Forced to be grateful

I want to say that whilst I am pleased that Peter Costello has come out in favour of a conscience vote with regard to lifting the ban on RU486, I am horrified that a woman’s right to access the widest possible choice of responses to a medical condition has to come to this. Is anyone else wondering why we need a conscience vote on an abortifacient medication when abortion is legal in Australia?  As I see it, RU486 really just represents a broadening of the repertoire of responses available to women and their medical practitioners to an unwanted pregnancy. 

Image from here  

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23 Responses to “Forced to be grateful”

  1. David Collett Says:

    That’s a very forceful image. It captures a great deal.

  2. Suki Says:

    I’m glad it worked David. Quite often I’ll see a powerful image and wrap a post around it.

  3. weezil Says:

    Suki, it’s more than a broadening of the pharmacopaeia. It’s an essential safety issue for women, particularly in rural areas where surgical abortion is not as available as in capital cities.

    Mind you, it’s not just rural women who will benefit from RU486. All women will benefit from the ability to abort an unwanted pregnancy without the potentially lethal risks associated with anaesthesia and surgery.

    I can’t quite understand why Tony Abbott wants more women to die from complications of surgical abortion. Either he hates women or thinks he has the right to control your uterus. It’s one or the other.

  4. Suki Says:

    Further to what you raise Weezil, if we suspend disbelief and follow Abbott’s reasons for dismissing the lifting of the ban then no rural woman is able to get adequate gyneacological or obstetric health care if she is pregnant. Rural women also have complications with pregnancy up to and including spontaneous miscarriage.
    The rural doctors are having none of Abbott’s assessment of their capacity to be professional and deal with crises. Jesus loves Tony and that’s about it.

  5. weezil Says:

    How about we simply ban sex in rural areas so women are under no risk from their nasty, evil uteri?

  6. David Collett Says:

    I have to admit – the picture really brought the issue home for me.

    It was that kind of this feeling:
    Before seeing the pic “Yeah I’m aware of the issues.”
    To after seeing the pic: “Fuck, that is what it does mean. That’s terrible.”.

    The picture captures so much of what’s at risk with the debate.



    Who knows what Abott’s reasoning is. I don’t know how some people can become so out of touch with reality.

    I suspect it’s some flaw in politics, that politicians can become so wrongheaded, or that people who have lost so much touch with what is real, can become powerful.

  7. Suki Says:

    I see it throughout society, not just in politics.
    I put a lot of the problem down to the gulf between a belief-based system and an evidence-based one.
    Belief-based systems leave the individual/group in a circular argument without new information being allowed in to challenge thinking or grow concepts.
    Whilst evidence-based has its problems (highly selective evidence to advance a narrow outcome agenda), it is designed to allow new information to come in and old information to become history.

  8. JahTeh Says:

    ‘If men will not do us justice, they shall do us violence.’
    Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst.

    Sometimes I feel as though I’m in a time warp.

  9. Suki Says:

    they shall do us violence…and oppression, and poverty, and death.

  10. David Collett Says:

    The Faith vs Evidence dichotomy seems to me to a powerful idea to explore our times with.

    Other ways of expressing which I think are connected are Certainty vs Doubt, where certainty leads to the negative consequences of stamping out other points of view, and to continue doubting allows room for other points of view to exist. Prescriptionist vs Descriptionist, is another, where Prescriptionist seek to mould reality to their ideals and descriptionist who try to see the world as it is.

    I don’t think it’s religion vs science as it was in Darwin’s day, as scientists can be just as oppressive as faith based people. And money and commerce is a far more powerful force than it was in the start of last century, which makes the picture very different.

    I don’t know. Just rambling, I guess.

  11. suzoz Says:

    You nailed it in one Suki – abortion is legal, so why can’t an abortificant drug be legal too? Especially as it could save some money in the hospital system.

  12. choiceplease Says:


    Thanks for your ongoing, thoughtful contributions about the choice debate. I really like reading your blog.

    However, one thing I’d point out is that the sad thing is that abortion is only technically legal in most states.

    Only WA, SA, TAS and ACT have moved to enshrine the legal status of abortion in legislative terms.

    This leaves the three states with the biggest populations with the frankly flimsy protection of the Menhennit ruling, which is yet to be tested. I guess I’m just a bit tired of people characterising abortion as “legal”.

    I agree that RU486 will go a long way to ensuring that women have a range of health options available to them for what is a really difficult choice to make. Particularly it is really important that people have an option other than a surgical one, given that such an option exists. And to argue that women wouldn’t be properly medically supervised while accessing RU486 (as the charming Margaret Tighe does in today’s Oz) is just plain insulting to women and their doctors.

