Decriminalising Abortion won’t be like getting Jane Austen on the £10 Note.

It’s time to go whomping some dodgy statistics again, and our target for today is one that’s starting to crop up pretty regularly in commentaries on UK abortion law. You’ll find it in this fairly recent Guardian article by Caroline Criado-Perez:

Polls show 62% of the British public support abortion on demand – that is, where a woman would not have to convince two doctors that her mental or physical health would be harmed by continuing with her pregnancy. Abortion on demand would mean that an adult woman is trusted to know what is best for her body.

And it’s more or less repeated in this New Statesman article by Helen Lewis, who gives rather more information on… Read more »

Exposed: The “Charity” behind the Worst “Crisis Pregnancy Centre” in Britain

If you’ve already read the introductory article then you’ll be aware that the starting point for this entire investigation is a series of articles published by the Daily Telegraph in February 2014 which stemmed from an undercover investigation into the “counselling” practices of a self-styled “Crisis Pregnancy Centre” operating from premises in Central London – an investigation that was fine as far as it went but which, nevertheless, left behind a considerable number of unanswered questions, not least that of the identity of the people and organisation(s) responsible for running this centre. In this article, I’m going to begin to answer some of those questions but I will warn you that this is going to be the most… Read more »

The Worst “Crisis Pregnancy Centre” in Britain – A Special Investigation

In February 2014, the Daily Telegraph published a series of extremely disturbing articles based on an undercover investigation of a small number of self-styled “Crisis Pregnancy” Centres. The centrepiece of this investigation was a video lasting just under one and half minutes which showed a dark-haired young women flipping casually through a set of notes as she peremptorily informs the undercover journalist of the existence of an alleged link between abortion and child abuse [1].

“There’s also, an increased statistical likelihood of child abuse”, Annabel said. “When you have a child you have natural maternal instincts towards the child and there are also natural barriers that surround the child that you don’t cross. “In order to have an abortion you… Read more »

DWP trial of “attitude to work” assessments is unethical and potentially unlawful

Around five weeks or so ago The Independent published a report on the DWP’s latest wheeze:

Benefit claimants will face ‘attitude to work’ assessments under new government plans People claiming benefits will be expected to undergo attitude tests to assess if they have a psychological resistance to work under new plans revealed by the employment minister. Esther McVey said benefit claimants will be profiled to see if they feel “determined”, “bewildered” or “despondent” at the prospect of employment. Those who are deemed less mentally prepared for life at work will undergo intensive coaching at the job centre, The Telegraph reports, while people who are judged to be more positive about work will be placed on less rigorous schemes. “It… Read more »

Fifty Shades of Stupid: Nadine Dorries, The Sunday Times and Foetal Viability

This was going to be quite a straightforward article. After all, how difficult could it be to dismantle the latest banal and ill-conceived witterings of Nadine Dorries, the sitting MP for the constituency of Mid-Narnia, on the subject of abortion and abortion law? But then I ran into a problem, one that begins with the very first sentence of Dorries’ article:

Last week, the most recent EPICure study confirmed what many always knew; that if the NHS throws everything it has at saving the life of a premature baby born at 23 weeks gestation, there is an excellent chance of survival and an ongoing healthy life.

The problem is that there is no new EPICure study on which Dorries’ could hang… Read more »

The Indy’s Rape Statistics: Wrong Again!

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had pick up The Independent over basic statistical errors and today they’ve made another absolute howler, albeit that at least part of the blame appears to lie with Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry:

Emily Thornberry, the shadow Attorney General, whose office uncovered the figures in the House of Commons Library, said: “Everyone with an interest in the protection of women is encouraging rape victims to come forward and it seems that they are starting to. It is therefore profoundly disappointing that we have not seen a surge in the number of decisions to prosecute. In fact, the proportion of rapes being sent for charges, prosecuted and convicted have been shrinking… Read more »

You Couldn’t Make It Up… unless you’re Richard Littlejohn

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the statement “Richard Littlejohn is liar” is closer to being a tautology than an observation but even by his usual pitiful standards his contribution to the burgeoning debate surrounding recent events in a number of Birmingham schools stands out as masterpiece of bullshit and utter fabrication:

Amid all the furore about Islamist infiltration of schools in Birmingham, another story involving the education watchdog Ofsted has received rather less attention. Inspectors have criticised a rural school in Devon for being insufficiently ‘diverse’. Although they concede that Payhembury Primary is a ‘happy place’, it has been denied an ‘outstanding’ rating because all 68 pupils are of ‘white British heritage’. Well, they would be. Small villages in… Read more »

What Saatchi Doesn’t Tell You

Okay, I’m going to keep this short and sweet because I’m working on something else at the moment but there a little something that I want to toss into the growing online debate about the “Saatchi Bill” or, to give its proper title, the Medical Innovation Bill. The back story here, if you’ve not come across it before, starts with the death, in 2011, of the author Josephine Hart the cause of which was primary peritoneal cancer. Hart was married to the wealthy PR guru and Conservative peer Maurice Saatchi and it is as a member of the House of Lords that Saatchi is seeking to introduce a private Bill which he claims which he, his supporters and a slick and… Read more »

What The Telegraph doesn’t tell you about Sex-Selective Abortion

Harry G Frankfurt’s classic monograph “On Bullshit” begins with a very simple but striking observation:

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.

There is indeed and much of it is, sadly, to be found on the pages of national newspapers where, today, we find The Daily Telegraph operating firmly in bullshit mode:

Jeremy Hunt is to issue new guidance making it clear to doctors that sex-selective abortion is “unacceptable and illegal”.

Hunt can issue all the guidance he likes, it doesn’t alter the fact that the Abortion Act 1967 is entirely silent on the subject of sex-selective abortion or that such abortions will remain entirely lawful provided that they can be justified… Read more »

What “Porn Culture”? (Part 1)

[This is the first of two articles looking in depth at testimony given to a Pennsylvania District Court by Gail Dines while acting as an “expert” witness for the US Department of Justice and, as you might well imagine, it’s a pretty long article so for the sake of convenience, if you’d prefer to read it offline using an e-book reader then you can download it as a PDF. Part one, which is that part, deals with Dines’ attempt to analyse porn-related search engine traffic. Part two, which will be posted in a few days, deals with her analysis of the content of porn tube websites and will include not only an overview of how and why the porn industry… Read more »