Thursday 7 April 2011

Abortion: it's a health issue not a crime - World Health Day Blogswarm

Index of all the #prochoicenz posts made for the World Health Day Blogswarm on the theme: Abortion: it's a health issue not a crime.

Today, April 7th, is World Health Day. There is one health procedure in New Zealand that is treated not as a medical matter, but as a criminal one: abortion. It's still in the Crimes Act, and the law makes it clear the most appropriate person to decide whether or not a pregnancy should be terminated is not the person who is pregnant. This needs to change. And there are many people in Aotearoa keen to work to achieve that change. This Blogswarm is one of a variety of activities pro-choice people hope will contribute to putting abortion provision where it needs to be in our legal and medical system: as a health issue, not a crime.

Posts in chronological order of discovery (by me), most recent posts at the bottom:

Abortion Law: No Going Back. Going Forward Instead - excerpt: '"Better than then" is not good enough. It means abortion access is just one judge’s ruling away from being severely limited, if not ended outright. Because our abortion laws are out of date and still located in the Crimes Act, we could be "back then" all too easily.' - by ALRANZ

Hate abortion, love choice - excerpt: "...some argue that we should prioritise the life of the foetus; others say that the liberty or privacy of the mother is paramount. Both explanations are genuinely defensible — the answer is different for everyone, and has to be found in each person’s personal morality. And given this genuine disagreement, we can’t use the coercive power of law to limit the liberty of the definitely-alive mother for the benefit of the maybe-alive child." - by Matt

Abortion - Why NZ's laws need to change - excerpt: "Plenty of vocal anti-choice elements exist here and continue to threaten the precarious system through legal action. These elements talk a lot about the sanctity of life and the moral responsibility that comes with being pregnant, but what if the most responsible decision is to not bring an unwanted child into the world. Isn’t it more important that we trust women to make these life changing decision for themselves?" - by womenchoose

Abortion is not a crime. It is a health issue - excerpt: "...if I get pregnant tomorrow, the embryo inside me holds priority in the pro-lifers eyes. The government has put the issue of my RIGHT to an abortion under the category of a crime, not health."- by scuba nurse

Abortion: it's a crime - excerpt: "...what I want to focus on here is the placement of the rules about abortion in the Crimes Act. It seems that it’s a crime for women to have authority over their own bodies. " - by Deborah

What an abortion! - excerpt: "My first thought on reading this [part of the Crimes Act] is “Holy crap – it is an offence to procure miscarriage when you’re not pregnant???”" - by Gravey Dice aka goodgravey

New this morning:

Respect lives: be pro-choice - excerpt: "[Abortion is] A health issue affecting over half of our population. It should be treated as such, just like quality dental care or the right to other surgical treatments, and should be freely and totally available to those who need it. No exceptions. The right to bodily autonomy is the most fundamental human right and throughout human history millions have died fighting for it in various forms." - by Octavia

World Health Day - excerpt: "I am pro-choice, but I doubt I would ever have an abortion myself, due largely to the effect I think it would have on my already unstable mental health, but I still would like to know that if I did want to have an abortion, I would be able to access one quickly and safely." - by Lena

Trash writing, with a point, damnit. It's World Health Day - excerpt: 'The policeman took his seat and presented the papers he'd been holding by his side. The bold text emblazoned on the top of the page caught Nat's eye. It read "COURT SUMMONS". As Nat took the papers, the policeman began his explanation, "We have been led to believe that you underwent a... procedure... at the women's clinic at Wellington hospital on February 15th."' - by Nikki

La Ranita has dedicated her tumblr activity to pro-choice goodness on the blogswarm theme today.

world health day: autonomy over our own bodies - excerpt: "To force someone to have an abortion is a particularly cruel act and when we are talking about the very people charged to care for a teenage child performing this ugly coercion, the abusive element magnifies in my mind." - by Sandra

A sincere thanks - excerpt: "In the battleground between women's bodies and fetuses, so often centred on the womb, we sometimes forget about the people who provide the vital health service of terminating pregnancies." by Julie

World Health Day: Abortion is a health issue not a crime - excerpt: "Abortion is in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. It shouldn't be. An abortion is a choice made by a woman about her own body. Having an abortion can save a woman's life: abortions are quite a bit safer than pregnancy, if they're performed legally. Women need to be able to make that choice for themselves - with their doctors: because abortion is a health issue" - by labellementeuse

