Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

Pro-Choice Demo against SPUC in Kendal

Posted by charliegrrl on October 30, 2007

Last week was Pro-Choice Week 20th-27th October; the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act.

SPUC, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child- an anti-abortion and contraception society, held coffee mornings all round the country during Pro-Choice week, to promote their anti-choice agenda.

Northwest Feminists protested against a SPUC coffee morning held at The Roman Catholic Church in Kendal, Cumbria.

Highlights were getting called ‘Murderers’ and being advised that the solution to unintended pregnancy is not abortion and contraception…but have no sex at all! Cos that’s gonna work we said… The catholics seem to think us women should not have sex until we are married off, then become incubators until menopause! Admittedly, they did offer us a coffee which was very kind, although we had to decline of course…

Please register your support for a woman’s right to choose at the pro-choice majority website.

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24 Responses to “Pro-Choice Demo against SPUC in Kendal”

  1. southashfordpriest said

    Thanks for the publicity for the SPUC Coffee Morning. We had one at our parish which was a great success. How sad that you consider yourselves ‘incubators’. Is that all you consider your own mothers to have been? As women, you are nurturers of life.

    I see from your links that we could have much in common: anti-porn and the other abuses of femininity.

    Why didn’t you accept the coffee? We are all nice people, you know. God bless.

  2. ave maria said

    By the Catholics saying to wait till marriage to have sex, they are obviously not saying to not have sex AT ALL, but in a vowed relationship of lifelong love and commitment to one another. So instead you advocate using and abusing your body by giving in to all your sexual drives and using any means to prevent any unhappy outcome that doesn’t suit your fancy? Oh sure, that really sounds like freedom to me as a woman, right. Sorry, but i’ll take the stand with the church that sees our bodies as something precious, holy, and to be guarded and so make careful choices that show that i deserve respect from men and and value life from it’s very beginning.

  3. Why do you not admit the truth?… you are not pro-choice, you are pro-abortion. Don’t dress it up to make it more palatable.

  4. We didn’t give you any publicity for your coffee morning. In fact…most of the people going to the coffee morning were only going for the free coffee, not cos they are anti-abortion.

    We have nothing in common when it comes to your views on women and porn…I can assure you.

    If I choose to be a mother, I will value it as nurturing a new life…but the decision to have a baby will be made by me, when and if the time is right to have one. Until then, I will exercise my reproductive rights not to have a baby.

  5. Susan G said

    Of course, half of the unborn children aborted are women too. What choice for them? Where is the feminism for them? If you want to support abortion, don’t claim it’s a woman’s right. You’re not speaking on my behalf.

  6. Maybe not you, but most women believe a woman should have the right to choose to have an abortion. It is a human rights issue. The sex of the foetus is irrelevant.

  7. syebba said

    Plain & simple its about choice.
    You SG have yours,other people have theirs.
    Ultimately if you had your way theyre would be an awful lot of unwanted & unloved children around.How would you deal with that?
    You would be causing more problems than you would be solving,however “good” your intentions.

  8. Susan G said

    It is because it is a human rights issue that I, like many women (as well as men), oppose abortion. Human beings have human foetuses – what about their human rights? Of course, it’s much nicer to pretend they are not human by using Latin terms to describe them – all ‘foetus’ means is ‘offspring’. But then, haven’t we always de-humanized those people whose rights we want to deny. Do we say born children have less human rights than adults because they are younger? Of course we don’t, and we shouldn’t fatally discriminate against unborn children either.

    Surely we can do more for the human race than take life? Some women believe they can overcome their oppression by becoming oppressors themselves. Abortion doesn’t liberate women, on the contrary it deforms us.

  9. cellycel said

    “Abortion doesn’t liberate women, on the contrary it deforms us.”

    Woah, woah, woah. You’re saying that allowing women the opportunity not to have to be bound to the house if they don’t want to, but allowing them to say get jobs, educate themselves or at the very least not have to pay the enormous costs that come from having a child is [i]not[/i] liberating?
    Giving women the power to control their lives in a way they’ve never been able to before due to biology is no liberating?

    I mean. You can define a fetus as a person all you like. I don’t agree with it, but whatever.
    But saying that abortion isn’t liberating for women should they choose to take that path? I’m sorry but those two ideas don’t seem to be logically connected.

