The issue now is a Private Member's Bill being introduced by Ann Winterton. One of the "contentious" provisions in this bill is the following:
A Conservative MP is seeking to change the abortion law to make women faced with unexpected pregnancies receive mandatory counselling.You can read the whole article here. The Daily Mail appears to be the only one of the nationals reporting on it at the moment, and the web version of the article is more objective than the one that appeared in the print version on Saturday. Here's the beginning of the print version (the emphasis is mine):
Ann Winterton, the MP for Congleton in Cheshire, also wants a seven-day "cooling off" period following meetings with counsellors.
The reason is to make sure that women are not rushed into a decision to abort and that they take sufficient time to reflect before they finally decide on what they would most like to do.
Counselling 'must be compulsory for women wanting an abortion'The author clearly thinks this would be an unreasonable imposition on the women concerned. Am I alone in wondering why?
Women would be forced to undergo counselling before they can have an abortion under proposals to be debated by MPs.
Surely this is the very type of measure that those who genuinely support the right to CHOOSE should be welcoming - a measure which ensures that a woman who is upset, confused and doesn't know which way to turn is helped to see what her options are and given a little breathing space so that she is able to make an informed choice and not rush into something that she may regret for the rest of her life.
Or is it that they don't really support the right to choose at all? Every time anyone introduces an initiative (think of Cardinal Winning in Scotland, for instance*) which might entail a woman being supported in making a choice which doesn't involve killing her baby, these feminist harridans screech about oppression of women and claim that these schemes which aim to support women at one of the most difficult times of their lives are actually restricting their freedom.
Surely the only people restricting anybody's freedom are those who aren't giving them the right to talk their options through with someone who is impartial and is not emotionally involved, who will help them to see that they DO have choices. I was horrified to realise that women don't already get counselling as a matter of course at such a difficult time in their lives. No wonder so many go for what they see as the only option - nobody has helped them to see that there are alternatives.
The Bill will be introduced into the House of Commons on 5 June. Let's pray that it succeeds, and that women and their unborn babies from now on will be given a fairer chance.
In the meantime, the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship is urging voters to write to their MPs asking them to support this Bill. Catholic Action UK gives further details and the address to write to.
Remember what the Catechism says: "Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you." If we say those prayers and write those letters, we can make a difference.
* I'm going to link to an article here, but decided not to do so in the body of the text for the sake of your blood pressure. Here's what Cardinal Winning actually achieved. And here's a whole steaming pile of vitriol accusing him of being "perverse" and referring to his "distasteful initiative to bribe girls as young as 12 into continuing with unwanted pregnancies". And people wonder why I won't let the Guardian in my house...
Update: In case you are interested, here is a copy of the e-mail which I have just sent to my MP - feel free to use it or butcher it in writing to your own MP:
Subject: Termination of Pregnancy (Counselling and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill
I am sure you are aware of the above Private Member's Bill, which is to be introduced in the House of Commons on Tuesday 5 June 2007.
It aims principally to ensure that women who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy receive proper counselling and information about alternative help available, and provides for a delay of seven days before they are required to make a final decision on this very important and emotional issue.
I am writing to request that you attend this debate and vote in support of the Bill, which will give women a real opportunity to make an informed choice at a time when they often do not know where to turn.