Save the babies down under. #shoutyourabortion

1 Oct

Right to choose


The Turnbull government has cancelled the visa of US anti-abortion activist Mr Troy Newman, spokesperson for the Operation Rescue group, on the grounds that he is not of good character.

There are some who’d argue Immigration Minister Peter Dutton isn’t of particularly good character either, but that’s beside the point, apparently.

There are many who’d argue that nobody associated with the current policy of permitting refugee women on Nauru and Manus Island to be raped in order to deter possible future boat arrivals has anything approaching a good character, but that is also beside the point, apparently.

In fact, one woman has reportedly been impregnated by her rapist and is seeking to come to Australia for an abortion. Will the good Mr Dutton permit her that relief, or will she be doomed by his whim, to carry and give birth to the rapist’s child?

Everywhere you look there’s a moral dilemma.

Troy Newman was visiting our country to give a speech titled “Save the babies down under” at an event organised by Right to Life Australia.

Troy’s lack of good character is apparently evidenced by his written exhortation in a book he co-authored, Their Blood Cries Out, which contains the passage: In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.

This passage has been interpreted as Newman advocating the murder of practitioners involved in abortion procedures, however, much as I loathe the sentiments he expresses, for mine, he is calling on the state, rather than individuals, to administer what he determines to be justice. There is a considerable difference, as there always is between individual acts of slaughter, and those that are sanctioned by the state.

The most powerful effect this will have is to give the Right to Life movement a martyr’s platform, and indeed, it already has as cries of denial of freedom of speech and persecution rise from their ranks. They may have a point. If what is considered negative speech is forbidden, there is no freedom of speech, alas and alack.

Also, I am not quite sure how someone calling on the state to extend capital punishment to include abortion providers is a danger to the Australian way of life. We don’t have capital punishment in the first place.

I wonder if Troy’s visa would have been cancelled under an Abbott government, given the ex-PM’s opinion that abortion is a stain on our society, and merely serves a mother’s convenience? We should, Abbott remonstrates, be haunted by the hundreds of thousands of Australians lost to abortion, which is a bit rich coming from a man whose conservative policies were neither woman nor live-child friendly.

The former PM even managed to be nationalistic about abortion. Perhaps every flag that flanked him represented thousands of Australian babies murdered at their mother’s convenience?

But fathoming the minds of the unhinged is a futile exercise: one can only hope to avoid them.

At the other end of the continuum we find the #shoutyourabortion hash tag which exhorts women to speak out about our abortions, and end the blaming and shaming that we fear will see us ostracised and maligned for choosing not to continue with a pregnancy.

As far as I can ascertain, the experience of abortion is hugely varied. For some it’s distressing and undertaken with reluctance. For some it’s an enormous relief. For some it’s not emotionally charged at all and I can’t see why any of that is the business of Troy Newman, Margaret Tighe of Right to Life, or any so-called pro-life politician of whom there are many, across the political spectrum.

I am hoping that by the time the youngest member of our family, a little girl now three weeks old, is of an age to be concerned by such matters, abortion will be no more of a social issue than any other medical procedure. That is not to say women will cease to experience personal emotions around the experience, but that they will be just that: personal emotions, un-politicised, free from the judgements of those who have absolutely nothing to do with the woman’s personal situation and will likely be the very last to help her and the foetus they’d like to forced her to carry to term.

In the meantime we must somehow survive the hypocrisy.




39 Responses to “Save the babies down under. #shoutyourabortion”

  1. Diane Pearton October 1, 2015 at 7:58 am #

    I can’t believe that here we are AGAIN, having to discuss abortion. These battles should not have to be won anew for each new generation. It’s so exhausting.

    It does worry me when anyone is denied a visa because they are ‘not of good character’. For the moment I might agree with the government’s definition, but what if it is used to deny access to someone whose politics are simply at odds with the Australian government of that time.