Abortion: just another frakken issue that I need to jump through hoops for! - excerpt: "At the beginning of last year I had to visit the doctor because there was something seriously wrong. I had become pregnant and there was no way that I could bear the child to term. I hold the view that a fetus becomes a child when the woman in question decides that it’s a child and, well to me, it’s always been a child as soon as that little stick changes colour. So, I couldn’t have this child." - by beyondgender

Evening update

I had a miscarriage and yes, I am still pro-choice - Excerpt: "We all like to the think that abortion is something that child-free teenage girls and swinging twentysomethings do. But from the statistics we know that it isn’t true, the largest group having abortions are from the 20-24 age group and almost half the abortions are for women who already have mothers.

But what about the not-quite mothers?" - by Steph

The pro-choice club at the Auckland Uni Campus Feminist Collective - excerpt: "The Campus Feminist collective at Auckland Uni have recently started a pro choice club. Last night we showed “The Coathanger project”, and will be doing events throughout the year. We need to change these laws, it is so beyond fucked up that abortion is still a bloody crime." - by Mouse

A bunch of straw-ladies got straw-abortions after changing their silly little lady-minds about straw-babies - excerpt: "We need to be as loud as possible – including you mansplainy ‘liberal’ men, because, surprisingly enough, playing nice and sucking cock is not how civil rights are won." - by Priya

Get yr laws outta of my drawers!! - excerpt: "It sure seems to me like it’s time the legislature realises abortion as what it is– a medical procedure– and ends the implied assumption in the Crimes Act that every person carrying a foetus is under a duty to carry it to term." - by Dorothy V Dentata

Equal rights means you take ownership TOO! - excerpt:  "Even if you are a purist, and you don’t use condoms... who can afford 9 kids in this expensive world? So what do you do?
I won’t expect you to explain to me how you don’t have a gazillion children right now, but short of you killing some future life off I’m lost for ideas." - by Scuba Nurse

Abortion:  it's a health issue not a crime - excerpt:  "As a practicing Catholic for most of my life, something about abortion always seemed to bother me but as I moved away from my parents and my Filipino upbringing, I came to realise that putting stock in the words of men from 2000 years ago, without questioning their validity or applicability to MY life was actually kind of stupid. My eyes opened in my late teens. Things aren't right or wrong because scripture tells you so, rather, as you learn and grow, your individual sense of morality learns and grows and you figure out what things are wrong and right for you" - by padgp

pro choice blogswarm - excerpt:  "I am pro choice, I personally though would not choose to have an abortion, its not something that I would do, but I do not want to project my own moral stance on to every woman that may need to have one. Its about choice, its about our bodies, and about us making the decision that suits us at the time we are making that decision." - by Demelza

A health issue - but how? - excerpt:  "As a woman, a fat woman, a queer fat woman, a disabled, queer fat woman, I simply do not feel safe approaching a doctor or entrusting myself to the whims of the medical system. Taking abortion out of the crimes act would help – but not by much." by Anna Caro

Parliament and abortion - excerpt:  "The present law is fundamentally demeaning. It creates real problems around access. And its currently being challenged in court. If that challenge is successful, we may find that abortion is - overnight - illegal in New Zealand, or subject to such tight restrictions as to make it inaccessible in practice. That outcome is possible because we continue to rely on an outdated law." by Idiot/Savant

Abortion Supervisory Committee: the vote - Idiot/Savant gives the details on who voted which way in Parliament today, on a last minute amendment seeking to appoint an anti-abortion advocate to the Abortion Supervisory Committee.  (Ayes are for the anti-abortion person, Noes are against them)

Let's play a game that isn't fun:  decide my pregnancy options for me!  - excerpt:  "So, if I got pregnant, what should I do? No really, I'm interested. Be forced to continue the pregnancy at the expense of my own health or even life, with a foetus that would likely die after a few months in utero (but a D&C to remove it in that case would obviously not be ok: abortion is wrong! I should get blood poisoning and die, much preferable) or be born to die painfully and shortly after birth? I should suffer that horror? My husband should suffer that and possibly lose me? (Slipping in the cis-dude perspective to add legitimacy again.) Our cats? (I don't know, maybe you like other animals more than humans.) The baby you apparently care about so much should suffer that?" - by Octavia

I am a grown ass woman dammit - excerpt:  "Why would I be trusted to carry a foetus for up to 40 weeks, give birth, then raise a child and provide for that child’s needs until he or she reaches adulthood (or longer), but I am not trusted to decide that, for whatever reason, I do not want to do any of that?" by La Ranita

Pro-Choice Isn't an Option - excerpt: "Lots of things are amazing.

