An extract from a letter to our MP on The Domestic Abuse Bill

“I am very supportive of [the Domestic Abuse] bill. It has been a long time in coming, and although isn’t without difficulty, is a step towards protecting men and women in abusive relationships. However, there is one item that concerns me greatly. It is my understanding that within this legislation there is an aim to repeal Sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. I think I understand the aim behind this, however I believe this will cause more harm than good.

I know that abortion is an emotive subject but is too important to be ignored. It is also too important to be a subsection on the domestic abuse act. Not only this but I believe that abortion is an afront to a civilised society and to human rights. Already abortions are allowed up to 24 weeks (and although there are caveats to this they are largely meaningless in practice) and up to birth in certain cases including Downs Syndrome. Softening this even more is a step in the wrong direction and will lead to the deaths of the most vulnerable in our society. Following the recent riots over Black Lives Matter it may surprise you that Marie Stopes, the woman behind the largest abortion provider, was a racist and a eugenicist who advocated the forced sterilisation of those with disabilities, addictions, mixed race, and those we could today call the BAME communities. Her aim was actively to strengthen ‘our race’ (by which she meant white people) by eradicating ‘weakness’. That is why her clinics were, and largely still are, in poorer communities who she considered ‘the inferior, the depraved, and the feeble-minded’. Today we are rightly appalled at such language, justification and action, and yet we carry out the same practices with different labels. We justify it under women’s’ rights, or the ability to minimise maternal mortality rates, even though the evidence shows that the abortion rate doesn’t correlate with maternal survival rates. Abortion of those with downs syndrome (even up to the hour before birth) and abortion for economic reasons shows similar patterns to Marie Stopes aims.

I do not write this to demonise those who have had abortions but rather to highlight the fact that the concept of freely available abortions as a women’s rights issue is a fallacy. If we want to see women’s rights improve, rather than removing the rights of the unborn which is both ineffective and counter intuitive, we instead need to continue to invest in better education for everybody on rights and responsibilities, in sex education such is provided by groups such as ACET UK, and in maternal health care for women. Globally this also means investments in nutrition, clean water, and sanitation on top of these. One way is to ensure that we do fair trade with the whole world to ensure that communities can afford to invest in education and infrastructure. From a Christian perspective there are other things to say, however today I wanted to write on data that is based on commonly held western values of the right to life, the right to not live in fear, and the scientific data that points us away from the shadow of eugenics and towards behaviours that actually improve maternal mortality rates and the day-to-day lives of all people.”

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