You’ll have to explain this to me Suzanne

Only women bleed, sang Alice Cooper. And only women pay taxes on the products they use to deal with the fact that this happens. Sanitary products such as tampons are taxed as non-essential, luxury items at 5%. So are maternity pads. Some products remain exempt from this tax – such as edible sugar flowers and alcoholic jellies – but tampons are our little treat, aren’t they? We spoil ourselves silly with such luxury.

5% is not the luxury VAT rate now, is it?

If the average woman menstruates 450 times over a lifetime, it is estimated that will have cost her £18,450 (taking into account sanitary protection, pain relief and new underwear).

£41 a period? When a box of tampons costs £1?

The reason we are talking about tampon tax again is that though the Tories pledged to scrap this 5% VAT, they didn’t.

Because they’re not allowed to. The European Union insists that something which has a positive VAT rate cannot then be made exempt or zero rated, given a 0% VAT rate. That’s just the system, the problem is in Brussels. As Gordon Brown found out.

Abortions, like periods, are not shameful, but a fact of many women’s lives. If we are to have a tampon tax at all, the money generated should at least go to those who regard women as autonomous adults who make our own decisions. To hand it over to those who do not respect our choices and actively want to limit them is deeply shameful.

There are many women who are anti-abortion, indeed Life is rather full of them. If money is to be spent upon women’s issues, as is the point with this tampon fund, that does not mean it should be spent only upon wither those women or those issues you agree with. Because not all women agree with you.

Well, if you say so

Forcing pregnant women who do not want a child of one sex or the other to give birth could harm both the baby and the mother’s mental health, a leading doctors’ union member has said.

Prof Wendy Savage, a voting member of the British Medical Association Council, also said women should have the right to terminate a pregnancy at any stage.

But it does seem rather one sided, no?

Isn’t this an interesting problem

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about six months. I’m 39 and he’s 51. We have a great relationship. I fell pregnant after only a month and a half. In a decision made jointly with full support, I had a termination. The sex we’d had before was always great. However, since the termination my partner finds it very difficult to ejaculate. Could the termination have an effect on this? He insists not.

In the answer:

There is normally a mourning period following a termination, which needs to follow its course and be respected.

Why is there a mourning period if it’s just an insensate clump of cells? There is no more there than just a normal period is there?

Yes, I know, I know, I disagree with just about everyone on this. And yet I see great echoes of New Soviet Man here. That was the idea that if human beings were different then we could have a different economy. Entirely true, if human beings were different we could, it’s the creation of a different type of human which is the difficult thing. Here it’s that it ought to be that it’s a clump of insensate cells which no one should worry about disposing of. And yet it turns out that human beings aren’t quite like that and they do worry. To the extent that a mourning period is normal.

Oooops.

Which neatly brings me back to the New Soviet Man thing – our aim is to build and economy which works for the human beings we have. So too with other aspects of society. We don’t assume that murder/rape/robbery/fraud will never happen because we know that human beings aren’t like that. We thus design systems to deal with, to minimise the happening of them. For we can’t actually make humans what they are not.

Apparently this extends to not being able to spurt when the point and purpose of the spurting is flushed away down the drain. For some people at least.

Well, yes Jessica

If you had any doubt that that Republicans were taking their cues on women’s health from The Handmaid’s Tale, consider Oklahoma representative Justin Humphrey, who said this week that women are not individual people once they get pregnant, just “hosts”.

Humphrey, who just proposed a bill requiring women seeking abortions to get written permission from their sexual partner, told a reporter at the Intercept that while he understands that women “feel like that is their body”, they are mistaken to think of themselves as autonomous human beings.

“What I call them is, you’re a ‘host’ … I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”

The upside is at least they’ve dispensed with any subtext.

The subtext being that this is a Sorites Problem.

For in a mammalian species the female is indeed the host. Sure, 20 minutes after fertilisation it would be very extreme indeed to say “host!” and host only. 270 days later it would be equally extreme to claim that there wasn’t something very hostlike about this situation. Just as with the development of the child itself, it’s a process with no clear dividing lines other than conception and birth (or termination, of course).

No, this isn’t to say that I support this specific law (although I’ve always had a very soft spot for the argument that as the male will be forced to pay for 21 years for a live birth then said male should indeed have some say in whether there is a live birth or not) but the basic concept of “host”, the thing you’re complaining about, isn’t an outrageous one at all.

