Andrea Williams comments on the government announcement that a temporary legalisation of DYI abortions was an ‘administrative error’.
These are uncertain and fearful times. Not since perhaps the polio epidemic of the 1950’s has an illness taken hold of the United Kingdom in the way that coronavirus has in such an incredibly short span of time. No matter if it’s the television, the internet, the newspaper or the radio, the only thing people are talking about right now is the growing pandemic. Fear, sadness, worry, sympathy for the many dying in Italy and Spain … these are the emotions that we as a nation in crisis are collectively feeling.
This is also the crisis that abortion suppliers and government ideologues are using to bypass democratic methods to try and make the biggest change to abortion provision in this country since 1967. As many a political activist has said, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
The Department for Health and Social Care took this to another level on Monday 23 March, touting on Twitter that they were introducing the implementation of ‘Do It Yourself’ home abortions – telemedicine abortions. Before this proposal, abortions could only take place in hospitals or abortion clinics approved by the Secretary of State. Under the new temporary policy, which has since this morning been removed from the government’s website, doctors would have been able to prescribe mifepristone and misoprostol over the phone or video platforms such as Facetime or Skype. Through these pills, which cost 15 pence each, women would then be left to perform their own abortion at home without direct medical supervision.
Today the government announced that the new measures were published as part of an administrative error and in fact will not be moving forward. While Christian Concern is pleased to see the withdrawal of the plans, the fact is that the government had prepared and published a legal document prescribing the changes which had been duly signed by the Director of the Department of Health, Mark Davies. An administrative error this was not. This was done without public consultation, without parliamentary scrutiny and without debate: a trifecta of abuse of the democratic system.
Let’s be clear: these measures would have radicalised an already grossly under-regulated abortion industry in this nation, leaving women less safe. Imagine, already vulnerable women aborting on their own on the bathroom floor – down their toilets.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) threatens that unless the government does this, an estimated 44,000 women will have difficulty accessing the abortions they ‘need’. As at writing, the global death toll for coronavirus is 17,250. If the chief executive of BPAS, Ann Furedi, has her way, there will be 44,000 deaths before birth in our nation in the coronavirus lock down? How about practising some social distancing until ready to bring a life into the world?
The elites talk about caring for the frail and the elderly, but if they let this occur, they illustrate once more their callous disregard for our unborn children. The ones that are not seen but are done away with by pills costing 15 pence a shot. True compassion requires a government and a medical system to care both lives – the mother’s and the child’s.
There is an irony that abortion activists within Parliament used international law and the United Nations to force abortion onto Northern Ireland several months ago, in contravention of the devolution agreement. They did so under the red herring of non-binding recommendations from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Yet the government yesterday acted in direct contradiction of a far more relevant United Nations measure. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action calls on nations, including the United Kingdom – which has vowed its strong commitment to the Platform – “to reduce the recourse to abortion”, to make every effort to “eliminate the need for abortion”, and to take measures to make abortion safe.
In a nation where over 9 million abortions have been performed, and where safeguards written into the Abortion Act 1967 – meant to protect the interests of the unborn child – have been largely eliminated by practice, we have now even taken away any pretence of caring about women’s health and safety.
At a time of national and global crisis, to be pushing through a back-door policy that would have put thousands of women at risk is dangerous and chilling. This policy would not help the women involved and would have only led to further vulnerability and trauma. The idea that our medical profession was prepared to prescribe such powerful drugs, in effect on demand, without seeing the patient is deadly disturbing.
While the flagrant manner in which a government department has circumvented the democratic process should upset us all, what is most unnerving is that instead of giving the coronavirus its full attention, the Department for Health and Social Care had taken its eye off the ball and surrendered to abortion ideologues for the purpose of expediting the taking of unborn life.
During these troubling times, when people are making great personal sacrifices to protect life, the government must extend the same courtesy to our most vulnerable, the unborn. This is not a time to play politics. As a nation we can do better.