Friday, September 02, 2011

The muddled and murky Mensch amendment

His Grace had an amicable (he thinks) Twitter dialogue with Louise Mensch MP yesterday. She is firmly persuaded of the inadequacy of the proposed Dorries/Field amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to detach pre-abortion counselling from those companies who are paid to perform abortions. His Grace still cannot quite grasp the objection to this amendment, which is fundamentally no different from ensuring that GlaxoSmithKline may not counsel mothers on the need for their children to have the MMR jab; or Pfizer to counsel men on erectile dysfunction. Since these companies manufacture and profit from Priorix and Viagra respectively, it would seem perfectly reasonable for Government to ensure that they may not counsel people towards the need for vaccination or drug treatment.

But Louise Mensch goes a step further. Not only should GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer be barred from counselling, but so also should all faith groups. We must leave MMR and erectile dysfunction at this point, for we are dealing with abortion. Mrs Mensch believes not only that women must be protected from the manifestly conflicted counselling services of BPAS and Marie Stopes International; they must also be shielded from faith groups who seek to spread their own ‘ideology’. This, to Mrs Mensch, is as aborrent as blatant profiteering.

Her ‘more palatable’ solution is that women should be offered counselling by independent organisations ‘who are neither abortion providers nor faith groups’ (although there would be the opportunity for a patient to choose to be counselled by either if they wished).

She has conducted an ad hoc opinion poll, and professes to have received ‘considerable support for (her amendment) from her Twitter followers’.

This is odd, because His Grace was party to that conversation and didn’t see her responding to anything amounting to ‘considerable support’. But he did ask a few pointed questions, some of which went unanswered:
Louise Mensch: Here's what I'd like to see, which isn't on offer next week: GP referrals to neutral, non-faith, non abortion provider counseling.

...the NHS should provide neutral ones who aren't faith-based and aren't abortion providers either.

... at the moment, only abortion providers can offer the advice and that's biased and wrong. Neutrality is needed inc not faith grps

His Grace: It is astonishing that a Tory MP advocates the eradication of Christians from counselling because they are not 'neutral'

Louise Mensch: offer facts on abortion, on raising baby, on support available to mothers, without bias.

...The gist would be that women should be offered counseling on the NHS from non abortion providers, non faith based or ideological groups.

...In my view, women deserve the option of totally neutral counseling from those without either a religious, ideological or financial interest.

... And the NHS seems the best organisation to provide it. But looking in to detail, wording and possibility. Wld not prevent Stopes or Life....offering counseling if patients chose them, but the neutral option should be there for women.

His Grace: But what of Christian NHS employees? Are you barring them from providing counselling or insisting they transgress conscience?

Louise Mensch: counselling would have to include abortion advice (how, when, medical) so many Xtns might opt out...as they do from performing abortions & can't be compelled to.

His Grace: Christians have no problem with stating facts (how/when/medical) but counselling isn't the 'neutral' dispensing of information

Louise Mensch: I have no problem with women choosing a Christian counsellor or Marie Stopes either but the non vested interest option shld exist

His Grace: You appear to be oblivious to the fact that Christians increasingly have fewer opt-outs: they are being disciplined or sacked

Louise Mensch: don't advocate that at all. I advocate a first option of neutral counselling with women free to choose other orgs if they prefer

...they won the court case recently didn't they. Freedom of conscience v. important.

His Grace: They won? They didn't win at all. The cases are now in Strasbourg and the tax-payer funded EHRC is opposing them.
At this point Mrs Mensch ceased the dialogue with His Grace. One may see from her Twitter feed that she responded later to John Prescott that ‘women deserve option of neutral, non abortion provider, non faith based or ideological counselling, offered by NHS’. That is her essential position.

There are a number of issues here. But firstly His Grace would like to say he finds it quite alarming that a Conservative MP is oblivious to the way Christians in the public sector are being treated when they exercise their conscience. It is bemusing that Mrs Mensch believes these court cases are being won by believers. What makes Mrs Mensch think that Christian doctors and nurses would be granted the same exemptions from counselling as they have from performing abortions, when Christian counsellors are already losing their jobs for manifesting discrimination in accordance with their beliefs?

If, as she avers, faith groups should be barred from abortion counselling because they are not ‘neutral’, by what virtue may they counsel on anything? By what virtue may they teach? By what virtue may they aspire to any public office, where they may spread their insidious ‘ideology’? If they may not offer abortion counselling, how can they offer marriage guidance counselling or bereavement counselling when they hold strong beliefs on such matters which may compromise ‘neutrality’?

