Thursday, 18 October 2012

Noxious busybodies

How often do women have to say "It's my decision what to do with my body, not yours" before other people finally take notice?

How often do women have to tell the huge army of busybodies, nosy parkers and interferers to butt out and mind their own business before they actually do so?

A private sexual health and abortion clinic, the Marie Stopes Clinic, has just opened in Belfast. And predictably enough, all the usual anti-abortion, anti-choice factions are protesting against it and trying to close it down.

Too bad if women out there are desperate for an abortion, for all sorts of very good reasons, and believe it's entirely their decision to go ahead.

It's their body, their womb, their embryo, their potential parental responsibility. All the implications are personal ones. All the long-term consequences are personal ones. Yet other people think they have the right to tell them what to do or not to do with the child inside them.

People who justify their offensive interference by citing religion, or respect for life (does that include the mother's life?), or opposing mass murder. Whatever the (dubious) pretext, it apparently entitles them to permanent rights over a woman's womb and whatever is inside it.

Well, here's my advice. Why don't they try looking after their own affairs, which no doubt are far from perfect, and stop poking their self-righteous noses into other people's?

Pic: protest outside the Marie Stopes Clinic


  1. people always have the need to give their two penneth worth
    why is that?
    answers on a postcard please

  2. John: I don't mind people giving their two penneth. What I mind is people giving their two penneth to women who should be free to make up their own minds.

  3. It's so hard to believe this is still going on. Everybody jumping into women's uteri and all hailing the zygote it contains.
    Meanwhile there are millions of babies born every month who are going hungry and these eejits don't give a rat's a***.
    Women as growbags for strangers.

  4. "Noxious busybodies"? I think you have just cured me of(f) your blog.


  5. www and Scarlet: Exactly. How much concern do they show for the babies who've actually been born and as you say might be starving? Not very much.

    Ursula: You've been cured of my blog? Why, because you reserve the right to be a noxious busybody, lol?

  6. For the vast majority of abortions, it isn't a "child" inside but a fetus. Or even an embryo. And who the ell has a right to govern whether or not I continue a pregnancy or not. Having been though pregnancy and childbirth, I know for certain it isn't something anyone should be forced to go through unless they really want to. It's painful and risky and physically damaging. All well worth it IF you want a baby. But if you do not, for any reason, it's insane to insist that you remain pregnant.

    And also, how many of those protesting fuckers are actually adopting all those unwanted children, or helping to support all those mothers?

  7. "Noxious busybodies", definitely noxious busybodies who should stay at home and say their prayers!!!!

  8. the right to life debate is very sad. both sides think the other side are dreadful and a whole lot of ugliness and name calling ensues.
    i hate the idea that pregnancies are terminated and i hate the idea that it has to be done.
    unfortunately society is full of problems which mean that mothers are unsupported, women and girls are raped or for other reasons of relationship and societal dysfunction it becomes untenable for some people to continue a pregnancy.
    as i see it, the world is lacking in love and while the world is like that these things will continue.

    both sides of the debate need to stop finger pointing and focus their energies on creating love in their lives. When we all do that the problems which create this ugly debate will take care of themselves.

  9. I'm with Kylie. Both sides have nothing to be proud of. It's a sad world that we live side needs to either use birth control or just say NO (because seriously, the majority are not pregnant as a result of rape, nor is being pregnant putting their life in danger) and the other side needs to either start adopting all these unwanted children or pay more taxes, because the majority WILL end up on welfare.

  10. Agent: Indeed, it can be painful and risky and physically damaging, so just why should women be forced to continue a pregnancy? And as you say, are these protesters happily adopting the unwanted babies?

    Grannymar: True, if they spent their time praying or quietly observing their religious beliefs, all this hysterical melodrama could be avoided.

  11. Kylie: I'm sure most people hate the idea of ending a pregnancy, but as you say there are many reasons why it becomes the only practical option.

    Certainly there is too much ugliness and name-calling on both sides. And certainly also a bit more love in the world would make a big difference.

  12. Bijoux: In an ideal world all pregnancies would be planned and people would use birth control or say no, but of course it isn't an ideal world and unexpected pregnancies happen all the time.

    But yes, I don't hear anything about anti-abortion protesters adopting unwanted babies or volunteering to pay extra taxes.

  13. Although most pregnancies aren't caused by rape, there are a wide variety of reasons why pregnancies occur beyond just not saying no. I got pregnant while on birth control I am deeply grateful that I was not forced to make a decision about abortion. But by God, I want that right.

  14. Agent: Absolutely, there are many reasons for unexpected pregnancies. The idea that the woman was simply being irresponsible is plain ignorant. Like yourself, many women get pregnant despite birth control.

  15. Nick, We have been here before: Who is an 'obnoxious busybody'? I am not calling you one but what on earth does make you a spokesman for women?