The first crunchy leaf of Autumn.
Perfectly cooked chocolate mudcake.
John Key‘s lack of touch with the Kiwi reality.
Magnets, I mean how do they even work?
Huge dragonflies.
That abortion falls under the Crimes Act in New Zealand." by [Head/Desk]

New today (8th April):

The personal is political:  I have had an abortion and I no longer care who knows if I did - excerpt:  "This is a hard note to write, but I have decided to write it to break the silence and shame pushed on to women by a society that, for the most part, condemns abortion and judges women for making an impossible choice that affects the rest of their lives.  The more woman that speak out about their experiences with abortion, the more “normalised” it becomes.  It makes it more difficult it is for the old white men to make laws regulating our reproduction." by The Surly Mermaid

Would you look at that? - excerpt:  "The basic take-home is that 70 MPs are sufficiently pro-choice that they won’t support appointing an avowed antichoicer to the Abortion Supervisory Committee.  It’s hardly an overwhelming statement of support of women’s right to make their own health decisions, but it’s also a pretty obvious sign that the majority of MPs, whether for personal or political-sensitivity reasons, will not erode the status quo." by Queen of Thorns

Yesterday was World Health Day, today we are still talking about abortion rights - excerpt:  "That this medical procedure is in the Crimes Act is unacceptable. The law has remained unchanged since the 1970s. Most of the public is unaware because clinicians work hard to ensure the process is as free of red-tape as possible.  Open up discussions with the people around you. We need to be debating this and raising awareness of it. And, in election year more than ever, we must let our politicians know that this will not go away." by Bel

Tariana Turia and abortion - excerpt: "I do not think abortion undermines the notion of whakapapa. Cultural values are fluid and change over time in response to changing circumstances. Maori inhabit a vastly different world and the notion of whakapapa has not remained static. Turia is allowing a very narrow interpretation of whakapapa to inform her views on what is essentially a health issue." by Morgan Godfrey

Anymore, please do let us know through comments or elsewise.  Thanks everyone, this is an amazing number, I never would have guessed we would get so many from just a few tweets and a single blog notice.  Gives great heart for the campaign ahead to change this unfair law!

Comment direction: Please add your post links in comments if I haven't picked them up yet, and/or tweet them with the #prochoicenz hashtag. I'll add them to the index when I get a chance, but it may take a while. Please don't suggest anti-abortion posts - if you're an anti you can organise your own Blogswarm, that's freedom of speech in action. And this is not the place to comment on the morality of abortion, as we have a whole page for that, and it's even called Abortion and Morality so there can be no confusion!


Anonymous said...

I was talking about this at length with my wife. There are a few things she said that I will want to blog about later, but one thing stuck in my mind.

Is the "morning after" pill another form of abortion? And I have only just now seen the massive amount of debate that has gone on about that.

Lena said...

I wrote a post about world health day and abortion.

Carlist said...

Goodgravey, maybe speaking for your wife isn't the best idea. Just saying, men claiming to represent women's views on abortion is not exactly a new thing.

trouble said...

The morning after pill prevents ovulation, which usually happens just after teh sex in successful conceptions. There's also the possibility it prevents implantation of the fertilised embryo, although that's not its primary effect. Up to you whether you consider either to be abortions; the medical community doesn't.

Zan said...

It is interesting that the anti-choice bloggers seem to have caught on to the Abortion - health issue and World Health Day blogswarm and done there own. It also seems to be much more successful, at least wrt google page rankings.

Julie said...

@Zan, haterz gonna hate.

Idiot/Savant said...

Meanwhile Parliament is appointing people to the Abortion Supervisory Committee today. Any idea who Dr Tangimoana Frances Habib is, and where they stand on the matter?

padgp said...

I wish I had more time today!!
I've written a quickie. What an awesome blogswarm. Hope there's more to come :)

Scuba Nurse said...

@Andrei Perhaps the column titles should be changed from death/life to choice/no choice.
Or maybe human rights / baby rights.
or maybe thinking with brain vs thinking with religion?

any way you put it. that black column is where I am proud to be.
Right next to some brillient, kind, well thought out writing.