If Christians may not counsel in the matter of abortion, by what right or liberty or form of toleration should they legislate upon the matter?

Louise Mensch professes the primacy of freedom of conscience, but what she advocates amounts to the eradication of faith groups from public life, which is completely antithetical to the whole concept of the ‘Big Society’. She appears to have no awareness at all of the implications of her amendment, not least because (as His Grace has pointed out many times) Parliament has never defined ‘religion’ or ‘faith’. How can one ban ‘faith groups’ from abortion counselling if one has not defined ‘faith’? Since the courts have over recent years determined that environmentalism is a religion, and so is a animal rights activism, it is difficult to determine which groups would not be barred by Mrs Mensch’s amendment, for all ideological worldviews may ultimately be seen to constitute a 'faith'. Ah, surely it would be those faiths which result in a moral imperative which guides or determines a religio-philosophical belief on the issue of abortion, His Grace hears you say. But if that were the case, ‘faith groups’ must exclude Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, for while the principle of ahimsa or non-violence or non-harm may guide their actions, the belief in samsara – reincarnation – determines that abortion by no means constitutes the terminal act it respresents to monotheists.

So, unless Mrs Mensch is planning to exclude Green Party members and hunt saboteurs from offering abortion counselling services, she must limit her prohibition to monotheists. And, since not a lot has been heard from either Muslims or Jews on the matter, we are talking – as well she knows – about Christians. And since the Church of England takes a via media pragmatism on the issue and is Established, it would be a little unjust (not to say potentially unconstitutional) to bar the Queen’s own church from providing a counselling service to her own subjects. Which means Louise Mensch’s amendment is aimed – as well we knew all along – at Roman Catholics and Evangelicals (ie those Christians who, in the words of Barry Sheerman MP, are ‘serious about their faith’). Indeed, we may arrive at Louise Mensch’s precise view by paraphrasing Barry Sheerman:
“It seems to me that faith-based abortion counselling could work all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith. But as soon as there is a more doctrinaire attitude questions have to be asked. It does become worrying when you get a new push from more fundamentalist bishops. This is taxpayers' money after all.”
The Mensch amendment is not only ill-conceived and badly thought through; it is fundamentally un-conservative, intolerant, illiberal, and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9 of which provides a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This includes the freedom to manifest a religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance, subject to certain restrictions that are ‘in accordance with law’ and ‘necessary in a democratic society’.

Mrs Mensch is proposing that inter alia Christians may not counsel on the matter of abortion because this is ‘necessary in a democratic society’. She thereby disregards the Established Church and the constitutional position of the Monarch and her bishops. She sets aside that the majority of the country professes some adherence - however residual - to the Christian faith. And she appears to be oblivious to the fact that the whole fabric of society is constructed upon Christian precepts.

The question of abortion is profoundly divisive: it is a moral issue. But there is no such thing as ‘neutrality’ in morality: human beings may not conveniently be detached from their gender, beliefs, lifestyle or culture. Counselling is not the mere impartation of information: we have computers for that. Counselling involves empathy and the outcome is clarity and guidance. Why should people of faith be specifically barred from providing enlightenment? Why, if it is deemed necessary and expedient for women to have ‘the right to choose’, may they not have the right to choose whence they receive the information by which they may arrive at that choice?

36 Comments:

Blogger Steve Kneale said...

YG, based on the quotes offered from Ms Mensch, it appears she is not suggesting faith-based groups be barred from offering counselling:

"the NHS seems the best organisation to provide it. But looking in to detail, wording and possibility. Wld not prevent Stopes or Life....offering counseling if patients chose them, but the neutral option should be there for women...

I have no problem with women choosing a Christian counsellor or Marie Stopes either but the non vested interest option shld exist."


It appears to me that Ms Mensch merely argues the first option should be for a counselling service that is not wedded specifically to pro-life or pro-abortion positions. She then states there should also be the option of counselling with those ideologically wedded to either a pro-abortion or pro-life position if requested. Therefore, nobody is "barred" from offering the service, rather the first referral is to am ideologically independent group but the availability of religious counselling is there for those who request it. I see no issue with such an amendment.

Moreover, Christian counsellors who work for independent, non-religious counselling providers would still be able to provide this service. It would only be religious organisations, as opposed to individual Christian counsellors, and abortion providers, as opposed to individual counsellors in favour of abortion, who would not receive 'first-option' referrals (and, as already noted, this would not bar them entirely from offering the service if an individual requested them specifically).

