Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The abortion lobby discloses its ‘anti-choice’ strategy


Following on from yesterday’s post – which elicited an awful lot of invective and vitriol aimed at His Grace, with Chris Bryant even referring to His Grace as a ‘fundamentalist Christian’ (merely for asking others to pray for him) – it is kind of the New Humanist magazine to outline their strategy for neutering Nadine Dorries. And please note (as per yesterday’s post) that the target is solely and exclusively ‘Conservative MP Nadine Dorries’. There is no mention at all of ‘Labour MP Frank Field’ (who is jointly tabling the amendment):

How should we respond to Nadine Dorries and the anti-choice agenda?

I attended a meeting last night, organised by Jess McCabe of The F Word and Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy, on how to respond to the renewed efforts of the anti-choice lobby, highlighted by the efforts of the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries on abortion and sex education, and the government's inclusion of the anti-choice group Life on its new advisory forum on sexual health. There's lots to think about in light of the meeting, so I thought I'd share some of what was said and invite you to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

First, we heard from Diane Abbott, the Labour MP and Shadow Minister for Public Health, who began by saying that, in campaigning on these issues since the 1990s, she has learned that the "price of the right to choose is eternal vigilance" – just when you think the argument has been won, the anti-choice lobby always comes back. Her second point was that we should not be fooled into thinking that those who oppose abortion do so in the interests of the unborn child – the people who would vote to restrict abortion rights are often the same people who would happily cut welfare for children once they have been born. Abbott also pointed out that Nadine Dorries isn't entirely stupid. She is approaching the issue via a genuine problem – the high rate of teenage pregnancy – but attacking choice is not the answer. Those who want to lower teenage pregnancy should focus on improving education and social conditions, rather than pursuing an abstinence-based approach that gas a proven record of failure. It is shocking that a group like Life, which pushes an anti-scientific approach for ideological reasons, should have been invited by the government to sit on a sexual health forum that should be scientific. Abbott also noted that the new intake of Conservative MPs is quite right-wing on these issues – "these are not people you want voting on women's reproductive rights" – and ended with a call for people to stand up for the right to choose. The anti-choice agenda, she said, is not about the rights of the unborn child or the sexualisation of children – it is an attack on women and the advances made in the last century. For the sake of women who have no voice, those that do need to find theirs.

Next up was Darinka Aleksic, campaign co-ordinator at Abortion Rights, who noted that there has been a sea change since the general election last year. Instead of a major attack on choice, such as the attempt to lower the time limit for abortion in 2008, we are seeing small measures designed to reframe the debate. Dorries is presenting it as a "pro-woman" agenda, tying the abortion debate in with the question of the sexualisation of children. It is important, said Aleksic, for those who are pro-choice to take back control of the agenda and remind people that the majority of people in the UK support the right to choose.

We then heard from Lisa Hallgarten of Education for Choice, who began by pointing out that pro-choice campaigners need to think carefully about the terminology they use, ensuring they do not allow the debate to be framed by the anti-abortion lobby. The term "anti-choice" should be used, not "pro-life", and we should not accept the notion that "every abortion is a tragedy". Abortion has been a huge boon to public health, and it is important, not just for the women accessing it, but also for communities and society as a whole. Dorries' tactic, said Hallgarten, is to throw as much mud as she can in the hope that some of it will stick. Everything she says is based on a false premise. For example, she has proposed amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill that would require women seeking abortion to access "independent information, advice and couselling services", under the entirely false premise that women do not already have access to counselling. In terms of her abstinence bill, it is not true that children how told to go out and have sex, and the hypocrisy is that the people who support such measures are the same people who have cut funding for good sex education. Hallgarten ended by pointing out that the pro-choice movement should argue from an evidence base – evidence-based practice unites everybody, and sexual health policy should not be based on the whims of ideologues. It should be about what works, and that is why arguments for choice should be based on evidence.

There followed an open discussion on how to proceed with responding to the anti-choice lobby, in which the 40-50 people present offered their ideas. Many were in favour of backing a pro-choice rally that is taking place in London on 9 July, and there was discussion of how to mount a stronger response in the media – the pro-choice message is prevalent in the liberal broadsheets, but how can it get a better hearing in the tabloids? One of the best points made, in my opinion, concerned the need to seize the initiative from Dorries and the anti-choice lobby. Those in favour of abortion rights need to press the fact that the status quo isn't good enough – women in Northern Ireland don't have access to abortion, there is a postcode lottery in the rest of Britain, and the two doctors rule is an unnecessary obstacle for women seeking abortion. There was discussion of the shock-tactics used by anti-choice groups such as Life and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in schools (the Guardian reported on this a couple of years ago) and the need to highlight and oppose this, protecting children from being exposed to lies disguised as sex education. It was also noted that we should not fall in to the trap of thinking the anti-choice lobby represent the religious perspective – most religious believers in the UK support access to contraception and many support choice.

So, while there were no firm conclusions from the meeting, there was plenty to consider and there are clearly lots of ways in which those who are pro-choice can take back the initiative and answer Nadine Dorries and the wider anti-choice lobby.

The purpose of the meeting was to share ideas, so let's get a discussion going in the comments below. How should we respond to Nadine Dorries and the anti-choice agenda?
To be clear, the Dorries/Field amendment is NOT limiting choice; it is NOT changing abortion law; it is NOT reducing the time limit; it is NOT making counselling mandatory. These are lies being put about to confuse and deceive.
The Dorries/Field amendment is actually INCREASING CHOICE in the provision of counselling by permitting companies other than the abortion provider to offer the service. His Grace has tried long and hard to see this from the perspective of the pro-abortion lobby, who object vehemently to exclusivity being removed from BPAS and Marie Stopes. But he truly cannot see the objection. According to a Right to Know report, BPAS and Marie Stopes ‘are strongly driven by financial motivations and see success in increasing the number of abortions that they perform. Both organisations employ Business Development experts to promote abortion and increase revenues. They have business plan objectives and targets to increase the number of abortions that they perform’.

The Dorries/Field amendment STREGTHENS WOMEN’S CHOICE by insisting that independent advice is offered where it is sought. Where it is not sought, the process is unchanged; the women ‘unhindered’. The proposal removes the unacceptable conflict of interest and the perceived conflict of interest that organisations in receipt of state funding to perform abortions are also those who give advice on a woman’s best course of action. It is a separation routinely insisted upon in so many other areas: imagine a Member of Parliament using his parliamentary allowances (taxpayers’ money) to advise Government departments on services provided by the MP, and this ‘advice’ resulted in contracts by which the Minister's company was enriched to the tune of £60 million per annum.

Perhaps the advice was objective, professional and impartial, as many insist the counselling services of BPAS and Marie Stopes are. But would not there be just a whiff of justifiable doubt? Was not the Register of Members’ Interests introduced to mitigate or eradicate even the perception of such conflicts of interest? Was not the Standards and Privileges Committee established to ensure that political influence may not easily be sold?

If this was deemed necessary to improve the reputation of Parliament and the respect and standing of our politicians, why, when we are dealing with abortion providers and the lives of the unborn, may the same rigour and standards not apply? Seriously, would not BPAS and Marie Stopes (not to mention Diane Abbot, ‘Abortion Rights’ and ‘Education for Choice’) prefer every year to see some 60,000 more adoptions than abortions? Or are they really so anti-life?

86 Comments:

Blogger peedeel said...

Storm in a tea cup.

Offering the chance of independent advice on Abortion is not a problem (and not a bad thing) to my mind, providing the advice is “independent” and not “compulsory”.

The big problem is why does the UK have so many teenage abortions? It seems we have treated the idea of sex education over the years with typical Anglo-Saxon narrow-mindedness and prudery!

It’s a national disgrace.

But this amendment will not reduce the number of teen abortions (nor abortions generally). It’s very like the crew of the Titanic rearranging the deck chairs while the ship is sinking.