    We have survived a crazy zealot as PM, but what’s to say that we shan’t have another?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson October 1, 2015 at 8:59 am #

      Oh, good point about crazy zealot PM.
      Also, YES AGAIN the abortion battle…


  2. MST October 1, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    It is my understanding that the statistics Tony Abbot draws upon when he claims that over a hundred thousand abortions are performed in Australia each year are in fact based on a false premise. I know, what a surprise. Medicare apparently applies some sort of alpha and/or numeric code to every medical procedure. The procedure used for abortions has the same code as the procedure used for a dilatation and curettage (D&C). The latter procedure is also used for many medical purposes that do not include abortion. Yet the number Abbot uses to count abortions is actually just the number of times that that Medicare code is applied to the procedure.

    Liked by 3 people

    • MST October 1, 2015 at 10:46 am #

      Sorry, I meant Tony Abbott with two Ts.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 1, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

      Has that man of decidedly bad character ever told the truth about anything, except when he admitted he lied?


  3. doug quixote October 1, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    Keeping arseholes out of the country seems like a good thing to me.

    “Following the assassination of George Tiller [an abortion practitioner] in 2009, Scott Roeder [the assassin] was interviewed by Amanda Robb of Ms. magazine, stating that he had lunch with Newman and discussed using violence to stop abortion. He said that during the lunch they discussed “something like if an abortionist—I don’t even know if it was specifically Tiller…was shot, would it be justified?… And [Newman] said, “If it were, it wouldn’t upset me.”

    You can watch Newman’s own video of him acting like an arsehole in Denver.

    Liked by 3 people

    • doug quixote October 1, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

      Stop Press:

      Apparently the arsehole is now in detention at Melbourne Airport, and the airline faces a huge fine for allowing someone to fly without a visa.

      And he should be deported. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • hudsongodfrey October 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

        Well of course he’s going to fly in without a visa anyway. How else would an arsehole like that attract publicity that by playing the martyr card.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jennifer Wilson October 1, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

          The airlines don’t usually allow people to board without a valid visa. They get fined.


          • hudsongodfrey October 1, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

            Sure, and they have been fined I believe, but I really don’t care what lies he’s told or whether it makes the airline’s management arseholes into the bargain. The point is that the situation had been made clear enough to all involved, so flying here at all was almost certainly just a headline grabbing stunt to claim martyr status.

            Liked by 2 people

      • Jennifer Wilson October 1, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

        Yes, see my comments already, I don’t understand why the airline let him board unless they are in on the drama and that isn’t impossible


        • hudsongodfrey October 1, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

          I also saw and replied to some of your comments out of sequence… bygones, and yes, I reckon the airline probably weighed negative publicity had he sued against the cost of the fine and decided to give him enough rope rather than take a hit themselves.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 1, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

      Thanks for the link DQ


  4. hudsongodfrey October 1, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    An interesting set of thoughts went through my mind when I heard Newman’s visa was denied, starting with the line “We Will Decide Who Comes to This Country! … and the circumstances in which they come.”

    Then you made mention of Dutton’s character and I’d add his predecessor in Morrison for that matter, alongside a few notable right-to-lifers and the odd Shock Jock for whom deportation almost seems an attractive alternative. But we can’t, and the rationale of exposing toxic ideas to the cleansing tonic of reasoned public discourse would always be to persuade and reform these among our society’s most errant voices. A difficult civic duty to say the least, and one I can’t help noting demands an awful lot more effort of us than right to lifers bestow upon unwanted children after they’re born.

    There is of course nothing to say about the abortion issue that hasn’t been said, but I can’t help venting just a little at the righteous intolerance of those who can’t mind their own business on this.

    When you consider that progressive Catholics, and even the pope are on record for taking far more moderate positions, it doesn’t put us on the same page, but it does puts those shrill voices like Troy Newman on a level of hate they’d join us in condemning.