    Even if you define the fetus as human, why should the rights of the fetus trump the rights of the mother? The mother is a human who has lived experiences in this world and the fetus is not, but the fetus gets more rights then the woman who might not be able to afford the child, which could jeopardize the wellbeing of her entire family. The fetus has the right to take up space in the mothers body when the mother is unwilling?
    No other humans have such a right, granting fetuses such rights when they don’t exist for adult humans discriminates against the mother. Like it or not.

  10. Laura said

    “…to show that I deserve respect from men”

    I think that about sums up the Catholic position on women. We have to prove that we “deserve” respect because it is certainly not a right. Not if you have a cunt. How exactly am I “abusing” my body if I give into ITS OWN NATURAL sexual drives?

    “How sad that you consider yourselves ‘incubators'”

    I think you’ll find that was a reference to the anti-abortionists (ie, your own) view of women – our life is only worth something as a foetus incubator. Fuck the 68,000 women that die every year from unsafe, illegal abortion: as long as we can force the rest of them to bring up unwanted babies then it really doesn’t matter.

    Mac,

    Many people who would not have abortions consider themselves pro-choice because they value other women’s ability to decide what is best for themselves.

    The Catholic/evangelical opposition to contraception and abortion is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide from AIDs (in countries where the myth that condoms dont work and abstinence education replace real sex education and free contraception) and unsafe, illegal abortions. But I guess the loss of a few hundred thousand evil evil whoring sinners doesn’t really bother these people.

  11. It beats me why some women feel the need to support a male dominated, misogynist culture which is determined to deny women their right to control their reproduction.
    Of course, one thing that never gets talked about is male flippancy in sexual relationships, and pregnancy-causing situations. As usual the men become ‘invisible’ except to push abortion women advocates to the front of the fight. Bah! Men don’t even need to open their mouths half the time.

    Stop patronising and demonising women who want better for themselves without the limitations of motherhood when they don‘t want motherhood. A foetus is NOT more important that a woman. End of story. Why don’t we concentrate our energies on children who are already here – and in distress or danger? Nope; once the babies arrive they cease to be of any interest.

    Something else: I used to be a staff nurse on gynaecology and I have witnessed and assisted in many abortions. Termination of pregnancy in a safe, hygienic, legal and medical setting, performed for a plethora of reasons that led the woman or girl to decide that she did not wish to continue with a pregnancy. All medicine does is perform safely, something that women have been doing for countless years. Aborting unwanted products of conception. To deny women access to safe and legal termination is thoroughly misogynistic, physically and emotionally dangerous and damming. The ‘emotive’ language used to describe abortion is loaded to guilt trip women at what is already a difficult time by attempting to make them appear evil or wicked in the eyes of others.

    As I said up post “stop demonising women” and give it a rest trying to drag us back into the dark ages.

  12. polly styrene said

    The difference between being pro-choice and pro-abortion is this:

    Being PRO-CHOICE means supporting a women who is pregnant to do what is right for her. And that means believing that in a civilised society a woman who wants to continue with a pregnancy should be able to do that without knowing that she is going to lose her job or her promotion prospects – (It happens a lot even if it’s illegal as thousands of tribunals testify,)that she won’t have to live in poverty (single parent families have an income of £100-200 a week on average, compared with 2 parent families average income of £900) and knowing that she will have somewhere decent to live, instead of ending up in bed and breakfast or on some sink council estate.

    Or if she wants to have an abortion that’s her right as well, because it’s her body.

    Being PRO-ABORTION would mean you were in favour of every pregnant woman having an abortion. Of course nobody thinks abortion is desirable, it’s preferable that no-one should have to make that decision. But hey, contraception doesn’t work all the time, sometimes people have sex without contraception – life is like that. And it always has been. The difference is that in the past your options were a backstreet abortion, a hasty marriage, or being sent off the to the mother and baby home in disgrace (Not to mention all those people whose ‘sisters’ are actually their mothers)

    Being PRO-LIFE on the other hand seems to mean being pro-death in some cases. I know someone who told me that though she personally would never have an abortion, she remembered working as a nurse and seeing women dying from the consequences of backstreet abortions that have gone wrong.

    And while we’re on the subject – what about that Irish 17 year old who had to go to court to be allowed to come to the UK for an abortion? The ‘humane’ pro lifers wanted her to be forced to go through with a pregnancy to full term and give birth, despite the fact that the foetus had a condition which meant it would survive for only a very short time after the birth.

    In the end it comes down to this – if you’re opposed to abortion DON’T HAVE ONE.

