Support for abortion puts you in ‘the 1%’

On May 30, 2012, in Blog, by The Radical Feminist

occupy everything Support for abortion puts you in the 1%

Ever since the start of the Occupy protests in New York City’s Zuccotti Park the concept of ‘the 99%’ and ‘the 1%’ has entered out collective cultural consciousness.

Although I have some major issues with some of the practices, and proposals of the Occupy protest movement (for example, I don’t actually believe that all business leaders and people with wealth are immoral money hungry power-mongers bent on world domination), there is no doubting the fact that they highlighted some vitally important issues regarding resource control, distribution and greed that have arisen in Western culture.

Despite their deficiencies, the Occupy protesters managed to draw our global attention to the fact that a certain and very destructive type of mentality has captured much of the corporate, financial, and government sectors.

This mentality strips all of the great wonder, mystery, endless potential, possibilities and creative outcomes from every human existence and reduces people to little more than a function, or a means/hindrance to somebody else’s pleasurable ends.

‘Greed is good’ Gordan Gekko famously proclaimed in the original 1987 Wall Street movie (you know, the one without Indiana Jone’s son in it), because all Gordon Gekko cared about was getting what he wanted, to hell with ethics, and to hell with the harm his actions did to other human beings.

When Gordon Gekko encounters another human being, he doesn’t see the profundity and grand splendor of their individual existence. He doesn’t see their great dignity and worth. All he sees are dollars and cents, profits and losses, outcomes and productivity – and all of these things are weighed according to how they will impact the interstes and well-being of Gordon Gekko, not the other person.

We all look at the character of Gordon Gekko with a curious revulsion – how could a human being become so unethical? How could a human being treat other human beings so selfishly? How could such a person exist, and get away with such inhuman treatments of others in modern, enlightened, advanced Western society?

The cold hard, and very frightening, reality is that, while we may look down on Gordon Gekko with disdain, ultimately he is one of us – he is a cinematic representation of the attitudes and mores which pervade our modern Western culture, and which guide all of our actions and thoughts to some lesser or greater extent.

He is the epitome of ‘the 1%’ – and support for abortion is something he is more than willing to embrace, promote and advance in Western culture.

Why?

Because endorsement of abortion is an endorsement of the very same mentalities which underpin the ethics of ‘the 1%’.

Just like the mentality of the 1%, endorsement for abortion also views the human being as a mere function – if they serve a purpose then they are assigned value, but if they don’t serve any useful purpose then they are considered to be without worth, and aborting them becomes a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

Just like the mentality of the 1%, endorsement for abortion sees the human being as a means or a hindrance to somebody else’s pleasurable end – if the unborn human being is deemed to be able to bring us some pleasure in life it is allowed to live, but if it is deemed to be an imposition on our personal happiness then it becomes perfectly acceptable to dispatch with it via abortion.

Just like the mentality of the 1%, endorsement for abortion regularly weighs the good and the value of each human being based solely on financial outcomes – if a human being will impose a financial constraint, or imposition on us we stop seeing their humanity and simply view them as a fiscal liability that should be liquidated.

Just like the mentality of the 1%, endorsement for abortion overlooks important ethical principles and instead acts as if more powerful human beings automatically have the right to decide what happens to less powerful, more vulnerable human beings, without any regard for the needs or well-being of those weaker human beings.

Whether pro-choice adherents like it or not, their support for abortion is based on the same principles that underpin the mentality and actions of the 1%, and abortion is more than just a ‘good fit’ with the ideologies of the 1% – the two actually go together like hand and glove.

It’s a shame the Occupy movement were so narrow in their focus that they only honed in on the social injustice of the financial sector, for if they’d engaged in a more honest and much wider appraisal of our cultural practices they would have seen that support for abortion places us squarely in the same ethical ideological camp as ‘the 1%’.

Social justice isn’t something that we are owed from the moment of our birth, it is something that we are rightfully entitled to from the very first moment of our existence – being born is NOT what granted you the right to social justice, your humanness does!

Refusal to accept this concept, while raging away at big corporates for their acts of injustice, doesn’t make us enlightened, it makes us a culture of hypocrites.

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Tawa author tackles abortion issue

On May 28, 2012, in Blog, by Miriam

Screen shot 2012 05 27 at 2.35.04 PM Tawa author tackles abortion issue

Thomas Devine’s latest novel, published last month, tackles the controversial issue of abortion.

A Halo of Strawberries is a departure from the Tawa author’s previous stories, Reversal Point (2007), Tortolona (2010) and Relinquished (2011), which are all thrillers.

