Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Catholics for Choice

From their Twitter page (an account that I follow):
A voice for Catholics who believe that Catholic tradition supports one's right to follow her/his conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health.
This is an article that was recommended and linked to, in a recent tweet. It is relevant, given the obfuscation and lies that CPC MP Stephen Woodworth and his antichoice Attack Parrots™© are saying about third trimester termination of pregnancy.
“This was our baby that we had waited a long time for and the decision was not made lightly. We had to think of our life too and that of our families. What would happen after we died? Nobody could love our child like we could. We had to let go, try to be unselfish. Perhaps many would say that this decision was not right, but we made it for what we considered the right reasons.”
— “Jill” 2007

Since Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC) was founded in the UK in 1988, we have had contact with thousands of women like “Jill.” In our lifetime, we have seen a rapid development in and implementation of genetic testing technologies. What has definitely not changed is the emotional impact on a parent who is told their baby has a fatal, life-limiting or disabling condition. After receiving the news that their baby is not developing as expected, parents then face the difficult decision about continuing or ending the pregnancy. I use the words “parent” and “baby” because this is the way women like Jill who come to us most often refer to themselves and the fetus. [...]

It is worth pausing to consider the political context in which women now make decisions after prenatal diagnosis. In recent years we have seen laudable gains made by the disability rights movement. There have been legislative changes to combat discrimination against those living with disabilities dis-abilities and inroads made in constructing a more inclusive and accepting society. At the same time, antichoice campaigners have seized the opportunity to attack the clause in the UK Abortion Act of 1967 that allows for abortion if “there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped” and called it “eugenic.” Antichoice advocates have attempted to enlist disability campaigners to their cause. The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (a small but vociferous UK antichoice organization) uses its website to accuse ARC of being “actively complicit in the fatal discrimination of disabled people enabled by legal abortion.”

It is a clever move by the antichoice lobby, as they are aware that many who would class themselves as “prochoice” worry that ending a pregnancy on the grounds of disability may devalue the lives of those living with some sort of impairment. Furthermore, when antichoicers decry that those women who have terminations for fetal anomaly are pursuing perfection or taking the “easy way out,” they know that it is rare for a woman who made this choice to speak out publicly against such vilification. In such a deeply private and personal experience, most women understandably do not want their circumstances put under public scrutiny.

The antichoice movement also readily exploits public squeamishness about late abortions in the hope of restricting access. There are regular media flurries around late abortions, in particular those performed past the legal limit of 24 weeks for non-medical abortions in the UK. The fact is that these post-24 week abortions are few in number (according to government statistics there are fewer than 200 post-24 week abortions per annum in England and Wales—0.1 percent of the total) and the majority are carried out due to indications of serious fetal abnormalities that do not manifest until late in the pregnancy.

This charged context can add an extra layer of difficulty for women and couples dealing with a diagnosis of fetal anomaly. They struggle with complex and often conflicted feelings over ending the pregnancy while being fearful of the judgment of those around them and in the wider world. I hope that by exploring the perspective of parents who come to ARC, it will be clear that they are not denigrating those living with a disability, but making responsible decisions informed by their individual values and personal circumstances.
It continues in this rational, compassionate and prochoice manner. An excellent read and also a necessary antidote against the glurge and disinformation that antichoicers Somerville, Blob Blogging Wingnut and other supporters of the Vatican Taliban religious dogma always shriEEEk.


liberal supporter said...

So if an antichoicer goes to a restaurant, orders a fried chicken dinner, and is brought an omelette, would they know the difference?

Eggs aren't people.

Anonymous said...

tsk tsk. its an animal egg. animal eggs were not created in God's image:P

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