30 August 2011 at 11:28  
Blogger J.A.Evans said...

It is quite wrong from every perspective that there is no balance and every woman seeking abortion should be told all view points. In my opinion the pro Ccoice lobby have lost the field on two counts, the financial incentive to safe gurard their jobs by encouraging abortion but also by the time most women come they have already chosen... not to use contraceptives . It is also totally erroneous to say that 'saying 'no' does not work'. It has never been tried because that would be encouraging a moral judgement , wait until you are in a stable relationship/ marriage etc. How dare we restrict people's freedom to do what they like . No no we must not let everyone steal or murder or anything nasty like that but promiscuity, hey bring it on and all the STDs with it!!

30 August 2011 at 11:52  
Blogger tangentreality said...

The response is largely what I would expect from the anti-Christian brigade, Your Grace - ad hominem attacks because they can't answer the argument.

Incidentally, while I am 'pro-choice', although I do agree that it is an unpleasant euphemism, I also agree with Your Grace that any advice given on a potential abortion should indeed be impartial, and also be seen to be impartial. Which is what the Dorries/Field proposal is about.

30 August 2011 at 11:59  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Surely advice and counselling provided by an organisation with no financial interest in the outcome can only be a good thing. Abortion is NOT something that can be contemplated lightly as the consequences will live with those involved for the rest of their lives.
I suspect the 'Progressives' agenda on this issue has nothing to do with the well being of the women (and men)involved and more to do with vested interests. If the Left really cared about teenage pregnancies they would stop supporting reckless and counter productive Welfare provision and start supporting normal Heterosexual marriage.

30 August 2011 at 12:04  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I always find it ironic that they call themselves "pro-choice" as if it were some kind of virtue. The choice is ... "Would you like to kill your unborn baby now or later? By chemicals or surgery? Here or there? With tea or coffee to follow?"

I wonder if the same people would advocate capital (or even corporal) punishment as "pro-choice"?

It's also interesting that those who are so keen on choice are typically the very same ones who are keen to eliminate the choice of Christians to live according to their conscience or convictions. As you rightly point out, they are not "pro-choice" at all, simply pro-abortion. In their tautologous reasoning, anyone who actually tries to give women alternative choices is actually "anti-choice"!

It is abundantly clear that they are not driven by concern for women or children or even an ideological pursuit of "choice" but merely by blind, pathological, irrational opposition to anything perceived as being associated with "religious conviction".

30 August 2011 at 12:04  
Blogger albion said...

"Chris Bryant even referring to His Grace as a ‘fundamentalist Christian’ (merely for asking others to pray for him)"

From being a fairly orthodox liberal catholic Anglican clergyman with leftist political affiliations, who planned to be a missionary, Bryant has broken with Christian faith and endorsed socialist secularism.
Consequently he calls anyone who believes more than he does "a fundamentalist". Yet Rowan Williams, whom Bryant has defended in the past, is opposed to abortion and a member of SPUC.

30 August 2011 at 12:24  
Blogger albion said...

Rebel Saint is correct. To say you are "pro-choice" can only mean whatever choice you make on abortion - for or against - is morally right, or at least morally indifferent (like coffee vs tea). Therefore it means endorsing abortion.
You can't imagine (or maybe you cna) people saying they are "pro-choice" on murder or theft.

30 August 2011 at 12:29  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

It seems that teenage pregnancies in Europe are much less than here. It has been suggested to me that this is because they don't have sex education in schools on the continent. Does anyone have any knowledge on this? I find it strange that the death peddlers continue to suggest that sex education is the answer whereas it does not seem to have worked and I'd like to know if there is a difference in provision in this country as compared to Europe.

30 August 2011 at 12:33  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Follow the money. There are now huge vested interests behind the steering women to abortions. One has to ask, what do the Humanist Society, Diane Abbot and the other speakers at this meeting stand to gain from their campaign?

More taxpayer money ...

30 August 2011 at 12:45  
Blogger Gnostic said...

It seems to me that the more explicit sex education has become, the more the number of teenage pregnancies rise.

Speaking as a female I do not object to abortion on medical grounds or in the case of rape. I do object to abortion being used as an afterthought contraceptive.

How do schools portray abortion in sex education lessons? Are they teaching that it is an acceptable last resort to shag, stupidly unprotected, without suffering the long term consequences? And without telling the girl's parents because it's a breach of their human rights, innit?

30 August 2011 at 12:47  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

The Godless will see no problem with teenage sex, teenage pregnacies and abortion. For them there is no moral dimension to the issues. It's the same with casual sex and with contraception.

Christians see these situations differently. These are very much moral issues and abortion is an evil and an immoral act. It is murder - plain and simple.

Lisa Hallgarten is right language is important.

Should the State sanction the wanton destruction of life in a woman's womb? Should the State pay for this? Should it do so through organisations driven by the profit motive? And do so without proper checks and balances in place to ensure every woman is fully informed about what she is doing?

Currently abortion is all too cosy. Pretend it is a simple medical procedure; pretend it is not life that is being destroyed; pretend there are no consequences for the woman. A quick trip to the clinic, paid from the public purse and problem sorted.

How's that for Christian fundamentalism?

30 August 2011 at 12:47  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"It’s very like the crew of the Titanic rearranging the deck chairs while the ship is sinking."
Gosh, what a striking image!

30 August 2011 at 13:13  
Blogger Jon said...

OK - there's some problems with your analysis, Dodo. How old was Mary when the Holy Spirit put Jesus in there? (I didn't want to be any more indelicate for fear of causing offence). I understood that the custom of the time was that she wouldn't have been much older than 13, but if Mary wandered down your street now, with the saviour of mankind under her sweater, you'd say she was only doing it to get her stable paid for by the DHSS!

If you're going to be bigoted, at least be consistent about it!

As I understand it, abortion is a thoroughly unpleasant procedure which a small number of women go through repeatedly for contraceptive purposes (which is obviously ethically difficult to justify even for those who are ostensibly pro choice). The rest must be for other reasons of their own. As such, I can't see any problem with allowing women access to more information, and anything with Frank Field's backing deserves serious consideration.

Marie Stopes aside, the idea that pharmacists dispense the morning after pill for dystopian or sociopathic reasons is odd to me - pharmacists have always struck me as a pretty ethical bunch. Additionally - attributing some kind of earnings- based motive would be odd, since the morning after pill deprives the pharmacist of all of those nappy sales later on!

30 August 2011 at 14:02  
Blogger OldSouth said...

Picked this phrase up in the midst of one of the presenters' comments from last night:

Abortion has been a huge boon to public health, and it is important, not just for the women accessing it, but also for communities and society as a whole.

One hardly knows what to say...except the women of OS's acquaintance who have had abortions would describe it as anything except a 'boon'. All were bright, interesting women, and it would have been wonderful to have their children's contributions to our life and culture. The sense of loss that permeated their accounts was palpable.

And, as for the personal attacks:

OS's lovely daughter is in no way a fundamentalist (she refers to them as 'thumpers'), but she felt the Leftist lash her senior year of college, when, during a presentation in an English class, she asked why it would not be appropriate for parents to be informed of their minor child's contemplated surgical procedure, since parental permission is required for the administration of such things as aspirin and cephalexin. Vitriol rained down upon her, and the remainder of her days at college were lived under a cloud for having violated Sacred Dogma of the faculty.

It was a valuable lesson--it's not just the BibleThumpers who exhibit cruel intolerance. Ideologues of all stripes tend to behave in similar fashion.

30 August 2011 at 14:15  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Jon
I take it you are not a Christian given your blasphemous references to the virgin birth. What a hideous and perverse analogy you use.

My views regarding teenage pregnant mothers are not those you ascribe to me. I take it you assume that being a Christian means blindly adopting a number of other political opinions? Therefore if the term 'bigot' is applicable to anyone in this discussion it is not to myself.

One cannot put Marie Stropes aside as you propose. The abortion industry is just that, an industry. It will have a business plan, a development stratgy and a 'bottom line'. No abortion, no fee and no profit.

