Abortion is a touchy subject, but that means we should talk about it more as opposed to less. This article from the NewStatesman highlighted a worrying fact – the Government are taking advice on this tricky subject from religious interest groups like Life and Right to Life, apparently as an attempt to recognise different and ‘valid’ points of view. The reason that we ought to be worried lies in the nature of British politics and is often confused by those advocates of what I call the ‘pro-inclusion’ debate who mistake British democracy for that of ‘definition democracy’. The most frequently given definition for democracy is: ‘government for the people by the people’. In the UK, democracy ought to be defined: ‘government for the people, by some people’. If we construe this nuance, we misunderstand who should be allowed into debates, and who should be sidelined.

Just to get the argument fired up, lets hear a strong pro-inclusion perspective from Deoborah Orr’s article in the Guardian:

‘It is perfectly legitimate to be anti-abortion. In fact, it’s quite understandable that people should be horrified by the idea of foetuses being terminated, when the conditions for growth and development into beautiful babies, adorable children, fine adults, may be in place. That’s an entirely respectable position.’

Abortion is serious, but a serious 'choice' as opposed to a crime.

Deoborah Orr thinks that those, who would make a blanket rule banning abortion, ought to have their perspective given real purchase in political circles. I realise that my counter-argument may appear vapid and seem to say: everyone has the right to their own opinion and make their own choices – that’s why it is so important right now that I state precisely the opposite: only very few have the right to an opinion and even less make their own choices.

In the case of abortion, we’re not often confronted by choices. It is the minority that see abortion as a choice and the majority that are cornered by circumstances. Lets not compound our lack of options by allowing organisations like Life, to have any more influence than they do – however understanding they attempt to sound.

“At LIFE we see every abortion as a tragedy, and we work hard to provide positive alternatives for women and their families who find themselves in what seem like impossible situations.” (Life)

The pro-inclusion argument states that views ought to be balanced by both ends of ‘reasonable’ spectrums, as if this is how we democratise the process. I contend that British democracy is entirely the opposite of this perspective – indeed British democracy is all about providing polemic standards, which ‘yo-yo’ between points of view. We do not have a reflective or representative style of governance, instead we elect representatives whom ‘know better’. For me the biggest confusion in British politics is that we believe we ought to vote for someone ‘like us’. Here are some base facts of British politics.

  1. When we vote for an MP, we are not just asking them to make our decisions for us, but we are trusting them to ask the right people for advice.
  2. We’re not voting for ‘someone’, we’re voting for a whole ‘culture of change’ that if given enough time, will manifest into something altogether unexpected.

This is the reason why a development of this sort is so dangerous and regressive. Our ‘betters’ have decided to begin the creep of morally anchored, non-pluralistic organisations into the most controversial of all decisions. Don’t believe me? Consider the last 13 years of Labour, or the preceding 18 years of the Conservatives. For better or worse, their creep has been entirely transformative. Do we want the same transformation under Cameron? Well certainly not if their advice originates in theistic philosophies.