Yes, its time for part two of my own look at the abortion debate as it played out in parliament, and time to get around to the ‘contribution’ of Nadine Dorries.
As our starting point we’ll take what Dave Cole has suggested will become the leitmotif for the entire debate, Dawn Primarolo’s withering assessment of Dorries’ speech during the debate:
The hon. Lady has asserted many things to be facts that are not.
Together with Dorries’ comments her local paper, as reported by the Bedford Today website:
Mrs Dorries said: “I was flabbergasted by what went on in parliament.
“I despaired when I heard speeches from MPs which included information that just was not true.
“I also spoke to MPs who obviously hadn’t read the bill that they were soon to be voting on – how can they say they represent the people?”
You can guess what’s coming can’t you… yes, Mad Nad’s speech is getting the full fisk, during the course of which I will point out all the untruths and misrepresentations she put forward to the House and, generally, demonstrate that validity of Dawn Primarolo’s assessment of her perfomance:
So, let’s begin at the beginning…
There are two points that I would like to clear up before I embark on my speech. The first is on the issue of disability, which has been deliberately clouded tonight. My new clause 5, which would introduce a 20-week limit under section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967, relates to social terminations. If my new clause, and the 20-week limit, were agreed to tonight, and any woman found, at a 20-week or 21-week scan, that there were abnormalities, she would be able to abort up until birth under the Act. That will not change at all if my new clause is agreed to. I am surprised at the hon. Member for Calder Valley (Chris McCafferty), who muddied the waters slightly. My new clause refers only to social terminations in healthy circumstances.
Dorries’ speech starts with a degree of confusion.
What happened here is straightforward enough to understand. Her amendment to reduce the upper time limit to 20 weeks was initially submitted, as amendment 5 on the order paper, with a second new clause, on that sought to prevent terminations being carried out on the grounds of foetal disability by inserting an ‘anti-discrimination’ clause into the Act prohibiting abortions on grounds of gender, race, disability and sexuality (if ascertained).
In short, a thoroughly disreputable and dishonest attempt was made to co-opt the language of equality in order to prevent abortions taking place at any time, but especially after 24 weeks, on the grounds of foetal disability. As this clause appeared, initially, on Dorries’ amendment it would be inconceivable to think that she would not have been aware of it or its purpose, unless she left the whole business of writing and tabling amendments to her new found Christian fundamentalist friend, Annette Minichiello Williams, and simply did pay attention to what was being tabled in her name.
In her own speech, Chris McCafferty spoke to the amendment as it appeared on the order paper for the debate – unlike the amendments that had been put forward and then formally withdrawn by Dr Evan Harris, john Bercow and Chris McCafferty before the final order papers for the debate were printed, Dorries and the other Conservative’s who tabled amendments seeking restrictions on abortion appear waited to withdraw several of their own amendments, including the ‘equality clause attached to Dorries’s amendment, until it was too late to revise and reprint the order papers.
McCafferty did not ‘deliberately cloud’ the issue of disability, that was done when Dorries failed to ensure that the ‘equality’ clause was withdrawn in time for this to be acknowledged in the paperwork provided to MPs – whether that was a matter of incompetence or a deliberate artifice designed to set up MPs speaking against the amendment for an allegation of having mislead the House is a matter for you to decide.
Following a request that she give way to another MP and a bit of mild backbiting, we move on to…
Well, I definitely will not give way now. Let me give some further figures on the disability issue. In 2006, some 2,860 terminations took place between 20 and 24 weeks. One in five of them-567-took place because of a disability. That situation would not be affected at all by my new clause; those mothers would still be able to abort.
Well, for once, she appears to have got the numbers more or less correct – it was actually 2,812 terminations not 2,860 but the 567 given for the number (567) given for terminations on grounds of foetal disability is correct.
I should like to make my personal position clear, because it has been misrepresented in the past few days. I am pro-choice. I support a woman’s right to abortion-to faster, safer and quicker abortion than is available at the moment, particularly in the first trimester. That is my position.
