on being pro-choice

January 22nd, 2007

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Perished latex that has not survived the humidity of a tropical holiday.

Pill escapees. Long before the colour-coordination of the Pill, they were all red and free to escape their foil-y calendar only to mingle and jumble into a lucky dip of go-juice and placebo.

The time when yearning is hungrier than any sensibility.
The panic, the claustrophobia, the lack-of-control that can be an unwanted pregnancy.

A large enough family.

Rape.

Disability, malformation, chronic disease.

Not blue, but pink.
Not pink, but blue.

I am pro-choice because having sex, being passionate, fucking hard and often, is not always done to conceive. Paradoxically, sex can lead to conception. Conception is not always the desired outcome. Contraception fails, or is unpleasant, or is onerous, or is forgotten, or requires assertiveness, or is overwhelming…

If we so choose, we have the right to be gloriously empty or rapturously full.

Create and maintain a pro-choice environment. If you (or someone who asks for your support) ever need to exercise your reproductive rights you will be overjoyed to see that they are still there.


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Remote uteri Control

January 13th, 2007

Women who seek help at Catholic-controlled hospitals cannot be referred to rape crisis centres that supply morning-after pills, under church policy.

I am amazed to find myself, in 2007, after years and years of Australia and Australians being by and large pro-choice, advocating yet again for the right to choose.

I’m not sure where to begin with this- the latest of Health Minister Abbott’s no-abortions agenda. Shall I start with the very real possibility of re-traumatising a woman/girl as she is forced to make her way to a chemist, without appropriate confidentiality, support or aftercare when she has just been raped, to get medication that is part of every thinking person’s expectation of non-negligent rape-counselling.
She’s been RAPED- a crime of power and control. Imagine broken bones, slashes, cuts, bruises, scratches, bites, marks, pain and, possibly, HIV, STD’s, or conception. Rape survivors representing the highest number of women/girls living with PTSD.

Interpersonal trauma more likely to be associated with PTSD- Rape 9.2% (F) Sexual molestation 5.5% (F)

The morning-after pill (Postinor-2) is not illegal, in fact you do not need a Doctor’s prescription since 01/01/04, when it was made available over the counter for about $20.00 in all non-judgmental pharmacies.

The Catholic church, through it’s policy and control of hospitals is placing an extra hurdle in front of vulnerable women /girls in our society. How can a system which exists to offer medical care justify that acute post-rape care does not involve the option to be offered the morning after-pill (Postinor-2)?

“The Code of Ethical Standards, compiled by Catholic Health Australia, says direct referral of raped women to centres that offer the morning-after pill ‘should only occur if reasonable steps have been taken to exclude the likelihood of pregnancy.’ Senior Catholic spokesmen defended the policy as a logical and ethical extension of the church’s opposition to the morning-after pill, which it considers morally no different to abortion.” -Source.

“This [The Code of Ethical Standards, compiled by Catholic Health Australia] is a long-standing policy which is consistent with the church’s position on abortion and it is not a new issue and I have no indications of any of it changing. We don’t ask individuals to take other choices, we certainly don’t try to manipulate the information so they make choices that we are happy with. We provide them with all the information and if they so choose to go down the path of termination or the pill we simply say, ‘We can’t provide it here’.” – CEO Francis Sullivan said.

This is nothing more than the Catholic church asserting it’s power over a population who moves away, rather than toward it and its beliefs. Beware of crypto-Social Workers.

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Acting with impunity

January 2nd, 2007

It is no secret that the Federal Heath minister Tony Abbott and I do not agree on much. In fact I have argued his belief system interferes with his ability to deliver health services to a pluralistic society for some time now…search ‘Abbott‘ on my blog if you want the full bile.

Today it was announced that the Centacare group, the health and welfare arm of the Catholic Church is to receive a portion of the $51 million of a four-year scheme to offer pregnancy support counseling through a new Medicare payment and a 24-hour, seven day a week telephone help line for women, their partners and their families.

This has so many implications. Firstly, the sneaky creation of a specific Medicare payment that will be able to ‘split’ what is currently covering a variety of gynaecological services as to the reason/s for the patient’s visit to a doctor. This specific Medicare number could theoretically be cross referenced with women who then go on to be admitted to the variety of gynaecological services which cover the current Medicare number… and by default get a clearer picture of what’s not going on to full-term in the uteri of the nation’s uppity women.

