the entire population of Limerick city has been murdered. If you believe this, it dwarfs every other question in modern Ireland – the Northern Ireland conflict (in its latter stages, one-fiftieth of the number of annual “murders”); the economic crisis; any and every abuse of human rights by the State. You have an absolute moral duty to do everything you can to stop it, including, at a minimum, demanding restrictions on the right of pregnant women to travel.

  23. I don’t despise women. That you seem to equate not allowing people to kill their kids with despising an entire gender says more about you than anything.

  24. Fintan O’Toole is right. I have no doubt that the “pro-life” fanatics harbour fantasies of pregnant women being arrested at Irish airports and ferry terminals. Maybe they should be interned until they deliver their offspring in order to prevent it being murdered?

    Seamus, for the 100th time, a four week old zyglot is not “a kid”. Your wilful blindness on this says a lot about you.

  25. Do I believe that mothers should be allowed to kill their kid because of the crime committed by that child’s father? No I don’t

    Probably because you’re not a woman who has been raped.

  26. “Seamus, for the 100th time, a four week old zyglot is not “a kid””

    Have you any evidence for that? Is there a scientific test for determining when someone becomes a person?

  27. //Is there a scientific test for determining when someone becomes a person?//

    Yes, a very scientific one: you open your ears and listen to the way people speak.

    Your argument is after all just about words, and the words “person” and “kid” are used to denote only people who have been born, even by the “pro-life” crowd when they aren’t trying to make a cheap point.

  28. Is there a scientific test for determining when someone becomes a person?

    Yes, when they can survive outside the womb. That means (about) 24 weeks after conception.

  29. People can survive outside the womb before 24 weeks. So your test isn’t that scientific. The fact is that is your opinion, not a fact. My opinion is that it is a child from the moment of conception.

    “Your argument is after all just about words, and the words “person” and “kid” are used to denote only people who have been born, even by the “pro-life” crowd when they aren’t trying to make a cheap point.”

    Except that they aren’t used to denote only people who have been born. People regularly use the term kid or baby or child to talk about the unborn.

  30. Seamus, if the doctor asks you how many people are in the waiting-room outside, do you say you don’t know, and then go out to ask the women if they are pregnant before returning with the pro-life figure.
    Or do you just count the number of heads the same as the rest of us.

    Of when someone asks you how many people live in Belfast, do you make a loose estimate based on the number of women of child-bearing age and add this to the figure everyone else uses?

    This common perception is also reflected in our laws, as a child becomes a person only when born.

    //My opinion is that it is a child from the moment of conception//

    You must live in a very dark world then, where a majority of children die before they are even 9 months old, and usually nobody, not even the mother, cares or even notices. This makes a death rate much worse than the Famine, and must be enough to depress the hardest of hearts.

    Provided they really believe that, of course, and are, again, not just saying it.

    Either that or you are really callous in disregarding this huge tragedy of children dying all around you every year, again more dying than surviving to reach the age of 9 months. I bet you don’t even bothing enquiring about them.

  31. I said about 24 weeks. Less than 5% of births before 22 weeks survive, and virtually none earlier. And the survivors are likely to be permanently damaged.

    But our health secretary (Murdoch groupie Jeremy Hunt) wants to reduce the time limit to 12 weeks. What an ignorant prick he is. But of course you don’t want any limit whatever, even the morning after pill would be banned in your demented theocracy.

  32. “But of course you don’t want any limit whatever, even the morning after pill would be banned in your demented theocracy.”

    Right cause only religious people are opposed to abortion.

    “I said about 24 weeks. Less than 5% of births before 22 weeks survive, and virtually none earlier. And the survivors are likely to be permanently damaged.”

    But it isn’t scientific. There isn’t an enzyme or hormone or something else that is testable that you develop when you are born. So there is no scientific test. It is your opinion that viability grants personhood. There is no scientific reason behind it. It is just what you decided for yourself.

    “This common perception is also reflected in our laws, as a child becomes a person only when born.”

    Except that isn’t reflected in the laws in terms of abortion. Most countries in Europe ban abortion after the first trimester and even those that don’t ban it after viability. There is virtually no where that allows it up until the time of birth.

    Additionally when your wife, or mother or sister or any other women you know ever uttered the phrase when pregnant “Oh the foetus just kicked!”. And when they say the baby has kicked have you rushed to correct them and tell them that it isn’t a baby?

    Or if, God forbid, they have a miscarriage do you rush to console them by telling them “It’s alright. It wasn’t even a kid anyway. You just lost a couple of cells or a foetus”.