The pro-life novel is based on the manager of a theatre company who learns his granddaughter had an abortion before she committed suicide, and is confronted by a number of moral choices as a consequence.

After Devine recently completed a diploma in religious studies, he wanted to explore the topic of abortion in literature.

“I never thought of writing anything moralistic, but the subject of abortion is close to my heart.

“Because I’ve done a diploma in religious studies, I thought I might do something with good moral effect,” he said.

Devine used the online platform, CreateSpace, a branch of Amazon, to publish the book, after getting some rejections from publishing companies.

It is the love of writing that keeps him going.

“My promotional efforts are not bringing me commercial success, but that was never my main priority. I want to entertain readers, so any number of them is still satisfying.

“One unborn life would be reward enough for me.”

Devine plans to continue to self-publish novels.

“I can’t think of anything else I feel strongly about to do another Halo, so I think I will return to thrillers,” he said.

Cross posted from Stuff.co.nz.

A Halo of Strawberries can be bought on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and by order through local bookshops. To read the first chapter of the book, click here.

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US adults position on abortion Number of ‘pro choice’ hits record low: Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll shows a record-low number of people in the US describe themselves as “pro-choice,” while half call themselves “pro-life.”

The poll, conducted from May 3-6, found only 41 percent of Americans would embrace the “pro-choice” monicker, the lowest level since the company began asking the question in 1995.

Exactly 50 percent said they identified as pro-life, a near-record high.

The results closely track results in May 2009, when 51 percent of Americans called themselves “pro-life” and 42 percent called themselves “pro-choice.”

Since that poll, more Americans have labeled themselves pro-life than pro-choice, a situation Gallup calls “the new normal.”

A majority of Americans believe abortion is immoral, the most recent survey found. Those who believe abortion is wrong exceed those who do not by a wide margin, 13 percentage points (51 percent to 38 percent).

The poll contains some interesting revelations leading into the 2012 presidential election.

For only the second time, more independents identify as “pro-life” (47 percent) than “pro-choice” (41 percent).

Breakdown among the parties was more predictable, with both parties trending more pro-life.

Pollsters found 72 percent of Republicans were pro-life, one of the highest margins ever, while only 22 percent are “pro-choice,” a record low.

However, the number of Democrats who describe themselves as “pro-choice” has hit its lowest level since 2003 (58 percent). Meanwhile, more than one-third of Democrats, 34 percent, say they are “pro-life.”

The polling company’s longest-running measure of abortion – under what circumstances abortion should be legal – remains little-changed. Since 1975, most Americans have believed abortion should be legal under some circumstances. In this poll 52 percent of respondents held that position, although the poll does not spell out which circumstances they felt justified abortion.

A recent poll from the Charlotte Lozier Institute found 77 percent of Americans oppose sex-selective abortion. Last December, 79 percent of Americans said they supported restricting abortion to the first trimester, and a majority would limit abortion to cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, according to a Knights of Columbus/Marist College poll.

In this month’s Gallup poll, 25 percent of those surveyed believed abortion should be legal in all circumstances; while 20 percent believed abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

The poll’s results are a stunning turnaround from the first survey to ask this question. In 1995, 56 percent of Americans described themselves as “pro-choice,” and only 33 percent of Americans were “pro-life.”

Cross posted from LifeSiteNews.

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silenced ALRANZ article underscores the importance and accuracy of the Right to Know campaignIn the week since Prolife NZ launched their Right to Know campaign, online and at university campuses around New Zealand, they have been accused, by a small but vocal band of ardent pro-choice activists, of scaremongering and spreading misinformation. These activists have suggested that NZ women are more than adequately informed about abortion risks, and that the Right to Know campaign presented misleading information about the risk factors associated with abortion.

But then, just two days ago, an article was published in the online NZ magazine Werewolf (an off-shoot of the popular scoop.co.nz news site) which proved exactly why Prolife NZ was right to state in its Right to Know campaign that NZ women are not being provided with all of the facts about abortion.

This article is a lengthy pro-abortion advocacy/lobby piece calling for, among other things, the increased availability of medical abortions in NZ using the drug Mifegyne (also known as RU 486 and mifepristone).

It was written by Alison McCulloch, who is not only a self-described “active member” of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ), but she has also acted as an official spokesperson for them in the NZ media.

