If you’re against abortion then kindly don’t have one

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 am, June 11th, 2008 - 156 comments
Categories: abortion, Social issues - Tags:

Today we’re proud to present a guest post from Julie Fairey, often found posting at The Hand Mirror:
I’m trying to see the High Court decision regarding our abortion laws as an opportunity. It could be a chance to change the law to reflect the generally accepted practice in our society and make abortion more readily available for women. A rational and civilised debate could take place, dwelling on points such as respecting a woman’s right to control her own body, the fact that abortion is legal on request in most of the countries New Zealand aspires to emulate (hat tip: No Right Turn), and the actual real experiences of actual real women who have had abortions. We might even have a national discussion where progressive voices are heard, even those of women. And we could end up with a better law than we have now, one that treats women as adults who can make decisions about their own lives.
Sadly I’m not sure that we can do that in this country right now, in the fervour of an election year party where past debates on s59, Civil Unions and Prostitution Reform have already spiked the punch of many Christian fundamentalists. This High Court decision will give groups like Right to Life and Family First the impression that their moral outrage is justified, when actually it’s sexist, factually dubious and frequently ignores the real consequences of outlawing abortion. I can already imagine the offensive placards, the pictures of fetuses being emailed to MPs, the harassment women will face outside abortion clinics, the abuse of all those innocent statistics, and the cyber-squatting aimed at those who express their support for a woman’s right to choose. A respectful debate seems unlikely.
I really hope I’m wrong. And I really really really hope we don’t end up with a violent American-style campaign of hate.

156 comments on “If you’re against abortion then kindly don’t have one”

  1. Really excellent post, Julie. You frame the debate in a way that we haven’t seen in the mainstream – not whether the law is being used correctly but whether the law is right.

    It’s that kind of insight that we might have missed had one of us rushed out a post, rather than getting a distinctly feminist voice.

    I notice that No Right Turn attacked us for not responding to the issue immediately. I’m glad we waited.

  2. andy 2

    one that treats women as adults who can make decisions about their own lives.

    legalise and throw in free oral contraceptives for New Zealand citizens.

    It never ceases to amaze that those same people who would remove the right to access abortion, complain the most loudly about people having more children than they can afford and the poor outcomes from that. Poor health, overcrowding, extra benefits, crime….

  3. Lew 3

    I’m not sure if a reasoned debate was ever possible. Even if you don’t buy the allegations that Family First, SPUC, Right to Life, etc. are backed by US church-and-conservative money, which raises the likelihood that the debate would progress down USian lines (I’m suspicious of such conspiracy theories) the fact remains that those organisations are essentially propaganda lobbies whose purpose is to demonise rather than discuss. They don’t want there to be reasoned debate, for the very fact that reasoned debate will likely result in a non-extreme outcome, viz. one which isn’t a total ban on abortions. They stand to gain nothing from it.

    L

  4. Hamish 4

    It seems a bit rough to have already decided your opponent is a) incapable of debate because they are committed to an agenda b) backed by “evil offshore backers”

    Now I am not amazingly familiar with the debate (especially in a New Zealand context) but it seems like they been demonized from the beginning.

  5. It is good to see the anti-choice lobby doesn’t seem to be gaining traction of this. Perhaps it’s like NZF’s failed anti-immigration attack earlier this year. Maybe we (unlike the US) have moved past this being an issue for most of society, only a fringe issue now.

  6. Joker 6

    Personally I have no problem with a womans right to choose an abortion however I am sensing a lack of consistency in the ideology here.

    If I understand correctly it seems that you believe people are sensible enough to know the right time and situation to kill their unborn fetuses but think that they cant be trusted to administer a smack to their child for corrective discipline without smashing their heads in.

  7. Lew 7

    Hamish: I’ve decided a) based on prior performance (s59, for the most recent in a long line; and attacks on Kay Goodger for an older example). I explicitly disclaimed b), so I’m not sure what your point is here.

    Joker: Women are granted abortions in NZ on medical grounds after oversight from two independent medical practitioners. The ruling didn’t criticise this system per se – it just said that the law was being interpreted too liberally. If you genuinely think the s59 amendment should be amended to allow parents to smack their children on advice from a medical professional or two, then perhaps you should have told the select committee. If you think otherwise, bringing it up is just a red herring.

    L

  8. BeShakey 8

    Joker – there are a number of ways for someone to hold both positions without being inconsistent (although some may hold both and be inconsistent). I for one don’t believe that foetuses have any rights at all, so an abortion isn’t a violation of their rights. On the other hand I believe that children do have rights. No inconsistency there. While I can’t speak for everyone, I’m not aware of many people that argue for or against abortion and/or smacking based solely on the rationality of caregivers and mothers to be.

    The main point I wanted to make was to complain about something that always frustrates me in this debate – the labels used. Both sides are guilty of this – pro-choicers aren’t usually really in favour of choice, and pro-lifers aren’t usually really in favour of life. For instance, pro-choicers frequently also oppose a parents choice to smack their child. Nothing wrong with that, but if you were really ‘pro-choice’ you’d presumably be in favour of people being allowed to make any choices they wanted. In reality the only people who are in that position are libertarians. Likewise, many ‘pro-lifers’ are also pro the death penalty. And many of them (but not all) are OK with abortions in the case of rape and incest. This also leads to people using phrases like ‘anti-life’ and ‘anti-choice’, which are also completely misleading in the vast majority of cases.
    The problem is that this leads to the debate being framed in a way that is completely misleading, and introduces areas of debate that aren’t really relevant at all to the issue of whether abortion should be legal, and if it should, what restrictions there should be.

  9. alex 9

    Guys,

    Can someone clarify what the High Court decision actually means?

    Is parliament now OBLIGED to review the law?

    What’s the process from here?

  10. Ray 10

    One of the troubles with this subject is that there can be quite good but not really compelling arguments for both sides

    The thing that swings it for me though is the fact that the anti abortion side are prepared to make the decision for women rather than alow them (the potential mothers)do what they think best with their own bodies and lives

    KEEP YOUR STICKY BEAKS OUT

  11. alex. not at all. the High Court simply found that the Supervisory Committee should be enquiring into specific cases to see that the law is being met.

    Nothing to do with parliament or changing the law, merely how it is implemented. Of course, the anti-choice lobby’s aim is to undermine the right to abortion, with the eventual aim of making it illegal again… it the case tkaes place within a broader poltiical context.

  12. alex 12

    Steve,

    Thanks… so, in your opinion, is anything going to change as a result of this High Court finding?

    The Abortion Supervisory Committee said it had no power to “review or oversee the clinical decision-making process”.

  13. toms 13

    Applying the Standard’s Kremlinology rule, I’ll be fascinated to see if DPF has the guts to make a dedicated post on the issue. If he doesn’t, it indicates his handlers at National H.Q. have given his lead a good jerk and his sewer won’t be allowed to really work up a full head of foam on the issue. That would tell us the Nat’s don’t want a bar of this debate and the fundies are howling in the wind.

  14. Byron 14

    BeShakey,
    Yes, terms like “anti-choice” are problematic, I prefer the term Michael Parenti uses; “advocates of compulsory pregnancy” 😉

  15. Scribe 15

    Steve,

    Good to see the most prolific poster on this site has continued the loaded language. “Anti-choice”, to follow “child beaters”. Pure class.

    Some people on here obviously want there to be abortion on request (which there already is), so a legislative change to allow that is want they want. And they see that as “pro-choice”.

    If someone is really pro-choice, then wouldn’t they want women to make an informed choice? You know, have them receive information about the development of the child in her womb. And details on how an abortion increases — not decreases — the likelihood of drug/alcohol abuse, depression and suicidal tendencies later in life (from a Christchurch study conducted by a “pro-choice” atheist).

    I mean, it is “choice” you want, isn’t it? If that’s your wish, then shouldn’t it be an informed choice?

    It is good to see the anti-choice lobby doesn’t seem to be gaining traction of this.

    Don’t count your chickens, Steve.

  16. Scribe 16

    And regarding the title of this thread, might one not say that people could take the attitude: “If you’re against smacking, then kindly don’t smack your kids.”

    A lot of people on this site have talked about how they were smacked as kids and most of them are normal 😉

    But how many kids who were aborted have turned out OK?

    Food for thought.

  17. Lew 17

    Scribe: NZ doesn’t have abortion on request. NZ has abortion on agreement from two independent medical practitioners in case of demonstrable or likely medical harm.

    While I see with your point about Steve’s use of `anti-choice’ for the pro-life lobby, it’s somewhat accurate since those campaigning for stricter abortion controls actually have as end-game the ideal of no abortions at all (a few limited exceptions in some cases).

    The whole post from you is all a bit disingenuous from if one reads from the last line that you support that position. If you don’t – my apologies.

    L

  18. Scribe 18

    Lew,

    NZ doesn’t have abortion on request. NZ has abortion on agreement from two independent medical practitioners in case of demonstrable or likely medical harm.

    Independent medical practitioners who make BIG money from signing that piece of paper. In 2006, one consultant made more than $200,000 from that alone.

    And are those practitioners talking about the likely medical harm from having an abortion, which this NZ study found? http://www.nzcatholic.org.nz/viewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=532

    those campaigning for stricter abortion controls actually have as end-game the ideal of no abortions at all

    Isn’t that what everyone wants? Who wants abortion?

  19. Tui 19

    @scribe. If someone is really pro-choice, then wouldn?t they want women to make an informed choice? You know, have them receive information about the development of the child in her womb.

    Apart from the clear elements of emotional pressure and guilt you seem to be advocating for medical practitioners to exert on people who are normally getting enough of both from everywhere else in society (because a coerced choice is totally the same thing as an “informed” choice) – I wonder if you’re aware that this is broadly already in place? Abortion on demand does not exist in New Zealand the way people appear to imagine. Women who need abortions have to jump through hoop after hoop to get one – as well as spending a whole hell of a lot of time talking to people at family planning she needs two consults with physicians to confirm that she, like, knows what’s right for her life and for her body. (For what other medical procedure are patients required to go through this kind of thing?)

    As to your supposed statistic about drug and alcohol addiction related to abortion – well, I’d like to see that study, but I could also quote statistics showing that having children means women die poorer and younger (even when they have a partner.)

  20. toad 20

    The judgment in Right to Life New Zealand Inc v The Abortion Supervisory Committee is now available online from the MoJ’s site for those wanting more detail.

  21. Lew 21

    Scribe: “Independent medical practitioners who make BIG money from signing that piece of paper. In 2006, one consultant made more than $200,000 from that alone.”

    Are you suggesting that affiliates to the Royal NZ and Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are putting peoples’ lives or health in danger for profit?

    “And are those practitioners talking about the likely medical harm from having an abortion, which this NZ study found? http://www.nzcatholic.org.nz/viewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=532

    I expect their reputation as medical practitioners would require they do. If they don’t that would be a matter for the Medical Council to consider.

    “Isn’t that what everyone wants?”

    Manifestly not.

    “Who wants abortion?”

    People for whom having a baby could be medically unsafe, mostly. There will always be edge cases of people who want abortion for non-medical reasons. At present those people are not entitled to abortions in law.

    Oh, you mean `who wants to have a perfect world where nobody needs an abortion’? Everyone. But there’s an implementation problem.

    L

  22. stanley h 22

    Rational, reasoned debate is unlikely when;

    a) pro-choicers are demonised as cold-hearted baby-killing feminist-family-destroying-socialist murderers (etc) – while pro-lifers don’t seem to think “life” means life (ie: abortion is wrong, while war & capital punishment are somehow still ok).

    b) pro-lifers are demonised as right-wing fundamentalist fascist cum anti-choice conspiracy-mongers.

    BUT – how about these folk, then?
    (Jim Wallis & the Sojourners crowd, in case the link doesn’t work)

    Jim Wallis & Sojourners

    Hmm… I’m missing the “raving fundamentalist” in that article.

    I’m also missing the part where anyone explained – rather than assumed – how a nine month baby/foetus is counted as human life, while a nine week one isn’t.*

    “Be careful in fighting the dragon, lest you become the dragon.” – Nietzsche.

