Thursday, May 31, 2007


Cardinal Keith O'Brien's comments have stirred up the abortion debate today. His comments about the number of children dying have been widely criticised, but I think it is useful to hear all sides and teh strength of convictions in a debate, especially one that stirs emotions as deeply as this one. The Green Party of England and Wales has a fairly middle of the road policy on abortion (shown below), but I feel certain that it doesn't sit easily with some.


The Green Party of England and Wales policy on abortion:


H320 The fact that the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales continues to rise should be of concern to all. Given the health risks associated with any medical and surgical procedure and many people's moral discomfort with induced terminations, it is entirely understandable that many wish to see this number significantly reduced.

H321 The Green Party recognises the problems caused by unwanted pregnancies and supports a multi-policy strategy to reduce them, including:

a)ensuring adequate sex education in all schools (see ED307). This should be done at a sufficiently early age that children should be fully aware of the potential consequences of sexual activity before they are likely to become sexually active. Schools should also teach life skills, including those relating to caring for and raising children, so that young people feel better prepared to become parents when the time is right for them (see ED305).

b)ensuring adequate financial and social support for parents, particularly lone parents and those with disabled children, so that women do not feel pressure to terminate a pregnancy purely because they would be unable to make financial ends meet (see EC730-733 and 'Social Welfare').

c)ensuring adequate provision of free family planning advice by properly trained health workers and counsellors (see H301) and the provision of free contraceptives. To ensure proper protection of their rights and wellbeing, children under the age of consent should feel fully able to seek such support and facilities without their parents necessarily having to be informed.

H322 The Green Party will not support any change to the current laws on abortions which would aim to make it more difficult for women to obtain them. Such a change in the law would do nothing to address the underlying factors which lead to women seeking abortions. Instead, it is likely to drive them into going elsewhere for the operations - either overseas or to illegal practitioners in this country - which will increase both the distress and the health risks for those involved.

H323 The Green Party recognises that the decision whether or not to continue with a pregnancy is never undertaken lightly. The Green Party believes that counselling should be offered to every woman considering an abortion. However, the ultimate decision about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy should always lie with the pregnant woman who has to deal with the consequences of that decision.

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