Now here’s the really important bit – not only does this article fail to inform its readers of some vitally important risk factors associated with Mifegyne medical abortions, but it actually quotes abortionist and militant pro-abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts when it states (emphasis added):

“There are more men dying from using Viagra than women using medical abortion. If you look at the rates, it’s more dangerous to use penicillin, it’s even more dangerous to use Paracetamol.” The spectre of danger that lurks around abortion is a social construct, a media construct, she says, “it’s not a reality”.

Firstly, this statement is completely illogical – it’s like saying “cyanide is more dangerous to ingest than arsenic, so therefore arsenic should be considered safe“. Gomperts compares abortion to completely different types of things and then tries to claim that data about these totally different things is pertinent to abortion.

The safety, or otherwise, of abortion has nothing to do with the safety, or otherwise, of other different procedures and products.

But more alarmingly than the terrible logical flaw in this statement is it’s completely incorrect claim that adverse outcomes and risks (“danger”) associated with abortion are not real, and are nothing more than a social and media construct. This statement is so alarmingly unscientific, and so totally false that labeling it ‘dangerously misleading’ could possibly be an understatement.

Rather than just throwing around unsubstantiated opinion, let’s do something that this article never did, and actually put some real facts about Mifegyne medical abortions on the table:

a. An “audit” of nearly 7000 abortions performed in South Australia in 2009 and 2010 found that Mifegyne medical abortions result in more complications for women than surgical abortions do. The research survey found that 3.3 per cent of women using Mifegyne had later turned up at emergency departments to seek treatment for problems, whereas only 2.2 per cent of women who had undergone surgical abortions had done so.

The survey also found that 5.7 per cent of women undergoing early medical abortions using Mifegyne had to be admitted to hospital for post-operative treatment, compared to only 0.4 per cent of women undergoing surgical abortions experiencing such outcomes.

b. Statistics released by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia in October 2010 revealed that 110 cases of “adverse effects” were reported in 2009 by doctors authorised to prescribe Mifegyne in Australia. These adverse effects included the retention of placental remains and other “products of conception” (i.e. human fetal remains). These same Therapeutic Goods Administration statistics also revealed that there were another 14 Australian cases where RU486 had failed and subsequent surgical abortions had to be carried out to complete those botched Mifegyne medical abortions.

c. A report released by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2011 stated that the deaths of 14 US women are now associated with the use of Mifegyne, and there are 2,207 reports of adverse effects associated with it (including significant blood loss requiring transfusion, infections and “severe infections”)

d. Research carried out in England, by Teresa Kelly and colleagues at Newcastle University, followed 122 women who had either a surgical abortion or a Mifegyne medical abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy, and it revealed that the women who had participated in a Mifegyne medical abortion complained of more medical problems and more mental health issues following the use of Mifegyne, and the passing of the body of the dead baby, than woman who underwent surgical abortions. (Findings published in the obstetrics journal BJOG in 2011).

e. In may 2011, at the 21st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Milan, it was announced that a 16-year old Portuguese female had died as a result of a septic shock caused by Clostridium Sordellii (an infection that until that point had only been diagnosed in abortion drug related deaths in the United States) after a Mifegyne medical abortion.

f. In March this year, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration confirmed that an Australian woman had died after getting a Mifegyne medical abortion at a Marie Stopes International Australia clinic (equivalent to the NZ Family Planning Association).

As I have already stated, not only does the Werewolf article, penned by an ALRANZ member and spokesperson, make absolutely no mention of these important facts about Mifegyne medical abortion, it actually uses a quote from a pro-abortion activist to tell readers that risks and harms associated with abortion are a fabricated media and social construct.

(Another statement made earlier in the Werewolf article also indicates that this same pro-abortion activist may have actually assisted people living here to violate important NZ safety laws which make it illegal to import pharmaceutical products into the country without official approval – if this is in fact the case, it should give us pause to seriously consider whether this activist actually has a proper concern for patient safety).

Isn’t it ironic that within just days of Prolife NZ being accused of engaging in trickery with their Right to Know campaign, this article is produced by a senior member of a pro-choice lobby group with close ties to at least some of the students making these accusations against Prolife NZ – an article which fails to include ALL of the important facts about Mifegyne medical abortion, and which makes the scientifically incorrect claim that there are no risks or harms associated with abortion.

This article has simply reinforced the accuracy and importance of the Right to Know campaign, and it’s claims regarding the lack of full disclosure to the NZ public about abortion facts.

I wonder how many of the same students who complained so vociferously about the Prolife NZ Right to Know campaign will now also be strongly voicing their concerns to ALRANZ about the totally misleading nature of this article – or whether ALRANZ is even concerned that such important facts were excluded from an article penned by one of their active members and spokespeople.

