...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, May 23, 2008

Day 2696: Hybrids, Chimeras and Talibaptists… oh my!


(In fairness, they're more like TaliPAPISTS in this country.)

Yes, obviously, it's the return of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and the attempt by an alliance of Social Conservatories and Roman Theocrats to HIJACK the issue as an excuse to start a CULTURE WAR against science.

The media are, typically, giggling about the fact that several of Mr Frown's own Cabinet DEFIED his personal plea and voted PRO-LIES.

But surely the far more worrying development is the Conservatories AS A BLOC throwing their weight behind a discrimination, superstition, anti-choice agenda straight out of the book of Victorian values.

On the CRUCIAL votes, the Conservatories were top keen to vote against the modern liberal country that Great Britain has become, and cocksure enough to do it blatantly.

On reducing the abortion limit to 22 weeks, the Conservatories voted 134 (plus 2 semi-detached Independent Conservatories) in favour to 27 against (Liberal Democrats were the most divided on this difficult issue though thankfully leaning the right way overall: 23 for and 32 against)

On the question of whether the law should insist that a daddy is necessary to have a child, the Conservatories support was 144 to 12 for legislating against any family that does not fit their ideological catalogue.

On trying to ban the use of hybrid embryos they WERE more divided, 80 in favour and 64 against, but the majority of the Conservatory Party were still on the opposite side to the PROGRESSIVE will of the House and (on this occasion) their own leader, Mr Balloon.

Losing the fight to embed the patriarchy in law was Mr Vague's Dad the former Conservatory leader, Mr Iain Drunken Swerve, or IVF as he is known.

He was at pains to emphasise that just because he thought that Lesbians (no, NOT from Lesbos, let's not go THERE again)… just because he thought Lesbians were thoroughly inadequate to be parents, he was NOT being HOMOPHOBIC – he wouldn't go so far as to say that some of his best friends are gay daddies, but some of his best friends are… senior Conservatories.

The whole business is about pinning people down and making them live the way that the Conservatories WANT them to live. But people do not need the Conservatories' permission to live their lives, and thankfully the House of Commons agrees.

So instead Mr Drunken Swerve's "need for a father" will be replaced by "supportive parenting", which seems MUCH more sensible and allows for recognition of all of the DIFFERENT kinds of families that people are able to come up with for themselves.

The argument over abortion, led by the Conservatory MP Ms Nodding Doris, was almost MORE sinister, not least because of the way it was suddenly attached to the Embryology Bill out of the blue.

I am not really QUALIFIED to spout about the abortion issue. But if there is one statistic that convinces ME, then it's THIS:

Britain: abortion legal: 20% of pregnancies end in termination.
Brazil: abortion illegal: 30% of pregnancies end in termination.

That certainly LOOKS like the way to save BABIES (and MUMMIES, who are JUST as important) is to give mummies CONTROL over their own squishy bits reproductive organs. That means being PRO-CHOICE. It means education. It means contraception. It means equal rights and equal pay and job protection and a whole lot of other things too. But all of those things add up to giving the power and the decision to the mummy.

However, the debate isn't as simple as the yes/no question over ALLOWING abortion at all. No matter that that's what the anti-abortion campaigners want, they've realised that – for now – they're not going to be able to wind THAT particular clock BACK to the Dark Ages. So instead they are adopting SALAMI TACTICS.

Daddy Richard says: they want to kill abortion by slicing it up piecemeal.

I say: Yeuch, icky metaphor daddy! [Daddy Alex AGREES!]

The scientific consensus is that we put the limit on abortion at 24 weeks because up to 24 weeks the chances of a baby surviving on its own are really quite low.

Obviously, this led to all the news shows going out and finding someone whose baby HAD survived being born at 23 weeks and then – rather disingenuously – NOT interviewing the NINE OTHER MUMMIES whose babies had all DIED.

Also, the chances of survival drop off AMAZINGLY quickly: from below one in ten at 23 weeks to below one in ten-thousand at 20 weeks (in fact in the most recent survey no babies at all survived being born so early).

But you can SORT OF see that people might think that given that there is SOME chance of survival at 23 weeks and a tiny chance at 22 weeks then MAYBE there is some justification in letting MPs decide to lower the limit, just on the precautionary principle, so we're covered as science gets BETTER at saving very early premature babies.

This is a TRAP.

Because the REAL danger here is that MPs choose to take the decision AWAY from Independent Scientific Advice. Essentially that would mean that you take the science OUT of the debate and then just debate on SENTIMENT.

And once you've got THERE, it's much, much harder to defend the right to an abortion with inconvenient things like COLD HARD FACTS, when the other side can say: "ooooh, just look at the li'll BABIES!!!"

(Actually, they say that a lot already – but at least you can counter it with: "yes, but the SCIENCE says…")

Fortunately, as you know, MPs decided to stick with the scientific advice.

But we still need to be aware that the HARD-LINE Conservatories have STILL scored a victory by getting their AGENDA to the centre of political debate. The Progressive Movement is STYMIED so long as the choices being presented are between the STATUS QUO (which Conservatories love) or going back to their Fantasy Fifties (which Conservatories love).

One thing is for certain: the ONLY way to make sure that you don't replace a barking mad power-crazed authoritarian Labour with barking mad power-crazed authoritarian Conservatories… is to make sure there are enough LIBERAL DEMOCRATs to keep the s HONEST!

One OTHER effect of this bill is that "Saviour Siblings" will be allowed.

This is GOOD: I think Mr Jesus could DO with a sister or brother to help him get out more.

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