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The abortion laws and women’s liberation

The abortion laws and women’s liberation

Commenting on Carey Mulligan’s new film Promising Young Woman, which depicts a woman taking her revenge on men who get away with rape, Peter Hitchens says that this is a false narrative; rather, ‘the awful diplomatic relations between the sexes have quite a lot to do with the ultra-feminist revolution that swept through the wealthy world after the 1960s. Dressed up as women’s liberation, it was in fact liberation for nasty, selfish, irresponsible men – especially the abortion laws.'


He maintains: ‘The old pre-1960s arrangements were not perfect. Nothing is. But they were better than what we have now, for men and women, and, above all, for children. Yet a film which even attempted to make that point could not be made or put on general release now. It is quite astonishing how ideas that once only flourished in tiny Left-wing sects are now the currency of Hollywood, and beliefs that once dominated Britain and America are now eccentric, isolated and may soon be banned altogether’ (‘Sorry, Carey – not all men are rapists’, Mail on Sunday, April 25, 2021).


Mr Hitchens is right in that abortion is now the sacred cow of left-wing politics and of feminism, but in fact the abortion campaign had its roots in the movement for eugenics population control , which was behind all the abortion bills right up to the 1960s. There were no ‘ultra feminists’ in the 1960s, only a tiny feminist movement, but once David Steel’s 1967 Act was passed – with the able assistance of Labour MPs – it was only in response to a restrictive Bill brought by a Labour MP in response to soaring abortion rates, that feminist pro-abortion groups began to emerge. Even so there was a diversity of opinion on the Left and among feminists on this issue at least until the end of the 20th century, when any criticism of the pro-abortion position was sidelined and silenced.


However, he is right in saying that no film depicting the damage done by the culture of death could now be made, and the same goes for any film describing what really gave birth to legal abortion; history has been re-written by the victors of the abortion battle, and the upper echelons of our health services are now firmly in favour of pre-birth euthanasia.


The legalisation of abortion did indeed liberate ‘nasty, selfish, irresponsible men’ at the expense of women and innocent unborn babies. However, the fight for life is not yet over, and one day the true story will be told about how a right-wing agenda to curb the numbers of the ‘unfit’ was enthusiastically adopted by an undemocratic Left which had given up on the working classes and was happy to attack democracy at its very roots – the human person. That is a social justice issue well worth exploring, but not one about which Hollywood would be happy making a film.