Fox & Henhouse

British abortion provider asks pro-lifers to let the fox guard the henhouse

For those who are sick of those pesky pro-lifers picketing outside abortion mills, CNN feels your pain. They’ve given column space to Ann Furedi, head of U.K. abortion provider British Pregnancy Advisory Service, to explain “why anti-abortion activists should not intimidate women”:

The problem with the protests is this: the protesters oppose abortion in principle — but their actions are against women who want to consider abortion — not in principle — but as a private medical solution to a personal, individual problem.

Women attend our clinics for care or counseling because they need help. They do not come to demonstrate support for abortion. The protesters should leave them alone, to deal with their problems privately with those they have chosen to seek help from.

The mindset of abortion-seekers has no bearing on whether abortion destroys an innocent life, separate and distinct from his or her mother’s. It makes precious little difference to an unborn baby how political his or her mother is. Besides, aren’t the least politically aware the ones most in need of hearing both sides before “choosing”?

As the main abortion provider in Britain, bpas is not shy of debate. Public education is part of our job and seeing more than 60,000 women with problem pregnancies each year puts us in a good position to explain what these women want and need.

Well, that depends – do you explain the basics of embryology to your patients? Do you tell them when babies can feel pain? Do you show them ultrasound images? What about information on abortion’s links to breast cancer and depression? Despite their obvious relevance, these are precisely the facts abortion providers here in the states withhold from women.

Of course, society should debate the rights and wrongs of abortion. There are places for that and persons who are ready and willing to engage with the issues. Outside a clinic is the wrong place, and women in immediate need of care are the wrong audience.

The protesters have allies in the UK Parliament to voice their concerns. They have no need spend 40 days in the cold plaguing women. It is my job to answer for what bpas does, and I could not be more proud of the charity, its staff and its work.

By and large, pro-lifers don’t engage in sidewalk counseling to debate the politics of abortion, either – they do it to engage women on a personal level, to urge them to make the safest, most humane choice for themselves and their children.

After explaining that they also help women who choose to keep their babies, Furedi concludes:

This is what the protesters, who stand with their banners or lurk around our clinic entrances soliciting the attention of women approaching our doors, refuse to understand. They boast of the occasional woman they ‘turn away’ — but refuse to accept that thousands of ‘bpas clients’ decide against abortion in any case. And we are glad when they are satisfied with that decision just as we are glad when a woman is satisfied with her abortion decision. That is what it means to be pro-choice.

As it stands, this year’s 40 Days for Life campaign can boast of more than “occasional” wins – 352 and counting, to be exact. And fortunate though it may be that Furedi’s organization helps women choose life, it doesn’t change the necessity of the pro-lifers on her sidewalk. BPAS still operates based on the premise that abortion is a choice affecting only one person, omitting the interests of the baby from the discussion.

Though she gives her position a fresher coat of paint than we’re used to, Ann Furedi is ultimately still arguing that those who encourage and perform abortions have a monopoly on the decision-making process. Fortunately, it’ll take much more than that to make pro-life sidewalk counselors forget where and why they’re needed.

  • Julie Culshaw

    Furedi also doesn’t take into consideration that abortion is a one-way decision. There is no un-do button for abortion and the woman who has one has to live with it for the rest of her life. We are seeing that those consequences are severe and long-lasting. Yet women seeking abortions are not informed of this. So once they have that abortion, where are those pro-choice counselors then? Nowhere to be found.

  • Alex

    God you pro-Life people are really annoying me. This is logic. This article has logic to it. Leave the women alone. And besides, have you thought of what might happen if the child was born? There are some really poor countries where if a child was born, there wouldn’t be enough food for the baby and the rest of the family, causing a painful death for everyone involved.

    • It is only logical if you entirely disregard the baby.  Trying to persuade people of something through protest outside of a medical facility does not make sense if your only goal is to maintain the comfort of someone entering the facility.  If you truly believe that abortion is murder, then it is absolutely appropriate to try to stop it in any peaceful way possible.

      • Ninek

        Is Alex saying is that poor people deserve to die as soon as possible?  Obviously, NOBODY can EVER climb out of poverty.  Lol.  Some abortion advocates say better DEAD than poor.  I just met a woman who is a college president who was born in poverty.  Her grandchildren are now going to college.  She’s making 4 times my salary and I was ‘planned’.  Was it easy?  Did she work hard?  Abortion advocates only see one way to avoid struggle: Death.

