Prolifers in the UK become more American every day

Yesterday, two members of Abort67 won the right to continue to harass and intimdate women entering in a clinic in Wales. In the US this is called “sidewalk picketing” – harass enough women going into the clinic, the thinking of the prolifers is, and maybe one of the women will be scared or shocked or horrified out of deciding to have an abortion. Most women will of course just find these prolifers making a bad day even worse, but if you’re virulently prolife, that’s a win too.

If this catches on in Edinburgh, we may need clinic escorts.

Today, a group of people have written a letter to the Telegraph demanding that the legacy of the Paralympics should be – guess?

More funding for organisations that help disabled children to enjoy sport?

Our aim is to give support to all disabled yougsters and aspiring athletes which need long term support, often over many years, to achieve their sporting dreams. Sadly, we are aware of big cuts in funding for such youngsters, from government and other sources, and so many of our youngsters are forced to rely on friends and family for financial help. As you can imagine this causes enormous burdens on many, already cash strapped, families and a constant worry as the cost of participating in their favourite sport is forever increasing. – Get Kids Going!

Making the London Underground fully accessible to people in wheelchairs?

Keeping Transport for London up to the mark so that staff know the ramps are to be available whenever required?

Zara Todd, who has helped Channel 4 News put Olympics travel to the test already, said the ramps had been “revolutionary”. Because she can now use her local station, the ramps have cut Todd’s commute by a third.

“I’m really glad they are going to keep them – it’s a great sign for the Paralympic legacy and if they continue to work in the way they are at the moment, this could go some way towards making transport more equal for disabled people, especially wheelchair users, in London. Obviously there is still some way to come but this is a step in the right direction,” she told Channel 4 News.

She said one positive aspect of the ramps was how well they had worked thanks to the positive attitudes from staff. Rather than having to pre-book the ramps, tube staff assisted users with ramps when asked and then called ahead to the destination station to ensure a member of staff was waiting for the passenger when they disembarked.

Making the whole British transport system more accessible to anyone with a mobility disability?

Disabled people across the UK have been live-tweeting their daily journeys on Britain’s transport network – road, river and rail – with hundreds of messages posted using the #nogobritain hashtag throughout Wednesday.

While some enjoyed a smooth ride and praised transport operators, dozens of tweets revealed the unpredictable nature of trying to get around, especially if you are mobility-impaired. – No Go Britain

Ending the ATOS testing regime?

Why should those who are permanently disabled be forced to go through reassessment every few months? They’re never going to get better! But we have Atos reports saying an amputee will be fit for work as soon as his arm grows back (for crying out loud)!

Why are doctors’ reports ignored? I know there is an argument that doctors may be persuaded to sign people off work when they aren’t actually unfit but, if the assessments were carried out by properly qualified medical professionals, working in accordance with the standards their qualifications have set for them, those would be found out. Instead, we get unqualified assessors working to a tick-box questionnaire, that isn’t remotely adequate to the job and has been acknowledged (as we saw on both Dispatches and Panorama) to be designed to get people off benefit.

There is no realism to the questions in the assessment
, no anticipation of the kind of work that a person will be asked to do. There is no acknowledgement of the ways an employer would have to stretch to accommodate people with particular disabilities. Signing somebody as fit for work because they have one finger able to push a button does not make them attractive to an employer and merely sets them up to fail, possibly on a life-threatening scale because, as we know and I make no apologies for repeating, 32 people are dying every week because of the assessment system. -
Vox Political ~ Politics and discussion from the Heart of Wales

One of the signatories of the letter is the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland: announcing an edict to be read in every church as a memorial for the dead of ATOS?

Around 100 disabled people and supporters gathered outside Atos’ gleaming London Headquarters to attend the service. A coffin, resplendent with white lilies to remember the dead, was carried to the front door of the company alongside funereal music. Messages sent from disabled people around the UK were released attached to black balloons whilst a minutes silence was held during which even the heavy security presence guarding the company appeared to respect.

Oh, I forgot: they only do that for important stuff, like being against gay marriage.

ATOS Paralympic protest

Campaigning to bring back DLA?

Every one of Britain’s Paralympic squad faces extra living costs because of their impairment, according to the captain of Britain’s blind football team, the latest Paralympian to speak out on the importance of disability living allowance (DLA).

David Clarke, who announced his retirement from football after his team finished competing at the games, said that withdrawing DLA for those with extra costs would “jeopardise the independence of disabled people”.

Speaking on Sunday morning, he became the third Paralympian to talk during the games to Disability News Service about the importance of DLA to disabled people, following gold medal-winning archer Danielle Brown and silver medal-winning boccia star David Smith.

The government’s plans to replace DLA with a new personal independence payment (PIP) and cut spending by a fifth will see an estimated 500,000 working-age disabled people lose their right to DLA by 2015-16.

Clarke said that most disabled people faced additional expenses because of their impairments. “They are not luxuries, they face extra costs. Some form of understanding of that issue needs to happen.” – Disability Living News

No. These people don’t want to campaign to help disabled people.

