Melanie Phillips & Nadine Dorries

The trouble with the abortion debate, claims Melanie Phillips, is that it is being shut down by the ‘Guardian/BBC agenda’ which:

demonstrates once again the power of the campaigns of instantaneous demonisation and denunciation now employed to silence those who uphold a socially conservative position by tarring and feathering them as swivel-eyed bigots.

Melanie Phillips is concerned that ‘it appears that abortion hysteria is beginning to distort British politics’. Wise words indeed. The debate over the merits or otherwise of Nadine Dorries’ abortion proposal shouldn’t be conducted using childish insults, hysterical reactions or the attempted demonisation of either side – such behaviours serve only to detract from the facts of the matter.

Isn’t it a real shame though that Nadine Dorries has had to resort to referring to Dr Evan Harris as ‘Dr Death’ and that Phillips herself in her own column title refers to anyone raising objections to Dorries’ plans as ‘abortion zealots’ who are conducting an ‘venomous campaign’ against her.

Phillips makes her arguments in such simplistic fundementalist terms: ‘surely only a zealot would be complacent about the huge number of abortions’ she writes, whilst asking ‘how can any decent person not want to bring down the huge rate of [abortions]?’. Some of the objections, she suggests, have been ‘spine-chillingly callous’ and provide ‘sobering evidence of the brutalisation of attitudes that abortion virtually on demand has brought in its wake’.

This, remember is Phillips responding to ‘hysteria’ and ‘demonisation’ by providing yet more hysteria and demonisation but merely pointed in the other direction. She continues in the same vain, repeating the same basic argument in ever starker terms:

So if independent counselling would reduce this toll, who could possibly object? Only the pro-abortion zealots, whose visceral hostility to faith-based counselling is based on the fact that this changes some women’s minds.

Melanie decides to keep referring to anyone who objects to Dorries’ plans as ‘pro-abortion zealots’ as if such objections are made by people who enjoy nothing more than killing potential sons and daughters before they ever reach consciousness. It is of course utterly ludicrous to describe anyone as ‘pro-abortion’ just because they happen to raise an objection to what is being proposed – in the same way that it is insidious to describe someone who is pro-choice as being ‘pro-abortion’. I’m not sure I’ve even seen anyone actually campaign for the customary abortion of foetuses – at least outside the comments section of the Mail website on articles relating to benefit claimants.

Phillips rightly concludes that:

What is nice about demonising people in order to shut down debate?

Surely this is what is really nasty.

Except, of course, that this is exactly what Phillips has tried to do with her column (indeed, almost every column she has ever written). Indeed, it describes almost the entire editorial output of the newspaper that employs her.

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