Speaker: Abortion: morality and health
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kiwi_guy, in reply to
Just as soon as people like you have removed any choice she has about bearing a child, right?
You mean the choice to terminate the life of a human being? I've already pointed out rape or serious endangerment to the mother's health. Otherwise what do you think you have that trumps the preservation of a human life - "Choice"?
Russell Brown, in reply to
She HAS got the right to decide – whether to hop in the sack with a guy or not, or use contraception aware that there is a very tiny risk it doesn’t work.
What's the guy in the sack doing?
Hey, look, no offence, but I have to go and make a TV show and I don't want it on my mind that you might be saying something harmful or really upsetting while I'm doing that.
Further, your shouty capital letters and selective moral judgement are probably already deterring women who might have some actual experience to bring to this discussion.
So, sorry, but I've blocked you.
Phew! I had to go away and paint a shelf.
So you "fucking hate" people who think morality should be easy, linear or logical? Can you see the problem here?
I know our troll is gone, but:
the "inconvenience" of 9 months pregnancy
My (very much wanted) full term pregnancies almost killed me. Twice. It's not all about maternal glow and stuffing your face - it's quite a large health risk, growing a foetus.
Iain Thorpe, in reply to
Blocking is a bad call Russell. I agree with your views on the underlying issue entirely, but you can't exclude views you disagree with because he "might say something upsetting". You risk never learning anything if you only listen to views that make you feel nice. I thought Morgan's gentle mockery was an excellent approach.
Danielle, in reply to
You really think THAT guy could teach us all a thing or two, though? I was just saying on Twitter, abortion trolls are so *boring*. They repeat the same misogynist stuff every feminist online hears pretty much daily. Isn't it pretty insulting to the women of PAS to give that guy a platform to spew bullshit?
(ON THE OTHER HAND, I could probably have amused myself mocking him for a few pages before the ban hammer came down. It's a tough call.)
Bart Janssen, in reply to
Blocking is a bad call Russell.
No it isn't. There was a high risk of him saying something genuinely hurtful and with Russell absent no moderation was possible.
And as Russell said too much of this discussion is from OWGs like me ...
Rob Stowell, in reply to
sorry, but I’ve blocked you.
Thanks Russell. Wasn't going anywhere good. There's a good conversation happening and 'kiwi_guy' wasn't interested in being part of it.
Btw, the Domestic Purposes Benefit doesn't exist anymore. Unemployed sole parents either get the Sole Parent Support benefit if their youngest child is under 14, or the Jobseeker Support (aka the dole) if their younger child is 14 or over.
Neither benefits encourage the beneficiaries to sit on their arses all day. Both are designed to help unemployed sole parents to get work, either part-time or full-time. Whether or not this is reasonable or successful is another issue entirely.
The two benefits are available to both women and men.
Morgan Nichol, in reply to
with Russell absent no moderation was possible
Yeah that's the key. With no guiding hand getting rid the most derailing comments it would quickly devolve. I don't believe Russell would have pulled that trigger if he wasn't about to step away from the keyboard, not so quickly anyway.
The stick that rattles my dags about this issue, as it does with rape and and abuse of women is the incessant braying of the male defense and admonishment of responsibility . Men are responsible for impregnating women. If we as a society genuinely respected women and there equal rights and roll in society, then women would become mothers when then they chose to. The fact that we barely hold absent and irresponsible fathers to account but vilify women for not wanting to become "a burden on the tax payer" or struggling to look after there children, is scandalous.
As a mother of two adults, and someone who has been through the NZ health system to address pregnancies I couldn't continue with it at the time, I can speak from experience on this topic. Not only about how incredibly distressing and stressful the process is, made far worse by a number of those working in the system abusing their power, but also the reality of being a woman with years of fertility and potential pregnancy to manage in a lifetime. This is a massive ongoing stress for any woman (except perhaps those with unlimited financial resources, great health and support who wish to continue producing offspring) - no-one chooses to be in the situation where decisions have to be made about continuing with a pregnancy or otherwise. Organisations and individuals who are anti-abortion, but not supportive of women who choose to parent on their own cannot have it both ways. If our society was fully supportive of women and children, made it easy and affordable to find suitable childcare so the mother can earn an income, or provided universal basic income so she could make choices without feeling deprivation or undue pressure, then the picture could be very different.
The news today had a reminder of a time in our history when unmarried pregnant women had no good options available to them.
Twenty foetal remains and two infants' skeletons - all kept by the museum - were found buried in Hastings abortionist Isabel "Annie" Aves' garden in 1936. Aves helped women with their "problems," as a New Zealand Herald report of the time put it. It was in the days before abortions were legal. According to Te Ara Encyclopaedia Aves was a fashionable figure, noted for considering men financially liable for unwanted pregnancies - she would send "IOU" notes for the abortion costs to the fellows responsible for impregnating her clients. After three hung juries Aves was acquitted in 1937 - but was shot dead in 1938 by an abortion client's boyfriend after the woman became ill.
People think for some reason that if it's illegal it doesn't happen.
The 'choice' to be sexually active and the 'responsibility' to be a parent for 18+ years if things don't go to plan. Just because someone's sowing wild oats, doesn't mean I have to be a farmer.
Anti-abortion campaigners often talk about the 'inconvenience' of nine months of pregnancy, not the inconvenience of 18+ years of child-rearing and parental responsibility. Let's be honest, if I was going to be a parent I would be in it for the long haul and I would give that kid everything I've got.
But the 'responsibility' to take this all on myself, or to drag someone else into parenting that potential child? How about the responsibility to make parenting a choice, not something to resent?
