Abortion? Only if you’ve got the money and Abbott’s not PM

7 Aug

 

Abortion is becoming increasingly difficult to access for women without money. As Adele Horin explains here women on benefits, many of whom are escaping domestic violence, some of whom are homeless, and some of whom already have more children than they can financially support, are finding it harder to access abortion because of costs that are exorbitant if you are dependent on welfare payments.

If, for example, you are a single mother who’s youngest child is about to turn eight, you are facing a reduction in your weekly payments of up to $60 as the Gillard government moves you from parenting benefits to the Newstart allowance in order to save itself some $700 million. If you find yourself on Newstart and pregnant, you’ll be faced with the choice of  bringing another child into the world (which will allow you to go back on parenting benefits for another eight years) finding the money for an abortion from somewhere, or, if you are desperate enough, finding someone who will perform an abortion at a price you can afford. All this because you don’t, for whatever reason, have money.

An alternative to expensive surgical abortion is the drug Mifepristone, also known as RU 486, that can be taken in the early weeks to terminate a pregnancy. While available in countries such as Great Britain, Sweden, France and the US, under the Howard government Australian women were denied access through the so-called “Harradine Amendments,” a situation that is explained by ethicist Dr Leslie Cannold as follows:

To understand why, a short history of the offending [Harradine]amendments is necessary. Passed in 1996 with the agreement of both major parties, the amendments were designed by their author – anti-choice Senator Harradine – to forever deny Australian women access to RU 486 and any other pharmaceutical capable of inducing a non-surgical abortion. Having made the specious claim that the rigorous quality, safety and efficacy analysis the TGA does for all pharmaceuticals entering Australia was inadequate for these drugs – and these drugs alone – the Harradine amendments require the Health Minister to approve in writing the importation, trial, registration or listing of such drugs, and to table that approval in parliament. In exchange for this warped dream-come-true, Senator Harradine horse-traded his vote to privatise Telstra.

In this extraordinary deal for control of women’s bodies in exchange for telephones, veto over the importation and use of RU 486 became the responsibility of the Health Minister, rather than, as for all other drugs, the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

As Health Minister it was Tony Abbott’s intention to continue to exercise his right of veto over the drug, and over Australian women’s right to access medical abortion. However, a timely confluence of political women in 2006 (explained in interesting detail here) succeeded in wresting this control from Abbott, and transferring it to the TGA.

Unfortunately, RU 486 is still difficult to obtain. Not marketed by any drug company in this country, only about 100 doctors across Australia are authorised by the TGA to import and supply the drug, in one-off importation agreements. The cost of an individual license to prescribe is upwards of $150,000. To circumvent this cost, practitioners can apply for Authorised Prescriber Status in specific circumstances, the details of which must be reported with every use of the drug.

The cost of using RU 486 compared to surgical abortion is considerably less, making it a reasonable alternative for low-income women, as well as women in rural areas whose access to abortion clinics is restricted and expensive.

RU 486 is regarded by the World Health Organisation as one of the safest and cheapest forms of termination, and one that should be available to all women.

The best outcome for Australian women is for the drug to be available nationally, and marketed by a drug company with TGA approval.

Given the acknowledged safety, economy, and efficiency of Mifepristone, there can be no legitimate reason for denying all Australian women who want it access to this form of medical termination. I can only conclude that the ongoing refusal to treat this drug as all other drugs are treated in this country is entirely to do with moral issues surrounding abortion, and the perceived unworthiness of poor women to have the same safe access to pregnancy termination as is available to their wealthier sisters.

While there are rumours of drug company interest in marketing RU 486 here, a perceived lack of political will and government reluctance to adequately deal with the issue of abortion may be seen as a deterrent to marketing.

These marketing apprehensions are only likely to increase ten-fold if we are faced with an Abbott-led Coalition government. In his article titled  “Rate of abortion highlights our moral failings,”  Abbott reveals his understanding of the complexity of abortion thus:  “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.”

If you are a woman, Tony Abbott is not your friend. If you are a woman seeking an abortion, Tony Abbott is your enemy.

 

 

78 Responses to “Abortion? Only if you’ve got the money and Abbott’s not PM”

  1. gerard oosterman August 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    I am not seeking anything let alone an abortion, even so Abbott is not my friend and never will be. He promotes towing boats back and was nasty to someone dying from asbestos.
    On top of all else, he now tries to paint those that want some kind of restriction on abusive and slanderous media as being opposed to freedom of speech.
    He is not likable in my book…nor are Pyne, Morisson and Mirrabella. Let’s be kind to Robert Hughes, R.I.P

  2. Goku August 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Although the idea of Abbott leading the country sparks no form of confidence within me, I do agree with his comments.
    The rate of technology, science and medical science advances, seem to leave us little time to apply any moral questioning.

    • Mindy August 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      But he only applies his moral questioning selectively i.e. to women’s bodies.

