Friday, February 04, 2005

abort — friday morning rant.*

Apparently, Australian women with unwanted pregnancies are “dumb”. Federal Liberal MP Alan Cadman’s is actually quoted as saying “I can't believe that women in this day and age are so dumb to get pregnant willy-nilly”.** There is no mention at all of male responsibility in this — in 21st century Australia, the government feels that men are absolved of any responsibility in getting women pregnant. This somewhat unsurprising, given that the debate is dominated by men. (Potential logical extensions of “the men are not responsible for conception” idea: (i) men should not pay child support, because it was the “stupid sheila” that got pregnant in the first place (ii) it was her fault she got raped, she was [stupid enough to go out] dressed like a tart …)

*Deep breath* Maintain some sense. This makes me seriously mad.

As pointed out in the Age, this is not even an informed argument that women are getting pregnant willy-nilly — there is no basis for arguing that there are too many late term abortions in Australia. There are no reliable statistics indicating that such an “epidemic” exists ***. Statistics that are out there generally do not differentiate between abortions and other procedures. (The procedures included are generally curettages. I am willing to admit I did not know what a curettage was this morning, but I do now. If you don’t, go here).

The interesting about thing about all this is that in the Age and Oz articles mentioned above, there are no women quoted being in support of this argument. Maybe it is not so surprising that women aren’t coming out and saying that it is a women’s sole responsibility to ensure contraception, and that women who accidentally get pregnant are “dumb”.

Amongst the pre-eminent misogynists this week are the mad monk, Ron Boswel (calling for better statistics), the dumb-ass, and Julian MacGauran (who wants to removing Medicare support for late term abortions). Boswell was supported by the ALP’s John Murphy.

There is so little coverage given to female political and public figures. You have to dig around in the AFR to find decent canvassing of what some female politicians are saying on the issue****. Minister for Family and Community Services, Kay Patterson has sought female colleagues’ opinions and says:
“their overwhelming response has been to leave [the laws] exactly as they are”.

Julia Gillard *sigh* says:
“I have stated my position very clearly and I am pro-choice. But understand this, the federal government’s only involvement in abortion is through Medicare, it does not have the power to decide if abortion should be legal or not; that power resides with the states. But if the federal government removes Medicare funding for abortion … poor women will end up in the hands of backyard abortionists — that’s the end point of this debate”.

Jenny Macklin (yes, she still is alive) says:
“you will be hearing from a lot of Labor women over the next few days”.
Well, yeah that’s threatening, Jenny. Get up and say something — you are the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. In the highest position held by a female politician at the moment, this your opportunity to stand up and actually do something.

Why does no one take any notice of this?

I think that Helen is absolutely right — this is a case of Australia taking a political agenda directly from the USA. This is not a policy ‘issue’. This is not a public debate. This an agenda that is being pushed incessantly by a small group of (male) conservatives with disproportionate access to the public sphere seeking to impose their religious concepts upon the rest of us.
There had been no argument within Australian politics for some time over this before the mad monk piped up last November. As Katherine Betts points out, this was not a stated part of the coalition agenda in the 2004 election, and there have been no opinion polls that she can find indicating any shift in opinion.

There is nothing to justify this push against a woman’s right to abortion at all. FUCK OFF, ALREADY. Stick to screwing over the rest of the country but stay away from my girlfriend, my sister, my friends and everyone else’s bodies.



* The absolute bollocks that I have read in today’s papers is astounding.

** If you google cadman & willy-nilly you come up with the good member’s website, where he is talking about how “the government needed to take steps to prevent people coming into Australia willy-nilly”. Don’t even start me on that one, baby.

*** If you were to accept, for a moment, the phrasing imposed by the ill-informed misogynists pushing this line! (thanks to > for pointing me there).

**** Can’t link to it here, because it is subscription, but it is the best coverage given today.

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