Then our government, perhaps using the Access Card, could link into Centrelink and find out who the women are who go on to claim a baby bonus within say, 12 months of the date of the call to the pregnancy counseling services. Perhaps our government could track who does the better pregnancy counseling service and pay productivity bonuses.

How will this specific Medicare payment record a call taken from a woman’s partner and a woman’s family? Will it make vulnerable women more or less likely to confide in their partner or family…or anyone?

“Hello is this the pregnancy counseling service? My name is Marcia and I am Steve’s mother. His girlfriend Tracey is pregnant and I am horrified to hear him talk of abortion. I don’t think Steve is comfortable about all this abortion talk, but Tracey is strong willed and I am worried about him not being able to talk Tracey into doing the right thing. I’ve told Steve and Tracey that I’m more than happy to help with the baby and could move in with them if it helps, but she keeps saying she does not want any children. Is that normal? How am I ever going to have grandchildren if she can so easily get rid of her baby? Can I give you Tracey’s number and you can talk some sense into her… “

Perhaps I am being a touch cynical, but if you trust this government or this Health Minister to be truthful, to not have an agenda or to not work towards an annual ‘acceptable’ number of abortions that it would be comfortable with, then I wish you and your reproductive rights well.

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Crud from Rudd

December 6th, 2006

Since being elected leader of the Labor party Kevin Rudd has said he offers a new style of leadership and an alternative policy platform rather than an echo of the Government. Really?

On the issue of legislation which will implement the recommendations of the Lockhart review into stem cell research, including a new process of allowing embryonic cloning, Kevin certainly has an alternative policy platform, but it’s alternative to former leader Kim Beazley. What I’m really looking for is an alternative to HoWARd.

Kevin Rudd: “I find it very difficult to support a legal regime that supports the creation of a human life for the single and explicit purpose of experimentation on that human life”

John HoWARd: “I don’t think the science has shifted enough to warrant the parliament changing its view (since the 2002 vote to ban therapeutic cloning).”

My concern is that Kevin has articulated his belief that human life begins at conception. What may be the implications on choice this may have for Australian women in the future.

The Lockhart review suggests that,

A fundamental judgement needs to be made about when a fertilised egg becomes a potential life form deserving of special ethical respect and treatment. A key recommendation of the Committee was for a clearer definition of what a human embryo is. The current statutory definition catches embryos from about the age of 22 hours to about 8 weeks. This is in stark contrast to the definition which many in the scientific community would prefer.
The UKs Warnock Committee were of the view that until the fourteenth day of development most cells of the embryo had the potential to develop into tissue which would not even form part of the ultimate foetus (such as placenta or the amniotic sac), and that cells which were identifiable as dedicated to the development of the foetus itself would not be determined until at least day 14 after conception. Defining an embryo before this stage as a ‘potential life’ therefore, according to the Warnock Committee was ‘inaccurate and misleading.’

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Unborn human beings lose rights in South Dakota

November 9th, 2006

The people of South Dakota have rejected the “Women’s Health and Human Life Protection Act.”

The act, if enacted, would have banned abortions for all reasons, including a pregnancy that is the result of rape or incest.

This is what was proposed and rejected:

“The Legislature accepts and concurs with the conclusion of the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, based upon written materials, scientific studies, and testimony of witnesses presented to the task force, that life begins at the time of conception, a conclusion confirmed by scientific advances since the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, including the fact that each human being is totally unique immediately at fertilization. Moreover, the Legislature finds, based upon the conclusions of the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, and in recognition of the technological advances and medical experience and body of knowledge about abortions produced and made available since the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, that to fully protect the rights, interests, and health of the pregnant mother, the rights, interest, and life of her unborn child, and the mother’s fundamental natural intrinsic right to a relationship with her child, abortions in South Dakota should be prohibited. Moreover, the Legislature finds that the guarantee of due process of law under the Constitution of South Dakota applies equally to born and unborn human beings, and that under the Constitution of South Dakota, a pregnant mother and her unborn child, each possess a natural and inalienable right to life.” – Source

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