    *That being said, tougher abortion laws are probably still a bad thing.
    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/02/26/pro-death/

    [lprent: fixed link]

  23. Scribe 23

    Lew,

    There will always be edge cases of people who want abortion for non-medical reasons. At present those people are not entitled to abortions in law.

    They’re not entitled to them and yet they’re still being allowed access to them. The Medical Council (or appropriate body) should be asking some hard questions; I don’t believe they have been for the last decade or more.

  24. Tui 24

    I’m also missing the part where anyone explained – rather than assumed – how a nine month baby/foetus is counted as human life, while a nine week one isn’t.

    Just as a start, a newborn baby isn’t putting anyone else’s life at risk in order to keep living; and, of course, you can give a newborn away. You can’t really give a nine-week foetus to infertile couples. If you are genuinely missing these parts, most philosophical work on abortion has serious in-depth discussions about at which point a foetus should and should not be considered a human life, and what kind of rights protection it deserves; it is hardly an unconsidered issue.

  25. Lew 25

    Stanley: “I’m also missing the part where anyone explained – rather than assumed – how a nine month baby/foetus is counted as human life, while a nine week one isn’t.*”

    This is covered in the judgement to which toad links above:

    “the abortion law imposes no duty on the mother, or any other actor in the abortion process, to protect the life of the unborn child and does not recognise a child as a person until it is born alive.” (5a)

    The definition has also been very heavily litigated, mostly in the US. I actually consider this the most over-litigated non-issue in the world. As far as I’m concerned, it’s very simple: once the baby could realistically survive without its mother, it’s entitled to do so (in an incubation chamber, being cared for by a surrogate or by whatever other means). I believe this benchmark currently stands at about 26 weeks. Until that point, while it’s functionally dependent on one specific person for its life, that person must in principle be the final arbiter of life and death over it, since nobody else can be.

    Ultimately, when stripped of emotive baggage, this is a utilitarian issue of supply and demand. Historically speaking, women have always found ways to abort; mostly inhumane, damaging and dangerous ways. They will continue to do so in the absence of a sanctioned system. Dismantling the relatively safe, robust, well-mediated process we currently have in favour of a return to back-room abortions is simply absurd.

    Scribe: “They’re not entitled to them and yet they’re still being allowed access to them. The Medical Council (or appropriate body) should be asking some hard questions; I don’t believe they have been for the last decade or more.”

    This is more or less what the finding says, and I agree in principle. However I’m concerned that this will generate backlash, and be taken as leave to deny abortions to those who can genuinely demonstrate a medical need; or, more likely, for `pro-lifers’ to begin the sort of hate campaign Julie foreshadows in the OP to ban all abortions on the grounds that some have been given without proper cause.

    For what it’s worth, I expect this matter to be re-litigated fairly soon (whether on appeal or by Parliament) and a different outcome reached than that of Miller J. I suppose we’ll see.

    L

  26. Jonquille 26

    I honestly think we will not get rational media coverage of the abortion issue right now. A few months back I called the Herald to voice my displeasure about an antichoice article they ran. An opion piece that had a typical pro life picture of a near full term foetus in it. This is what these people do in the US. They show people pictures of healthy near full term foetuses which are never actually aborted.
    Late term abortions are always preformed on babies that are seriously derformed i.e. have no brain etc and would never survive oustside the mother. They are preformed for the mothers health when there is no chance for the baby. But the pro lifers are against this. In Ireland the law states that women who have been raped have no right to have an abortion and several states in the USA have passed similar laws since Bush’s appointment of right wing justices to the supreme court. They are not erven allowed to have a hysterectomey without their husbabds permission. These are the sort of ludicrous sitiations pro lifers want. In the US on the 7th of June their was a national prolife protest against the pill. They want an end to contraception. Basically they want to step womens lives back 100 years as the rest of the world moves ahead at breakneck speed. Its about the control of women and the reversal of their meager rights.

  27. Scribe 27

    Lew and Jonquille,

    Have a look at these images (ultrasound, not the “guilt-trip” variety). I simply can’t see a case that it’s OK to just “dispose” of unborn babies like these for convenience.

    http://www.pregnancy.org/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment1.php#week9

  28. The Dumb Ox 28

    The real problem in NZ is that women are NOT given the full facts about the serious risks of abortion, and they are not given accurate information about the development of the baby in the womb.

    Another problem with the law is that it completely ignores the rights of the unborn child, without any sound philosophical reason for doing so.

    And I dare not suggest that the current law is prejudiced because it denies men all rights in matters relating to abortion.

    Our law is based on ideology, not science or reason, and tragically many women in this country are paying dearly for our unwillingness to have an honest and open discussion about this issue.

  29. Pascal's bookie 29

    Jonquille, the ban on “partial birth abortions” in the States is particularly nasty.

    Celebrated by the ‘prolife’ brigade, all the ban does is prohibit the type of procedure used to perform the late term abortion. As you state, these abortions are rare and for serious medical reasons.

    The late term abortion will still take place, but the method now used will be riskier for the woman involved. By law, the Doctor cannot use the safer method. As a result, some women will die, and not one abortion will be prevented.

    That those who support the ban are ignorant of this, (or don’t care) tells you all you need to know.

  30. Scribe 30

    Lew and Jonquille,

    Have a look at these images (ultrasound, not the “guilt-trip” kind). I simply can’t see how anyone can make a case that unborn children like these can be disposed of like a pair of old socks.

    http://www.pregnancy.org/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment1.php#week9

  31. The Dumb Ox 31

    “Jonquille, the ban on partial birth abortions in the States is particularly nasty.”

    Pascal, do you actually understand what a partial birth abortion involves?

    A very late term baby is delivered, alive, feet first, and then just as it’s head is about to emerge the delivery is halted so that the attending doctor can insert a pair of medical scissors into the back of the baby’s head, into the brain, creating a hole so that the living child’s brain can be suctioned out.

    Anyone supporting such a procedure has lost touch with what it means to be human.

  32. Jonquille 32

    Heres an excellent article about the pro life anti contraception protest day.

    Sex Crime: A New ‘Surge’ in the War Against Women

    http://www.chris-floyd.com/content/view/1528/135/

    Chris-floyd of “Empire Burlesque” is a remarkable journalist who covers many world events that other journalists never touch. He’s an independant hero not a corporate shill which is more and more becoming the reality for main stream journalism in the USA.

  33. Lew 33

    Ox: So, I take it you support an education campaign, rather than an outright ban, then?

    L

  34. higherstandard 34

    Lots of posts from men few from women.

    Morally (personally) I dislike abortion.

    I do however know and accept that a woman’s choices for going through with an abortion either for medical reasons and as a personal choice are many and varied.

    A world without the need or necessity for abortion would be a fine place indeed but it’s not the one we or our children’s children are likely to live in.

  35. Scribe 35

    The Dumb Ox beat me to it.

    To say the ban on partial-birth abortions is “particularly nasty” makes me wonder what the procedure itself ought to be described as.

    If a dog was killed in such a fashion there would be absolute outrage. Yet it’s done to our own.

    Keep pounding the smacking-ban drum (some of you).

  36. The Dumb Ox 36

    “So, I take it you support an education campaign, rather than an outright ban, then?”

    Hi Lew,

    I think that we need education, but we also need a law change, and my position rests on sound philosophical and scientific reasons, rather than any religious ones.

  37. Jonquille 37

    Dumb OX

    The day men start to truley fund the care of these children they want women to bear is the day I start listening to their rights. The average liable parent in NZ pays $14 per week as they all doctor their financial statements to pay as little child support as possible. Even at these low rates half of them do not pay up.

    Put your money where your mouths are and maybe you deserve a hearing.

  38. The Dumb Ox 38

    “A world without the need or necessity for abortion would be a fine place indeed but it’s not the one we or our children’s children are likely to live in.”

    Why?

    Are we mindless slaves to some overpowering cultural force?

    Or are we free and rational beings who can choose to make choices which will shape our current and future cultural landscape?

  39. Lew 39

    Ox: I agree that education is good, but we’ll have to disagree about the law change.

    “Are we mindless slaves to some overpowering cultural force?”

    Nope, not mindless. But cultural forces are the single most powerful bunch of things there is.

    Or are we free and rational beings who can choose to make choices which will shape our current and future cultural landscape?”

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean what you suggest, or anything like it. A better question is: do we accept reality as it is and try to mitigate failures, or do we pretend that perfection is possible?

    Jonquille: Why tar everyone with the same brush?

    L

  40. higherstandard 40

    DUMB

    You seem to take issue with my comment I made it because a world with no need or necessity for abortion would suggest people would be effectively using contraception and medically there would be no need for the procedure …….. if you disagree with that feel free.

  41. The Dumb Ox 41

    “The day men start to truley fund the care of these children they want women to bear is the day I start listening to their rights.”

    So you are going to deny all men their rights just because some men fail to act like real men and provide for their children and partners?

    That seems irrational to me.

    Have you ever considered that maybe the current law has been forming men for the last 30 years to wrongly believe that they shouldn’t be responsible for their partners and their children?

    After all, the abortion laws in this country have been telling men in NZ for the last 30 years that they have no right when it comes to a new human life they are 50/50 responsible for the creation of – is it really any wonder then that so many men don’t take any responsibility for the results of their sexual decision making?

  42. Jonquille 42

    OK guys

    It is a nasty procedure. So you prefer the woman to risk her life and perhaps die to avoid this.

    That shows me exactly where you are comming from and that you consider a near dead unsavable fetus to be more importqant than the life of the mother who you do not even mention in your posts. Thats how low we rate with you pro life men. So how can you pretend to be humane if you don’t give a rats arse if the mother dies.

  43. The Dumb Ox 43

    “I agree that education is good, but we?ll have to disagree about the law change.”

    Fair enough Lew, can I ask what your reasons are for not desiring a law change?

    Are there downsides that you envisage?

  44. The Dumb Ox 44

    “It is a nasty procedure. So you prefer the woman to risk her life and perhaps die to avoid this.”

    Jonquille,

    Can you please provide examples of situations where a woman would die if she didn’t have a later term abortion?

    It would also be good to know how common these situations occur.

    Also, remember that a partial birth abortion almost always kills a baby that is beyond the stage of viability.

  45. exexpat 45

    I’m not quite sure what smacking has to do with abortion, to me they are two separate issues but then there seems to be a lot of stuff in this thread that has very little to do with abortion.

    Hmmm pictures of fetus = informed consent? More like enforced guilt. But in the interests of fairness, perhaps we should also be informing women about the risks of bringing unwanted children into the world and keeping it, perhaps some nice pictures of child abuse? Or pictures of single parents in poverty while her child free peers enjoying the fruits of their disposable income? And let us not forget about adoption. Perhaps we should add pictures of women just a few minutes after they’ve given up their baby for adoption just to really hit home what’s going on?

    Bottom line is that all three options have their drawbacks. Unplanned pregnancy is a bitch of a situation and I speak from the viewpoint of someone who has been there.

  46. Lew 46

    Ox: “Fair enough Lew, can I ask what your reasons are for not desiring a law change?”

    They’re mostly detailed in my 1337 post above.

    L

  47. Scribe 47

    Jonquille,

    It is a nasty procedure. So you prefer the woman to risk her life and perhaps die to avoid this.

    No, I’d prefer the woman allow nature to take its course, i.e. for her to deliver her baby. There are much greater risks when having an invasive surgical procedure than giving birth, I think you’d find.

    Thats how low we rate with you pro life men. So how can you pretend to be humane if you don’t give a rats arse if the mother dies.

    Nice to have a discussion with you, too, Jonquille.

    I think it’s much more pro-woman to want her to allow her body to follow the natural process rather than to undergo an invasive surgical procedure — often one of convenience.

  48. Lew 48

    Scribe: “I think it’s much more pro-woman to want her to allow her body to follow the natural process rather than to undergo an invasive surgical procedure — often one of convenience.”

