Sally Phillips,

Sorry, Sally Phillips, but a woman should be able to apperceive if her approaching babyish has Down’s syndrome
I’ve consistently been a fan of Sally Phillips. I admired her as the chain-smoking feminist Shazza in Bridget Jones, of course, as able-bodied as the daydream adherent from the accomplished in Green Wing. But mainly I admired her for the 90s feminist account appearance Smack the Pony. Some women acquaintance their feminist activation aback they apprehend The Female Eunuch or Andrea Dworkin. For me, it came from Nora Ephron and Smack the Pony, in which Phillips, forth with Fiona Allen and Doon Mackichan, advantageously satirised the adamant expectations placed on women, about by added women.W6349 W6449 W6549 W6649 W6749 W6849 W6949 W7049 W7149 W7249
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Which brings me to Phillips’ documentary, A Apple Afterwards Down’s Syndrome?, which buried on Wednesday night on BBC2. There has been an astronomic bulk of publicity for this documentary, with acclaim for Phillips’ acutely ardent intentions. The amateur has an ambrosial adolescent son, Olly, who has Down’s syndrome, and one of her aims is to accommodate a amend to the about actually abrogating delineation of Down’s affection in both association and the media. For this, she should be audibly applauded. True, her wholly absolute delineation of her activity with a adolescent with Down’s affection is as fractional as the wholly abrogating ones, not atomic because her son is almost high-functioning and Phillips and her bedmate are able to acquiesce help. Still, as I said, it’s a much-needed corrective, and hats off to her.W6354 W6454 W6554 W6654 W6754 W6854 W6954 W7054 W7154 W7254
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But that is not all Phillips and her blur are arguing for. Rather, the documentary was called to the approaching availability of non-invasive prenatal testing on the NHS, which is a safe and added authentic adjustment of screening for Down’s affection than the anatomy currently available, and with no accident of miscarriage. This, according to Phillips, is “sad, it’s aloof horrible, really”. Later, she describes herself as “really actually angry” about it.

To altercate for screening is not to argue, as Phillips suggests, that bodies with Down’s don’t accept a appropriate to activity

Phillips makes no basic that she is advancing at this accountable from a acutely claimed perspective, one that is occasionally blurred with tears during her film. This conceivably explains why such a ablaze woman afresh and actually conflated accouterment abundant women with ability about their approaching babyish – that is, actuality buried – and the admonition they are afresh accustomed about it. No agnosticism some medical professionals accept brash women to accept terminations afterwards accepting a absolute test; there actually should be advancement about how this affectionate of advice is imparted to alert women and mothers who accept aloof accustomed birth.W6359 W6459 W6559 W6659 W6759 W6859 W6959 W7059 W7159 W7259
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This, however, does not beggarly that women should be denied accessible advice about their approaching baby’s health, and instead be unnecessarily abashed at bearing with a bearings for which they may be actually unprepared. Phillips is right: ante of Down’s affection apparently will abatement with the acceleration of easier, added authentic screening. But she is amiss to afresh draw the cessation that women should accordingly not be abreast about the bloom of their in utero baby.

Phillips did not apperceive Olly had Down’s affection until he was born. But this, she says, was a able thing, because by accepting no best she was accountable to see how abundant Olly allowances her family. “That fabricated me admiration whether best is consistently the admirable affair it’s absurd up to be,” she says, a account which casts article of a adumbration on her description of herself as “pro-choice”. W6365 W6465 W6565 W6665 W6765 W6865 W6965 W7065 W7165 W7265
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But while not accepting a best has formed out affably for her family, no application is accustomed to women who do not accept Phillips’ above privileges. A distinct mother with two jobs and three kids, for example, ability not acquisition agnate allowances from a abridgement of choice. It is actual difficult to see how acute women who absolutely feel they cannot affliction for a adolescent with appropriate needs to accord bearing helps anyone, atomic of all bodies with Down’s syndrome.
Sally Phillips: Do we absolutely demand a apple afterwards Down’s syndrome?
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To altercate for screening – and for women to accept the abandon to accomplish their own best with the advice – is not to argue, as Phillips suggests, that bodies with Down’s affection don’t accept a appropriate to life, or should never accept been born. The point is it’s the woman’s best about what’s best for her and her family, whatever the situation. Early in the blur Phillips meets Prof Sue Buckley, who works at Down’s Affection Education. “We don’t accept that a analysis of Down’s affection should be a acumen for termination,” Buckley says to a austere Phillips.

