Thursday, 22 June 2006

3 months just has to be long enough

Forgive me for courting controversy but I must nail my colours to the mast with regard to the debate on abortion.

I am in complete favour of a substantial reduction in the time limits for abortion. I believe 12 weeks is ideal but I would settle for 14 weeks if pressed.

My flexibility will give you some idea of my reasoning. I do believe that abortion should be legal and available to women. I do not believe that the timing of abortion should depend on science's ability to keep premature babies alive.

My position lies in the belief that it is time we presumed a desire for abortions at the earliest opportunity rather than leaving the door open as long as we dare. The statistics actually speak for themselves. Clearly women agree. Afterall 80% of all abortions in this country are sought and performed within 12 weeks of conception.

I simply believe that women should be asked to take the onset of pregnancy with the utmost seriousness. My wife and I have two children. We know that at the moment of realisation your instincts tell you how you feel. It does not take six months to decide if you want to keep it. It takes 6 seconds.

It is beyond my personal belief that a woman can reach 24 weeks without knowing she is pregnant, but I am told it really happens. Surely to God, however, that same woman knew that she had had penetrative unprotected sex. I am sorry to be so gratuitous, but that is my point. You have to notice when a man enters your body and it is at that point that you should take an interest in the physical consequences.

Even on grounds of genetic disease, I see no reason for an extended abortion time limit. When a baby is conceived and wanted, parental love must be unconditional. To place a law on statute that effectively allows parents to reserve judgement on that question undermines the human soul and should not be tolerated.

So stupidity is not a reason to prolong the time limits on abortion; nor is changing your mind; nor is science in any of its forms. That we have to have abortion available to us is sad but a reality to be dealt with. It is bad enough that some children have to put up with some awful parents who do want them, but no child should have to put up with those who really don't.
If my argument has a weakness, it is one of degree. I don't mind killing an indistinguishable collection of cells, but I object most thoroughly to killing a developed and recognisable human being. I would want time limits set to ensure that all abortions are chemical rather than surgical.
The fact of the matter is that no consideration is given in law to the unborn child. The time limit is currently set for the convenience of the mother and yet ironically, in circumstances where the full time limits are used, it is the mother who suffers most grievously.

The killing of the baby is the easy bit. At anything over 18 weeks, a woman must physically deliver the dead baby as part of the abortion process. At anything over 24 weeks, the foetus must be cut up inside the womb and then delivered by the woman piece by piece. It is truly hideous and made me cry when I first discovered it.

Aborting a child must be a truly debilitating and scarring experience for the mother and I am quite certain that in 90% of cases it absolutely is treated with unparalleled seriousness.

We must reduce the time limit to 3 months which is ample time to realise, decide and act. And if, for some genuine reason it is not, then an Appeals process can be implemented to hear the individual case and decide on its merit.

Legal abortion can and should exist, but not at the expense of the presumption of life.

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