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Let’s be clear on Tony Abbott’s attacks on abortion

As the dust from the allegations of sexism settles over the parliament, it’s time to clarify, once and for all, Tony Abbott’s actions on abortion. In his recent Quarterly Essay and in numerous interviews…

The notion that Abbott knows better than to attack abortion ignores his attempts to do so through Medicare. AAP/Lukas Coch

As the dust from the allegations of sexism settles over the parliament, it’s time to clarify, once and for all, Tony Abbott’s actions on abortion.

In his recent Quarterly Essay and in numerous interviews, David Marr has painted an influential picture of Tony Abbott as a man divided between his values and his politics.

Abortion is a case in point and Marr assures us that “Abbott the politician knows he can’t roll back the law on abortion”. Marr claims that as health minister, Abbott did nothing more substantive about abortion than revive a long-settled abortion debate.

So persuasive is this analysis that Christopher Pyne repeated it recently on ABC TV’s Q&A, stating, “Abbott has made it so clear that even David Marr had to write about it in his essay that Tony Abbott has said he has no intention of going anywhere near the abortion laws in Australia which, by the way, are state-based laws anyway and he’s running for prime minister of Australia, not premier of a state.”

Pyne is correct that abortion governance is mostly a matter for the states. But abortion is most vulnerable in the arena of Medicare, which is susceptible to the whims of federal politicians. Pyne understands this.

Julie Bishop echoed Pyne on the 7:30 Report, saying, “I don’t believe that Tony Abbott’s views on abortion are sexist. He has a different view on abortion than I do, but when he was the health minister, at no time did he seek to change the laws in relation to abortion in this country.”

But in 2005, Abbott and Pyne attempted a restructure of Medicare that constituted the greatest threat to abortion funding since the 1970s. Marr has evidently overlooked this episode.

To be clear, Marr is correct that from 2004 to 2006, when he was health minister, Abbott drove a national abortion debate in parliament and beyond. This culminated in his humiliation by the parliament when it voted to remove his ministerial control over the abortion drug RU486.

It seems attention given to RU486 and Marr’s appraisal of Abbott has overshadowed the efforts of Abbott and Pyne on Medicare. And it’s ominous that Gillard didn’t recall the assault on Medicare in the list of Abbott’s offences she recently catalogued in parliament.

In late 2004, John Howard had the political sense to shut down the parliamentary abortion debate. Then-shadow health spokesperson Gillard asked Abbott if he could guarantee not to use “his ministerial office or departmental resources to advance views inconsistent with the government’s policy [on abortion] as announced by the prime minister.”

Abbott replied that he was “very happy to tell the House that the government’s policy has been splendidly articulated by the prime minister.” So, it was his then-parliamentary secretary Pyne who introduced the Health Legislation Amendment Bill to parliament in 2005.

The bill was presented as a measure to amend the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, but Schedule 3, amending the Health Insurance Act 1973, aimed to “clarify the scope and power to make Medicare tables.” In effect, the bill would have granted Abbott as health minister extraordinary power to “determine that Medicare benefits are not payable in specific circumstances”, including for items “the government does not wish to fund through Medicare”.

The bill was immediately sent to committee where Schedule 3 was interpreted by politicians and health professionals alike as an attack on abortion, and perhaps IVF. As with the pro-RU486 legislation, women MPs worked together to condemn the “disconcerting and questionable” Medicare provision.

Labor’s Claire Moore, the Democrats' Lyn Allison and others claimed that given his public statements about abortion and IVF, “no-one trusted” Abbott with power over the Medical Benefits Schedule. Within a month, Abbott backed down and announced he had dropped Schedule 3 from the bill.

Abortion procedures have been included in the Medical Benefits Schedule since its inception in 1974. Following the lead of American anti-abortionists who undermined federal funding in the United States, a motion was put to the Australian parliament in 1979 to restrict the payment of medical benefits for termination of pregnancy.

The Country Party sponsor of the motion, Stephen Lusher, compared most abortions to cosmetic surgery. In 1979, there were no female members of the House of Representatives so it was left to men to defeat Lusher’s motion. They did so by a margin of 65 to 47.

From 1980 to 2005, no major party challenged abortion funding in the parliament, reflecting bipartisan consensus on the matter. Abbott and Pyne broke that consensus to find their efforts sabotaged by women MPs already angered by provocation of an abortion debate.

Then, in 2008, emboldened by the new post-consensus era, Liberal senator Guy Barnett attempted to restrict Medicare for abortions after 14 weeks. He failed in committee before losing his seat.