    • Speaking of logic, how about using some to try to refute some of the actual words on the page, sparky?

    • Babylover

      Oh…so as a solution to world hunger we should just kill completely innocent children. I see your logic. But why stop at the babies? We should just kill every single starving person in this world. That will definitely end world hunger. I WAS BEING SARCASTIC. There is never a good excuse for killing innocent human beings.

    • MoonChild02

       There are women who thank us for being there. There are women who later say they wish someone had been there to help them, when they were being forced or coerced into the abortion. Therefore, we’re there to help the women. Those who want the abortion can ignore us.

      Many of those women in poor countries DO NOT BELIEVE IN ABORTION! My friend from Kenya and her entire village are Catholic, and they don’t want the abortion clinics in their village or their country. None of the people she knows wants abortion. They want you out of their country, because you’re invading their culture. The people in Haiti have said as much, as well. They are not part of this, they want no part of it, it is not part of their culture. Please leave them alone, and leave them out of it.

    • Ducats69376

      Hey Alex-
      You can’t make it too easy.  If you talk about things which are simple to refute the author will pounce, ‘got ya’.  You have to focus on long term ramifications which he hasn’t thought through.  He will either accuse you of not answering the question or ignore you.  And you will know you have stumped him.

  • davenisbet87

    This Brit will always stand for LIFE.

  • Oedipa Mossmonn

    The Brits have a pretty stolid sense of stoicism and dispassionate debate. That’s all she’s appealing for. That the policy arguments be made in forums where policy debate is appropriate. And when policy is decided, it’s unseemly to appear as the village idiots with pitchforks and torches, storming the gates. But go ahead. Argue that you *want* to be the village idiots …

    • You do know that empty platitudes about village idiots and pitchforks aren’t sufficient to actually sustain a logical argument, right? Neither you nor she have offered any substantive reason why pro-lifers shouldn’t stand outside abortion clinics to try to persuade women not to have their children killed.

      • Oedipa Mossmonn

        Hey, in general, America values free speech and freedom of assembly even more than Britain, so I’m sort of resigned to the fact that pro-life groups have the right to try to intimidate women and family planning staff.

        I was just clarifying her appeal. That in a very sensible, stiff-upper-lip kind of way, she would rather have policy settled in Parliament or the courts or at 10 Downing, so that, when the policy is settled, the actions of that policy can be carried out without so much fuss.

        Of course, you’re free to ignore her. Just like she’s free to make her appeal. You act as if she’s asking for legislation or enforcement of buffer zones or something. She’s just asking for a civility, something the Brits have cultivated for centuries.

        • Let’s count the falsehoods in your latest comment:

          1.) “try to intimidate women and family planning staff” – Most pro-life picketers are compassionate and civil, and the info we present is accurate. Do you have any specific instances of this not being the case, or are you basing your assessment on prejudice?

          2.) “she would rather have policy settled in Parliament or the courts” – the purpose of sidewalk counseling is not to argue law or change policy, but to persuade and inform on a personal level. She knows that full well, and so do you.

          3.) “You act as if she’s asking for legislation or enforcement of buffer zones” – where?

          4.) “She’s just asking for a civility” – That’s simply not true. She’s challenging the legitimacy of both civil AND uncivil pro-life sidewalk counseling, based on specious arguments.

          • Oedipa Mossmonn

            1.) I’ve crossed a couple of picket-lines in my day, and It was intimidating. And it was just to attend some stupid political luncheon, not to make crucial decisions about my health, body or pregnancy. Pictures of aborted fetuses might be described as “accurate”, but they’re caustic and un-civil. What isn’t accurate is junk science links to breast cancer or claims that hormonal contraceptives are equivalent to abortion. Want instances? Recently? Harrisburg (PA), Kettering (OH), Rockford (Ill.), Jacksonville (FL), Denver (CO), West Palm Beach (FL).

            2.) Your point is technically correct. It doesn’t make mine a falsehood. Something you disagree with isn’t automatically a falsehood.

            3.) By decrying her public pronouncements so vociferously, you act as if she’s asking for something substantive, that would impede your side-walk “counseling”. But I’m used to that around here. I know Jesus turned water into wine, but did he also turn mole-hills into mountains?

