The reason most people whose minds aren't made up about the issue avoid talking about it is that no one who does care about abortion seems capable of having a reasonable conversation about it. Nadine Dorries may be guilty of all manner of sins. That doesn't mean that there is any real point to Liberal Conspiracy's group hate. They are free to do as they will with their blog but if they seriously think it will achieve much, beyond putting a few moderates off the debate entirely, they are mistaken. Donald's snipey response to my post is an example of how this debate is had in a manner that guarantees most ordinary people and politicians will avoid it.
So, to his arguments:
"So, by chopping the date back on the basis of no new medical evidence [his emphasis]"
He's missing the point: As I set out, I don't think that viability is relevant to whether a fetus is deserving of rights or not so neither the old nor the new medical evidence is particularly relevant to my position.
"A tiny fraction of abortions are carried out between 20 and 24 weeks, almost always for reasons of late-discovered abnormality, where the woman doesn't understand what's happening (very young, so doesn't understand she's pregnant; mentally impaired, so ditto; etc.), where a partner has become abusive, and so on."
Okay, so the provision for abortions up to 24 weeks is for exceptional circumstances?
From the Department of Health's abortion statistics it appears there were 2,948 abortions after 20 weeks gestation in 2006. That's pretty high for exceptional circumstances. However, I see no reason we shouldn't make an exception when exceptional circumstances do come up.
It would seem sensible that we can take account of these circumstances with the kind of compromise I discussed in my last post. If we were to move towards a significantly tighter limit, possibly well below twenty weeks but remove obstructions like the two doctor rule below that limit and create a rule to allow abortions in exceptional circumstances above the new limit we would move to a system like the one they have in the rest of Europe. We would have a system where only early or exceptional abortions would take place which might reassure the large number of people (probably a majority) who find abortions above twenty weeks distasteful but would also allow for people in exceptional circumstances.