We’ve seen plenty of Dorries’ position and what she would really like is an upper limit of just NINE weeks – she actually voted for all the amendments which sought to reduce the upper limit, including Edward Leigh’s 12 week amendment.
To put that in perspective, on the same 2006 statistics, and depending on whether she defines a nine week limit by the start or end of the ninth week of gestation, her idea of being ‘pro-choice’ would force anything from 60,000 to 85,000 women a year to resort either to abortion tourism and seek a termination overseas, or find another means of terminating their pregnancy, giving rise of a newly revived backstreet abortion ‘industry’ the like of which we haven’t seen since the passage into law of the 1967 Act.
Dorries’s publicly stated position does not support the fiction that she is either genuinely pro-choice or that she supports ‘faster, safer and quicker abortion than is available at the moment’. Her entire ’20 weeks campaign’ and its bastard offspring, a new ‘Middle Way’ all-party parliamentary group was devised, designed and executed by and with the full support of Christian Concern For Our Nation and, particularly, Annette Minichiello Williams, with the express purpose of seeking to triangulate the default anti-abortion and pro-choice positions with the debate, creating the false impression that Dorries and her supporters occupy the ‘moderate’ middle ground.
Dorries claims to be pro-choice because its strategically expedient for her do so, in fact it is necessary because were she to be open about her real views, her credibility amongst all but those who oppose all abortion on primarily religious grounds would fall rapidly to zero. A mere 8% of the British public, according the Christian Institutes’s own polls, would support a complete or near complete ban.
She might think she can pull the wool over people’s eyes, but we’re already on to her.
As I have found from my research, one of the main problems is that many young women who present at a hospital or at a doctor’s are made to wait two to four weeks before a termination. I want to make my position clear: I am not against abortion per se. Actually, I would go further: I would like the morning-after pill to be available from every school nurse and in every supermarket pharmacy-and it should be free for young girls, and not £25 at the chemist’s, as it is at the moment. [Interruption.] I can imagine the discussions that are taking place.
An interesting proposition, but not one that particularly germane to the debate at hand and one bound to provoke widespread opposition from honest anti-abortionist who would object to minors being able to obtain the ‘morning-after’ pill without either visiting a doctor or without their parent’s being made of aware of it.
Given that school nurses are, these days, barely able to supply teenagers with a couple of paracetamol tablets without filling in half a dozen forms and sending a letter to the parents, I think we can safely conclude that this suggestion is not only unrealistic but was advanced solely to assist Dorries in her efforts to position herself in the debate ready for the next triangulation phase of her ‘false flag’ campaign.
Now may I get to the substantive part of my speech? I first became concerned about and interested in the issue of abortion when I worked as a nurse. I worked for nine months on a gynaecology ward, and assisted in many terminations and late terminations. I also went to witness a late surgical abortion six weeks ago. I became interested in abortion when it became apparent to me, as a nurse, that far more botched late abortions were taking place than should. The first one that I witnessed was a prostaglandin termination. A little boy was aborted into a cardboard bedpan, which was thrust into my arms. When I looked into the cardboard bedpan, the little boy was gasping for breath through the mucus and amniotic fluid. I stood by the sluice with him in my arms, in the bedpan, for seven minutes while he gasped for breath. A botched abortion became a live birth, and then, seven minutes later, a death. I knew when I stood with that little boy in my arms that one day I would have the opportunity to defend babies such as him. I thought that we committed murder that day. I cannot think of another word for a nurse or doctor present at the birth not attempting to resuscitate a baby who was an abortion but became a live birth.
This is Dorries’ much touted ‘botched abortion’ story and one that becomes less and less plausible with each and every retelling.
To quickly recap, she first span this particular yarn in public back in March of this year, to the Daily Mail, and then revived it again the week before the Commons debate/vote in a blog post at the Cornerstone Blog, introducing the story as one that she had never spoken of or written about before, despite it having been splashed all over the Femail section of the Daily Mail only a matter of two months earlier.