  13. Rachel H-G said

    It gets me how certain spokespeople against abortion try to make out that feminists want to see all pregnancies end in abortion, which is total tosh. Many hundreds of babies born every day are the products of a much-wanted and often longed-for pregnancy, and that is the way it should be. People who claim to care about the lives of young children should be focusing their efforts on improving the lot of children whose families do not have the support network or financial security enjoyed by the many, despite best intentions, and leave the unfortunate women who become pregnant against their will alone.

  14. polly styrene said

    I agree rachel – I actually have got some sympathy with the view that life begins at conception – it’s scientifically accurate for one thing. Of course the nervous system of a foetus, or baby in utero if that’s what you prefer to call it doesn’t develop until much later. And although babies born at 24 weeks can survive on some occasions, this is very rare and they have usually have multiple severe disabilities.

    The ‘extreme’ pro life position that abortion shouldn’t be allowed at all probably has more going for it in terms of logical consistency to be honest than those people who say abortion should only be allowed in some circumstances, for instance where a woman has been raped. For one thing, how would you know someone has been raped? Do you have to wait for the outcome of a court case? It’s clearly ludicrous.

    The trouble is that if you take that position, you say you can’t use the morning after pill, the coil, etc etc. And you ignore the fact that a huge amount of pregnancies actually end naturally in early miscarriage.

    So yes life DOES begin at conception. The point being that a woman is not an incubator on two legs. If you believe she has reproductive rights over her own body, she has reproductive rights full stop.

    I think very few people would say that abortion is desirable. But the way to stop it isn’t to make it illegal – it’s been shown by research that abortion rates are the same whether abortion is legal or not:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21255186/?GT1=10533

    So you have a choice – unsafe illegal abortion, or safe legal abortion. Throughout the world women risk imprisonment for long periods and death to provide and obtain abortions. And that was the position in the UK pre the 1967 act.

    I’d have a lot more respect for ‘pro life’ activists if they spent time supporting women who want to continue with a pregnancy in practical ways, and campaigning for young women to have proper education that a)teaches them accurately about contraception and b)gives them the assertiveness to implement that knowledge, whether it’s saying ‘no’ to sex entirely, or refusing to take part in unsafe sex. And ensuring that if a woman does want an abortion, there is free, swift access to legal abortion. Which doesn’t happen,contrary to popular rumour in the UK at present. The truth is that most ‘late’ abortions happen because of delays in the system not because that’s what women want.

  15. berenike said

    Polly Styrene wrote “The trouble is that if you take that position, you say you can’t use the morning after pill, the coil, etc etc.”
    That’s right.

    “And you ignore the fact that a huge amount of pregnancies actually end naturally in early miscarriage.”
    Do you? In that case, wouldn’t saying “Don’t push people under trains” mean that one was ignoring the fact that people fall under trains? Or indeed, “don’t kill people”, that people die?

    “If you believe she has reproductive rights over her own body, she has reproductive rights full stop.”
    Not sure what this is trying to say. But some other commentators have made the “foetus-over-woman’s life” point. That is, banning abortion would put the foetus over a pregnant woman’s life. This latter in the sense of “get a life”, not “as opposed to death”. Which seems a non-point, if one concedes that life-as-opposed-to-death begins at conception. If my paralysed great-grandmother has no-one else to look after her, then, well, it’s a bugger but my career is going to have to wait – I give up my “life-as-in-get-a-life” so that my great-gran isn’t going to give up her “life-as-opposed-to-death”. Moreover I damm well do my best not to let her feel a burden, even if I cry myself to sleep in despair and frustration every night.

    Let me think. In my immediate circle of friends, one took into her own home a girl whose fiance dumped her because she wouldn’t abort (this while having left her abusive husband and, pregnant, raising her other two children by herself – the girl, with her son, lived with her for four years, on and off), one is spending a year working to help out her family and then going to back to her lifeplan of working with children in shit-poor parts of Poland and the Ukraine, one got a first at Oxford and a posh PhD in the States and is training to be a nurse (that probably doesn’t count does it, as it’s not necessarily children), one is a paediatrician. This other couple foster handicapped boys – two of these guys, now adults, are still with them years later. Another couple are in the group of people trying to set up a L’Arche community in Glasgow. Another girl is involved with a group in Austria that employ women in dificult material situations who become pregnant, so that they then get the government benefit of 60% of previous salary for the next year or two.