            4.) You’re right that she’s challenging it. I’m also right that she’s asking for civility. Some of us think that when policy is settled, there’s risks involved when people throw their bodies onto the gears of the machine, to abuse Mario Savio’s famous quote. You’re free to throw your bodies onto the gears of the machines. But as in Mr. Savio’s time, the establishment is free to dislike it and call them ill-mannered, crude, or worse.

          • “Pictures of aborted fetuses might be described as ‘accurate’, but they’re caustic and un-civil.”

            I’ve written elsewhere here that pictures of aborted fetuses aren’t appropriate for all situations. But in the grand scheme of things, whether they violate some sense of taste or decorum pales in comparison to whether they depict something that IS ITSELF “caustic and uncivil.” I’m always amazed by people who are less offended by bloodshed itself than they are by those who draw attention to it.

            “What isn’t accurate is junk science links to breast cancer or claims that hormonal contraceptives are equivalent to abortion.”

            There’s stronger evidence tying abortion to breast cancer than you want to admit (see link above). And any contraceptive that operates by destroying an embryo (rather than by preventing fertilization) is, definitionally, abortive. More importantly, your side is predicated upon lying to people about the humanity of a certain segment of the population. You have no standing whatsoever to pretend you care about scientific accuracy.

            “Want instances? Recently? Harrisburg (PA), Kettering (OH), Rockford
            (Ill.), Jacksonville (FL), Denver (CO), West Palm Beach (FL).”

            Anybody can list cities. That’s no substitute for providing concrete, verifiable examples of pro-life misbehavior.

            “It doesn’t make mine a falsehood.”

            It does when you claim she’s calling for less than she really is.

            “By decrying her public pronouncements so vociferously, you act as if she’s asking for something substantive.”

            No. I merely objected to her dishonesty and unfounded attack on the intent and merit of pro-life activities she disagrees with.

            “I’m also right that she’s asking for civility.”

            Untrue. She has identified no instances of incivility.

            “But as in Mr. Savio’s time, the establishment is free to dislike it and call them ill-mannered, crude, or worse.”

            Yes. And I’m free to point out when the self-proclaimed “establishment” is lying, and I’m free to notice the evil of preaching civility while defending barbarism.

          • Oedipa Mossmonn

            Harrisburg: police had to confiscate obscene dead fetus placards, pro-lifers resisted.

            Kettering: Cincinnati archdiocese OK’s wierd “exorcism” ritual outside women’s clinic.

            Rockford: protests actually forces clinic to shut down.

            Jacksonville: City council found protests outside clinic “unsafe”.

            Denver: Ken Scott prosecuted under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

            West Palm Beach: woman prosecuted under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

            Look, Calvin. I’m sorry this woman upset your delicate sensibilities by insinuating that not all sidewalk counselors are benevolent information peddlers. I’m sure you’re good at it. But you know there are kooks out there pushing the envelope and there wouldn’t be prosecutions if there weren’t.

            And, frankly, England isn’t used to it. They call it “American-style pro-life tactics”. Maybe you’re a little sensitive to their criticisms because you’ve always suckled on the generous American tolerance for free speech. Over there, they’re aghast about the new firebrand evangelism that have landed on their proudly secular sidewalks.

          • Interesting list of anecdotes, but considering none of them come with links that can be accurately verified, and considering that your accuracy record in these comment sections hasn’t been particularly good, I hope you’ll forgive me for not conceding the point. As you know full well, nobody claimed there weren’t bad apples; the issue is that she smeared the entire enterprise, not just a few.

            Moreover, you and she are asking for people to respond to MURDER with “civility.” Explain to me: would you object if I was uncivil toward Klansmen? Pedophiles? Execs who defrauded their investors? Where’s the line? At what point does truth and decency outweigh manners and decorum?

          • Oedipa Mossmoon

            I’m surprised a pro-life activist isn’t intimately aware of protests going on around the country in his movement’s name, including the ones that may have incurred legal trouble.

            I understand your latter point.

        • MoonChild02

          “She’s just asking for a civility, something the Brits have cultivated for centuries.”