This does not seem entirely unreasonable to me.

2 September 2011 at 10:56  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Judging by some of regular comments here by 'compassionate' Christians why would a pregnant woman go to an organisation that would prefer to brand her as a child killer if she professed an inclination towards aborting her baby?

Turkeys voting for Christmas would make more sense surely.

2 September 2011 at 11:07  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Is Mrs Mensch a socialist; because that's what she sounds like.

2 September 2011 at 11:36  
Blogger Botzarelli said...

I think Louise Mensch is trying to find a workable compromise. She fails because, as His Grace says, moral neutrality is not possible - believing abortion to be acceptable in some circumstances is just as much a moral decision as believing it to be wrong. The NHS as provider of abortion counselling is no more independent of the financial aspect of providing abortions than Marie Stopes.

Mensch's proposal for "labelling" of counsellors may be a useful one, although as there is already a range of faith and non-faith providers of counselling as well as ones which are either linked to or independent of abortion clinics it is not clear that this really adds a lot to the status quo.

I do take issue with His Grace on the reasonableness of the original Dorries proposal. The parallel with drug companies advising on the use of their drugs is not correct - for a start drug companies do provide that advice under regulation. The information that doctors use in deciding whether to prescribe a particular drug comes at least in part form the manufacturers. There are restrictions on the way in which drug companies can market their products or provide incentives to medical practitioners which might lead to biased prescribing. If any part of the health services was designed around maximising revenue regardless of patient welfare that would be a serious concern and I think that would be a very serious charge to lay against abortion clinics needing more evidence than a small sample in the Daily Mail.

There does not seem to be a particularly strong case for changing the existing availability of counselling on abortion.

http://wp.me/p1kusD-5u

2 September 2011 at 11:42  
Blogger The Boiling Frog said...

@JiC She was on the Tory A-list of candidates, presumably that answers your question.

2 September 2011 at 12:00  
Blogger Asa said...

There is no such thing as a neutral counseling position. The notion is a liberalist chimera. It would either exclude what is unique to either the pro- or anti-abortion positions, in which case it would be merely fatuous, without any guiding principle on how to judge or advise upon a course of action, or it would include both pro- and anti-abortion positions, in which case it would be totally confused, but just as lacking in any principle of discernment to sort out its confusion.

2 September 2011 at 12:06  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Given that all religious organisations are staffed by blackmailing liars, since all religion is a blackmailing lie ...
I think Ms Mensch has a point .....

2 September 2011 at 13:10  
Blogger Jon said...

YG - from what you've said, her amendment doesn't appear to bar Christians from providing counselling, provided that the woman concerned opts to be counselled by a Christian in the first place. Presumably, if a Christian is prepared to provide counselling untinged by the value- judgements attached to their faith, they wouldn't be precluded from provision of counselling either - but you would call this a breach of conscience.

But, abortion is an emotive issue. Let's, for a second, consider the (for a CoE member), less emotive one of of blood transfusions. If you were in a hospital having lost a lot of blood, would you prefer the advice of an agnostic medical professional, or a nurse who was a jehovah's witness and who would find reasons to advise you against a transfusion? I know which I'd prefer - I'd want the most advanced care available, and if a blood transfusion was able to help, I'd take it! I would assume, if you still had any blood to pump in your admirably preserved corpus, you'd want the same!

Obviously, the analogy here is about saving one's own life, rather than the abortion of a foetus, but what I'm trying to explain is the way that others may feel about the imposition of another's morality on judgements which concern their lives.

Other than that - your reportage has been interesting, and your willingness to face flak is admirable.

2 September 2011 at 14:00  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dr Cranmer.
Although I can understand the idea
that Ms Mensch is proposing, it falls down on practical application.
As the responses to your Blog over the past few days prove. Irrespective of faith or not, abortion is an emotive issue, that has few if any who are not supportive of one camp or the other.
Thus finding the elusive few, (If they even exist) will be difficult or impossible, meaning it's defunct as a workable solution.
As you say it's wrong for those with a vested interest to be the only ones allowed to counsel.Why not believers too, who at least do not stand to gain financially from the sad affair. As it stands there is an imbalance in favour of those who see the life of the unborn as simply a means of profiteering, which looks set to continue due to the ignorance or fear of those who are paid to protect those that can't protect themselves.

