One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell

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THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Kathy Gyngell: Legal curbs on abortion should be tightened not scrapped

There is something very rotten in the State of Britain. I am talking about the insidious and largely unchallenged creep towards the legalisation of abortion to term. On Monday, Diana Johnson’s radical Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill, which seeks to remove all legal restrictions on abortion, was passed in the House of Commons by 172 votes 142. Far from being progressive it couldn’t be more regressive.

The Guardian however announced it as a victory. For what I am not sure, but certainly not for civilised society. Its deceitful and sensationalist headline read, ‘MPs win right to challenge Victorian law criminalising abortion’.

You’d be forgiven for believing we still live in the era of back street abortion, not in an era in which 200,000 abortions are carried annually by the National Health Service, courtesy in the main of the pro-abortion providers and lobbyists, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) and Marie Stopes; an era in which abortion has come to replace contraception, and not just in the form of the morning after pill.

The irony of Johnson’s Bill is that it encourages a return to the incivility and cruelty of those days. Because people can get abortion pills through the post, home abortion, she argues, should be legalised.  In that case so should many dangerous and harmful illegal activities be permitted.  Never mind the damage this repeated extreme form of ‘contraception’ does to women’s health and mental health, or the pressure that this will put on vulnerable (and even less vulnerable) women.

The bottom line is there are very few restrictions on abortion today; it is legal up to twenty-four weeks, which is later than the point of a premature baby’s viability. In fact, the case of baby Abi Peters born at 23 weeks, as Laura Perrins argued last week, has brought the sheer inhumanity of our current abortion laws into stark relief.

But rather than engage with this serious ethical dilemma over life and death, Johnson, along with her Bpas backers, wants abortions carried out in any location, for any reason, potentially at any stage during pregnancy and legalised regardless, as Dr Peter Saunders sets out here.

The mind frankly boggles. As Peter points out, “without legislation on abortion, practices such as sex-selective abortions, mail-order abortions and school nurses handing out abortions pills on school premises would all be perfectly legal. The conscience clause would also fall, meaning that health professionals might be forced to carry out abortions or lose their licenses to practise”.

How could 142 MPs have voted for this? You would think it inconceivable that the progressive Left who flatter themselves that they command the moral high ground would not see the terrible pressure this would expose vulnerable girls and women to. You only have to think of the mass sexual abuse of girls in Rotherham. This Bill is a licence for amoral and exploitative men literally to murder.

What are the so-called body autonomy feminists thinking of? It will not protect these girls’ body autonomy or any other autonomy for that matter. Abortion, though clearly sometimes the only option a woman feels she has, is not the route to self-control or to self-worth. It cannot be deemed 'a good’, albeit sometimes and reluctantly ‘a necessity’.

It is really hard to know what the aggressive abortion lobbyists' agenda is. Are they secret eugenicists? They certainly have no trouble defending abortion to term of fatally disabled babies. I do not hear them arguing for such babies to be granted a natural birth and palliative care after birth to their death as the more humane option.

Surely they know that this no-holds-barred legalisation of abortion will be the most used and abused by the most socially deprived in society and to their detriment?

The question then must be asked, whether the abortionists protest or not, is whether this ‘liberalisation’ might have the effect of answering Francis Galton’s question: should “undesirables be got rid of and the desirables multiplied?” One of their namesakes, Marie Stopes after all was an active eugenics advocate.

I suggest the 142 MPs who think their vote was another liberal milestone think again. Far from being liberal it was regressive and oppressive. Truly liberally minded MPs should accept that Bill’s extreme position does not reflect what British women want. They should  instead be pressing for what many women do agree with, which is the well overdue reduction of the current time limits on abortion of 24 weeks and for which the ethical case is now overwhelming.

Kathy Gyngell

  • TheStoneMan

    It is high time we started calling a spade a spade. If you kill a child in the womb, and the child is viable, it is murder. Plain and simple. Once a baby can live the mother has no more right to do away with this baby than I have. Indeed, I would go further once the baby is visible on an ultrasound, once you can see its heart beating it is also murder to abort it.
    As far as I can see there are only 2 times it is okay to abort – after rape and because of disability. (The latter would need serious discussion as to where to draw the line).