    I think the point is that this aspect – whether it’s good for the woman or not – is her decision to make, not anyone else’s (outside her physician).

    L

  49. Scribe 49

    exexpat,

    The link I see between abortion and smacking is that many — if not most — of the people who oppose physical discipline of children support the woman’s right to have an abortion whenever she wants one.

    I’ve seen hypocrisy before, but nothing quite like that.

  50. I think it’s much more pro-woman to want her to allow her body to follow the natural process rather than to undergo an invasive surgical procedure

    So if your mother or wife discovers she has operable breast cancer you would follow the same logic?

  51. Scribe 51

    Robinsod,

    So if your mother or wife discovers she has operable breast cancer you would follow the same logic?

    My mother has, and the answer is no, because cancer is a “toxin”. A child is not. Quite a difference.

    We were all foetuses once. And, wouldn’t ya know it, we all became humans. We had “brothers” and “sisters” who weren’t so lucky.

  52. The Dumb Ox 52

    “I think the point is that this aspect – whether it’s good for the woman or not – is her decision to make, not anyone else’s (outside her physician).”

    Two people’s rights are being denied in this approach

    1. The unborn child
    2. The father

  53. Scribe 53

    And many women might think it’s good for them then and there, but what about later when the reality sinks in?

    Is the health system that performed the abortion also going to pick up the pieces if (when) she realises the magnitude of what she did?

  54. The Dumb Ox 54

    “So if your mother or wife discovers she has operable breast cancer you would follow the same logic?”

    Robinsod,

    You example isn’t the same.

    Pregnancy involves an unborn person, breast cancer is a disease.

    One has rights, the other has none.

  55. MacDoctor 55

    Jonquille

    Just so you know – there are NO medical reasons where a partial birth abortion (foetus dead) is required instead of a simple birth (foetus alive). The only reason for partial birth abortions is economic, to avoid the cost of care in a neonatal ICU.

  56. bill brown 56

    Just a minute…

    Scribe above was portraying faux concern about the mother:

    “I think it’s much more pro-woman to want her to allow her body to follow the natural process rather than to undergo an invasive surgical procedure”

    Followed, just by the way, with a throwaway dash of generalistic venom:

    “— often one of convenience.”

    But Dumb’ then manages to twist that to his/her own “person” versus “cancer” argument. Nice use of the “unborn person” emotive though.

  57. My answer is exactly the same given the parameters of the argument scribe made. In both cases the process is natural but in one case Scribe argues the woman should let nature take its course and in the other hes doesn’t. If Scribe is going to argue that is “natural” instead of admitting upfront he has some whacky religious view then he should be prepared to defend that argument.

    Clearly he can’t. Be honest Scribe (and ox) – you have some kind of mumbo jumbo superstition involving some kind of big bearded guy in the sky that tells you this is wrong. Your problem is you can’t defend your view that way because you know everyone will laugh at you so you try to make rational arguments that don’t stack up. If you were true believers you’d recognise that such mockery was merely a trial to test your faith. Go on – embrace your truth don’t be ashamed of it.

  58. The Dumb Ox 58

    What do you mean Bill?

    Are you of the opinion that the unborn child is not a human person, and therefore unworthy of the human rights that us post-birth people do?

  59. The Dumb Ox 59

    Robinsod,

    What exactly is your argument – because at the moment it is you who appears to be lacking reason and logic.

    Are you saying that an unborn child is the same as a cancerous tumor?

    Or are you saying that abortion is the same as an operation to remove breast cancer?

    Because both of these propositions are invalid.

  60. Oh and great post by the way Julie. I hope that there’s a bit more cross posting between the standard and the hand mirror.

  61. higherstandard 61

    sod

    Don’t defend the indefensible your comparison was ASSinine.

    Move on.

  62. bill brown 62

    Dumb’

    I expressed no opinion as to the status of the unborn child. I merely pointed out that you were twisting Scribe’s argument to your own ends. In fact it is you that started equating “unborn person” to “cancer”

  63. The Dumb Ox 63

    Bill,

    Are you reading the same blog?

  64. Don’t defend the indefensible your comparison was ASSinine.

    Awful pun mate. But his argument was:

    A woman should not abort because it is not natural and it is invasive.

    Therefore one can only assume that scribe is saying that there is inherent badness in things that are unatural and invasive. I would’ve thought that surgically removing a naturally occurring tumour would fall into that category.

    The truth is that it has nothing to do with unnatural and invasive – that’s merely a trojan horse for scribe’s real rationale. You know the voodoo one…

  65. The Dumb Ox 65

    I knew you’d missed the point Robinsod.

    Scribe’s argument was not that unnatural and invasive things are inherently bad.

    He clearly stated that invasive surgical acts like abortion are more risky than allowing a natural birth to proceed without interference.

    And he’s right – the medical science and social research wholeheartedly supports his assertion.

    In regards to breast cancer, the risk of not carrying out an invasive procedure to remove the tumor far outweighs the risks of leaving the tumor where it is.

    Also, an invasive breast cancer surgery will potentially save a woman’s life, but an invasive abortion on the other hand actually results in the death of the unborn person(s), and exposes a woman to serious physical and emotional harm – so they are not morally equivalent at all.

  66. Scribe 66

    Robinsod,

    One doesn’t need to have religious convictions to know that abortion is a gravely immoral act, especially when done out of convenience. One of the most vehement pro-lifers in the US is an atheist named Nat Hentoff, who calls himself “a Jewish, atheist, civil libertarian pro-lifer”.

    higherstandard has already covered your ridiculous comparison of an abortion with breast cancer surgery.

    Every human life is precious. In the case of a pregnancy, that includes the life of the mother and her child. Look at the photos I linked to above Robinsod and try telling me that a six- or eight-week foetus isn’t a human person who should be entitled to the right to life. The same right to life that says that the death penalty is wrong.

  67. Julie 67

    Wow what a thread! As higherstandard already commented – many voices from men, few from women. That concerns me, because ultimately those who cannot get pregnant are trying to limit the decision-making of those who can. I’m not saying men aren’t entitled to an opinion at all, just that I think men commenting need to be extra thoughtful before denying women an option that they will never even have to consider.

    What’s the difference between a 9 week embryo and a newborn? An embryo, and then a fetus, is the potential of a life, in my opinion. Many many pregnancies do not end in live birth, miscarriages and still births are far from rare, even with all our modern medicine. Some women never even know they are pregnant, as the miscarriage happens so early. And what you miscarry is not a life, even though it may be grieved.

    Oops, have to go, hopefully I’ll be able to comment further later, but thanks to The Standard for the opportunity to post.

  68. Lew 68

    Ox:

    [Lew:] “I think the point is that this aspect – whether it’s good for the woman or not – is her decision to make, not anyone else’s (outside her physician).’

    [Ox:]Two people’s rights are being denied in this approach”

    I worded the statement very carefully to make clear that I only mean this aspect – whether it’s good for the woman or not. The issue is not with the procedure itself, but whether a procedure – any procedure, but particularly such a significant procedure as abortion – is good for the woman. The call when determining whether a given procedure is good or not is a patient’s to make in consultation with her physician, and nobody else’s.

    Even taking your extension of my statement to all aspects of an abortion, in my view you’re still wrong on both counts, as follows:

    “1. The unborn child”

    In NZ an unborn child has almost no rights in law – and indeed it does not have an automatic right to life. There is a very complex moral, ethical, theological, biological and philosophical debate on whether this is correct, but these are the facts on the ground. I’ve stated my position on this above. I’m prepared to debate it further, but not here (and see below).

    “2. The father”

    Per my rationale above that nobody else can bear responsibility for a baby until it is viable independent of the mother, she, being the only person who can keep it alive, has the unilateral right to terminate in consultation with the proper authorities. The wishes of the father and other family members should be taken into account, but there is no right incumbent upon her to take them into account, since it is she – and nobody else – who will bear the full consequence of the decision.

    To make really clear: if a father could somehow take over gestation of a non-viable baby and bring it to viability, I’d consider that he would have a right to do so if the mother was not prepared to do so. But being as this is impossible, a man has no inherent right to force a woman to undergo months of pregnancy if she is unwilling to do so.

    From the logic above you can also deduce I oppose partial-birth abortions, for whatever that’s worth.

    L

  69. Lew 69

    Julie: “ultimately those who cannot get pregnant are trying to limit the decision-making of those who can.”

    This is the core of my argument in a nutshell. When men can get pregnant, they get equal decision-making rights.

    I speak as the husband of a pregnant woman. I wouldn’t dare presume.

    Cheers for the post, Julie.

    L

  70. randal 70

    wow look at all these knowalls wanting to make choices for women… are they God or something or just power mad perves who want to beat up on women?

  71. Scribe 71

    wow look at all these knowalls wanting to make choices for women

    Wow, look at all these non-aborted people speaking for the right to abort babies. Are they God or something, saying that unborn children are less that human and therefore have no rights?

    Randal,

    Look at the photos I linked to above and try telling me that a six- or eight-week foetus isn’t a human person who should be entitled to the right to life. The same right to life that says that the death penalty is wrong.

  72. Billy 72

    randal, whichever side of it you are on, abortion is a difficult issue. As usual, your thoughtful and sensitive analysis has added much.

  73. randal 73

    cut to the chase billy and scribe. pray tell exactly what business it is of yours if someone you dont know wants an abortion? Are you playting God or are you just a male chauvinist pig?

  74. Billy 74

    and randal, I suppose that, as you are not a child (I am assuming) and don’t have any, using the criteria you have provided above, you are unqualified to have an opinion on S59. Thought not.

  75. Scribe 75

    Julie,

    [Glad this discussion is being had, even if we disagree. Thanks for the post. My comments and questions below come from curiosity rather than any attempt to be antagonistic.]

    What’s the difference between a 9 week embryo and a newborn? An embryo, and then a fetus, is the potential of a life, in my opinion.

    Two questions, if I may: Does it remain the “potential of a life” right up until it is born? Or is there some magic point in time when it becomes a person before birth? If so, when? (that’s 3 questions, sorry.)

    Many many pregnancies do not end in live birth, miscarriages and still births are far from rare, even with all our modern medicine. Some women never even know they are pregnant, as the miscarriage happens so early.

    I think comparing abortion with a miscarriage or still birth does your argument no favours. One is a deliberate choice; the other is not. It’s like comparing arson with a fire started by a hot water cylinder explosion.

    And what you miscarry is not a life, even though it may be grieved.

    If what a woman miscarries is not a life, then what is she grieving?

  76. Scribe 76

    Randal,

    I like people. And I think they ALL have a right to life, whether they’re young or old, born or unborn, male or female, healthy or sick, black or white.

    You don’t think babies have a right to be born. You don’t care that 360,000+ babies have been denied that right over the past 30 years. That’s your prerogative.

  77. Billy 77

    I wonder if the Standard is going to do a post: If you’re against smacking children then kindly don’t smack yours.

  78. Lew 78

    Billy: Scribe beat you to that punch by 6.5 hours.

    L

  79. QoT 79

    As possibly only the second female commenter on this thread, I really look forward to having a rational and mature debate about abortion in this country. Because NZ women deserve abortion on demand. Also, pro-life rhetoric makes me giggle like nobody’s business.

  80. Billy 80

    So he did.

  81. Billy 81

    I would like someone to explain why mothers aborting their kids is different to others doing so. Is it because mothers own them?

    The vision thing

  82. randal 82

    nobody has a right to anything especially when they dont even exist anyway. stop chopping logic to suit your own purposes. and besides if you want to go down tht track then dont the starving children in Ethiopia have a right to some food NOW!

  83. Lew 83

    Billy: From my perspective: until they’re viable outside the womb, that’s more or less it, though `own’ is the wrong word. (Permit me to just ignore the rhetorical allusion to ‘Sod’s comment).

    randal: You get less coherent by the minute.

    L

  84. randal 84

    I thought what I had to say was pretty plain. read it again and think about it instead of knee jerking off

  85. Lew 85

    randal: What part of an unborn child doesn’t exist? The bit where the rights are? And I don’t recall anyone arguing on this thread that people have an automatic right to food.