The partial Medicare rebate is vital to women’s access to abortion procedures, which in New South Wales, for instance, can involve out-of-pocket expenses ranging from between $300 and $1,500. Recently, Women’s Health NSW, the peak body for women’s health groups in the state, documented the unaffordability of abortion, even with Medicare.

The out-of-pocket cost for terminations particularly impacts women who are unwaged or receiving Centrelink benefits. Any restrictions on Medicare would be disproportionately and keenly felt by these women.

Clearly, any questions about aspiring prime minister Tony Abbott’s abortion track record, or his intentions, must address Medicare first and foremost.

Join the conversation

77 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    And we thought we Yanks had the only abortion nuts on Planet Earth!

    Phyllis Diller had the right idea in dealing with some politicians, and her errant son -- retroactive abortion.
    ;]

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  2. George Greenwood

    Retired

    Thank you Kate. I remembered this episode but not the details. I am very surprised this seedy episode in Abbott's non-illustrious career was not brought up by Marr. The hypocrisy of Pine and Abbott in attempting to erase this from the public memory is despicable. For a minister to attempt to use use his power to hinder women's choice is discrimination of the worst kind.

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    1. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to George Greenwood

      I am curious about one of the assumptions underpinning your posting. Do tell, please George, how a politician who has arrived to be the Leader of the Opposition has had a 'non-illustrious career'?

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    2. George Greenwood

      Retired

      In reply to Dania Ng

      It is not the position he holds but what he has done with it that counts. Heaping negative comment on top of negative comment does not count in my book as achievement.

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    3. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to George Greenwood

      Okay, but that's not answering my question. How then did he get to be who he is today if he's had such an un-illustrious career?

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    4. George Greenwood

      Retired

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania, I replied to your original question. Answers are available in Marr's article and Kate's words above.

      Perhaps Abbott is still stinging from Gillard's apology to the worm.

      From my viewpoint our little debate is degenerating to the point where the moderators should be cutting us both our of the discussion.

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    5. Gil Hardwick

      anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

      In reply to George Greenwood

      Women's choice in what, George?

      What gives women the right to fool around doing anything they like, partying and having a great old time, find themself pregnant, then running crying for help claiming 'I made a mistake' YOU MUST HELP ME.

      No, women like men have the choice to behave themself.

      It has nothing whatsoever to do with government. I applaud anyone in government who says, this has nothing to do with us, behave yourselves, stop wasting so much taxpayer money on your own 'mistakes…

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    6. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Gil Hardwick

      Actually, Gil, I'm afraid your argument is a conservative one and not particularly consistent with that of the Catholic Church on the pro-life issue, given that it teaches that all forms of contraceptive precautions, other than the safe period and abstinence, are intrinsically anti-life. You demonstrate, accordingly, that Abbott's argument is not really a Catholic one, given his additional opposition to his Church's teaching on asylum seekers. On the other hand, Abbott's position, like your's, is most consistent with Howard's, who was not a Catholic. Given the rationale of personal and individual responsibility you have advanced, on abortion as much as on private schools, your's is better described as a conservative position, in respect of which virtue tends to accrue to individual action but almost none of it in respect of upholding the human rights of the downtrodden....a poor argument that would land you, like Abbott, in trouble with the Catholic Church!

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    7. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to George Greenwood

      How difficult would it be when Australia becomes a republic, to maintain the separation between church and state, not only on abortion issues,
      I recall reading an interview in the SMH sometime ago (Sept. 29 2007) now Bishop Anthony Fisher as chaplain to the Victorian Parliament, warned Catholic polititicans they shouldn't expect any reward for going against church doctrine and "could be penalized".

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    1. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to John Phillip

      And the answer is "Why not", given that Abbott and Pyne are so evidently surreptitious about this! (I write as a practising Catholic who believes in the prior ethical value of all politicians employing honesty and forthrightness in the pursuit and realisation of of their moral and political agenda).

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    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Why should the taxpayer be resonsible for the consequences of personal choice? I'm not talking about abortion as a response to medical conditions or rape, rather and specifically, I refer to the use of abortion as a form of elective & retrospective birth-control. Surely the latter is a personal responsibility.

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    3. Kate Gleeson

      ARC Research Fellow in Politics at Macquarie University

      In reply to John Phillip

      Well I guess for the same reasons that hospitals treat smokers, drinkers, obese people, meat eaters, roller-bladers who break their arms doing something that i would regard as silly and unnecessary (roller blading)... the list goes on. When it comes to Public Health, what isn't a consequence of our personal choices?