Priyapilar said...

Written a quick one.

Andrei said...

In the interest of good will and respectful dialog I have changed the column headings and colors Scuba Nurse.

Julie said...

In the interests of actually respecting the comment direction I put on this post I've deleted a comment from Andrei which was directly above Scuba Nurse. Yeah the rest of the thread is a bit confusing now, but just deal.

Anonymous said...

you forgot mine :(

Mouse said...

priya said...

Doesn't appear to want to post my comment. Wrote one.

Unknown said...

Hi! This is mine.

-Dorothy V Dentata

Deborah said...

Got your post in there now, Steph. Sorry for not getting it up earlier. Plus I've updated the index to include Priya and Dorothy v. Dentata's excellent posts.

Julie said...

Freaky stuff Deborah, I was in there too, have left your additions alone but added some more I've found on the end. Will keep searching through the evening and update again.

Thanks everyone - so stoked to see so so many posts. Really didn't expect it to get this big.

Deborah said...

That *is* freaky. I thought that if I was in there editing the post, no one else would be able to do anything... It all looks good now.

Amazing swarm!

Maia said...

I added one more link.

What an amazing collection of posts. I've found some awesome blogs I hadn't seen before.

I may contribute something in the next few days, but I gave up timely blogging long ago.

Art & Sciences said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Surly Mermaid said...

bit late, sorry

Anonymous said...

Err - Carlist - I wasn't speaking for my wife. I was relaying a conversation I had with her that got me thinking about the issue from a different perspective.

I don't claim to represent anything other than my own opinion.

trouble - thanks for that. I didn't get to read a lot of the reference material I found on the subject.

It still seems to me to be an interesting aspect of the debate - the extent to which pro-lifers/anti-choicers believe that the MAP is acceptable.

The overall point I was trying to make here is that, because the MAP occurs after fertilisation (am I right?) then if it is considered "OK" by anti-abortionists, then it counters any argument of potential life.

Others have written rather brilliantly on the "every sperm is sacred" idea of potential life. This is just my mental meandering on similar lines.

Julie said...

Thanks SurlyMer, just added yours, should show up shortly.

And thanks everyone, this is way bigger than I ever imagined, and what is particularly awesome to me is to have so many people writing pro-choice stuff just on the basis of a few tweets and a single blog notice, nothing more, which just shows how engaged you all are in the issue - yay!

anna caro said...

Belated thanks for organising and compiling, Julie and others. Some excellent writing out there.

La Ranita said...

When the emergency contraceptive pill prevents ovulation then, no, fertilisation hasn't already occurred - it is making sure fertilisation doesn't occur. In the less common situation when it works by stopping implantation then yes the egg has already been fertilised. I believe that a huge number of fertilised eggs never implant as a result of natural causes anyway, and it is a matter of contention whether 'conception' occurs at the stage of fertilisation or implantation. I happen to know that an easy-to-follow fact sheet is being prepared on this very topic (and others) at the moment - as part of the projects that came out of the March pro-choice gathering. I will be tweeting links to those fact sheets once they are published.

Anonymous said...

Re the morning after pill:

When I was undergoing fertility treatments,this is what I learned about when a woman becomes pregnant. After the sperm meets the egg, there is a 24- to 48-hour period before the fertilized egg implants. The implantation sends a signal to the egg to begin cell division.

Prior to implantation, a woman is not pregnant. The unimplanted fertilized egg is just that, an egg containing a sperm. It does not have the capacity to start becoming a human lifeform.

Because the MAP prevents implantation, but does not stop cell division from occurring after an egg is implanted, it does not abort a pregnancy.

Trouble said...

Whirlwitch - that's interesting. I thought some fertility treatments implanted the eggs after several cell divisions - eg pre-implantation genetic diagnosis needs a few cells to divide so they can pinch one. Maybe they do something fiddly in vitro to encourage that.

Anonymous said...

Re my comment above; I've done a bit of looking into it, and it appears I was mistaken. Cell division begins before implantation, but the process speeds up and becomes more complex after implantation.

Also, while I was told implantation could happen about 48 hours after my inseminations, apparently that isn't the case with unassisted conception.

The medical consensus is that pregnancy only occurs with implantation. I got that part right at least, and my understanding now is that cell division pre-implantation only goes so far, so a zygote is not a pre-baby.