      • Hypocritophobe August 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

        The morals of a man who has Pell as his mentor.

    • Christine Says Hi August 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Oh, I think the “moral” issues applying to abortion have been well thrashed out before Abbott was Minister for Health, or even a twinkle in his father’s eye as the old saying goes.

      And as far as the ‘rate of technology’, let’s not forget this isn’t the first time we know that women have taken pills to bring on abortions. Of course, in the 1800s, the pills were made of lead, not safe, useful, proven abortifacients.

  3. hudsongodfrey August 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Frankly I’m surprised that this issue hasn’t already been resolved in favour of the drug, and I suppose that in my ignorance I’d more or less assumed it already had been.

    I suspect that I’ll get no real argument here, but I’ll run the flag up the pole anyway.
    I don’t know what limits Leslie Cannold sets in terms of abortion, but short of supporting it as fully as Peter Singer seems to maybe we could go to one of the more equivocating sources to make some kind of moral point about why RU486 seems better than the surgical alternative One thing I read that struck me was from a US woman ethicist whose name for the moment eludes me, (I have someone in mind but I can’t find the quote so I won’t hazard guesses at the wrong identity). Her view was that if life is deemed to be extinct at the point where brain function ceases then it makes some kind of sense to argue that the blastocyst through early embryonic stages of foetal development seem less likely to satisfy the criteria for personhood that ethicists often put forward. But contrary to some people’s views she was someone who felt that she couldn’t say that at least some of those criteria might not be met rather earlier in gestation than others might have liked. She had doubts and she expressed them ethically and they are among the few ethically based doubts I’ve heard put forward around this issue.

    There are many people in that boat. It is demonstrably easier to prefer earlier abortions over late term ones because the foetus is less recognisably human and less likely to be a cognisant being with a better developed nervous system etc. Therefore the correct use of RU486, the morning after pill) occurring as something of a last ditch extension of contraception has a good many aspects to appeal not only to those whose pro-choice credentials precede them but also to those whose doubts may stem from listening to the other side of the debate. In other words even my lone doubting ethicist would seem compelled to agree to its use.

    Choice means Choice.

    Just as freedom of religion implies freedom from it for those who chose as such. And we shouldn’t neglect the influence of religion on people’s views around this issue, it is just that the principle of reciprocity that they agree we all set our moral compasses by dictates that we have to respect one another’s choices.

    It may mean that some people can’t abide abortion, that others can’t deal with late term abortions but that the smallest number who probably also believe contraception is wrong are liable to be the only holdouts. And because that puts them vastly in the minority, in a modern democracy that ought to count for something.

    • Goku August 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      @ hudsongodfrey
      I would disagree with you on the subject of abortion as the evidence tends more towards life beginning at conception, as the book embryo states:
      “Human embryos, whether they are formed by fertilization (natural or in vitro) or by successful somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT — i.e., cloning), do have the internal resources and active disposition to develop themselves to the mature stage of a human organism, requiring only a suitable environment and nutrition. In fact, scientists distinguish embryos from other cells or clusters of cells precisely by their self-directed, integral functioning — their organismal behavior. Thus, human embryos are what the embryology textbooks say they are, namely, human organisms — living individuals of the human species — at the earliest developmental stage.” – Dr. Robert George
      I agree choice means choice. And the choice is to have sex(for pleasure or reproductive purposes). That’s we’re choice should end I believe.
      I think sometimes choice and freedom are hijacked for the sake of convinence at the expense of our moral obligations, selective reduction as an example.
      JW posted a good article written by Gerard, regarding children’s voices not being heard in Australian courts. I believe there are thousands more silent voices not being heard in abortion clinics about the their opportunity to live their lives.

      • Hypocritophobe August 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

        So you just spout the same ACL sheep bleat mantra,What’s new.
        Keep you hands,and laws off womens bodies,Goku,and when you DO repeat banal propaganda at least have the courage of your convictions(if you have any) and declare your religious affiliations/church connection.

        And for any women reading this article and wanting to use other methods there is always a walk in the countryside and a harvest of pennyroyal and a good strong brew.

      • hudsongodfrey August 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

        You seem to want to argue something that rehashes debates that were won and lost in the 1970’s & 80’s.

        I disagree that in the absence of cognisance we ought to define any collection of living human cells as having rights in the same sense that you seem to want to apply to embryos at conception. On that basis you might even be hard pushed to treat cancers.

        You don’t actually agree that choice means choice at all though. What you say instead is that you what to define what choice should be in terms of how you would prefer to limit it. That as the case may be is your choice. Most women however seem to want to have the choice to control their fertility far more that you’re willing to concede. Choice also means having to accept the decisions of others with which you may on occasion disagree, realising at the same time that you’re not them so the responsibility for that decision is not your own and nor are you in any real position to disagree with them on that basis.