They want this to be every British woman’s story: shipped abroad, our NHS not allowed to offer an abortion where the woman can find support with her family and friends:

I begged the consultant to let me home as it was only a 35 minute flight and I would go to the hospital in Dublin if need be. I was discharged at 5 am the following morning and Keith booked the next available flight home at 7.30 am. The hardest part for me was trying to walk out of the hospital pretending I was feeling ok, i was determined to get home to my family. Leaving the hospital and boarding the plane knowing that Lorianne was now in the morgue was devastating. I cried the whole way home on the plane. A couple of weeks later I met with my consultant , we felt that he was more interested in how we were treated in Liverpool Womens hospital and what the hospital cost was rather than my physical and emotional well being. He offered us genetic testing which we took. We left the hospital very disappointed and let down by our countries medical system as I was not even checked out. The results of the testing came back a month later and we were both perfect and that Lorianne was an accident at conception. This news did not make any difference to me. I found myself grieving and sought private counselling. This helped me deal with everything. Lorianne was cremated two weeks after her birth and was flown home to us the following week where she is now with her family. I hope my story helps to stop women in my situation being shipped abroad like animals when they should be allowed have the best possible care in their country surrounded by the support of their family and friends during their horrific ordeal. The care given and love and support I was shown in Liverpool was second to none and I will be eternally grateful to the staff of the Liverpool Womens Hospital. (from “Personal Stories” at Termination for Medical Reasons Ireland)

That’s what they want Britain’s Paralympic legacy to be.

It’s a world away from this:

if there is a legacy to emerge from the Paralympics please let it be that we do not fear those who are different, but continue to celebrate their success in living ordinary and extraordinary lives.

On holiday this year a man with Down’s syndrome was having a surfing lesson on the beach. Every one of the children with us came up to point him out to me and say how great it was that he was learning to surf and how good he was at it.

Without personal budgets and the policy of independent living, that man would have been sat in a chair in a day-room looking at a television. Instead he was high-fiving his instructor every time he stood up on a wave and laughing every time he fell off. Not a Paralympian but enjoying his success and achievement just as much.

See also:

Update, 20th September

@jonanamary has written to all of the prolife signatories of the letter in the Telegraph, asking them what they/their organisations do for disabled people, and adding:

I am sure you agree that the truly compassionate act, in this instance, is to look to change societal attitudes about people with disabilities, and to support benefits and services which help make the lives of disabled people and their carers easier – despite the government’s counterproductive austerity drive.
I note that in your letter, you do not refer to the savage cuts causing havoc to the lives of many, many people with disabilities, as outlined in the links provided above. I am sure this is a simple oversight.

The full text of the letter is available on Stavvers’ blog.

The signatories are:

It is particularly distressing to discover that the Down Syndrome Research Foundation should feel that women ought to be forced against their will to give birth to children with Down’s Syndrome: that an organisation whose motto is “learning from the past, caring for the present, planning for the future” should think forced birth is ever an appropriate answer to the complex of feelings when parents discover that the fetus has trisomy 21.

Update, 21st September – another response to that letter:

Where were you or have you been in 31 years of washing, feeding, changing my shitty pads? What was that? Oh, don’t kill the poor bleedin’ beggars! Throw more money at research into foetal abnormalities you say? Listen, let me tell you something bredrens: money into foetal abnormalities ain’t helping me, it ain’t helping my family.

Do you know, that my youngest sister (Shar-Shar Binks) , from October 22 will be employed as my full time carer?

She is giving up her right to go out into the world of work to care for me 24-7. Why? Because the money I used to get from the ILF will be gone in a couple of years, the funding I get to support my care and living is being slashed, I currently go to a Day Care Centre 3 days a week at a cost of £180 per day, when my sister takes over my care, that will go down to 1 day a week at a cost of £30 (because she will be directly employed by me as my carer) and the rest of the time I will be cared for at home following a care plan which has been signed off by Banana and my Social Workers. So please explain to me how the fuck arguing for a ban on abortions on the grounds of feigning interest in my LIFE, my CARE, my SUPPORT is actually helping me? I don’t think LIFE or PRO-LIFE or any Catholic Bishop has EVER ONCE shown an interest in my life and care, so I betcha “if I tried I could poke my forefinger through him, and would find nothing inside but a little loose dirt.”

Read in full.

4 Comments

Filed under American, Benefits, Disability, Politics, Women

4 responses to “Prolifers in the UK become more American every day

  1. Speaking of American influence on European pro-lifers, I pulled some stats on the Twitter followers of the most vocal pro life group in Ireland.

    It made for interesting reading: only 13% of them were Irish and the majority were American.

    I’m happy to pull stats for the UK group of your choice and send you the raw data, if it’s something you’d like to blog about. Here’s the one I wrote: http://geoffsshorts.blogspot.ie/2012/09/youth-defence-who-follows-followers.html

    • Thanks for that. I’d be interested to see what the statistics are on @spucprolife’s followers. (For a twofer – cheeky to ask! – I’m wondering if the statistics are similar for @c4mtweets – the UK “coalition for marriage” organisation, which also seems to be operating under right-wing American principles.)

  2. Sure thing – can you DM me an e-mail address to which I can send attachments? I’m GeoffsShorts on Twitter; I follow you. Should have it to you before 5 :)

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