This isn’t a post about why I stopped blogging at The Daily Blog, but it will refer to some of that history. Obviously my experience is going to bias my opinion, and I expect some people will reject what I have to say because of that.
But there have been new developments over at The Daily Blog, and in a month when we’ve seen some amazing progression of feminist views and thinking in the mainstream media (I literally keep smiling at the thought of Matthew fucking Hooton for god’s sake) it’s important to be very clear about the difference between real progress and egotistical douchebags riding the feminist train for cookies.
So Chris Trotter wrote a post, which I shall pseudo-link to because I don’t want to be responsible for anyone accidentally clicking through to a wall of privilege-defending misogyny: http:// bowalleyroad. blogspot.co.nz /2013/11/a-disturbing-precedent.html. The short version is “poor Willie and JT, trial by media, won’t someone think of our freedom of speech?”
And Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury responded at The Daily Blog, fellating Trotter appropriately before criticising him because he’d already filled his “worst pus-filled cancerous ulcer on the penis of Genghis Khan” metaphor quota for the day. http:// thedailyblog.co.nz /2013/11/15/to-my-dear-learned-colleague-chris-trotter-you-are-terribly-wrong-and-i-disagree-strongly/
Here are some interesting things he said.
I personally believe that what is required now is for the male commentators to step back, shut up and listen to the women and whanau who have been damaged by rape. What will be said will be angry, it will be cutting, it will challenge our privilege and it will force many men to re-evaluate our role in rape culture while popping and deflating some male pride and ego.
It’s time we let the wahine speak, Chris, and it’s time we just listened.
PLEASE NOTE: In light of what has been exposed by the Roast Buster debate, TDB will be actively seeking more female bloggers for the site. Our commitment is to provide more women with a platform.
A few points.
1. It’s really fucking funny in a not-at-all-funny kind of way that Martyn wants to wax lyrical about how sometimes women might be angry and cutting and challenge our privilege but we have to re-evaluate etc etc. Because that sure wasn’t his attitude when Coley Tangerina called out Chris Trotter for being an epic douchebag.
2. There is little so condescending as a leftwing white dude who refers to women as “wahine” and “sisters” in that very, very deliberate “look at me I’m totally on your side” way.
3. Ah, the fucking platform.
When I first took a step back from TDB – it wasn’t quitting so much as my meatspace life was getting rocky and I lacked the spoons for regular blogging – one of the many hilarious things Martyn said to me was
you are simply too important a voice to allow quieting my dear QoT
I had a couple of guys from out of town … and they were raving about you and the impact you have made on their girlfriends in helping them find their voice.
And that bugged me a little, because I’ve been running Ideologically Impure all on my lonesome for five years now (I’m even ranked!). I’m an author at The Standard. I have 800 Twitter followers and I’m sure at least some of them aren’t spambots. The fact I was taking a total break from internet stuff because real life was getting a bit heavy aside? I’m hardly without a fucking platform.
But there is a much bigger issue at play. The idea of the platform. The idea that, if we take Martyn at his word, he absolutely wants to get more women’s voices on board and provide a broad range of left/liberal views to attract a wide audience and raise the level of political debate in New Zealand.
Just one question.
How the fuck are you going to do any of that when you’ve already got a roster which is 38% women …
But those women only provide 6% of the posts?
I have done this math. I have a goddamned spreadsheet. Because I’ve seen so many people comment about the fucking flood of chaff which covers the TDB front page.
38% women posters. 6% of the total posts.
Okay, okay, naughty QoT, the problem there is that you’re including the endless stream of reposted media releases from Labour and the Greens and Mana and the CTU and Oxfam and Unite. And the endless stream of clickbaity memes with no commentary on them.
So let’s take out everything published under the “The Daily Blog Reposts” user.
Women are now 39% of the TDB roster, and produce … 19% of the posts. Half what they should be proportionally.
And heck, now I’m playing around with numbers, let’s ask a key question: how much of TDB’s content is just Martyn, his partner, reposts, and six of his closest white male friends?
Oh, wait, I’m being unfair again.
Eight-nine point three percent of all posts on TDB are reposts, Martyn, the Liberal Agenda, Chris Trotter, John Minto, Keith Locke, Tim Selwyn, Selwyn Manning, Frank Macskasy.
How the fuck does anyone claim to provide a platform for a wide range of voices with that kind of record? And that’s just on women; I haven’t gone near the representation (or lack thereof) of POC bloggers, queer bloggers or bloggers with disabilities.
As I write this, Martyn has published another post of Chris Trotter’s, meaning the front page of TDB is dominated with straight white guys talking at each other about women (noting that Trotter’s latest only uses the word “women” once).
With those kind of numbers, you’ve got to ask exactly what is being served by getting more women’s names onto the TDB roster. Is it women, or is it one guy’s liberal cred?
Statistics taken from The Daily Blog posts February to October 2013.
