Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Anne Quesney In the Guardian
I was a little bit rankled by reading the glowing interview and profile of Anne Quesney, head of the campaign group 'Abortion Rights', in the Guardian today.
Her organistion (sadly along with most of the left) bemoans the fact that many people who 'claim' to be pro choice are now wavering on whether or not abortion should be carried out after 20 weeks. The suggestion to reduce the approved time limit is treated as on a par with the work of extremists who wish to undermine 'women's reproductive rights'. As with many extremists on her side of the debate, she stereotypes all her opponents as being motivated by 'archaic religious views'. To accuse them of being dogmatic, as she does, is simply a case of pots and kettles.
Not only this but she accuses her opponents of lying - something she is not averse to herself. The abortion breast cancer link may have been exagerrated (as can be many other health risks by pro life campaigners) but it is medical fact that carrying a first pregnancy to term does reduce the risk. Neither it is unheard of for women to be traumatised mentally by abortion. Yet Quesney denies this or any other health risks, claiming that raising them is essentially 'chipping away at women's hard won for rights'. As for the preposterous claim that 'foetuses do not survive outside the womb any longer than they did 2,000 years ago' I find it incredulous that she dismisses medical technology in this way. Right, Anne. So if a premature baby is born, at, say, 26 weeks, it should be left to die, and not put in an incubator?
Anne complains of a 'postcode lottery' - where women in some areas find it hard to obtain abortions, especially late ones. I would ask her to think of the feelings of the medical staff in this case. Late abortions are not 'simple medical procedures', as has often been argued for early ones. To put it bluntly they are not unlike giving birth - to a dead baby.
While I may well appreciate her egaliterian motives I can never accept her conclusions. Her belief that easy access to abortion 'improves people's lives' is essentially buying into a patriarchal worldview - that in order to gain equality women must adapt themselves to a wombless, male world. Never mind the demands for flexible hours, parental leave, and accesible childcare.
Pro choice campaigners tend to neglect the cases when abortion is not a 'choice' but is used as a direct tool of the oppression of women. I wonder what Anne and her friends will make of this?