FreeSpeech Should we be worried by attempts to stifle freedom of expression on our campuses?

As I’m sure you’re probably aware by now, this Wednesday was the launch of ProLife NZ’s Right to Know campaign. It’s a national campaign that was launched on various campuses across New Zealand, as well as online via Facebook and our website.

The focus of this campaign is actually one very simple, but vitally important question:

‘Shouldn’t all women contemplating an abortion be allowed access to ALL of the facts about abortion and pregnancy before making their decision?’

This includes information about possible physical and psychological complications, information about the procedure itself, an accurate presentation of fetal development, as well as unbiased presentations about alternatives to abortion.

Surely anyone, no matter what their personal moral views about abortion are, couldn’t have any problem with a campaign that is aimed at empowering women with accurate and complete information about this issue?

Our communities are replete with women who have stories about their own personal abortion regret, and most of these stories revolve around the common thread that not ALL of the relevant facts about abortion were made clear to these women before they made their choice.

If even just one woman can be spared from many years of hurt or regret because all of the relevant information was provided to her, as a result of changes brought about by our Right to Know campaign, then surely this would be a good thing?

Apparently some people don’t think so, or at least that appears to be the case based on the response of a tiny minority of individuals who have decided that stifling freedom of expression is more important than having a frank and open dialogue about a woman’s right to know.

One student who opposed the campaign told us that he had decided to throw all of the Right to Know pamphlets in his lecture room in the rubbish bin. For some reason he didn’t seem to want his fellow students, which would include many females, even thinking about this issue.

On another campus, the Right to Know posters were torn down less than five minutes after they were put up on Wednesday morning. It’s hard to see how anyone could have actually had time to read, let alone think about this important issue in such a short space of time. This suggests to us that our poster vandalizing friend would rather tear down posters than actually stop and think, and then come to an informed opinion about the issue of a woman’s right to know.

No doubt this campaign will also bring renewed calls for ProLife Auckland to be de-affiliated from the student union on their campus. Since its formation, ProLife Auckland has faced vociferous opposition from a small but intolerant group of students who actively oppose the right of University of Auckland students to voice their prolife convictions through an organised club.

This is a very serious response. We are talking here about a group of individuals who would rather deny another group of students their right to freedom of expression, than actually engage with them in an intellectually open and honest way about the issue of a woman’s right to know.

Remember, the Right to Know campaign doesn’t ask anyone to change their ethical stance on the issue of abortion. Instead, it simply asks us to consider whether it is right to provide a woman with only some, but not ALL of the important facts about an irreversible and life-altering procedure such as abortion.

If university students in our country are no longer free to raise and discuss important issues like this, then this is a sign that something has gone very wrong on our academic campuses – the very places which are built on the idea of fostering and protecting a free and open discourse about important issues like abortion.

We are still living in democratic New Zealand, right? – not some dictatorship where people are no longer free to think freely and discuss openly their personal convictions about important issues.

We fully expect people to have all sorts of opinions on this issue, and we welcome an open and honest discussion about the ideas proposed in our Right to Know campaign. All we ask is that others show that same openness and respect, rather than working to actively stifle students’ right to freedom of expression, or the right of others to think for themselves and become engaged in the discussion about these issues if they wish to.

At the end of the day, we find ourselves at a total loss to explain how or why any thinking, caring person could possibly be opposed to allowing women access to ALL the facts, and then allowing them to make a free decision about abortion based on this knowledge they have been empowered with.

 

Amy Blowers

ProLife Auckland

 

down sydrome new zealand Screening for down syndrome – A community perspective

Saving Downs are a New Zealand based group of parents and siblings of people with down syndrome. They have formed in response to the New Zealand Government’s new state funded antenatal screening programme that targets and identifies unborn children with Down syndrome for selective abortion.

Midwives and general practitioners have been invited to a series of nationwide workshops in May and June 2012 to further enhance skills, knowledge and understanding in relation to antenatal screening for down syndrome and other conditions.

The down syndrome community has been excluded from participation in the workshops and they are taking this opportunity to provide their perspective on the screening programme.

They have recently produced the following resource for health professionals. For more information on Saving Downs visit their website - www.savingdowns.com.

