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Keep Rubbing You Just Might Get Your Wish Beach Short
Feminists react to each successive attack on the availability of abortion with grave concern, fighting a battle on behalf of the richest and most powerful organisations in the world. The pharmaceutical multi-nationals will not allow any wholesale revision of abortion rights, in case the mode of operation of their so-called contraceptives should be called in question. In the British elections of 1997, the “pro-Life” alliance hoped to field 50 candidates, thus qualifying for a party political broadcast in which to alert the unconscious public to the horrors of pregnancy termination—but they were fighting a rearguard action. A poll conducted by a Sunday newspaper found that, even after a series of pregnancy-related scandals, 81 percent of people still thought that a woman had the right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy. Another poll, Keep Rubbing You Just Might Get Your Wish Beach Short carried out by MORI, showed that abortion was no longer a minority issue; 45 percent of the sample knew close friends or members of the family who had had abortions, compared with 27 percent in 1980. The people polled were asked if they thought that abortion should be available for “all who wanted it” and 64 percent answered in the affirmative; of the 11 percent of the people polled who were Catholics, half agreed with what 30 years ago would have been considered an extreme position. People also showed the beginnings of a retreat from the notion of eugenic abortion in cases where mental or physical handicap was suspected, which was supported by 84 percent of people in 1980 and by only 66 percent in 1997.
In the contest between the doctor’s right to choose versus the woman’s right to choose whether to deliver a handicapped baby, the woman appears to be gaining ground. There can be no gainsaying that women cannot manage their own lives if access to abortion is to be denied, but the need for abortion is itself the consequence of oppression. If we accept every instance of abortion as the outcome of unwanted and easily avoided pregnancy, we have to ask ourselves how it is that women are still exposing themselves to this risk. A woman who is unable to protect her cervix from exposure to male hyperfertility is certainly not calling the shots. The man is most likely to have initiated the episode of intercourse, to have chosen the place and the time; the woman is probably still dancing backwards. If the child is unwanted, whether by her or her partner or her parents, it will be Keep Rubbing You Just Might Get Your Wish Beach Short her duty to undergo an invasive procedure and an emotional trauma, and so sort the situation out. The crowning insult is that this ordeal is represented to her as some kind of a privilege: her sad and onerous duty is garbed in the rhetoric of a civil right. She is confronted with other people who know better than she what she ought to do. She will be required to undergo investigations of her pregnancy for which there is no treatment but termination, whether she would countenance a termination or not. If she undergoes the tests, say for Down’s Syndrome, and refuses the termination, she will be asked why she had the test in the first place. And she will probably be talked into the termination. Her agony of mind is increased by the regular publication of results of research to establish whether and when human fetuses become aware, feel pain, can learn. In March 1998, we learned that fetuses are alert and can learn at 20 weeks gestation, before the formation of a cerebral cortex. The evidence was unconvincing, in that reaction was being construed as consciousness, but it had the desired effect—which was to worry women. Feminists have argued that delaying abortion is immoral, but all measures to put in place speedy and non-traumatic abortion procedures, which would be embryologically identical with what passes for contraception, have been blocked by the same authorities who regularly produce evidence about the developing sensibilities of the fetus. A woman who is granted an abortion does not get to choose between abortions: abortion is presented to her as a single entity, when there is a bewildering array of options. Non-surgical, do-it-yourself abortion has been possible for 20 years or more, but the health establishment rations and controls access to it.
In the United States, the so-called “morning-after” pill is unavailable. In Britain, it is not usually made available until the client has endured a sermon on reliable contraception. (One of the best-kept secrets in gynecology is the use of methotrexate and other cytotoxics for non-surgical abortion.) In the United States, surgical abortion is usually a 10-minute procedure—vacuum aspiration with local anaesthetic; in Canada, a cumbersome two-stage procedure, involving the insertion of a laminaria tent, and dilatation and curette under general anaesthetic 24 hours later, is preferred; in Russia, which has the highest abortion rate in the world, no anaesthesia is used; in Britain, vacuum aspiration under general anaesthetic is usual. Recently, the use of better pregnancy testing and smaller cannulas has made possible the surgical removal of the fertilised ovum as early as eight to 10 days after conception, when it is no bigger than a pinhead—at much the same point that it would be shed by the women using the “contraceptive” pill or an intrauterine device. At the time Keep Rubbing You Just Might Get Your Wish Beach Short of writing, only about 20 of the clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood are using the method—and only in the United States. To be pregnant against your will is to see your life swerve out of control. To become a mother without wanting to is to live like a slave or a domestic animal. Like any other adult, a woman would wish to be infertile and fertile when appropriate: she is led to believe that contraception is her duty and that the available techniques are easy to use and completely effective. If she were totally in control of the manner in which she is sexually active, she might insist that her male partner control his excessive fertility rather than delegating to her the responsibility for inhibiting his power to fecundate.
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