Piecing together information from the various published accounts, we now find that Dorries claims to have worked for nine months on an Ob/Gyn ward, during which time she witnessed this alleged botched abortion. In addition she claims to have been 19 years old at the time of this story, dating it to 1976/7 when, under her maiden name of Nadine Bargery, she trained as nurse at Warrington General Hospital.
Putting all this information together, her nine months ’employment’ on an Ob/Gyn would have to have taken place, in order for the dates/ages to match up, at some time between May 1976 and May 1977 at which time she would have been in her second year as a student nurse.
Not only is her story now 31-32 years old, and hardly, therefore, a valid basis on which to assess current clinic practice, but it lacks any independent verification and its is unclear whether or not her account of spending nine months working in a single specialism ward is consistent with manner in which second year student nurses were trained at the time.
In short, the provenance of Dorries’ anecdote has to be considered, for the time being, subject to valid doubts as to its verisimilitude.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists then dealt with the issue, because a number of botched abortions were happening across the country. The RCOG produced guidelines setting out a new way to abort babies from 19 weeks onwards. A number of people have talked about the method. I witnessed a late surgical abortion six weeks ago-
RCOG periodically reviews and updates its guidelines on induced abortion, so without any indication of when the update to which she refers was introduced, this provides no assistance at all in verifying the accuracy of Dorries’ remarks.
At this point, her reference to witnessing a late abortion six weeks ago prompted Dawn Primarolo to enquire as where this took place…
I am not going to reveal that to the Minister.
Thereby raising all manner of questions as to whether the patient consented to Dorries witnessing the termination in question and whether, indeed, they were made aware of either Dorries’s presence or her reasons for being there.
I think that people need to know this: the baby was given a lethal injection of potassium through the mother’s abdominal wall, into the baby’s heart. The process was supervised by an ultrasound scanner, so that the doctor could see exactly where the needle was going-into the foetal heart. The baby died and 24 hours later went through the process of surgical dismemberment and removal. It was just as my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard) described. It is the most dramatic experience to watch. The baby was dismembered and put in a plastic bucket.
So what she claims to have seen is a late term foeticide and D&C (dilation and curretage), although her account does not indicate whether she witnessed both parts of the procedure.
I hope such an operation is filmed one day and shown on television. The facts have been kept from the general public for too long. Since I had an article published in a newspaper recently, more than 1,000 people have e-mailed and written to me. They had no idea that that was the procedure that took place.
Would that be better or worse than another series of Big Brother?
I’m not entirely sure but the simple fact is that manner in which abortions are carried out is of no clinical relevance other than in terms of the safety of the procedure – showing one on television would add nothing at all to the debate but for stirring up the yuk factor on which Dorries is attempting to trade.
Or, to put it another way, many people find the idea of an autopsy unpleasant and uncomfortable – would she wish to see those televised and then propose that they be banned?
If babies do not live below 24 weeks, one must ask why the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists provides guidelines to guarantee that they do not. Do they live or not? If they do not, why do we go through that horrific process?
Which brings us on to our first non-sequitur.
I’m sure that there are a number of valid reasons for the use of foeticide but the one that springs to my own mind, having had the benefit of studying psychology to degree level, is that of reassuring woman who are about to undergo a late-term termination that the procedure is carried out in as humane a manner as is possible. In such a procedure it is the interests and well-being of the woman that is, and should be, paramount and this will naturally include considerations of the woman’s state of mind and psychological well-being.
It’s not difficult to figure out, but clearly such a simple explanation is too much for Dorries to work out for herself.
At which point Evan Harris intervenes to comment on the late-term abortion she claims to have witnessed…
What the hon. Lady described on her blog as an injection of vitamin K, rather than potassium, which was curious, is exactly the way of ensuring that the baby comes out normally, through expulsion rather than dilatation and curettage, as she describes. However, the procedure that she has just described is also the way that intrauterine deaths, which tragically occur and which are not abortions, are dealt with. So she has not revealed a sudden discovery. It was precisely to avoid the distressing sight, for some people, of abortions being born alive, which are bound to die because they are not viable, that that procedure was carried out. There is universal medical consensus on it.