Eleven facts for midwives, GPs and parents
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  1. Like all people, those with Down syndrome are defined by their basic human dignity and not by their genetic makeup. They are loved and valued members of our families and communities. They make positive contributions to our society.
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  2. Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition.
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  3. In a recent Children’s Hospital Boston survey 99 percent of parents of children with Down syndrome reported that they loved their child, 97 percent were proud of their child, and 79 percent attributed a more positive outlook on life to their child.
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  4. The screening pathway is non-therapeuticIt imposes more harm than benefit to a mother’s unborn child, through miscarriage and morbidity due to diagnostic testing.
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  5. The screening pathway leads to maternal anxiety and foetal hazardInterrupting the pregnancy has adverse mental health outcomes for the mother.
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  6. There is no evidence that babies with down syndrome can have a better medical outcome due to screening and testing. Medical problems associated with down syndrome can be detected by routine antenatal clinical care without a diagnosis.
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  7. For every 100 women who screen at high risk for Down syndrome, RANZCOG state that only between four and six of them will be carrying a baby with down syndrome.
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  8. It costs around $70,000 to detect an unborn child with down syndrome.
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  9. Before the 2010 quality improvements around 55% of all babies with Down syndrome were not born due to antenatal screening and intervention. When Denmark introduced the same “quality improvements” the impact was a further halving in births of children with Down syndromeA similar trend here would result in around 80% of all births of children with Down syndrome being prevented. Many people recognise that this is eugenics.
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  10. The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association does not consider down syndrome in itself a reason for termination of a pregnancy.
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  11. People with down syndrome and their families are best placed to provide parents with a diagnosis with accurate information and knowledge based in direct experience.

Ethics and the Hippocratic Oath

The original Hippocratic Oath has been updated by the Declaration of GenevaIt has been adopted by the World Medical Association and reflects the dedication of medical professionals to the humanitarian goals of medical practice. It includes:

  • A commitment to the service of humanity. A duty to act with conscience and dignity.
  • A commitment to not allow a disability to intervene between ones duty and their patients. Upholding the utmost respect for human life.

Many people in the down syndrome community consider the screening programme to be eugenicsas it targets this community for birth prevention based on their biological difference. Such practices offend medical ethics, human dignity and the basic principles of humanitarian justice and international law.

Midwives and general practitioners have a statutory right to refuse to participate in antenatal screening for disabilities under Section 174 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. This provides for conscientious objection in relation to any reproductive health service.

Loving Every Child: Defying Eugenics

It is one of life’s great paradoxes that the most gentle, loving and enduring amongst us have always been the target of the eugenicists – those with down syndrome: the very people who embrace those defining human qualities of unconditional love and compassion.

The down syndrome community has witnessed with grave concern the return of eugenics in New Zealand under the guise of prenatal health care, reproductive choice and human rights. It is inflicting serious harm on our unborn children, parents and the down syndrome community.

In response to this Family Life International NZ and SavingDowns are holding a one-day seminar “Loving Every Child: Defying Eugenics”. This will be held in Auckland on the 4th August 2012 at the Columba centre. This will be an opportunity for people to learn about the history of eugenics and its recent emergence into New Zealand society. The seminar will be looking to raise awareness around the issue and to map out a response towards restoring respect and dignity towards the down syndrome community. Midwives and general practitioners have a commitment to the service of humanity and are particularly welcome to attend and participate in this seminar.

Please contact Mike Sullivan at mike.b.sullivan@xtra.co.nz for further information.

What have we to fear from more knowledge about abortion?

On May 16, 2012, in Blog, by The Radical Feminist

light bulb lit among dark ones What have we to fear from more knowledge about abortion?American author Henry David Thoreau once said “True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.”

This maxim seems highly appropriate today, on this, the day that Prolife NZ rolls out it’s Right to Know campaign around New Zealand.

The Right to Know campaign challenges us to consider the important reality that providing women with all of the facts about abortion is ultimately going to be in the best interests of supporting truly free and informed choice.

For some reason, it has been my experience that the very group that is supposedly committed to choice, the pro-choice lobby, are often the most vociferous opponents of putting ALL of the facts about abortion on the table and allowing women access to a full and frank disclosure of the information about abortion.

There is a large, and growing, body of research showing the serious physical and psychological risks associated with abortion, yet for some reason there is often strong resistance from pro-choicers to allowing all of this information into the public arena.

Several years ago when the highly respected Professor David Fergusson, of New Zealand, published his longitudinal research showing that abortion can increase the risk of subsequent mental health issues in women he was sorely rounded on by groups like the Abortion law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ).