          Really? It’s civil to throw people out of their homes, enslave others who are not British, take the clothes off someone’s back because they live on the street and cannot pay a tax, burn homes, churches, and farms, throw people in prison for protesting against foreign occupation without being violent, let prisoners starve to death, etc.? During football games in Ireland, they still go to the pubs and beat up on the Irish. Every year in July, they celebrate something called the Orangemen parades, in which they go to the North of Ireland and burn homes and churches, as well as shoot Catholic school children in the street.

          One of my ancestors was a king in Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Brits came over to
          Ireland, took over his castle, livestock, and lands, killed his sons and
          staff, and burned the homes and churches of his people, all on the
          orders of Parliament. Do you know who was in charge of that mission?
          Oliver Cromwell, the oh so venerated jerk (I would say worse, but this
          is a family website). My ancestor did nothing to deserve it. Granted, he
          got his revenge by having those who survived help him sneak into the
          palace, kill the guards, and poison the well.

          30th January 1972, Irish civil rights demonstrators paraded down the streets of Derry. Unionist military surrounded them, set up a barricade, shot with rubber bullets, released C.S. gas at them, and shot them with machine guns from the windows on the street. Fourteen were killed, many more injured. This came to be known as Bloody Sunday.

          In the 1980s, some prisoners went on a hunger strike because they were arrested for protesting and were beaten by the guards, and who let them starve to death. The iron “lady”, a.k.a. Thatcher, turned her cold-hearted back. She said that the hunger strikers were terrorists, when those who would be considered so were actually fighting for their country’s freedom, making them freedom fighters. Many had been beaten by the Brits just for being Irish, and/or had friends and/or family beaten or killed just for being Irish. Not all of the hunger strikers were these freedom fighters, though. Some were protesting foreign occupation of their land, and the abuse they received at the hands of the Brits. Civility says that if someone starves on your doorstep because of something you’re doing, then it’s your fault.

          In 1989, a human rights lawyer in the North of Ireland named Pat Finucane, who had never done anything illegal, was having dinner with his family, when the British police blockaded the street, keeping everyone out except them. They broke into his home using a sledgehammer, and shot him 14 times in front of his wife and children, two from far away, and 12 point blank. All he had done was represent a couple of IRA members in court. Apparently the Brits don’t believe in the right to a fair trial, either.

          Try studying up on your Irish history sometime. The British have been anything but civil.

          • Oedipa Mossmonn

            Thanks for the history lesson, but you could have saved yourself the carpal tunnel (and me the wall of text) by realizing I was talking about their political system, which prioritizes gradual change and consensus, due to their parliamentary system. Throw in the strict libel and defamation laws over there and (the Irish notwithstanding), I’d have to say your feigning Irish indignation and pretending that you don’t know what I’m talking about.

            And look, as a designer, I’ve done work for the U.K. Conservatives. I’m intimately familiar with their campaign materials. They’re quite a civil example of how to conduct yourselves as a conservative party. In comparison to what passes as “conservatism” in the U.S., they might as well be on different planets. Or maybe in different centuries.

        • Further, your objections will always be fatally deficient until they incorporate the central detail that will decide whether sidewalk counseling is a superfluous burden or an urgent necessity: does abortion only affect a pregnant woman, or does it victimize a separate person who has no say in the decision?

        • Guest

          You know, as well as I do, that she would be whining about evil white men taking away women’s rights to their bodies and Christofascists trying to impose a theocracy if pro-lifers focused more on legislature and less on sidewalk counselling.  You’re free to agree with her appeal, but don’t pretend that she actually supports having the issue debated.

        • Ducats69376

          Hey Oedipa-
          You make sense.  Not the best choice on this site.  I just want to tell you not to get into it with this author.  If you make a good point he’ll shut down rather than contemplate your ideas and you will have wasted valuable time.

          There’s an old story about a guy who talks tough, ‘I’m gonna beat that guy’s ass’.  He then whispers to his friends behind him, ‘hold me back’.  His friends grab him as he proceeds to scream and struggle to beat the guy’s ass.  But he’s safe and he knows it.  That’s what this website is.  Everyone who writes for this thing knows full well that something that was settled forty years ago and is not about to change is an easy target to rage against.  “If only abortion were illegal then everything would be fine”.  They don’t believe that for a minute.  But it’s a safe argument because… they’re being held back.

