Tories, Abortion and Fundamentalists

Andrea Williams, Fundamentalist
The Face Of British Fundamentalism

Abortion has been legal and easily accessible in the UK since its legalisation in 1967, and there is little public support for a change to the law. However, it’s easy to get complacent – laws can be overturned by shrewd and well-funded campaigns without any public support. The Conservative Party, beneath its new “progressive” makeover, still harbours what remains of Britain’s religious right.

Nadine Dorries MP is working hard to challenge Britain’s 24-week abortion limit – her initial strategy is to propose a cut to 20 weeks, but some Tories (including the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt) are angling for an even more draconian cut to 12 weeks. This Wednesday, Dorries will introduce a debate into the Commons on reducing the term to 20 weeks.

I won’t go into the detail of the pro-choice argument here, but the important difference between 20 and 24 weeks needs to be made clear: some tests on the health of the foetus can only be done for the first time at 20 weeks. Some parents-to-be face a heart-wrenching decision after 20-weeks, as to whether to continue with a pregnancy when defects have been detected in the foetus. The vast majority of non-medical abortions will take place within the 20-week timeframe; reducing the limit from 24 weeks would most affect those people who intended, prior to the 20-week scan, to continue the pregnancy to term. To remove this choice would be an incredibly cruel act.

Dorries claims (dishonestly) to not be a fundamentalist on sexual issues, but the company she keeps is revealing. She is very close to the right-wing Christian fundamentalist Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, as shown in the video below. Williams holds a variety of extreme views, and yet thanks to Dorries, enjoys access to the Houses of Parliament. The British dislike religious fundamentalism, but we shouldn’t rest on our laurels; fundamentalists are already in parliament, and trying to reverse hard-won progressive victories in the field of sex and sexuality.

Please watch and share the video:

Todd Akin Attacked For Being Stupid (Being Evil Is Fine)

Todd Akin, Moron
Can This Man Tie His Own Shoelaces?

Moron-watching is made both easy and fun, thanks to US Republicans. Barely a day passes without an insane outburst from a leading Republican politician or supporter; sometimes the utterances are so stupid, I have to double-check the source to check it’s not The Onion or some other spoof site. But invariably, the reports are true, and the stories are a gift to moron-watching. Whether they’re passing laws to make climate change illegal, labelling contraception campaigners as sluts or inventing Islamic infiltration of government, the Republicans provide endless moronic hilarity.

I often wonder if they’ve peaked – how could they possibly continue to match this level of craziness? But if I was in any doubt, this week, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin came to the rescue. Akin’s comment was on a familiar subject – the ongoing attempt to deny abortions to American women, even in the case of rape or incest. In most developed countries, that would be enough for the speaker to dismissed as a lunatic. But in the US, such people are not only listened to, but elected to political office.

If Akin had merely argued for abortion to be denied to rape victims, he would have been almost part of the mainstream. But he took things further, by answering as follows in response to a question on the subject:

From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child. (video)

Akin’s comment, unusually, was attacked by fellow Republicans, and he has been under pressure from within his party to stand down from the Senate race (fellow moron-watchers will be delighted to hear that he resisted that pressure). But he’s not under attack for wanting to deny the right to an abortion to rape victims, but simply for his idiotic misunderstanding of science (something which is normally a Republican badge of pride).

Denying abortion to rape victims is almost mainstream Republican ideology; indeed, Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan also appears to take this view.

Perhaps Akin’s fellow Republicans are really most upset at Akin’s suggestion that God provides for some kind of “natural abortion” when women are raped – hardly a message that supports the anti-abortion side of the argument.

So it seems the Republican Party has no problem with Akin’s abhorrent views; they simply objected to them being spoken out loud, especially in such a moronic fashion.