  33. Seamus

    I was going to answer, but your points are beyond contempt.

    But you will no doubt be cheered by the fact that your fanatical “pro-life” views are supported not just by Jim Allister but also by Martin McGuinness, who is well known for his concern for human life. There is not a cigarette paper between them when it comes to denying the right to choose to women who have been raped:

    “Speaking to Radio Ulster’s Inside Politics programme, Mr McGuinness said: “We’ve had a very consistent position down the years. Sinn Fein is not in favour of abortion and we resisted any attempt to bring the British 1967 Abortion Act to the north.”

    Link here

  34. Right. If you think its wrong for someone to be allowed to kill their kids then Peter thinks you are fanatical and beyond contempt.

  35. Also I am quite happy with the fact that Northern Ireland’s politicians are doing the right thing on this issue and not bowing down to foreign pressure to introduce abortion in Ireland.

  36. “Kids” are the offspring of goats and other animals. It’s a contemptible word to use for children.

    And you apply it to a one day old zyglot, which you seem to equate to a child of school age?

    Get help.

  37. You are the one who supports the murder of innocent children while I oppose it and you think I am the one who needs help?

  38. I don’t think Seamus has ever been laid. He certainly has an undeveloped and disturbing view of women.

  39. Seamus, while I disagree that a fertilized egg or a zygote is a person deserving of equitable legal status and firmly believe a woman who has been raped, is carrying a severely deformed child or finds her life at risk due to pregnancy is well within her moral rights to abort without any impediment, I can respect your viewpoint.

    Rather than debating our differences, I would ask why the following actions aren’t supported or actively lobbied into legislative existence by pro-life activists. I understand that some of my points may be unique to america due to our heavy evangelical constituency, but the catholic church has been leading the anti-abortion charge, hand-in-hand with far-right protestant groups.

    1. Offer free (tax-subsidized) birth control, particularly more reliable and expensive forms such as IUDS and implants, especially to low income women.

    2. Insist on scientific, fact-based human reproductive educational classes in all public (tax funded) schools starting at age twelve.

    3. Comprehensive taxpayer funded support for all children born to impoverished mothers (the most likely to seek abortions) that includes; decent housing in safe neighborhoods, good drug treatment programs, generous food allowances, free health care and reliable daycare, meaningful job training or college tuition, clothing allowances, fees for extracurricular sports and arts activities, etc, etc, etc…..

    If you’re going to insist poor, ignorant women carry their accidentally conceived children to full fruition, despite lacking the financial, emotional or social means to support and nurture that precious life into successful adulthood, then society ought to be prepared to shoulder the financial burden in a positive way rather than the negative model we’re currently operating under.

    In my country we opt for more juvenile detention centers and private prisons to handle the growing number of poorly raised, impoverished, uneducated, unaborted bastards, which comes at an obscene cost to the taxpayer wallet.

    Since you take a hardline moral point of zero abortions, what do you realistically propose to reduce unintended pregnancies and how would you financially care for those born to uninterested, possibly antagonistic, impoverished mothers?

  40. I would agree with all of that Daphne. I think one of the reasons why I annoy abortion advocates so much is because I am not their stereotype of what a pro-life person should be. For example I have significant issues with large sections of the, primarily US based, pro life movement. Its why if I lived in the United States I would probably vote Democratic. Because while the Republicans grant a lot of hot air to the issue it is the Democrats who are actually trying to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and helping of poor people in general.

    A report in 2004 indicated that 70% of abortions carried out in the United States were because, among other reasons, the woman felt she could not afford a baby.

    Relationship advice (which should always be part of a sex education program) would also help. Without sounding like Lily Allen there are too many dead beat dads out there. Not only does it cause huge social problems with the children not aborted it is also a major cause of abortion. That too many fellas cut and run when their girl gets pregnant. Additionally I would be of the opinion that sex education shouldn’t start at the age of twelve. Many studies show that starting at that stage is already too late and it should start (not maybe in the shall we say gory detail) in primary school.

    I would put a minor qualifier on IUDs though. While the general use of IUDs is fine (it is effectively just a spermicide) post-sex use of IUDs (as a form of “emergency” contraception) is more designed to prevent implantation rather than fertalisation and is effectively speaking an abortifacient. How that would be regulated is obviously very difficult to tell.

    I would also put another qualifier on it as well. Men should have an equal part to play in it. It can’t just be focused on women, not least because the fact that most female forms of contraception are good at prevent pregnancy but not that great at preventing STDs. Ultimately in this day and age there are far worse things you can get from sex than a baby.

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