        • Hypocritophobe August 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

          …and, supporting ‘Real choice’ means speaking OUT against a bigoted established religious viewpoint,(simply because it’s just plain wrong) and not subservient, obsequious obedience.

          Being lectured by ‘the faithful’ is another form of human rights abuse.

          Yes HG,everyone is entitled to THEIR view, but sadly, the cheer squad,are not espousing ‘their’ view,in any way,shape or form.

          A troll is still a troll,despite engaging in good cop-bad cop ‘personas’.
          The christian zealots stick out like dogs balls.Poor dogs.

        • Anonymous August 7, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

          @hudsongodfrey
          Thanks for the reply,
          In regards to your point, to put it simply, cancer will continue to be cancer and an embryo will continue to be a person, so on that basis it’s quite clear that you treat cancer and no need to ‘treat’ an embryo.
          When it comes to choice, I believe I was right in the first instance. If I hold that a person’s life begins at conception, then it becomes more than mere personal choice, because there is another life involved. If it were the case that life has not began until there is some sort of self awareness then I would obviously agree with you.

          • hudsongodfrey August 8, 2012 at 12:32 am #

            The potential for anything that’s growing to develop as it may is obvious such that while nobody has a bumper sticker saying “advanced melanoma on board”, it is also true that no everyone wants children. So while I know the comparisons I made can be disarming I do find that what you’re saying bears a deeply unkind inference towards women in particular whose maternal instincts are called to question if they don’t happen to regard the product of every sexual liaison as a miraculously welcome event.

            Overall though I think the part of what I’m expressing that you’re really not understanding at all is the the choices of others is not your preserve to judge. It is to she who most particularly bears the consequences upon whom the responsibility must fall and upon whom it is incumbent to decide to do as she ultimately sees fit with her own body.

            The alternative in cases where we would disagree is to force women to carry to term against their will. Would you do this? I doubt that you would. When the question itself has to be asked few who oppose choice have the courage of their convictions to even supply an answer. The fact is that if you reply in the affirmative then you contravene the limits of reciprocity of tolerance whereupon all your freedoms and mine are in the balance.

            So you may like to inform choice but I simply don’t see how either taking it away or making it a choice that has to involve surgery over a morning after pill makes things better for anyone. It seems to me to be a victory for self righteous arbiters of other people’s business over an ethical choice that women ought to be able to exercise to control their fertility.

      • gerard oosterman August 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

        Equally, voices of those not wanting to be part of live are also not being heard. Why do we assume at all times that the potential of life is always a positive one?

        • Anonymous August 7, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

          I agree, but who is to say who has a good life or going to have a good one?
          It reminds me of a video I seen on Facebook regarding this tough question.

          To be honest I’ve only been able to watch it once, as it’s quite emotional.

          • Goku August 8, 2012 at 12:02 am #

            Sorry i didn’t intend to put the actual video within the post not sure how to remove it?
            And some reason didn’t come up with my ID.

            • hudsongodfrey August 8, 2012 at 1:07 am #

              Yes it embeds don’t sweat it.

              It is a concerning video on a number of levels, none of which seem fit for the purpose for which you’d seem to want to use it. Maybe the mother wants to believe a version of events that has a happy ending. Who wouldn’t. But despite deformities that leave the poor boy with an oddly smiley faced visage I really don’t know that this is at all a well child. I feel afraid that he may well be consigned to a short and rather joyless existence. But it is good that he is loved even if he can’t know love himself and if this woman is truly happy with her decision and it truly can’t be said to cause harm then I want less to criticise her than to make hers into a poster child for a decision that probably very few women would willingly make.

              I know growing up and encountering kids with disabilities that their experience of life and mine of meeting them was not altogether negative just because they had a disability. And that people will quote that thing about Beethoven’s mother being apocryphally syphilitic, or say what if we’d aborted Stephen Hawking. But think about the standard you’re asking expectant mothers to live up to here and realise for one moment what you’re asking and you should know that it is an unreasonable imposition of the highest order.

              So if you want to buy into the glurge assualt and let it wash over you believing that kid is some kind of miracle, then realise at the same time the chances such a delivery would end even that well are slight, so that most of the time we’re discussing an even sadder and more brutal reality.

              If the risk we’re discussing is about medically intervening to actually prolong the type of life that is liable to be lived in considerable pain or without any real quality then this is to strive officiously to preserve a life that would otherwise take a natural course that may well be infinitely more merciful.

              Once again you’d be heaping shame and approbation on women who in all good conscience are being asked or in some cases perhaps coerced into taking on what could potentially be a similar responsibility to the woman in the video. I’m sorry to have to say it but is really hard to know or even to feel persuaded by this that she’s actually made the right decision here.

              And what’s with the handwritten signs?

              • Hypocritophobe August 8, 2012 at 9:35 am #

                When the religious trolls need to use other peoples misery and emotional blackmail they will.(Hence delving to ‘shock’ vids)
                You will find more concerned zealots picketing abortion clinics and the Drum abortion blogs,than you ever will where sick and suffering people are,or where pedos thrive,or where war mongers speak.
                Gutless and self righteous hypocrites,one and all.

