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.