Evan clearly has some doubts about Dorries’ story based on the account given on her blog, back to Nad…
First, I am very aware of the difference between potassium chloride and vitamin K, and I have never written the words “vitamin K” on my blog. I defy anyone to go, right now, and find that. It does not exist.
Which is true – I can find no record of a reference to vitamin K on her blog, nor can I find her giving an account of witnessing an abortion on there either.
What I did find, however, was this post about a day she spent with a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the end of March, just over 6 weeks ago…
Spent today with a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.
He is an abortionist who will not abort over sixteen weeks because “it doesn’t matter what the reasons are, it’s life as we know it at that stage and changes from a procedure into something else slightly more sinister”.
There is not one NHS hospital in the UK which will carry out abortion over 16 weeks other than Kings in London and Newcastle, they will only operate in cases of extreme need, when the continuation of the pregnancy is a threat to the health of the mother.
This is why all abortions over sixteen weeks are carried out by abortion only private clinics. Some may describe that as an industry.
So she spent the day with an Ob/Gyn consultant who apparently refuses to perform abortions after 16 weeks gestation but claims to have witnesses a procedure which is not used before 19/20 weeks gestation.
Evan may have made a wrong call on the vitamin K, unless he’s referring to something he’s seen Nad post elsewhere, but he’s right to sound a note of caution about the veracity of her story.
Secondly, there is a big difference between a wanted birth which dies in utero and an aborted birth. The RCOG produced the guidelines for abortion. There has been much discussion this evening about whether women have rights. Of course they do. However, in a pregnancy there comes a point when a baby may have a chance of viability. I shall go on to some evidential figures on viability.
Aside from noting that Nad came perilously close to a bit of speaking in tongues there, its time for some evidence, which is what I’ve been looking forward to all along…
We have heard much of the EPICure 2 study and the Trent study. Professor Field, who is the author of the Trent study, said on the “Today” programme this morning that he is not sure that we should be using viability as a marker, and neither am I.
No, there are other markers we can use that provide a more stable position, such as assessment of neurological development, but I doubt that that’s quite what she has in mind…
The analysis of viability of premature births happens for a reason. Premature births may occur because those babies are poorly, or the uterine environment is unwelcoming, but that is very different from aborted babies, the majority of whom would be healthy, as are normal births. Unless we ask 1,000 women to abort at 23 weeks of pregnancy so that we can see what happens to healthy babies when they are aborted, we cannot use the argument of viability. But the limit was set at 24 weeks.
Now she is speaking in tongues, not to mention playing to old can’t judge viability from ‘poorly’ babies record in order to try and conceal a very simple but, in terms of her position, corrosive fact.
If we did manage to persuade 1,000 women to undergo an induced delivery of their 23 week old healthy foetuses in order to see what happens, then we would see no significant increase in the survival rate over and above the rate we have at present.
In fact, it is likely that the survival rate in the ‘healthy; group would be a little lower.
Why? Simply because in many cases, doctors identify and are aware of the possibility of a foetus being born at around 23-24 weeks gestation for some time before the delivery actually happens and can, therefore, start the mother on a course of steroids in order to try to ‘force’ the foetus’ lungs towards a greater degree of developmental maturity that would be the case in a healthy foetus of the same gestational age.
The vast majority of neonates born at 22 and 23 weeks gestation die not because they are poorly but because they a premature – in fact in Dorries had ever bothered to read the Hoekstra study she might have noticed that one way in which severely pre-term neonates can end up being poorly, secondary sepsis, is actually positively correlated with the probability of survival to discharge.
Why, because to contract secondary sepsis, the neonate must already have survived for 2-3 days after birth and got over the critical first few hours in which most die irrespective of the efforts of medical staff and the quality of the hospital.