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    4. trevor prowse

      retired farmer

      In reply to Kate Gleeson

      Kate--- Could you have written this if instead of Tony Abbott , you were writing it about a catholic woman politician who had been health minister facing these real problems. Also do you know the usual timescale that it takes to assess a new product in medicine where governments have to subsidise its use?

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    5. Dan Nobull

      PartiZan social critic

      In reply to Kate Gleeson

      Don't you love it when someone uses logical fallacies with such gusto? As in equating abortions on demand (i.e., "I don't want this baby now, I changed my mind") with someone who is obese.

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    6. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Kate Gleeson

      I don't have an issue with taxpayer funds treating complications frfom pregnancy. If you equate pregnancy with sickness, then I guess your argument works. If, however, you think of an obese person paying for their dieting/exercise programs ets vs being treated for the complications of obesity your argument falls apart.
      My point is that if you voluntarliy choose to terminate, why should society pay for that?

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  3. John Newton

    Author Journalist

    I vividly remember a vicious attack by Abbott the floor of the parliament at the time of the RU-486 debate. He attacked women who had decided to have abortions. I later tried trawling through Hansard to find his diatribe but couldn't. I certainly didn't make it up, because I remember exactly where I was when I was listening and how shocked I was at his intemperate language.

    I am surprised that neither Marr nor this researcher have uncovered this transcript.

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    1. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Helen Pringle

      Thanks for the link Helen.

      Abbott's opening line is nothing if not contradictory:

      "Let me say that this debate is not about abortion, but the only reason we are having it is because it involves abortion."

      One of the reasons Abbott suffers so much from foot-in-mouth disease is that he attempts to hide his foundational political agenda, to the point where he admitted on 7.30 Report that:

      "Mr Abbott said his scripted remarks could be taken as "gospel truth" but, "in the heat of discussion…

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    2. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Helen Pringle

      Thank you very much Helen. wonderful stuff.

      We have a bizarre double standard in this country where someone who kills a pregnant woman’s baby is guilty of murder, but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice. I want to make it clear that I do not judge or condemn any woman who has had an abortion.

      "I o not judge or condemn" - he just did

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  4. Meg Thornton

    Dilletante

    As someone who is possibly more likely to use the services being mentioned than most of the commenters on this article so far (by a ratio of three to one) I present a link to the wonderful bit of satire John Scalzi wrote a couple of days ago, in which he points out who does benefit from anti-abortion law, and who generally loses out.

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/10/25/a-fan-letter-to-certain-conservative-politicians/

    It's based around a US-centred debate, and the majority of the comments are from US-based persons. The actual article itself is also marked with trigger warnings for survivors of sexual assault and rape. The comments also contain more than one account by rape survivors of their experience.

    I'll also include a link to a short story by Amanda Aching - ILU-486. Because refusing to subsidise or fund or make legal abortion doesn't mean it goes away.

    https://amandaching.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/67/

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    1. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Meg Thornton

      Thanks for the link, Meg. Bitingly clever! BTW, what proportion of abortions in Australia are estimated to be the result of sexual assault and rape, does anybody know? I'd like to find out, since Meg, morally extenuatingly in my view, raises this extremely important justification for abortion.Working from hard evidence from a cited authority in an otherwise emotionally fraught and bitterly ideologically divided site is surely the way to proceed with this discussion, as indeed as much as I would have liked Abbott not to conceal or fudge his own moral position on this matter.

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  5. Tim Scanlon

    Debunker

    Nothing like an elected official basing their decisions upon what their church says rather than what is good for the country and its people.

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    1. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Ah, I see. The 'church' wants to destroy the country and its people. Nice one.

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    2. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to John Phillip

      Catholic was 25% on the census, beating out No religion by 2%. But lets take it further and look at regular church attendance in general, 25% attend monthly, 8% weekly (this is higher in the Catholic church with 16% going weekly). Thus the figures show that you are more likely to find someone who disagrees with the church's position, as very few people have regular contact with a church.

      So, yes, the two are mutually exclusive. Making your decisions based upon your church's views is unrepresentative. At best you will be representing a quarter of your constituents and the wider country, so what your church says should have no bearing on what your elected officials decide.

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    3. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Epic strawman Dania, I never suggested any such thing. I said that the church has no place in politics as Tony Abbott is known to base some decisions, such as abortion, on what his church says.