2 September 2011 at 14:01  
Blogger bradypus said...

Is there such thing as a neutral person on this topic...I doubt it!

2 September 2011 at 14:42  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Mr Cranmer said ...

" ... the Church of England takes a via media pragmatism on the issue ... "

A "via media pragmatism" on abortion?

How can a Christian be tolerant and pragmatic on this critical issue? This issue goes to the root of Biblical principles on the sanctity of life and the preservation of family life.

2 September 2011 at 15:24  
Blogger Autonomous Mind said...

Your Grace, why am I unsurprised that Louise Mensch's ideas would result in greater state involvement and more funding requirements to be met by taxpayers?

For a woman involved in Conservative politics since her teens - albeit punctuated with a defection to Labour then a defection back to the Tories - she seems very keen on big government. Presumably this is why she has found such favour with David Cameron.

2 September 2011 at 15:45  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

bradypus said...
"Is there such thing as a neutral person on this topic...I doubt it!"

If you are a Christian you cannot be neutral.

Can someone explain the Church of England's position on abortion?

2 September 2011 at 16:34  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dreadnaught @ 11:07:

I can't help but agree with you.

When the (perceived) repressive Roman Church meets the (perceived) hard face of Lutheran Protestantism, then the 'culturally Christian' run for cover!

2 September 2011 at 16:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I wonder if Dorries now regrets fronting this exercise. This might not actually go quite the way her shadowy backers hope. Some poetic justice on the horizon perhaps.

But anyway. Aren't there two levels here: the first being the counsellors themselves, and the second being the organisations for which the counsellors work.

Counsellors may have a personal bias and consciously or unconsciously steer people away from abortion, or they may act properly and encourage their clients to find the best for themselves from the whole set of options irrespective of the counsellor's personal beliefs. That surely depends on the individual counsellor.

But at the other level, if the abortion charities may be encouraging counsellors to steer people towards abortion for corporate reasons then surely religious organisations may be doing the same for ideological reasons. So, clearly neither should get involved if the abortion charities can't.

2 September 2011 at 17:02  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Surely the choice is for the expectant mother, who she seeks advice from.

We once relied on a traditionl family support base to do this advising, why is the Government not backing that traditional family structure.

2 September 2011 at 17:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace

It would not be unreasonable to suppose that Louise Mensch’ distinguished Christian family background played it’s part in her being selected as a conservative prospective parliamentary candidate. Which, in the Inspector’s opinion, makes her current stance on abortion seem most curious.

He is sure that it will make an interesting point of discussion with the Corby Conservative reselection committee, should she decide to stand again...

2 September 2011 at 17:56  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0 wrote...

they may act properly and encourage their clients to find the best for themselves from the whole set of options

Setting aside the unsubstantiated description of 'proper', we see in this statement the fundamental problem with 'neutral' counselling. It begins with the presumption that only one individual is involved, and only that individual matters. The cost to the mother is traded off against the benefit to the mother. It's rather like "We could try chemotherapy or we could perform surgery" with the unborn child serving in the place of the metastasizing tumor. These are all inherently pro-abortion assumptions. There is nothing neutral about it.

carl

2 September 2011 at 18:42  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I think there should be a choice of individuals and organisations for counselling obviously not huge lists but, what if you are from a practising Christian family and want a Christian to counsel. If you chose abortion you would repent and want to receive forgiveness after.

I think the Church can take a more active and supporting role in life. They can offer services that would enable a woman to keep a child such as helping if she has no family/partner/friend support. Linking up with adoption agencies and free creches and babysitting groups. Tracing/chasing the fathers who usually run for the hills when told they are to become a father and altogether being more hands on in the parish rather preaching from afar. Didn't Jesus show people the way as well as preach it.

Of course if the government were anything they would support family life and make it more viable .

2 September 2011 at 19:04  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Marie1797

That's just what the Church does although it is rather hand-tied now it is not allowed to act as an adoption agency.

There are a number of Christian organisations offering support and reflection (let's not call it counselling) before abortion. They also offer reflection and comfort when the burden of guilt experienced by many women surfaces. We all possess an innate sense of moral right and wrong and whilst the whispering voice of our conscience may be drowned out by the din of secular values, it will find a way of letting us know we have done wrong.

The Roman Catholic Church is hard-line on the sin but compassionate towards the sinner.

2 September 2011 at 19:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Setting aside the unsubstantiated description of 'proper', we see in this statement the fundamental problem with 'neutral' counselling. It begins with the presumption that only one individual is involved, and only that individual matters."

