I have a problem that Gray’s Anatomy hasn’t quite solved. I can’t seem to tell the difference between a uterus and an elbow. It’s not like one is magical and glows in the presence of copies of the Bible and the other doesn’t. Further, I don’t have a uterus, but I do have an elbow, so for the moment, I’ll address how I expect to be able to operate elbows.
If I fall off my barstool and break my elbow, chances are I’d need a surgery under general anaesthesia to insert a few pins and plates. The surgery itself has a high risk of complications and general anaesthesia is potentially lethal. If someone came up with a pill that could safely and effectively fix my elbow in a day or two, without the need for surgery under risky general anaesthesia, one would be foolish not to opt for the new magic elbow pill.
If politicians made the elbow pill illegal on their own personal religio-moralist grounds, I’d feel very put upon by that politician and his religion- wouldn’t you? How dare they tell me how to operate my elbow! Worse, for their personal moral reasons, they would force me to risk my life to have my elbow put right, when the current best practise medical technology makes that risk of lethality unnecessary.
This perilous position is precisely where Australian women were placed by former Tasmanian Senator Brian Harradine in 1996 when the government of the day acquiesced to his demand that the RU-486 (mifepristone) abortion pill not be approved for sale in Australia. I’d like to know how many women died from 1996 to present as a result of complications or suffered acute pain from a surgical abortion procedure when such was completely unnecessary in the majority of cases. There’s little doubt who bears responsibility for all that pain and the possibility of needless deaths of Australian women, who only wanted not to be pregnant.
An elbow is a body part. So is a uterus. If you have problems with either one, you sort out the best medical course of action with your physician. I fail to see where the politicians have any place for comment in the private operation of elbows or uteri.
RU-486 is under consideration again, absent Senator Harradine. Let’s hope there’s been a little commonsense infused in Parliament since his departure. However, if anti-choice Health Minister Tony Abbott is any indication, I’m not feeling rainbows of hope at the moment.
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