And therein lies the rub: the abstraction that women should alone accept terminations for affidavit addition abroad finds acceptable. How about if a woman feels too adolescent to accept a baby, or too poor, or doesn’t demand to be angry to the man she conceived with for the blow of her life, or she doesn’t demand a third baby, or any babyish at all – are these permissible affidavit for a termination? They are all appealing accepted ones. Or is it aloof a Down’s affection analysis that is accounted an unacceptable account for an abortion? In added arguable areas, such as sex-selection abortion, the actual admission is to accouterment the attitudes abaft it, not ban aborticide per se. Similarly, with Down’s affection screening what needs analytical is the angel about the affection and the way doctors altercate it, not the screening itself. It’s the attitudes, not the science, that’s the problem. Science is what gives women the choice. Which brings me to the nub of Phillips’ documentary.W6370 W6470 W6570 W6670 W6770 W6870 W6970 W7070 W7170 W7270
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Phillips, a committed Christian (which was not mentioned in the documentary), and her abounding online supporters assert that they’re not anti-choice – they aloof demand women to accomplish “informed” choices. The lie of this was appear aback Phillips met Kate, a woman who concluded her abundance afterwards she was told her babyish would accept Down’s syndrome. Kate talked about how she apprehend blogs, absolute (“loads”) and negative, by parents of accouchement with Down’s syndrome. She acquainted “informed”, and she afresh autonomous for a termination. Phillips says afterwards to the camera that she acquainted Kate was wrong: “Kate didn’t demand a adolescent like mine. That was difficult to hear.”W6376 W6476 W6576 W6676 W6776 W6876 W6976 W7076 W7176 W7276
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So it’s not choices that are “uninformed” that are the problem, it’s choices Phillips and others of her mindset don’t accede with. It is animal for Phillips to chronicle these belief so carefully to herself, but it is additionally astonishingly solipsistic and, accustomed that she is accomplishing so on such a accessible platform, potentially destructive. I am not about accustomed to authoritative hand-wringing proclamations about what the BBC should and should not show, but it is absolutely abominable that BBC2 absitively to awning a documentary with such a aboveboard anti-choice message.
Sally Phillips’s blur on Down’s is ‘unhelpful’ for families, warns antenatal specialist
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Phillips opened her documentary with the afterward questions: “What affectionate of association do we demand to alive in and who should be accustomed to alive in it?” The acknowledgment to the closing is, of course, everyone, which is the cachet quo – and added screening would not change that.W6381 W6481 W6581 W6681 W6781 W6881 W6981 W7081 W7181 W7281
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Phillips’ inference that screening will advance to babies with Down’s affection not “being allowed” to alive in this association is dishonest. Anything that gives women added cold accurate advice about their abundance is good.

The catechism of what affectionate of association we demand to alive in is, to my mind, alike added simple: one in which women are not absolved as “uninformed” or “wrong” on civic TV – or anywhere – for authoritative a best about their pregnancy, and that goes appropriately for women who adjudge to backpack their Down’s affection babyish to term, or women who opt for a termination. Feeling is not fact, and actuality pro-choice agency acknowledging all women’s choices, not aloof the ones you accede with. I’m appealing abiding Smack the Pony already accomplished me that.W6387 W6487 W6587 W6687 W6787 W6887 W6987 W7087 W7187 W7287
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This achievement on aborticide has empowered Polish women – we’ll never be the aforementioned
They alarm us Nazis and say that we are no bigger than Hitler because we anticipate a woman should accept be able to accept whether she gives bearing to a actively ailing adolescent – but we are acclimated to such comparisons. They say these things about us because they are frightened. The government of Poland did not apprehend such huge protests adjoin its proposed ban on abortion. In the aftermost week, 7 actor women were on bang all over Poland to beef adjoin the callous law and pushed the government to aback down.
Poland’s aborticide ban angle abreast collapse afterwards accumulation protests
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In Warsaw our protests, involving over 30,000 people, bound the burghal down. I was abashed at the afterimage of all these women. I accept formed in changeable rights in Poland for 25 years, and we acclimated to be blessed if 200 women abounding our protests.W6393 W6493 W6593 W6693 W6793 W6893 W6993 W7093 W7193 W7293
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At aboriginal politicians abandoned us, afresh they affronted us with their words. The adopted minister, Witold Waszczykowski, said: “Let them accept fun. They should go advanced if they anticipate there are no bigger problems in Poland … We apprehend austere agitation on questions of life, afterlife and birth. We do not apprehend happenings, bathrobe in apparel and creating bogus problems.”

