One of my earliest memories as a Catholic girl was the bi-yearly visit of The Society of the Protection of the Unborn Child. In they would bustle, armed with large placards. I remember mum glaring at me because I pointed to one and said ‘that lady looks like Dick Emery.’ They seemed less concerned with the spiritual and emotional welfare of actual born children, since they were happy to place giant, full colour pictures of aborted fetuses around the church. They also put up misinformation about the actual size of the foetus, and since 90% of abortions are carried out before 12 weeks, they made sure to show what were scientifically blobs of cells, sucking their thumb and looking like ready to be born babies. Since then their assertions that the foetus could feel pain have since been roundly dismissed by actual doctors, who point out that at twelve weeks, the neural circuits responsible for conscious awareness have not yet developed, along with how abortion causes miscarriage, and breast cancer.
After one such pulpit sermon, we all gathered together for a post church anti-abortion march. I was only nine and shrank behind mum and dad, terrified, while we walked through London, secure in our self-righteousness. I remember one young man shouting: ‘What about women dying from self-induced abortions then!’ and my mum pursing her lips. Even at that age, I could hear her thinking, Shouldn’t get pregnant then.
My mum was lovely but her thinking on this remained rigid, whereas dad softened slightly with age. But I think it was because of this early experience, that my first adult ‘march’ was one where Liberal minister David Alton wanted to chip away at the 24 week limit to 18 weeks. I carried a placard reading: Keep Abortion Safe. Not as good as the one brandished by a friend in Ireland reading Keep Your Rosaries off our Ovaries. Because in Northern Ireland, that’s exactly what’s happening.
A young woman in Northern Ireland has been reported to the police by her housemates because she wasn’t ashamed about it, or sad. . Precious Life, have interviewed one of the flatmates who sold out this girl to the police. Apparently the girl in question was ‘blasé’ about it and didn’t show any ‘remorse’. She mentions ‘remorse’ or lack of a few times. ‘Her attitude really got to me,’ said the Righteous One.
RO gets the chance to tell her side of the story in Precious Life, an anti-abortion group which has a section claiming that ‘abortion is linked to breast cancer’. They also stand outside Marie Stopes and are ‘tirelessly devoted to reaching out to pregnant women who may be considering abortion. They are there to offer them valuable information on abortion’. I live in West London and often see them, only it looks more like them harassing distressed women who are heading into the clinic shouting: ‘You’re killing your baby!’ I’ve always found it ironic that many anti-abortion groups are quick to appropriate the word ‘holocaust’ about abortion, yet during the actual Holocaust, the Catholic Church remained oddly silent about the massivepersecution of the Jews.
This Northern Ireland girl’s real ‘crime’ was not to be more upset and ashamed of herself. ‘Post abortion trauma’ is a thing in anti-choice rhetoric now, as it’s way to offer a pseudo-feminist approach while patronising women at the same time. Those placard waving red faced moralistic bile mongers are all about protecting us girlies. So this young woman in Northern Ireland who found herself pregnant in a household of people she didn’t know, one of whom had recently suffered a miscarriage and offered to be the ‘legal guardian’ if she went through with the pregnancy, this selfish girl was ‘blase’ about the pregnancy and didn’t show any ‘remorse’ for her wickedness.
“This is about her attitude. Itwas as if she was getting rid of a piece of clothing,” she stated.
“There was absolutely no remorse. Even the way she was up and away out and doing her own thing a day after the abortion, while me and our other house-mate just walked around in shock.
So if this girl had lain around in bed crying for a few weeks, maybe reading leaflets on ‘post-abortion trauma’ and then gone about in black for the rest of her life, they wouldn’t have reported her to the police?
Can you imagine any other medical procedure which is judged by how you emotionally react? ‘I’m sorry Mrs Smith but we’re stopping your chemo because you’re not grateful enough.’
This is what anti-choice is about. It’s not about feminism, or offering different choices, or even fake cancer stories. It’s about control. It always has been. With religion, if you can control somebody’s sexuality you can control them. Hence the idea of a woman being in control of her own body, is anathema. It cannot be. Groups like Abort67 say that their standing about outside clinics ‘empowers’ women. It does the exact opposite. As they well know.
Next year it will be 50 years since The Abortion Act was passed, which made abortion legal. Let us fight to keep it that way.