As I write this, there’s less than 24 hours to go before the abortion-related amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill are debated and a touch over 24 hours to go before they’re put to the vote.
Is there, i wonder, anything more that I can say on the subject that hasn’t already been said?
Well, perhaps there’s just one more thing by way of giving an illustration of the kind of mindset that lies behind efforts to restrict legal access to abortion.
To start you off, let me direct you to this article in, of all places, yesterday’s Telegraph, which trails a Channel 4 documentary that will air tonight – in less than a hour’s time, in fact, a documentary that looks at the emergence of US style Christian Fundamentalism in the UK:
In case you’re in any doubt at all about what we’re dealing with her, let me direct you attention to this short passage at the end of the first page of the article:
I was invited to Carmel by someone I met on a demonstration against the Sexual Orientation Rights [gay rights] legislation outside Parliament at the beginning of last year. The protest had been organised by the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship (LCF) – or, more specifically, by Andrea Williams, its public policy director.
Ms Williams believes any law that goes against her strict biblical beliefs must be fought. Her latest target is the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill, which reaches a critical stage in its passage through Parliament next week. Ms Williams tells me why she is campaigning against it. “I believe there’s a spiritual battle going on,” she explains. “These laws reject God, and any rejection of God is the work of the enemy, Satan.”
The Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship is, of course, the parent organisation of Christian Concern for Our Nation, the organisation who’ve provided Nadine Dorries’ with her 20 weeks campaign website – in fact the article goes on to reveal that Nad’s had a bit more than just a website out of them:
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries will put down an amendment to lower the upper limit on abortion to 20 weeks from the current 24. That amendment and several others, from different MPs, have been written by Ms Williams.
The article is worth reading for another reason – because if pretty much verifies the chain of connections between Dorries, the Conservative Christian Fellowship and the Evangelical – or Fundamentalist, if you prefer – Christian right.
I also want to give you a bit of vision of the future, well, a possible future and one that a number of us of been fighting tooth and nail against for the last few weeks/months.
The Telegraph article notes that links exist between the LCF and US fundamentalist groups and, as some of us have been pointing out for quite a while, the strategy behind Dorries’s campaign is one that’s been cribbed wholesale from the US, the kind of strategy that, if left unchecked, leads to laws like this one:
Talking of the boonies, I see the great state of Oklahoma has just passed a new law requiring any girl requesting an abortion first to undergo an ultrasound examination, either abdominal or transvaginal. The decision as to whether it is transvaginal is the doctor’s, not the patient’s.
“For first-trimester abortions, the fetus is so small, you don’t get a good look unless you put in a vaginal probe. So, Oklahomans are forcing them to do that so the women can see the body parts better. You can have some 14 year old girl who got raped by her uncle Billy Bob, and she will still have to have that vaginal probe put up her an hour before the procedure. To me, it’s unconscionable. It’s all about shaming you”. Dr Kathryn Brewer.
Abortion is still legal in Oklahoma, but a tranche of legislation has introduced endless rules designed to restrict access to abortion and also (deliberately or not) to humiliate women who choose to have an abortion.
So here’s to the victims of incest and rape: we know you’ve been through a tough time, but we’re going to need to stick one more unnecessary piece of medical equipment inside your vagina, and subject you to a humiliating procedure when all you want to do is move past the traumatic experience and get on with life. Oh! Oh look! See that fetus? Now, where did you want to schedule your abortion? (Government has no place between my legs
Does any of that need further comment?
Do I need to point out that while the Us Supreme Court is considering whether the use of lethal injections in executing the death penalty amounts to a cruel and unusual punishment, the state of Oklahoma sees no problem with compelling doctors to unnecessarily and unethically introduce a foreign object in the bodies of women who are seeking a first trimester abortion?
Is there anything more I need to say?
(Hat tip also to Philobiblion, who brought the Oklahoma law to my attention last week).