              • Goku August 8, 2012 at 10:10 am #

                Sorry again for the video, I never meant to impose it upon the comment section by embedding it and would be happy to have JW remove that comment.
                The video was neither an argument for or against, but simply one that seemed to provoke thought on the issue that Gerard commented on, and all the points you raise are exactly right and seem to arise within me as well.
                Though I can not question peoples existence as hard as it may seem to me. I would have to concede that my view on preserving life would impose a responsibility upon women and one that the government as it is, would probably not implement well.
                Though the current system definitely seems to lean the other way. My wife and I are expecting our second child and the doctors first response to the positive test was “do you want to keep it”! Her sister also had a doctor deliver the news as “I have some bad news”. This can only lead me to believe that women are seeking abortions more often than I thought and merely due to the lack of safe sex practice and the inconvenient result of it, considering there is no test at the early stage to reveal the health of the embryo (apart from the implantation) in the first place.

                • Hypocritophobe August 8, 2012 at 10:26 am #

                  This is more church trolling.You leap from one distraught exaggeration to the next.
                  If any such conversation as you allege,really happened between you and the doctor I will eat Uluru.
                  Either ““do you want to keep it”! and “I have some bad news” are pure bullshit,or you are rehearsing a soap opera and trialling the predictable ACL type script on us.
                  The only reason a Dr would say either thing is if there were some medical reason fore doing so,and the fake words you spout, are not those they would use.
                  Hang your head,liar.Troll.

                  Your last [paragraph proves your agenda as it ‘again’ is based on more lies and propagnda.

                  “There must be more abortions,because us zealots want there to be to prove our point.’
                  Well,there aint.

                • hudsongodfrey August 8, 2012 at 11:55 am #

                  The one other point that I would and should have made in relation to the issues you raised, as opposed to what I’d put forward earlier, is that the circumstances surrounding late term abortions and use of the morning after pill are miles apart from one another. So in that sense I think the video’s a bit of a red herring.

                  What Jennifer is really on about here is Abbott presuming to interfere with choice in the vast majority of terminations that occur much earlier on.

                  I’m happy for you that you’re experiencing a welcome impending birth and visualising the future potential of that child in the making. But that probably means that I can’t begin to feel the same sense of joy you’re experiencing any more than you or I can step into the shoes of women for whom a termination is a most welcome relief from circumstances that might otherwise have been quite devastatingly beyond their control.

                  Sometimes I think we have to look at these issues in terms other than whether we can or cannot empathise fully with others. We need to understand that sometimes our empathy being limited by our lack of experience lets us down in that regard. When it comes to the kind of choice that falls to someone else to make in what is reportedly good conscience then many times I think the only reasonable response is to take their word for it.

                  • Goku August 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

                    Sorry for the late reply,
                    Again the link was just pointing out a case slightly off the main issue, that someone else had commented on, not meant to divert at all.
                    I guess (obviously) that our main disagreement would be exactly when life begins. Though would you still hold the same view if it were to be proven that life began at conception?
                    Just reading unnecessary comments above and other comments below, I’ve decided to refrain from commenting on any of the articles, given that I am a christian and my views (to some) seem to be preceded by the notion that my mind is not capable of rational thought. Though I will continue to read the occasional post as I appreciate JW articles, even though I may not agree with them some of the time.
                    What does confuse me is the inability for some people who may not believe there is design, order, or a creator to understand, that those who do are simply trying to find answers like everybody else, or worse ridicule them for it. For me to debate is one thing, but I can not prove to you that god exists nor could you disprove it.
                    To also assume that people who follow a religion may have some type of mental deficiency is plain ignorant, considering the amount of individuals who have believed in god while achieving massive breakthroughs and advances in human history, so much so that I need not name one as there would be a plethora to choose from.
                    The comments above is in no way a defense for Tony Abbott (I would not consider him in that group of elites mentioned earlier, nor would I prefer him to be leading this country or a triathlon in which I am placed second for that matter, given his preference of swim wear), merely a defense for, the theists I guess, in general.

                    • hudsongodfrey August 10, 2012 at 1:01 am #

                      You asked a question so I’ll offer a brief answer. Life begins before conception and continues the ongoing process of change and rebirth through reproduction. The egg and sperm are not dead when they meet. They don’t impart life. They simply create a new instance of the kind of creature their DNA codes for. It is only in the case of humans that we appear to have any difficulty at all with this question, and when it does arise the real distinction that we can make scientifically is between life and the kind of individual that knows that it is alive or experiences pain if it is harmed.

                      When you ask these questions and receive rational answers then whether or not others are liable to respect your rationality rather depends on how you employ it. Certainly by answering this one I’m banking you not being totally irrational. Otherwise I’d be wasting my time?