    L

  86. randal 86

    lou…just becuase somebody did not argue that it is a right to have food does not make it true or false. however soemthing that does not exist is neither true nor false. it just does not exist.

  87. Helen 87

    Excellent post Julie and nice one Standard for putting your money where your mouth is.
    Can I ask how many of those who commented on this thread have actually been in a situation where they (not their partners) were pregnant and had to make this decision?

  88. Tui 88

    @scribe: I looked at those photos and I’ll tell you what, they sure look alien to me. (I say this because it appears no-one else is going to and you won’t shut up until someone does.) Cute enough but hey, lambs are pretty cute too. also delicious.

    Dumb ox said: Another problem with the law is that it completely ignores the rights of the unborn child, without any sound philosophical reason for doing so.

    There are two problems with that wee statement.
    1. Being pro-choice is not the same as thinking the unborn child has no rights. For example, I am pro-choice, but I strongly believe that mothers ought not to smoke or drink during pregnancy, since it affects the health of the fetus. One can accept that the fetus has some rights without accepting that these rights extend to forcing women to go through with a pregnancy and with child-rearing. (Judith Thompson’s violinist analogy is the most famous, and I am sure that someone as apparently familiar with sound philosophy as you are does not need me to go into that at this juncture.)

    2. Actually, there is quite a lot of very reputable philosophy which is pro-choice. (I would say more pro-choice than pro-life, but I’m not an authority.) See: Peter Singer, Judith Jarvis Thompson, Majority Opinion in Roe vs Wade (highly influential in the abortion debate), Mary Ann Warren, Margaret Olivia Little’s work on the morality of abortion (can’t find this on the internet but it’s in print places and probably in JSTOR or project muse somewhere), any number of ethics committee decisions… I could go on but I’m lazy. My point is, it’s both facile and false to say that there’s no sound philosophy that is pro-choice; unless when you say “sound” you mean, as I suspect, “philosophy that agrees with me.” In which case your argument is merely circular.

    @Helen: I haven’t been in the position myself. I do have a uterus though, which puts me in the minority (anywhere on the Standard, really.)

  89. Billy 89

    I’m making a little scrap book of the stupidest things ever written on the interwebs. randall has a number of entries on this thread alone. My personal favourite has to be:

    nobody has a right to anything

    Although:

    just becuase somebody did not argue that it is a right to have food does not make it true or false

    is hard to beat for sheer unintelligibility.

    Until you discover it is clearly beaten by a knee jerking off.

  90. ak 90

    Lew: randal: You get less coherent by the minute.

    Actually Lew, I thought randal made a fair point.
    We’re all aware that every single day many tens of thousands of children die for want of a few cents worth of sustenance. By ignoring them (when we are all eminently capable of saving at least some), are we not guilty of wilfully allowing them to die? Yes, of murdering them?

    Many, many moons ago I used to donate to SPUC. Like scribe, I thought it all so simple – “abortion is murder”. I even persuaded my local SPUCCIES (lovely well-meaning people all) of the need for a counselling/support service for “at risk” mums-to-be – our noble simplistic aim being to “save lives”.

    To cut a very long story short, those of us at the “coal face” quickly realised that our well-intended “support” was woefully naive and inadequate in the face of the massive emotional, financial, and societal pressures these women were carrying. None of them wanted to have an abortion: but until our society takes a dramatic turn away from the worship of material gain as a measure of success and welcomes every single baby with genuinely open arms and ongoing support of every kind, this debate will be with us.

    My fellow SPUCCIES still wave as they pass by the foodbank on the way to church in their shiny Primeras, and sometimes they’ll drop off some fruit from their trees. Like all of us, they’d give the shirt off their back to a starving baby on their doorstep, will pray unstintingly for the poor, and without hesitation will write out a hefty cheque for the party that slashed the benefits and created the underclass.
    We basically achieved nothing: but I have great faith in you young people here and the sentiments and passion you express. Don’t give up.

  91. The Dumb Ox 91

    “Judith Thompson’s violinist analogy is the most famous, and I am sure that someone as apparently familiar with sound philosophy as you are does not need me to go into that at this juncture.”

    You’re joking right?

    Judith Thompson’s violinist analogy suffers from a terrible flaw in regards to the abortion issue.

    The violinist is plugged into the sleeping person against their will, and without any cooperation on their part.

    Excluding the situation of rape, this analogy bears no resemblance to pregnancy because prior to becoming pregnant a woman has to make a free choice to have sex.

    [lprent: The obvious question here and through the rest of your varied arguments which you don’t consider rape – it isn’t exactly a free choice]

    Since we all know that having sex is still the most effective way to get pregnant, this initial free decision on her part has meant that she has made a free choice which could well lead to a pregnancy.

    Claiming that you were forced to be pregnant after freely engaging in the act known to be most effective at creating a new human person is just irresponsible.

    [lprent: And here you don’t consider the case where adequate precautions were taken in anti-contraception, and failed. None of them are 100% effective including various surgeries. Or are you suggesting that pregnancy in a woman who is married, and has cut fallopian tubes is irresponsible?]

    And don’t get me started on Thompson’s other terribly flawed extensions of this argument, especially the nonsensical people seeds argument.

    It’s just unintelligent sophistry designed to prop up abortion ideology, but ultimately it fails when exposed to the light of intellectual reasoning.

  92. The Dumb Ox 92

    “See: Peter Singer”

    You really want to endorse Peter Singer?

    This is the same guy who thinks that parents should have a 30 day right of return on a new born baby, and if they don’t like the child for any reason in the first 30 days after its birth they should be able to return it to the hospital to be aborted.

    If this is the sort of authority you are listening to on this issue, no wonder you’re so confused.

    Next you’ll be suggesting that Hitler is an excellent authority on matters of Jewish culture.

  93. Billy 93

    Hey, ak, I notice you often come leaping to randal’s defense. Are you his mum? This might explain your pro-abortion stance.

  94. The Dumb Ox 94

    “unless when you say sound you mean, as I suspect, philosophy that agrees with me.

    What I mean by ‘not sound’ is philosophy which when exposed to sound reason is shown to be logically flawed.

    Every philosophical argument proffered in favor of abortion has at least one major hole in it.

    Key philosophical arguments opposed to abortion however do not suffer from such problems, which is why pro-abortionists usually resort to rejecting reality by clinging to terribly flawed philosophies like moral relativism as an ultimate fall-back defense when confronted with philosophical arguments that expose the errors in pro-abortion rhetoric.

  95. zANavAShi 95

    Excellent post Julie and bravo to the Standard for inviting you! It seems I am in a posting kinda mood today, so while I’ve still got some wind under my sails I may as well put in a presence here too and add another female voice of support.

    I just want to say that the Standard is my favourite left-wing political blog. I have regularly consumed as many as 2-5 hours a day lurking in this place, reading and re-refreshing the newsfeed over and over for new posts/comments since I discovered y’all last year. But I’ve been reluctant to step up and post here because of the dismal lack of female commentary.

    I’m sure I am not the only women who lurks here as addictively as I do, and I also suspect I’m not the only woman who feels (if you have been lurking, like me) that there are more than plenty of examples in this current thread of why we don’t post here (at all – or often). And I’ll give you a clue why that is chaps… it’s not (as some have suggested elsewhere) that we cannot handle robust debate.

    No. It is (IMO) because so often when topics come up that we (of the female gender) feel we can contribute to by sharing something personal about our lives – which might hopefully broaden or deepen the understanding of a topic by making it about a real human being instead of some faceless statistic – we can pretty much guarantee that what we share will be devalued in some way by certain members of the male audience, or become fodder for an ad hominem attack in some future debate.

    This is a very big issue for women. It’s been a very big issue for me personally. I love discussing politics. I love debating with (and observing the debating of) people of differing viewpoints so I can widen my own perspective and challenge my own opinions – which, if they are worth keeping should be able to withstand some healthy critique.

    But on the “political” issue of abortion…

    I do not wish to have this discussion from ANY kind of perspective which is based on religious or moral grounds, or any other kind of world view that is based on the premise that a male has the right to tell me (a person with female reproductive organs) what I can and cannot do with my own body.

    I do not want to have this discussion with any person (either male or female) who would seek to make me feel shame about my own decision to have an abortion when I was 21, or question my personal reasons for doing so, or tell me that I am a heartless heathen bitch when I say (decades later) that I would make the same decision all over again.

    I do not want to witness people making wild accusations of hypocrisy to other pro-choice participants in this debate that refer to statements they have made in other posts here on other topics in order to (they believe) score debate points – thereby trivialising what is arguably the most painfully awful decision a woman ever might need to make in her life.

    The behaviour of commentators who debate abortion issues like this insults me – as they insult every other woman reading this thread who has had to make the decision to have an abortion, along with every man or woman that has ever supported a women during that ordeal.

    But it seems the time has come where we must be prepared to revisit this conversation, and I am ready to converse in a mixed gender group – but ONLY if I am assured that women who participate will not become targets of some kind of fanatical fundie witch hunt.

    So… I wonder if we can get past the point of “My reproductive organs belong to me, not you” so myself (and hopefully some more of the lurking women here) can feel safe to join y’all in a real conversation on the topic…?

  96. Ari 96

    QoT: I believe you’re the third self-declared woman in this thread. 😉 It’s sad that we don’t get more women commenting on the Standard, although with the noise the rest of us make and how unfriendly to women it gets, I am not entirely surprised.

    Scribe: I think we can agree that the fetus has some value and maybe even some rights, but you seem to be completely ignoring those of the mother. Kindly treat this like the complicated issue it is and not some game of “but my answer is right!” There are many middle grounds between protecting fetuses and abortion on demand- especially as a pregnancy can be easily and safely chemically aborted before the fetal stage, where the “unborn child” is likely to have few if any of the characteristics that define personhood. I agree that there are some types of abortion that are very different to other types and that one of the worst things about the current law is that it was from a time where abortions were only surgical. There are now several different procedures that could be referred to as an induced abortion.

    Lew: I have to agree that up to the point of viability is a pretty good measure of how long abortions can practically be allowed in less complicated cases. I think aborting becomes more morally grey as the fetal stage progresses, but then again, legally forcing someone to carry an organism that is technically a parasite is also not exactly how I would define morality, either. A good law in this case will consider the situation, and maintain respect for both the mother and the embryo/zygote/fetus.

  97. The Dumb Ox 97

    “I think we can agree that the fetus has some value and maybe even some rights, but you seem to be completely ignoring those of the mother.”

    Yes, but the rights of the mother must always be exercised in relation to the rights of the unborn person – which is an independent entity from the moment of conception, despite the fact that it grows for the first nine months of its life inside its mother’s body.

    If the desires of the mother start trumping the right to life of the unborn person then we have a classic example of might makes right – where the one with all the power gets to decide the fate of the one without any.

  98. The Dumb Ox 98

    “Kindly treat this like the complicated issue it is and not some game of “but my answer is right!’

    Yes, every crisis-pregnancy is a complicated situation with its own unique issues, but let’s not confuse that with the issue of abortion.

    The real issue that lies at the heart of this debate is the question: is abortion good, morally neutral, or evil?

    And this question depends on one other very simple question:

    Is the unborn child a living human person?

    It really doesn’t get any simpler than that.

    Because if an unborn child is not a human person, then the worst we could say is the abortion is morally neutral.

    But if, on the other hand, an unborn child is a human person then abortion is a gravely immoral act that has destroyed more human lives than any other one single act.

    It seems to me that we have become caught up in red herrings, and sophistry which lead us to falsely conclude that the morality of abortion is so complicated that we can never actually find an answer to this simple question.

    This is the key question in this debate, and sadly no one wants to actually ask it.

  99. The Dumb Ox 99

    “where the “unborn child’ is likely to have few if any of the characteristics that define personhood.”

    What do you mean by ‘characteristics that define personhood’, because I can think of several characteristics that define personhood that are possessed by blastocysts at the moment they are conceived.

