Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Letter to my MP

Here's what I wrote to my MP.  Maybe you could consider writing something similar?

I am writing in relation to the letter from Stella Creasy MP to the Home Secretary, dated 8th March 2018, to which your name has been appended as a signatory.  In the letter, the Home Secretary is asked to consider using the forthcoming Domestic Violence Bill to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland, thus bringing it into line with the rest of the United Kingdom.  The letter cites the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as stating that the criminalisation of abortion itself constitutes violence against women.  I am writing to express my own opposition to the viewpoint contained within the letter, and to ask you to reconsider your support for this position.

I am myself convinced that every abortion involves the deliberate ending of a human life.  When my own children were in their mother's womb, I had no doubt that they were already 'people' in every morally significant sense.  I understand that many people would not share this conviction.  I hope, however, that you would agree with me that if it were the case that abortion ended a human life, then it would be appropriate to consider abortion a criminal act.  Otherwise, we would be creating a class of human life which was not legally protected, something which I hope we all want to avoid.  Assuming you agree, the disagreement about abortion is not primarily about ethics, but about a question of fact: is the foetus in the womb a human being?  Please can I ask you to consider with what level of certainty any of us could answer in the negative.

May I separately ask you to consider in particular dropping your support for any plans to use the Domestic Violence Bill to drive this agenda.  Domestic violence is a serious and terrible issue, and deserves to be addressed without drawing in the constitutional and ethical controversy that would inevitably follow from making it about abortion provision in NI.  The claim of CEDAW that criminalisation of abortion itself represents gender-based violence is unfortunate, and I fail to see how it can be justified.  The separation of these issues will allow for good legislation on domestic violence.  In the meantime, it is to be hoped that devolved rule in NI will be re-established and the issue of abortion in NI can be considered by the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland.

These issues are complex and difficult, and I am grateful for your willingness to serve as an MP and therefore engage with them at the highest level.  I am also grateful for your willingness to listen to your constituents, and I hope you will be able to consider this point of view even if you do not agree.


  1. Anonymous3:45 pm

    I wrote to her already about reducing the number of weeks at which an abortion could be carried out, but she didn't believe it to be necessary. I'm pretty sure her ideas about abortion are fixed. It's a tragedy. ~ Dorothy

    1. Yeah, it seems very unlikely to make a difference, but the effort has to be made. I feel sure that one day people will look back on this with the same revulsion and sadness we feel when we read about exposure of infants in the ancient world.

  2. Anonymous9:08 am

    Or slavery. Or the holocaust.