We progress

I found a rare copy of The Telegraph on the morning train. On one of the front pages the Right Rev Stephen Venner, Bishop of Dover, wept discriminatory, misogynistic tears into his lap as the Church of England General Synod voted against introducing separate structures and superbishops to take on parishes opposed to women bishops.

Instead, the 468 members avoided appeasing the discriminators by narrowly agreeing to introduce a national statutory code of practice – heaven knows what this will contain, but the misogynists didn’t like it and so it must be a better bet.

Suffer, Rt Rev Venner, for there will be women bishops by 2014. Good for the Church – kicking and screaming – but going all the same.

The Telegraph also reports cross-party pro-choice amendments to reform the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill, which will be discussed again on Monday. Under the new amendments nurses would be able to prescribe drugs for medical abortion and carry them out in family planning clinics and surgeries, and the consent of two doctors would be reduced to a single doctor. The women requesting abortion would not have to fulfil any other criteria than that they were less than 24 weeks pregnant.

The Telegraph says that the pro-life (I prefer anti-choice) proposers – we should aim our gratitude at among others Frank Dobson, the former Labour health secretary, Jacqui Lait, the Conservative shadow minister for London, and the Liberal Democrat Evan Harris – were encouraged by the decisive victory over attempts to lower the legal abortion limit from its current level of 24 weeks were defeated by a majority of 71.

The Sun, our most widely read paper by miles, ignored both of these stories, so we don’t progress that much.

UPDATE: The final stages of the HFE Bill have been postponed will not now come before the Commons until autumn? Why? Theories from The Telegraph, BBC (but come on, last week the anti-choice lot were complaining that the amendments were an ambush – you’d have thought that they’d welcome the delay) and The Guardian.

There’s a debate on Amendments and delays to Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s hour (13th July 2008 ) too – not listened yet but it has the big names.

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