Friday, February 04, 2005

Abortion Debate Raising its ugly head yet again

My country sees itself in the midst of yet another abortion debate. A liberal party minister labelled women over 35 having abortions as "dumb and stupid", and questioning why these women are dumb enough to fall pregnant in the first place. Many a politican is now offering his and her opinions in droves, fuelling the debate yet again.
MY intention in the abortion debate has been a genuine one to move to a position where the truth is known and able to be discussed. I have confidence in the truth.It is strange that in this day and age that we do not have accurate statistics on a public-funded medical procedure undergone by tens of thousands of Australian women every year. This is especially strange when the decision to have the procedure is a fraught and traumatic one, with potentially far-reaching implications.
Our society does not have a clear picture of the support needed before and after the decision on abortion is made. This is one reason why the religious faiths – Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist – are united in calling for more information so they can carry out their pastoral role of serving women in difficult circumstances.
Neither do we know the fate of those women who decide against an abortion. Does our society let them and their children down, too? What can be done? If men were expected to bear a similar burden, would there be a lot more information, funding and support mechanisms in place? Would there be more policy time and money spent on creating more attractive alternatives?
I am pro-life, but I know better than to throw a policy ball in the air that no one can catch. Talk about a return to the bad old days of backyard abortions is so much fear-mongering.

The only way to return there would be via legislation at the commonwealth and state levels, requiring a majority in all houses of every parliament and the support of all premiers and the prime minister – and by winding the clock back through 30 years of medical advances. I really can't see that happening.
This week's debate has moved further than we've been as a nation before. While there was the predictable overreaction from some, there have also been responses that are constructive and thoughtful.
Why the dramatic increase in Australian women having abortions over 35?
What is the truth about Australian women lining up in their tens of thousands for abortions? That does say something about our society – that we must be offering very little choice indeed to women facing crisis pregnancy.
Fancy a young woman using political power to hide the truth on abortions where the fetus is more than 20 weeks old. With the medical technology possible today, it is not surprising that concern over late-term abortions has been growing on the nation's political radar screen.
In modern democratic politics, there should be no fear of the truth. Let's see the answers to these questions and seriously ponder any challenges they pose to a society that considers itself free, lucky and supportive.


Blogger Jack the blogger said...

With the ready availability and all the different choices of birth control I have no sympthy for women who get pregnant when they don't want to or for the men who knock them up. There is just NO reason for it to happen but I suppose that some airheads are just too fuckin' lazy to go to the drugstore. Really WTF is wrong with them?

12:48 AM  
Blogger riskybiz said...

In the States they are having the abortion debate from Bush's ultra conservative stance.
If he gets his judges on the supreme court(and he has 4 years)I think it will be illegal, or aleast harder to get one.
You know what will happen, unwanted babies and a flood of women coming up to our country with fists full of American money to get abortions.
They do it now for prescription drugs.
The only form of absolute birth control is not to have sex. Not all birth control works.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Jack the blogger said...

I agree that not all birth control works at all times but so many women, especially young women don't use any then get pregant then use abortion as a form of birth control, kind of like the "morning after" pill. To me that is just wrong. I reiterate WTF is wrong with them? At least and I mean the very least they should be using a condom if for nothing else than disease prevention.

6:44 AM  
Blogger gemmak said...

I agree. There seems to be a shortfall here too in support and chioce for women in this situation. I am pro-choice and strongly so but I feel like Jack that too many women use termination as a form of contraception. I think the problem goes deeper however than considering these women stupid. I think there is in many cases a distinct and worrying lack of education. Many of these women (tho by no means all) in the UK are from low socio-economic groups and just don't have adequate information, even at aged 35 and over. This subject of course is always sidetracked in attempts to legislate etc by the emotional response in those who overreact and confuse the issue. I disagree with Jck that there is no excuse for becoming pregnant, we all know someone who whilst all precautions where taken none the less became pregnant. That tho is very different to 'contraceptive abortion'. There is no certain form of contraception other than extreme surgery of abstinence.

Ultimately, a return to the days of back street abortion would be outrageous. Whatever the circumstances surrounding a pregnancy it is my opinion there should be appropriate and non judgemental support systems for those needing them.

8:17 AM  
Blogger gemmak said...

Opppsss...apologies for the typos there!

8:19 AM  
Blogger if_i_had_a_hammer said...

last time i checked, few women get pregnant without a man present. leaving sole burden on the woman for birth control is ridiculous. both parties should be responsible.

and the morning after pill decreases the chance for fertilization and/or pregnancy; it's not an 'abortion pill.'(

it should be an individual's choice whether or not to have an abortion, like all decisions that involve an individual's body. my beliefs, and certainly those of some politican, should never factor into the equation.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Erratic Prophet said...

I'd like to add that I'm proof that birth control isn't 100% effective. My son? Conceived with my then husband and I were using condoms. No, it didn't break. It's about 97% effective. My daughter? Conceived when I was on the pill. I'm so fertile that I can get pregnant if a man looks at me funny.

I'd say more, but I'd become very disrespectful to a certain person and since this isn't my blog, I won't.

Not you, Justitia. I thought your post was very well thought out.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Firstly let me welcome "Erratic Prophet"...thanks for stopping by :)
Thanks so much to all of you for voicing your thoughts,ideas and experiences.
Let me say, i am pro life and i am also pro can call me a "sit on the fence" kinda gal if you like and if pushed i guess i'd call myself pro choice.
What prompted me to post this topic was 1. The fact that it appears women in Australia over 35 are having more abortions than ever before. 2. That the government want to legislate against women having terminations after 20 weeks gestation.
Personally i feel it is an age old debate that will go on forever and a day.....just like religon.
To me, i feel we need to accept the fact that its occuring and offer safe places for women and girls to go for help. It's never going to change, and by the looks of the figures here in OZ it's getting worse. I would love to know the reasons behind why over 35's is rising.
Speaking as a woman, i can honestly say i know of no woman friend or associate of mine who would dream of using termination as a form of birth would never enter their head.
Gem ~ yes your so right, education in low socio economic areas is a must. EP ~ I hear what your saying, i have 2 gfriends the same thing happened to..infact one was pregnant again 10 weeks after giving birth to her first, using the pill and condoms. Its true what they say..97% effective. Hammer ~ As always you provide a balanced view :o) Risky~ Yes, i have been watching what is occuring in the Supreme Court with interest, i know Bush has a special buddy or 2 there! Jack ~ yes i agree, men have to take half the responsibility.
Australia,the UK and America are all brilliant democratic countries, we value our freedom of speech ad freedom of choice. Surely this issue is a solveable one.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

I'm USA and commenting a few days after this post. The bottomline is I'm pro-choice. No, I emphatically do NOT believe in pregnancy termination as a form of birth control. However, the freedom surrounding one's *own body is the ultimate issue.* There's too many situations where it should be that woman's CHOICE, not ANYONE else's! The man, relative, another woman whose not pregnant, judge, doctor, etc. can all walk away, but it is the PREGNANT woman's BODY, not anyone else's! Do you (society, not Michelle), want SOMEONE ELSE HAVING ULTIMATE CONTROL OVER YOUR BODY??? Calling women "over 35 'dumb and stupid' is beyond insulting. There are a heck of a lot of reasons WHY ANYONE becomes pregnant. The only form of birth control that is ALMOST infallable is abstinence. Note: I wrote almost, because rape, and even sexual contact without penetration can result in intercourse.... I hope Australia is smarter than the USA on this issue. I'm incensed that our "leader" is intent on moving us to back to the dark ages (and dark alleys) on this and many other issues.

2:57 AM  

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