Sunday, 29 March 2009

From Third World to Romania, with ignorance

Watching the third and final part of the excellent BBC 2 series The Lost World of Communism last night, something occurred to me which really puts some Manx ‘Overseas Aid’ into perspective.
One of the topics in a reasonably (but not well) researched programme about Romania was Ceacescu’s appalling attitude to abortion, which was not only illegal but carried severe prison sentences for women who obtained them. Even fervent Romanian nationalists interviewed agreed this was wrong. Thus one of the earliest reforms was to liberalise the laws, and make legal the actions of doctors who had discreetly carried them out for years at great personal risk as a matter of conscience.
Compare this to the Isle of Man, where there has still never been a legal abortion even though the law now allows them. Only last year a Nobles consultant legally sanctioned to offer them said he has never had to perform one, which is frankly unbelievable in a community of 80,000.
From the experience of friends I also know that when routine tests are carried out for higher risk pregnant women close to the end of first trimester it is common that the results are ‘lost’ somewhere between here and Liverpool, and specialists are ‘unavailable’ for advice. Thus access to abortion is denied by bureaucratic sleight of hand.
Meanwhile evangelical charities run by people who have tried to keep this island in the dark ages have the gall to ask for funds to ‘help’ Romanians.
No wonder Romanians I speak to, quite rightly, regard us as a pathetic third world exporter of superstitious village idiots, creepily similar to the pair they shot in December 1989.

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