When women seeking abortion are targeted outside clinics, when clinic escorts are assaulted, when anti-abortion protestors' tactics are to intimidate and maximise distress, it feels a bit too much like war. For those of us who want to engage in this debate but prefer 'jaw jaw to war war', verbatim theatre like 'I told my mum....' is a brilliant place to start.
The fact that four completely volunteer funded and non-profit organisations are doing the job of the State in providing advice, counselling, medical care and financial assistance for women's reproductive health is nothing less than a bloody disgrace; this has to end before we have another Savita Halappanavar.
Many have told me that my petition is restricting freedom of speech. This is not about banning protests, just moving them to a safe distance away from women accessing the clinics. If these protests are about educating women about abortion (which I find to be an incredibly patronising reason) and not to intimidate, then I cannot see why a legal buffer zone would be an issue for them...
By investing to make contraception available to every woman who wants it, improving access to safe abortion where it's legal and making sure that medical care is readily available when things go wrong we can make a real difference. It's not rocket science - even for someone still relatively new to the development sector like me.
The case of the Australian couple who have taken the twin, but not the Downs syndrome sibling from the surrogate Thai mother, which has been in the news this week raises some interesting ethical issues. I don't mean to comment directly on that case here because the facts of that particular case are far from clear. The only thing that is clear is that it is very sad that it has happened. But what were the alternatives?
In much of the western world we have the luxury of choice, whether you agree with the actions that follow that choice or not, it is the option that is important. The lack of choice, the continued subjugation of the rights of women and the subsequent death or injury that still affects so many, is a big problem and we should not ignore it.
In order to truly understand the magnitude of what we are considering, we must return to the child at the centre of it all. A child who did not ask to be conceived in such a way, nor ask to be unwanted in any way, but could have grown up to be a child with a voice asking for love, respect and dignity. For now, we must be their voice.
It’s been a great year for the pro-life lobby. That’s the view of Mark Bhagwandin, Senior Education and Media Officer of anti-abortion charity ...