Joyce not clear on the concept
Sunday November 20th 2005, 11:43 am

mmm mmm goodWhen interviewed by the ABC’s Monica Attard for Sunday Profile, Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce stated that he believes victims of rape who become pregnant should carry to term:

Monica Attard:

Do you believe that if a woman is raped, falls pregnant as a result of that rape that she should be forced to continue to term?

Senator Barnaby Joyce:

No I don’t think she should be forced to continue to term, but I don’t think that the child is the, I don’t think the child of that rape has done anything wrong.

Monica Attard:

Well certainly not, but she shouldn’t be forced to continue to term and have that child?

Senator Barnaby Joyce:

Yes, well that’s the position. I don’t think that society will ever get to the point, that will be an exceptional circumstance it will never come on board that that person should be forced to continue with that.

Monica Attard:

But you’d prefer it if she did continue to term because otherwise you believe that the child is being punished?

Senator Barnaby Joyce:

Well I think it’s, you know that’s a question for her. When we get drawn into these specific you know, absolutely abhorrent situations and then cast that as a generalisation across every termination is using the exception to prove the rule. It’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about is the one in three pregnancies that, and I mean no one wins from abortion. There are no winners, everybody is left hurt, there is no such thing as a panacea that this fixes things up. It just leaves so much hurt, there has to be a better way of at least reducing the number of abortions and I don’t think anybody’s got an argument about that.

Monica Attard:

And so it shouldn’t be necessarily and strictly speaking a woman’s choice?

Senator Barnaby Joyce:

I think it should be a case of a wide and open debate as to exactly how many people’s lives are involved in this. I mean at what stage Monica exactly did someone have the right to terminate your life?

Barney, let’s get our terms straight: if you’re not changing its nappies and feeding it, it’s not a child, it’s a foetus. A foetus is part of a woman’s body, not unlike her liver or elbows, until she gives birth. A woman has the ultimate right to choose what she wants to do with her elbows and liver. Why can’t she control her uterus and/or her foetus without some man’s approval? Worse, when she’s already been violated in the worst imaginable way, why should our laws victimise her yet again?


Hat tip to The Daily Flute.

14 Comments so far
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What exactly is the point of Joyce’s last question to Monica?
‘A baby is fully and completely born when it is completely delivered from the body of its mother and it has a separate and independent existence in the sense that it does not derive its power of living from its mother. It is not material that the child may still be attached to its mother by the umbilical cord; that does not prevent it from having a separate existence. But it is required, before the child can be the victim of murder or of manslaughter or of infanticide, that the child should have an existence separate from and independent of its mother, and that occurs when the child is fully extruded from the mothers body and is living by virtue of the functioning of its own organs.’

Comment by suki 11.20.05 @ 1:34 pm

I’m sure Barmey means well but he’s a man and while he has a right to his view, he doesn’t have a right to impose it on women. If he had prostate cancer and I said I was sorry but cancer cells had a right to live then it would sound just as stupid.

Comment by JahTeh 11.20.05 @ 2:22 pm

How on earth do ignorant fools like this end up in politics! But imagine how awful to live daily with a man with such an opinionated, arrogant and sexist attitude. Yeah – perhaps he should be voted ‘father of the year 2006’. What is happening in this country to our CHOICES, OUR RIGHTS !

Comment by Morgan 11.20.05 @ 4:43 pm

Rape – The facts

RAPE. Excluding homicide, rape is the crime most devastating to its victims. Whether it be the parent of a daughter late in coming home or the lone woman leaving work at night, the fear of sexual assault is very real, very alive. Some would define it as the ultimate act of savagery against women. But, regardless of how it is defined, rape damages the physical, mental and social well-being of its victims. In addition to the trauma of the physical attack (assuming the victim survives), there is the very real threat of contracting AIDS, venereal disease, or other infection from the attacker. But in regard to long-term damage, mental harm usually presents the greatest problem. Psychological manifestations following rape are referred to as “the rape trauma syndrome.”1

The Shock Phase
There are three stages a woman normally goes through after the assault.2 The first is the “shock” phase. This can last from several days to several weeks. The victim exhibits disbelief, anxiety and fear. She also tends to blame herself; guilt and self-hatred are common. Not only does she lose trust in her own judgment, she loses trust in others to respect or empathize with her. Effects of rape trauma syndrome include insomnia, nightmares, loss of appetite, irritability, and depression, usually accompanied by headache, nausea, and stomachache. These effects can be ongoing and chronic unless there is support for the victim from qualified personnel as well as family members and friends.

