Labor MP Penny Sharpe’s Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics Bill was read in the upper house of the New South Wales parliament this morning, and debate adjourned until next week Tuesday. There are a number of profound ironies here worth mentioning.
The first irony is that Penny Sharpe should have the gall to claim that the Bill is “not a Left or Right issue” and supplement that statement with an allegation that those in the pro-life camp contribute to the supposed ‘coercion’ of women into not having an abortion. Of course, we are not altogether surprised that those on the Left (and Penny, mate, you’re not fooling anyone – this bill clearly is the product of a hard-left ideology) would use subterfuge and deceitful rhetoric to achieve their own agendas. Ah yes, according to the logic of the Left, old and venerable Barbara from the local Catholic parish is the bully here, strong-arming women from extinguishing the premature life of a child through prayer and a warm smile. How oppressive! On the contrary, studies have shown again and again that high percentages of pregnant women are being coerced into abortion, but never mind that data – it doesn’t fit the narrative.
The second irony is that the issue of abortion has traditionally been framed as a ‘pro-choice, pro-women’ initiative. So, in keeping with this line of thought, approximately a thousand women joined hands in Hyde Park earlier this year as a “show of strength and solidarity … as a statement that [they] are tired of being demeaned, bullied, and violated.” That the event should neatly coincide with that of the annual March for Life in the United States is a bitter and caustic reminder. The supposed ‘right’ to abortion is often lauded as the crowning achievement of the feminist movement, and pro-abortion legislation is promoted under the politically convenient pretence of advancing a woman’s health, and her liberty. Whether or not those at Hyde Park understood why they were marching, I wonder whether those standing in ‘sister solidarity’ appreciate that, in terms of outcomes for women, the pro-life mentality is far more feminist than anyone might appreciate (that is, actually pro-woman; not to be confused with the toxic and nascent ‘fourth-wave feminism’ consuming millennials).
Under current legislation in NSW, abortions are lawful – in large part thanks to liberal tests for lawfulness – in circumstances where “any economic, social, or medical ground or reason” exists from which a doctor may hold a reasonable belief that an abortion could “preserve the [pregnant] woman from a serious danger to life or her physical or mental health (not being merely the normal dangers associated with pregnancy and childbirth).” In practice, the provisions outlined in the legislation are so loosely interpreted to incorporate socioeconomic factors that abortion is largely “on-demand.”
But pro-choice legislation is decidedly against the interests of women. How an Australian feminist professor could even posit the idea of an abortion as a “positive experience for women” is both disgusting and inconceivable. But just like so many of the policies of the Left, the agenda behind abortion is grounded not in the concrete facts, but in ideology and sentiment. Pro-choice advocates will concede that a foetus is a human life, but in the same breath will deny personhood to the foetus, and on those grounds, termination of such life is permissible. By the same token, adults with dementia, with terminal illnesses, or those who cannot secure a ‘quality of life’ may also lose their personhood status; ergo the Left’s advocacy for the legalisation of euthanasia. The transgender revolution is no different: even transgender individuals are calling out the hypocrisy of biological sex. If, by virtue of my being a man, I am somehow unfit to sympathise with the plight of women with respect to abortion – why then – I identify as a woman and am now a precious part of the so-called ‘sister solidarity.’ But tell me, is it not both saddening and angering that across the world today, some 200 million girls are missing due to gender-selective abortions and female infanticide. Heaven forbid that there are suspicious that such practices are taking place even here in Australia! But I wonder whether those who rallied at Hyde Park earlier in March, or those rallying at Macquarie Street in advocacy of the Sharpe bill feel the same, or whether they stubbornly ignore the facts.
The third irony is that there are some pro-abortionists who recognise that the gendercide is alive and sweeping across the world. There is much head-nodding and agreement that something must be done to raise the value of women; but sterilised, vacuous phrases do little in the way of actually empowering women. Certainly, ‘reproductive rights’ and #mydecision are pithy catchphrases, but do they really provide opportunities to women and help them realise their potential?
Rather, the legalisation and practice of abortion for reasons other than legitimate medical grounds that jeopardise the lives of both mother and child (I expect disagreement here as to where to draw the line on ‘legitimate’ abortions) generally act to the detriment of women.
Firstly, there is a failure to recognise among pro-choice advocates that abortion in and of itself carries with it proven risks of both physical and psychological harm. From increased risk of substance abuse and self-harm to increased incidence of mental disorders, women are unnecessarily put at risk before undergoing purportedly ‘safe’ abortion practices. Secondly, the question of whether encouraging women to undergo abortions on the premise that they would, for whatever reason, be incapable of coping with the responsibilities of raising a child implies that women lack the fortitude and capacity to forge livelihoods of their own. Thirdly, although pro-abortion advocates diagnose many of the unique struggles women go through such as work/study pressures, lack of support, domestic violence, and so on, they refuse to address the problems underlying the exploitation of women, and instead flatly refuse the possibility of providing opportunities for alternatives to abortion for women.
In fact, the third and final irony is that pro-choice proponents probably exacerbate the problems that they are purported to resolve. I mean, are we honestly surprised that the legalisation of abortion “generated incentives leading to an increase in sexual activity,” or that the abortion industry is essentially funded by the sexual mishaps of increasingly promiscuous adolescents? If it is true that a majority of pregnant women face social pressures from their partners, then certainly part of the solution ought to be galvanising young girls against falling into bed with young boys whose nether regions don’t work in tandem with their brains.
Those on the pro-choice side of the fence need to figure out what exactly it is that they want: sexual freedom or respect for women. It’s impossible to condemn sexual harassment of women but vale Hugh Hefner at the same time. It’s impossible to celebrate Mother’s Day while playing an active role in destroying the foundation of motherhood. It’s impossible to denounce sexism in the workplace while simultaneously encouraging women to be ‘sexually liberated’ through platforms like Tinder, or lionizing movies such as Fifty Shades of Grey. Translated differently, pro-abortion advocates will criticise those who treat women as objects of sexual gratification, yet they themselves contribute to the cultivation of a culture that objectifies women by preaching a ‘no-consequence’ sexual lifestyle. What exactly are they fighting for?
If those who rally at Hyde Park and Macquarie Street for abortion want to bring about significant moral reform and provide greater opportunity for women to excel no matter their circumstance, all power to them. But frankly, I have serious doubts. Bubble zones in areas where women need all the support and counsel they can get? Advocating a lifestyle of supposed ‘sexual liberation’ that lends itself to objectification? Casting a blind eye to the loss of millions of their little sisters through abortion? Will such measures ever be able to provide real support to women? Penny, if you’re not Right on this issue, then you’re wrong.
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