          We all know if they truly cared about helping children they would go to adoption agencies and orphanages and donate all their free time to needy kids–at any given time there are about 200,000 in the system–who could really use their time and attention.  .  But we all know that’s too hard of work.  It’s way easier to be ‘held back’.

          Incidentally, the only people who claim a link between abortion and cancer are doctors and other folks in the extreme right-wing movement who have an agenda to outlaw abortion.  The National Cancer Institute says no link.  Anyone with an internet connection knows this.  The extreme right-wing knows this.  Bummer, ‘held back’ again!

          Once again, you sound smart.  My advice is don’t waste your time.

          • Calvin Freiburger

             Wow, you are obsessed, aren’t you? You seem not to even realize – or care – that by engaging in brand-new instances of deliberate dishonesty (pretending to know what pro-lifers do & don’t do, ignoring the link I provided about breast cancer), you’re only validating my prior assessment of you.

            I wish you luck in finding someone else on the Internet who’ll indulge your need for attention.

          • Guest

            Too many have evidently made the mistake of doing that.  He’s nothing more or less than an eristic troll with lots of sockpuppets.

          • Guest

            Please attack the argument, not the person!

          • Guest

            If you read through his profiles (plural), I think you’ll have a really tough time coming to a different conclusion.  But you’re right, personal attacks are discourteous and don’t do any good.  I shouldn’t respond at all if I can’t do it in a civil way.  I do need to try to do better.

          • Ducats69376

            Hey Guest-
            I have no idea if you’re talking about me or not, but I’ll assume you are.

            Read through the thread in the Sandra Fluke article between this author and myself.  Read the final scenario I laid out and read the question I posed about the gay employee.  The author refuses to answer this question even though it falls within the Blunt Amendment.

            Please explain to me why this author will not answer this question.

            Thanks, Guest.

          • Guest

            I don’t know.  I’m not the author, so I can’t speak for him.  Some possible explanations are that he’s busy writing other articles, he’s busy volunteering at adoption agencies (since anyone who can’t be everywhere at once is an awful person in your eyes), or that he just doesn’t want to waste his time responding to every comment on his blog (especially when such an exchange would obviously be futile).

          • Guest

            I don’t know.  I’m not the author, so I can’t speak for him.  Some possible explanations are that he’s busy writing other articles, he’s busy volunteering at adoption agencies (since anyone who can’t be everywhere at once is an awful person in your eyes), or that he just doesn’t want to waste his time responding to every comment on his blog (especially when such an exchange would obviously be futile).

          • Ducats69376

            So after reading the thread,  am I an eristic troll with lots of sockpuppets?

          • Guest

            I’ve read more than one thread, this being one of them.  I think the duck test applies.

          • Ducats69376

            My question about the gay employee, therefore, should be easy to answer.   It simply takes the Blunt Amendment to a logical conclusion.  Why don’t you take a crack at it?

          • Guest

            Because I’m quite frankly not interested.

          • Ducats69376

            The thread I’m talking about is under the article:

            Wisconsin Pulls the Plug on Webcam Abortions

          • Ducats69376

            Hey Calvin’s back.  I was talking to Oedipa, did you not see that?  Does this mean you want to get into it again so you can shut down when it gets sticky?

            And LIFENEWS is a right-wing organization that fits my assessment.  Any other reason you inserted yourself between Oedipa and myself?  

          • Lena

            I respectfully disagree with your attacks on pro-life people. You did not attack their arguments or their beliefs, but them as people. You don’t even know me, so how can you call me, a pro-life woman, a lazy coward? 

            Roe vs. Wade will not be easy to reverse, we know this. But fighting to protect women from the pain of abortion, trying to save American children from being killed, and trying to save families from being ripped apart is not trivial. It is worth fighting for, working for, and believing in. And the pro-life movement is growing and gaining strength every day, especially among youth.

            You stated that if we “truly cared about helping children” we would care about children and help them after they are born. Well, we do. Again, you know nothing about me, and the majority of pro-life individuals, so how can you make that claim? But even if we didn’t, I still don’t understand your logic. Wanting them dead is somehow better?

            We are speaking the truth, and will continue to do so, as long as it takes. Why? Because women deserve this, unborn children deserve this, and America deserves this. America is not the great nation I once thought it was, because of the way it gives only some people rights, and others none at all. But I will not give up on America and all that she represents.