Acting properly there is a matter of professional ethics and also of functional role. Your second point is presumably about counselling regarding abortion rather counselling in general. Perhaps I'm just inferring this from what you write but it sounds like you think counselling is about advising or directing people what to do.

2 September 2011 at 19:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "The cost to the mother is traded off against the benefit to the mother. It's rather like "We could try chemotherapy or we could perform surgery" with the unborn child serving in the place of the metastasizing tumor. These are all inherently pro-abortion assumptions. There is nothing neutral about it."

What about: "How do you feel about adoption?" Is that pro-abortion? I'm pretty sure the sort of question comes up in counselling. It's mostly about the mother, for sure, but that's not the same thing at all.

2 September 2011 at 19:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo

The Inspector was educated by Carmelite friars (...he very nearly said raised – such was their influence on their eager pupil’s life...). He knows what it is to be taught uncompromising RC Church doctrine; there not being any possibility of deviation.

Your performance on this blog site takes the Inspector back many years. Is the Inspector addressing an ordained Roman Catholic priest ? If not, your knowledge of RC canon law is astonishing if your are a deacon or layman...

2 September 2011 at 19:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I am saying that a Counselor must of necessity presuppose either that one individual is involved or that two individuals are involved. There is no middle ground between those two positions. The work of the counselor will inevitably be shaped by which presupposition is brought into counseling. To begin from a foundation of 'one individual' is to begin from the exact foundation that is used to justify abortion. Such is not a neutral position. The counselor shares the presuppositions of one side and not the other. Men by definition cannot escape their presuppositions. And yet this is the basis upon which 'neutral' counselling would be defined.

carl

2 September 2011 at 19:58  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector General

For "uncompromising RC Church doctrine" read Biblical Truth!

Following the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church is difficult I know but I do believe the Church was instituted by Christ and, come what may and whatever sins it has committed, it remains His Church and, as such, my duty as a Christian to understand and follow its doctrines and teachings.

I'm just a humble worker for God in the vineyard that is this world. Sinners often understand the teachings better too because to repent one's sins means knowing what they are.

When I first stumbled upon this site I was shocked at the thinly disguised and oft times open hostility to Rome. Initially I reacted hastily and allowed myself to be drawn into contentious disputation and behaved somewhat improperly.

Nowadays I try to offer the Roman Catholic position on these matters, taking a lesson from Albert who is a more reasoned and patient man than I can ever hope to be.

2 September 2011 at 19:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Danj0

What about: "How do you feel about adoption?"

If the question is asked only to facilitate the interests of the mother, and not to protect the interests of the child, then the question serves only to obscure the true nature of the counselling. The life or death of the child is not in view. All that matters is the impact of the abortion on the mother. Incidental protection of the child is not the same as deliberate protection of the child.

carl

2 September 2011 at 20:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo

A direct question skilfully evaded, but there will be no further probe. The Inspector too embraces the anonymity of the blog, and will only give away that he has a full head of grey-black hair and all his own teeth. Even then, he had to run out of the dentist’s surgery when his back was turned to maintain that latter fact.

“God loves his earthly children, but he especially loves the Catholics”

And before you blog back saying that statement is “unhelpful”, allow the Inspector his indulgence just for tonight...

2 September 2011 at 20:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "If the question is asked only to facilitate the interests of the mother, and not to protect the interests of the child, then the question serves only to obscure the true nature of the counselling."

Even so, that's not the same as the counselling being pro-abortion as you asserted. Do you disagree?

"Incidental protection of the child is not the same as deliberate protection of the child."

You're bringing in your religious convictions there, thus demonstrating the dangers of religious counselling rather than proper counselling.

There will be a child if the pregnancy proceeds successfully. At the time of counselling, there is a foetus which will become a child. That probably carries enough emotion with it already for many women I think.

She is not murdering a child. If counsellors tell women that they'll be murdering their child then those counsellors should be removed from their posts immediately in my opinion.

2 September 2011 at 20:35  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector General

Sorry if I appeared evasive.

I am not a member of Holy Orders of any form, including the Deaconate, merely a lay Catholic doing the best I can in a confusing world.

God loves all His children equally - simnners, saints and all in-between!

2 September 2011 at 20:44  
Blogger Albert said...

offer facts on abortion, on raising baby, on support available to mothers, without bias.