    When he’s that much of an outlier that he’s practically typecast in the role of cautionary tale the last thing we should care to offer him is martyr status. You were totally right to say he’d play that card, as Doug also correctly observes.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. doug quixote October 2, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    He got through because the visa was issued and then revoked. Not a usual case, thankfully.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Jennifer Wilson October 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

        The stupidity of all this! If he hadn’t been banned we’d never have heard of him!

        Liked by 1 person

        • doug quixote October 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

          You’d have heard of him all right, as he rampaged across the public platforms; if he had not received enough publicity, his followers would surely contrive an incident.

          We are well rid of him.

          Liked by 1 person

        • hudsongodfrey October 2, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

          I had heard of him as it happens, but not from Australian sources. Only because I occasionally like to watch US news clips on YouTube. I know I’d probably be an exception to the rule and take the point that it’d never have made the news media here had he not been banned…. and then deliberately sought to use the ban to court publicity…… and played the martyr card…. for all it was worth.

          I think the real debate should be whether we’re really right to assume that his attendance at events where he’d invariably be preaching to the converted would make no difference. He has called for some pretty radical stuff including advocacy for both the death penalty and what some might interpret a violent vigilantism.

          Perhaps imagining that he was a member of ISIS calling for any kind of violence or executions would help to draw the line more brightly. So in terms of setting the kind of criteria that legal deliberations tend to rely upon the fact of incitement would always trigger concern and only be slightly diminished in a less volatile context.

          Another way of saying this might be that if you and I doubt our homegrown anti-choice lobby would be moved to take up arms upon hearing this guy speak then that’s just our opinion. But as recent US shootings show us time and again a mentally unstable person with violent thoughts only need be given a reason to make lawmakers nervous enough to act on the side of caution.

          We can agree its a fallacy that Newman’s ideas couldn’t be spread on the internet, but in seeing this week’s events for what they are I’d say a signal has been sent about incitement that I don’t entirely oppose here.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson October 3, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

            Good point HG.
            However, I still fear a dangerous precedent might have been set by banning this bloke. There are many people who call for the death penalty, even in Australia but are they all mentally unstable?
            In Newman’s world view, shared by several US states, murder deserves state sanctioned death & as to him abortion is murder, logic takes him to call for the same penalties for abortion providers.
            For mine, the difference between him and Isis is that he’s calling for state sanctioned murder, not individual murderous revenge.
            Not that I’m saying its ok, just that there are many who support state sanctioned murder especially in the form of war. How can they all be banned from Australia?


  6. doug quixote October 2, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    If God is on your side, you can flout any laws of man or society.

    God says so, so there!

    He has a lot in common with the Daesh extremists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hudsongodfrey October 2, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

      Well done, I think you’ve got what I wrote covered in three lines…..

      Mind you I guess there has to be some kind of difference since you can’t do this (link below) to ISIS.

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote October 3, 2015 at 8:49 am #

        They’d like to do what Daesh do.

        The West’s veneer of civilisation and democracy means that they will attempt persuasion first, before the burning at the stake is used.

        Liked by 2 people

        • hudsongodfrey October 3, 2015 at 10:58 am #

          Even then we might need a sub-qualification. I think we know that democracy requires either bi-partisanship or broad permission to justify warfare. So there’s always “messaging” around consent within the domestic politics of a Western country that means to attack an enemy. That’s quite different from genuine diplomacy aimed at persuading an enemy to step back from the brink, and often as we know the designated enemy is a mere proxy in the competition for resources.

          To bring it back to the topic however, if we use geopolitical examples to reflect on Troy Newman then we see how different the obstacles are. It isn’t that we couldn’t engage in debate on the issues, its that debate isn’t permitted to happen not just because religion blocks it with the faith card, but because people like Troy are willing to hide behind it knowing that the entire crusade to which he owes his living and celebrity depends on prolonging the conflict to milk the issue for all its worth.


          • doug quixote October 3, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

            Hmm. If they succeeded in preventing every single abortion in the world as and from tomorrow, what would they do?

            They’d move on to other issues dear to their hearts: they will attack contraception, including RU486 and the like.

