Here is a little fisk of Dorries’ debate the other day. This is just Dorries’ opening gambit. I’ve probably missed the less obvious bullshit.
The full transcript of the Induced Abortion debate is here.
If any abortion provider is to come to Northern Ireland, Marie Stopes is probably the best bet. Marie Stopes is one of the most professional and non-advocacy-driven abortion providers. It has no political ideology and is concerned only for the health of the woman, and it operates in a professional manner. So I think that, if Northern Ireland is to have an abortion provider, Marie Stopes are the people to have.
That is a hell of a lot of praise considering what she implied about Maries Stopes back in September 2011…
“Under present legislation, doctors or pregnancy advisory services have no duty to offer professional, impartial help to women considering an abortion,” the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire said.
“Moreover, most counselling is offered by the big abortion providers themselves, like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service or the Marie Stopes clinics, which are paid millions by the NHS to carry out terminations – and so profit from the process.”
That’s not such a ringing endorsement, and the last sentence, especially the “and so profit from the process” part make Marie Stopes sound like a for-profit company, doing these abortions and offering counselling to make a fast buck, to satisfy it’s shareholders. Marie Stopes International is a not-for-profit company. Any profit doesn’t go to shareholders, but go towards furthering it’s aims and goals here and abroad. You may not agree with some of those goals but it’s so far removed from the profit making organisation that Dorries implied.
A study by the Centre for Sexual Health Research at the university of Southampton and the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the university of Kent found that 41% of women who have second-trimester abortions do so because they were not sure about having an abortion and took a while to make up their mind to ask for one. I believe that one positive effect of reducing the limit to 20 weeks might be to focus the mind slightly sooner than 23 weeks. Because abortion is available until 24 weeks, there is a laxity, as people have a prolonged period to make up their mind. The research says that women took a long time to make up their mind. Maybe reducing the upper limit will help.
*imagines Dorries stood in front of a pregnant woman, impatiently tapping her foot saying “Come on. Make up your mind. It’s not a hard decision, ffs”)
The medical profession cannot make two arguments. Doctors cannot say that a poorly baby’s life is worth trying to save from 20 or 21 weeks onwards while stating at the same time that there is no chance of life up to 24 weeks, so it is okay to abort up until that point. There is an inconsistency in retaining 24 weeks.
There is no inconsistency. An abortion is granted, for whatever reason. Rightly or wrongly. Effort is spent trying to save a premature baby because the legal guardians that have the say of whether to resuscitate or not say resuscitate. If they didn’t, the premature baby would be left to die. This, I guess, happens with nearly every premature baby because they are wanted babies.
This next bit of bullshit speaks for itself…
[Dorries:] Doctors cannot have it both ways. They cannot say in the NHS, “We try to save babies from 20 weeks because they are viable,” and then say, “We abort at 24 weeks because they are not.” The two arguments cannot stand. That is an anomaly, and it must end.
Dr Wollaston: I thank the hon. Lady for giving way. On that point, we are not trying to save babies at 20 weeks. No babies survive at 20 weeks’ gestation. If she refers back to the British Medical Journal paper considering two periods of survival, the increase in survival of pre-term babies after the 2000 period was due entirely to babies born at 24 and 25 weeks. The absolute limit of survival is about 22 weeks; that is when we try to save them. Will she please stop suggesting that the NHS is capable of saving babies at 20 weeks? It is simply not true.
Boom! The Tory from Totnes gets Dorries bang to rights with her bullshit statistics. And Dorries’ reply?…
Maybe the NHS should stop trying to save babies from 20 weeks. My neighbour 10 years ago was a 22-week survivor. Although she had slight problems, they did not prevent her from going to school and living a full and wonderful life. Babies do survive from 22 weeks, which is my argument for viability. If the RCOG wants to say that viability is at 24 weeks, it must look at the living babies born at 22 weeks and say, “That’s wrong.”
