This may be your view but it’s not the law

As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter why any woman wants to end her pregnancy. If it’s to select for sex, that’s her choice.

We don’t, in theory at least, have abortion on demand in the UK. It’s of course just fine to argue that we ought to have, although I and some others will disagree with you.

But given that we don’t have the law stating that we do, don’t you think that we should all be obeying the law?

14 comments on “This may be your view but it’s not the law

  1. These people literally disgust me, in so many ways.
    But then, the left has historically been prepared to abort tens of millions of the living in pursit of some twisted, fascist ideological goal.

  2. It’s revolting, but if the pregnant woman argued that having a girl would affect her mental health, and having a boy wouldn’t, then yes we have legal selective abortion.

  3. Disagree with her about the desirability of abortion, as I do, at least she has the virtue of being logically consistent: if it is a ‘woman’s right to choose’, the individual reasons should have no bearing on the execution of that right.

    Of course, she is also, like those who believe in the right to on-demand abortions, logically inconsistent in everything else.

  4. As Mark Steyn has pointed out, feminism has got to the point where they insist on choosing that women should never exist, simply on the grounds that they are female.

    I also cynically can’t help believing that if the driver of this was the Christian ideology of Southern whites in the US the attitude would be different.

  5. It’s not ‘the law’, it’s legislation. There is no constraint on abortion by ‘the law’ (that would be Common Law) which does not recognise Human life until birth… therefore there can be no killing of a zygote/embryo/foetus contrary to Common Law.

    So let’s reword the question: don’t you think that we should all be obeying the legislation?

    And apply the same question to the legislation which made it illegal for a slave to run away and illegal for anyone helping a runaway slave (in the USA); preaching Catholicism illegal; sex between men illegal… for example.

    You will then argue that in those jurisdictions, in those times, all should be obeying the legislation, or ‘law’ as you confusingly call it.

  6. John B, you are just being the pedant’s pedant.

    To continue in the same way; abortion is not actually ‘lawful’, the Abortion Act just provides an absolute defence to a charge under the Offences Against the Person Act, and others.

  7. John B, your distinction between “The [Common] Law” and “Legislation” is a new one on me. Common law does change, though we use the convenient fiction that we are just realising what it was all along.

    If we want to be really pedantic, I believe common law originally meant law that was common to the whole country, rather than local. The “precedent derived” meaning came later.

  8. Back to the original post. The journalist quoted is not (in my view) really commenting on what the law is, but what she thinks it should be.

    She in turn quotes someone who argues that sex selective abortion could be legal under the 1967 Act.

    I have no view on that opinion. But Tim’s comment that the current law should be obeyed seems to address neither point.

  9. In a world where abortion is allowed if the woman cites once of the reasons on a list, and her reasons cannot be objectively supported, then any limitation of those reasons creates a de facto thought-crime. Enforcement of such a law isn’t something I’d ever support.

  10. “As far as I’m concerned” is one of those reliable channel markers in discussion.

    It ALWAYS means the speaker has eschewed any respect for mere facts in this instance and usually means their opinions on other subjects are similarly unrestricted.

  11. Recusant is correct that the effect of the Abortion Act 1967 is to create an exemption to the provisions of s58 & 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act for abortions carried out by licensed medical practitioners acting in good faith and within a decision-making framework defined by the Act.

    However both Acts are entirely silent on the question of sex selection so the legality of such a practice hinges entirely on whether or not it can, on the facts of any individual case, be justified under one of the legal grounds for abortion specified in the Act – and the most obvious example of a situation in which it could certainly be justified is one in which there is significant risk that a child will inherit a sex-linked genetic disorder causing serious disability.

    Justification on mental health grounds is a more complex issue but certainly possible in some circumstances, albeit ones that I expect to be very uncommon.

    Nevertheless there are well documented cases of abuse and neglect arising out of situations in a which a parent finds it impossible to form any kind of bond with children of a one gender, but not the other and instances in which families continue to produce children, long after the point at which they might otherwise have called it a day, in the hope of having a child of the opposite gender to their older siblings and that can, in some cases, place the mother (in particular) under tremendous emotional strain.

    So there we have a couple of situations in which it is at least conceivable that a sex selective abortion would be permissible in law on mental health grounds, albeit ones you would expect to arise only very rarely.

    So yes, sex selection can, in certain circumstances, be permissible under the present legislative framework.

    And, and by the way the only non-anecdotal evidence for the possible existence of sex selection in UK, a 2007 paper by Dubuc and Coleman, suggests that if it is indeed being practiced here (which is by no means certain as women do have the option of travelling overseas for the procedure) it may result in a discrepancy of just 60 out of around 726,000 births in England and Wales.

    That’s why Sarah dismisses it as a ‘negligible issue’ in her article, because I know for a fact she’s read my blog post in which I ran the numbers from Dubuc and Coleman’s paper against the most recent birth and abortion statistics I had at the time, which were for 2011.

  12. “It’s so true that there is no demographic evidence of women practising sex selective abortion in Britain”

    sex selective legal abortion, she means.

  13. We do have abortion on demand provided that two doctors in the country believe in good faith that it’s always safer to have an abortion than to give birth. Many many doctors believe this, so we do have abortion on demand.

    It doesn’t matter anyway, because the influential and political classes support abortion on demand, so if by some unlikely circumstance the law becomes interpreted as not allowing it, it will be changed.

    We do have abortion on demand.

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