Bob Jones has produced another disgusting “opinion piece”, and the New Zealand Herald has once again been disgusting enough to publish it.
I completely understand that a lot of people don’t have the spoons for taking on yet another awful triggery misogynist piece of shit produced by an awful misogynist piece of shit. On this occasion, I do. Hence this post.
The URL of the article is: http:// http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11143714
A precis of the article for those who do not wish to feed the Herald’s amoral clickbait campaign:
- This one time, Bob Jones was in Viet Nam, and he noticed that women can’t drive
- Then he badgered Hutt City Council to not install traffic lights all over the place
- Now there are roundabouts and women can’t use them and even women he knows agree with him
- Anyway, he once bought a totally awesome penis substitute car and he drove totally awesomely but bitches complained ’cause they ain’t shit
- So he laughed at the Police letter he received and told them (CONTENT NOTE: and here’s where I quote the awful violent bit)
I replied, first pointing out that passing is not illegal and adding that while normally I don’t condone police violence, this was an exception and they would be doing God’s work by going to the complainants’ homes, beating the crap out of them and burning their houses down.
- Then he interpreted the automatic form letter he received in response as agreement.
- Finally, he makes a hilarious joke about how Saudi Arabia shouldn’t let women drive because lol, bitches can’t drive.
Dovil has also provided a write-up, fed through a What Bob’s Really Thinking translator. Di W has challenged Bob to a parallel park-off. Rachel Rayner has a nice little template for you to complain to the editor - before you complain to the Press Council.
And I’ve been tweeting companies whose ads appear on the article. These include:
- ASB Bank – no response
- Jetstar – no response
- iHeartRadio – who, to their credit, acknowledged the tweet, but stated they can’t control where their ads end up. I say: demand a better contract.
- Accor Hotels – no response
- Nissan - no response – but so ironic
- RealMe – the new government login service. I can’t tell if this account is genuine so tweeted NZ Post instead.
Companies which don’t have Twitter accounts I can easily locate are:
- Sovereign Insurance
- State Insurance
… which is a pity, because I’d love to know if either of them would cover my house in the circumstances of the Police burning it down to punish me for driving too cautiously to suit Sir Bob.
The problem, once again, is less Bob Jones being a hateful piece of shit, and more that The Herald will obviously continue to publish schlock to match their page size as long as it generates pageviews and sells advertising.
I don’t expect this story to be the final nail in the coffin. I don’t expect to change the world overnight. But I know that pressuring advertisers can get results (admittedly, with a well-run social media campaign and a few tens-of-thousands of activists). So I’m going to do what I can.
The hashtag is #boycottbobjones, and more advertisers are being tweeted:
So, the world kept turning while I was away recovering spoons. But thanks to the power of bookmarking, I kept track of a few things I knew I’d want to comment on when I came back.
First up: the Into the River ~~~~~scandal~~~~. Craig at Public Address had a great post about it, which led me to Emma Neale’s great post about it, and Edgar Wolf’s great post about it, and I don’t intend to repeat any of the points they made.
What I want to talk about is the notion, put forward in comments on Emma’s post, that some teenagers need to be protected/sheltered/etc from content which is “raw”, or challenging, or unnerving. I want to be as reasonable and understanding as Emma, who responds really well to those comments, who agrees that parents are in a good position to judge what their kids are prepared for … but teenage!QoT has other plans.
No, the book isn’t going to be perfect for everyone. No book is perfect for everyone. Some books contain themes or scenes or stories which just aren’t going to work for every reader, things which some readers want or need to avoid.
On the other hand, though, being a teenager is pretty fucking unnerving in of itself. It’s a time of grappling with who you are and how life works and what’s right or wrong and why your brain is full of weasels. In a way, teens may be desperately craving things which are “raw” – because it’s not being delivered through their parents’ perspective – and unnerving – because they know there’s a huge world out there and they want to understand it.
I was a geek of a pre-teen/teenager, and I devoured the works of Tamora Pierce. There’s plenty of scenes in her books which made me squirmy. Not full-blown sex scenes, just sexual scenes. Sometimes uncomfortable sexual scenes. Uncomfortable because the protagonist is grappling with her emotions, or being told to ignore them, or not knowing if she’s doing the right thing or if it’s going to be worth the fallout afterwards, worried about pregnancy, worried that being a sexual being will change the way the other men in her life treat her.
Yeah, it was raw, and it was unsettling, and it was a lot to process, but fuck, I’m glad I got to work through all that vicariously rather than enter teenagehood completely unprepared for the idea that emotional decisions aren’t always black-and-white and sex can be complicated but doesn’t have to be.
Of course, there’s the other side of things: the side of things where teenagers aren’t toddlers. They can get out of the house and go to libraries, and if there’s one thing pretty universal to them, it’s the desire to do things which look fun and are forbidden. Teenage!QoT just wants to know this, parents: do you want to be the parent your teen knows they can’t talk to about the messed-up shit going on in their heads?