    • Little Black Censored

      “Viability” may be achieved until the teenage years. It certainly does not happen before birth or in infancy.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Execellent insight!

    • In fact here, in most states if you murder a pregnant woman, you will be charged with two murders, hers and the unborn child’s. Which is correct. I fail to see how abortion isn’t simply infanticide. I fail to see any viable reason for abortion, we don’t euthanize the disabled, and the baby is not guilty of rape, adoption is a viable alternative.

  • So liberals think the murder of innocent, tiny human beings represents a progressive liberal milestone? We live in Satanic times.

    • Coniston

      Quite apart from abortion, there are other satanic influences. In Ontario a bill has passed its 2nd reading which would allow the state to take children away from their parents if the parents do not support gender ideology. See:
      https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/liberal-bill-empowers-gvmt-to-take-kids-from-ontario-parents-who-dont-accep?utm_source=LifePetitions+petition+signers&utm_campaign=825346cae3-Pro_Family_1_171_17_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c5c75ce940-825346cae3-399130629

      • James Chilton

        Does this mean what I think it means? That parents who are opposed to same sex “marriage”, for example, could be lawfully deprived of their children by the state?

        • Exactly. Canada has gone well around the bend.

        • Busy Mum

          It is subtly happening in the UK already. My daughter was ‘encouraged’ by the state to think that her parents’ traditional views were ‘stifling’ her and ‘preventing her from being her own person’.
          By law, too, all state employees in this sort of department are legally obliged to make children and teenagers aware that the state has a legal obligation to provide accommodation for children who feel they can no longer ‘stay at home’ for any reason. They also emphasise to the children that once they turn 16, they are entitled to ‘leave home’ and ‘be their own person’, with no questions asked. …..even though 16-18 year olds are legally obliged to be in education and training and are therefore dependents of the state whether or not they wish to be.
          We have therefore been lawfully deprived of our daughter, although the state would present it as a teenager ‘making her choices’, choices which the state is duty-bound to ‘respect’.

          • James Chilton

            I wasn’t aware that the state has the “authority” to intrude quite so far into the family home – except in cases of abuse, neglect, etc. To encourage children to leave home because, according to the bureaucrats, the moral values of their parents are considered “old fashioned”, is intolerable.

          • Busy Mum

            Exactly – it’s outrageous. Children are literally being told to ‘respect’ their parents but that in all likelihood they will ‘probably’ have different beliefs and views from their parents. According to the state, holding unfashionable opinions is a form of neglect as it is damaging to the child’s ’emotional wellbeing’.

          • Busy Mum

            p.s. I actually challenged one social worker about the level of intrusion and he admitted that whereas it used to be the case of an ‘Englishman’s home being his castle’, the government no longer agrees with this principle and works on the assumption that it has an absolute duty to intrude.

      • Canada is pretty terrifying these days. If you have never heard of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson, take a look at youtube. He livestreams some of his lectures and has much to say about the dangers of PC.
        https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dr+jordan+peterson

      • Owen_Morgan

        The degeneration of Canada makes me think that we are all living in the petri dish of somebody’s mad experiment. With any luck, the scientist has just gone off to have a cuppa and will return, to adjust the parameters. Unfortunately, in our terms, that may take forty thousand years.

  • Busy Mum

    Was Johnson trying to be funny when she called this bill ‘Reproductive Health’?
    Abortion is not reproduction.
    Abortion is not healthy.

    • Tricia

      Exactly! It is leftist double speak – just like the name “Planned Parenthood” in America, which modern children as they emerge from the womb to harvest fresh organs for sale.

      • Tricia

        Sorry! Auto text strikes again. Modern should read “murder”

  • Sargv

    That’s good. The more bold the action – the more rapid the backlash. We should welcome bills like that, because if they implement them bit-by-bit over the decade instead – society will accept them. At least when they packed like this – they cause outrage.

