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A poor choice for a health minister

Dr David Turner 

As I read the newspaper, I felt sick.

I was feeling nauseated anyway due to being hooked up to a chemotherapy drip, but the news that Nadine Dorries is to be a health minister in the Johnson cabinet did nothing to ease my queasiness.

Nadine Dorries has previously called for the limit on abortion to be dropped from 24 to 21 weeks, and has suggested women should have a ‘ten-day cooling-off period’ before an abortion.

This ex-nurse has also suggested that 13-16-year-olds should be given compulsory school lessons on sexual abstinence. Presumably these lessons will be held in the same building as the ‘Bear Woodland Toileting Habits workshop’?

Requesting a termination is not normally something a woman would do without having thought it through at enormous length - to suggest otherwise would be intensely crass and patronising

I’ve had consultations with many dozens of women requesting terminations in my career, and I can only imagine what their responses would have been if I had suggested they might like a ten-day cooling-off period. Requesting a termination is not normally something a woman would do without having thought it through at enormous length - to suggest otherwise would be intensely crass and patronising.

Abortion has only just become legal in the Republic of Ireland, and we are in the very real position of things regressing around a woman’s right to choose in the UK, if Nadine Dorries has anything to do with it.

As a male, this issue does not directly affect me, and I can only imagine how enraged I would feel if an MP attempted to change the law to restrict what choices I made regarding one of my internal organs.

Perhaps the words of Catherine Mayer, the president of the Women’s Equality Party, sums this up best:

‘We should be deeply concerned about a cabinet that doesn’t want people to have a say over Brexit, which threatens to damage all of us. We should be at least as concerned by the appointment of Nadine Dorries, who doesn’t even believe women should have a say over their own bodies.’

Dr David Turner is a GP in North West London

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Readers' comments (23)

  • Nadine Dorries would be a poor choice for a position of responsibility anywhere.
    Despite that the fact that she still isn't the least talented on the Tory front benches is startling (with dunderheads like Raab, Patel, McVey and that idiot Hancock to provide only slight contrast).
    Still, I suppose at least Rees Mogg's nanny is on hand to provide help with their regular nappy changes.
    Good luck with the treatment David. I would avoid the papers for a bit if I was you!

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  • 'Twould be ideal if no abortions were necessary.
    'Twoud be ideal if any that were, could be done before 8-10 weeks.
    Contrary to David, I do feel a cooling off period is good : Many women do re-think things once the pressure to get refferred is taken off.
    We have a local cooling off period anyway, imposed by administrative and organisational factors! but not so long as 10 days- that is too long.
    I don't know Nadine Dorries, but the fact she will initiate discussion of these matters might be a good thing. once discussion started, things could go either way, depending on other MPs representation of their constituents views!

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  • I don't think that Nadine's views on abortion are unreasonable at all. 23 week old babies can survive with medical help when they are wanted. Great efforts are made to keep them as healthy as possible. It seems unreasonable to me to be killing babies of this age for reasons of societal expediency. Some degree of cool off period is also helpful so that the decision is not later regretted. Between seeing a GP and the deed being done is usually longer than ten days unless the private sector is much more efficient. Like it or not there are two (or more) human lives to consider when it comes to induced abortion. Women do have control over their own bodies. They can usually choose whether or not to use contraception, whether or not to have sex, whether or not to have sex with a man, and whether or not he is required to use a condom, and whether or not they will do a pregnancy test, whether or not they will attend a chemist for the morning after pill, and whether or not they will see a GP. By the time a late abortion is being considered, apart from foetal abnormality which can't always be diagnosed in the first trimester, the woman has usually had a whole series of choices over what to do with her own body.

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  • abortion on demand is hardly civilized

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  • Lol just when I thought you were turning to conservatism...

    Katharine's thoughts are right. Nadine simply suggesting methods to reduce terminating mid term pregnancies are just that, things that can be discussed.

    We have sex education in school. And even LGBTQ classes in primary school in some places apparently -

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jess-philips-labour-mp-birmingham-video-lgbt-education-protest-muslim-community-anderton-park-a8922226.html

    And you're kicking up a fuss about abstinence class for 13-16yr olds?

    I'm also perfectly fine about women's right to have abortions. Until I'm forced to subsidise it.

    Angus, you have a cheek to talk about Tory MPs. Dianne Abbott would be your Home Sec, John McDonnell your chancellor...... nuff said :)

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  • "one of my internal organs"

    and David, a mid-late term pregnancy is not simply "one of my internal organs" is it?

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  • "Christopher Ho | GP Partner/Principal08 Aug 2019 10:10am
    I'm also perfectly fine about women's right to have abortions. Until I'm forced to subsidise it."

    Why don't you just go and live in a tent in a wilderness Christopher, you can keep all your money and have nothing to do with helping anyone, but as long as you live in a community, use it's roads, sewerage system, benefit from its police force and legal system you going to have to put up with some collective decision making on a few issues you personally might not agree on, and yes that might include 'forcing you ' to 'subsidise' someone's abortion. FFS what planet are you on?

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  • |MonkeyTyping | Locum GP|08 Aug 2019 1:07pm

    The issue is not about the money, or not helping anyone.... but about choice/liberty. Surely if I'm subsidising something I can have an opinion about it. I'm also fine with collective decision making on things that 'benefit everyone'. But please don't suggest that compelled subsidisation of abortion benefits everyone like roads...

    Even the issue of roads/sewerage/policing... If the state is doing a piss poor job of it, is that not up for criticism? Or do you believe that everything that is currently in place via the state is perfect?

    I wonder what the "" on forcing me to subsidise someone's abortion are for? Is there anything about what I've said that's not true?

    What planet am I on? Well I thought I was on Planet Earth with fellow humans who hopefully value liberty as much as I do, instead I find myself in Clown/Monkey world lol

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  • You are welcome to an opinion. Expressing it might be an option you should consider, rather than rush into.

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  • Uptick for Dr Ho

    As you get older, you realise that there is no social problem that state agencies cannot find a way of making twenty times worse.

    Both I ,andDr Ho I'm sure, would help anyone, given the practicalities of time skills and resources. But, if you haven't seen through the Geldovian 'Feed the World' nonsense by the age of 30, then, truly you are not yet an adult.

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