Monday, June 07, 2010

IVF and Abortion Daily Mail line-by-line

I'm already late - going to a little private Bachman Turner Overdrive gig thanks to my tip top celeb connections tonight but just can't leave without screeching through this one from the Daily Mail (author unknown):

"Dozens of women are aborting babies conceived by IVF because they have changed their minds about motherhood, figures suggest."

Dozens is really not very many in a country the size of the UK. Dozens of people in the UK regret having had their wisdom teeth removed but it's hardly expected to be added to the coalition agenda any time soon.

"Many are in their teens, twenties and early thirties, implying that numerous abortions were carried out for social reasons, rather than on health grounds."

Huh? So only pre-teen and late-thirties plus women can have medical complications to pregnancy? That's not even close to true.

"Relationship breakdowns, fears about motherhood and simple changes of heart are all likely to have played a part in the terminations."

Right, but as you'll be aware it's perfectly legal for a woman to seek a termination in England, Wales and Scotland for any of those reasons, regardless of how she got pregnant.

"The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority statistics, released by the IVF watchdog through the Freedom of Information Act, have angered family campaigners who accuse the women of treating babies like 'designer goods'."

Well firstly cheese on toast angers "family" campaigners, who are constantly outraged by everything as a means of promoting their noxious agenda. And I'm IN a "family" but these people do not represent me or my husband, sister, nephews, grandma, etc so please stop calling them family campaigners, they're mostly either religious fundamentalists or general misogynists, or both.

"The revelation has also surprised fertility doctors who generally lose contact with patients after they become pregnant. Professor-Bill Ledger, a leading fertility doctor and member of the HFEA, said: 'I had no idea there were so many post-IVF abortions - and each one is a tragedy.'"

In a way Professor Ledger is right - it is clearly tragic when someone who has gone through such hoops to get pregnant finds themself unable to continue with that pregnancy. In fact it very much puts paid to two notions: (1) that women make the decision to have an abortion easily. Given how difficult and traumatic IVF can be, clearly these women would not go ahead with an abortion if they felt there were other options. And (2) the notion that women use abortion as a form of contraception. In these cases they could have used "not having IVF" as a much more effective contraceptive, much much more easily.

"He added: 'These women can't be surprised to be pregnant. You can't have an IVF pregnancy by accident.'"

But whoever said abortions only happen when women are surprised to be pregnant. I certainly didn't. That's your noxious assumption.

"The statistics show that an average of 80 abortions are carried out in England and Wales each year following IVF treatment."

Yes - against more than 10,000 IVF babies. So a tiny proportion.

"In 2007, the figure was as high as 97 - with almost a third of the women aged between 18 and 34."

Still that's against more than 10,000 live births from IVF. And what difference does the age of the mother make?

"Some of them would have had IVF on the NHS, while others would have paid thousands of pounds to private clinics."

Yes so again this proves they're not making this decision lightly.

"One woman told how she had an abortion after being pressurised into starting a family by her husband. Another opted to abort her much-wanted IVF baby when it became clear her marriage was breaking up."

OK. Am I supposed to start hating these women? I'm starting to hate their husbands but I figure the women have made difficult choices but choices that were right for them and their situation.

"Family planning experts estimate that every abortion doctor sees at least one patient a year requesting a termination after IVF treatment."

One a year...? Given that that's what they do for a living one case a year is very small numbers.

"Mohamed Taranissi, an IVF doctor whose clinic has the highest success rate in Britain, said: 'It is a matter that needs to be looked at. The HFEA should be more open with the data they have.'"

Looked at how? Are we to tell women that only pregnancies conceived through sex and rape may be terminated? And we haven't even mentioned the likelihood that many of these terminations are unavoidable due to medical complications (ectopic pregnancy, etc).

"Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory minister, said that women who ended pregnancies for non-medical reasons were treating their babies like 'designer goods'."

Ann Widdicombe is a religious fundamentalist who hates women and wants to ban abortion. We know this. She does't want to ban post-IVF abortion, she wants to ban all abortion. She should be more honest about this.

"She said: 'If the law was applied properly, people wouldn't be able to get an abortion just because they changed their minds.'"

No the law says that if two doctors agree the best course of action is a termination then a woman can get one on the NHS (outside of N. Ireland).

"Josephine Quintavalle, of campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said the welfare of the child should take precedence over the wishes of the prospective parents."

It's not a child - it's a foetus or an embryo. And the parents are human beings with rights.

"But Ann Furedi, head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said that some women could become so caught up in the IVF process that the realities of motherhood did not hit until they conceived."

Now this is a real issue - that women are told so repeatedly that infertility is awful and that they can and must validate themselves through motherhood. We should definitely look at situations where women feel pressured to go for IVF.

"She said: 'For infertile people, overcoming the problem becomes a goal in itself.
'Sometimes it is only when women get pregnant that they can allow themselves to ask the question about whether it is what they really want or not.'"

Yes Ann, I agree.

"The HFEA said that it does not regulate abortions but that the figures represent less than 1 per cent of IVF pregnancies each year.A spokesman added: 'All patients who undergo IVF are assessed, as are the implications for any child that might be born, in advance of the decision to treat.'"

Seems reasonable.

"He added that figures showing how many of the abortions were carried out for medical reasons will be released later this week."

Right so the comment earlier that these often represented a "simple" change of heart was total conjecture. Oh please - why not just write EXCLUSIVE: WOMEN ALL EVIL, SHOULD BE FORCED INTO CHASTITY BELTS as a headline and leave it at that?


Cruella said...

Oh and thanks for the emails - yes, they are now performing as Bachman & Turner (and no I don't know anything about it) and yes it was great. I am definitely not the expert on these things but I thought it was good and everyone who does know about these things seemed very pleased.

JenniferRuth said...

I love it when you break stuff down like this. It makes me feel better about the world for a while!

Jilly said...

Excellent post. I read the article and was totally incensed by its woolly assumptions - and by the even more woolly assumptions of many of the comments. At least one person suggested that women should be forcibly sterilised if they have an abortion for whatever reason - I reported that one as abusive.

sianandcrookedrib said...

what jennifer ruth said!

also - i don't understand why they make the point about the women being in their teens, twenties and early thirties. these are the years when most women get pregnant, after all. and like you say, medical problems can happen at any age. not that it should make the blind bit of difference to the daily mail.

abortion is legal. deal with it!

they have no idea why a woman who has gone through IVF might want an abortion and it isn't any of their business. the law is clear.

we need to fight to keep this law in place.

Jenny said...

Thanks for this article, really good to see it dissected thus way. You may be interested in a blog post I did on the same article in the Express here:

Just one thing in your post which isn't quite accurate. You say that It's perfectly legal for women to seek abortions in the UK for reasons such as relationship breakdown, fears of motherhood or change if heart. Actually it isn't legal. Abortions are only legal if done on the grounds that continuing the pregnancy will be detrimental to the physical or mental health of the woman or feotus. So no trust in the woman's views at all or her ability to make an informed judgement about her own situation. The current law treats women as incapable of these decisions and it's important we highlight how wrong this is.