Contrary to the old adage, some records aren’t there to be broken. The overall number of annual abortions is one of them, and the abortion rate within various age groups is another.
Yet these records get broken with regularity. The latest one to go is the abortion rate among British women aged 35 or over – this against the backdrop of a hike to 185,824 in all age groups.
Our abortion clinics are working overtime, but they still haven’t caught up with Russia’s million abortions a year – the highest number of any country surveyed by the UN. And there I was, thinking, courtesy of Messrs Hitchens, Booker et al, that Putin’s Russia is undergoing a religious revival en route to collective sainthood.
So far our lasses don’t think of abortion as their preferred method of contraception; this cognitive shift is yet to come. For the time being, our papers still point out matter-of-factly that some women have as many as four abortions over a lifetime. This only goes to show that, while the gap with Russia is closing, it’s still rather large.
I know a Russian woman who emigrated to the US and went to see a gynaecologist. The doctor took one look at her scarred insides and went all sanctimonious. “How many abortions have you had?” he demanded. “Eight,” admitted the woman demurely. “Are you crazy?!?” exploded the doctor. “Don’t you know how dangerous this is?”
The patient was appropriately contrite. Especially since in fact she had had not eight but 28, by no means an unusual number, if on the high side. Most Russian women had their abortions running into double figures, and the issue seemed to be free of any moral implications.
But Russia was, and China still is, a communist country, with a particular take on morality: whatever is good for the state is moral and vice versa. In China they have the problem of overpopulation, hence the state prescribes aborting children, especially girls. The Soviets encouraged abortions because they didn’t want women to stay at home and look after their brood. They wanted them to toil at the lathe or down in the coalmines.
In other words, unsavoury regimes, and we can mention Nazi Germany in that category, use abortion or infanticide for nefarious political purposes. This has been going on since God was young.
In ancient Rome, where our progressive abortion techniques were unknown, unwanted babies, especially girls, were born and simply dumped in the woods to be torn apart by wild beasts. And the oldest surviving Greek letter, written by a soldier to his pregnant wife back home, said: “If it’s a boy, keep it. If it’s a girl, get rid of it.”
The political situation in those days called for swarms of soldiers, which is to say boys. And in both Greece and Rome, the family was seen in strictly utilitarian terms, as the state’s breeding farm.
It would be a mistake to think that today’s situation in Britain is fundamentally different from that in the pagan states of Hellenic antiquity or modern barbarism. Here too the issue of abortion is as free of moral implications as it’s replete with political ones.
But our politics are different, designed to assist the state’s general quest to dominate every aspect of individual lives. Since England’s historical tradition doesn’t easily provide precedents for the primacy of the state, the state seeks to destroy tradition, wherever it manifests itself: politics, social structure, morality, family, relations between (or should we now say ‘among’?) the sexes, economy – you name it.
It’s only in this context that our PC culture can be properly understood. It’s an arrow shot by the modern state at traditional life. Hence what I call ‘glossocracy’, the state’s concerted effort to gain control over language and therefore thought. Orwell prophesied this sort of thing, but he believed it could only be imposed by violent coercion. He didn’t give modernity enough credit – today’s spivs use subtler means to achieve the same end.
Feminism is another arrow in the quiver of modernity, and it hits its target with nothing short of Robin Hood accuracy. The state uses every legislative means at its disposal supposedly to empower and liberate women, but in fact to increase its own power over both sexes.
Thus abortion is put in the context of a woman’s ‘right’ to have complete sovereignty over her body, of which a foetus is seen as an inanimate part, a bit like the appendix. Pregnancy effectively becomes akin to appendicitis: both can and therefore must be treated surgically.
This desideratum trumps the outdated notion of the sanctity of human life, in fact the sanctity of anything. The state is the Lord thy God and thou shalt have no other gods before it.
In that sense, if you’ll forgive three neologisms in one sentence, political abortunism is akin to homosocialism and other manifestations of sexual democracy. This is supposed to liberate, but in fact it enslaves.