    Ah, the nurse girl spent two years working with teenagers with a chastity programme she wrote herself. The posh girls’ schools were apparently hell, in the slummy inner-city ones she had lots of interest in what she had to say about valuing one’s self and one’s body, in how to begin living chastely if one hadn’t been doing so. Don’t jump down my throat shouting “how dare you suggest I have no respect for my body/self-respect because I have it off with my boyfriend”! my poitn is related to the fact I remember well from my comprehensive (the crap school in “Trainspotting”, my claim to be plebbier-than-thou 🙂 that having sex was not some mature conscious free decision. Peer pressure, insecurity…to have a boyfriend was for lots of girls what made them someone. And it was received wisdom that boys wanted to shag girls, to use the language of the time and place. I don’t see how more lessons in condom use would have helped some girl in a posse of other girls having sex to have the courage of a vague inner conviction that she’d rather not. All the pressure in the average school is to say yes. I don’t recall anything designed to help us make free decisions in the face of this kind of peer pressure, anything that would give one then the kind of space and perspective to *choose*.

    Looks like the only thing out of your wish list that this bunch of pro-lifers doesn’t do is the bit about ensuring access to abortion.

    FWIW. You can tell I should be doing something else by the length of this comment.

  16. Debs said

    Abortions happen, whether they are legal or not. The difference is, when they are illegal, woman quite often die as a result of having them.

    ‘Pro-life’ is a misnomer. ‘Pro-lifers’ are only ‘pro’ the life of the foetus. They are very obviously not ‘pro’ the life of the woman.

    The abortion debate is, and should be, one of legality, not morality or religion.

  17. Polyestergirl said

    Susan G Says: “It is because it is a human rights issue that I, like many women (as well as men), oppose abortion.”

    Gee,some humanist you are! Women have the right to abortion, because women have the right to control their own bodies. If you are personally against abortion, fine, don’t have one. But when you ban abortion, you take away another woman’s right to have one.
    So what, an unborn child is more important than, say, a mother of seven? Yeesh. If it makes you feel better, just go to church, close your eyes and pray some God that doesn’t exist will smite us all.

  18. Polyestergirl said

    And heaven forbid a woman may ACTUALLY ENJOY SEX! :O

  19. Just thought I’d come in again: what’s wrong with enjoying sex? Only thing is it has a purpose and a consequence. Married people should really enjoy sex because they are expressing their love for one another. Those who just ‘have sex’ are not expressing any love – it’s pure recreation. Naturally, a child is not wanted and is the enemy, to be avoided at all costs and, should one be conceived, destroyed. So, contraception leads to abortion. And polyestergirl has expressed eloquently the abortion rights position: abortion is a right, not something to be permitted under certain strict conditions, so why should it be limited to 12, 18, 24 weeks? It can be carried out at any time.

    Which is why I oppose it. Abortion under no circumstances! Never! Not because I believe in God, but because I am a human being who began to exist within my mother’s body from the moment I was conceived, but as a separate identifiable individual, totally dependent on my mother for my protection. I claim my rights, just as polyestergirl claims hers. It’s not your body. It’s a child within your body, and if you didn’t want a child you shouldn’t have had sex. Sex makes babies, don’t you know?

  20. Debs said

    Oh, wind your neck in “John Boyle”, your ignorance is showing.

    Do you honestly believe that just by telling people not to have ‘recreational sex’ they will stop having it?

    Out here in the real world, women seek abortions for a myriad of reasons, and the majority of people with some common sense agree that it is her right to choose what happens to her own body, and doesn’t have a great deal to do with anyone else, least of all some preachy “no sex before marriage” person who cannot see anybody else’s point of view.

  21. Ignorance? I think not. Wisdom, perhaps. It’s totally ignorant to say: yes, let’s kill lots more babies ’cause that’s a woman’s right. If you think I’m preachy, fine. I don’t expect you to listen. But that doesn’t mean that what I’m saying isn’t true – but then you probably don’t believe in truth.

    Go visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cf7Rg8zxds to see that abortions don’t need to be legal to be safe as a Marie Stopes rep owns up to doing loads of illegal abortions all the time.

    When will the child-killing stop? When men and women learn to behave as their natures intended.

  22. Debs said

    No, it’s definitely ignorance, and the worst kind; the most dangerous kind. Because you’re not happy to just believe what you believe and let other people be. You have to try and force your beliefs onto other people; onto women who’s decisions about whether or not to terminate their pregnancies are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

  23. Abortions will always be a necessary health requirement for women. Making abortion illegal does not make abortion go away- so there’s no point in fighting for it to be banned cos women will carry on having abortions backstreet.

  24. polly styrene said

    Hmm yes – Fr Boyle and friends have you ever seen ‘Vera Drake’? if not can I recommend it to you….

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