Friday, 13 March 2009

Family First's rather predictable response to Family Planning's plan to offer early medical abortions

The ex-expat wrote a quick hit yesterday about Family Planning applying for a licence to provide early medical abortions.

Sounds like a pretty sensible idea right? The earlier an abortion happens the better; it'll expand access to abortions to women, especially in the provinces*; and Family Planning have an extensive network throughout New Zealand and a lot of expertise in the area of assisting people to make decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.

Bob McCoskrie of Family First disagrees, claiming that Family Planning will talk women into having abortions so that they can perform them. He makes all sorts of wild statements about the risks of having an early medical abortion via the RU486 pill (now known as Mifegyne), which ALRANZ helpfully debunk.** Blogger MacDoctor is happy about the safety of early medical abortion in general, however he thinks abortion is too easily available already.

But back to Bob. McCoskrie explains Family First's suggestions on abortion, as if we cared:
Family First is calling for informed consent (including ultrasound) for women considering an abortion, and a 'cooling period' before making the decision.
Women have informed consent now. And it's hard enough to get through the hoops required in time to get an early medical abortion (before 9 weeks gestation) as it is, without a compulsory 'cooling period' of unstated duration. Yet again those against abortion are assuming that deciding to terminate is something women do willy-nilly, without thought or consideration. Yet again Family First is telling women they are not able to make decisions about their own bodies.

* Early medical abortion is currently only available in four facilities in the whole country, one each in Auckland, Dunedin, Masterton and Wellington.
** Including very interesting statistics about the total number of abortions in New Zealand in recent years:
  • 2003 - 18,511 (Total number of abortions)
  • 2004 - 18,211
  • 2005 - 17,531
  • 2006 - 17,934
  • 2007 - 18,382


Lucy said...

And as my mother pointed out - it's always a man loudly proclaiming that teh poor wimmenz don't know what they're doing when they get abortions. What gets me most is the sly denigration of all women's mental capacity. It's just another part of the way women are so often dismissed, and this in an issue where women's voices should be the *most* important.

Tui said...

I HATE the ultrasound thing. LOOK AT THIS ITTY WEENY BABY HOW COULD YOU KILL IT YOU CRUEL PERSON - and they think Family Planning pressures people. I think it's especially ridiculous because they supposedly want women to make rational, informed decisions, but the whole point behind showing women ultrasound pictures is to make them feel emotional and guilty and make decisions based on that, rather than what is actually best for them.

Della said...

I bet he'd like the "cooling period" to be nine months.

I'm so sick of that guy. He treats us {women} like we're all morons.

A Nonny Moose said...

"Cooling Period" huh? Just like Arizona passed into law, right?

Guilt tactics, huh? Oh, just like Arizona passed into law...

New Zealand - not a fundy religious society tyvm.

Lucy said...

I bet he'd like the "cooling period" to be nine months.

Hell, it only needs to be three, and you're close enough to the third trimester that abortion is illegal/impractical. And don't the current consultation requirements *already* constitute a "cooling period"?

Emma said...

I always think of Sarah Silverman:

Her first broadcast gag was about the US legislation imposing a 24-hour cooling-off period after someone seeks to terminate a pregnancy. 'I think it's a good law,' she said. 'The other day I really, really wanted to get an abortion. I totally did. But then I thought about it and it turned out I was just thirsty...'

reddeath26 said...

Such a view from him hardly surprises me. Yet at the same time it still manages to infuriate me a lot. As others have suggested this is little more than a stalling attempt. If they were really so concerned about the well being of females they would be in support of fully legalized abortions.

Julie said...

Here's a release from Voice for Life who hold similar views to Family First, but at least have a woman president.

“Any move to minimize the health risks of abortion and encourage a woman in a crisis pregnancy to terminate her pregnancy through medical or surgical means, is a cynical abuse of power and has no place in a professional Health Service,” says Annetta Moran, President of Voice For Life.

The rest of the release seems to rehash the ground that Margaret Sparrow recently went over with reference to actual medical research.

Kelly said...

This is what I don't get.

“There is a huge conflict of interest here. Those offering advice shouldn't be the ones performing the abortions.”

I don't see the conflict - unless you think that Family Planning have some kind of abortion target that they want to reach? Where does the idea come from that Family Planning WANT women to have abortions as opposed to offering choice to the individual about what she wants to do, and then access if she decides to terminate. It's like they can't even see that there is a pregnant woman at the centre of all this making a decision. Just Family First on the one hand trying to save unborn children and Family Planning on the other trying to abort them like some tug of war.

Julie said...

Garth George has also leapt on to this bandwagon. The idea of Family Planning offering medical abortions sends a chill up his spine. Frankly the idea of forced pregnancy sends a chill up mine, but I guess that's where we differ, George and I.