Some will rely on religious convictions to guide their decisions. But, although I was brought up a Roman Catholic, any religious beliefs I ever had have left me.
Instead, in urging MPs to reduce dramatically the time limit, I look to more than 30 years’ experience in abortion services for the NHS and private clinics, to my time as medical director of one of Britain’s largest abortion services....
So this isn't some nutcase right-to-lifer speaking. It's somebody who thinks highly enough of abortion as a practice to have devoted 30 years of his life to actually bloodying his hands with it.
[…]When it comes to abortion, a lot of the debate is somewhat euphemistic; the pro-lobby prefer to talk about “terminations” of “foetuses”.
Even that is too straightforward for the United States, where it's all about "terminating" or even "interrupting" "pregnancies". ("Interrupting". As if you just hit the "Pause" button and can resume it at any time.)
But if an IVF clinic shows you the first scan of your baby in the womb, you won’t find them using the word foetus to describe it. We are killing babies far older than that, and if we are going to have an honest debate then we have got to be straight about that.
This isn't the first time an abortion has referred to abortion as killing a baby. Anybody want to contribute some quotes on that?
The Conservative MP Nadine Dorries is campaigning to reduce the limit to 20 weeks. In the full knowledge of what is involved in late abortions, and the widespread distaste for them among the medical profession, I would go further, and support an amendment proposing 16 weeks.
I am not alone. Within the NHS, the majority of doctors are refusing to carry out late abortions. Three quarters of late procedures are now carried out by private clinics. At Eastbourne Hospital, where I worked for 19 years, the medical staff eventually decided we would perform no abortions on social grounds after 14 weeks.
There are a lot of developmental milestones where it would make some sort of sense to draw the line. The beating heart at 18 days. Brain waves at 42 days. All organ systems in place at 8 weeks. All structures in place at 12 weeks. But there are really no developmental milestones between 12 weeks and whenever the lungs become mature enough to support the baby outside the womb, somewhere after about 20 weeks. There is no logical reason to draw the line anywhere between 12 and 20 weeks. The only real difference is size.
Size does matter, it seems, to the point where if you're a few grams heavier suddenly it's no longer an inalienable right for your mom to kill you.
Most people do not realise just how distressing late abortions can be.
Distressing to whom? The mother? The doctor? The nurses?
The procedure remains the last taboo. While heart and brain surgery are regularly shown on television, the reality of a late abortion has never been seen on British screens.
But they've come close:
There are two main types of procedure; the medical type, which kills the baby via medication, meaning that the woman miscarries a stillborn.
She delivers it. She doesn't miscarry it. A miscarriage is when the baby dies of natural causes or accidental injury. This is an abortion, the deliberate killing -- something that even this seasoned abortionist can't quite bring himself to say.
Alternatively the surgical procedure uses instruments to remove parts of the dismembered body from the uterus, limb by limb. It is hard to describe how it feels to pull out parts of a baby, to see arms, and bits of leg, and finally the head.
Warren Hern said "the sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current."
Given the nature of this experience, it greatly concerns me how lightly some of these decisions are made.
For every woman who comes late to the clinic because she did not realise she was pregnant, there will be another who feels it is simply their right to have an abortion whenever they like, and feels no need to explain herself at all.
I've heard this before -- abortion staff getting sometimes downright angry that some women act as if the world owes it to them to dismantle their babies on request. Again, does anybody have some quotes they'd like to contribute?
Recently, one woman came to me at the age of 42. After years of IVF treatment, she had finally conceived for the first time. Yet, when she found out she was carrying twins she wanted to have one aborted.
For me, that is the ultimate illustration of a throwaway society.
Yeah, she wouldn't want to be seen buying mayonnaise at Costco, would she?
When even the abortionists are getting queasy about it, ought we not as a society to be questioning abortion?
What all MPs should read before voting on the time limit
This a prochoice columnist's commentary on a letter she got from a queasy abortion nurse:
EVERY so often a letter arrives in a columnist's mailbag that throws a hand grenade right into the middle of a long-held view. That happened to me last week following my article in which I urged caution before lowering the time limit on abortion from 24 to 20 weeks. The letter came from a Registered General Nurse who works on a gynaecological ward that regularly deals with late terminations.
So this time it's a nurse who supports abortion enough to actually participate. We're not getting this from wiggy right-to-lifers.
She apologised for the "unpleasant and upsetting aspects" of her letter but felt her points needed to be said. I agree, and felt it also warranted a wider audience. Apparently, at 20 weeks, tablets can be given to kill the foetus prior to expulsion. But at 24 weeks it is sufficiently strong to survive the treatment and many are born with signs of life. "It is all too easy for people to picture a clump of cells or mush. People don't want to picture perfectly-formed miniature babies and I don't blame them, I was once the same," says Kay. "But having cut the umbilical cord on one who survived, then had to watch him gasp for breath for ten minutes on the side of a sink before he died, that sight will haunt me for ever."
Ah, but surely this abortion was performed for some dramatic, compelling reason, right? Life of the mother? Oh, that's not likely, is it, since this nurse was working at a hospital, a place where a mother whose life is in danger would be quickly taken to the OR for a c-section and the baby would be whisked off to the NICU. So, something horrible must have been wrong with the baby, right? He must have had anencephaly, right? Or no kidneys, maybe? Or at least something, well, icky, like Down Syndrome or at least a cleft palate or extra fingers or something, something wrong with him, right?
The reason given for that particular termination was that the mother's current boyfriend had a toddler son who might get jealous of a new baby. It took them 21 weeks to come to that conclusion.
Note to my US readers: Doe vs Bolton, the companion decision to Roe vs Wade, would classify this as a compelling "health" justification for a late abortion. Yes, "family" concerns are also "health" reasons, according to SCOTUS.
Kay adds: "I know of two nurses who went off work with stress as a result of their experience with late terminations. I suffered horrendous nightmares and guilt for months. The guilt comes from the fact that you as a nurse cut the umbilical cord and, as dramatic as it sounds, we felt like murderers."
I'd certainly hope that standing around watching a baby die when he could have been brought to the NICU would make you feel like a murderer. It means you still have a heart, a conscience, some semblance of humanity still clinging to you, that you haven't entirely sold out to Moloch.
Kay doesn't believe in hounding or criminalising women who have to make this extremely tough decision owing to severe disability. Her misgivings are reserved solely for those who use termination as a form of contraception. Women who, up until last week, I hoped were few and far between. But, according to Kay, these terminations far outstrip those carried out because of fetal abnormality or genuine emotional distress. She says: "There are girls who come back five or six times demanding terminations and they get them. How can someone coming for their fifth termination be allowed to keep saying it is due to emotional distress? I should imagine in ten years' time the emotional distress of being allowed to have five terminations is going to take its toll. What is going on?"
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