So far as the morning after pill goes, I don't doubt pharmacists are honourable people. Again, it is backed by a drug company with a 'bottom line'. My objections to this form of 'contraception' is that it is another means to conveniently end life. It is not a means of preventing conception, just a very early and efficient means of ensuring any conception is terminated. No fuss, no bother, no moral dilemma.

As a Christian, I view the abortion and contraception industries as immoral. Those supporting them under the banner of 'choice' seek to reframe our thinking, they devalue life itself and in so doing fundamentally erode Christian values.

I am pro-life and firmly against the pro-death lobby.

30 August 2011 at 14:35  
Blogger Man with No Name said...

Abortion providers use ‘social validation’ messages, regularly promoting the acceptability of abortion:

"One in three women in the UK will have an abortion by the time they are 45".

That's okay then - it's normal.

30 August 2011 at 14:48  
Blogger Jon said...

Dodo,

I used to be a Christian, but then I fell away because I can't subscribe to the Church's views on a number of things, sadly.

I should also say that, I exempted Marie Stopes precisely because HG's charge (if true) that they have a material financial interest in this should place them as a party whose opinion is not impartial in this discussion (unlike, say, pharmacists in general).

How was my reference blasphemous? That I referenced Mary's likely age, or that I referenced the third party of the Trinity? Either way, I think I did so with humour, but also, respect and am apologetic if you felt I did otherwise.

My parallel with Mary is valid though because as a Christian, you wouldn't question her motives, but from outward appearances would you doubt that she had had (what would now be) underage sex if she walked past you in the street today? It's not like Virgin births are that common!

Either every child is made in God's image, in which case, who are you to say that someone shouldn't procreate when they want to, or they aren't in which case, your faith is in question.

After all, isn't it all just a slippery slope? If abstention prevents a life being born, isn't that just moving the line further back in time? With IVF and artificial insemination, we've shown that the physical act of sex isn't the crucial determinant of life, so why draw the line there? Why not at ovulation, or gastrulation, or even intention? Or will you keep the line where it is because it suits your pre-existing views? In which case, how are you different from those who would deny women more information?

Or is it that a child is only made in God's image when it's born into a heterosexual Christian family who subscribe to your moral code?

I don't believe that God makes the distinction, and so my question is - how you have turned a compassionate question of weighing the rights of a foetus against the rights of a woman (contentious at the best of times) into slurring teenage mothers.

Judge not lest ye be judged.

30 August 2011 at 14:55  
Blogger Jon said...

Incidentally YG, 60,000 extra kids in care would strain an already over-burdened infrastructure.

So - with respect, a question to the political part of your persona - would you support higher taxes to pay for roughly doubling the care infrastructure available to the kids who aren't aborted.

I am obviously aware that money is small consideration next to the lives of women and the rights of the unborn, but I just wondered.

30 August 2011 at 14:59  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 August 2011 at 15:36  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

jon

Your reasoning is elluding me.

Any apology is not due me.

"My parallel with Mary is valid ..."

No it isn't What would concern me would be her welfare as a young mother and the welfare of her future child.

" ... who are you to say that someone shouldn't procreate when they want to ... "

But I'm not. All children have a right to life regardless of the circumstances surrounding their conception - life is sacred. Again, the pregnancy may have occurred outside of the Christian ideal of a life-long marriage, but that is a secondary issue.

"If abstention prevents a life being born ... "

Your point has escaped me. Abstention is a natural method of birth control entirely consistent with Christian thinking. Your not seriously comparing it to abortion?

"With IVF and artificial insemination ..."

Your logic escapes me entirely here!

"Or is it that a child is only made in God's image when it's born into a heterosexual Christian family who subscribe to your moral code?"

Life is life and a child is a child and to kill is a direct contravention of God’s commandment.

"I don't believe that God makes the distinction ... "

Sorry, who is suggesting God distinguishes about how life is started or who is slurring teenage mothers? From my perspective, there is no legitimate weighing of a mother’s right to choose to end life with those of the child - because morally the mother does not have such a right.

It's not about judging or condemning how the pregnancy arose but being clear that ending human life is not a morally acceptable option.

30 August 2011 at 15:48  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

jon said ...
"would you support higher taxes to pay for roughly doubling the care infrastructure available to the kids who aren't aborted."

Bit cynical.

These children may all be adopted or raised with love by their birth mothers. They would not be 'unwanted' and handed over to the State.

Think of the savings if euphanasia - "the movement for choice in dying" was legal!

30 August 2011 at 16:04  
Blogger Flossie said...

'Follow the money' is right. Anyone remember Emily's List? This feminist organisation awarded money to female Labour Party members looking to become Parliamentary candidates, so long as they declared their support for the 'pro-choice' campaign. Sleaze indeed. I seem to remember Jacqui Smith being involved, and Caroline Flint.

Some people will do anything for money.

30 August 2011 at 16:22  
Blogger Steve Kneale said...

It is absolutely outrageous that Diane Abbott, one who often purports to speak for the left (and frankly rarely seems to adequately do so), is willingly blind to the financial incentives offered to BPAS and Marie Stopes. I am certainly not aware of many lefties who have much time for Ms Abbott. Indeed, if the left get hot under the collar about anything, it is usually conflict of interest issues specifically related to payment for services. That Ms Abbott chooses to spectacularly ignore such a conflict of interest in this case is staggering when she is usually adept at highlighting them, often correctly, elsewhere.

The reality of the matter is that this is not about the rights and wrongs of abortion (though clearly some have taken it as such on these comment pages). Really, the issue is one of conflict of interest. It is simply impossible for a service provider to offer impartial advice to those considering utilising such services; even more so when financial incentives are tied directly to whether the service is carried out. In no other sphere would this possibly be acceptable.

I quite agree with Your Grace. I have tried to view this matter from the other side and simply cannot see the objection to independent counselling services. Even less can I see the sheer belligerence in insisting any counselling services must be provided by a group who are paid according to the number of abortions carried out.

As I mentioned on your previous post, this is not a left/right issue as the Labour MP for Birkenhead has jointly tabled the amendment. Moreover, I - as one firmly on the left - am horrified by a conflict of interest more flagrant than most and the ludicrous argument purported by some that it would somehow set women's rights back to be in full receipt of the facts from an independent source. Rarely are such awful arguments used to justify something so blatantly wrong.

30 August 2011 at 16:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Is there any reason why independent counsellors shouldn't operate on the premises of private abortion clinics to remove any perceived conflict of interest? Surely that covers all bases?

If perceived conflict of interest is an issue then we also need to make sure religious organisations do not get involved in the provision of this sort of counselling.

30 August 2011 at 17:06  
Blogger Steve Kneale said...

DanJ0 - I wouldn't object if the independent counselling was not of a Christian nature. In fact, I would rather encourage it not to be delivered by 'religious organisations' for the specific reason you suggest; to avoid any suggestion of another conflict of interest.

Nevertheless, the point remains, counselling offered by a service provider dispensing advice regarding the service on offer cannot, by anybody's standard, be considered independent. Even less so when the service provider stands to make profit or loss from the decision reached by the individual.

30 August 2011 at 18:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Steve Kneale

If does seem odd that Diane Abbott could ignore such a blatant conflict of interests. But what’s this ? The Inspector finds that Dianne is an old hand when it comes to coping with the same. Brave Dianne ignored socialist doctrine and sent her child to a fee paying school !

A strong and determined woman, Dianne should be applauded for this expression of choice. And remember, occasionally state education is not always the best, and I’m sure Dianne took this possibility into account.

Well Diane, can you assure the Inspector that you are actually for women being given IMPARTIAL advice on abortion and to make a fully informed choice, and not receive it rom an organisation that needs to weigh the vacuum suction jar at the end of the day to see how profitable they were ?

30 August 2011 at 18:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Steve: "Nevertheless, the point remains, counselling offered by a service provider dispensing advice regarding the service on offer cannot, by anybody's standard, be considered independent. Even less so when the service provider stands to make profit or loss from the decision reached by the individual."