I remember the then head of ALRANZ, Margaret Sparrow, attacking Professor Fergusson’s research in a radio interview about the subject, and attempting to write off the findings of his research as if he was some sort of Internet hack touting results from a methodologically deficient online survey, or as if his research was agenda driven. This, despite the fact that Professor Fergusson is a highly regarded researcher and he is openly pro-choice on the issue of abortion.

To this day I still don’t understand why ALRANZ would be so doggedly opposed to women being empowered with scientifc knowledge and then choosing to keep their babies, rather than opt for an abortion and expose themselves to the risk of subsequent mental health issues because of that abortion.

When I hear pro-choicers staunchly and emotionally defending positions that would refuse to supply women with all of the facts about the risks associated with abortion, or with full and frank disclosure about fetal development, I really have to wonder to myself what are they so afraid of?

I mean seriously, if basic scientific information and medical facts have become such a big bad wolf to your ideological position then surely you have to wonder about the actual validity of your ideology, don’t you?

If the pro-choice ideology is so strong, and so innate to womanhood (as the pro-choice lobby claims) then what possible threat could there be from supplying women with ALL of the facts about abortion?

Anyone can talk a good game about ‘choice’, but the real test of your commitment to choice is shown by your willingness (or otherwise) to supply ALL of the facts to women so that they can make a truly informed choice.

If you are opposed to women being given all of the facts, then one is really forced to wonder whether your commitment isn’t actually to upholding choice, but rather to upholding abortion and defending it from any medical or scientific information which poses a threat to its popular support.

Ultimately, what is there to fear from women becoming armed with more information about abortion, or is the problem here that the pro-choice lobby views women as being too simplistic and unintelligent to be able to take in all the information that is presented to them and then make truly informed decisions after such awareness empowerment?

If the pro-choice ideology really is a true friend to women, as it claims to be, then surely it could never be opposed to allowing women access to ALL of the facts about abortion, not just some of them, for without that access the pro-choice ideology has become a friend that, as Henry David Thoreau would remind us, is a false friend that depends on darkness and ignorance to maintain control over the lives and decisions that women make about this issue.

For me, this issue is a no-brainer and that’s why I’m getting behind the Prolife NZ Right to Know campaign that kicks off around the country today – knowledge is empowerment, and empowerment is always good!

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Screen shot 2012 05 13 at 11.53.03 PM Australian officials investigate woman’s 2007 death after abortion

Officials in Australia are carrying out an inquest this week after a Newcastle woman died in 2007 following an abortion.

Helen Grainger, 29, suffered severe anaphylaxis when she was given an antibiotic at Lambton Road Day Surgery at Broadmeadow, on April 26, 2007.

The fifteen minute abortion procedure was without complications. Afterwards, Mrs Grainger was in a recovery room when she was administered Keflin – an antibiotic used to prevent possible infections after surgery.

She had previously taken Keflin without incident, but on April 26 she began to feel short of breath before a rash broke out across her body.

The inquest heard yesterday that before paramedics arrived, Mrs Grainger’s sedationist administered adrenaline intravenously to manage the reaction and CPR was performed shortly afterwards.

A paramedic of 33 years who treated Mrs Grainger at the surgery, John Gleeson, said she appeared to be suffering severe anaphylaxis and an endotracheal tube (a large, flexible plastic tube inserted into the trachea – the large airway from the mouth to the lungs) was used to resuscitate her.

Mr Gleeson told the inquest he also gave Mrs Grainger adrenaline, but only slowly to avoid what he called the “whammo” effect.

She returned a pulse on the way to the local John Hunter Hospital where she died two days later from brain hypoxia, the reduced supply of oxygen to the brain.

Expert witness and Director of the Allergy Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Dr Robert Loblay, told the inquest yesterday that adrenaline was more likely to have caused Mrs Grainger’s respiratory arrest than anaphylaxis.

He said the likely cause of the anaphylaxis was a drug she had been administered previously.

Dr Loblay said the adrenaline should have been injected into muscle, not intravenously, and it should have been injected in increments over more than ten minutes to different parts of her body.

Written evidence tendered to the court indicated that the drug was delivered in about five minutes.

Dr Loblay said the surgery’s emergency trolley should have had one millilitre vials of adrenaline instead of the much larger “mini jet” syringe that was used.

Mrs Grainger and her husband Jon were advised by doctors to terminate their pregnancy in February 2007 because she suffered a serious kidney disorder that threatened the health of her and her baby.

Last December the inquest heard that no local hospital would perform the termination for Mrs Grainger. Her GP, Doctor Harrison Mellows said he referred her to the Lambton clinic because the local John Hunter Hospital rarely does abortions.

