Monday, 5 July 2010

Pro-choice blogging round-up at The Standard

I've just put up a guest post* at The Standard providing a round-up of the pro-choice posts I've found responding to Steve Chadwick's proposal for abortion on demand to 24 weeks. Click through to get the round-up and the full post, I'm just going to repeat part of it here:

The current law does not provide abortion on demand, although many like to paint it that way. It requires any woman seeking an abortion to get the permission of two certifying consultants before she can go ahead. Permission is largely based on the grounds that the consultants agree continuing the pregnancy is a threat to the woman’s health (mental and/or physical). The current law therefore does not allow women the right to choose, as they are reliant on the sign-off of two other people, and severely fetters access even further by determining that she must need the abortion for certain reasons. That is not what a pro-choice abortion law would look like. And it’s been that way for over 30 years.

The Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ) has some great backgrounders and should be your first port of call if you are looking for info on the history of it all, while the Abortion Services website is a very straight-up guide to the what, how and where of terminations in Aotearoa.

If I've missed you off the round-up, best to comment to that effect here and I'll attempt to rectify it if I can, but it may take a day or two.

* Unlike last time abortion was in the news, I wasn't approached to do a guest post, I just got a little fed-up with waiting for someone to write about this momentous news at the hub of the progressive left-wing blogosphere, so I decided to Be The Change ;-)


AnneE said...

Brilliant, Julie. I was incensed to see that when Steve's bill was reported on TV, they wheeled up Bernie Moran immediately as the only commentator.

ZenTiger said...

How many applications are rejected though? Something less than 1% I thought.

You might need two people, but it does seem to be a mere formality.

It is certainly a law that is not pro-choice, given your requirements (virtually no process) but equally, it's not anti-abortion either given that there are no real rejections.

How about women undergoing their second or greater abortion? At the very least, is this where stronger consultation needs to take place? It cannot be a good thing to go through this process multiple times and not seeing anyone would surely be worse than merely walking in and out of a clinic in a "no questions asked" way.

Furthermore, if women are seeking abortion on mental health grounds (and that would be most), then surely they are under stress and suffering and having some-one to discuss their options might be seen as necessary, as one should always be of sound mind entering into important contracts or one-way medical procedures?

I would hazard a guess that many (or at least a significant few) are actually unsure about having an abortion and some-one independent needs the skill, ability and compassion to detect those people and decide that greater harm might come to them doing something they intrinsically are opposed to. They may be under pressure from their boyfriend who simply wants to avoid responsibility, or worried about some other factors that in time will seem less important.

Do you really want to establish a turnstile abortion service?

Julie said...

ZT, having spoken to women who have had abortions, and remembering this post from a while back which included women telling their stories about terminations, it doesn't seem to me that it always is a "mere formality" at all.

I'm open-minded about the counselling aspect. But then I tend to think that talking stuff through with someone skilled in helping you to see a way through is a good idea about a lot of things, not just whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. It would be great if we could have excellent free counselling services available to all for whatever they needed support with, even if it's just to reflect on where they are at. And of course, no stigma attached to the idea of being "in therapy."

Nikki Elisabeth said...

ZenTiger: I was being pressured by someone to have a termination and the doctor I went to to get approval was no fucking help at all. In fact, I still think about her and want to scream. She ignored everything I had to say and listened to the poor wronged boy. Who turned out not to be the damn father!

So don't assume that doctors are any help in preventing coercion.

Me said...

Oh yeah, I remember when I went for my abortion, many years ago, I had to remind myself, "you have to act like this is going to cause you great mental distress!"

Let's get rid of the charade.