The only measure of viability that we have is the premature poorly baby—the baby who arrives early for a reason. Doctors must fight to deal with two complicated situations: whatever made the baby arrive prematurely, and the fact that it has arrived prematurely, which involves lung function and other things. I am afraid that a healthy aborted baby and a premature poorly baby cannot be compared, particularly not at 23 weeks.
Huh? So no defending of her 20 weeks claim then? Dorries has plenty to say about 22 week babies though for some reason, even though that age of gestation is questioned?
“While a research fellow at Oxford, Dr Anand became aware that many premature and early gestation babies died during in-utero operations due to shock induced by pain during the procedure. General thinking at the time, in the 1980s, was that no baby could experience pain before birth—that until birth, a baby was not sentient. In his pioneering work, Dr Anand developed anaesthesia to be delivered to foetuses. Thanks to that work, introduced at the John Radcliffe hospital, anaesthetising babies during in-utero operations is now standard procedure, and babies now live.
Dr Anand went on to continue his work and research in America. When I sat on the Science and Technology Committee, we considered abortion, and one of the members of that Committee—Evan Harris, the former Member for Oxford West and Abingdon, who lost his seat at the last election—described Professor Anand as a little doctor from Little Rock. Dr Anand did much of his further research in America, first at the university of Arkansas and now as the St Jude chair for critical care medicine and professor of paediatrics, anaesthesiology and neurobiology at the university of Tennessee health centre in Memphis.
My only point in relation to Evan Harris’s comments about Professor Anand is that Dr Anand is a gentle, polite academic who is well renowned and respected and has a successful career. To describe such a man as a little man from Little Rock, and to have binned and not considered the evidence on abortion that he presented to the Science and Technology Committee, was a travesty. I complained about it to the Clerks at the time, and I will continue to complain about it, as it tainted the report.
So far as the allegation that Dr Anand has been excluded or not invited to address the committee, well as member of the committee, herself, Nadine Dorries should know perfectly well that the process by which parliamentary committees invite witnesses – other than those from government, the civil service and other areas of the public sector, is by publishing an open call for written submissions to the committee. The committee states its brief and the information/opinions it is seeking, and it is then up to any interested party to submit their written views, opinions and evidence to the committee for consideration.
Based on the submissions received, the committee will then invite people to appear before the committee to give evidence in person.
As already noted, not only single submission to the committee FROM ANY SOURCE, refers to Dr Anand, his work or any published research paper on which he is cited as the author or co-author.
And Dr Anand, himself, has not made any written submission to the committee.
I move to the feminist argument. As the mother of three young adult daughters, I am a strong believer in a woman’s right to choose. Never, ever would I want to see a return to the bad old days of backstreet abortionists, or restricted access to early abortion. Do I champion this issue from the perspective of religion? No, I do not. I do not come to this from a religious perspective.
Second, those same groups are coordinating/enabling her latest efforts where Dorries and others are masquerading as “pro woman” campaigners seeking to protect vulnerable adults from the physical/mental harm they and other religious groups claim is a common post-abortion problem… but this article/interview from 2007 makes it very clear that Dorries is driven primarily NOT by a desire to protect women, but instead a deeply religious decision to reduce the number of abortions by any means possible, even if these means appear, intially, to be at odds with the anti-abortion agenda:
“I’ve been told my Bill will get nowhere while I have pro-lifers and abortion rights people against me. But my argument is: How can anyone argue – on any grounds – that my proposal is not right. Currently there are about 600 abortions a day in the UK. I’d like to reduce that number by at least half. The public is not interested in banning abortion. Those who hold out for a complete ban have not changed the law – they have not saved a single life. To me, saving some lives is better than saving no lives at all. I hope pro-lifers will come to share my view that some progress is better than no progress. ” – Nadine Dorries (source/PDF)
If you want a full on fisk, Unity steps up and metaphorically slaps Dorries down. Again.