Between 1980 and 1985 at University College hospital, no babies survived at 22 or 23 weeks. Between 1996 and 2000, 50 per cent. of babies born at 22 and 23 weeks survived. BLISS, the neonatal children’s charity, says that more information is needed about the neonatal services that are provided in this country and at what gestation babies do well. If there were dedicated transport so that babies born early could get to a neonatal unit quickly and receive treatment, there would be a rise in the figures, as there has been in Sweden and in hospitals with good neonatal units on site.
If more neonatal units did not close their doors 52 times a year, as every one in this country did last year, and if a baby could be transferred to a neonatal unit within minutes-instead of hours-of birth, we would see a big difference. We see a difference in hospitals with good specialist teams in their neonatal units. The survival figures are very different. Granted, in the EPICure 2 and Trent studies the figures were averaged out, so that every birth was brought into the figures. However, for hospitals with good neonatal units attached to them, such as University College hospital, the figures are very different.
So she’s still on this one and she still hasn’t got around to figuring out… Nah, can’t be bothered this time. If you really want to know why she’s talking rubbish here, try this…
As I said, I believe that the woman has rights, but the baby has them also. I think that the baby’s rights kick in if it would have the chance of life if it were born and if it feels pain as part of the abortion procedure. At that point, the baby’s rights have parity with those of the mother.
Viability as a basis for assigning rights has a solid legal/ethical basis in the UK and plenty of tradition behind it but foetal ‘pain’ has never been a factor before this debate and there’s no reason or justification to start considering it now.
The play here is to to equate ‘pain’ with sentience, which is rubbish, and play another emotional blackmail card – and we seem very short on facts at the moment as well.
We have quoted Vincent Argent a few times this evening. He was the previous medical director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and wrote an incredibly good article this week. He talked about when women go to him for a late termination. He described how women who have been on IVF programmes ask him for a termination because they are expecting twins and would like one to be aborted. Some women go to him wanting a late termination with no good reason-they just demand a termination.
And? This is irrelevant… no more than ‘I’ve got a poacher turned gamekeeper and I’m going to milk it for all its worth’.
I was on “The Daily Politics” with the Minister at lunchtime today; it featured an example of someone who had had a late termination at 22 weeks because she felt that it was not the right time in her life. There comes a point when it has to be said that the baby also has a right to life.
And its another non-sequitur to finish the sequence…
I would like to talk about the various institutions because I know that many Members think that they have held on to what the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and faculties of neonatal medicine have said. First, I would like to talk about the Royal College of Nursing, of which I used to be a member. The RCN has taken the position of supporting the 24-week limit, but has not consulted its members.
Because its taking a position on the scientific evidence perhaps, Nadine?
Two weeks ago I addressed a meeting of nurses, two thirds of whom were members of other health workers’ unions; they were not even members of the RCN.
Nadine’s a little confused here, obviously, as she appears not to understand the difference between a professional association and a trade union.
They were angry that the college was purporting to speak on their behalf, given that they were not even members of it. The nurses who were RCN members were very angry that it was taking a position without even having consulted them to find out their opinion. Given today’s technology, there is no excuse for doing that; members could be e-mailed and canvassed for their opinions very easily.
And without wishing provoke the ire of the nursing profession, in what sense are these nurses are qualified to pass judgement on the ethical and scientific complexities of abortion?
The British Medical Association is hugely influenced by its ethics committee, on which the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon sits. The association is definitely not representative of doctors’ grass-roots opinion, which has been demonstrated today in a poll by Doctors.net.uk. Some 31 per cent. of the doctors polled want a 24-week limit, 15 per cent. want a 22-week limit and 54 per cent. want a 20-week limit.
More opinion polls… oh good, time for another intervention from Dawn, if she can get a word in edgeways.., which Dorries is not inclined to allow for reasons that will become apparent in a moment.
So this next bit is still Nad…
Overall, 69 per cent. of those doctors want the limit to be reduced.
