If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next?

The change in the law on counselling leads us down a slippery slope; if the anti-choice zealots have their way on this, they will demand much, much more.

Abortion is once again centre-stage in our domestic politics, by virtue of anti-abortion MPs and campaigners seeking to change the law on counselling for women considering a termination – most shockingly of all, without a vote in Parliament.

The likes of right-winger Nadine Dorries claim they are only seeking that anti-abortion faith-linked groups be permitted to “counsel” women – yet we need only look to the US to see where this road may end up.

In Texas, Republican Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry legislated that women seeking an abortion should be forced to view a sonogram and listen to the heartbeat of the foetus – a law temporarily blocked by a federal judge this week.

District Judge Sam Sparks ruled:

“The Act compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen.”

Reuters reports:

The law, if the state were to later prevail in court, would require that a sonogram viewing take place 24 hours before an abortion, or two hours before the procedure for women who live over 100 miles from the abortion clinic…

Sparks, an Austin-based federal judge for the Western District of Texas, also took a dim view of a provision that would force women pregnant from rape or incest to certify that in writing if they do not wish to hear a doctor’s explanation of the sonogram images.

“The Court need not belabor the obvious by explaining why, for instance, women who are pregnant as a result of sexual assault or incest may not wish to certify that fact in writing, particularly if they are too afraid of retaliation to even report the matter to police,” Sparks wrote.

Several US states have enacted legislation this year to restrict abortion rights, including bans on late term abortions or moves to cut state funds to health providers that perform the procedure. The Bills have been passed by Republican-majority legislatures following November’s US Mid Terms.

In Mississippi, meanwhile, a woman who became pregnant at age 15 but lost the baby in a stillbirth 36 weeks’ in, has been charged with murder – though as Ed Pilkington writes in the Guardian, this case is far from a one-off:

[Rennie] Gibbs is the first woman in Mississippi to be charged with murder relating to the loss of her unborn baby. But her case is by no means isolated. Across the US more and more prosecutions are being brought that seek to turn pregnant women into criminals.

Pilkington adds:

In Alabama at least 40 cases have been brought under the state’s “chemical endangerment” law. Introduced in 2006, the statute was designed to protect children whose parents were cooking methamphetamine in the home and thus putting their children at risk from inhaling the fumes.

Amanda Kimbrough is one of the women who have been ensnared as a result of the law being applied in a wholly different way. During her pregnancy her foetus was diagnosed with possible Down’s syndrome and doctors suggested she consider a termination, which Kimbrough declined as she is not in favour of abortion.

The baby was delivered by caesarean section prematurely in April 2008 and died 19 minutes after birth. Six months later Kimbrough was arrested at home and charged with “chemical endangerment” of her unborn child on the grounds that she had taken drugs during the pregnancy – a claim she has denied…

Women’s rights campaigners see the creeping criminalisation of pregnant women as a new front in the culture wars over abortion, in which conservative prosecutors are chipping away at hard-won freedoms by stretching protection laws to include foetuses, in some cases from the day of conception.

In Gibbs’ case defence lawyers have argued before Mississippi’s highest court that her prosecution makes no sense.

Think such horrors couldn’t be visited here? Think again. Dorries is a massive fan of the Tea Party and Republican hard-right, thinks Sarah Palin is “amazing” and “totally” admires her. Don’t think for one second she wouldn’t wish the draconian laws from across the pond to be passed here, with hard won rights further eroded.

The change in the law on counselling leads us down a slippery slope; if the anti-choice zealots have their way on this, they will demand much, much more.

34 Responses to “If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next?”

  1. The Dragon Fairy

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  2. Andy Hicks

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  3. Melissa Higgs

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  4. DEAN JAMES

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  5. Laurie Martin

    RT @leftfootfwd: If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/EEQrPLJ

  6. Political Planet

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next?: The change in the law on counse… http://t.co/r7VxyIS

  7. JulianaFarha

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  8. Catherine Brunton

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  9. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/x0T5H0a

  10. Michael

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? l Shamik Das – http://j.mp/nKzq9E

  11. Paul McGlynn

    RT @leftfootfwd: If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/K2Bwc4A

  12. Annie Johnstone

    Scary scary stuff! RT @leftfootfwd: If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/3YPWiQt

  13. Peter Durant

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? l Shamik Das – http://j.mp/nKzq9E

  14. Pamela Heywood

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/4ecNxaP

  15. Adam Bell

    Extraordinarily good @leftfoodfwd article on the efforts of the American Right to assert State control over wombs: http://t.co/W2tOuYK

  16. Peter Hughes

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  17. DPWF

    If anti-abortionists have their way what will they demand next? Horrible example of bullying in #Texas http://t.co/al5azeC #abortion #perry

  18. Selohesra

    Many on this site (rightly) object to supporters of capital punishment even for child killers & peodophiles and yet are surprisingly relaxed about taking the life of an innocent unborn child.

