British Invasion: Looking back towards the States

Dear Signal,

Emily’s term has ended, and she’ll be back in good ol’ New Jersey in a few weeks. However, I’m sticking around until the end of May, so it looks like you’ll all be at my mercy for the next couple of columns. (You lucky readers, you!)

I admit, being here has definitely left me out of the American political loop. I was following the primaries fairly closely before I left. (Because, let’s face it, Republican debates make for some great comedic fodder, not to mention drinking games.) Being in England, however, and traveling so much has distracted me from the issues back home, and I’ve been living in somewhat blissful ignorance. Lately, however, I’ve been following the transvaginal ultrasound and birth control debates, and I just have to ask:

Have you all lost your goddamn minds?

If, as a woman, I decide to take control of my own body and terminate an unwanted pregnancy, you first want to stick a periscope up my vagina and, what, admire the view? Republicans, I know you’re constantly looking for ways to fuck over women, but this is getting a little too literal.

I decided to do some research (and by research, I mean Google) and see if the U.K. had any of the same ass-backwards ideas that are currently spilling out of America. Great Britain continues to observe the Abortion Act of 1967 (started roughly six years before Roe v. Wade), which states that “a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner” so long as two registered medical practitioners agree that it would be more hazardous for the mother to continue with the pregnancy than to abort it (according to legistlation.gov.uk). In Regina v. British Broadcasting Corporation ex parte Prolife Alliance, a judge went on to say that there was evidence that all pregnancies are more dangerous to the welfare of a woman than an abortion, making it legally easier to obtain one.

This doesn’t mean that the entirety of the U.K. spends its weekends getting drunk and aborting babies. There are, of course, Christian groups that are against the Act, and in September Tory defense secretary Liam Fox tried to call for tougher abortion laws. However, when I asked a British friend whether anti-abortion protests were the norm here, he responded with a resounding “No” (along with a funny but fairly offensive joke that I won’t repeat). A quick Google search backed him up; in fact, the few that did mention protests called them “U.S.-style” and mentioned that some, such as the “40 Days for Life” protestors, actually originated in Texas (shocking).

So it’s not like the rest of the world has been waiting for the U.S. to show up to their anti-abortion party. Why, then, is America suddenly taking huge steps backwards when it comes to women’s rights? We’re supposed to be the leaders of the free world, right? Well, then, I’d like my uterus to be free from a bunch of suits in Washington. (And, you know, probes.)

Can I not leave the country for a few months without everyone losing their shit?

Cheers,

Shaun