First things first: lump of coal to Stuff for publishing an article with an alarmist headline based on shitty research into abortion and mental health, which I’ve blogged about before. (A tinier lump of coal labelled “old news, much?” will be delivered in five months’ time.)
But today’s post is not about that shitty research. It’s about the comments of Dame Linda Holloway, chair of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, and apparently no fucking ally to pregnant people.
Dame Linda Holloway, the chairwoman of the committee, said any move towards liberalisation would be a “difficult political argument and from a pro choice position it doesn’t really matter”.
Doesn’t really matter? It doesn’t really matter than pregnant people are treated like they’re incapable of making their own decisions, that they have to get permission like they’re schoolchildren on a field trip, that they may not have accessible services in their own area and have to travel, sometimes overnight, to get a very safe and very normal medical procedure done?
I don’t know how Dame Linda Holloway defines “a pro choice position” but it’s not one I’d sign up to.
“The chance of changing the abortion laws in New Zealand at this time are sub-zero. At the moment we have assured successive ministers of justice that we can operate under the law as it is.
It’s so fantastic that these two sentences are right next to each other. Gee, do you think maybe the lack of political will to change our archaic, condescending abortions laws might have anything to do with those “assurances”? Think you might be playing the smallest part in ensuring that pregnant New Zealanders are
“If we start opening the whole thing up to do new legislation my concern is that we might end up with something that is worse than what we have got. The chances of that are quite high.”
I guess I have to give this much: Dame Linda Holloway, as chair of the ASC, is under constant attack from the likes of Right to
Control Your Life. So maybe this has given her the impression that the antichoice feeling in New Zealand is overwhelming.
I talk about abortion a lot, and my perspective is that while a lot of people think it’s icky and don’t want to talk about it, as soon as you say “did you know that abortion is still a crime in New Zealand?” much less “did you know pregnant people are still regularly travelling to Australia to get abortions?” they’re very much on board with updating our laws. Sometimes you literally have to argue with people who insist we have abortion-on-demand – and articles like this one don’t really fucking help, so another lump of coal to Stuff for propagating bullshit myths which oppress pregnant people. But once the facts are explained? The majority of people still don’t really want to think about it, but they are, at a basic level, prochoice.
Holloway said she would prefer to “soldier on”.
“If I thought we could get a perfect world I would be all for it.”
Bully for you, person-who-doesn’t-have-to-raise-money-to-fly-to-Australia-for-an-abortion. Perfection or nothing, that’s a fantastic way to approach things. The staggering irony is that the antichoice movement, especially in the US but also here, have demonstrated the terrible effectiveness of not demanding perfection or nothing. They (or at least, the moderately-douchey ones) don’t say “illegalise abortion, nothing else will do”. They start with “oh, parents should be notified, you’d want to know if it was your child!” and “maybe you should have to wait a week to properly consider things” and “oh you really should have to have an ultrasound beforehand so you really understand what you’re doing.”
We probably can’t get free universally-accessible holistic-care abortions-for-all in one go. But we can at least start by taking abortion out of the Crimes Act and removing the need to get Mummy and Daddy to sign your permission slip.
At the very fucking least, let’s stop making it easier for antichoicers to lie about the situation in NZ, could we?