There's obviously a potential difference between theory and practice but there are operating procedures to which these advice providers must adhere. Section 2 of this is of relevance.

Let's not mix up impartial with independent here. Clearly they're not independent as they stand now but they may still be impartial. Is there compelling evidence that they're not? Let's face it, they're much more likely to be impartial than a Catholic organisation doing the same thing.

Also, BPAS is a charity and non-profit-making organisation i.e. it may make profit but not for owners or shareholders. Obviously it still needs to cover costs and maintain its business but this isn't a commercial company like BP.

If suspicion is to abound then I'm mightily suspicious that the sponsors of this bill are Christian religionists and there's more than a hint of Christian lobby groups in the background. This has the smell of anti-choice, only by degrees and by the backdoor, about it.

30 August 2011 at 19:16  
Blogger Albert said...

Steve,

I wouldn't object if the independent counselling was not of a Christian nature. In fact, I would rather encourage it not to be delivered by 'religious organisations' for the specific reason you suggest; to avoid any suggestion of another conflict of interest.

The assumption here is that it is possible to have a neutral position on abortion. Can you have a neutral position on the holocaust? To be neutral on such matters, is necessarily to adopt a particular stance vis a vis the moral status of those being killed.

Now it is one thing to hold a moral stance regarding abortion, and for this stance to affect the counselling one gives. This is unavoidable. It is quite another to be in a position to make money from the poor woman making one choice, rather than another.

Those who are naive about the money issue here may like to consider quite how much money is knocking around this "industry", and whether the connection would be allowed in other fields:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/cristinaodone/100102384/abortion-is-about-money-as-well-as-morals/

30 August 2011 at 19:29  
Blogger Oliver said...

These people are just bloodthirsty fanatics. There should be no debate over foeticide because there is no rational, ethical debate to be had.

30 August 2011 at 19:34  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

"There is no such thing as an unwanted child. If no-one else wants them, I do". - Mother Theresa

30 August 2011 at 22:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector urges women who don’t wish to have the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy just to say no.

From his youth, here are some of the rebuttals he, ahem, encountered..

“I don’t want to lose a friend”

“It’s not you, it’s me”

“I have my thoughts on someone, and it’s not you”

“My father / mother / brother / sister / entire family including the dog hates you”

“I don’t want to kill you, but I will if I have to”

Never let it be said that the Inspector doesn’t know what it’s all about...

30 August 2011 at 22:31  
Blogger daikonsensei said...

It would be nice if both sides could use the word "abortion", rather than "life" or "choice"

30 August 2011 at 22:43  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

We've mentioned this before in an earlier blog but it is clear that the most impartial information is an ultrasound image of her own baby in real time.

31 August 2011 at 00:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"It would be nice if both sides could use the word "abortion", rather than "life" or "choice""

The thing is, I think women should have a choice, albeit limited, but I'm not pro-abortion because of it whereas others are clearly anti-abortion.

31 August 2011 at 06:27  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

I thank His Grace for his posts on this subject, which have caused me to re-evaluate my position on abortion. I support what Frank Field and Nadine Dorries are trying to do. (Although I can hardly bear to speak her name!)

31 August 2011 at 08:08  
Blogger tertius said...

For those pro-abortionists arguing that they are really "pro-choice" let me point out the illogicity of such a position:

To exercise a choice one must first have a life. That they are here taking part in this conversation indicates that they were not aborted in their mother's wombs.

Having been granted life as a first priority they now are able to exercise a choice. But what is the choice they now embrace with zeal? It is nothing less than the right to deny life to those unborn humans - foetuses just like they once were - to grow up and exercise their own choices in the world.

Those who claim to be pro-choice should be fully pro-choice and spare more than a dismissive glance at the thousands to whom they deny any chance of making choices in the future.

True, they speak eloquently about a woman's right to choose but in practice want to deny those same women choice in the form of counselling for alternatives to abortion. They claim that only agnostic/atheistic advice can be given, not religious or spiritual succour because the latter might, what?...make the women change their minds about an abortion!

They wish them to deny to women the full range of arguments and alternatives by which a proper informed choice can be made!

The fact is they are ineed pro-abortion and anti-life.

31 August 2011 at 10:14  
Blogger Steve Kneale said...

Albert -

"The assumption here is that it is possible to have a neutral position on abortion. Can you have a neutral position on the holocaust? To be neutral on such matters, is necessarily to adopt a particular stance vis a vis the moral status of those being killed."

I don't recall ever suggesting one must have, or indeed could have, an impartial view on abortion. All I said was 'to avoid any suggestion of another conflict of interest' perhaps religious groups should refrain from being the ones to deliver the independent counselling. Given that, as you rightly point out, this is an issue related to the money within the "industry" and a real conflict of interest, I was merely suggesting that perhaps religious groups should not be the ones to deliver the counselling service to avoid any suggestion that they too may have a conflict of interest. Even if you deny such a conflict of interest exists, and I'm not necessarily saying it does, to be beyond reproach it may be better to allow others to deliver this service. My main concern was the provision of counselling by those delivering a service from which they receive money dependent on decisions reached. To some degree, I don't mind who delivers the counselling service so long as it is not the same group who are paid per service carried out.

DanJ0:

"Let's not mix up impartial with independent here. Clearly they're not independent as they stand now but they may still be impartial."

Surely, even the appearance of independence is valuable? I am not necessarily convinced such groups are impartial, however, even were one to give them benefit of the doubt you agree they are no independent.

"Let's face it, they're much more likely to be impartial than a Catholic organisation doing the same thing."

I am not convinced this is true. I suspect a Catholic organisation would be as ideologically wedded to one stance as the current providers are to theirs. Therefore, I would rather suggest an equal level of "impartiality". As I commented before, I am not particularly pushing the suggestion that religious groups should be the ones to deliver the counselling (you have rather ascribed that to me when I haven't mooted it). I actually argued that religious groups should not be the providers to avoid any such suggestion of bias. Whether I actually believe them to be biased is another issue but to avoid somewhat uncharitable assertions, like the one you offer, I was quite clear that perhaps religious groups should not provide this service. My main concern is that the providers of the service, those who reap financial rewards from carrying it out, are not the ones to deliver the impartial, independent counselling.

31 August 2011 at 10:32  
Blogger Preacher said...

I can never understand how any woman could actively promote something that besides being a repulsive act of infanticide against the helpless unborn infant, encourages men to regard women as objects to be used for their gratification, then discarded like a soiled tissue.
Can they not see the lack of respect for women that results from this stance?.
I could understand men promoting this slaughter for their own selfish reasons, but this must be one of the most succesful cons in history.
Let's also be quite clear about one thing, it's not sex education in schools, but sex indoctrination.
It produces a generation of ladettes that drink & are as promiscuous as their male counterparts.
Could this be the cause of most of the problems with teenage girls getting pregnant & then choosing termination as a late form of contraception?.
Although not all girls who fall pregnant are ladettes, the lack of moral guidelines is a danger to all & why any government should think that teaching youngsters more about sex will reduce the rise in unwanted pregnancies beggars belief, it just encourages experimentation. The media must also share the blame, programmes like 'The sex education show' that is aired at a ridiculous 7.30 can only encourage young people to experiment, with predictable results. Do we really need this tacky garbage at all?.
IMO we need to clean house, not just paint the outside, but repair the whole basic structure. Preferably before it falls down & destroys us all.

31 August 2011 at 11:23  
Blogger Albert said...

Steve,

All I said was 'to avoid any suggestion of another conflict of interest' perhaps religious groups should refrain from being the ones to deliver the independent counselling.

I think it is impossible for there not to be a conflict of moral interest on this matter whether the counsellor is religious or not. Your argument would thus exclude all counsellors. The fact that there is a conflict of financial interest at the moment is squalid and of a different order.

