Monday 22 February 2010

Deeply uninformed is the best possible outcome

Deborah Hill Cone confuses me. Take her appearance on RNZ National's panel on Friday afternoon. In less than an hour she was anti-abortion, supportive of Kiwisaver plans being sold door to door to people who couldn't read the contracts, and finally in favour of firing school principals who expressed concerns about National Standards. What a whirl.

Maybe I had Hill Cone all wrong but I thought she was towards the Libertarianz end of the political spectrum. At least as far to the right as the Act party, surely? Yet there she was backing a small minority of doctors who don't want to have to say nasty icky medical
words like "abortion" or "termination" whilst in conversation with patients who express doubts about continuing on with their pregnancy.

How does that view support what I understood to be one of the key tennets of free-marketeers; Choice?

Sadly I cannot get the audio of that section of the Panel to play on my computer to refresh my memory of precisely what DHC said about abortion that riled me so. But I do remember quite clearly that she erroneously stated that we have abortion on demand in Aotearoa NZ already. QoT has rebutted this very well indeed recently, so in the interests of laziness I'm going to crib from her:
Now wait. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, I mean, I’m not a doctor, obviously, I’m just a currently vacant uterus woman. Maybe this “abortion” thing is some kind of drastic procedure, involving expense and trauma and danger?

Well, maybe if you’re the person getting it, especially if you’re not blessed to live in a major metropolitan centre of NZ or if you find the prospect of having to justify your reproductive choices to not one but two consultants who, if you’re lucky, will interpret “mental health” widely and help you circumvent decades-old patriarchal bullshit.

Having to sit there and admit to a person in your medical care that yes, there is an option legally available which you personally would not choose? Cry me a fucking river.

Hill Cone also definitely stated that the media hates to cover abortion, and that Garth George is the only person in New Zealand who ever writes about it. Sounds as if she doesn't read the very paper she writes for, seeing as how they put this latest abortion-related news story on the front page, as their lead story, on Friday. And then it was the lead item on the very Panel discussion she was partaking in when she said this. Oh dear.

And then DHC went on and on about the having-an-abortion-is-mental-trauma-for-the-rest-of-your-life argument and how it's not like having a tooth removed. No one pro-choice argues that having a termination is all daisies and kittens and lollipops. But we do support a woman's right to control her body, and we respect other women enough to treat them like moral adults. Quite apart from the fact that it's kind of contradictory to argue that doctors shouldn't have to give women information about abortion and women don't understand enough about abortion to be able to make that choice.

Overall, I'm struggling to understand if Deborah Hill Cone is actually anti-abortion, because to be fair to her she doesn't actually come out and say that*, or just deeply uninformed about the issue. If the latter turns out to be the case, it would be kind of ironic given the subject of her most recent column in the Herald (hat tipped to Editing the Herald).

* Pleasantly surprising was Gary Moore, on the Panel with DHC. When he started out by saying "I'm Catholic" I prepared to change stations, but he followed it up by stating his support for a woman's right to choose and for access to abortion.


Nikki Elisabeth said...

I was totally infuriated listening to her rant on about the things she did. So infuriated I went through my phone book trying to find someone I could text to tell them how much I couldn't stand what she was saying. Megan got the brunt of it ;)

Basically her tone suggested to me that she thought that anyone who had been through an unplanned pregnancy was a moron, and anyone who got a termination as the result of that had no brain at all.

In response to her insinuating that everyone knows about abortions, no. No they don't. Especially not the timeline of different procedures and the different ways you have to pitch yourself to the certifying consultants depending on how far through you are.

And as far as the effects on mental health, listening to her bullshit (and other people spouting off ill informed nonsense about the abortion process) has done me far more damage than the actual procedure ever has.

/rant end.

Oops. Got a little carried away there. heh

stef said...

My blood boils without even listening to it.

Seems that her line of reasoning is

a) I've never had an unplanned pregnancy and I'm smart.

b)abortions are evil.

c) so anyone who has had an unplanned pregnancy is stupid and those who have an abortion are evil

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Julie, Part of your confusion lies in your characterisation of the political spectrum.

Free marketeers are economically right, that is, they want less govt intervention in the economy. It doesn't follow that they want less govt intervention in people's private lives. Many don't. They are quite happy for the state to criminalise activities like prostitution and abortion. Those people are rightwing conservatives (sometimes referred to as conservative libertarians but I think that is a walking contradiction). Within a party like ACT you will find a division between liberals and conservatives. For example there are members who support cannabis decriminalisation and members who oppose it; members who are pro-choice and members who are anti-abortion. On the other hand I don't think you would find many conservatives amongst the Libertarianz membership.

Trouble said...

The frustrating part of the whole debate is that it's conducted mainly by people who've apparently never had abortions or in the case of Garth George will never need them. The religious right has been far too effective in silencing the voices of women with actual experience in how it all works, because it's all too shameful to admit it.

It's those women, and the ones who actually might need to get an abortion one day, not doctors, not politicians, not clergy, not the commentariat, who actually count. Nobody else. But there's bugger all people out there saying "hey, it might be my education/health/career/family that gets screwed up by an unwanted pregnancy - I need to have that option, and I'd prefer it if I didn't have to plead insanity to access it."

Country Lane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Country Lane said...

It's best not to think too much about Deborah Hill Cone. To say she hasn't a thought in her head is erroneous as she has nothing but thoughts. That's all. Just opinions. They blurt out of her like those little blocks in computer games. They can come out any shape, in any configuration. They have no basis or [purpose other than it's her job to have them. She's a waste of space.

I threw a shoe at my radio when she started telling us she knew more about the needs and abilities of refugee families than the knowledgable man who worked with the family in question and had a lot of experience in the sector.

I've twice written to RNZ asking that gthey get someone to replace her that actually KNOWS SOMETHING ABOUT THE SUBJECTS ON WHICH THEY EXPOUND....they haven't written back.