  13. weezil Says:

    Belief based structures ruled the world for millennia. Evidence based structures are barely a few hundred years old.

    There will come a day when history students will wonder how it was that so many people for so bloody long made their life choices based on utterly baseless faerie tales.

    I fully believe that Suki is on the pointy end of the next phase of humanity. Check back here in 50 years and see if I’m wrong.

  14. Suki Says:

    My gnarled fingers will still be typing!

  15. manicboy Says:

    You’re great with images. Whether you’re uncomfortable with the concept of terminating pregnancies or not it boils down to the coathanger; it’s a health issue. And an economic one. The same hypocritical bastards that want to tighten the screws on workers then want to turn around and persecute women who are forced by economic circumstances to abort. And an abortion is no easy thing to go through.

    I think the rate of miscarriage is something like 1 in 6 pregnancies, so if you follow Abbott’s argument to its logical conclusion about post-termination complications in rural areas then you either need to supply adequate services or as Weezil said ban sex in the country. There are still cases of women attempting self-termination. Maybe RU486 will put an end to it.

    Unfortunately choiceplease is right about the legality thing. In NSW termination of pregnancy carries 10 or 15 years, up until the point when the baby takes its first unaided breath, after which it becomes murder. It’s just a matter of enforcement, like old laws about not parking your donkey near a place of worship or what have you. No-one’s had the political guts to actually go through with getting them off the books and everyone just stays quiet about it to not stir up the issue.

  16. David Collett Says:

    Weezil: I hope so
    Suki: I hope so


  17. Suki Says:

    choiceplease and manicboy,
    Thanks for the reminder. As I lived in the NT for a long time I assumed other states were as progressive. Not so.

  18. amanda Says:

    Actually it pisses me off that there’s a conscience vote.

    This isn’t an abortion debate. This is a debate about who is more capable of assessing a drug’s safety – people with medical qualifications, or people who got elected to parliament.

  19. Brownie Says:

    as I said to Weezil – I just hope Marcel PureWhite doesn’t find your site – it will be a fight to the death like cobra and mongoose. and I also keep posting everywhere -the failure of LOGICAL thought chez abbott is astounding: no we cant have a cost effective drug, and no we cant have medicare subsidised surgical D&C – seems to indicate that only the people who can afford to raise children can afford to avoid having them.
    The government used to run all communications and utilities services. Now they don’t, so they want to run our damn lives. xxx brownie

  20. weezil Says:

    Brownie, SHAO Security has escorted Mr. LilyWhite to the door on more than one occasion, but from time to time, he yet sneaks in, usually wearing someone else’s nametag. We have Marcel’s fingerprints on file, so he doesn’t generally get to vandalise much before he is once again given his marching orders.

    Suki v. Marcel is not cobra vs. mongoose. It’s lioness vs. cockroach. Most lionesses, including Suki, will wait until there’s a well-fed wildebeest on the lunch menu… but cockroaches are kinda crunchy in a TV snack sort of way. 😉

    The Most Reverend Minister Abbott has been fully exposed. His hatred of women’s self-determination and desire to enact his religion as public policy have proven he is fully unfit for the job. Howard should put the Right Rev in charge of something he can’t stuff up… perhaps the sewers portfolio.

  21. weezil Says:

    Too flaming right, Amanda. However, given the illumination by manicboy, who notes that abortion is still technically illegal in most Australian states, it looks like there’s yet some debate to occur.

    Australia has some ways to go in codifying basic rights. The right to stop government at your skin is the most basic human right, as basic as breathing. This issue should not just be included in our coming constitutional Bill of Rights, but should probably be item number 1.

  22. Brownie Says:

    He has not been escorted out by Daily Flute Security. I wonder how he does any Uni work around his ‘sanctity of life’ commenting. I wish he was with my friend in Dili. She is a volunteer aid worker in disabled children. She is reduced to tears by real families who are DIRT POOR, like the one with 5 children, TWO with Downs Syndrome and one on the way. No sanctity there. They are Catholic. Marcy needs to spend a weekend with them in the carport they call home.

  23. weezil Says:

    Brownie, anti-choice nongs all want to ‘save the baby’ but damned few will adopt any. Regardless, women who deliver and adopt out are significantly more harmed than women who terminate. Planned children invariably are better off than those who were unexpected or otherwise ill-timed in the parents’ lives.

    The greatest power in the choice is the ability to select quality of life over quantity of lives. The ability to advance the species instead of simply propagating it is specific to humans and speaks to the very core of our humanity.

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