Secondly, it should not be assumed that the only people who are opposed to abortion are religious. This is common error. When Lord Joffe bought his "assisted dying bill" it was presented as if those who opposed it were only the religious. In fact, the campaign against was led by an atheist, as I recall. It is important to the pro-death camp though to prevent that kind of information getting out, so as to keep up the pretense that the only reason to be pro-life is because you are religious.

A benefit of having religious groups doing this work, is that, it is at least clear what their stance is. It is the groups who are unclear to the women about their stance that are more likely to mislead (even inadvertently) women into following their stance.

31 August 2011 at 15:39  
Blogger peedeel said...

Shacklefree said,
"It seems that teenage pregnancies in Europe are much less than here. It has been suggested to me that this is because they don't have sex education in schools on the continent. Does anyone have any knowledge on this? I find it strange that the death peddlers continue to suggest that sex education is the answer whereas it does not seem to have worked and I'd like to know if there is a difference in provision in this country as compared to Europe."


In the Netherlands sex education is usually taught within a firm moral framework; exceptions would seem to be in more economically deprived areas where educationalists are dealing with streetwise youngsters in a very sexually aware environment. This said, while the UK rate of teen pregnancy is FIVE times higher than that of the Netherlands, there has been a slight increase in teen conceptions terminated by abortion in Holland – over 62% of females 15 – 19 who conceived were later aborted.

Single-parent families make up 26% of all families with children in Great Britain, while the proportion in the Netherlands is 5.7%. Children in Britain are five times more likely to be living in a family headed by a lone parent than children in the Netherlands.

A study of over 2,000 young people in England aged 13–15 for the year 2000 found that, in families headed by a married couple, only 13 per cent of the children were sexually active. The percentage doubled to 26% for young people living in one-parent families.

Compared with the UK, the Netherlands has far fewer lone-parent families, out-of-wedlock births, divorces and mothers in full-time employment. This, with much lower welfare benefits to teenage mothers and the persistence of stigma, may offer a partial explanation for the differing rates of teenage pregnancy.

However education still has a big part to pay. In a 2009 survey across the UK it was found that four in ten pupils had received NO sex education at all, hence the inclusion of sex education in the national curriculum in 2010.

As Siebe Heutzepeter, headteacher of De Burght school in Amsterdam, said: "The English are embarrassed to talk about sex. They are too squeamish. Here adults and children are better educated. There is no point in telling children just to say 'NO' – this is a liberal country: you need to tell them why they are saying 'NO' and when to say 'YES'.

The Dutch system (which I have witnessed) is very frank but set within a framework of moral responsibility. The UK system seems to have more in common with the naming of the parts.

In 2009, with around 40,000 teen pregnancies in the UK, over 20,000 of them ended in abortion. Until the mid-Nineties, fewer than four out of ten pregnant teenage girls opted for an abortion. That changed with Tony Blair’s teen pregnancy initiative – where teen abortions positively soared.

As to the number of abortions overall within England and Wales, the figure has risen slightly in 2010: total was 189,574. The stats show 3,718 abortions were done on the unborn children of girls under the age of 18, which is down slightly, 12,742 were done on 16-17-year-old girls, and 21,809 were done on girls aged 18 or 19. On the other end of the spectrum, women over the age of 35 had 27,046 abortions.

Multiple abortions are a problem in the UK, too, as 64,303 procedures were carried out on women who’d already had at least one abortion and 1,201 were done on girls under 18 who had at least one abortion already, while another 79 were done on girls under age 18 who’d had two or more previous abortions. The statistics revealed almost 300 women between the ages of 25 and 29 had four or more previous abortions at the time of the abortion they had in 2010.

Most of these were funded by the NHS, who paid for 96% of all terminations.

As I said in my original reply:

It’s a national disgrace.

31 August 2011 at 15:57  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Peedeel. I've heard it claimed that the Dutch sex-ed is successful in bringing down teenage conceptions. From what you say here, it is the wider moral context together with stigma and financial implications that are important. The proportion of abortions is worrying though.

31 August 2011 at 16:15  
Blogger Steve Kneale said...

Albert,

I think it is impossible for there not to be a conflict of moral interest on this matter whether the counsellor is religious or not. Your argument would thus exclude all counsellors.

I never claimed that people could, or should, be neutral on the matter. What I suggested was that, if not merely for appearances sake, religious groups should not being the ones to offer the independent, impartial counselling services. This is not an accusation on my part of partiality nor an assertion of impartiality. It is a recognition that certain quarters, including some on these very pages, would view counselling by religious groups as fundamentally biased. In order to be beyond reproach, and given specifically who delivers the service (as long as it is both impartial and independent - which as already discussed it is not at present) is not really the issue, it would seem acceptable for a non-religious yet fully independent counselling group to provide this service.

Secondly, it should not be assumed that the only people who are opposed to abortion are religious.

I'm not sure why you think I made this assumption? I made no such statement nor gave any such inference. Merely because I suggest religious groups should notoffer the impartial, independent counselling doesn't mean I think they are they only people who hold pro-life positions. Surely, it is you who tacitly makes this argument when you assume my suggestion to keep religious groups from offering this service, in line with the Dorries/Field amendment, automatically means I am suggesting this should be handed over to those wedded to a pro-choice position?

A benefit of having religious groups doing this work, is that, it is at least clear what their stance is.

Unfortunately, the weakness of this argument is that exactly the same can be said of the current system. Those who offer counselling at the moment have made very clear their stance too. It is apparent they are in favour of abortion as they stand to profit from it. Their stance is as clear as that of religious groups. By your reckoning, there would be no advantage to having religious groups offer the counselling as the only benefit you have suggested is that of clarity, which already exists!

The crux of the matter is very simple. Those profiting from the outcome cannot possibly be said to be in a position to offer either independent or impartial advice. It is therefore key that such service providers are not also the ones to offer counselling. Given that many would argue religious groups have a vested interest too, something seemingly catered for in the Dorries/Field amendment, if not merely for the sake of transparency these groups should also not be the providers of the counselling service. This way, inasmuch as anybody can be, we will achieve the closest to an impartial, independent counselling service.

31 August 2011 at 16:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Steve: "I am not convinced this is true. I suspect a Catholic organisation would be as ideologically wedded to one stance as the current providers are to theirs. Therefore, I would rather suggest an equal level of "impartiality"."

Oh I very much doubt that. On the one hand, BPAS counsellors are being doubted on the basis of generic suspicion for their counselling professionalism and for their potential bowing to internal organisational pressure, on the other we have the Catholic Church which is vehemently and ideologically opposed to abortion.

Look at how they have handled adoption by same-sex couples. They'd rather the kids languish in the care system than place them in a potentially loving and supportive home and family unit. And why? For their ideology. In fact, they're so vehement that they'd rather shutdown all their adoption services and let kids rot than place a very small proportion of them in family units to which they have ideological objections. Don't underestimate these people.

31 August 2011 at 17:02  
Blogger Albert said...

Steve,

I think we are slightly at crossed-purposes. I realise that you are not saying people can be neutral on this matter (although you do keep using the language of impartial advice). My suggestion is, given that impartiality is impossible, it is undesirable that groups that may be viewed as fundamentally biased be excluded. All groups are fundamentally biased, everybody has a vested interest of sort - even if it is only their moral stance.

So a non religious anti abortion group could be just as biased as a religious one. (In fact change the law, and they may even be the same people!) The benefit of allowing religious groups is that it is clear that they are opposed to abortion (e.g. if they are Catholic). A non religious group may be just as opposed but it be unclear. Consequently, what you propose would simply be a piece of anti-religious discrimination with no benefit.

Unfortunately, the weakness of this argument is that exactly the same can be said of the current system. Those who offer counselling at the moment have made very clear their stance too. It is apparent they are in favour of abortion as they stand to profit from it.

I think that is in a different moral order and is thus not a weakness in the argument.

31 August 2011 at 17:07  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

They'd rather the kids languish in the care system than place them in a potentially loving and supportive home and family unit.