    It seems that part of the problem here is that people have lost touch with what true personhood actually is.

    It isn’t just about having a certain set of physical characteristics, it goes much deeper than that.

    And it isn’t just about possessing consciousness, because if it was then that would mean that I cease to be a person every time I go to sleep, or get knocked out playing rugby.

    [lprent: clipped – need links rather than text. Assertions rather than discussion or links]

  100. The Dumb Ox 100

    “but then again, legally forcing someone to carry an organism that is technically a parasite is also not exactly how I would define morality, either.”

    The parasite analogy simply isn’t a valid one as the science of pregnancy and childbirth totally refute it.

    [lprent: clipped – need links rather than text. Assertions rather than discussion or links]

  101. The Dumb Ox 101

    “A good law in this case will consider the situation, and maintain respect for both the mother and the embryo/zygote/fetus.”

    And I would argue that the evidence clearly shows us that abortion doesn’t respect either the mother or the baby growing inside her.

    [lprent: Dumping multiple comments in one after the other just pisses me off. See my comment below. I’ve cleaned out a few comments where you are just simply making assertions without backup. Use links – they aren’t hard. See the FAQ]

  102. zANavAShi 102

    (((((yawn))))) …and yet another potentially great topic to stimulate some female participation at the Standard gets spammed into oblivion by… another obsessive compulsive commentator (who has obviously had lots and lots and LOTS of practice picking these pro-choice arguments apart one syllable at a time) with… NO UTERUS.

    This is the very thing that drove so many bloggy women away from the Section59 debate last year, except this time instead of a Simon Barnett sock puppet we have…

    ZOMG who fuckin cares!

    Can you just post a sodding link to your “jesus doesn’t want you to vacuum up little people that look like chewed and spat out gummy bears web site” and STFU and so some OTHER people (and preferably ones who do possess, or at some time in their life possessed a UTERUS) can participate????

    PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE???????????

  103. Deborah 103

    zANavAShi – come and hang out with some like-minded women from time to time – it’s very refreshing, and strengthening…. I find I need the women-contact to give me the courage to hang out around places like this. To be fair to the Standardistas, it’s the commenters rather than the posters.

    And, my support for the good decision you made at age 21.

  104. “The real issue that lies at the heart of this debate is the question: is abortion good, morally neutral, or evil?”

    No, this is the real red herring, a major distraction. The fact that this discussion is even occuring shows the answer is not yes or no.

    The real question is whether it is acceptable for the state to infilict the morals of one group upon another.

    Abortion aught to be legal as a defult position. This allows those who dont not have a moral objection to abortion to have one, and those who do to not have one.

  105. lprent 105

    Can you just post a sodding link to your “jesus doesn’t want you to vacuum up little people that look like chewed and spat out gummy bears web site’ and STFU and so some OTHER people (and preferably ones who do possess, or at some time in their life possessed a UTERUS) can participate????

    Excellent suggestion. I got bored just scrolling past the dumb ox’s comments because they kept just saying the same thing over and over again without actually addressing the issues raised by other comments. Quote and then off on DO’s own tangent.

    Adding Dumb Ox to moderation and I’ll clip out anything not relevant to the debate where a link would do the same job. I’ll remove when DO starts relating to the thread rather than their own worldview

    I will do the same to anyone else who I think is trolling this thread and future ones. I’m getting tired of it.

    The other anti & pro comments were surprisingly good for this type of topic. But it was noticeable that after a while there was absolutely no discussion on anything that DO put up. DO was talking for the sake of talking

  106. Scribe 106

    zANavAShi,

    The ironic thing is that I don’t think any of the people on this thread who could be pigeon-holed as “pro-life” have even brought God/Jesus into the discussion.

    It’s the pro-choice people who stereotype every pro-lifer as a Bible-basher who turn this into a religious discussion and try to circumvent the actual issues.

    The notion that every life is precious surely isn’t a “religious” principle?

    [lprent: I’d actually have to agree (with a bit of surprise) that the thread has been reasonably good. I had to intervene in only one commentator whose behavior was starting to troll.]

  107. The Dumb Ox 107

    So much for the tolerant left.

    I post comments that respond specifically to other pro-abortion comments raised in this thread, and they get seriously edited by Iprent.

    Sadly, this is just business as usual when it comes to the abortion debate.

    People aren’t actually willing to engage in honest discussion and debate, and when someone dares to present reasoning which exposes the serious flaws in the pro-choice/pro-abortion ideology they are silenced.

    It seems that the liberals have become the conservative establishment, and it is those of us who were formerly labeled as ‘conservatives’ who are now actually the progressives, seeking a new and better way.

    [lprent: Quit whining. It isn’t the ‘tolerant left’. It is the intolerant bastard sysop who doesn’t like trolling you have to worry about. Go and read the Policy.
    No trolling == No moderation]

  108. The Dumb Ox 108

    “The real question is whether it is acceptable for the state to infilict the morals of one group upon another.”

    That’s a good point, and I agree with it in regards to abortion which is why I oppose abortion – because abortion inflicts the morality of certain adults upon unborn children, and that’s just not the libertine way.

  109. Hoolian 109

    “If you’re against abortion then kindly don’t have one…”

    “If you’re against the War in Iraq, then kindly don’t go…”

    “If you’re against torture, then kindly don’t be a part of it..”

    “If you’re against suicide, then kindly don’t kill yourself…”

    What a pathetic argument. I’m almost insulted by the sheer stupidity of it, but then this is the Standard. Its agrument construed of the typical garbage of “women have rights: don’t repress them!”. This isn’t about a woman’s right to abortion, or anything else: Right to Life’s case was about…the right to life.

    The first and foremost human right is the right to life. Pro-life groups are convinced that the unborn have a right to life. It’s not about anything else, despite what feminists might believe/want us to swallow. If a woman can have an abortion, without affecting the life of the unborn, hell, I’m all for it.

    Its ridiculous to say “If you’re against abortion then kindly don’t have one…”, because its far greater than that. Pro-life groups aren’t fighting the battle for themselves, they’re fighting for those who are most innocent – who can’t speak up for themselves, who can’t post blogs, or argue in cafes about whether they have a right to live or not – they are sticking up for the unborn.

    For me, being pro-life is one of the hardest things to be. Not because its a difficult or illogical stance to take but because it is a stance that directly contradicts society’s values. But its the same in the battle against the death penalty, torture, domestic violence and murder – the battle will always be uphill but in the end, its bloody worth it.

  110. Robinsod 110

    The ironic thing is that I don’t think any of the people on this thread who could be pigeon-holed as “pro-life’ have even brought God/Jesus into the discussion.

    That’s because those of you arguing the “pro-life” angle are too scared of ridicule to do so yourselves. It reminds me of the “intelligent design” argument. I just wish you would have the honesty to admit your views on abortion are derived from your faith rather than trying to dance around the issue. “God” is aporetically present as a glaring lacuna in your arguments. Do you think we are too stupid to see that?

  111. The Dumb Ox 111

    “I just wish you would have the honesty to admit your views on abortion are derived from your faith rather than trying to dance around the issue.”

    Faith has nothing to do with it.

    I am not opposed to abortion because some priest or book told me to be pro-life.

    Instead I am pro-life because I have carefully examined the evidence, weighed the arguments on both sides of the debate, and used my intellect and my reason to come to the most logical, sound and truly human position.

    [lprent: Really – have a look at my notes on your comment at 9:50 last night. Explain what your responsible position is in the two cases I postulated.]

    It seems that the concept that someone can be pro-life based purely on the empirical evidence and sound philosophical reasoning is just too hard a concept for some pro-choice/pro-abortion supporters to get their head around.

    Maybe this is because it blows apart their narrow world view, and it is a threat to all the unfounded prejudices that they have unquestioningly embraced along with it.

  112. Scribe 112

    Robinsod,

    That’s because those of you arguing the “pro-life’ angle are too scared of ridicule to do so yourselves. . .

    I just wish you would have the honesty to admit your views on abortion are derived from your faith rather than trying to dance around the issue. “God’ is aporetically present as a glaring lacuna in your arguments. Do you think we are too stupid to see that?

    I won’t answer that last question.

    Speaking for myself, I’m certainly not scared of being ridiculed about anything. But — and I’ll repeat myself for your benefit, Robinsod — being pro-life is not a religious thing. It’s a human thing.

    It’s looking at an ultrasound and saying “Hey, that was me once. I’m so grateful my mother didn’t abort me. I want every unborn baby to become a born baby. I think they all have a right to life.”

    Hoolian,

    For me, being pro-life is one of the hardest things to be. Not because its a difficult or illogical stance to take but because it is a stance that directly contradicts society’s values.

    As you say, though, it’s worth the suffering and sideways glances and angry, judgemental responses from people who say you shouldn’t judge them (which you actually weren’t doing in the first place).

  113. djp 114

    Hoolian & Scribe good points

    If one agrees with the “pro-choice” viewpoint on abortion why should the parents lose their choice to abort as soon as a child is born?

  114. Scribe 115

    Alex (and others),

    Right to Life, which brought this case to the High Court, simply wants the law to be followed. Is that too much to ask?

    What other laws do you think can simply be flouted? Or do you want the law of common sense to apply, like Annette King said would apply to the EFA?

  115. The Dumb Ox 116

    Iprent, you invited me to respond to your interventions last night at 9:50pm, so I will…

    “The obvious question here and through the rest of your varied arguments which you don’t consider rape – it isn’t exactly a free choice”

    Which is why I started my comment at 9:50pm last night with this statement:

    “Excluding the situation of rape, this analogy bears no resemblance to pregnancy…”

    In other words, the only time that one could try and use Thompson’s Violinist analogy to support abortion is in the situation of pregnancy after rape.

    The vast majority of abortions are not happening because of rape, so therefore in the vast majority of cases, Thompson’s violin analogy is not valid.

    And when it comes to a situation of rape, the flaw in Thompson’s analogy is that it does not consider the serious physical and emotional risks that abortion exposes women to.

    So a more correct version of Thompson’s violin analogy would be this:

    You are attached to a famous violinist against your will, but if you remove the tubes and detach the violinist you will be exposing yourself to serious physical health risks and serious psychological risks.

    However, if you remain attached to the violinist for nine months, and then part company with the violinist at that point, then you are not exposed to anywhere near the same level of risk.

    “And here you don’t consider the case where adequate precautions were taken in anti-contraception, and failed. None of them are 100% effective including various surgeries.”

    Yes, as you acknowledge, no contraceptive measure is 100% effective, and they do often fail, but this doesn’t change the fact that having sexual intercourse with another person is the most effective way of creating a new human being.

    Everyone with half a brain knows this, and I would suggest that most people know that no contraceptive measure is 100% effective, so therefore anyone making the FREE choice to have sex, even when contraception is used, must be aware that there is still a possibility that their free choice could result in the creation of a new human life (intended or not).

    The issue then becomes, is it actually fair and just to then turn around and say:

    “Yes, I was aware that sex is the most effective way of creating a new human life, and yes, I was also aware that I could still get pregnant even after using contraceptive measures, and yes I still freely chose to have sex anyway, but now I don’t actually want to go along with the responsibilities that are part and parcel of the act I freely chose to engage in”.

    When you freely engage is sex with another person, one of the ramifications of that decision that you must consider is that you may well end up creating another human life – and at the point, then any further decisions after that must surely be made in consideration of the rights of the new human life that your prior free decision to have sex resulted in creating.

    [lprent: so in the case I was describing, even with cut fallopian tubes, the wife should not have sex? That seems a bit extreme? It has in fact happened in the Hawkes Bay recently from memory.

    Actually I just looked at this with my programmers eye. What you are describing is that sex is for conception. I’d suggest that a simpler design solution to that would be to emasculate all males at puberty after collecting sperm samples. Then use standard insemination techniques for conception. Works on other animals.

    I’ll volunteer after every other human male does it.

    Anyway I’ll let others carry on that discussion if they wish.]

