Home Australia NADINE DORRIES: The moment I saw an aborted foetus gasping for breath scarred me for life. Extending ‘pills by post’ abortion right up to birth would be a terrible mistake

NADINE DORRIES: The moment I saw an aborted foetus gasping for breath scarred me for life. Extending ‘pills by post’ abortion right up to birth would be a terrible mistake

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Nadine Dorries as Trainee Nurse

When I was a young 18-year-old nurse, I experienced something that profoundly changed me.

My months in the gynecology department were the happiest and most rewarding of my short career — until the day I was asked to assist with the termination of a pregnancy at 27 weeks.

At the time, the legal deadline for an abortion was 28 weeks. This number was reduced to 24 in 1990.

The mother-to-be, who was only 16 years old, had received an injection into her uterine cavity with the hormone prostaglandin. Several excruciating hours later, the fetus – a baby boy – was delivered.

It was thrown into a bedpan and the sister in the ward handed it to me and said, “Take this to the lock room and leave it there until I come.” Stick with it.

Closing the airlock door, I removed the paper covering from the bedpan. I never forgot what I saw. There lay a little baby boy, blinking his eyes, covered in mucus, blood and amniotic fluid, gasping for air, his little arms and legs shaking.

I was deeply shocked. Crying, I shook the pelvis in my arms. I wanted to take it but it was so small that I didn’t know how to do it. After about a minute, I couldn’t take it anymore and was about to run for help when I heard the unmistakable footsteps of the ward sister approaching.

Nadine Dorries as Trainee Nurse

Nadine Dorries as Trainee Nurse

As she held my pelvis, he stopped breathing. I checked my pocket watch: a baby boy had been born, lived, and died within seven minutes. Mine was the only face he saw, my sobs the only sounds he heard.

In distress, I turned to the sister in the room and said, “He was breathing.” Through her dark-rimmed glasses, she stared at me and said, “No, that wasn’t the case. You didn’t see that.

I was stunned. He was breathing, I insisted. She looked embarrassed and muttered, “The mother probably made the wrong appointment.” Maybe she was over 27 weeks.

At this I was almost inconsolable. I became a nurse to help people, not to facilitate the murder of babies who might have survived. The sister said, “If you want to become a nurse, you better toughen up quickly. To go out.’ I ran out of the lock room.

I can’t bring myself to tell you how she disposed of that little newborn’s body.

Don’t get me wrong: I have always believed in safe and legal abortions. When you criminalize this procedure, you are not stopping it from happening, you are simply pushing desperate women into dangerous, clandestine clinics.

But since that horrible experience, I’ve come to understand what a complex and emotionally charged issue it is.

Which brings me to the important events happening in the Commons this month. Two Labor MPs – Dame Diana Johnson and Stella Creasy – have tabled amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill currently going through Parliament. Their goal is to legalize abortion — up to the very moment of giving birth — for women using the at-home “pill-by-mail” method.

Doctors working in clinics must still respect the legal limit of 24 weeks. But, increasingly, it’s almost a secondary issue: ‘abortion’ pills ordered online and taken at home now account for 87 per cent of terminations in Britain, an increase of 40 per cent since 2011 .

Until the pandemic, a woman seeking a termination of pregnancy had to go to a clinic and have an ultrasound to confirm where she was. She then took the first pill under supervision at the clinic, and the second pill at home, where the fetus would be delivered.

I was Minister of Health during the pandemic and was involved in intense discussions about the ethics and legality of “pills through the mail.” We did not want pregnant women to become lawbreakers in their own homes, and we relied on women to tell the truth about when they became pregnant: not just for the sake of their fetus but also for their own sake. own physical and mental safety. .

Matt Hancock, of course, was Health Secretary during Covid. He gave me absolute assurance that the mailed pills would be temporary and that after the pandemic we would revert to the safest method.

But in June 2021 he resigned in disgrace for breaking his own strict lockdown rules with his married mistress Gina Coladangelo.

Sajid Javid took Matt’s place as secretary of state, and the man who called himself “The Saj” capitulated to pressure from pro-choice advocates and extremist feminists, making this deeply unsatisfactory arrangement permanent.

I warned at the time that women would be prosecuted if they ordered pills by mail when their pregnancy was too advanced to benefit from them. And that’s how it happened.

In May 2020, Carla Foster, who was in a vulnerable situation, obtained the pills at home when she was eight months pregnant. Last year she was sentenced to 28 months in prison, reduced to 14 months suspended on appeal.

As might be expected, there has been a surge in similar investigations – and not only into women who lied about their background, but also into women who miscarried at home and ended up subjected to harsh and intrusive interrogations.

“Abortion” pills ordered online and taken at home now account for 87% of terminations of pregnancies in Britain.

“Abortion” pills ordered online and taken at home now account for 87% of terminations of pregnancies in Britain.

“Abortion” pills ordered online and taken at home now account for 87% of terminations of pregnancies in Britain.

Between 1967 – when the Abortion Act first legalized the procedure – and 2022, only three women have been prosecuted for late-term abortion. In less than two years, there have been at least six such prosecutions.

Stella Creasy, 46, insists abortion is a “human right” and a “medical issue”. (There is no “right to life” for unborn children as far as these people are concerned.)

There is no doubt that she and her Labor colleague Diana Johnson believe their case has been strengthened by the recent increase in prosecutions. But the truth is that they and other feminists helped create the very problem they are now seeking to fix.

Like I said, I’m pro-choice. I have always believed in making it as easy as reasonably possible for women less than 12 weeks pregnant to have an abortion. It remains absurd to require the signatures of two doctors at this early stage. The easier we make early abortions, the less traumatic the procedures are for pregnant women.

In 2008 and 2012, as a backbencher, I won debates at Westminster to reduce the legal limit for abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. I failed – even though babies were born at 23 weeks or even younger and survived. and prosper.

So while no one likes to see desperate and vulnerable women being prosecuted for undergoing procedures for which they felt they had no choice, the rights of the unborn must be weighed against those of the living. The initial rules were introduced for good reason: they protect mothers-to-be as much as babies.

By sending the message to women that abortion is acceptable up until birth, Creasy and Johnson’s amendments risk placing vulnerable women in life-threatening situations: by encouraging them to terminate a late pregnancy at home in the absence of proper care.

And even if a late-term fetus is “safely” aborted, the psychological scars can be acute – as I know from my experience all those years ago.

My hope of beating this rests with Miriam Cates. She is one of the few Conservative MPs doing her real job and not constantly running for Prime Minister. She is a mother of three children, a woman of faith and principles.

Miriam has pledged to rally MPs to vote against the entire Criminal Justice Bill if it returns to Westminster with the decriminalization amendments attached to it.

Let’s hope it succeeds on behalf of women and unborn babies everywhere.

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