    I know you mean well but, frankly, sometimes I find you so patronizing I need to clamp my teeth round one of my pieces of driftwood to stifle my screams.

    I am sorry to say that both you and some of your commentators simplify the issue.

    First of all: Nature is the greatest 'abortionist' of all. Usually for a good reason.

    Secondly, and I find this amazing considering that most your commentators are women, where are the 'fathers' in this? Do they have any say? Or are they just left out of the equation? And please don't tell me that it's usually the woman who is left 'holding the baby'. Old hat. And that, in my book, does indeed make it a woman's issue. Her decision. But not a soft one. Tough titty. And let no one tell you otherwise.

    Bijoux's take on it is plain naive.

    On a general note, and I believe Scarlet, or was it Kylie, remarked on one of your recent posts: Where do you actually find these people? With such outmoded views?

    Maybe you and I move in very different circles but sometimes I do not recognize society as you describe it.


  16. Ursula: Eh? I never claimed to be a spokesman for women. I'm just putting my own view. Women are free to totally disagree with me if they wish.

    Patronising? Maybe. I suppose we're all guilty of that at times.

    True, nature is also an abortionist. But that's a separate issue from women's right to control their own bodies.

    I do take your point though that fathers should also have a say in the decision. Assuming of course that if they reject abortion, they're prepared to take a full part in bringing up the child and won't leave the woman to do all the work.

    Where do I find these people with such outmoded views? Er, there they are in the photo, trying to close down the clinic.

  17. Ursula is referring to a post you wrote a little while back.... and it was me who wondered what sort of people you were mixing with. You were saying that you couldn't be yourself with people you personally mixed with.
    I imagined that you find yourself at boring gatherings to do with work where everyone makes small talk and is overly polite.... but I kind of wished that you'd be more specific about it and write about it properly. I like posts that reflect a person's experience of something.... and this can take any shape or form and can even be quite abstract.
    As for this post, it's a Jeremy Vine post! Which seeks opinion of an emptive nature. I read them, but generally choose not to proffer my opinion. I feel it is a discussion best left to be discussed live, in the real world... forums such as blogs aren't really the right place for people to get their teeth into it and it tends to descend to the level of the Daily Mail.
    Tis all.

  18. Emptive??? Predictive text mishap. Meant emotive!!

  19. Ooh, that's being very frank and forthright. Well, why not? I should be more specific and write about it (my experience) properly? Hmm, that's what I try to do but obviously not very successfully....

    Is this subject unsuitable for a blog post? Well, I've written about social/political subjects many times in the past and had plenty of interesting comments. But I guess my visitors are changing and maybe my blog should change with them, I don't know. You're giving me food for thought, Scarlet. In fact for a while I've been thinking there should be a change of style and content on my blog but so far I'm still not sure exactly what I'm aiming at. All suggestions welcome!

  20. Incidentally, Scarlet, that post you're referring to had one very positive response which I'm hugely grateful for. It led to an amazing friendship which has quite changed my life.

  21. Nick, may I throw in a contrasting view of father's having a say? In a situation where the one wants the baby and the other does not - who gets to choose? Surely we can't have a situation where the man can force a woman to abort if she does not wish to do that. And worse, a situation where a man can force a woman to continue a pregnancy and give birth? Again, having gone through those, that would be a nightmare scenario. Ultimately, even though it may feel unfair to the man involved, it HAS to be the woman's choice because it is her body.

  22. Absolutely agree, Nick. Unless we have been in any given situation - the exact same situation - we cannot possibly know whether a personal choice is 'right' or not.

    Religion is almost certainly the main factor here, but excuse me; religion is a PERSONAL thing and does not (according to my ethical standards) entitle you to dictate to someone else, particularly not to someone else who does not share your religion.

  23. nick,
    i have to admit i am starting to bite on driftwood myself!

    you have written a post here that is as judgemental as the people you judge and when taken to task for it you simper and agree with everyone.

  24. Presumably noxious busybodies are people who interfere in ways you disagree with? How do you feel about people who interfere when they see child abuse? They too would be noxious busybodies in the few of some people. I'm not sure the name calling helps.

  25. Agent: Re the father's view, clearly it should be a joint decision whether to have the child or not. But in the event of disagreement, someone has to have the final say, and I agree it should be the woman because it's her body and she has to go through the ordeal of pregnancy, childbirth, possibly post-natal depression and probably doing the lion's share of looking after the child.

  26. Jay: And I absolutely agree with your second paragraph. Religion is personal self-help and guidance. It is NOT a behavioural code to be foisted on other people whether they like it or not and as you say even if they have a different religion.

    Kylie: Biting on driftwood, eh? I wouldn't say that telling people to butt out is the same as being judgmental. I have no opinion about whether the particular women using the clinic should have abortions or not. It's entirely up to them.