When asked if the John Hunter should have performed the abortion, Doctor Mellows stressed, “there was no option to get her to the John Hunter, the John Hunter wouldn’t do this procedure in this situation.”

The inquest resumed yesterday after being adjourned last December to allow a health professional’s report to be considered. The report suggested Mrs Grainger had 20 times the normal amount of adrenaline in her body.

The inquest will continue tomorrow before deputy state coroner Scott Mitchell.

Cross posted from LifeSiteNews.

Screen shot 2012 05 09 at 8.24.33 PM Further coverage: Chile study challenges the “safe abortion” myth

Today we bring you further coverage from MercatorNet on the research published in Chile a couple of days ago that directly challenges the “safe abortion” myth.

One of the great scandals of today’s global village is the deaths of hundreds of thousands of mothers each year simply because they are carrying or giving birth to a child. The last reliable estimate, from 2008, indicated nearly 343,000 of these maternal deaths. The scandal lies in the fact that most of them are easily preventible with basic health care, as the West discovered more than a century ago.

The West, as we know from many statements from the World Health Organisation and reproductive health groups, is anxious to reduce this awful statistic, which is an important aim of the Millennium Development Goals. Unfortunately, this altogether worthy goal is entangled with another: the reduction of fertility in the developing countries, by the quickest means possible. This means that, often before other basic medical and social improvements are in place, there must be universal access to birth control technology — not only contraception but abortion.

Abortion, however, must be safe for the woman — that is, provided by medically qualified people or by medically certified means — and to be safe it must be legal. Where it is illegal it will happen anyway but it will be unsafe, and often lethal. States which persist in keeping abortion illegal or severely restricted (and not the agents who are pushing this form of birth control) are thus contributing to the dire maternal mortality statistics. And states which ban abortion after it has been legal are similarly putting women’s lives at risk. That, as they say, is the narrative.

There’s just one problem with the drift of this story: there is no proof that it is true. The only hard evidence that we have on the subject of restrictive abortion laws and maternal mortality rates (MMR) is very new and it points in the opposite direction.

Research from Chile published a few days ago shows that, when therapeutic abortion was banned in 1989 after a long period when it had been legal in that country, there was no increase in maternal mortality. None at all. On the contrary, maternal deaths continued to decline. Chile today has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world (16 per 100,000 live births), outstripping the United States (18) and, within the Americas, second only to Canada (9). Rather than the rogue violator of women’s reproductive health that the UN makes it out to be, Chile is looking this week like a model for countries that really want to save the lives of mothers.

 Further coverage: Chile study challenges the “safe abortion” myth

Figure 1. Trend for maternal mortality ratio, Chile 1957–2007.

It’s important to note here what the studyWomen’s Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957 to 2007, does not claim. It does not say that making abortion illegal caused a decline in maternal deaths. But it shows, importantly, that the 1989 law did not increase mortality. It continued to decline substantially, although other factors were at work in the decline — notably, the education of women and their ability to shape their own reproductive behaviour. (The latter does not mean quite what birth control fundamentalists mean, as we shall see.)

The study, published in the open access online journal PLoS One, is the work of Chilean and American researchers led by Dr Elard Koch, epidemiologist and a professor at the University of Chile. The group, who formed the Chilean Maternal Mortality Research Initiative (CMMRI) for the purpose of the study, had access to exceptionally good data: 50 years of official records from Chile’s National Institute of Statistics, 1957 to 2007. These provide the basis of what the authors call a “natural experiment” in fertility and abortion policy.

What these records show is a dramatic decline in MMR from 1965, when abortions were numerous and abortion was the main cause of mortality, through to 1981; a continuing but slower reduction from 1981 to 2003; and a steady state from 2003 to 2007. To explain this pattern the researchers analysed social policies and trends likely to influence maternal mortality. Here are the key ones, especially for the first phase:

Delivery by skilled birth attendants. For each 1 per cent increase in the number of deliveries performed by skilled attendants there was an estimated decrease of 4.58 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Clean water and other sanitary improvements also played a part.

Access to maternal healthcare services. Nutrition programmes for mother and child, coupled with the distribution of fortified milk at primary care clinics created new opportunities for pregnancy and birth care for both mother and child. This strategy practically eradicated malnutrition, increased birth weight and contributed to the noteworthy reduction in infant mortality observed in Chile, 3.1/1000 live births for infants 28 days to 1 year of age.