Anti-choice legislation – from clinic restrictions to waiting periods – all come from the same ideology that trumps the potential life of a fetus over a woman’s right to autonomy, health and sometimes life.

And isn’t that an interesting argument? Because pretty much everyone agrees that at some point in our Sorites progression that it does. But when?

Err, no, not really

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the onus was on the nominee to explain his position on the issue.

“Given president Trump’s promise to appoint a supreme court justice that would seek to overturn Roe v Wade, we need to know whether Judge Gorsuch would do just that,” Northup said.

“Our constitution guarantees a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion. Any effort to gut those protections would harm the rights and health of women for generations to come.”

The Supreme Court found, in the penumbra of said constitution, the right to abortion. And while it’s rare it is possible for said Court to change its mind on such matters.

The Constitution itself most certainly says no such thing of course.

Interesting

Doctors have accused a medical body of suggesting that unborn babies with Down’s syndrome should be aborted because it will cost too much to care for them.
More than 100 doctors, nurses and other medics have signed a letter attacking the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for saying the NHS should calculate the ‘cost effectiveness’ of supporting those with the condition.

Bit of a move over time, isn’t it?

You may not, you may, you should?

How long before you must?

What were they doing wrong?

Marie Stopes clinics have suspended surgical abortions using anaesthetic or sedation for under-age girls and vulnerable women after following an unannounced inspection by Care Quality Commission inspectors who found patients could be at risk.

The CQC said that the 250 women a week who were booked in for terminations would be sent elsewhere to ‘make sure they were protected from potential harm’.

Not an argument I buy to be honest

Abortion is simply another form of birth control and should be as freely available as contraception, the head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service has claimed.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of the country’s biggest abortion clinic chain, also argued that there is no moral difference between decisions on a termination and whether to get married or divorced.
And there is nothing morally wrong with destroying a foetus because ‘it kills a being that has no sense of life or death’, she said.
The call for abortion on demand, without time limits, comes amid a rise in the number of terminations in England and Wales, especially among older and cohabiting women.
Mrs Furedi’s charity carries out more than one in three abortions in England and Wales, and around one in 14 pregnancies in 2014 ended in one of its clinics. It collected more than £27million from the NHS that year, funding almost all of its 66,000 terminations.
Her call for abortion to be made as easily available as condoms comes in a book to be published next month, arguing that it is ‘a travesty of our freedom’ for terminations to be regulated by criminal law.

As we all know my views on this are rather out of step with modern society’s. But no moral difference? A travesty of freedom that we don’t do partial birth abortions at 35 weeks?

That might be a little too far in the other direction perhaps?

Excellent!

Removing abortion from the criminal law would not change this. No woman turns up at 30 weeks pregnant requesting abortion because she’s a bit weary of it all – and no doctor would perform an abortion on that basis. To suggest otherwise is absurd and offensive to both women, and those who care for them.

Great, so we don’t have to change the law to make that possible then, do we?

Slightly extreme proposal perhaps?

Britain’s biggest maternity union has joined forces with abortion providers and radical feminists in an ‘extreme’ campaign to abolish the legal limits on abortion.
The Royal College of Midwives, which represents nearly 30,000 midwives and health workers, is calling for women to be allowed to terminate an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy – and face no criminal sanctions.
Abolishing abortion law would do away with the current time limit of 24 weeks of pregnancy, after which a woman can only have a termination for medical reasons.

Of course, the pass has already been sold. When that limit came down from 28 weeks to 24, that medical exemption was added. So that line between this is a human being with rights and this is not was already blurred. This is just the logical extension.

Slippery slopes do indeed exist…..

So you’d have to mourn every miscarriage, wouldn’t you?

If you were to claim that a foetus was a person:

The world’s youngest mummy has been found in a small Egyptian coffin at a British museum.
The foetus is believed to have been no older than 18 weeks of gestation when it was preserved during an ancient burial ritual.
The discovery reveals ‘just how precious the unborn child was’ to the Egyptians, and how they dealt with miscarriage, historians have said.

As, yes, so dumb our forebears were, none of that wisdom of the ancients, eh?

CIA tests new post-natal abortion technique

Briar Woods High School, a half-hour drive from the CIA’s headquarters in Northern Virginia, might have provided an ideal training ground for the agency’s bomb-sniffing dogs. Its labyrinthine hallways and voluminous classrooms are home to something that can wreak havoc for the canines: polished floors, which cause dogs to slip and lose their focus as they hunt for explosives.