  116. The Dumb Ox 117

    “Quit whining. It isn’t the ‘tolerant left’. It is the intolerant bastard sysop who doesn’t like trolling you have to worry about. Go and read the Policy.”

    LOL

    Yes, but none of my comments last night are Trolling.

    If you look at each one of them, it is a response to a specific point raised by a previous poster, they were not intended to bait anyone, and they certainly were not disrupting the flow of the conversation – they were simply participating in it by responding to points that had already been raised.

    According to good old Wikipedia, for something to be considered Trolling it must be:

    “…controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response[ or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.”

    While some parts of my posts last night may have been considered controversial by some people here, they certainly weren’t intended that way, and that probably has more to do with the fact that some of the ideas I proffered maybe new to some people here, and are contrary to their personal views.

    [lprent: I run a loose definition of trolling (ie mine). I view filling up a thread with consecutive comments that no-one else is responding to, and are largely assertions as blocking out other commentators. In fact I view them as being a single comment, and the length as making it a post. The comments section is meant for dialogue, not for posting views.

    Start a blog or use a different site, and link to it to it in your comments. Then other commentators can look at your short comment text and decide if they want to jump to the more considered and probably better written view. That will happen far more than you’d expect, and people stop skipping any comment written by you. Also I don’t get pissed off while I’m scanning comments]

  117. The Dumb Ox
    June 12, 2008 at 9:43 am
    “The real question is whether it is acceptable for the state to infilict the morals of one group upon another.’

    That’s a good point, and I agree with it in regards to abortion which is why I oppose abortion – because abortion inflicts the morality of certain adults upon unborn children, and that’s just not the libertine way

    Sorry theres a jump in your reasoning there that you havent explained.

    I’m not trying to wind anyone up here but in some respects society treats killing in a different way to other things they dislike.

    Take treatment of animals for example, not ok to beat them, torture them, rape them, but kill them and serve them up for dinner? no problem what so ever.

    The simple fact is once you die that is the end of it, if you took a bullet to the back of the head unaware it was coming, would you even feel a thing? of course there is many people around you, family, friends partners, they would be mighty upset. We also like not living in fear of being killed.

    How ever none of these apply to foetus’. The is no pre death trauma, no expectation that it wont be killed, and there is nothing more than a purely physical\parasitic realtionship with the mother.

    I just think its a bit precious to assign so many rights to a foetus.

  118. Lew 119

    The thing I genuinely dislike about this issue is that people seem to feel compelled to take increasingly absurd and often offensive rhetorical positions to support their belief.

    There’s simply no way to argue against people whose only essential claim is `it’s just not right’ (which is what the pro-life argument boils down to) because people who take this line (though I don’t include all pro-lifers in this) are simply impervious to reason, and any and all arguments will be met with `it’s just not right’.

    Trying to argue a `purely physical/parasitical relationship’ between mother and child is one such example of an untenable position, and one which is unsupported by science to boot. While I disagree with his end position and much of his reasoning, The Dumb Ox is correct in saying that this isn’t an accurate representation of pregnancy.

    On the other hand, the `fact’ that abortion is more dangerous than carrying a baby to full term has been raised a number of times by The Dumb Ox and others without a shred of supporting evidence. For one thing this is a counterfactual; for another thing, it’s something upon which there exists expert consensus, viz. that it’s not – medical practitioners support abortion explicitly in order to prevent greater harm which could be caused by a full-term pregnancy. These are two of many examples.

    Just saying something is so doesn’t make it so, and if this discussion is going to continue, I’d like to reiterate Lynn’s call for actual factual evidence, or at least rational debate based on logic rather than `I sez’.

    L

  119. Lew 120

    Clarification: … to prevent greater harm to the mother. Clearly not to the baby.

    L

  120. The Dumb Ox 121

    Killing,

    You raise some good points, worthy of comment.

    “How ever none of these apply to foetus’. The is no pre death trauma, no expectation that it wont be killed, and there is nothing more than a purely physical\parasitic realtionship with the mother.”

    Yes, but killing another human person is not immoral just because it might hurt them, or cause pain of loss to their family, or even because they may experience pre-death trauma.

    Instead killing is immoral because killing an innocent person takes away their right to life, and no one has the right to rob another person of their right to life.

    That right belongs to the individual, not to wider society, not to their family and not to the individual’s mother.

    Besides that, a person who has no family to mourn them, and who is sleeping or is unconscious, is in exactly the same position as an unborn child because they have no awareness that they are about to be killed, and no family member exists to be sad about their death.

    Yet I doubt that you would suggest that it would be okay to kill them because of that fact.

  121. Scribe 122

    Interesting story that is possibly relevant to this discussion.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4581846a10.html

  122. The Dumb Ox 123

    “it’s just not right’ (which is what the pro-life argument boils down to)”

    I don’t think that’s a fair comment at all.

    Yes, some pro-lifers may argue this way, but that’s not what the pro-life argument is based on at all.

    Instead the pro-life position is based on sound philosophical propositions, and legitimate scientific and medical facts and research.

    Not every pro-lifer is going to be aware of this, which is why some of them argue based purely on the ‘it’s just not right’ basis – which, as you say, lacks reason.

    But don’t confuse the actions of some, with the actual pro-life position, which is based very much on sound logic and fact.

    “On the other hand, the `fact’ that abortion is more dangerous than carrying a baby to full term has been raised a number of times by The Dumb Ox and others without a shred of supporting evidence.”

    There is actually a lot of independent research showing that abortion leads to very real, and very serious risks for women who undergo it.

    I’m not sure if the moderators will allow me to, but here are references to just some of the many independent studies (in other words they aren’t commissioned or conducted by pro-lifers).

    Increased risk of serious mental health issues:

    – David Fergusson, Christchurch School of Medicine, 2006 (women aged 15-18 more than double the risk for suicide if they abort)
    – Longitudinal study of entire female population of Finland, 2005 (post abortive women had a suicide rate 6 times higher than that of non-abortive women)
    – Southern Medical Journal, 95, 834-841 (154% more likely to commit suicide)
    – Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 137-142 (34% more likely to suffer serious anxiety)
    – Coleman, P. K., Journal of Youth and Adolescence (5 times more likely to seek help for psychological or emotional issues)

    Increased risk of Endometriosis:

    – Burkman, et al., “Morbidity Risk Among Young Adolescents Undergoing Elective Abortion” Contraception, 30:99-105 (1984);

    – “Post-Abortal Endometritis and Isolation of Chlamydia Trachomatis,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 68(5):668- 690, (1986)

    “Increased risk of reproductive, and liver cancers:”

    – M-G, Le, et al., “Oral Contraceptive Use and Breast or Cervical Cancer: Preliminary Results of a French Case- Control Study, Hormones and Sexual Factors in Human Cancer Etiology, ed. JP Wolff, et al., Excerpta Medica: New York (1984) pp.139-147;

    – F. Parazzini, et al., “Reproductive Factors and the Risk of Invasive and Intraepithelial Cervical Neoplasia,” British Journal of Cancer, 59:805-809 (1989);

    – H.L. Stewart, et al., “Epidemiology of Cancers of the Uterine Cervix and Corpus, Breast and Ovary in Israel and New York City,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 37(1):1-96;

    – I. Fujimoto, et al., “Epidemiologic Study of Carcinoma in Situ of the Cervix,” Journal of Reproductive Medicine 30(7):535 (July 1985);

    – N. Weiss, “Events of Reproductive Life and the Incidence of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer,” Am. J. of Epidemiology, 117(2):128-139 (1983);

    – V. Beral, et al., “Does Pregnancy Protect Against Ovarian Cancer,” The Lancet, May 20, 1978, pp. 1083-1087;

    – C. LaVecchia, et al., “Reproductive Factors and the Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Women,” International Journal of Cancer, 52:351, 1992.

    Like I said, these are just some of the many research papers showing that abortion exposes women to serious risk factors, and in order to try and avoid the ire of the moderator (please sir, may I have some more?) I will cease and desist on this post!

    [lprent: If they are online – just link to them. Do this sort of thing in the comment box:
    <a href=’www.thestandard.org.nz?p=2184′>Behind the secrecy</a>
    The ‘a’ tag is the anchor point. ‘www.thestandard.org.nz?p=2184’ is the net reference. ‘Behind the secrecy’ is what you want to display. ‘/a’ is the closing tag.
    If they aren’t online, then there is a low probability of anyone reading them. Life is too short to locate hardcopy.]

  123. Lew 124

    Scribe: Actually, it’s a distraction designed to muddy the waters with the emotive and the symbolic, like the images you link to above. I’m inclined to argue that this is because your position is founded on emotion, rather than logic. That’s fine – fair enough too – but please be so good as to identify it as such.

    `Anecdote’ is not the same as `evidence’. Anyone can roll out case studies which support their position. It usually doesn’t help promote rational discourse.

    L

  124. Scribe 125

    Lew,

    I thought it was an interesting coincidence that such a story would come out the same week as this judgement.

    My logic, which I thought I had clearly outlined, is that everyone has an inherent right to life. Is that founded on emotion?

    You obviously think some don’t have a right to life. Just come out and say it, and preferably list those who you think aren’t entitled to that right. We’ve established the unborn are on the list. Disabled? Terminally ill? Incontinent?

  125. Lew 126

    Ox: Thank you. It’s a list which is mostly useless for the sort of discussion we’re having here but it does provide a starting point for anyone prepared to undertake serious study of the matter.

    “Yes, some pro-lifers may argue this way, but that’s not what the pro-life argument is based on at all.”

    I explicitly disclaimed just this point in the following sentence, though I admit I could’ve been clearer.

    “There is actually a lot of independent research showing that abortion leads to very real, and very serious risks for women who undergo it.”

    Yes, but until now you hadn’t produced any of it.

    Now, here’s where it breaks down. You might be an obstetrician, but I’m not, I’m a political scientist. I’d guess it’s a fair bet that we don’t have any actual practicing obstetricians participating in this thread. What this means is that we need to take our cues from someone, and my point above was not that there isn’t evidence, or even that the evidence wasn’t presented, but that it’s evidence which apparently hasn’t satisfied the medical community (particularly the Royal Australian and NZ College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists) that the negative aspects of abortion on a woman’s health outweigh the negative aspects of carrying an unwanted child to term. I have no doubt that abortion is harmful, but I’m not convinced it’s necessarily more harmful than the alternative, and neither are the experts. This is the orthodox `balance of harm’ argument which holds that a woman is entitled to an abortion when the procedure would cause significantly less harm to her than continuing the pregnancy. (Leaving aside the more complex and important discussion as to whether and at what point unborn babies have rights).

    Miller J’s finding is that the law needs to be (much) more strictly interpreted, but explicitly endorses the principle that the balance of harm can in many cases legitimately entitle a woman to an abortion. The typical pro-life position is to ban abortions except in very rare cases, which completely denies the `balance of harm’ argument. You seem to support this position, which casts your arguments about the harm caused by the procedure into a dim light, since the logical conclusion of that position is that a pregnancy should continue, no matter the potential harm to the mother. This argument was less formally expressed above as “Its about the control of women and the reversal of their meager rights.”

    So my question would be, `if the evidence that almost all abortions should be declined on medical grounds is so good, why isn’t the RANZCOG convinced?’ Surely, if the evidence were so compelling, doctors would refuse to perform the procedure in cases where a legitimate balance of harm was not demonstrated?

    L

  126. Lew 127

    Scribe: “I thought it was an interesting coincidence that such a story would come out the same week as this judgement.”

    No coincidence at all, people are alert to the topic and it’ll sell papers.

    “My logic, which I thought I had clearly outlined, is that everyone has an inherent right to life. Is that founded on emotion?”

    No. I’d argue that the bit where you presume a baby which is not independently viable has a right to life is founded on emotion. Beyond that point I agree with you. Until that point the baby has a right to whatever its mother wants to give it. This should include life. This point – at which a baby becomes entitled to a right to life – is of course very debatable, but I believe my position is founded on some actual biological sense, whereas yours is an absolutist position.