Women’s educational level. This, says Koch, is the most important factor, and the one which increased the effect of all other factors. Educating women enhances a woman’s ability to access existing health care resources and directly leads to a reduction in her risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth. Data showed that for every additional year of maternal education in Chile there was a corresponding decrease in the MMR of 29.3/100,000 live births.

Cross posted from MercatorNet with additional reporting from ProLife NZ.

Excuse me, but can you shut up please, I’m pro-choice

On May 10, 2012, in Blog, by The Radical Feminist

head in the sand Excuse me, but can you shut up please, Im pro choiceIs it just me, or are many pro-choicers (i.e. the dedicated activists, rather than your average kiwi punter who sits on the fence on this issue) starting to sound more and more like the anti-choicers that they accuse pro-lifers of being?

In the last fortnight several different campus rags around NZ have run articles focused on attacking the pro-life position, to the point of absurdity, and even angry hate-fueled ranting – see last week’s blog post about the CRACCUM article.

Tangent: the author of that CRACCUM article, which was published in print edition without any name attached, has since been revealed – he’s a young socialist/atheist who wears a cardboard beer box on his head (no, I will not be inserting any witticisms about the symbolic nature of wearing alcohol product packaging on your head). He actually took the time to post a brief comment on this blog last week, accusing me of engaging in “strawman” arguments – but everyone knows that I don’t believe in strawman arguments, being a good feminist I only accept the existence of ‘strawperson’, or even better, ‘straw subjective gender construct’ arguments. I digress, back to the pro-choice crusade that has begun around the country.

More and more, and this is by no means a NZ-only phenomenon, we are seeing pro-choicers who are becoming decidedly anti-choice in their approach to the issue of abortion.

There seems to be no willingness to actually discuss this issue in a reasoned, open and honest fashion, instead they would prefer to silence even the slightest whiff of dissent from their pro-choice ideology (yep, cause that’s exactly what it is; an ideology that was invented to try and evade the serious ethical challenges to the legitimacy of the act of abortion) with all manner of attacks.

Having said that, I can kind of understand where they’re coming from though, it must be hard to remain steadfastly committed to an ideology whose popular support is waning on a yearly basis, and whose most diehard adherents are now referring to being prop-choice as being part of a shrinking “post-menopausal militia“.

You see, the landscape is changing, and I’m not sure if the pro-choicer’s can actually see what’s happening.

No longer are women lining up in droves to express an ardent and undying commitment to the pro-choice ideology.

I would suggest that a large part of this has to do with the fact that, while many women out there might still be open to the idea of legalized abortion, they certainly aren’t huge fans of the act itself, with many simply choosing to quietly hold a personal opposition to abortion.

You see, we now live in a culture that places a high regard on human rights (and rightly so), and this means that more and young people are being steeped in a culture which encourages them to think about the ethical rights and wrongs of all manner of actions – from product manufacturing and consumption, to the way animals are treated, to the way we establish legal and policy frameworks in relation to human persons.

More and more young people are becoming attuned to important concepts of social justice, and this has coincided with massive leaps in medical science and technology, which now gives us a far greater insight into exactly what a fetus is – a human being (I mean come on, it’s not like a pig or a cow is ever going to pop out of a human womb after nine months – duh!) that meets all of the criteria for biological life (metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, reproduction).

What we are seeing in our culture is a meeting of two beautiful things: growing ethical awareness and growing scientific awareness – and the end result can only lead in one direction – a growing discontentment with the act of abortion, and a desire to move towards a more humane solution to the problems of crisis or unplanned pregnancies.

We see this very thing playing out in the medical fraternity where more and more doctors and other medical professionals are quietly refusing to participate in the ugly business of abortion, preferring instead to devote their talents to the far greater and more fulfilling work of saving and caring for human life.

Sadly many in the pro-choice lobby, especially those in positions of influence and authority, are responding to these positive developments of human enlightenment with negative and reactionary acts, grounded in a desire to remain in an unenlightened and closed approach to the issue of abortion.

Trying to silence groups on campus is far easier than actually having to debate the issues with them, especially when your ideology is not supported by logically sound ethical propositions, or by advances in medical science.

If the pro-choice lobby truly believes that their position is built on solid propositions, and that it enjoys widespread popular support, then why all of the reactionary and fearful closing of the doors to open and honest exploration of this important ethical issue?

Surely for any choice to be truly free and informed then the right to full knowledge has to be the initial foundation upon which that choice is built, explored and eventually made – without knowledge there can be only ignorance, and ignorance can never result in a truly free choice.

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