Politics And Anti-Abortion Efforts On BOTH Sides Of The Pond – On H.R 358

If you’re a follower of #EveryThingIDo, you may have noticed that there’s a Token Skeptic podcast interview with the articulate and community-minded skeptic Liz Lutgendorff, who along with Carmen D’Cruz started a counter-campaign in response to the ’40 Days for Life’ called 40 Days of Treats.

I’ve submitted an article to the UK Skeptic based on the interview, so hopefully it’ll be out next edition (and you can find out for yourself by subscribing to their fine publication! REALLY good bumper issue last time!). Liz and Carmen also feature on episode #106 of the Pod Delusion too (subscribe to them as well!).

Amongst the things that Liz and I discussed were the following efforts by Tory Politician Nadine Dorries, as shown in this link:

[Dorries] bid to outlaw institutions with a “financial interest” in carrying out abortions providing such advice was roundly rejected in a Commons vote after a rowdy debate. Labour dismissed her argument as a “shoddy, ill-conceived attempt to promote non-facts to make a non-case” and some of Ms Dorries’ Conservative colleagues took issue with the evidence she cited.

And now? In the USA, a bill has been passed, which echoes her efforts:

Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA) strongly criticized the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 358, a dangerous bill that undermines women’s access to care, including eliminating protections for women seeking care in emergency situations.  

“This bill is a collection of dangerous ideas that will undermine women’s health,” said Cecile Richards, president of PPFA.  “Most devastating, the bill eliminates protections for patients seeking care in emergency circumstances, and would allow a hospital to deny lifesaving abortion care to a woman, even if a doctor deems it necessary.”

…H.R. 358 is an attempt by House leaders to force consideration of policies that would drastically erode women’s health and reduce access to basic health care services and information.   

I’m not usually one to read Huffington Post because of their more dodgier alt-med reports on occasions, but they do put it pretty bluntly: US: House Bill Would Permit Hospitals to Let Women in Need of Care, Die.

The bill passed 248 to 173, with no Republicans voting in opposition and 11 Democrats voting in favor. It is not expected to pass the US Senate, and the White House has indicated that the president would likely veto the bill were it to reach him.

So while that may seem comforting, it’s not unlike UK’s Nadine Dorries: we still have to keep a close eye on one’s political representatives in regards to these matters.

In Australia, I recommend you check out the work of Leslie Cannold and follow her on Twitter - she just gave a talk at Queensland’s Parliment House on “The Courage to Make History: Transforming The Law on Abortion in Australia”.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.


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