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    4. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      How can a straw man (or woman) be 'epic', Tim? You did insinuate that Abbott will do that which is not good for the country and its people by exercising his values as a politician, no? And why wouldn't the church have a place in politics? What do you think 'the church' is and why shouldn't be involved in politics just as business or unions or other interests are? And has it occurred to you that individuals vote for Abbott precisely because of his religious convictions? That's the point which so…

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    5. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

      You misrepresented my statements and then attacked me based upon your misrepresentation. Your current diatribe only furthers this strawman.

      The point is Dania, that Abbott is elected by a small number of people to represent them, but as a leader of his political party he is representing all Australians. Thus his views cannot be informed by a minority, a minority who are often anti-science (just look at anything George Pell says) and anti-women. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_women

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    6. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Actually, Dania, while I would like Tony Abbott to wear his Catholic values on his sleeve, the fact is that he doesn't. He's and his fellow Catholic colleague, Christopher Pyne, are evidently highly selective about such things, as witnessed by their party's policy on asylum seekers, in respect of which Catholic Social Teaching advocates an open door policy as a matter of human rights. In fact both the Church's anti-abortion and pro-asylum seeker teachings fall under the pro-life, human rights banner, reasoning, quite rightly in my view, that the foetus isn't an abstract thing but a life, just as those pesky dark-skinned reffos, whom the Coalition fully understand raise the hackles of every ignorant red-neck in this country, are also as fully human as you and I are. Let's have less hypocrisy on both sides of this debate, please!

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    7. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim, not to quibble, but your argument is a solecism. Pell, although conservative, belongs to a tradition that honours reason as much as revelation. As such he heads a group of Australian Christians who come closest to applauding the science on questions like abortion. Your disagreement with them, if it is to rely on fact rather than assertion, therefore goes to questions of differential morality, and if, unlike them, you believe that women alone are entitled to decide whether to proceed with a pregnancy or not, purely as a matter of their own choice, you really ought to say so and advance an argument to support your view as to why such a position is morally superior to Dania's and Gil's. I have tried to establish some common ground between you and them to get this discussion back on track, as you may have noticed.

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    8. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      George Pell has close ties to Tony Abbott, he is also a cardinal and Archbishop in the Catholic church. His views are not based on science, nor on morality, but he holds sway over many political considerations. Just look at his views on homosexuality, women, condoms/AIDS, etc, let alone when he crosses into the fields of science of climate change, stem cells and evolution. So I completely disagree on Pell, the local Catholic church and how it relates to Tony Abbott and his decision making.

      I appreciate you trying to find some common ground, but I don't think that the this is solely an issue of differing morality.

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    9. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Michael, you were doing so well up until:
      "just as those pesky dark-skinned reffos, whom the Coalition fully understand raise the hackles of every ignorant red-neck in this country"
      All that comment does is identify your political leanings by overlaying a bigoted and demeaning caricature (ignorant red-neck) on those who hold a particular position on border control.
      This has NOTHING to do with the topic. I think the hypocracy lies firmly in your court.

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    10. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      So what I have done, to quote the source you linked to, is to "misrepresented someone's argument to make it easier to attack" - is that what are you saying? Sorry, but it seems that you have an intent to obstruct and attack me at every turn of this exchange so I think it's best we leave it here since, really, your reductionist strategy has no place in a constructive debate, and adds nothing to it by continuously attacking those you don't agree with rather than engage them.

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    11. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      You use the term scientism and then accuse me of cognitive dissonance and not understanding a true scientist, it seems to me that you have not only failed to grasp anything I have written, nor the manner in which I have written it.

      If you don't want to approach a discussion in a logical and objective manner, rather deciding to use emotional rhetoric and appeals to the existential fallacy, then expect that people will call you on your flawed statements.

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    12. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania, if you're going to try to impress with big words, learn to spell them and stop just: "casting sylligisms".
      ;]

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    13. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Mixing active & passive voices there Dania...

      "...your reductionist strategy has no place in a constructive debate, and adds nothing to it by continuously attacking those you don't agree with rather than engage them."

      Perhaps you don't realize how you reveal your narrowly-researched opinions through puffed-up prose?
      ;]

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    14. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I stand corrected - it should be sillygisms. Thanks for pointing this out, Alex. Of course, I try my hardest not to use big words, I have no need 'to impress'; though of course English is my second language, and I am also conversational in a couple more. So apologies if my vocabulary grated on your sense of ... whatever [insert 'big word' of choice here].

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    15. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Like I said above, English is a second language for me, Alex. However, I do believe that the voices/tenses were appropriately mixed. Glad that you're seeing a 'puffed up prose', always happy to have my writing fill the requirements of a variety of individuals, even trolls.

