We are two peoples separated by a common language. Recalling on Radio 4 how his band had broken into the British market, an American moozish’n said it wasn’t until they had gartten on Tarp of the Parps that things reely took off. Travelling the other way, and now tarp of the parps in American health news, is our British NHS way of burning babies to heat our hospitals. Based on a horrific appeal to Holcaustian imagery from a Channel 4 documentary on the fate of terminated and miscarried foetuses, the anti-Obamacare American media wants its citizens clear on the dreadful consequences that await those who sup in the corridors of socialised medicine – and that’s without even beginning to mention what the Pro-Life lot had to say.
Back here, there was faux outrage. Dr Dan Penetration, the medically qualified health minister who appears to have by-passed the gynae ward on his way to becoming a doctor, declared the practice ‘totally unacceptable’. A grizzly spectre of today’s commercialised NHS placing discreet booths near the gynae ward selling cremation kits complete with matchbox sized coffins flitted through Dr No’s mind. But isn’t all this anguish and hand-wringing getting a bit too precious, even a bit too American, perhaps even a bit too close to seeing everything as a commercial arpertoonity? After all, far more women flush their babies – if that is what we are going to call pre-13 week foetuses – down the loo than hospitals incinerate them.
The answer lies not in commercial arpertoonity – Dr No senses the pan-pipe let’s celebrate death brigade may be just round the corner – but in sensitivity. While many may struggle to see a blob of red jelly as anything other than a blob of red jelly, for others that blob is their baby, insofar as it once had the potential to become their baby. Who are we to tell them to see it otherwise? Let those that want to treat the products of a lost pre-viable – legally up to 24 weeks – pregnancy as special do so, and those that don’t not do so (after 24 weeks the loss is treated as a stillbirth). In fact guidelines to do so already exist, indeed have done since 2007, and all that is needed is to apply them. Anything else, including hysterical appeals to Holocaustian imagery not to mention epic hand-wringing on an industrial scale, are, frankly, over the tarp.