So let's just be clear: over the summer many of our towns and cities were trashed by young people and everyone (probably even the Labour Party) recognises that part of the problem is the moral vacuum of society. And here comes this Tory MP suggesting abortion counselling must be morality-free.

1. It's an insane suggestion given the state of the country - she's totally out of touch.
2. Does it occur to her there are some women who have abortions and then think about the moral questions and wished they'd had clearer moral advice from the beginning? What about Christian women, wishing Christian input to the decision? Has she thought of them? Why should they be denied the opportunity to seek their help?
3. As has been pointed out endlessly, you cannot have a morally neutral view-point on abortion. It's like the holocaust: as soon as you allow it could be possible, or could be right, you have conceded the fundamental moral issue that the unborn child does not have the right to life.

How many MPs are this thoughtless?

2 September 2011 at 20:46  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Your last post simply proves my point in spades. You have defined neutrality as "Accepting the presuppositions that justify abortion." That is not neutrality.

carl

2 September 2011 at 21:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Your last post simply proves my point in spades. You have defined neutrality as "Accepting the presuppositions that justify abortion." That is not neutrality."

The full set of options includes both abortion and adoption. For a counsellor to fulfill their role properly, they should be encouraging the client to explore all available options surely? It's a facilitator role, not a judgemental one.

I obviously haven't been to abortion counselling myself but I'd expect feelings to be explored in all areas, both current and hypothetical future ones, so that the women is prepared.

Biologically-speaking, we're hard-wired to bond with our babies. If a mother of a newborn is given the baby to hold and the baby is taken away for adoption then that can be extremely traumatic. Women need to be psychologically prepared for that.

I daresay the related loss through abortion and the potential for feelings to surface later on in life also need to be explored.

All that said, it may not be ethical to force someone to endure lengthy counselling either. I suspect some women have decided already and just want to get the abortion over with as quickly as possible and cry afterwards. In that case, counselling may become therapy after the fact I suppose.

3 September 2011 at 06:55  
Blogger Oswin said...

DanJo:

Somewhat off-topic here, but your comments re' the mother holding the new-born baby et al, reminded me of some recent research:

studies show that in those terrible cases of stillbirth, a mother being allowed to hold her dead baby (beneficial, according to the perceived wisdom of more recent years) actually suffers greater, and prolonged, psychological harm.

I'm not sure if that relates to anything beyond itself, but it is interesting.

3 September 2011 at 16:54  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Oswin said ...
"Studies show that in those terrible cases of stillbirth, a mother being allowed to hold her dead baby (beneficial, according to the perceived wisdom of more recent years) actually suffers greater, and prolonged, psychological harm."

Do you mean pain or harm? Is this the study of 65 women by one psychiatrist in 2003 - later contradicted by much larger reseach projects?

Research in 2009 concluded:
"In summary ... the researchers found an overall beneficial effect of having held a baby stillborn after 37 weeks' gestation. Findings for mothers who held babies stillborn at 28-37 weeks' gestation were less certain. The data also suggest that the attitudes of staff influence whether mothers hold their stillborn babies. If guided by staff in a sensitive way to hold her stillborn term baby, the experience will possibly be beneficial for the mother for the short term as well in the long term."

NICE recently reissued its guidance to nursing staff:

"If your baby is stillborn or dies soon after birth, it is your choice whether or not you wish to see or hold your baby ... There is some evidence to suggest that seeing and holding the baby may not be helpful for everyone. You should not be routinely encouraged to see and hold your baby if you do not wish to."

In normal speak: nurses should guide and enable choice, not direct bereaved mothers.

Best stick with the odd quip, me thinks!

3 September 2011 at 20:59  
Blogger len said...

There has been an ongoing campaign to sideline Christian input into virtually everthing for some time now.
This once Christian Country is now returning to its pagan roots.

Those who operate the abortion industry don`t want anything(Christians especially)to stand in their way.
Politicians are (nowadays) only mouthpieces for those whom they serve,(and dont be fooled into thinking that is us the public!)

4 September 2011 at 08:20  
Blogger New Age Mess said...

There is no such a thing as neutral counseling! Even secular, socialist or pagan have their belief system. I think we forget in all that discussion what information should be given to any pregnant women. She needs to know what is pregnancy and what is happening in her womb at current stage, she should be given a scan as they start to do it in the US and needs to be informed how the procedure looks like and what are the consequences on her life - physical and psychological. Men should be involved in that decision making process as well as in half of the cases they push women for abortions!

4 September 2011 at 22:36  

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