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  6. Dania Ng

    Retired factory worker

    Some of us actually agree with Tony Abbott on this, especially as almost everything said here about Abbott's perspective is presented so that it builds upon the misogynist image that so many leftist writers and commentators have been building up to help with the this latest Labor/Green strategy. As I read the Hansard notes, I see something rather different from what has been quoted/represented in this conversation. I see Abbott speaking from his value base, which is and always has been unapologetically…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Yes, because what we need is 100,000 unwanted children every year in this country.

      The anti-abortion stance is always oversimplified and at odds with the reality of human biology. Abbott's views are those of the Catholic church and are heavily anti-science.

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    2. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      About that 100,000 statistic. This includes miscarriages AKA spontanous abortions.

      I have had 3 miscarriages which would have been included in that statistic.

      Many more miscarriages occur than do women requesting to undergo general anaesthetic, have their uterus walls scraped and then to recover from this surgical procedure.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscarriage

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    3. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Good point Dianna. Miscarriages are not a nice experience and potentially life threatening in some instances.

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    4. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      The point here is that Abbott is being portrayed in a specific light for political purposes. The fact that he has a particular set of values is lost in this endeavour, and it is really shameful how people with particular interests refuse to respect other points of views, and instead denigrate those who hold them. It is also shameful how only some 'facts' are pushed so that a particular perspective is supported over another. For instance, Dianna, how do you know that the 100k figure includes miscarriages…

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    5. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      See, you are assuming that each conception is a life, it isn't. Still birth, invitro abortions (miscarriages), egg implantation, etc, are all examples of conception and foetus' not making it to term.

      Next point is that Dianna would have gotten the figure from just about any source around. The original report that outlines the 75-100,000 abortions figure claimed on Medicare notes that this figure includes miscarriages. http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;page=1;query=abortions%20pratt%20biggs;rec=2;resCount=Default

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    6. Gil Hardwick

      anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Come on Tim, you can do a lot better that that. A child is a child is a child.

      There is much in Catholic faith with which I disagree, raised Scottish Presbyterian and very much dissaenting on many issues, but by your formulation 'science' is nothing short of mindless, eugenic brutality. Is that what you call science?

      Where does this business end?

      No, I say, just don't start is better.

      It is no great trauma for people to behave themselves rather than blaming everybody else when they 'make…

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    7. Gil Hardwick

      anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

      In reply to Dania Ng

      I agree with you, Dania.

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    8. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Well, I will let others judge the veracity of what I said, your opinion of what I say together with the insinuations you have just laid on are here for others to see, otherwise I don't care about you or your small-minded opinions.
      It is however important to correct you on specific points made, because as usual you're wrong. For example, let's be clear that life does exist after conception, otherwise you would not have a dead foetus following miscarriage or induced abortion, would you? See, it is…

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    9. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Gil Hardwick

      See, you are assuming a world that only exists in fairy tales. Rape happens in the real world. Contraception isn't 100% effective in the real world. Relationships fail in the real world. Some pregnancies are life threatening in the real world. Some people are just not responsible enough and realise it.

      So denying people access to abortion is to take away the rights of women to choose, in place of an ideology that has no basis in facts.

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    10. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to John Phillip

      Didn't say that at all, what is it with the pro-life strawmen here?

      My statement is quite simple, please read it again.

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    11. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      You haven't addressed any of my points, nor even understood them, and just created strawmen everywhere. I can understand why you don't like my points (which are not my opinion at all) because they poke holes in your ideologies.

      You didn't know how Diana knew the 100k figure included miscarriages, so I told you and linked the report. You tried to state that this is all about informing women, when it is demonstrably not. You have continued this point, when you have failed to address my point that doctors already have to inform patients of the risks of medical procedures, so unless you have proof of medical malpractice your statements about RU486 are moot.

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    12. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Sorry but you make no sense, Tim - it might be all those imagined straw men which are obstructing your view. Next time, try straw women, or maybe straw foeti? I think you are the one that didn't understand anything I have said, judging by your statements. Also, interesting that you can't read quantitative data, even the kind which you quote yourself - I thought that, as a scientist you might at least be capable of this. Twisting what I say, and throwing veiled insults at me simply demonstrates a…

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    13. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Gil Hardwick

      Again, Gil, your masturbation is as damaging to potential 'life' as is menstruation or abortion.

      So, when you make commitments against those that you can control, and man up to adopt one of the real lives waiting in foster care, re-imagine what Christianity means and write back.

