Monday, 8 August 2011

Nadine Dorries sends in the Failboat

Eagle-eyed viewers of this blog will know I've already blogged about Nadine Dorries' suspect motives on sex education and abortion before, but this morning she has surpassed herself in her use of bad science: attempting to re-launch a campaign of pure emotive rhetoric, citing a Daily Mail article as evidence.

In this post Dorries commits the cardinal sin of using anecdote as data - the article she references is centred around a child who was born prematurely at 23 weeks and is now leading a normal lifestyle in a happy family at five years old. The child's twin brother died at 11 days old and the surviving child required extensive medical treatment in early life, including making use of oxygen for two years and heart surgery.

There are several glaring errors in citing this article as evidence for lowering the UK abortion limit to 20 weeks. Firstly, this situation is very rare - unfortunately the majority of babies who are born very prematurely do not survive for very long afterwards, even with medical intervention. Secondly, almost all late-term abortions take place because because of severe foetal abnormalities or potentially fatal health risks which could not be detected earlier, not for shits and giggles as Dorries would have you believe.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly of all, this child was wanted by its parents. Forcing someone to care for a child who may require intensive medical care if they don't feel they can cope is putting ideology before compassion and logic. The Coalition is currently mounting an offensive against disabled people as it is by cutting benefits and hiring the questionable ATOS to carry out examinations (more on this later). Dorries seems intent on sticking people between a rock and a hard place on this one for nothing more than her own personal satistfaction.

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