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Pro-choice demonstration: Framing abortion as a stand-off between religion and secularism has made it a non-issue in the public mind

Perhaps it's the last great taboo. We have no problem sitting on the bus and telling our children about sex, moving effortlessly even in public from testing times-tables to expounding the birds and the bees. We fully endorse our teenagers being taught about contraception in their personal, social and health education classes. We're no longer queasy about the most graphic images of war, and most watersheds have been removed. We have no qualms about bringing up death and we joke about disability. And we're not coy in our conversations about gender. 

But when it comes to abortion, well, that really is off limits. We suddenly get squeamish. An issue too emotive to engage with, too hot to handle. (Witness New Statesman columnist Mehdi Hasan's vilification on Twitter as being "anti-women" when he raised the subject). Because — and I write with a gentle heart, and not unaware of my Y chromosome — the argument is over, the consensus unquestionable, the debate dead.

Our silence is so astonishing because the reality is so widespread. With nearly one in five pregnancies ending in termination — nearly 190,000 a year in England and Wales — here is a truly classless concern, touching so many, talked about by so few. 

When the issue last hit the headlines, in March 2012, it was only because it had a gender angle. You may recall: a number of abortion clinics were found by the Daily Telegraph to have been offering illegal sex-selection terminations. The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's statement was revealing: "Carrying out an abortion on the grounds of gender alone is in my view morally repugnant." Doing it more indiscriminately, he appeared to be saying, is OK. 

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July 23rd, 2013
8:07 PM
The level of dishonesty from feminists on this issue is staggering. Just start with the label "pro-choice". Choice sounds like such a nice thing - except when it means the choice to kill. Viability is one area of philosophical difficulty, but how about when people try to arbitrarily redefine "life" itself just to suit there own argument - deciding, based on nothing, that someone isn't alive till they're born or able to live outside the mother. And the idea that the foetus is no more than "part of a woman's body" until it is born - when did anyone agree on that? Does a woman really have no responsibility towards the living thing she is carrying? Then the almost flippant argument that "women will have the abortions anyway, legal or not" so we're supposedly obliged to legalise it; then the casual attitude to the fathers of the foetuses - who as things stand get no say whatsoever in what happens. This from people who claim to believe in equality...

Paddy Onymous
June 30th, 2013
11:06 AM
Why is this issue so clouded in babble? Surely killing a child before it is born is not hard to understand. Feminists who seem to think their freedom is built on sacrificing unborn children are in terrible danger of destroying their soul. All the rest of us who preserve our sexual promiscuity by the right to destroy unborn children, have given ourselves over to evil. It is time to end this mass murder.

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