Friday, 2 September 2011

Freedom through Restriction

I'm aware I've been talking about Nadine Dorries and her new proposals a lot lately but we've had some interesting developments in this story since my last post. The Guardian reported that Downing Street has opposed the new policies, with a source for the story providing the following information:
"The prime minister believes that women should have a choice, a proper choice, not any one selective group of organisations," ...
If this is true then hopefully the proposed amendments won't get very far. To my knowledge the source hasn't been named (but I'll update this if I do find anything) but Dorries sourly claims in a blog post that Evan "abortion and assisted death zealot" Harris is behind the story. The blog post also contained this little gem:
I am quite sure that the office of the DPM would like to have a little more information about what the public thinks before it tried to apply pressure on No10 to put the brakes on an amendment which has such huge support amongst women. When I say women, I don’t include those who write for the Guardian, obviously.
So apparently Dorries doesn't want you listening to women like me who wantonly go defending their rights in the Guardian. Notice she doesn't actually provide any sources or evidence to support her claim of wide support, she just resorts to a massive ad-hom attack on certain women who don't agree with her views. I have to admit, I'm more than a little concerned when this is the level of maturity displayed by an MP - throwing a strop in the same way as a spoilt child is not what I would expect of someone who is supposed to be helping run the country. Disagreement backed up by reasoned argument is perfectly acceptable, but temper tantrums are not what I would expect from someone at this level.

Interestingly we can now see the poll results for these proposals in full, as provided by ComRes. One of Dorries' subsequent blog posts claims that 92% of MPs support a woman's right to have impartial counselling about abortion from a source which has no financial interest in her decision. However, this does not translate into 92% of MPs supporting the new proposals banning BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling themselves - the right to impartial counselling from other organisations already exists, something which Nadine continues to ignore for some reason. At no point were the MPs asked whether they supported banning BPAS or Marie Stopes from providing counselling, which is odd considering this is the key aim of this campaign. I'm quite willing to bet that the level of support would be less than 92% for this question.

We also see a Daily Mail article presented to us as evidence of the evils of abortion, a source only marginally more reliable than hearing about what your friend's mate said down the pub last week. The article refrences a study by Priscilla Coleman which claims that women who had an abortion were twice as likely to suffer mental health problems as a result but it doesn't cite any comparisons to women who continued with an unwanted pregnancy. Doubts have been raised over the methodology of Coleman's studies, with others finding difficulty in replicating her results.

There are a lot of things to discuss about the events of the past few days, but the one question which I would like answered by Nadine Dorries is this: how can someone's freedom be increased by limiting their choices? It makes no logical sense.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rogue Stardust.

    I found your blog after you linked it on the guardian. Funnily enough another blogger who commented on my writing said that she'd found me through this website. I remember you saying how you were going to do your best to crack into journalism through writing online. I have the same ambitions and was wondering if you wanted to exchange permanent links? I'm looking to network and would be good to communicate about blogging. Take a look at my page (if you haven't before) at and let me know if you're interested :-)

    Also I think this article makes fantastic points. The distortion of "credible" scientific information is something you seem to enjoy writing about. But I genuinely feel that kind of critical eye is something everyone could do with being endowed with. Keep up the good work!