I'm generally unhappy with abortion. Not because I hate women, but because I love human life. I can see cases where it's the least-worst option and I believe banning it would be wrong. Nobody has an abortion for fun. But I definitely see the current time limit as too late, and I get concerned in those cases where it does seem to be an alternative form of late contraception - particularly where its use as contraception is forced on women by a pushy partner, and makes a mockery of the concept of a woman's right to choose in any case.
But this isn't about abortion. It's about Marie Stopes. And I really don't like her.
Let me explain.
Back at the beginning of the last century, a family of North Londoners were ducking-and-diving in the streets off the Holloway Road. The father of the clan seems to have been a complete rogue, who had moved in from the sticks, changed his surname (possibly to his real father's) and went on to produce nine or ten kids. Daniel Poulter (for that was his real name) legged it leaving my great-gran (for such she was) with another one in the oven, and was never seen again.
The roads where my family lived are a litany of names that no longer exist, because planners decided they wanted to do something else. Bavaria Road (pictured below) was renamed from its original Blenheim Road. Cromwell Road was renamed Ireton Road, and then wiped away to form Whittington Park. Rupert Road was truncated by the same park. I sometimes feel that people like my family were just pawns on the map of north London, to be moved around the place at the whims of more important people - councillors, planners, people of vision - wherever was most convenient for those well-connected and important people.
And that's where Marie Stopes comes in. She started her first clinic in 1921 - just as my great-grandad was legging it up the Holloway Road. She opened it in Marlborough Road. Right in the middle of my family's old manor - just across the Holloway Road from my great-nan's house. And do you know, I feel she did it to try and wipe us out. The Upper Classes of the era were still producing fairly large families in those days, but she didn't worry about them. They weren't her problem. We were. It's like she decided that enough was enough. If you think I'm a bit paranoid, you may be right. But then read this.
Now, don't get me wrong. Birth control is a sensible and practical solution to the fact that men and women want to share their love in physical ways, but don't necessarily want to produce ten children per family. Apart from anything else, the planet can't take it. And I don't have "natural law" issues with it. We are free creatures and we have freedom in and responsibility in this as well.
I just wish the person associated with it didn't seem to have a personal grudge against my family.
By the way, this is the War Memorial for the people of Cromwell Road (as was). Since the road was wiped out by the planners, it's set in the ground in the park. Ernest Frank Miller, up near the top, is my great-great-uncle. He was swept away with a great mass of the working class at the Somme. I don't suppose Marie Stopes would have worried that much. After all, poor old Ernie was one of the "slave class".