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Home > Politics

I'll Get Me Zygote

31 March 2006

What's left to say about abortion that can't be said with a giant poster of a bright pink foetus next to a pound coin? Very little, apparently. But much of it is going to be said by one James Dowson, founder of the UK Life League. The Guardian reported this week on his group's targeting of a Catholic school in Surrey, who are apparently practising 'child abuse' by teaching sex education to 14 and 15 year olds. It sounds like some entertaining 'hardcorer-than-thou' bout, only of course there's much more to it, not least the fact that it's another gloomy indictment of grim American influence. If only we'd stuck to importing 'Will and Grace'.

The UK Life League's site (www.uklifeleague.com) is much like any other pro-life group's online presence, although it is especially impressive in its vehemence and ease of navigation. There are eight pages of especially gruesome abortion images and posters; one protesting the hypocrisy of saving whales and killing babies, one darkly claiming that the wages of abortion is breast cancer, with pictures to *prove* it. There's the that's-that statement: 'There is never any medical need for an abortion. Every child has
an equal right to life.' The inevitable page about Nazis, with dramatic comparison of the noble efforts of those who resisted Hitler's final solution and those who now flock to Dowson's banner and 'resist Pro-Abortion group's [sic] attempts to rule over the abortion issue with an iron fist.' The paranoid, lofty whine about freedom of speech - 'As you probably know the content of this site seems to be monitored continuously by lawyers working for the British child slaughter/corruption industry.' And there's a *quiz* with gobsmacking allegations of sadism and skullduggery on the part of abortionists. This includes the poser - 'Which prominent El Paso abortionist and ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler became a professional wrestler named "The Chinese Bandit" to raise money on the side?' It goes on to rant in the inquisitive about a motley shower of people who like to dress up in nappies, women caught at airports with bondage mags, flashers, child pornographers, and people who stabbed their mothers with steak knives. Most pro-life sites are quite mind-boggling in the opulence of their hysteria, but this one out-Dakotas most. Ooh, and just for good measure there's a gloriously non-sequiturial rant about the shamefulness of big gay cop Brian Paddick and his big gay friends.

On one level the UK Life League site is just a fascinating insight into the microwaved minds of some extraordinary loons. But it's almost too easy to dismiss them as, well, dismissable, when the grim truth is that there are people who listen to them. It's easy to do the 'it could never happen here' thing about the erosion of abortion rights in the States, and we're certainly in a stronger position what with our sex education policies (wonky, dithering, but still a long evening's grope away from abstinence programmes), our contraception availability (subject to pharmacists' religious qualms but hey, isn't everything) and our readily available DVDs of 'Vera Drake'. But vigilance is still required, even against stereotype-me born-again Christians with 'murky pasts'. As if having a murky past isn't a prerequisite for being born again. They won't let you in unless you've been a drinker, a grand wizard in the Klan (like luminous US uber-bigot Jonny Lee Clary) or in Dowson's case, an Orangeman. Still, at least he's big enough to admit as much. 'I have made no secret from the very beginning of my very, very murky past,' he told the BBC, 'but I am a committed Christian now and certainly nobody has got any more respect for human life than myself.' Well, that's alright, then.

There's so much of this kind of strident nastiness around that soon we'll be forced to stop fighting grave with grave - yes, abortion is horrible but think of the alternative, etc - and start making terribly near-the-bone quips. Or just doing as they do, printing the home addresses and phone numbers of rabid pro-lifers so that their opponents can go and, er, politely protest outside their windows. With banners saying 'We can see your point of view but it's really not on in a civilised and supposedly progressive society, I'm afraid'. And 'Those graphic pictures are terribly manipulative, you know'.

See, this is the problem. If liberals weren't pro-choice, there would be more of them to go on anti-pro-life protests. Silly liberals.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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