Magazine article The Spectator

A Century from Now, We Will Be Appalled That We Allowed Abortions at All

Magazine article The Spectator

A Century from Now, We Will Be Appalled That We Allowed Abortions at All

Article excerpt

An awful lot of people we know are being laid off at the moment, or finding their incomes substantially decreased. This is the credit crunch, the cusp of a recession and its impact was felt first and most onerously upon those hard-working and resourceful young men in the City's banking institutions. Many are looking to ship out and find jobs elsewhere; some, suddenly stricken with the need to feel socially useful, are downsizing into strange occupations such as teaching. But others just want to carry on making money and are looking for an industry which is unlikely to be affected by the current financial crisis. But what, exactly, should it be?

The clear answer is that they should all retrain as abortionists, the abrupt termination of pregnancies being one of Britain's most vibrant growth industries. There were a total of 193,737 abortions carried out in Britain in 2006, the latest year for which figures are available. That's a tenfold increase on the number carried out in 1968, the first full year for which abortions were deemed legal by the state. Lately the yearly rate of increase has hovered at around 4 per cent, comfortably above the rate of inflation. It is likely to rise still more sharply in future years as Britain's women fully embrace the notion that an unconfined number of sexual partners is the desirable norm, preferably with the act of love effected while pissed out of their skulls on Bacardi Breezers, down a fairly quiet back alley in between Budgens and that cheap, if noxious, halal fried chicken emporium. Contraception is a man's responsibility too, of course -- but in these sudden, romantically impetuous couplings such precautions are frequently, understandably, forgotten by both parties in the white heat of the moment. The average number of sexual partners enjoyed by young women continues to increase exponentially each year, in ever closer pursuit of the number of sexual partners claimed by men. There are many, many consequences of this phenomenon, of which a yearly rise in the abortion rate is just one.

As a leftie, I had always been persuaded that abortion on demand is the right of every woman, with no arguments brooked.

'Persuaded' is perhaps the wrong word; the rights of a woman to do whatever the hell she liked with her foetus was simply not something open to negotiation or debate with someone in possession of a penis, even if it was quite a small penis like mine. But a dark foreboding nonetheless gnawed away at me -- much as, on a personal level, it gnawed away at many of the feminists who advanced this totalitarian no-surrender hypothesis.

It is still, if you are on the feminist Left, an unchallengeable shibboleth, which is why the debate today is so fraught -- the god-botherers on one side, the liberal Left on the other.

I may be wrong about this, but it strikes me that in a century or so, or maybe even less, we will be appalled that we allowed abortions at all. I do not mean that we should not allow them now; it is merely a suspicion that the advance of our knowledge about the life of a foetus, coupled with an improved ability to prevent conception, will mean that we will be mystified as to how such a primitive and brutal procedure could have become state-sanctioned and commonplace. …

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