    No, I'm not simpering, I'm being quite direct, and I just happen to agree with a lot of the comments which make very valid points. Why disagree with everyone just to whip up controversy?

  27. Jean: Oh come on, pregnancy and child abuse are two very different things. I'm certainly not saying people should condone child abuse.

    The term "noxious busybodies" has really got up people's noses, but all I'm saying is that women should be able to make up their own mind about pregnancy and not be told what to do by an army of aggressive outsiders.

    Child abuse is an interesting comparison though because the same issue arises, self-determination. Just as a pregnant woman should have control over her own body, so should a child, and adults have no right to interfere with a child's body for their own ends.

  28. My only issue with the term "noxious busybodies" is that I think it is off the point a bit for your post. It's not that the anti-choice folks are meddling in other people's business, like a nosy neighbor who wants to know why there was a car parked at your house over night. It's that they want to impose their religious beliefs on MY body. If they sincerely wish to decrease the number of abortions, how about distributing free birth control to all? And not just the ones with higher failure rates, like condoms (although those should also be used because of STDs), but things like norplant or depo-provera or IUDs. In fact there was a big recent study that showed a marked decline in teen pregnancy when the girls were allowed to choose birth control methods and had them provided free. But I don't think it's a genuine wish to help the women involved - I think it is a blatant attempt to curtail women's reproductive freedom.

  29. Agent: Surely that's exactly what they are doing, meddling in other people's business? What business is it of theirs whether women stay pregnant or not?

    As you say they're trying to impose their personal religious beliefs on other people. It's organised bullying.

    Indeed, why don't they advocate free birth control if they're serious about stopping abortions? But no, they just want women to crank out children whether they're happy to do so or not.

  30. I'm always surprised by the number of people who seem so angry by an opposing viewpoint. Blogging would be boring if everybody wrote posts just so everyone else comments, "YES! You are so right!" Zzzzzzzz

  31. Nick,
    Sorry, you still don't get it. I too am pro-choice, but I recognize that the other side is trying to protect the unborn child.

  32. I'm not disagreeing that they are meddling, it just seems the least of it. Kind of like if I kill you and take your wallet, it's true that I'm a pickpocket, but the bigger issue is that I'm a murderer.

  33. Bijoux: Very true. I welcome opposing views myself, I'm sure some of my opinions are utterly half-baked and well worth challenging!

    Jean: Oh, I also recognise that people are trying to protect the unborn child, but I still think it's up to the pregnant woman whether she keeps the child and not a bunch of strangers.

  34. Agent: I see what you mean. Not so much that they're meddling but what they're meddling over. I take your point.

  35. Goodness, a row!

    What I find fascinating about this particular clinic in this particular city is that it won't be doing anything new. Abortion is not allowed in NI; this clinic will not be offering abortion. Women will still have to travel to GB if they want the right to choose- that does not exist in NI.

    The protesters are behaving as if abortions are going to be performed willy-nilly on any woman who enters the building-the clinic is in an anonymous office block.

    There is no change in law or policy, but tired arguements are being aired for the sake of it, not helping women.

    Of course that last bit is just my opinion ;)

    Nick, this is your blog, your outlet, whatever you want it to be. We all change over time. Don't change simply because someone doesn't like your style. Only change how you blog if and when you want to.

  36. Speccy: Marie Stopes Northern Ireland says medical termination of pregnancy can be done up to nine weeks gestation at the Belfast clinic, so limited abortion services are available. But women will have to go elsewhere after nine weeks.

  37. Nick,
    "Jean: Oh, I also recognise that people are trying to protect the unborn child, but I still think it's up to the pregnant woman whether she keeps the child and not a bunch of strangers."

    I agree, but why are you demonizing people who disagree?

  38. Jean: How am I demonising them? I'm just saying that they should butt out.

  39. I know several peopple involved in Christian counselling related to pregnancy. I know that they would not try to force or persuade a woman not to have an abortion. they would explain the options and offer support to the woman whatever decision she made. I'm sure there are others who would be less like and less loving than the God they claim to follow.
    I don't like the idea of abortions 'just because' but can fully understand why a woman would want to be rid of the result of rape. On the other hand that baby could prove to be the salvation (not in a Christian sense!) of the damaged woman.
    I still suffer from the loss 30 years ago of an unplanned but wanted baby.
    As someone born in the 50s illegitimately I'm glad abortion wasn't easily available.
    Charlie Brown has nothing on me when it comes to wishy washy.

  40. Liz: Yes, thankfully I'm sure there are Christian counsellors who take a more open-minded view than the more dogmatic types.

    I'm sorry you still suffer from that loss of 30 years ago. And how thought-provoking about your own birth circumstances.