To quell the rising rate of abortion in Great Britain, Tory MP Nadine Dorries has begun a campaign to reduce the limit for late-term abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. Dorries' snappy marketing campaign to push this piece of legislation is called "20 Reasons for 20 Weeks." The right-wing Daily Mail published all 20, and most of Dorries' tactics include the display of the sad-teeny-feet of babies born before 24 weeks. Zoe Williams of the Guardian pokes holes in these 20 Reasons, calling them "so flawed, often so illogical, so savagely misogynistic and so repetitive." Here's just one example of Dorries' and the DM's tenuous handle on the truth: they say that "two-thirds of GPs support a reduction in the time limit," but Williams points out that 77% of the British Medical Association voted to keep the limit as is. Dorries argues that "If we don't [lower the time limit for abortion] there is no question that we will overtake America in the next couple of years, making us the abortion capital of the world." But is America really the abortion capital of the world?
Dorries' calls America "The Abortion Capital of the World" because the rate of abortion per 1,000 women is 19.4 to Britain's 18.3 (Australia's is the highest in the world, at 20.0). The Daily Mail has a chart comparing abortion laws in 9 different countries; in it, the newspaper lists the "Upper Limit" of legally-acceptable abortions in the U.S. to be 26 weeks. But the reality is that getting an abortion after 12 weeks in many states is outright impossible.
According to NARAL, the pro-choice organization, "23 states have unconstitutional and unenforceable bans that could outlaw abortion as early as the 12th week of pregnancy, with no exception to protect a woman's health." In addition, "15 states have unconstitutional and unenforceable near-total criminal bans on abortion." Zoe Williams points out that "If you really wanted more abortions to take place earlier in the pregnancy, then you would work towards improving access to terminations on the NHS." Similarly, if Americans really wanted fewer late term abortions, they would provide better sex education in public schools and easy and cheap access to birth control. As we said earlier, 87% of counties don't even have access to an abortion provider. And anyway, Dorries is just picking on America because we're so loud and crass and angsty over the abortion issue. If she were really being accurate, she'd go after those abortion-happy Aussies, who "kill babies" even more than we do.
Britain Is 'Becoming The Abortion Capital Of The World' Claims Tory MP Fighting To Lower Legal Limit [Daily Mail]
Fact, Fiction And Foetuses [Guardian]
Abortion Bans After 12 Weeks [NARAL]
We Had Our Babies Under The 24-week Abortion Limit - And They All Survived [Daily Mail]