                      But you do see now, I hope, what you’d have to prove to have an impact upon people’s judgement as to why at conception the zygotes don’t automatically qualify for a pension right off the bat. There’s more to the matter than that, but that’s certainly enough in terms of your questions to explain why a good many people more readily approve of early terminations and therefore RU486.

                      Adult people who believe their cats are reincarnations of Elvis and Cleopatra generally suffer an immediate consequence in ill concealed laughter. Depending on your relationship with other facts there may be very little reason to respect beliefs that are either ludicrous or regressive in terms of their social consequences.

                      That we may not immediately convince you of this but have to keep trying is not a matter of ill intention towards yourself but towards ideas that stand in the way of the kind of enlightenment our society might otherwise obtain for itself. It may for the moment be a good consolation prize if, as appears to be the case, you at least intend not to vote for Abbott :)
                      I can think of a plethora of reasons completely unrelated to religion why I wouldn’t want to do so either!

                    • 730reportland August 10, 2012 at 6:09 am #

                      hudsongodfrey @Aug10 1.01am

                      “Life begins before conception“
                      #derp

                    • doug quixote August 10, 2012 at 7:14 am #

                      Very cute HG. Perhaps we should refer them back to Penn Jillette? That link is worth reposting!

                    • Hypocritophobe August 10, 2012 at 9:22 am #

                      “What does confuse me is the inability for some people who may not believe there is design, order, or a creator to understand, that those who do are simply trying to find answers like everybody else, or worse ridicule them for it.”
                      How surprising of you to say so.Not.

                      It surprises me that you said it out loud.

                      It also surprises me how gullible people are.How easily manipulated.How blind to facts.How subservient to their master.How gutless to stand up for the weak,poor,damaged,down trodden,dispossessed and sick.
                      Very big on anti abortion,anti nudity, anti Muslim,though.
                      It also surprises me that the same basket cases pollute the ABC and other places with hate filled diatribes and still have the audacity to boast Christian tolerance.
                      Oh well I guess if you chop and change your pseudonym enough times Jesus may just lose track of the little sheep kins.
                      Pathetic.

                      There are many things which confuse you.They are called facts.
                      You’re a hypocrite and liar.

  4. doug quixote August 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Just one more good reason to reject Abbott. There may be hundreds of other good reasons. This man should be on 5% approval (guess who). What is wrong with the electorate? Can they all be brainwashed – no, on second thoughts don’t answer that . . .

    • Christine Says Hi August 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      I can’t understand it either. Anyone who actually pays attention to what he says and is not afraid must have a very warped world view.

    • helvityni August 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      …sorry, but feel like saying what the fuck is with you Aussies…really, who on earth would think that Abbott would be suitable to be a PM…many in this country seem to think so…WHY???

      • Hypocritophobe August 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

        Careful Helvi.They’ll send you home.

        • helvityni August 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

          Wow Hyps, are ‘they’ willing to pay my fare (first class)… :)

          • Hypocritophobe August 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

            If Abbot gets in, I will squeeze in you carry on luggage.

    • paul walter August 10, 2012 at 2:11 am #

      Just briefly, for the conceptive term “life” to be meaningful, to me infers a requirement relating to consciousness and I can’t see Goku’s reasoning, as encapsulated in that plaintive little hypothetical about life being some how “proved” to be conscious at the zygotic stage being as sufficient or necessary to preclude from women the right to chose whether to continue with gestation, at that stage.
      My educated guess would be to lean more toward Prof.Peter Singer’s contention that consciousness only actualises some time after birth after birth.
      Of course in the unlikely event that conciousness existed prior to birth, perhaps in the third trimester, it would make abortion less palatable to women, which is why so few apparently terminate, even after the revelation of severe medical defects emerging in a growing foetus which is the usual reason to seek termination.
      How much more sensible then,to allow the use of RU486 as a form of defacto contraception, before any meaningful possibly of life in the truer sense is apparent.

  5. Christine Says Hi August 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    Thanks for this post, a good read!

    As I’m sure you know, Mifepristone is not (usually) indicated for pregnancy termination beyond the first trimester, so while for many Australian women it would be an ideal solution, but for others not.

    It might also be worth noting that at the current time, Australian abortion providers which do have access to Mifepristone, mostly charge only very slightly less for it than providing a surgical abortion.

    While this is understandable in the case of sole practitioners and smaller providers in terms of cost recovery, in the case of large scale providers ~ particularly international corporations ~ there does seem to be an element of charging women more because they can.

    Until Mifepristone is more readily available this looks likely to continue, keeping both surgical and medical abortion out of the reach of women without ready, and often substantial, financial resources.

    • Jennifer Wilson August 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

      Hi, Christine, I was wondering about the cost of the drug. I think some of the clinics charge reasonably, or subsidise but not all, of course.