    The thing is that rights are defined by the responsibilities they place upon others. The rights of an unborn baby are defined by the mother’s responsibilities. If you want to take over those responsibilities, you can – but not before the point of independent viability. If that point changes, then so does my position.

    “You obviously think some don’t have a right to life.”

    Some whats? Some babies before the point of independent viability? Indeed, they life and die by their mothers’ will. It’s also daftto call this `might is right’; it’s just biology. This isn’t to say that they’re not people, either; (as I mentioned before, my wife is pregnant; I’ve seen that little person on the screen and it’s definitely a person). But that isn’t the same as being an independently viable person. This is a pretty simple and clear delineation.

    “Just come out and say it, and preferably list those who you think aren’t entitled to that right. We’ve established the unborn are on the list.”

    No, we haven’t. Don’t misrepresent my position; I’ve resisted all sorts of temptation to misrepresent yours.

    “Disabled? Terminally ill? Incontinent?”

    Reduction to absurdity does you no favours in trying to look rational.

    L

  127. Scribe 128

    Lew,

    This point – at which a baby becomes entitled to a right to life – is of course very debatable, but I believe my position is founded on some actual biological sense, whereas yours is an absolutist position.

    I think your position is actually much more contrary to biology than mine. At a very early stage in the pregnancy, certainly before 12 weeks, the baby simply grows. I think the very latest point at which one can make a case for abortion on demand from a purely biological standpoint is when the baby has been formed and the process changes from development to growth.

    But that isn’t the same as being an independently viable person. This is a pretty simple and clear delineation.

    Such comments are dangerous, I reckon, because some disabled people are not independently viable and some terminally ill people are also in the same category.

    It’s probably not something you intended; I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. But can you see how such ideas can lead to a pretty slippery slope?

  128. Ari 129

    I’d like to quickly point out that reconigising a right is not the same as recognising it as incontravenable. Even viable fetuses might not have enough of a right to live if killing them would save the mother when otherwise both she and the fetus would have died. A right to live is not the same thing as a right to kill someone who is keeping you alive, and all this “but the child ALWAYS has the right to live” talk is too absolutist for such a complicated issue.

    Is abortion generally not the greatest of ways to deal with a pregancy? Sure. But that doesn’t mean there’s never other factors that justify it. That doesn’t mean that abortion of a zygote or an embryo is the same as abortion of a non-viable or viable fetus.

    Our current law could easily be legally enforced to the letter if we replaced the term “unborn child” with “viable fetus”. And whatever we do, it needs to be grounded in medical science, not just pro-choice or pro-life advocacy. The current law does not meet that criteria, and if we are to start enforcing it that will cause problems.

  129. The Dumb Ox 130

    “Surely, if the evidence were so compelling, doctors would refuse to perform the procedure in cases where a legitimate balance of harm was not demonstrated?”

    Not if the doctors are unaware of the research, or if the establishment have embraced an ideology that favors abortion and is not prepared to properly consider the evidence, etc.

    As far as the establishment is concerned, an abortion is a far more cost-effective and immediate way of dealing with a crisis-pregnancy than the other alternatives are.

    Never underestimate the power of financial incentive, or the fact that something is a quick-fix, to actually sway the way people think and act.

    Just because a majority of doctors do, or don’t do something, it doesn’t mean that they are right.

    The majority of doctors during the Civil War thought that bloodletting was the best way to deal with disease and illness.

    The doctor who invented the inhuman lobotomy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

    Just because something is happening a certain way, or it has majority support, it doesn’t make it the right thing to be doing.

  130. MacDoctor 131

    Surely, if the evidence were so compelling, doctors would refuse to perform the procedure in cases where a legitimate balance of harm was not demonstrated?

    Hate to say this, but at the rural hospital I work, the doctor who performs the terminations is only interested in whether the paperwork is completed. Nobody questions the original assessment of the certifying doctor.

    Dr Pippa MacKay is already on record as saying that all she does is ask if the patient thinks she might get depressed. I do not consider this an adequate psychological assessment. This is particularly important as a recent study indicates a substantial increase in the incidence of depression post-abortion. While I have no problem with abortion for Maternal health reasons, it does not seem to me that Dr. MacKay’s criteria meets this standard in any way.

  131. Scribe 132

    MacDoctor,

    Dr Pippa MacKay is already on record as saying that all she does is ask if the patient thinks she might get depressed. I do not consider this an adequate psychological assessment.

    Your comment made me wonder. Is there overwhelming evidence to suggest a woman who takes a pregnancy to term becomes depressed? My hunch is no, there isn’t, but I’d gladly read a study to the contrary.

    So why is there this apparent acceptance in some medical circles that women who say they’re likely to get depressed are credible?

    As you point out, MacDoctor, there is a recent study, conducted here in New Zealand, that abortion is actually WORSE for a woman’s mental health. Dr Fergusson’s calls for more research in the area have been ignored by the Health Ministry and the Government.

    Dumb Ox offers some reasons why above.

  132. Lew 133

    Scribe: If you’re going to misrepresent my position I don’t see the purpose in continuing.

    “some disabled people are not independently viable”

    The sense in which I’ve been using `independently viable’ throughout this entire thread is of a baby being viable without support from its mother. I quote myself:

    “once the baby could realistically survive without its mother, it’s entitled to do so (in an incubation chamber, being cared for by a surrogate or by whatever other means). I believe this benchmark currently stands at about 26 weeks.”
    ( http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=2159#comment-60045 )

    By this definition what you suggest is logically impossible.

    “It’s probably not something you intended; I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. But can you see how such ideas can lead to a pretty slippery slope?”

    Since you’ve done so for me, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that it wasn’t a wilful misunderestimation.

    Ari: I’m sorry I never got around to replying to your earlier posts.

    “reconigising a right is not the same as recognising it as incontravenable.”

    This is absolutely true as well; a utility calculation has to come into play at some point, which is what the `balance of harm’ principle seeks to codify.

    “The current law does not meet [medical] criteria, and if we are to start enforcing it that will cause problems.”

    I’m not sure, I have faith in legal systems. What Miller J did is an example of the ongoing discourse on the matter. That said, I expect the question to be obviated by judicial or legislative change at some point.

    Ox: Your line of argument here is completely bogus. Fisking time.

    “Not if the doctors are unaware of the research,”

    So the medical profession is ignorant?

    “or if the establishment have embraced an ideology that favors abortion and is not prepared to properly consider the evidence, etc.”

    So the medical profession is motivated more by ideology than by medical considerations?

    “As far as the establishment is concerned, an abortion is a far more cost-effective and immediate way of dealing with a crisis-pregnancy than the other alternatives are.”

    Ah, so the medical profession is motivated by money rather than by medical considerations?

    “Never underestimate the power of financial incentive, or the fact that something is a quick-fix, to actually sway the way people think and act.”

    Or the medical profession is motivated by doing what’s easy, rather than by medical considerations?

    “Just because a majority of doctors do, or don’t do something, it doesn’t mean that they are right.”

    Of course, but I never argued they were right, I argued they are best placed to judge the medical evidence. If you can name a medical body better-placed to make decisions on pregnancy and childbirth in NZ than the Royal Australian and NZ College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, I’d love to know who it is. Until you can, I’m going to believe their assessment of the evidence over alternatives (since I’m not an expert myself).

    “The majority of doctors during the Civil War thought that bloodletting was the best way to deal with disease and illness.”

    Irrelevant. I never argued the RANZCOG was right, nor does the question rest on whether they are.

    “The doctor who invented the inhuman lobotomy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.”

    Irrelevant for the same reason.

    “Just because something is happening a certain way, or it has majority support, it doesn’t make it the right thing to be doing.”

    Tautology.

    In summation, your argument seems to be that abortion hasn’t been banned because the medical profession is ignorant, ideologically motivated, financially corrupt, lazy and deluded by a false sense of authority. My argument is that it hasn’t been banned because there’s a genuine medical need for it which the medical profession, legislators, the judiciary and society as a whole has recognised, assessed and enacted for the good of society. Ockham’s Razor time: which one seems like the bigger stretch?

    L

  133. Lew 134

    MacDoctor: Yeah, I read this, too, and this is essentially what Miller J’s judgement seeks to remedy.

    Of course I’d welcome further research on the matter. But even so: this wouldn’t justify an all-out ban on abortion, simply a tighter regulatory regime.

    L

  134. MacDoctor 135

    Scribe

    Between 10-19% of women suffer from post-natal depression although only 0.1% suffer from the very severe version called post-natal psychosis. So while it’s a fairly common problem overall, it is only rarely so severe that it is life-threatening. My point, of course, is not that potential severe post-natal depression is not a reasonable reason for an abortion; my point is that you can’t determine this by simply asking the mother – that is not medicine, that is playing games.

    If the mother is at little risk of severe post-natal depression (and most are), then abortion puts the mother at increased risk. This is simply not ethical conduct for anyone, let alone a doctor.

  135. MacDoctor 136

    Lew

    An all-out ban on abortion would be very dangerous, putting many women at extreme risk. But the law needs to be adhered to not re-interpreted. Frankly, when we doctors start re-interpreting laws to suit our own agendas – everyone duck!

  136. Scribe 137

    Lew,

    If you can name a medical body better-placed to make decisions on pregnancy and childbirth in NZ than the Royal Australian and NZ College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, I’d love to know who it is.

    I know you talk about pregnancy and childbirth in NZ, but I wonder if you’re aware that the Royal College of Psychiatrists — the mental health experts — in the UK has warned about the negative consequences of abortions.

    Here’s a report

    And just to expand on the idea of the money that’s involved with the abortion industry, and especially for the consultants, some of whom seem to be signing authorisations with little regard for the patient, here are some figures from 2003 (they were provided by the Health Ministry):

    The Government spent a tick under $20 million directly on abortions — that takes in the costs of the procedures plus the consultants fees, which amounted to almost $4 million. In 2006, one consultant made more than $200,000 from abortion authorisations alone.

    And that $20m figure doesn’t include the costs of ongoing treatment, hospitalisation costs after complications (which are common), the cost of transporting women to abortion clinics etc etc etc

  137. Lew 138

    MacDoctor: Right on. I didn’t intend to imply you were arguing for no abortions.

    Scribe: I didn’t ask for evidence (I accept it exists); I asked for a more authoritative decision-making body in NZ. Thanks for the report nonetheless; information is useful.

    The whole money thing is just the motive fallacy. It’s a red herring unless you’re arguing the medical profession is greedy. If you want to say that, go ahead and say it.

    L

  138. MacDoctor 139

    Lew

    Money is certainly A motive (doctors are motivated by money just like everyone else!) However, the main motivation would be ideology, rather than money. The vast majority of doctors who are willing to get involved in abortion assessments are extremely pro-choice and believers in abortion-on-demand to a man (or woman). As usual, ideology is a dubious guide to medical ethics!

  139. Sam 140

    It’s not about women’s rights, It’s about the right of the child inside her, to live.

  140. Scribe 141

    Lew,

    I don’t think the medical profession is greedy (see below though).

    MacDoctor,

    Thanks for sharing your experience/insight. Combine ideology with the chance to make six figures pushing that ideology (I think there were 10 or 12 who made $100k or more in 2005 or 2006) and it’s not a bad gig if you can get it.

  141. Lew 142

    MacDoctor: “Money is certainly A motive (doctors are motivated by money just like everyone else!)”

    Yes, of course.

    “The vast majority of doctors who are willing to get involved in abortion assessments are extremely pro-choice and believers in abortion-on-demand to a man (or woman).”

    Commodification of specialist services does have this effect. It makes sense – just like the fact that tax accountants tend to believe in a person’s moral right to minimise their tax liability by legal means. Why would a pro-life doctor want to be involved in performing abortions?

    I can see potential value in a diversity of opinion in this field, though I’m not sure how such diversity could be promoted without some sort of compulsion.

    Sam: “It’s not about women’s rights, It’s about the right of the child inside her, to live.”

    You haven’t actually read the rest of the thread, have you?

