When I read Nadine Dorries's post that John Bercow was seeking to criminalise doctors who wish to counsel pregnant women about alternatives to abortion, I thought it best to investigate. Surely not even the tolerant Bercow could be so astonishingly intolerant.
But his proposed amendment to the HFE Bill is even worse than it was described. It proposes to make it an offence to advertise information about alternatives to abortion (as well as abortion) if the presentation of that information is "likely to deceive the average person...even if the information is factually correct."
Just who, one wonders is "the average person" likely to be deceived by factually correct information?
Mr Bercow seems to have a thing about "average" people. His amendment goes on to refer to "the average pregnant woman" and his fear of the possibility that, whoever she is, she might be persuaded by such "factually correct" information to take a decision she would not otherwise have taken - presumably to let her child live.
There is something most wonderfully condescending about this is there not? It would also be a marvellous thing to watch a judge sum up to a jury on the concept of "the average pregnant woman." Court of Appeal guidance would undoubtedly be required. It would be a hoot.
This amendment deserves immediate termination.
PS. An afterthought. The law doesn't recognise the concept of "the average person." Instead it generally uses "the reasonable man" test. Applying that to this amendment would be to legislate for "the reasonable pregnant woman", and by extension her reverse: the unreasonable pregnant woman. Perhaps his residual self-preservation instinct kicked in to stop him from going there.