And still Nad…
In October 2007, Marie Stopes, one of the charities that carries out late abortions, did a poll of GPs.
And finally Dawn gets in after the Deputy Speaker intervenes…
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way. She referred to a survey of 210 doctors by a subscription site that has more than 9,000 members—I cannot remember the exact figure, but that might have been it. There are 40,000-odd GPs in the health service, so her percentage is not very accurate.
Oh dear, a fine backhand return by Dawn, to which Dorries…
That is fine-let us talk about the Marie Stopes survey of October last year.
…fails to even offer a shot. 15 – love.
Marie Stopes is a charity that carries out a high percentage of late terminations. Its survey of GPs-I would imagine of all GPs-shows that two thirds of GPs want a reduction from 24 weeks.
Nope, not all GPs but a sample of 100 giving 703 replies, 690 of which were valid but not every GP answered every question and, of course, Nads is quoting very selectively here and omitting other interesting tidbits like:
- 82 per cent of GPs describe themselves as ‘pro-choice’
- 18 per cent said they were anti-abortion
- 76 per cent of GPs thought women should be entitled to free NHS abortions
- 85 per cent thought GPs with a conscientious objection to abortion should declare their position to women
- 10 per cent said there was no need to inform women of a conscientious objection
- One in five of those against abortion said they still supported a woman’s right to chose
- More than a quarter of anti-abortion GPs said they did not believe they should have to tell women that they conscientiously objected to the practice
The full survey report is here…
During the previous debate, someone mentioned the faculty of sexual and reproductive healthcare of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The medical director of that organisation, in a television interview last year, said that she did not perform terminations over 16 weeks because it was too much like a baby. That organisation has been cited as supporting 24 weeks. It is a fact that doctors do not like to perform late abortions. In the NHS, hardly any abortions over 16 weeks take place. We have a Government policy of 24 weeks, and an NHS that does not want to carry that policy out. We have a private abortion industry that has mushroomed around the NHS in order to carry out late terminations that doctors and nurses in the NHS do not want to do.
We have to ask ourselves this question: if we have a policy that states that we abort to 24 weeks, should we not be carrying out those operations in the NHS? Should we be encouraging a private industry to develop around it to carry out those abortions? Is that right? Is that what we should be doing? I do not think that any doctors train as doctors to end life. Most doctors and nurses train to save life and that is why, particularly now that doctors sub-specialise-doctors do not train in the way that they used to; they do not spend a long time in obs and gyny any more, but specialise very early-we are running out of doctors to perform late terminations in this country.
I have covered the issues that I want to deal with. I would like to finish on public opinion and public mood. Over the past six months or so, we have seen a huge swing in public opinion on this issue. The YouGov poll, the ComRes poll and others have shown, because the public are-
Blah, blah, blah… Time for Ian Gibson to step in… mixed doubles anyone?
Where does the hon. Lady get the evidence that we are running out of doctors?
We are running out of doctors who want to perform late terminations because the majority of doctors who work in the BPAS and Marie Stopes clinics are coming in from abroad on six-month contracts. There are very few UK graduates performing late terminations in BPAS or Marie Stopes clinics – [ Interruption. ] There are only two, apparently.
So we’re not actually running out of doctors, we’re attracting qualified medical professionals from overseas to pick up the slack in our own system.
None of this proves anything, of course, but Nads is now on a roll so it would be churlish not see what she has left…
Public opinion has changed, which has a huge amount to do with the work of Professor Stuart Campbell in 3D imagery. Pregnant women have always wished that they had a window on their stomachs so that they could see what their baby looked like and what their baby was doing. Professor Campbell has provided that window. We can now see what a baby looks like at various stages of pregnancy. We can see it walk in the womb, we can see it suck its thumb, and we can see exactly what our baby looks like.
It’s dancing baby time… Ooga Chaka, Oooga Chaka – plus some nonsense that seem to suggest that she thinks Campbell is turning pregnant women into the Tellytubbies.
