Thursday, 16 May 2013

Smoking or abortion: which is most harmful?

You might be thinking there's nothing worse than an ex-smoker going on about the horrors of smoking. Yes maybe that's true but I must tell you how almost ran my car off the road the other day while I was listening to the radio.

There was someone from NICE talking (that's the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) on the radio as I drove into work a few days ago.   It was all about the difficulties in caring for pregnant women who smoke and how they disapprove of this.   The idea is that Mums-to-be will be given a carbon monoxide test as part of their early check ups, in order to identify the smokers.  Now of course, this is all geared towards good care for the mother and baby.

This strikes me as being okay but only to a point, it would depend very much on the interaction between the midwife and the patient in how it was dealt with.  Any hint of the Nanny State sends me into a spin, as you know already.   Now I am sure that all midwives will have excellent interpersonal skills and will be able to do this well and provide considerable support in helping the woman quit smoking, or at the very least, cut down.  Surely everyone knows smoking is bad for health generally and definitely not the best start in life for a new born baby?  Everyone knows that plus it must be acknowledged giving up is not easy, after all nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug.

What really got my goat and almost sent me off the road was the NICE representative saying "the well being of the baby is the absolute priority" and on this level it makes perfect sense.

This is now coming to my point about this limp NICE comment.  If then, the baby's well being is so important, why do we have almost 200,000 abortions in the UK each year?  How many of those babies are "done away with" because of not being planned, or arriving at the wrong time in terms of careers or other features in a woman's life?

Surely as each of those babies should be developing without the presence of nicotine and other nasty chemicals, they should then have the right to life in the first place?   I know this is a sensitive area and perhaps I'll be seen as an insensitive man wading into a tricky subject but it's something many people do feel strongly about with many different points of view.

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