The Adjustment Phase
Phase two is the adjustment phase. It can appear several days to several weeks after the rape, depending on the coping mechanisms of the victim as well as the amount of damage the rapist inflicted on her emotionally. The greater the humiliation (i.e., being forced to say she “loved it” or performing degrading acts) or fear for her life, the longer it takes to get to this phase. She loses interest in seeking help and wants to talk less about her experience. The physical distress diminishes and the nightmares lessen. It is not unusual at this stage for the victim to reorganize her life. She may move, change her job, or her phone number. At about six weeks following the rape, as she is just beginning to cope, she must go in to be tested for pregnancy or the presence of a sexually-transmitted disease.3

The Integration Phase
Finally, the integration phase follows. At first, the victim may withdraw from contact with other people. Her depression may return, and she will have to deal with her feelings. Some women return to counseling. But others do not. “Over 19 percent of rape victims and 9% of attempted rape victims had attempted suicide. This is compared with a 2.2 percent rate for nonvictims of any crime. In addition, 14 percent of rape victims reported experiencing nervous breakdowns following the assault.”4 Rape can sever relationships, permanently change a victim’s outlook, or result in emotional illness.


Comment by Kate G 11.20.05 @ 5:39 pm

Victims of rape also account for a significant amount of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnoses.

Comment by suki 11.20.05 @ 6:13 pm

Erm, what happened to that Bill of Rights post?

Comment by Evan 11.21.05 @ 9:47 am

Don’t know what you mean, Evan- it’s still there. Is it not displaying for you? Try doing a SHIFT+(click)RELOAD and see if it reappears.

Comment by weezil 11.21.05 @ 10:05 am

Hi Evan, this was a really odd problem. The Bill of Rights post appeared OK on my machine in Firefox, but did not display in IE. I talked to Suki and she found that she could not see the post in Firefox on her machine. I opened the post for editing and saved it again- now it appears with all browsers on all machines. Strange. Fixed, now, though. 🙂

Comment by weezil 11.21.05 @ 9:49 pm

One word, ASIO. You said they’d get you.

Comment by JahTeh 11.22.05 @ 6:17 am

Hi Suki

My personal opinion is that all women should have the right to make to make decisions about their own bodies. I chose this particular article because I felt it portrayed a fairly rounded summary of the distress and trauma experienced by a rape victim, as one can ever put in writing. Ironically this article was taken from a pro-life site who then proceeded to calmly declare that if falling pregnant through rape, you should still keep the ” unborn child”. A rather strange conclusion after they had just produced such horrifying facts, including the statistics of 19% of rape victims attempt suicide. As a devout atheist, I find it quite abhorrent that abortion arguments are often governed by religious critics. I would suggest Barnaby Joyce like many other politicians who spout crap, has very little knowledge on the subject. Rape victims are traumatised enough without the likes of Barnaby Joyce making crass and unhelpful comments.

Comment by Kate G 11.22.05 @ 5:14 pm

JT, I think this was a foible in the copy of WordPress I am running. Not much more nefarious than that, I’m afraid, though if me & my entire blog disappear one day, you’d probably be right to ask some questions!

Comment by weezil 11.22.05 @ 6:34 pm

Joyce is so far out of his depth it’s scary. Just as well the plight of the country isn;t in his hands.

Oh, hang on…

Comment by Ben 11.23.05 @ 12:47 pm

Has Barnaby Joyce thought through what he is proposing with regard to a woman parenting a child that is the product of rape?
The pregnancy and birth aside, as this child grows and wants to know who its father is, what would Joyce have the woman say? How would father’s day be managed? Parent/teacher nights? A father’s right to contact with their biological child? Current child support legislation would not recognise the rapist (assuming the rapist is not in a relationship with the woman) as someone they could extract child support payments from.

His whole argument reeks of a sexist notion of women and their status in society. Perhaps he even subscribes to the theory of “no means maybe”.
He should stick to accountancy. He is clearly ill-equipped on the issue of choice.

Comment by suki 11.23.05 @ 8:30 pm

Don’t worry, Suki. Marcel will foot the bill. 😀

Comment by weezil 11.23.05 @ 9:40 pm

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