Cardinal Keith O’Brien has said that he wants Britian’s NHS to adopt American-style legislation that mandates women be shown scans of their unborn child before they have an abortion.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, has said he wants NHS bosses to introduce the American-style measure to reduce the number of terminations in Scotland.
Currently around 200,000 abortions are carried out in Scotland every year and anti-abortion campaigners feel the procedures will help persuade women not to go through with the abortion after seeing how far developed their babies are.
“While viewing or reading this material is not compulsory and a woman may decline to do so, the fact that it is offered shows a commitment to informed consent which is lacking in the NHS.
“A right to know approach empowers women and enables them to make an informed decision. It is unjust and unethical of the NHS to deny crucial medical information to women this way.”
O’Brien said there was a “shocking” absence of informed consent in dealing with abortion issues in Scotland.
Sadly, it seems there is little evidence to support the Cardinal’s notion that there is a lack of informed consent.
Women’s rights groups have hit back saying that this spells a worrying assault on women’s rights that creates another unnecessary and emotionally damaging barrier to abortion services, citing the recent battles in America as social conservatives have attempted to pass increasingly more restrictive and dehumanizing legislation.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government, while saying that the government has no plans to make these changes a reality, is also quoted as inferring that the Cardinal’s position lacks merit:
The number of abortions carried out in Scotland has reduced year on year over the past few years. This is a trend we wish to see continue and that is why we are investing in sexual health services and prioritising access to effective contraception for women. Women seeking abortions in Scotland are subject to assessment by two NHS doctors and already receive balanced information about the procedure. We have no such plans in Scotland regarding scans.
The Cardinal’s staunch anti-abortion agenda has been apparent for quite some time however.
Just earlier this month Cardinal O’Brien attended the UK premiere of a so-called “pro-life” film in Glasgow. The Doonby film has apparently earned the Vatican’s endorsement for its (anti-)abortion themed subplot. Cardinal O’Brien reportedly said the following at the film opening:
Concentrating on human life, as does this film “Doonby”, we must again ask ourselves just what has been happening since the 1967 Abortion Act. We are aware of the tens of thousands of unborn babies killed in the womb in the United Kingdom since then. It is estimated that the total of babies killed in the womb at this present time is over 200,000 per year – which means 600 babies are killed daily which is the equivalent to 30 classrooms of children. What a horrible thought!
This British frontier of the US War on Women has been quietly simmering for some time now.
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, allegedly with the backing of several anti-abortion campaign groups who have U.S. affiliates, alongside Labour MP Frank Field, attempted last year to have the UK’s abortion laws amended to add to existing requirements that women undergo independent counseling prior to a termination.
The proposed changes seemed particularly geared toward allowing religious organizations the chance to counsel women.
The plans failed to receive serious backing from Dorries’ own party let alone cross-party support, however this did prompt the British government to say that it may begin examining current rules in order to see if they require further attention. There has been concern over what the government may try and do while working within existing legislative bounds however.
Anti-choice activists with US affiliations have also begun targeting London abortion clinics for protests, holding vigils outside one central London abortion clinic and filming people coming in and out of the building.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien recently caused considerable offense when he alleged that the British government’s plans to legalize same-sex marriage were, in human rights terms, akin to legalizing slavery.