Actually, Catholic adoption agencies placed all the children they had without resorting to homosexual couples. So there was no languishing in the care system. since the legislation you presumably support was passed, Christian couples have found it harder to adopt or foster, and the Catholic agencies have been lost. Not one child has been placed as a result of the legislation but homes have been lost. Thus it is your, wholly unnecessary dogma that has caused vulnerable children to suffer.

they'd rather shutdown all their adoption services and let kids rot than place a very small proportion of them in family units to which they have ideological objection

If you believe that a homosexual home is an unhealthy environment in which to bring up children, you have no choice when the legislation is as repressive as it now is

31 August 2011 at 17:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

tertius: "To exercise a choice one must first have a life. That they are here taking part in this conversation indicates that they were not aborted in their mother's wombs."

No. One must have choice-making abilities. Those abilities come later than something having a life, they come when one is sufficiently human.

"Those who claim to be pro-choice should be fully pro-choice and spare more than a dismissive glance at the thousands to whom they deny any chance of making choices in the future."

It's worse than that if we're to follow your particular style of reasoning. We must spare more than a dismissive glance at the millions and millions to whom we deny any chance of making choices in the future by not nobbing as many fertile members of the opposite sex as we can.

"True, they speak eloquently about a woman's right to choose but in practice want to deny those same women choice in the form of counselling for alternatives to abortion."

Actually, they have counselling available to them in the current system. You're misrepresenting the issue. I'm pro-choice and I'm happy in principle for the system to be modified so that women can have independent advice in the private sector at the point of contact and/or on another site if they wish.

Also, I'm pro-choice rather than pro-abortion because I'm happy for the women to be given unbiased advice about all the options, including adoption, and counselling to help them to choose the most suitable option for themselves at the time.

"They claim that only agnostic/atheistic advice can be given, not religious or spiritual succour because the latter might, what?...make the women change their minds about an abortion!"

Firstly, counselling is not about telling people what to do. It's about encouraging people to make their own choices from the full range of options available. Religious organisations that are anti-abortion are highly unlikely to do that, I dare say.

"The fact is they are ineed pro-abortion and anti-life."

Complete wanky bollocks, if I may say so. Technical term.

31 August 2011 at 17:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Steve: "Those who offer counselling at the moment have made very clear their stance too. It is apparent they are in favour of abortion as they stand to profit from it. Their stance is as clear as that of religious groups."

One of them (BPAS) is a member of BCAP (the regulatory body for counselling) and they're also regulated by the Dept of Health under its published code.

BPAS recognises that the options are 1. continue the pregnancy and become a parent, 2. continue the pregnancy, or 3. pursue adoption
end the pregnancy by abortion.

As you can see from their website, they explain the options even without counselling. They also give a link to an adoption and fostering site.

You're over-egging it, I think.

31 August 2011 at 17:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Preacher: "I can never understand how any woman could actively promote something that besides being a repulsive act of infanticide against the helpless unborn infant, encourages men to regard women as objects to be used for their gratification, then discarded like a soiled tissue."

If it's infanticide then I can't for the life of me understand why people who think foetuses are children are not chaining themselves to the doors of clinics and hospitals, blocking car-park entrances, marching on Parliament every week, and all kinds of other sorts of direct action to stop this murder.

I would never, ever allow the deliberate murder of over 180,000 children eavery year in this country. I can't believe these people can look themselves in the eye every morning knowing that they're complicit through their inaction. Utterly bizarre, really.

Or, could it be that they don't really think it's the actual murder of children and are going for the emotive card for the purposes or politics and/or religion? Either variant is pretty despicable I reckon.

31 August 2011 at 17:41  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

The argument that women should be given good independent counselling where they are provided with the facts and support relevant to their particular circumstances would seem to be beyond contention.

I do rememember however a previous comment on this blog where I raised some questions as to whether organisations such as Life were also in a position to provide such neutral independent counselling. And the responses indicated that there was strong code/requirement that counselling had to be be provided on such a neutral value free basis. Now we are apparently being told that such requirements cannot effectively be enforced for some advisors but they can be for others who are seen as politically more acceptable - all of which just suggests to me that the likes of Cranmer and Dorries are just playing partisan games, and they are just using the issue of "independent" counselling as a means to an end.

31 August 2011 at 17:42  
Blogger Steve Kneale said...

Albert: I suspect on the first point we agree. Nobody is unbiased on the matter. Given that nobody is unbiased, I would accept that the best we can hope for is a system in which independence and impartiality is at least seen to be sought after. I would still suggest that non-religious counselling services, as mooted by the Dorries/Field amendment, would be preferable as we must have some confidence in the counselling regulatory body. if we do, an independent, non-religious group under its authority would be more than adequate. I am still not convinced, however, that clarity is necessarily the prime reason to allow any particular group to offer the service but, on this we will perhaps just have to disagree.

Dan: You seem to be under the impression that I'm suggesting the Catholic Church doesn't have bias? Certainly not my claim. Equally, I'm not convinced BPAS are as impartial as you claim - the conflict of interest has been discussed many times over and appears apparent to most. In the case of Marie Stopes this is even more clear cut.

As for my 'over-egging it', I fail to see how I have. Simply because they 'recognise' three options in no way suggests they view them all as equally valid. Nor indeed does it suggest any less of a bias and the conflict of interest issue, which evidently exists, remains.

You fail to mention there are many Christian counsellors who are also registered with the BCAP but you fail to extend the charity you bestow upon the BPAS counselling service to them. If BPAS' membership in the BCAP automatically makes them impartial then the many Christian counsellors also affiliated must be considered equally impartial and therefore a legitimate provider. However, you suggest that only non-religious counsellors should be allowed to provide this service. This seems a slight moving of the goalposts to suit one's argument.

Nevertheless, I agree that religious counsellors should not provide this service (as the Dorries/Field amendment suggests). Not because I believe they will be biased but because I believe, and you have shown to be the case, that many onlookers will make that assumption. I would rather allow an independent non-religious counselling service to take on the role and avoid assertions of religious bias safe in the knowledge that the independent provider has nothing to gain from steering people one way or the other.

That is what this issue is about. Not impartiality, not pro-life/choice issues. Rather, it is this clear conflict of interest that the very groups offering counselling stand to gain or lose depending upon the later actions of the individual. At best, this looks improper. At worst, it is a clear and gross conflict of interest that would not be tolerated in any other sphere.

31 August 2011 at 18:34  
Blogger Albert said...

Steve,

Given that we agree no one is unbiased, surely, it is a deceit to make it appear that an organisation is impartial? One that seeks to appear to be impartial is one that is seeking to be deceitful.

P.S. There's little point in arguing with Dan. First he evades your points, then he complains that you are persecuting him, finally, he will suggest that you masturbate while reading the Bible. He said all that on an earlier debate on abortion (of all topics).

31 August 2011 at 19:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert, you seem to crave my attention and I can't possibly be any clearer that I am not interested in your fixation with me. I can't even ignore you without you publicly obsessing and trying to involve other people in it. Go find someone else to stalk, you fucking creepy old man. *shudder*

31 August 2011 at 19:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan

1. It is not your attention I crave, I wish to draw attention to the fact that you cannot defend your position against the charge of infanticide. After all, it was you who called for pro-life people to take action against abortion.

2. It is evident that I do not crave your attention from the fact that I do not comment on most threads here - even if you have. I comment on the question of abortion because it is important to me, not because you post here.

3. Why shouldn't I warn others of your abusive nature? You have been abusive not only to me after all.

4. If anyone was as gratuitously offensive towards homosexuals as you are towards Christians, you would (rightly) object (and I would defend you BTW, regardless of the insults you have put in my direction). If anything stalks your comments it is your own inconsistency.

5. It is the viciousness with which you respond to criticism that it creepy.

6. I am not in fact, an old man. For all I know, I'm younger than you.

31 August 2011 at 19:47  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJO

Do grow up, darling!

