The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Women Deserve Better

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 3, 2008

I couldn’t not reblog this incredible spoken word performance by Sonia Renee that both Feministing and Feministe have posted:

It’s easy to forget that but for the grace of relatively informed and ethical politicians, Australian women’s reproductive rights could hang by a thread. There is always another Tony Abbott waiting in the wings – stay vigilant!

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4 Responses to “Women Deserve Better”

  1. I was recently reading up on abortion laws in a number of countries, including Australia. I was surprised to see that, at least in the formal law books, women’s abortion rights in Australia are fairly primitive. I haven’t met anyone here who’s stated she’s has an abortion, so I don’t know how easy or difficult it actually is or if the written laws are even adhered to, but I did find it interesting.

    I can’t recall who said it, but I remember a comedian saying once that the terms pro-life and pro-choice were stupid, and I would tend to agree. No one’s anti-life, and no one’s anti-choice either, really, particularly for themselves. The fact that so many on both sides don’t realize this, though, makes it difficult to logically discuss the real issues that often concern women’s rights and the well being of children.

    Personally, I think abortion should always be available to women who have been raped or feel their life or a life of a child they would bear would be threatened (physically, financially, etc.). Really, I feel the right should be there entirely, though not federally or state funded. I am concerned, however, about the girls who see it as a way to avoid using condoms and a solution for not wanting to take responsibility of another. That is where sex education concerning safe sex should have stepped in; however, I think even good sex education can only go so far when girls and women (still) live in a society that often promotes the stroking of the male ego and much else.

    Where I went to high school (in Tennessee, in the U.S.), there was quite good sex education, as well as a nearby state-funded clinic that gave away condoms and, if you saw a nurse, birth control pills, etc. It remained confidential, even for minors.

    Sadly, though, there were many teen mothers at my school (just over 50 out of a school of 1200 by the time I left in grade 11) and in the schools of nearby counties. Due to this large number, there was a daycare at my school, where teen mothers actually received an elective class credit by going to see their children for a “class” each day. I’m wary of rumor, but there was always talk of many abortions as well (some I’d more readily believe than others). So, all in all, obviously a lot of unprotected sex, despite the education and the accessible clinic.

    What then? Well, if I were to guess, I’d say it all goes back to how many girls often saw themselves as just playthings for scummy guys. (Why must they always pick the scummy ones?) Proper health care and education are vital, but until more young women learn the value of their own lives, minds and bodies, it’s going to be difficult to implement either effectively.

  2. audrey said

    Leila, you forgot about all the times contraception fails. I got pregnant twice using birth control – once was when I was on Implanon which was supposed to be fail safe.

    In South Australia it’s quite simple to access abortion and it’s free. The worst part is waiting for an appointment – there’s usually a two week waiting period and doctors here won’t perform a termination until you’re at least 6 weeks pregnant.

    Both my terminations were handled excellently by the medical staff. I have an inkling that in America you have to pay for extra anaesthetic on top of the basic procedure (which sounds horrendous to me) whereas here you’re automatically given a general unless otherwise requested.

  3. Contraception does indeed fail sometimes, which is why I think most who want to be sexually active and not have risk having children should probably consider two forms of protection. I have known a couple of people who, hormonally, couldn’t take certain contraceptives, so that interferes with that, but I would venture to say it is more the minority.

    Is there a limit to how late you can have an abortion in SA?

    I checked up on the anesthesia issue. Local anesthesia is covered by the basic costs of an abortion, from what I found; that includes nitrous oxide for relaxation. General anesthesia, that will put you under entirely, costs extra (about $125 more). Most insurance covers a lot of this, from what I know. I don’t suppose any of that is surprising, however, considering it is a more privatized health care system.

  4. audrey said

    Yeah, I always thought the cultural representations of screams down the hospital halls was a manipulation until ‘i read an account of an American girl who couldn’t afford the general. It’s pretty appalling.

    The latest you can access abortion in South and West Australia is 20 weeks. In the Northern Territory it’s 14 weeks. I’m not sure about the other states to be honest.

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