BTW – babies don’t walk in the womb and before 26-29 weeks any and all movements are autonomic actions with no conscious intent or control behind them, because the critical bits that make consciousness possible haven’t developed… and that’s the big problem with Campbell’s ‘Awwwww look at the cuuuuuuuuuuute computer generated foetus’ viddies, they actually tell us nothing at all about the critical internal developments at the end of second and beginning of the third trimester which actually determine whether the foetus is viable in any sense of the term.
The public have been informed by the images of how a foetus develops,
You mean misinformed and subjected to emotional blackmail…
the knowledge that foetuses feel pain in the uterus earlier,
Well that’s certainly one ‘fact that is not’, but do go on…
the knowledge of what happens in a late termination,
the fact that doctors do not want to perform abortions
193,000 in 2006 says that’s a load of bollocks…
and the fact that they are not performed in the NHS but in private clinics,
For a wide variety of reasons none of which constitute an argument for restricting access to abortion.
And, in any case, I thought you Tories preferred to use private sector providers rather than the public sector – after all, it was your hero, Maggie T, who introduced NHS Agency Contracts for abortions in 1980/81.
and they have taken a view. Their view is that they do not want any further late terminations at 24 weeks. The public do not say that they want the limit to come down from 24 weeks; the public-including three quarters of women-say that they want 20 weeks. They specify what they want.
All a complete load of bollocks based on heavy push-polling by fundamentalist Christian anti-abortion groups – how very pro-choice of you to rely on that, Nads….
I would like to press the new clause to a vote, but I would like to finish with the words of Professor Sunny Anand, who is the world’s leading authority on foetal pain. As a result of his work, neonates who are operated on now live. The consensus of opinion before was that neonates could not feel pain before they were due to be born. They were operated on and died during the operations. As a result of his research, neonates now live.
Anand has a justifiable claim to be an authority on neonatal pain and clinical practice in the treatment of neonates, however on foetal pain his record doesn’t support such a strong assertion…
Anand has published one journal paper specifically on foetal pain, as listed on PubMed ,while the ‘related articles’ link attached to that paper leads to a list of 103 other articles dealing with the same field, none of which feature Anand as an author/co-author.
Anand’s a fine doctor, and his work on neonates is first class, but the ‘world’s leading authority on foetal pain’? Nah, not even close…
At which point we get a bit of three-way jibe action between David Burrowes, Nad and Dawn, in which Dawn drops the very subtle L-bomb and adds another choice phrase to the parliamentary archive of ways to call your opponent a liar without pissing off the Speaker, and then we’re on to the home stretch at last…
If the Minister feels that I have said anything tonight-cited any statistic or piece of information-that is not factual, I hope that she will challenge it.
With I do instead – there’s plenty in this article and several others to be going on with…
I should like to finish with the words of Professor Anand.
What words would those be? “Try not to leave a lipstick ring, Nadine, the wife might notice”?
He recently said to me, “Nadine, your Parliament will be voting on setting a time limit on abortion. So much has happened in science in the last 20 years that, when you cast your vote, it will be like a snapshot in time. But science and research is like an ever-rolling movie.”
And never, ever forget, Nadine, that you really shouldn’t despise the snake for having no horns, for who’s to say it will not one day become a dragon…
Is this guy supposed to be a doctor, or Yoda?
“Reduce abortions you will young Padawan…”
Whereas we have experienced good statistical improvements for neonates at 24 and 25 weeks, the amendments that were passed yesterday and the resultant changes in the law mean that neonates may live very much younger, very much sooner.
The votes taken the day before were on admixed embryos and ‘saviour siblings’, so what is she trying to suggest here? Splicing in a bit of mouse DNA to speed up gestation?
Given that we have a vote on the subject only every 20 years or so, perhaps we should represent the will of the public and reduce the limit to 20 weeks now.
Given that you’ve bullshitted your way through the entire debate, maybe you should do the decent thing and apply to the Chiltern Hundreds…
Not keen on that?
Well then, this is only the beginning…