If you post comments presenting your often confused moral and philosophical postion, then expect to have them rebutted.

You do not have to reply to them.

31 August 2011 at 20:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

31 August 2011 at 20:56  
Blogger Albert said...

There does seem to be something very odd about the behaviour of the secular pro-abortionists in all this.

First they determine which categories may be used in public discourse - i.e. their own, only. Religious people cannot use language such as sanctity of life etc.

Then, when they still can't win the argument, they resort to rudeness.

Then, they resort to determining who can speak and who can't.

All the while, they expect to be able to say what they like about other people and other people's beliefs (whether what they say is true or not).

I'm reminded of "Bomber" Harris' comment:

"The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them."

31 August 2011 at 22:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Too true Albert

This is the feminists citadel - crack abortion and you can roll back the clock on this godless lot - expect no quarter...

31 August 2011 at 23:06  
Blogger William said...

Has one of Danj0's ad-hominem rants been removed? It was only a matter of time, I suppose.

1 September 2011 at 08:48  
Blogger Steve Kneale said...

Albert,

Merely because no system will be perfect does not mean we should not try to get as close as we can. You appear to say, and I am happy for you to revise this if I am inferring something you have not intended, nobody is unbiased therefore let us not care about impartiality, or the appearance thereof.

I do agree that nobody is unbiased. However, this does not mean that their advice cannot be impartial. After all, who is utterly unbiased on any issue? Nevertheless, it is the duty of any counsellor who adheres to the counselling code of practice laid out by BCAP to not lead the individual nor to direct them.

I believe with Marie Stopes and BPAS there is a financial conflict of interest that may well affect their counselling service. This is why I believe such groups should not offer this service because they potentially stand to gain financially from the advice dispensed. I am less concerned who actually offers the counselling service so long as, whoever it is, a) does not stand to gain anything financially or personally from end decisions and b) adhere to the BCAP code of practice.

Given that so many vehemently believe religious groups have a vested interest, for the sake of appearance, I would happily forego their involvement bearing in mind the issue at hand is not religious/non-religious involvement but rather that, at present, their is a clear vested interest from the group providing the service.

I accept that you disagree that religious groups should not be 'locked out' for this reason. For me, it is about the appearance as much as anything. Here, however, I am sure we disagree.

1 September 2011 at 10:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

What kept you William? You're slacking these days. No, it's rather more serious than that and a bit beyond your usual pye dog shenanigans. I'd steer clear on this one.

1 September 2011 at 10:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Steve,

I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. I think impartiality is impossible by the very nature of this debate and that it is harmful even to try to give the appearance of impartiality, and discriminatory against religious groups to exclude them, rather than others.

You've made your disagreement with this quite clear, and I suspect, we cannot go any further forward.

1 September 2011 at 10:53  
Blogger William said...

Danj0

I can see it's very serious by your comment at 31 August 2011 19:26

You might want to tone down the mock outrage a bit though. You're hamming it up somewhat and coming across as slightly delusional.

Don't forget to mention that people are ganging-up against you! Especially now you have three people commenting on your contributions.

1 September 2011 at 12:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William, I assure you I am not hamming it up at all.

1 September 2011 at 12:25  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

William said...
"Danj0
I can see it's very serious by your comment at 31 August 2011 19:26"

Correction - DanJ0 thinks it's very serious.

I think he might be hamming it up ever so slightly. If he chooses to offer his views he must expect them to be questioned.

1 September 2011 at 14:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, I'm happy for my comments here to be questioned in the spirit of debate. I'm confident I can argue for my position on abortion, including so-called infanticide stuff. In fact, I have and do argue for it regularly. But that isn't actually what the underlying issue and its iterative history is here.

As you seem very keen to jump in then perhaps you'd like to tackle one of my comments above yourself? I'm referring to the one at 31 August 2011 17:41.

On the face of it, people who bang on about infanticide are jammed rather hard onto the horns of the dilemma there. Do think abortion is infanticide yourself? Can you think of a defence to what I say? Or are they, and perhaps you, just armchair warriors in reality?

It's up to you of course. I expect this is a welcome break from the daily kicking you get from your fellow religionists so I wouldn't blame you for declining. It might be better to just stick to the fairly risk-free sniping in the aftermath like William while you still have cover?

How about it?

1 September 2011 at 17:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

perhaps you'd like to tackle one of my comments above yourself? I'm referring to the one at 31 August 2011 17:41.

I have an immediate answer to that question - but I'm not allowed to answer you.

1 September 2011 at 18:14  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

Not one for hiding, and I'm always up for a lively debate, although Albert has, I think, answered your points.

The comments you cite that you want a response to:

"I would never, ever allow the deliberate murder of over 180,000 children eavery year in this country. I can't believe these people can look themselves in the eye every morning knowing that they're complicit through their inaction. Utterly bizarre, really."

You'll have to explain "complicit"!

"Or, could it be that they don't really think it's the actual murder of children and are going for the emotive card for the purposes or politics and/or religion? Either variant is pretty despicable I reckon."

Again, you'll have to explain how you arrived at this conclusion!

A ridiculously immature line of reasoning, if you don't mind my sayingso.

I don't believe the direct militant Christianity that you are suggesting would be terribly effective. What are you proposing? Attacks on clinics? Attacks on the staff at those clinics?

Abortion, albeit a grevious evil in the eyes of God, is legal and Christians have no right to rise up against legitimate civil authority or those acting lawfully.

Sadly, most people are deceived about the true nature of abortion. You yourself use clinical language to disquise the unique life that is created from the moment of conception and then calously terminated in the act of abortion.

At this time all Christians can do is present the moral arguments,lobby their MP's, engage in peaceful demonstrations and seek to minimise the number of deaths of the unborn.

1 September 2011 at 18:26  
Blogger William said...

Dan

I have an answer too, but I wouldn't want to aggravate your "stalker" delusions.

1 September 2011 at 18:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "A ridiculously immature line of reasoning, if you don't mind my sayingso."

Marvellous.

"I don't believe the direct militant Christianity that you are suggesting would be terribly effective. What are you proposing? Attacks on clinics? Attacks on the staff at those clinics?"

Well, you tell me. If I were to walk around shooting kids in a playground then what would you do? They're essentially the same thing, aren't they? Obviously not to me but, well, I'm not the one claiming zygotes are essentially kids because the abortion of the pregnancy is infanticide.

"Abortion, albeit a grevious evil in the eyes of God, is legal and Christians have no right to rise up against legitimate civil authority or those acting lawfully."

But it's still always immoral, right? So, you're prepared to stand by next to the murder of children, actual children, just because it's legal? Blimey. What happened to any moral obligations to intervene to protect? Gone in a puff of ecclesiastical incense?

"Sadly, most people are deceived about the true nature of abortion."

Oh I very much doubt that.

"You yourself use clinical language to disquise the unique life that is created from the moment of conception and then calously terminated in the act of abortion."

Dodo, I use both sorts of language. There is no disguise. I know what happens in an abortion at various stages. I can talk to friends tonight who have gone through the procedure. I am using the language to people who believe zygotes are essentially kids. I presume you also know what goes on in an abortion. What is there to disguise in the conversation? A human life is lost in an abortion. But it's not a child and a zygote has never and does not experience its own life. Is that clear enough for you?

"At this time all Christians can do is present the moral arguments,lobby their MP's, engage in peaceful demonstrations and seek to minimise the number of deaths of the unborn."

Armchair warriers in the face of deliberate and planned murder in their own country and presumably within a bus ride or walk away for many. How morally barren and empty and depressing.

1 September 2011 at 19:11  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

You're getting worse!

Merrily shooting children down in the playground is not legal under any law I know! Abortion is. That's the point.

"A human life is lost in an abortion. But it's not a child and a zygote has never and does not experience its own life."

I agree, not a child in the sense you mean, but even a zygote possesses a unique potential for life that is denied it - that's the point. And, according to Christian belief, to wilfully and deliberately end this life and unique potential is a grevious moral evil.