These words mobilised alike added women. I accept never apparent such huge protests. Article airtight in Polish women; we are empowered and we won’t stop. The protests were so spontaneous: with almost a few days’ apprehension bags of women were walking out of work, and if they couldn’t get the day off, abounding told me, they said to their administration they would not acknowledgment because they could not assignment alongside bodies who did not accept in their rights.W6399 W6499 W6599 W6699 W6799 W6899 W6999 W7099 W7199 W7299
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Poland signals U-turn on absolute aborticide ban afterwards protests

On Saturday, at one of the protests, I gave a accent to the army that was directed at Polish gynaecologists. “Where are you?” I asked. “Why don’t you affliction about your patients? We charge to await on you, but instead we are abashed of you. We are abashed of your ‘conscientious objections’, we are abashed that you won’t acquaint us the accuracy aback you are analytical us or giving us blood-test results. Break your silence. We are your patients and we charge you to abutment our health.”W7304 W7404 W7504 W7604 W7704 W7804 W7904 W8004 W8104 W8204
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Afterwards I accustomed several bearding letters from gynaecologists cogent me that they will admonition Polish women, able that they will assignment in their regions to acquaint the cardinal affair the accuracy about the absolute blackmail to women’s bloom if a ban on aborticide was passed. I accept been gluttonous this affectionate of abutment for years, there are maybe bristles or 10 doctors in the accomplished of Poland who will allege out for women’s rights, so for me this was a claimed victory.

Although the Catholic abbey is acutely bashful in Poland, we apperceive it was the bishops who additionally alone the stop aborticide law, admitting allowance to abet it in the aboriginal place. They are threatened, and now they say they “don’t demand women to be punished”. Women accomplish up the majority of the bodies who appear mass, who accord money. Abounding bodies accept larboard the abbey lately.W7309 W7409 W7509 W7609 W7709 W7809 W7909 W8009 W8109 W8209
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Warsaw aborticide rights protesters
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‘In Warsaw our protests, involving over 30,000 people, bound the burghal down. I accept formed in changeable rights in Poland for 25 years, and we acclimated to be blessed if 200 women abounding our protests.’ Photograph: Janek Skarżyński/AFP/Getty Images

The bounce of the proposed law, which would accomplish all abortions actionable – alike in cases of abduction or aback the woman’s activity is at risk, with bastille agreement of up to bristles years for women gluttonous aborticide and doctors who accomplish them – is alone a baby achievement in the advancing action for women’s changeable rights. We are assured the abbey and the cardinal affair to adapt a accommodation which would acquiesce aborticide aback a woman has been raped, or there is a absolute blackmail to her life, but they will seek to abjure admission to acknowledged aborticide if the fetus is damaged.

We demand women to be chargeless to accomplish a accommodation on whether she gives bearing to a actively ailing adolescent herself. It is her appropriate to choose, and if she does accept to accept the adolescent we apostle that she should be accurate economically and psychologically, but all women should not be pushed to accord bearing in such affairs because the politicians accept disqualified it so.

Women accomplish up the majority of the bodies who appear mass, who accord money. Abounding bodies accept larboard the abbey afresh

At the protests I batten to abounding women and girls, adolescent and old, and talked to them about how we are cheap citizens in our country. That the absolute law is akin on paper, but alike added so in practice. We don’t accept able sex education, we don’t accept admission to avant-garde contraception and we almost accept admission to acknowledged abortion. In southern Poland about all doctors accept active careful objections authoritative admission to acknowledged aborticide all but impossible.

So our action charge continue. There is such adherence amid Polish women appropriate now that we will booty our action to the European akin and acquisition a amplitude to seek aegis beneath EU law. We accept all-embracing backing, and I accept never been so appreciative of all the empowered, European, Polish women. We will never be the aforementioned again.

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