Gripping the plasma

Tonight SBS is showing a documentary examining both sides of the abortion debate across the southern states of the US.

Mississippi is widely known as the most pro-life state in the union. Anti-choice activists pride themselves in making it harder and harder for women in their state to access an abortion.

ROE v. WADE which was decided 33 years ago, made it legal for American women to have an abortion in the first trimester. Since the 1980’s Mississippi has passed 12 laws restricting abortion in the one clinic left in the state. Women accessing the Jackson Women’s Health Organisation where only two of the five Doctors live in the state for safety reasons, must comply with ever increasing laws.  These include:

  1. If the woman is under 18 both parents must sign for the abortion to be performed
  2. If the woman has travelled from other parts of the state she must wait 24 hours before having the abortion
  3. If a woman does not have health insurance the use of Medicaid is banned for an abortion
  4. Any Doctor in the state can refuse to discuss abortion or contraception with a patient if it is against their religious beliefs 

Pro-life Mississippi who plan on dismantling ROE v. WADE "limb by limb" is hoping to add six new laws to restrict abortion. These include a sonogram requirement giving a woman the opportunity to view her unborn child and hear the foetal heart tones. 


This program looks at how Pro-life advocates are winning the day in Mississippi. In the summer of 2005, more than thirty years after Roe v. Wade established that access to abortion services is a fundamental right, the documentary team behind The Last Abortion Clinic spent two months travelling across North America’s South where states have been particularly active in passing restrictions on abortion. In interviews with abortion providers and their patients, staff at a pro-life pregnancy counselling centre and key legal strategists on both sides of the national debate, the program documents the success of the pro-life movement and the growing number of states with regulations limiting access to abortion. The procedure, while still legal, has become daunting and expensive in Mississippi and elsewhere. Nationwide, there are now fewer abortion providers in the U.S. than at any time since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. The documentary looks at how the ever-increasing number of state abortion regulations and the steady decline in abortion providers will affect the level of influence the pro-choice movement will have in this enduring debate. 

Australia is not Mississippi and this is clearly evidenced in minimal uptake of aaRU486 by the media.

Thankfully here in Australia the buddhists get as much airtime as the uniting church.

"We have already had the public debate about abortion.  The issue is whether or not this particular drug is safe to be released for use in a country where abortion is legally available." – Uniting church’s Australian president Dr. Dean Drayton.

"Although the Buddhist community is opposed to killing of any kind, it is not Buddhist policy to impose its views on others." – The Chairman of the Buddhist Council of NSW, Graeme Lyall

Protect ROE v. WADE 

Image from here   


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7 Responses to “Gripping the plasma”

  1. Emma Says:

    “Any Doctor in the state can refuse to discuss abortion or contraception with a patient if it is against their religious beliefs”

    I know of doctors in Australia that do this too. My mother (who is pro-choice) once worked with a doctor who would refuse to prescribe the contraceptive pill to teenagers.
    I also know someone who went to this doctor for the morning-after pill and was refused with the words “if you’re mature enought to have sex, you can deal with the consequences”

    I hope all his patients just went to other doctors, but I really think such doctors should have to put up sign to save women the hassle and distress, maybe “I am a bigot and will deny you safe, legal medical treatments for no good reason.” Something like that.

  2. Suki Says:

    I hope your mother didn’t work in a rural or remote area where the other doctor was miles away…

    Up until 2001, there was a medical practice in Terminus Street, Castle Hill, NSW, where a sign at reception said:

    “This is a Christian practice. Please do not ask about contraception as refusal may offend.”

    Thankfully, we residents with our over-developed sense of entitlement stopped using them and they mysteriously disappeared.

  3. choiceplease Says:

    Hi Emma (and Suki),

    Sadly the tale you tell regarding doctor’s personal/social judgements of teenagers seeking contraception isn’t a rare one.

    Where I grew up (rural Australia) there was only one doctor’s surgery locally. To stop heavy, painful periods, it was suggested to a friend and I that we try the Pill. I got the script o.k. (I was considered a “good girl”) but my friend (who had no reputation to speak of, good or bad) was refused. No wonder at least six girls I knew had multiple kids by the time they were 18.

    It sucks, and if you live in the bush, you pretty much take your chances that the doctor you see is enlightened enough to know that preventing an unwanted pregnancy in the first place is so much better than having to “deal with the consequences”, mature or not.

    And if you have to “deal” with an unwanted pregnancy, then let’s hope your parents or friends can come up with the cash to get you to the nearest capital city if you want a termination: rural hospitals feel similarly ambivalent about providing a full range of women’s health services and referrals.

  4. brownie Says:

    In 1967 this teenager cohabiting with a beautiful boy, attended the rooms of Dr Thomas Springer at Elizabeth and Collins St Melbourne, in her lunchbreak from work. After her explanation for the visit Dr T said ‘Get out!’
    In 1968 a child was born and relinquished ..
    (the father having absolutely no need of it
    ‘Fatherhood is Not My Image’ he said, being a popstar with a fan club) …

    and that was the beginning of a psychiatric and physical spiral downwards for the mother. I hope Dr T died slowly with no help from his God.

    HOW can a person clever enough to earn a medical degree, concurrently believe in pillars of salt, sea partings and virgin births?

  5. Suki Says:

    HOW indeed!

    Midwife, 1996, asking the woman would she still want to abort her baby if she knew she was depriving the world of another Mozart or Einstein?

  6. kartar Says:

    I knew there was a reason I liked Buddhists. If only f*cking Christians took the same view. I’d respect their views if they sodding kept them to themselves.

  7. Renaissancewriter Says:

    Oh my, wandered into your site while pulling images on line (housewife got your Nov. 2004 blogs), and died laughing…
    seems I have a kindred spirit in Aust.
    Nothing like finding another sarcastic, intelligent, fast forward female on the planet.
    Thought I would say “WOW!”, and wish I had TIME To read everything… but my own blog is sadly behind in the rant department (I live in the US, and yes, I am embarassed at the blind religious ferver that elected moron “Curious George” Bush.

    We can only hope history forgives them– I didn’t vote for him!


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