          • Ducats69376

            Hey Lena-

            Yes, women deserve this.  If you say so.  If a pregnant woman never again voluntarily walked into an abortion clinic, would we ever see another abortion?  Are you under the impression abortion doctors are luring women into their clinics so they can make all that money by killing their fetuses against their will?  Is this your view of the industry?  Everything I read on this site makes sense in this context.

            My point is R vs. W was successfully settled in the 1970s and you know this will not change, rage as you will.  How do I know it was successful?  Because try as I might, I can’t uncover a black market abortion industry.  It’s safe and legal and in society’s best interest. Even yours.

            As far as helping kids, you want me to believe that the people on this site and in the pro-life movement actively donate much of their free time to adoption agencies and orphanages.  That’s a nice argument but I find it very hard to believe.  If done correctly, when you come home after a long day of volunteering you will not have the energy to come on here and babble about a topic that is long settled.  You will eat some food and go straight to bed.  And dream about all the new children you can help tomorrow.

            Cheers, Lena.

          • MoonChild02

            you want me to believe that the people on this site and in the pro-life movement actively donate much of their free time to adoption agencies and orphanages. That’s a nice argument but I find it very hard to believe.

            Who is it that runs the most orphanages around the world, again? Oh, yeah, that’s right: the Catholic Church, one of the most pro-life organizations out there. We also run many hospitals, women and children shelters, homeless shelters, food banks, pregnancy care centers, counseling centers, and scientific research organizations. We have services for housing, disaster relief, job training, legal assistance, education, agriculture, peace building, immigration, debt relief, and fighting poverty; to help victims of human trafficking, natural disaster, war, oppression, and disease (including HIV/AIDS); to help migrants, refugees, travelers, and inmates and their families. Those are all just the tip of the iceberg of what we do.

            Sorry, but you just have no clue as to the amount of work we do to help others. All you pro-abortion-choicers claim that we do nothing to help others, but you obviously don’t do your research.

          • Ducats69376

            Moon, thanks for this.  I’ve been searching for a nerve for a
            while and it looks like I’ve finally found one: helping
            living kids.  One of many sore spots to come, fingers crossed.

            did make it clear, …”people on this site and in the pro-life
            movement…”. I did not include organized religion.  My
            question goes to you personally, not your church:  how much time
            do you, MOONCHILD02, spend helping these poor kids–changing diapers,
            tying shoe laces, embracing–instead of typing on this website?
             No matter how many times I roll it over in my head, I
            don’t see how a three year old shaking and crying after seeing the
            Boogie Man is comforted by you, MOON, banging away on a keyboard in
            the comport of your own home.  Judging by the number of posts I
            see from you, it appears you are letting a lot of kids down.

            of your readers look forward to your answer, my friend.

          • Ducats69376

            Still waiting for an answer, Moon.  Don’t take your cues from this author; he has a habit of ignoring questions that don’t fit with his agenda.

          • Oedipa Mossmonn

            Gracias. I try not to waste my time. But sometimes, when they take a mote of a news item and churn it into a referendum on freedom and dignity that’s cataclysmically historic and important, it’s got to be called out for the farce it is.

          • Except you haven’t successfully made your case that this is a farce.

          • Oedipa Mossmonn

            I’m sticking to my mountain out of a molehill synopsis. If you spend all your time pouring over news clips and public pronouncements by family planning staff in countries all over the globe, when oh when will you find time to hit the sidewalks and peddle your junk science?

          • Ducats69376

            Hey Oedipa-
            When this author feels like he has the upper hand, he’s frequent with the comebacks.  But if you ask something he can’t answer he conveniently ignores.  It’s kinda fun.  Read our thread under the article I mentioned above and see what he’s unable to answer.

    • jerryamdg

      “That’s all she’s appealing for. That the policy arguments be made in forums where policy debate is appropriate.”

      That’s exactly the sidewalk counselors’ point.  They are not there to debate policy.  That is simply a specious argument made by Furedi to distract the public from the real point.  The sidewalk counselors and pro-life protesters are there to save the baby and the woman from the tragedy of abortion. 

  • Guest

    I really like your site, but it would be nice if it were possible to load more than five blog comments at a time.

    (sorry for the off topic post)