      • paul walter August 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

        Abbott is a huge problem, the very final quote is absolutely damning.
        Typical Lyons Forum stuff, which means you have to look at religious conservatism right across politics.
        The paradigm is the notorious recent case in Queensland where a young couple had to go offshore to secure RU 486 and were then put through the legal wringer for their transgression.
        When it came to the clinch, both the Natlib opposition and a large chunk of the ALP linked to suppressed legal change and relief for the young people involved.
        The ultimate aim of social conservatism is the dumbing down of thought and dissent to reproduce old and failed socio cultural mechanism, on behalf of people who can’t or won’t adapt to life’s realities and are damned if they will let anyone else adapt either.
        Hence Conroy’s dumbing down of public broadcasting- pure Abbottism- and Roxon’s new internet surveillance laws to filter out real information that people need to avoid insecurity and the manipulation that goes with it.
        The abortion “control” issue is one manifestation.
        Another example of consequence would be the example in the USA, where an ignorant individual unable to cope with reality, armed by the self-will run riot gun culture, walked into a Sikh temple in a deranged attempt to rid himself of his phantoms, murdering worshippers and a police officer before being shot himself.
        In a healthier, more rational emotional climate, such people just aren’t going to eventuate, but the problem is, this is Fox World and the people who are listened to in anxious, information starved times, are the likes of Alan Jones locally and Michelle Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh, in the US.
        Sexual repression is of course a vital ingredient in ramping up irrationality, emotionality; fear, guilt and loathing, so necessary for the maintenance of a hierarchic feudal system ruled by the ignorantly unreflexive over the ignorantly unreflexive.
        Civilisation by virtual lobotomy?

        • Sam Jandwich August 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

          Heh, that’s a great analogy Paul! And pretty much exactly what it feels like.

          In fact, I wonder what Abbott’s position is on lobotomy as a treatment for mental illness?

          • Jennifer Wilson August 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

            I am now going to see Moliere’s “School for Wives.” I don’t know how to feel about this.

            • paul walter August 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

              Attend with a humble mind, you may yet be teachable. Remember, many women are offered guidance, just think Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise.

              • paul walter August 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

                I understand Cruise is to play Arnolphe in the film adaptation, with Angelina Jolie as Agnes.

                • paul walter August 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

                  You know, a good double would include Abbotts interpretation of “Candide”, where the protagonists learn under various excruciating circumstances that, no matter how shitty the situation befalling them, it’s in the service of the “best of all possible worlds”.

            • samjandwich August 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

              Hysterical I should imagine :-)

  6. gerard oosterman August 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Is it not about ‘choice’.? Noone is for abortion, not even those that seek it. It’s not as if it is some kind of benefit or electric gadget. Sometimes it might be the best choice under the circumstances. Of course, a man speaking about it is a bit haughty or pretentious. It can’t be an easy choice to make, but a choice it has to be.

  7. doug quixote August 8, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    They look at abortion as if it is a single action.

    Looked at properly the question is :

    “Should a person be forced to carry an unwanted foetus to full term ie for 9 months, to then give birth and to thereafter look after an unwanted child until that child is at least 16 years of age? ”

    If the answer is yes, this is a society I would rather not support.

  8. 730reportland August 8, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Mr-Rabbit and his mob of feral bunnies just can`t help themselves.
    This reminds me of the John W Howard regime crushing NTs
    VU law. They won`t stop trying to meddle in the very personal
    decisions of citizens. Give em hell Jen. Great Post.

    • hudsongodfrey August 8, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      The real decision the proprietor has to make is whether her presence compliments or harms his business. And it is in the nature of business that those kinds of decisions are for the most part more or less arbitrary on the owner’s part.

      But then I think proprietors should be entitled to make those kinds of decisions if only because to take that away from businesses forces them to accept custom that may for any number of other reasons be detrimental to their trade. I simply can’t see that as being a palatable prospect.

      You have to remember that if the proprietor’s decision seems arbitrary then his clients are at even greater liberty to arbitrarily pick and choose where they stay. After all who’d want the room next door? How many people would be uncomfortable with her presence there and that of her clients etc….

      So if the proprietor sees fit not to offer her accommodation then I don’t see that they can be compelled to accept her custom. The fact that they’d want to do so by seeming prudish and confrontational about it might be questionable. Perhaps it is just fodder for the media. Either way by other means and for other reasons the proprietor is probably within their rights to be able to get rid of her.

      • Hypocritophobe August 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

        “So if the proprietor sees fit not to offer her accommodation then I don’t see that they can be compelled to accept her custom.”

        And that’s just how this whole myth about Jesus began…..
        Which is another reason to let her rattle the floorboards.

        The owner would be chuffed if the blokes were doing the room booking and not the hooker.
        Why imagine the turnover given the prevalence of PE in Aussie men.

        I bet the toilet is getting a workout.