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    14. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      @Tim Scanlon

      Thanks for providing link - I didn't think it necessary as I have known for a very long time that the stats on abortions have always included miscarriages. However, those opposed to women exercising control over their bodies and futures love to exaggerate as well as blame women for pregnancies.

      I am beginning to think that Gil Hardwick believes there is no second party involved in conception (divine intervention?). Apparently condoms, vasectomies and the idea that sex does not have to include penetration never occurs to him either.

      The anti-choice crowd so loathe women that they would prefer a return to backyard abortionists, rather than accept that unwanted pregnancies do occur in spite of every effort made by women and men not to conceive.

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  7. Rebecca Lansing

    Artisan

    Julie Bishop is wrong. Opposing womens right to choose is sexist.

    Apart from the actions others here have mentioned there is also the matter of Abbott's little visits to the Cardinal.

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  8. Gil Hardwick

    anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

    Why is this discussion still focussed on abortion, and politicians among others persistently attacked for stating their opinions, when the issue at hand is not abortion but unwanted pregnancy?

    Girls, why are you getting pregnant when you don't want to? Why cause so many problems for so many people when you might have simply said no to start with?

    In short, why are you passing the buck all the time on this matter?

    Having said all that, it is patently obvious that few women abort, few feel…

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  9. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    In the USA, it's useful to confront self-alleged "right to life" folks by asking them to adopt one or more of our annual >100,000 foster-care kids, who will soon age out & become homeless. It's interesting to see how the "right to life" somehow can be rationalized by such folks through simple hypocrisy.

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    1. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      That is, you are just simply wrong that those 'folks' do not look after abandoned children. Gianna is real evidence that such 'folk' actually do this, when no one would believe Gianna will live, let alone walk, after a botched abortion, a Christian woman became her foster parent. This woman continued to foster discarded children well into her eighties. So I think you should retract your insulting insinuation, it's disgusting to me and to countless others, because it is simply a misrepresentation of people who attempt to save the lives of unborn and abandoned children, and this is a problem that some of us need to address - christophobic people like you need to be taken to task and shown for who they are: disrespectful, hateful, sad individuals; I feel sorry for you.

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    2. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Dania Ng

      You are once again completely missing the magnitude of the issue. Less than 500 adoptions occur each year in Australia. Currently there are 37,500 children in out-of-home care, 44% of which are in foster care. This costs $2.8 billion each year to run. Even at the peak rates of adoption in the early 70s, there were still less than 10,000 adoptions each year.

      This isn't even discussing the problems with foster care. Multiple placements are still the norm, which means the kids rarely have a stable home environment and leads to (or exacerbates) behavioural problems. The carers themselves are in short supply. http://www.aifs.gov.au/cfca/pubs/factsheets/a142092/index.html

      So your are putting forth a blind dogmatic proposal which is sorely lacking in recognition of the entire issue. This is especially the case in your lack of recognition of the size of the issue and how it would need to be dealt with.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dania Ng

      A Fox News ad Dania? Really?

      So have you adopted any foster-care kids about to be dumped into homelessness?

      We have tens of thousands up here, in case you've gathered all up down under.

      We even have some "right-to-lifers" who advised their mistresses to get abortions when unpredicted things happened .

      Problem with folks like you is that you assume the right to control others' rights -- others of any age. So your words negate one another.

      But, we do allow you the right to say those foolish things.
      ;]

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Dania, as Tim reveals for Australia, the problem here in the US is large, and not helped by self-advertizing "right-to-lifers", who really don't show genuine care about the rights of all lives.

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    5. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Very rational of you, Tim. Germany had a similar problem in the thirties. Over time, their solution was seen as unacceptable by civilized societies. The logic of your argument implies, however, that the solution was correct but the timing - post-natal- was wrong.

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    6. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Phillip

      There you go John, hiding under the old Master Race sheet, thiough it be tattered, torn & irrelevant.

      How are you coming with the adoption papers for those kids who indeed are already alive and have the same right to life as you?
      ;]

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    7. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to John Phillip

      Not only have you used Godwin's law you have argued the slippery slope and a non-sequiter all in one package. http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope

      Genocide is neither the logical conclusion nor justified under pro-choice. All that is happening is that women are given the choice of whether or not they want a medical procedure. I'm highlighting the ramifications of not allowing this choice to occur, as it completely changes our social dynamic, something that is blithely ignored by pro-life arguments.

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    8. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I like the royal 'we' - thanks your majesty. Are you always wearing your fool's crown?

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