            Control of sexual behaviour would be next, with Taliban-like restrictions on fornication; as an adjunct, they would want to restrict (female) dress and curtail what they see as nudity, wherever it is found. Books, films, videos etc – what I have called the BACWA, the banning and censoring wowser agenda.

            Liked by 1 person

            • hudsongodfrey October 3, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

              When you say at the start, “if the succeeded”, it is a very big if. They won’t IMHO win while they’re led by the likes of Troy Newman. His approach reminds all but a small group of his like minded followers what most of us fear and dislike about zealots. And I think he’s probably a disingenuous leech off the gullible as are many of his ilk.

              There may be danger behind the smiling visage of the new pope meeting Kim Davis, and that does bring us back to questions of the difference between persuasion and confrontational approaches or the choice of upon whom and when either are employed.

              All I can say about that has already been neatly summarised by Hitchens who described the Abrahamic religions as a celestial North Korea wherein god made us evil and ordered we be good on pain of eternal damnation. When you take all the freedom out of free will you’re not left with anything a saner person would wish to embrace.

              Having said that much, we should know that even freedom has its limits, but they have all their work before them to show where the harm lies in choosing to ban any of the things that they object to.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson October 4, 2015 at 8:55 am #

              I agree. Such people need to control society and their desire is unsatisfiable. They are totalitarians

              Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson October 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

        Excellent link HG, thank you!


    • Jennifer Wilson October 3, 2015 at 7:21 am #

      Well, he’s just as murderous…

      Liked by 1 person

      • hudsongodfrey October 3, 2015 at 11:01 am #

        My post to Doug, in two words Cui Bono.


        • doug quixote October 4, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

          Well, who does benefit? It’s not entirely clear, and you may depend that those who benefit have ways and means to disguise their involvement and hide their profits.

          I think books have been written on the subject, and PhDs earned.

          But one place to look is the Roman Catholic Church; another is the Evangelical multi-millionaires in USA; another is conservative billionaires like Trump, the Koch brothers, the Wilks brothers.

          On the Islamic side of things, I think it is a convenient way for the fanatics of the ideology disguised as religion to overcome any opposition.


          • hudsongodfrey October 4, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

            Well, I can’t answer my own rhetorical question for all cases, but if limited to the specific question Troy whatsit is on about then I’m pretty sure the answer is stating the blatantly obvious where the merely obvious would suffice. It’s him, him and only him.

            How do I know this? Think about who else it could be, because it isn’t the barely fertilised goo, the insentient first trimester foetus. Even if the choice goes the other way what full term child receives the slightest assistance from any of these so called pro-life groups.

            If they’re not about assisting others then I think it is abundantly clear that they’re about exploiting a certain kind of bigotry for their own personal or political ends.

            Sure Sure, It’d be sweet to catch them red handed with their snouts in the trough, but there also comes a point where if you can’t assume any need or altruistic motive for somebody’s actions then the benefit of the doubt simply doesn’t favour them any longer.

            Expanding the topic to include other terrorists like ISIL, insofar as religion is a common element in their crusades an atheistic perspective leaves only one possible explanation. This is human error, often ill-intended, hiding behind spooky language to confound and manipulate susceptible people. Nothing less, and certainly nothing more.


  7. Nick October 5, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    This is not an issue of free speech or persecution. Nobody’s threatening to silence the guy or lock him up for his words.

    The guy was coming to Australia to peddle his crap about executing doctors, and charging women who’ve had abortion procedures as being guilty of pre-meditated murder.

    He was coming to Australia for the express purpose of making a tasty buck in appearance fees encouraging people to harass medical staff, and to steal and publish their personal information on the web.

    He was quite rightly denied a work visa.


    • Nick October 5, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

      What is the purpose of your visit?

      “To convince your country’s citizens that a sub-section of their population deserves to die. Failing that, to convince them that this same sub-section should be intimidated and harassed and generally have their lives made miserable in every way possible.”

      Which country does consider that to be an acceptable answer to the question?



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