Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Abortion law in a nutshell

In a piece on the UK's efforts to force mothers to name the father of their children on the birth certificate, the Guardian's Zoe Williams summarises in passing the hypocrisy of UK - and by extension, NZ - abortion law:

having little or no practical purpose, it strongly resembles the legislation surrounding abortion - two doctors need to attest to the fact that the pregnancy endangers your mental state. Of course they will do that; the ones who you pay will do it really fast; and of course it's such a broad concept that it's neither true nor untrue. So it has no practical usage. All it does is introduce a layer of difficulty and of tacit censure, so that nobody can have an abortion and think they got away with it scot-free. Society was watching and shaking its head; it wasn't angry, just disappointed.
And that's about the size of it. The hurdles put in place by the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 are there not to prevent abortions, but to stigmatise those seeking them. And now that the fundies have shattered the compromise which made them necessary in the first place, it is time to do away with them entirely.