        • hudsongodfrey August 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

          I assume you’re referring to the Biblical encounter with an innkeeper as part of the account of how Jesus came to be born in a stable etc…. I dunno that this part of the Gospels is all that threatening, though it is one of THE outstanding candidates for most concocted passage. There was never any census, no record of anyone ever being forced to return to their birthplaces as a requirement of census taking, nothing to support the star of Bethlehem myth, and no independent accounts of the slaughter of innocents. There were however compelling symbolic reasons for them wanting to make the whole thing up to do with linking the messiah to the house of David while weaving in virgin birth mythology etc… In short, a nice story perhaps, but a risible premise to rival the talking snake. Probably not something apologists want to emphasise…

          Back in the real world I looked up a couple of websites after pondering the implications of this story and it turns out that traders do seem to have rights to refuse service without explanation. Whereas if an explanation was offered that relied upon discriminatory reasons then you can see how they’d be forced to reconsider. That’s probably what happened in this case.

          What seems to emerge is a kind of anomalous legal situation whereby if traders can enforce a dress code as broad as “no shoes, no shirt = no service”, then they could theoretically as easily pursue racist policies just so long as they don’t admit it!

          And that is worrying! But I still reckon I’d have been fairly pissed off by the morning if I’d the room next door.

          • Hypocritophobe August 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

            It isn’t about whether the fictional manger fable is threatening,it is what the cause and affect of the initial lie has become in a political/social sense.
            I give you exhibit A-the USA.
            Failing that I usher in Ex B, the Southern Baptist belt.
            Ex C is here and now, and growing daily.

            PS
            In the USA the copycats massacres appear to have begun,with the latest Sikh murders a product of the White Supremacy movement.
            Oh dear,who could see that coming.
            A red-neck with a gun confusing one non-white ethnic group with another,and killing them ‘just in case’.

            • hudsongodfrey August 9, 2012 at 12:02 am #

              I think you could have started with the crusades and ended with them if you’d have wanted to. And the idea that ignorance is it’s own reward should hardly surprise anyone.

              You see I’m always circumspect about blaming anything on religion simply because if it isn’t true then the real culprits simply have to be humans with bad ideas. Or should I say humans who started with a good idea, found it empowering and then let the power go to their heads.

              Either way blaming the world’s ills on religion almost seems to lend it a credibility that I figure is proportionally diminished as the ills increase. To go the other way and say that religion, or any other ideology, must be awfully powerful that it “causes” men to kill and die for it seems altogether the antithesis of reason to me. If only we’d remind ourselves that the message of preaching peace and love has demonstrably failed in the most abject fashion when clearly people have done the very opposite in their god’s name.

              • doug quixote August 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

                Ah, but is it the chicken or the egg?
                Is it that one becomes a nutter because of religion,
                Or is it rather that the nutter ‘finds’ religion?

                • hudsongodfrey August 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

                  I’ve heard it put in all seriousness that some of the more inspirational gnostics and oracles of ancient times might well have been suffering from the kinds of delusions would be recognised today as mental illnesses. The theory goes that in times when superstition was rife and distinctions between magic and religion far blurrier than today such individuals were taken for shamans and soothsayers at their word.

                  We shouldn’t put too much emphasis on this in the case of ordinary activism we disagree with but many will also have heard of God helmets and the neurology of temporal lobe disorders wherein subjects can be caused to experience quite powerful religious delusions due to stimulation or damage of certain parts of the brain. It raises the very real question as to whether all brains are created equal.

                  But if there is anything to those notions then I’m afraid that assuming that we’re the sane ones would only make us more or less as solipsistic as Mr Abbott. Who we know is mad of course… because his eyes are too close together :)

                  • Hypocritophobe August 9, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

                    You really are the cold spoon HG.

                    • hudsongodfrey August 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

                      Does that mean I get rid of the dark circles under your eyes? :)

                  • doug quixote August 10, 2012 at 7:04 am #

                    As for being the sane ones, all the world is mad save for me and thee, and I’m not so sure about thee . . .

                    To address your serious point, I have very little doubt that every religious revelation is a direct result of mental delusions, stimulated by certain drugs or induced by sensory deprivation, or a result of endorphins and the like released as a result of physical suffering.

                    Every last one of them.

                    • Hypocritophobe August 10, 2012 at 9:35 am #

                      Aaagh yes.The voices in the head.We all know what damage that phenomenon has brought upon the world.A short step removed from waving a flag,thumping a Bible,bombing a medical clinic or culling a high school/picture theatre/work place/army base/Sikh community (insert other innocent target base).
                      Why even Denis Leary recognised the trend.Ahead of his time.
                      http://www.lyricstime.com/denis-leary-voices-in-my-head-lyrics.html

                      I think Abbott should use Leary’s greatest hit single for his campaign song.