    And if they don’t – well, then people want this. And we’ll have to accept this.

    • secretpeople

      Except here and Breitbart are the only places I’ve read about it.

      • Sargv

        Well, there’s a link to Guardian. Editorial opinion might differ, but people are not stupid.

  • Simmo

    I’m afraid that practicalities will always trump morals and emotion. The prospect of back-street abortions, or more likely adulterated drugs off the internet, killing pregnant women will always win out.

    • Bik Byro

      I’m not completely against abortion, but it involves the ending of a human life and we should do all we can to ensure this decision is taken with as much weight as possible, and resist any measure to trivialise it.

      • Simmo

        I’m all for women to have counselling, help and advice. I would also like to see a return to women who don’t want the child, to have it adopted.

        I have no real issue with the aborting of disabled babies, although I would clamp (sic) down on minor ailments.

        And to be brutally honest, I’m a believer that there is a dysgenic tendency for low intelligence people to breed.

        I am also comfortable with “eugenics”, it fits in with Darwinism and seems eminently sensible to me.

        • Bik Byro

          My big concern with eugenics is that it would be run by the government, and you know how well things run by governments tend to work out.

          And I think it is crazy that people are spending thousands on IVF treatment when there are healthy babies being aborted that could go on to have loving homes with such people.

        • Little Black Censored

          Thanks for sharing.

          • Simmo

            lol – you’re welcome xx

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Superb!

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Your latter thought was implemented by the Nazis.

          Good show, Simmo!

          • Cassandra

            It was advocated by other socialists like George Bernard Shaw and HG Wells.

          • Cynical Ex Academic

            And Marie Stopes!

    • Owen_Morgan

      “The prospect of back-street abortions, or more likely adulterated drugs
      off the internet, killing pregnant women will always win out.”

      Firstly and as usual, your comment makes no kind of sense.

      Secondly, abortion is about killing babies, not pregnant women, although you may remember that I introduced you here to Kermit Gosnell, not so very long ago.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      ‘I’m afraid that practicalities will always trump morals and emotion.’

      Good show Simmo!

      Laws that protect must be swept away, as, after all, killing of children will still happen: law or no law. Right?

      Let’s just sweep away the laws on rape so that this exercise in narcissistic, self-indulgent vanity can take place in nice clean rooms on white marble slabs.

      That’s right isn’t it?

      Rape will still happen whether we have laws on rape or no.

      • Simmo

        What are you wittering on about?

  • EUman remains

    Butchery in the name of progress. But progress to where: feminist omnipotence?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      I think men’s ‘omnipotence’.

      With abortion ‘on demand’ men reliquish responsibility and leave women and killing as their decision.

      With transgendered men, on the basis of a legal fiction, we get to define feminism and womanhood on the basis of physiology.

      It is entirely their (women’s) own fault: they want to erase the distinctions between men and women.

  • I was infuriated by an article yesterday that denounced pro-life feminists as being unwelcome to sponsor women’s events. Whilst I do believe that sometimes abortion is the only option, I cannot stomach the thought of late-term abortions (which is something this article thought should be defended), and cannot see why anyone would struggle to see the clear moral implications therein. What is more ironic that these same liberals impose upon African countries the apparent necessity of abortion whilst failing to realize that the vast majority of African women oppose abortion on cultural and moral (not always religious) grounds.

  • Bik Byro

    This bill would trivialise the ending of a human life and therefore should be opposed.

  • Groan

    Well said Kathy. Personally I think the current law OK with the proviso that it isn’t enforced and so some assume we have “abortion on demand” . However this is precisely the sort of thing the eugenicists would have wanted. It is no accident that the proponents of eugenics were predominantly of the left for they were convinced of the science that showed there were lives “unworthy to be lived”. I know that people will think me alarmist but it is the case that the road to the “final solution” began with clearing out and preventing the disabled and mentally ill. This was not just in Germany but rolled in most of the “west”.

  • Owen_Morgan

    When did “women’s rights” reduce to the right to ending someone else’s right to life?