That was one reason the school, which educates nearly 1,700 students in Ashburn, played host to a CIA dog team for a training exercise while students were away for spring break last week, according to the Loudoun County school system. But the choice to go to a public school for the quiet exercise has led to an only-in-Washington embarrassment for the elite spy agency, which left explosive material behind in the engine compartment of a school bus that then shuttled special-needs schoolchildren for two days this week.

A mechanic discovered and removed the explosive putty – which county Supervisor Koran Saines, D-Sterling, said was the demolition explosive C-4 – during a routine bus maintenance check Wednesday. Until then, no one noticed that it was missing.

If people won’t get rid of the special needs kids in utero then the government must take action, right?

Although one does rather suspect that this was planned by the Amanduh section of that venerable organisation.

Amanda Marcotte sure is dumb

The Republican war on women continues unabated. The same week that conservatives argued in the Supreme Court that employers should be able to stop their employees from getting contraception coverage outside of the company health plan,

Nobody at all is arguing that women shouldn’t be able to get contraception outside the company provided health plan. In fact, they’re arguing that if women want contraception they should get it outside the company health plan. That may or may not be a good idea but that’s what the idea is.

And then there’s this:

There’s no real evidence that aborting based on a fetus’s race or gender is a thing that happens.

No evidence of sex specific abortions? Presumably Amanduh lives on a planet where India and China don’t exist?

I’ve no idea whether this story is true or not

Women whose babies develop fatal defects in the early stages of pregnancy will be given advice on going ahead with the birth so the NHS can harvest their organs, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Most expectant mothers opt for termination after being told the devastating news their child has no chance of survival once born.
But now, amid a chronic shortage of donated organs, mums will be ‘supported’ to have the baby at nine months so that the child’s vital organs can be taken for transplant.

After all, it is the Mail.

But I doubt I’m the only one who would be a little, erm, uneasy, if it were true.

So Sweden is to ban surrogacy

The logic, it hurts:

This week, Sweden took a firm stand against surrogacy. The governmental inquiry on surrogacy published its conclusions, which the parliament is expected to approve later this year. These include banning all surrogacy, commercial as well as altruistic, and taking steps to prevent citizens from going to clinics abroad.

Eh?

In any case, the notion of “altruistic” surrogacy – apart from being a red herring, since it barely happens in reality – has a very strange ideological underpinning. As if exploitation only consisted in giving the woman money. In that case, the less she is paid, the less she is exploited.

In reality, “altruistic” surrogacy means that a woman goes through exactly the same thing as in commercial surrogacy, but gets nothing in return.

Since when did the Objectivist meaning of altruism make it over into feminism?

And there’s really something very odd indeed about this. We have a society where any woman can have any type of sex, with or without contraceptives, as she likes rightly so. We also say (less rightly to my mind but whatever) that she may keep or dispose of that possibly resultant fetus as she wishes. And now we’re to say that in fact you can’t do either of those things?

Further, how in buggery do you enforce this? Forced abortions? Forced adoptions? What?

Yes but why?

A Vietnamese woman has escaped execution after paying a fellow inmate to bring her a plastic bag of semen and a syringe so that she could become pregnant while on death row.
Under Vietnamese law, pregnant women or those with children under three years of age cannot be executed.

OK, don’t execute pregnant women, long standing thing (Anne Bonney and friend did this to avoid being hung with, erm, Calico Jack, didn’t they? And one story is that they jeered him as he was…..or maybe that’s the G MacDonald Fraser version).

However, why?

Yes, yes, obviously, but today?

The fetus isn’t a person today is it? Not a human. So why can’t it die with the mother?

I wonder if anyone can actually manage to rationalise that.

You can do it easily by saying you’re against capital punishment and so on. But the specific point that the fetus is a non-human that can be destroyed at whim, and yet is so precious that it stops a righteously convicted criminal from being executed?

Dear God this is a fatuously stupid claim

Here is the fact that everyone debating abortion should know: there is no association between its legality and its incidence. In other words, banning abortion does not stop the practice; it merely makes it more dangerous.

How can anyone seriously put that forward as an idea let alone a factual claim.

Incidence means rate, frequency, of something happening. Legal abortion does increase the rate at which abortion happens. We really were not having 200,000 back street abortions a year in the 1950s.

Jeebus, how stupid does Monbiot think we are?