Bring back the coathanger!

If i remember correctly then it not really so long ago that I gave the Indy’s health editor, Jeremy Laurance, a bit of a going over… ah yes, here it is, he was defending David Southall at the time and used a few spectacularly poor arguments.

Ah well, not to worry because he’s redeemed himself by putting together rather a good piece on the ongoing abortion and the release of the Trent regional study, which has been published, today, in the British Medical Journal.

(And, in case of later pay per view firewall, here’s the full PDF version of the study – bmj39555670718bev1)

The article is well worth reading, not least for the comments of anti-abortion campaigners included by the Indy…

Jim Dobbin, chairman of the pro-life group of MPs, said he would like to see the current limit halved. “We would like there to be a number of amendments where you can start from a lower limit, say 13 weeks,” he said.

Its worth noting this exchange between Dobbin who, as the name suggests, deserves a one-way trip to the glue factory, and Lib Dem MP, Sandra Gidley:

Sandra Gidley (Older People, Non-Departmental & Cross Departmental Responsibilities; Romsey, Liberal Democrat)

The hon. Gentleman seems to be leaving out a step in the procedure. Although I come from a different philosophical viewpoint, I agree with him that we need fewer abortions-no woman undertakes one lightly, I would suggest. However, should we not go back one stage, to better contraceptive advice in schools and other such measures, which will prevent so many women from accidentally becoming pregnant in the first place?

Jim Dobbin (Heywood & Middleton, Labour)

That is another issue, for another debate, but my personal view is against contraception.

There are many different varieties of socialism; democratic, Christian, Marxist, and Dobbin is trying to introduce a new one – Medieval.

Meanwhile…

Dr Peter Saunders, general secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said his group was supporting 20 weeks as a first step. “It gets a lot of people on board and gets us on the way,” he said. “We have to realise we are in for a very long battle here.”

Get the message?

This isn’t about reducing the upper time limit because of scientific advances in neonatal care, this is about subjecting legal provision for abortion to a slow death by a thousand cuts, regardless of the fact that public support for legal abortion provision runs at a solid 65%-70% and hasn’t shifted in years, even during the current debate.

And, of course Nadine Dorries pushes her nose into things again, both in the Indy:

According to the Tory MP, no one would have thought that, when abortion was legalised 40 years ago, it would have led to seven million abortions in Britain in the intervening years. She said: “Polling shows that 72 per cent of the public believe 24 weeks is too late. Given we know so many babies now survive that are born below 24 weeks these issues are compelling reasons why it is time to reduce it to 20 weeks.”

She added that of almost 3,000 abortions carried out last year between 20 and 24 weeks, up to 2,300 might result in viable births (after excluding those where either the mother or foetus was suffering serious health problems). Abortions past 20 weeks, she said, were “not the mark of a decent society” and the process was “frankly barbaric”.

Abject dishonesty and mendacity amongst members of a democratically elected legislature are hardly the mark of the decent society either but that hasn’t stopped Dorries from lying consistently (and inconsistently) throughout the entire course of her campaign, not to mention refusing to address the evidence when its presented to her on a plate:

But Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP leading the fight for a 20-week limit, dismissed the study on her website.

“I think this report insults the intelligence of the public and MPs alike. No improvement in neonatal care in 12 years? Really? So where has all the money that has been pumped into neonatal services gone then?” She called the study “the most desperate piece of tosh produced by the pro-choice lobby”.

Perhaps I should remind Nadine that parliamentary privilege does not extend to the content of private campaign websites, so she might want to think a little more carefully before impugning the integrity of a research team which includes a professor of neonatology, a professor of perinatal and paediatric epidemiology and a consultant neonatologist, particular in view of her penchant for trading on her three years experience as a qualified nurse, 27 years ago.

Then again, having only a casual acquaintance with the truth is nothing new for Dorries, as this report from the Manchester Evening News (from 2000) nicely illustrates:

TORIES are privately writing off their chances of winning a key Greater Manchester seat at the next General Election despite party chairman Michael Ancram naming Hazel Grove as a top target.

Bitter local in-fighting over their parliamentary candidate has produced a “shambles”, sources at this week’s party conference have admitted. One said the battle to snatch the seat back from the Liberal Democrats, who took it in 1997, could have been lost before it had begun.

The row splitting the Hazel Grove party centres on businesswoman Nadine Bargery, 33, chosen as candidate last spring but “deselected” at a meeting six weeks ago. Bosses at Conservative Central Office then stepped in to rule the meeting null and void, leaving millionaire Ms Bargery to attend this week’s party conference in limbo.

Sources indicated that a decision on her candidacy was expected shortly but it is still unclear whether local members of Central Office will have the final say. They said: “The whole thing is a shambles as has been allowed to go on for too long. It must be sorted out as soon as possible but the damage has already been done.”

Hazel Grove was put on the hit-list of 30 Liberal Democrat held seats as Mr Ancram opened the Bournemouth conference.

Bargery is Dorries’ maiden name. which she used when fighting the Hazel Grove seat at the 2001 general election, during which she claimed to be ‘pro-choice’:

When Nadine was running as Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Hazel Grove in 2001, under her maiden name (though at the time married) of Nadine Bargery, Nadine made very clear pro-abortion statements and expressed her support for abortions. This may have had something to do with her running against, and trying to ‘out’ the pro-life Labour candidate.

You’ll notice something else a little odd about the story:

Nadine Bargery, 33

33???

Dorries was born in  1957, which makes her 51 sometime this month, and yet she was apparently only 33 years old in 2000.

Apparently, her campaign slogan at the time was ‘Nadine will blow you socks off’, which was accompanied by photos of Dorries giving it the full Sandie Shaw and even today I understand she prefers open-toed footwear…

… because it really does help when it comes time to work out her expenses.

Speaking of which, do pop over to Bloggerheads, where Tim is trailing a story that you’ll all be hearing much more about over the next few weeks:

There are already a few angry Tories buzzing about because I’m criticising their precious little darling Nadine Dorries so, to save time, here are two links from the sites of Nadine’s staunchest supporters, Iain Dale and Tim Montgomerie, showing that they clearly disapprove of use of taxpayer’s money for campaigning purposes…

Iain Dale – Labour MP Abuses Communications Allowance
ConHome – CCHQ highlights widespread abuse of parliamentary communications allowance by Labour MPs

… and I look forward to their blogging about it again soon because that’s just what Nadine Dorries has been doing via her website.

The full and unexpurgated skinny on this should emerge on Monday, and in case of any of Nad’s little helpers get any funny ideas about trying to cover her arse with a bit of carefully contrived ‘slash and burn’ on what might laughably be referred to as her ‘blog’, then don’t waste your time because its ALL archived away safely where you can’t get to it.

And yes, the words ‘Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards’ WILL feature in the reports that will be emerging by Monday.