  • Benthic

    Two words spring to mind when I think of abortion, Kermit Gosnell.

    • Simmo

      Preston North End’s finest half-back.

  • Jennie Pollock

    Kathy, a couple of typos in your post:
    “How could 142 MPs have voted for this?” and “I suggest the 142 MPs who think their vote was another liberal milestone” should both read 172 MPs.

  • I think that they are sick.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    This support by the ‘Left’ for abortion, undermines their insistence on human rights; if there is no right to life then all other rights are meaningless.

    • Yes, this a good line of pro-life argumentation, open to Christians and non-Christians alike. Our right to life attaches us to all our other rights. Thus ‘the right to an abortion’ translates as ‘the right to have no rights’. It may be that most supporters of abortion are not aware of this, but the state certainly is – and the state is a logical beast. It is going about the business of denying us our rights. It is being ‘true’ to abortion.

  • Under-the-weather

    The problem is the activity of the Pro life group which is based on morality and against womens health, they’ve completely lost sight of the rights of the unborn child. Whether or not it’s possible for one child to survive at 24 weeks, doesn’t make it mainstream, and there’s also an assumption that unborn ‘life’ also delivers life without major health problems.

  • Cassandra

    The story of abortion legislation is a classic in the annals of the slippery slope. Once an absolute standard, underpinned by religion is breached by liberalism, in this case the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception, an open- ended decline from this standard is inevitable.

    The reason is that no argument against further decline can be as compelling as the one which upheld the absolute standard in the first place. If that can be breached, then lower standards will be the more easily. And so on.

    What’s on the cards with full term abortions will be the obscenity of partial birth abortions, where fully viable babies’ heads will be exposed and then drilled through.

    The thought that this barbrarism is a possibility is truly sickening,

    But if babies on the point of birth can be killed, what is there then to stop the killing of babies who have been born?

    Nothing much. And if they can be killed, what about a range of others who cannot doeskin for themselves? The old, the demented, the handicapped?

    Liberalism is in this respect is the country route to nazism. And for the same fundamental reason: atheism.

  • Phil R

    We are often told that an undeveloped foetus isn’t an individual. It’s a part of its mother’s body, so the final decision over its fate has to belong to her.

    So then. If this is true, then why does the woman have
    to agonise over the decision? After all. People normally don’t agonise over the prospect of clipping their toenails. Or is she agonising over the potential impact to herself?

    The arguments for abortion have nothing to do with the personhood of the child. They are all centered on the autonomy of the woman. The non-personhood of the child is a legal fiction that makes it possible for a woman to reject the obligations of parenthood. That unborn child meets every criteria of personhood that we do.

    Except of course, for the salient fact that the law protects us.

    • Dr Evil

      It is not [part of a woman’s body at all. Ever read the Foetus as an allograft? The placenta also is not part of a woman’s body. It is part of the baby.

  • The_Mocking_Turtle

    Women deserve choice.

    • mollysdad

      According to the international law which has defined crimes against humanity since 1945, and according to judgements of international tribunals at Nuremberg, the term ‘murder’ includes abortion, regardless of its definition in domestic law.

      I drew Ann Furedi’s attention to this last November, and I told her to her face that, had she been a defendant before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal, she would have been sent to the gallows.

      See section 51 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001.

      • The_Mocking_Turtle

        Forced abortion not voluntary terminations. You are talking nonsense and undermining the case, such as it is, that I would imagine you are trying to make.

        • mollysdad

          The law given to the Tribunal identified murder as a crime, but there was no distinct enumeration of forced abortion as though only persons born alive could be victims of murder.

          The Indictment was correct in these particulars and paragraph numbers:

          2(b) Encouraging or compelling abortions.

          4. Participating in the performance of abortions.

          12. Abortions in the General Government (occupied Poland) were also encouraged by the removal of abortion cases from Polish courts.

          The Prosecution did not have to prove duress in order to obtain a conviction. If abortion is not murder in international law, then the NMT had no business to deal with it. A woman subjected to a forced abortion is not herself a victim of a crime of any more serious description than battery.