                    • hudsongodfrey August 10, 2012 at 10:29 am #

                      I think you can believe things that aren’t true or simply mistaken without being clinically insane, especially if you’re indoctrinated from birth. It doesn’t even have to be the kind of brainwashing indoctrination that cults practice. All you really need is an environment where all or most of the people you know profess the same beliefs and nobody or no thing gives you cause to challenge it.

                      What I was referring to was more aligned with a historical perspective on how people who may have been regarded as oracles or prophets came up with the idea of god in the first place. Which is just to say that because there have been simply thousands of gods and mythologies there must have been a rather great number of them that started with a misbegotten impulse of some kind. The only truly remarkable thing about any of this is the propensity for a majority of seemingly sane people to have followed the mad mystics into eventually building a tradition around their addled brained visions.

  9. Hypocritophobe August 10, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    “The only truly remarkable thing about any of this is the propensity for a majority of seemingly sane people to have followed the mad mystics into eventually building a tradition around their addled brained visions.”

    …and then sitting cross legged on the floor and gulping down the kool aid?

    Nothing remarkable really,given we go to war if there’s nothing good on TV.

    • hudsongodfrey August 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Sure I guess it can be as extreme as duping people into drinking cyanide laced cordial or living their lives according to their engrams or their horoscope, but the fact remains that most religious people are of the milder variety. Many are cultural Christians, Jews etc, others are on the fence about some of their churches’ dogmas and even our mate Goku here, who you gave a bit of a spray to, doesn’t, if I’ve read correctly, think he’ll be voting for Abbott.

      With all that in mind, and granted that I’ve just pointed out some pretty strong reasons to doubt religiosity, I’d tend to the view that anyone being confident that god does not exist regards theism as a purely social and cultural construct leaving us no less subject in its absence to the same morality that we’ve all always shared. So at the end of the day I think the thing to do is to look at the overall picture considering that life without religion isn’t likely to be all that different give or take the absence of a certain type of justification to bigotry among those who’ll probably find themselves another excuse to be arseholes without much trouble.

      • Hypocritophobe August 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

        Or to paraphrase the coffee mug,” Life without religion is like a fish without a bicycle….”

        • hudsongodfrey August 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

          Or as the ever upbeat Tom Lehrer once said, “Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put in.” :)

          • Hypocritophobe August 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

            The problem is people keep flushing body parts, tampons,drugs,spew,fish and condoms (etc) down the s-bend.
            So even the sewer,is heavily compromised by things it ‘weren’t’ meant to digest.

            That said,I like a good sewer.One that works,as it should.

            • hudsongodfrey August 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

              I think it was meant to be metaphorical rather than one of the opening scenes from the movie trainspotting.

              • Hypocritophobe August 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

                Looks like we may agin choose to travel different rails,then, HG.

                Hopefully we both choose life.

                “Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got God?”

                • hudsongodfrey August 11, 2012 at 10:33 am #

                  I think we all like to think we choose differently, or a little more differently than we actually do.

                  What you seem to be questioning is whether a kind of lifestyle conformity that the conservative mainstream projects has any appeal to those of us who’d prioritise living an examined life. Whereas if the metaphor I used earlier is to draw the same parallel then it is that in examining the detritus of the lives we’ve lead we may reveal something unpleasant about their true worth.

                  I think we understand the choices we make well enough to know something is actually wrong with the kind of selfishness that often goes unchallenged in our society.

                  Surely there’s a difference between a person who believes in a life of service to their religion, their political party or even their favourite football club, as opposed to one who helps others altruistically regardless of how they account for their inspiration.

  10. Mischelle Magrin August 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    Great site!;) I must say though I agree with everything you say regarding the archaic religious right views of Abbott..but your comment – ‘ If, for example, you are a single mother who’s youngest child is about to turn eight, you are facing a reduction in your weekly payments of up to $60 as the Gillard government moves you from parenting benefits to the Newstart allowance in order to save itself some $700 million.’. that sounds like Murdoch Liberal spin – .This is not quite fair..I know of single mum’s who have gone on to Newstart and were helped by the Gillard Gvt to get back into the work force..thats what it’s all about..giving single mum’s a chance to gain employment and a productive life…As always the true message behind all of Julia’s great support of women in need is trashed by the media and morphed into a lie.

  11. Earle mcintosh August 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Tony Abbott is a Legend and will be a great PM.Go Tony your a winner .

    • helvityni August 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Earle, and Australia……will be a loser; single mums , pensioners, working people, public schools, public health, arts , movie making, literature prizes, environment, mental health, public housing……all losers, and Australia will be a hard-hearted fifties place, no migrant ,no asylum seeker will want to come here….maybe for you that will be a good thing.

      • helvityni August 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

        …and the rednecks like you and Pauline Hanson will celebtrate with yet another beer, what a hollow victory….

    • 730reportland August 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      Earle. And Mr-Rabbits detailed policy`s you prefer are?
      Or is this just more thought-free cheer-leading from
      sheep who follow the baby cheeses?
      Leadership requires much, much more.

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