As for the rest, Albert and others have more than adequately covered all the points.

1 September 2011 at 19:46  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Albert

I'd welcome your answer whatever fanciful believes Mr DanJ0 holds about your motives!

1 September 2011 at 19:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "You're getting worse!"

So are you.

"Merrily shooting children down in the playground is not legal under any law I know! Abortion is. That's the point."

So, if shooting kids in playgrounds were suddenly made lawful then you'd resort to lobbying your MP, perhaps from your armchair using a laptop, and step over the bodies on the way past to the shops?

I hope you'll lobby for me in prison, even if it's from your armchair, when I'm morally compelled as an atheist to actually intervene to stop it and get arrested as a result. Thanks.

"I agree, not a child in the sense you mean, but even a zygote possesses a unique potential for life that is denied it - that's the point."

The claim put about by several Catholics here is that the zygote, blastocyst, foetus, and in vitro baby all have an equal right to life as the mother.

That's why, I presume, it's infanticide (rather than just in the so-called partial-birth cases talked about in America) and people bang on about pro-choice people essentially being child murderers.

Let's be honest, it's bollocks isn't it? You can admit it to me down here, I don't suppose the pye dog will care.

1 September 2011 at 20:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "I'd welcome your answer whatever fanciful believes Mr DanJ0 holds about your motives!"

Well, in that case I'll be off then. I hadn't expected you to call for help quite so soon. Bless. :)

1 September 2011 at 20:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

in vitro -> in utero, I mean.

1 September 2011 at 20:48  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

I agree that the issue of the law is very important here - if we do not notice what thew law permits, we will, in opposing abortion, commit the very crimes we are seeking to fight.

However, I do not think that because something is legal, one should simply refuse to fight it - physically I mean: in principle we are not just reduced to changing the law.

Putting these two points together I think it is obvious that there are significant moral principles which govern the use of violence in defence of the innocent.

So the suggestion is that someone is killing children in the playground. I think we may justly kill the killer, provided certain conditions are met, e.g.:

(i) It is a last resort
(ii) There is a real prospect of success in stopping the killing.
(iii) We do not cause more harm than we prevent.

So if it is possible to stop the killer by shooting him in the leg, it would be unjust to kill him. If killing him risked harming more people than we were saving, it would again be unjust to kill him.

From these principles, it is obvious that our possible courses or action with regard to the abortionist are limited.

Firstly, you almost certainly wouldn't need to kill him to stop him performing the abortion. Consequently, it would be profoundly unjust to kill him.

Secondly, no action you took against him would be likely to save one single child. So we do not have reasonable prospects of success. As abortion is legal, women could simply go elsewhere for their abortions. Consequently, as we would not prevent any harm done to anyone, but would harm the abortionist, it would be profoundly unjust to harm the abortionist.

Then you would need to consider the political consequences. Let's face it, the pro-death camp is willing to make stuff up about pro-lifers. If we actually gave them real grounds for the things they say, any political attempt to change the law would be impossible for a generation or so. So we would have caused great and unjust harm to the abortionist and to the anti-abortion cause, without saving a single child's life.

For these reasons, even though I think abortion is infanticide, while it is legal, I cannot see how it could ever be justified in practice to use force to prevent it. Such behaviour would in fact contradict the very principles we are seeking to uphold.

The reason pro-death people do not see this, is presumably because they do not have to uphold the pro-life principles.

1 September 2011 at 20:50  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Albert

Thank you.

1 September 2011 at 21:13  
Blogger William said...

Danj0 said

"Well, in that case I'll be off then."

Probably wise given your two foul-mouthed outbursts earlier in the thread. I note, by the way, that you have yet to apologise to Albert.

"I hadn't expected you to call for help quite so soon. Bless. :)"

Is there no end to your childishness?

2 September 2011 at 08:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William, do you ever add anything of value? You just rock up when something has kicked off and snipe from the undergrowth, you pointless and trivial little man.

2 September 2011 at 10:42  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Funny though!

2 September 2011 at 19:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hilarious.

I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in you Dodo.

William is like one of those skip rats outside late-night corner shops, all very brave and mouthy in a group but off like a whippet when the group dissipates, bless him.

Yet you seem quite happy to defend your corner on your own for the most part even against the near constant kicking of you from the non-Catholic god-botherers here.

Is this a case of the abused turning out to be abusers, or at least trying to be in this case, when the opportunity arises?

I trust you'll go to confession after all this. Your god's watching you, you know, and he knows your motivations.

2 September 2011 at 20:09  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

For goodness sake lighten up! William's poking fun at you not abusing you.

Rise above it - I try to.

Did you have a post deleted at some point? Missed that. And, lets face it, you are behaving in rather a childish manner.

2 September 2011 at 22:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "For goodness sake lighten up! William's poking fun at you not abusing you."

Dodo, you are clueless sometimes. He only surfaces whenever there's some forum unpleasantness. It's pointless low-level abuse (i.e. verbal violence) and it's because of another incident here some months ago. This is typical forum stuff everywhere and it doesn't matter a jot whether people self-identify as a Christian and ought to be different. Ruffled feathers and loss of dignity must be rectified all costs, it seems.

I don't particularly care about it, it's just a bit tedious every time so I kick him for a while and he slopes off until the next time. Anyway, I'm a gay, secular-State-advocating atheist, therefore I'm a Lightning Rod for online Christians to get in touch with their inner Demon. I expect it.

"Did you have a post deleted at some point? Missed that. And, lets face it, you are behaving in rather a childish manner."

Yes. It was my first one ever. Dodo, I could only have written it on the basis that real-world identities are not involved at the moment, such was its strength of message. I meant and believe every word of it and the fact that even those contents have not re-established a boundary is indicative to those who know about these things. You're better off steering clear here, and this really needs to be dropped now.

3 September 2011 at 07:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

Why don't we just bury the hatchet? If I have given you the impression that I have stalked you, then I apologise. I have never before been accused of that in the real world or on the internet.

I believe strongly in these matters, and I enjoy a good argument. In the real world, with right person, I might argue for several hours, on the internet, I have had arguments that last a month or longer. For the argument to continue, it is necessary for the other person to keep responding, which I would take as consent for the argument to continue.

Clearly, that is not the case with you.

So there is my apology - will you now apologise for the unprecedented rudeness and abuse you have put in my direction (again, I have never been insult to that degree before, either in the real world or on the internet, neither in any discussion I have had, has anyone ever had to have a comment removed by the moderator)?

3 September 2011 at 10:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert, I was never out to get an apology and I don't need one, I just want it to stop even if the 'it' in reality is the product of misunderstandings and misperceptions and miscommunication in both directions.

I have been on the internet since its inception and I have watched some very disturbing things develop, bleeding into real life, which makes me quite sensitive, arguably over-sensitive to some, over certain things.

My extreme rudeness has been in part a means to shock enough to give BACK OFF NOW its full weight after my lesser attempts. I dislike swearing other than for comic or literary effect and I generally intend no viciousness to people in real life.

If you wish to draw a line under this and move on then I am happy to apologise for insulting you. It came from my considerable agitation at the time and I am sorry if I have caused unnecessary distress.

I suggest we post around each other for a while and then revert to more generalised exchange of comments on topics as appropriate.

3 September 2011 at 11:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Dan for your gracious reply.

I have watched some very disturbing things develop, bleeding into real life, which makes me quite sensitive, arguably over-sensitive to some, over certain things.

I have not had that experience, but if it has been yours and I have inadvertently played into such worries and agitated you then I doubly apologise. One of the problems with the internet (as with emails) is that until something really extreme happens it is difficult to judge the mood of others.

I suggest we post around each other for a while and then revert to more generalised exchange of comments on topics as appropriate.

That sounds like a very good idea.

Best wishes to you and have a good day!

3 September 2011 at 12:42  
Blogger William said...

It's nice to read of peace breaking out. It seems so fleeting these days.

3 September 2011 at 19:14  

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