Contraception fails. Thankfully, not very often. If it does, I want to exercise that choice I already made by using contraception. Or even that choice I intended to make but forgot just once.
Nicola, in reply to
If a woman can not afford to look after a child there are plenty of loving couples desperate to adopt. The mother could even stay involved. It can be made to happen.
I've heard that New Zealand adoption law is archaic and far less straightforward than we tend to assume. Any PAers in the know who can shed some light on this?
william blake, in reply to
Ian it's politicians applying what is simple minded morality to very complex problems that upset me, especially when members of the same party make (or intend to make) morally contradicting law, which only common feature is in circumscribing women's freedom.
Russell Brown, in reply to
Yeah that’s the key. With no guiding hand getting rid the most derailing comments it would quickly devolve. I don’t believe Russell would have pulled that trigger if he wasn’t about to step away from the keyboard, not so quickly anyway.
No, I wouldn't have. This is a very sensitive area and I was concerned he was going to say something that would really cause harm.
But I was also concerned that the discussion was going to start revolving around kiwi_guy's declarations, and that that was going deter other people, women especially, who had something to bring to it themselves.
Abortion is legal , abortion is right. Abortion is not open for any moral discussion. Understand who we are as a lifeform or live a life of puzzled sad moral misery.
Emma Hart, in reply to
Abortion is legal
No it is not. It should be, but it is not, it is a crime.
This ‘kiwi_guy’ has an undercurrent of MRA/Cultural Marxism/“uncovered meat” dogma about him. Not once did he make any mention of the other half of the equation – and I’ve mentioned it before – “young, dumb, and full of cum” or “boys will be boys”.
Kerri Perwick, in reply to
There is a "tiny risk" of failure of contraception, but that's every time you have sex, over a fertile lifetime of around 30 years. So you're basically condemning women to make no mistakes and have no accidents with pills or condoms for 30+ years. Which is a huge ask.
Isn't it interesting that the anti-abortion folk never seem to be the ones campaigning for contraception (including doctors' fees), especially all long-term contraception, to be fully funded, for proper sex education in schools, for generous parental benefits (without the guilt trips and coercion into work) that would actually support someone who would like to choose to have a child, etc. No, it's just "abortion is murder and we must stop it". Because if it's banned, it magically goes away.
Craig Young, in reply to
Takes two to tango, sport. Ever heard of condoms?
Deborah, in reply to
At a certain point, the product of fertilised egg can be considered a human – somewhere between conception and birth. The law (rightly) does not try to define this. But in this absence the law essentially treats all medically procedures to induce the abortion of that fetus as criminal, and exempts them under certain conditions.
Without having a debate about where that moral line is, it’s very difficult to move forward.
Normally, I pretty much agree with things you say, George, but I think you're missing part of the story here. NB: I'm think that we probably end up in the same pro-choice position, but think there's another aspect to the story.
Yes, it's a vexed moral issue, and there is no clear dividing line between human person / not human person. We're fairly clear that a baby is a human person (Peter Singer <i>et al</i> not withstanding), and we're fairly clear that a newly fertilised egg is not (various religious types not withstanding). So we leave it to individuals to decide.
So when people say that women shouldn't have the right to choose for themselves whether or not they carry a pregnancy or terminate it, we are treating them as moral infants. We say that they are incapable of making that moral choice for themselves.
Abortion a moral choice, not a crime
So why the level of surveillance? It's because we don't trust women to make decisions for themselves. Abortion has been treated as a matter of morality, but instead of allowing the people concerned to make moral decisions, we have insisted that they get opinions from other people first.
Bizarrely, we have decided that if a person needs to get a moral signoff for a decision, then the people who are capable of giving it are medical doctors.
That might have been appropriate in the 1970s when doctors were often the most highly educated people in a community. But our levels of education have increased dramatically, and more people have the training to think through difficult decisions for themselves, and to help other people make decisions.
Make no mistake about it - abortion is a big moral issue.
People are asked to think about who and what counts, about where life begins, about the significance of lives already being lived, and lives that may or may not be lived, and about who bears the costs of prohibition.
When we deny women the right to make decisions about abortion for themselves, then we deny women's autonomy. We say that women are not capable of making moral judgments, and that they are not autonomous adults.
That's why we need to rewrite our abortion laws. But it seems that no political party has the courage to do so.
So I don't think we need to have the moral debate at all, about the dividing line between a fertilised egg (not-human-person) and a baby (human-person). I think we can treat women as autonomous moral adults, and allow them to make that decision for themselves.
Note the Christian Right's role in this. SPUC/Voice for Life forced the current quasi-criminal twilight zone into law, although it's a case of liberal interpretation versus theoretically conservative legislation. However, the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 does not contain any legislative definition of embryo or foetus, disclosed when one anti-abortion GP tried to obstruct one woman's abortion access (Wall v Livingston 1983). This led to the last Muldoon era attempt to prohibit abortion, the draconian "Status of the Unborn Child Bill" 1983, which failed. The anti-abortionists had a massive tanty and started picketing and then invading abortion clinics (Operation Rescue). That failed, leading to the current longterm stalemate, in which abortion is accessible and yet theoretically "illegal", although, as Emma correctly points out, S 187A of the Crimes Act 1961 provides a window of opportunity for abortion access. Most are performed on mental health grounds through a cumbersome dual certifying consultant system and regulated by the Abortion Supervisory Committee. This is ridiculous. Male homosexuality and sex work have been decriminalised, why not abortion rights? It's been done in Canada, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania already. Furthermore, the number of abortions is gradually declining as more effective contraceptives become available. One ghastly aspect of the current CSA Act is that it doesn't include a clause about rape as a qualifying ground.
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