  19. Tom White

    A foetus is not a child. I’m not ‘relaxed’ about abortions, but I recognize that the number of late abortions is small, that nothing whatsoever has changed medically since this was last debated in parliament – re. when foetuses can survive etc – and that it’s primarily a woman’s moral choice, not yours.

  20. Shamik Das

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  21. Shamik Das

    More on crazy Nadine Dorries anti-abortion proposals on LFF: http://t.co/z8CW7OB & http://t.co/Ht4XR2m & on @PSBook: http://t.co/QaJ2i6Q

  22. Daphne Vial Guthrie

    More on crazy Nadine Dorries anti-abortion proposals on LFF: http://t.co/z8CW7OB & http://t.co/Ht4XR2m & on @PSBook: http://t.co/QaJ2i6Q

  23. Bryony Victoria King

    More on crazy Nadine Dorries anti-abortion proposals on LFF: http://t.co/z8CW7OB & http://t.co/Ht4XR2m & on @PSBook: http://t.co/QaJ2i6Q

  24. Chris Ward

    If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/OVOiI8X by @ShamikDas

  25. The costs and consequences of Dorries’s abortion proposals | Left Foot Forward

    […] no question the Dorries proposal to require women to go for counselling somewhere other than their abortion provider will add delay […]

  26. Bluebellnutter

    Many on this site (rightly) object to supporters of capital punishment even for child killers & peodophiles and yet are surprisingly relaxed about taking the life of an innocent unborn child.
    Comment by Selohesra on August 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    =================================

    So to offer the flip-side of your rather fatuous analogy, people who propose the death penalty for “child killers & peodophiles” (sic) would happily execute young mothers who have abortions?

  27. Stephen W

    This is batshit crazy, utterly unfounded scare-mongering of the highest order. You should be utterly ashamed of yourselves.

    You have absolutely no evidence to accuse Dorries of wanting to introduce any measure even vaguely similar to the horrors you outline. There is not even a vague resemblance. The suggestion is to make it mandatory to offer counselling, not for the woman to accept.

    You are pushing the worst kind of slippery slope, sensationalist crap that would shame a tabloid newspaper. Are you really that utterly incapable or arguing a case on its merits?

    To quote Nadine Dorries herself. “I’ll say it again, no organisation which is paid for carrying out abortions and no organisation that thinks it’s appropriate to bring God into a counselling session with a vulnerable woman, should be allowed anywhere near the counselling room.”

  28. Have an abortion, but first – look at these babies’ clothes. Thank you, Dorries. « Spineless Liberal

    […] If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? (Left Foot Forward) […]

  29. Helen Gallagher

    Doesn’t matter if it’s faith based Stephen W – the proposals suggest groups with particular agendas, whereas 5 out of 6 women who contact the independent, non profit Marie Stopes Foundation do not go on to abort. The author is attempting to point out that encouraging emotional manipulation of pregnant women is a slippery slope.

  30. Mr. Sensible

    I hope you’re wrong Shamik, but I entirely agree Helen that the fears expressed in this article should not be dismissed.

    However, if we look at this in practical terms, 2 issues instantly spring up.

    The first is that, whenever anyone has any kind of medical procedure, it is a fact of medicine that consultation will be with the doctor who will carry it out.

    Second, as I think you point out Helen, who does Dories think will be involved in this counselling? Is she giving the green light for the likes of the Pro-life alliance to get involved? If so that certainly is not independent; Dories accuses organizations such as BPAS and Marie Stopes of having a financial interest, but organizations such as the Pro-life alliance clearly have a political and ideological interest.

    I am reading tonight that NO 10 is saying it will not back this proposal, and rightly so.

  31. Mr. Sensible

    I think those who disagree with the article should watch this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brkgRnLWbZ8&feature=player_embedded

    Thanks to Political Scrapbook for that.

  32. Gribblethemunchkin

    Can we assume a slippery slope on this? Yes. Of course we can. Nadine Dorries is a fundamentalist christian. Fundamentalist christians are known for two things in relation to this topic.
    1) Dishonesty. Using the wedge strategy, get people talking about it, making small changes at first. As the article suggests, look at the US situation.
    2) Wanting to get rid of abortion and make it illegal.

    Nadine Dorries needs to be voted out of office. She is a joke, nothing more, nothing less.

  33. Look Left – Libya: Allies urge “reconciliation and forgiveness” | Left Foot Forward

    […] Left Foot Forward, we looked at some examples from the States where Dorries’s fellow fundamentalists are gradually restricting reproductive […]

  34. James White

    RT @leftfootfwd If anti-abortionists have their way on counselling, what will they demand next? http://t.co/MBWg9vJ by @ShamikDas

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