Warning: This post was published more than 12 years ago.
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In what may be a first for this site, I’m actually agreeing with Tony Blair. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be making a habit of it, but if abortion is to become an election issue, then I’ll have to support him on it.
Michael Howard’s position:
I think that what we have now is tantamount to abortion on demand. I believe abortion should be available to everyone, but the law should be changed. In the past I voted for a restriction to 22 weeks, and I would be prepared to go down to 20.
I don’t see what good would be done by reducing the age at which abortion can take place, and I see no scientific evidence for doing so. Mr Howard is responding to the pro-life propaganda pictures of foetuses that look like people. Jelly babies also look a bit like people, but I have no ethical dilemmas when it comes to munching my way through a packet.
I don’t know what I would do now
That’s not what one would call a well argued thought out position on the issue. And if he doesn’t know his position, how am I supposed to know it? And, indeed, if I don’t know his position on key election issues, how am I supposed to vote for him? Come on Charlie, you can do better than this…
However much I might dislike the idea of abortion, you should not criminalise a woman who, in very difficult circumstances, makes that choice. Obviously there is a time beyond which you can’t have an abortion, and we have no plans to change that, although the debate will continue.
I know that this will come as a surprise, but – finally – I agree with Mr Blair on this. I’d perhaps go slightly further than him, because he’s left himself open to attack over women who aren’t in ‘very difficult circumstances’ but still obtain abortions, but he’s in a pretty solid position. For the first time in this not-quite-an-election-campaign, I can say: Well done, Mr Blair!