    Scribe: “Combine ideology with the chance to make six figures pushing that ideology (I think there were 10 or 12 who made $100k or more in 2005 or 2006) and it’s not a bad gig if you can get it.”

    Indeed; getting paid well to do something you believe in is great. But it says nothing about the quality of a person’s work.

    One of the outcomes of this Miller judgement is likely to be closer official scrutiny of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, and in turn closer scrutiny by the ASC of practitioners. This should weed out rogue abortionists.

    L

  142. Scribe 143

    Lew,

    One of the outcomes of this Miller judgement is likely to be closer official scrutiny of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, and in turn closer scrutiny by the ASC of practitioners. This should weed out rogue abortionists.

    I hope you’re right. I hope it also weeds out a HUGE conflict of interest — an abortionist sitting on the ASC.

  143. Lew 144

    Scribe: “I hope it also weeds out a HUGE conflict of interest — an abortionist sitting on the ASC.”

    Since the ASC is appointed by Parliament, this seems unlikely unless Dr Fenwicke can be shown to have acted unlawfully. But there is no case to restrict abortion practitioners from serving on the ASC given appropriate credentials, unless you are suggesting that anyone with professional interests in a field be barred from serving in a regulatory or governance capacity in that field, which would significantly drain the talent pool.

    L

  144. zANavAShi 145

    Oh FFS ‘sod! WTF did you have to go and get yourself banned for a week when you were the only other person here perceptive enough to spot the creepy similarity between Dumb Ox’s pro-life monologues and the Intelligent Design debate.

    It’s become a familiar “modus operandi” which I have learned (much to my own detriment during the Section59 debate last year) it is pointless to engage with. And it’s not like I can even apply one of my fave old “Don’t argue with a pig cos you only end up covered in shit and the pig enjoys it” quips to other barnyard animals males like this because of the way they devalue real (fully developed cognitive adult) human experiences is like from some parallel holier-than-thou universe where you can’t even picture what colour the sky is in that world.

    But you will know them by the fact that they suddenly turn up as a fanatically verbose enthusiastic new commentator to a blog where one of their fundie soapbox topics is at the fore, presenting themself as the “gentle voice of moderate compassionate reason”, craftily avoiding use of the “G” word their arguments, and then proceed to plant themself centre stage into the thread by meticulously breaking down every single sodding sentence of anothers opposing viewpoints (and always with quotes – ZOMG don’t you just want to SCREAM OUR LOUD when you see people presenting their counter-arguments in that format ARRGGGHHH!!!!) in some way that eventually makes those of differing opinions want to give up – but NOT because they have actually been persuaded by the evangelistic browbeating eloquently composed argument to mentally shift to a more “enlightened” position on the matter.

    It’s a style that is not even sophisticated enough to warrant being called “fisking”, although Lew’s effort to debunk one of Ox’s more recent monologues certainly was worthy of the title. Good on ya for the effort Lew, and good on ya for actually being willing to introduce some REAL personal experience from your own life into your argument, but honestly I don’t think these kinds of evangelising trolls are worthy of oxygen let alone a civil response to their faux-fisking endeavours…. well yanno, unless you are really seriously bored and the kinda person who thinks the Pythons “Argument Sketch” is the funniest piece of comedy ever.

    Ultimately tho, what it comes down to for me is that these kinds of mass-debating males are just plain fucking spineless and insulting.

    Spineless….

    Because, as ‘sod so accurately pointed out above, do you think we are idiots Dumb Ox for not recognising you as a true believer who has “god on his side” just because you don’t actually USE the “G” word????

    Oh give me a fuckin break mate! Your every sentence reeks of evangelising godly righteousness and “blessed are the little zygotes” so why don’t you have the male reproductive organs to front up and actually declare your personal agenda?

    At least I had the “nuts” to front up with facts about my real personal history and declare my personal interest in this subject – which is my right to control my own female reproductive organs and my own timing of when (or IF) I decide to spawn a little mini-me onto the planet.

    So what’s YOUR real personal interest – what’s honestly motivating your dogged verbosity? To reframe the debate to make a case for “murder”, thus superseding the entire issue of women controlling their own reproduction – cos god forbid you might have to actually engage in a debate with one of us if that was the case. ZOMG!

    Otherwise you better show some genuine sign that your “love for life” extends to all the other “creatures great and small” on this planet who are being denied THEIR right to life because of the over-populating of the planet with even more unwanted homo sapiens…. or, yanno…. I’m gonna feel like strapping you inna chair with your eyes pinned open a-la-Clockwork Orange and force you to watch the PETA video “Earthlings” for 48 hours.

    Insulting….

    Because there are REAL human females here who have made it known that they are in the audience – many of whom I know from other blogs who have had their own experiences of zygotes and here are you preaching in front of us like we do not even exist in this conversation or know anything about our own damned bodies and what happens/happened to them during our pregnancy(s) like you are some goddamned amateur gynaecologist.

    Well here’s a newsflash you and your faceless statistical no-choice supporting theories…

    The ONLY damage that happened to me as a result of my abortion was the mental torture that I was put through by pompous pricks like YOU (some of them actually REAL gynaecologists) who tried to manipulate me (by similar methods to how you argue above) to feel like I was a murdering whore, and made me jump through hoops for my right to SAFELY terminate an unwanted pregnancy that I otherwise would have chosen to terminate with a knitting needle or other such back-alley method.

    The ONLY emotion that I felt (despite what you and your be-testicled ilk fantasise were all the “wondrous feelings of new creation unfolding inside the blooming garden of eden that is my uterus”) was revulsion, and when subjected to my 10-wk ultrasound (as a form of guilt therapy my moralising prick of a gynaecologist) I had no more sense of maternal connection to what I was looking at on the screen than if I was looking at the kirlian photograph of a mung bean sprout.

    The ONLY depression I felt after the abortion was the despair at how I was treated because I made a decision that was the best thing for me to do in the crazy mess that was my life back then, and all the sniggering shaming crap from workmates who speculated about the reason for my sick leave, and then still at the end of it all having to deal with the state of my life that made a pregnancy totally infeasible at that time exhausted and ALONE.

    So how DARE you be such a patronising preaching prick here in a mixed gender audience with all this THEORETICAL (cos if you haven’t experienced this inside your own damned body then that’s all it is) blathering about what happens in MY body and the risks of MY choices like I am some fucking faceless statistic who doesn’t count in your view of the world because I am only a fucking rented UTERUS to you.

    You can’t even bring yourself to address any of the women who were open to participating in this discussion as if they are anything more than that either. So yeh… spineless and insulting is what you are Dumb Ox (and a few other things that I would probably get a holiday with ‘sod for mentioning too).

    Puhleeeeease just piss off and go give birth to your own preaching patriarchal soapbox blog so we can have some feminist-focussed discussion… which, after all, was the point of getting a woman guest blogger to introduce the subject wasn’t it FFS?

  145. Lew 146

    zANavAShi: Thank you.

    L

  146. bill brown 147

    Lew,

    Thanks for continuing the good fight, personally I find you perseverance amazing.

    Oh, and what zANavAShi said.

  147. Scribe 148

    Lew,

    My concern with Dr Fenwicke is that she is responsible for making decisions on payments etc. If I was on the board of my company, I think I know how I’d vote on any mooted pay increases. Well, I don’t actually, but can you see the potential problem?

    zANavAShi,

    I don’t know where to begin, so I won’t.

  148. alex 149

    Anyone seen the movie The Contender?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0208874/

    Gary Oldman (Sheldon/Shelly Runyon in the film) plays the right-wing houlier-than-thou perfectly. Kinda reminds me of some of the commentators on this thread.

    The movie itself is pretty cheesy and patronising but Oldman’s performance is gold.

  149. Helen 150

    Bravo zANavAShi, I couldn’t agree more!

  150. Julie 151

    Sheesh this is a hard thread to keep up with when you are a lady with a baby (not to mention another blog to run)!

    Z you are an inspiration, not only are you right you are witty too 🙂

    I wanted to particularly express my agreement with your point about
    your 10 week ultrasound experience. I had a scan at 8 weeks and certainly it looked like an it, not a he/she human. Besides which is appearance really the benchmark for humanity? In which case what about those lifelike sex dolls, just to give an absurd example.

    Miles back somebody asked me when life began. I don’t know. I don’t even pretend to know. But Deborah has a great post on this part of the debate so I’m going to tap to her (this is one of the great things about being on team blog!):
    http://thehandmirror.blogspot.com/2008/06/speaking-up-for-abortion.html

    As for miscarriage, I assume you are speaking from experience when you (sorry can’t remember who) said reference to it weakened my argument and that what was miscarried, and maybe grieved for, was a life? No? Perhaps come back when you have then sweetie, because I can tell you that it is possible to grieve for something that is not a life. You grieve for the lost potential, and that is entirely commensurate with my argument.

    I acknowledge that there is no “agree to disagree” when debating abortion. For that reason I’d encourage those who are holding up the pro-life banner to consider the realities of a world without safe and legal abortion on demand. And to that end I’m going to shamelessly self-promote:
    http://thehandmirror.blogspot.com/2008/06/lets-get-practical.html
    and shamelessly friend-promote too:
    http://thehandmirror.blogspot.com/2008/06/being-catholic-and-being-feminist.html

    Alrighty, not sure I’ll be able to get back to this thread, which seems to be winding down anyway. Just wanted to finish by saying thanks to the team at The Standard again for the chance to guest post here and thanks to all for a reasonably civilised debate (extra thanks to lprent for hovering overhead and keeping it so!).

  151. Hillary 152

    As a general proposition, I am pro-choice, however I differ about the point at which the choice is made. If a woman consents to sex, then becomes pregnant, she chose to do something which has as a natural consequence, pregnancy.

    If she is raped, her choice has been removed, so in that situation balancing her interests against those of the unborn child,an abortion should be an option.

    Unfortunately our society’s lack of value for children and mothering means that a woman’s interests and an unborn child’s interests may be at odds.

    I have read a moving tale of a woman having an illegal abortion in the 1950s which appeared in the report of the Royal Commisission in the 1970s. Fortunately the stigma she would have suffered from continuing with the pregnancy no longer exists.

    The tale of an unborn child being removed from a womb and denied life is also a sad tale. And one that can never be told by the victim.

    I am as big a ‘lefty’ as any of you guys, and am spending as much time as possible working to help get Labour re-elected. But I have never been able to get my head around the way the left turns its back on some of the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn. And how if you speak up for the unborn, you risk being villified by the left.

  152. Julie 153

    Hillary thanks for charging in without reading the thread, when really this argument was pretty much over (well that’s my perception anyway).

    I think your stance would be more accurately labelled pro-life not pro-choice. Language is one of the major battlegrounds in the debate about access to abortion, in my humble opinion, so to claim you are pro-choice when you are in fact pro-life is disingenuous at best. Anyway, up to you what you call yourself of course, just saying.

    Speaking of language, interesting to me that a number of pro-life commenters, here and elsewhere, have now claimed they will be “villified” for expressing their pro-life views. Is that the recommended word in the handbook or something? I suggest a thesaurus folks.

  153. Hillary talks about an ‘unborn child’. A fetus is not a child. Dividing cells don’t qualify as a ‘child’ either. A fetus is not self-aware, has no conscious thought. It is an it. That sounds harsh but its science. This applies equally if a women has had consensual sex or been subject to rape. That sounds harsh as well but its a fact.
    Late term abortions are another matter and should require the opinion and consent of medical professionals in such cases.

    Next point a women?s body is her own, her own private property. What she chooses to do with it is her own business no one else?s. Wombs are not the property of the state/community.

    Lastly, if you would excuse me I would like to borrow from you a bit Hillary, I am a centre righty and am spending as much time as possible working to help get Labour out of office but I have never been able to get my head around how the religious/ conservative right turns its back on our ever vulnerable individual rights when it comes to women and abortion and if you speak up for it you risk being vilified for doing so.

  154. Late in the threat but wow zANavAShi, woman I love you and the way you write

  155. A question to the Dumb ox (such a fitting name)
    Where do you stand on the war in Afghanistan?

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  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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