The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008’

Amongst The Anti-Choice Flamewar, An Oasis Of Sense

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 10, 2008

If, like me, the usually idiotic rhetoric of anti-choicers/pro-“life” protests is like a red rag to a bull to you, then you probably don’t want to waste your time reading the Readers’ Comments in reaction to the news that Premier Brumby is pleased the abortion law reforms have been passed.

However, amongst the ill-informed and sensationalistic sturm und drang (Murder! Babies being chopped into bits! Imagine if Brumby himself had been aborted!), I was struck by the clarity of this comment, from reader “Stephen of Sydney”:

As someone who was supposed to be aborted in Melbourne back in 1962, when abortion was still illegal, I am extremely glad that less people will have to suffer the fate that I did. That is, of being born contrary to my mother’s determined wishes that I should never be born. It always amazes me that anti-choice advocates rarely talk about the fact that there are indeed much ‘worse’ things than aborting an unwanted foetus. That includes, of course, forcing a child to be born into abject abuse and neglect. The trauma from that experience will afflict me for the rest of my life. At last, however, with this new legislation, humanity finally prevails.

In a perfect world, his comment would be the voice of reason that would make the anti-choicers see the light, but we don’t live in that world, so for now, let’s just be thankful that Victoria’s Parliament has kicked a massive goal for reproductive rights and women’s freedom of choice.


Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch, Politics, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Victorian MPs Vote In Favour Of Abortion Legalisation

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 10, 2008

This “just in”, from The Age:

Abortions are set to be legal in Victoria after the upper house supported a controversial bill allowing terminations.

MPs voted 23 to 17 in favour of the bill after an exhaustive and emotional debate, with Brumby Government Minister Theo Theophanous and Treasurer John Lenders voting against the bill.

The result of the vote was initially greeted with silence but two pro-life activists were removed from the gallery for shouting abuse at MPs.

“There is blood on your hands,” one screamed.

“There will be retribution in this country,” another yelled.

The upper house will now consider amendments to the legislation.

“Retribution”? Nice.

It will be very interesting to see just what those amendments turn out to be, but either way, this is a big step forward for Victorian women’s reproductive rights.

Posted in Media Watch, Politics, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Latest On Abortion Law Reform In Victoria

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 8, 2008

Further updates from the front line in the abortion law reform debate in Victorian Parliament indicate that the reforms could very well be passed sooner rather than later, with a number of key MPs previously opposed to the reforms now indicating their support for the changes. Labor MP Jenny Mikakos’ response was particularly notable:

The shock move came as Labor MP Jenny Mikakos also backed change despite her strong religious background, declaring that Christian values did not override her belief in an individual’s right to choose.

“I can reconcile myself as a Christian as being both anti-abortion and pro-choice,” she told Parliament last night.

And, from The Age‘s coverage:

Labor’s Jenny Mikakos also admitted having doubts about abortion because of her strong Greek Orthodox faith, but decided she would support it because she believed she could not deny the choice of abortion to other women.

In other words, while you may not believe in obtaining an abortion yourself, or for your partner, who are you to prevent others with differing belief systems from doing so?

It’s a shame there aren’t more people like Mikakos speaking up in this debate; it’s essential to get it out there that personal religious beliefs shouldn’t trump general human rights (can someone fax Denis Hart?) when it comes to the health and wellbeing of a woman versus an unborn “child”.

I use inverted commas around “child” in this context because, despite what the anti-choicers seem to suggest, I don’t see that there will be a huge increase in either abortions full stop, or late term – post-24-week – abortions if this reform is passed; thus, the majority of terminations will occur well before there is any chance of the foetus having any chance of even heavily assisted survival outside the womb.

Posted in Media Watch, Politics, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Some Thoughts On Melbourne’s Anti-Abortionists

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 6, 2008

I was in the city on Saturday for a function and we walked past Parliament steps, where an anti-abortion protest – “Matt’s Protest”, according to their homemade sign – was in progress. The protesters – count ’em: two – were at one point outnumbered by Police and Parliament security staff. Both protesters were men, and both over the age of 35 (at least).

It was all I could do to stop myself from ducking into the 7-11 and giving them a few more eggs, since they seem to care so much about zygotes, in the face. Fortunately, I counted to ten and kept walking. But why is it that:

– Those who have the most to say about abortion are, inevitably, older males?
– That anti-abortionists care more about embryos and foetuses than about women?

And just who has been plastering those odious “arty” pro-life posters all around Carlton and Fitzroy North? At first you think, “Oh, that must be a Fringe project”, and then you look closer. I would like to congratulate whoever did their best to remove the paste-ups from the Rathdowne and Princes Street intersection this past weekend.

Some things to think about with your Monday morning coffee.

Posted in Politics, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

Public Meeting: ‘Abortion: The Case for Full Decriminalisation’

Posted by Leah on September 22, 2008

The Victorian parliament is currently debating the Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008. There is overwhelming public support for a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, but it is still a crime under Victorian legislation.

This meeting will discuss why women should have control over their bodies at all stages of pregnancy and the right to safe, accessible, and legal abortion.

6.30pm, Thursday September 25
Trades Hall – New Council Chambers
Cnr. Victoria & Lygon Sts, Carlton South
Ph: 03 9639 8622 for more info


Colleen Hartland (Greens Victoria), Anne O’Rourke (Liberty Victoria), Prof Roger Short (Reproductive Biologist) and Mary Merkenich (Socialist Alliance).

Posted in events, Politics, Women's Health | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »