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Biden and the abortion ban: African lives don’t matter?

Biden and the abortion ban: African lives don’t matter?

Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and Asha Kasliwal, Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, applaud President Joe Biden’s reversal of the US policy banning the use of foreign aid to fund abortion, vigorously pursued by Donald Trump; they claim that ‘[p]reventing abortion services from operating does not stop women seeking terminations’, and say that ‘this policy’s effects have been felt around the world’, and that ‘[w]hen Joe Biden signed the executive order to repeal the Global Gag Rule last week, there was an audible sigh of relief from the sexual and reproductive health community around the world.’


There certainly was; however, Dr Morris has also said that ‘home abortions’ should continue in the UK, claiming that the it is ‘one of the few success stories of the pandemic and should remain in place’ because ‘allowing the use at home of the two pills required for an early medical abortion has created a safer, more effective, and – crucially – a kinder service for women.’


Dr Morris has never had an abortion, and according to women who have taken abortion pills, the process is anything but ‘kind’.


Abortion was legalised in this country because, it was claimed, countless (literally) abortions were taking place in the ‘back street’, and now Dr Morris suggests that the ‘anywhere (but here) abortion’ is actually safer - that sending abortion pills in the post to women without a proper examination or any way of checking the information they give – crucially, that they are acting under their own aegis – is actually safer than a clinic abortion.


The use of foreign aid to provide abortion in poor countries is now being justified as a health measure, because it is alleged that even if it is illegal, women will ‘do it anyway’. So far at least we do not use this argument regarding illegal drugs, but instead devote resources to detecting and charging drug dealers in order to protect their prospective customers and public health.


And the decriminalisation of  abortion in our own country exposed the lie that women will seek illegal abortions unless it is legalised, as birth rates continue to plummet,   and levels of sexually transmitted diseases continue to soar.


Legalising abortion simply leads to more abortion, and even more problems; and despite the rhetoric about giving women the ‘right to choose’ between abortion and motherhood, our own maternity services seem to be in crisis, with compensation claims for terrible treatment soaring.


But instead of improving our own maternity services, it seems the upper echelons of our ‘health service’ are determined that no country in the world should be allowed to restrict abortion; that Western countries, rather than helping poor countries to improve their maternity services, should provide abortion, even though the very poorest women have no access at all to health care – an approach that to African people smacks of population control and neo-colonialism.


Clearly, however, it would never do to allow these ‘less enlightened’ countries be put our own appalling maternal mortality rates to shame.


When Mr Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris officially celebrated the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that relaxed American abortion law in 1973, neither used the word ‘abortion’; instead, they spoke of ‘reproductive health’ and ‘the right to choose’, as they pledged that “‘all individuals”’ would ‘“have access to the health care they need.”’

Now it looks as if the poor of the world can look forward to abortion and no right to choose anything else – well, it’s cheaper than health care. Despite all his talk of ‘diversity’, to Joe Biden, as with Western medical leaders, African lives don’t matter after all.