British pro-lifers reject UK Women’s Minister call for 20-week gestational age limit on abortion
WESTMINSTER, October 5, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-abortion forces in Britain and their supporters in the country’s left-leaning medi, are furious at Maria Miller, the newly appointed Minister for Women and Equality. Miller told the Daily Telegraph that she would “absolutely” vote again for a motion to reduce the gestational age limit for abortion from 24 to 20 weeks.
Pro-life campaigners, however, have remained unmoved by Miller’s stand, saying that lowering gestational age limits does little to save children’s lives or spare women the agonising psychological effects of abortion, inevitably making the political situation worse.
Maria Miller was referring to her vote on a 2008 motion by Tory backbencher MP Nadine Dorries to reduce the limit. Miller said her decision was based on the recent developments in medical technologies that allow very young premature babies to be saved.
Calling herself “a very modern feminist,” Miller said, “You have got to look at these matters in a very common sense way. I looked at it from the really important stance of the impact on women and children.
“What we are trying to do here is not to put obstacles in people’s way but to reflect the way medical science has moved on,” she said.
Her comments have infuriated abortion activists within and without Parliament. Labour MP Diane Abbott, arguably the leader of the abortionist movement in the House of Commons, said Miller’s assertions are “anti-women” and “have no basis in science”. Editorials have taken up the refrain, with the New Statesman saying Miller is “no friend to women,” and the Guardian calling her stand “simplistic and dishonest.”
But pro-life campaigners in Britain say the hysteria in the liberal media is failing to take into account that calling for gestational age limits actually ignores the science. It does not make a politician pro-life, they say, except perhaps in the eyes of “ideologically fixated” radical feminists and abortion extremists.
Andrew Stephenson, the founder of the campaign group Abort ‘67, told LifeSiteNews.com that, despite the noise being made in the media, the Miller case is not very relevant to the pro-life cause. The problem, he said, is not that Miller’s science is wrong, but that she has ignored its more important findings. The science of human embryology has been unanimous for 150 years that a human being is whole and complete at the moment of fertilisation, the joining of the male and female gametes.
“Whilst we support any reduction in the violence done to unborn children,” Stephenson told LSN, “every embryology text book states that life begins at conception. If Maria Miller is concerned with science we wish she would support total ban on abortion like a large number of the general public.”
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The same Daily Telegraph article quoting Miller ran a readers’ poll asking what the legal age limit should be for abortion. The answer surprised most onlookers when by far the majority of responses were for a “total ban” on abortion.
Of a final total of 1,244 answers, 54.5 per cent wanted to outlaw abortion entirely. The next nearest was 16.48 per cent who would keep the status quo of 24 weeks, followed by 11.33 per cent for Miller’s 20 weeks, and just 5.31 per cent, or 66 votes, wanting no age restrictions at all.
Dianne Abbott, however, continues to seethe in the press, warning darkly that Miller’s appointment is a sign of a coming “right-wing push” against “abortion rights”.
“I think it’s very alarming that a minister for women should express these views. I appreciate she’s doing it in a personal capacity but the way that right-wing elements of that have latched on to that, talking about starting a campaign to lower time limits [for abortion] is not helpful,” she told The Huffington Post UK.
The Huffington Post also quoted Ann Furedi, chief executive of one of the UK’s busiest abortion groups, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), who said, “Scientific evidence does not show that survival rates before 24 weeks have improved in recent years, as the minister seems to believe.”
Abbott carried Furedi’s point, saying, “I find it troubling that a senior government politician should say things which have no basis in science. There’s been no sudden improvement in the survival rates. She should know that.”
But Stephenson, who was recently exonerated of charges that his campaign with graphic images of aborted children outside BPAS facilities was “intimidating and abusing women,” countered that “survival rates” for premature children are in fact irrelevant to the debate. “When I read Diane Abbott say that Mrs. Miller’s comments were not based in science I laughed out loud,” he said.
Stephenson recalled Abbott’s comments at a meeting in April of the Abortion Rights National Campaign, in which she urged campaigners not to “get bogged down in the facts,” because the issue was “really about women’s rights and equality”.
Stephenson also pointed to comments by Furedi who also brushed aside the findings of science in favour of a purely ideological approach.
Furedi wrote in the Independent in November 2008 that life does in fact begin at conception, but that “the question is not when does life begin but when does it begin to matter?”
Stephenson continued, “The idea that women need a medical procedure to be equal to men is a view that real feminists would recoil at. Unlike Miller and Abbott science is not confused about when human life begins, and actually neither is Ann Furedi.
“Perhaps it is just that old mistake of confusing ideology with science that liberals and progressives tend to make,” he said. “Or is it something more pernicious?”
Some Conservative Party politicians, notably Nadine Dorries, for whom it is a recurring theme, have continued to call for the lower age limit, and Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated his support.
Pro-life political observers, however, have said that the call is no more than a calculated tactic meant to pander to the conservative sensibilities of voters who remain significantly ill at ease with the current abortion law.
Gestational age limits, they say, distract from the real issue, that the overwhelming majority of unborn children are being killed in early-term abortions, anyway.
Anthony Ozimic, the communications manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said the calls are “ill-advised”.
“Every few years the tired, old refrain to reduce the upper time-limit for social abortions is heard,” he said. “Just as in 2008, any such attempts are not only likely to fail by large margins, but will provide yet another occasion for the large pro-abortion majority in Parliament to push for radical amendments to make abortion law even worse.”
“It will give the pro-abortion lobby the chance to argue that early abortions are better than late abortions, and therefore that women need new legal rights to abortion access,” Ozimic continued.
“We need a fresh perspective on what can be done to save unborn children. Mrs. Miller should instead be pushing for the government to stop its multi-million pound funding arrangements with the abortion industry, and to block broadcast advertising for abortion businesses.”
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