The ability of doctors to refuse to provide proper healthcare if God says it’s bad is again in the spotlight, with a Blenheim GP refusing to prescribe the Pill to a patient because he decided she needed to have babies, and her views on the matter didn’t mean shit.
Oh wait, sorry, I mean his ~Catholic conscience~ wouldn’t ~allow~ him to ~interfere~ with ~God’s plan~. And her views on the matter don’t mean shit. Which, because patriarchy, is something we protect under law.
Sorry, Dr Joseph Lee, but as far as I’m concerned, you don’t have a fucking conscience.
People who think that they get a controlling vote in the reproductive choices of others don’t have a conscience. People who think that their personal religious beliefs should be enforced on others – especially other who don’t share those beliefs – don’t have a conscience.
Medical professionals who advise teenagers to use the incredibly faulty “rhythm method” because it’s their “destiny” to get pregnant at 16 seriously do not have a conscience. Medical professionals who also refuse to prescribe condoms, because their religious extremism means they’d rather their patients get sexually transmitted infections which, super-irony-alert, might harm their fertility? Yeah, no conscience there either.
Medical professionals who say
The only circumstances in which he would prescribe the contraceptive pill would be if a woman wanted space between pregnancies, or had at least four children.
“I think they’ve already done their reproductive job”.
have no fucking conscience either. It’s not your fucking job to assess whether or not a patient has ticked enough of God’s boxes to access healthcare, you fucking shithead. You’re meant to be a fucking doctor. Fucking act like one or get the fuck out.
Oh, and “lead GP” Dr Scott Cameron, who thinks it’s okay to just have a “pamphlet” advising that “some” of your staff won’t provide contraception, and thinks getting reception to “screen” patients is good enough to protect them from being bullied by your religious fanatic employees? You don’t have a fucking conscience either, mate. You’ve enabled a religious bully. I hope you’re happy with yourself.
There is no conscience involved when a brave 23-year-old has to step forward and expose the underhanded, bullying shit going on at Wairau Community Clinic – except for hers.
Here’s the thing about “conscientious objection”:
Medical Council guidelines say personal beliefs should not affect the advice or treatment offered, and should not be expressed in a way that exploits a patient’s vulnerability or is likely to cause them distress.
You don’t think letting a doctor lecture a 16-year-old about how she must have babies because God says so is bullying? You don’t think that the setting of a community clinic, which, when opened, was heralded as “[making] it easier for those people who struggle to access health care” means the people there are vulnerable?
A truly conscientious doctor would look at the patient in front of him and say, “I’m sorry, I personally don’t agree with contraception. Here is the number of a doctor who can help you.” A truly conscientious doctor would have a sign on the door saying “I am not available to prescribe contraception or refer for abortion services. You can contact [number of a doctor who will].”
But this is never about real matters of conscience. This is about bullying people, especially women, into making the choices which are approved by patriarchal religious bullshit, choices which will permanently affect their lives, choices which will – because we do not support teen parents well, we do not support unemployed parents well, we do not support working parents well – limit their options and constrain their potential.
Dr Joseph Lee wants to control women. And Dr Scott Cameron, and everyone at the Wairau Community Clinic who supports him, are letting it happen.
That’s not fucking conscientious. And it deserves no protection under NZ law.
I don’t know how you feel,
And I can’t know how you feel.
But I want you to know
That I feel for you, oh
I want you to know that I feel.
And I feel so ashamed,
That your femininity’s been so maimed
By the cruelness
Of party politics, oh
I feel so ashamed
When the LECs sneered with contempt
“Don’t sing me your womanly lament!”
Because you said “It’s my turn”
But you still had to learn
That equality wasn’t their intent
And the cold rain fell
In that procedural hell
You could be a fluent polymath
But you just ain’t a sociopath
And the cold rain fell
But girl, don’t hang your head
Because misogyny’s widespread
It’s no terrible deed
To lack the balls to succeed
So girl, don’t hang your head
Just hush your blog chattering
Over a representative smattering
It’s a man’s game to play
You shouldn’t play anyway
Because a dragon’s hide is so unflattering
I don’t know how you feel,
And I can’t know how you feel.
But I want you to know
That I feel for you, oh
I want you to know that I feel.
Ah, Twitter. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I posted links to the most excellent Mansplained Tumblr, but this one is just so perfect.
Because @otherdavidsmith, after seeing a retweet on this post – which involves an individual telling a personal story of a single incident which happened to them – just had to explain something to myself and the retweeter:
So, just to be clear, that’s (a) dismissing women’s stated experiences because it just doesn’t sound right to him, and (b) explaining what “anecdotal” means … although he doesn’t actually understand that anecdotes can, in fact, be truthful.
I mean, hello, entire concept of mansplaining with side order of dismissing the power of talking about our experience openly. It’s 2nd Wave / internet feminism fusion cuisine night tonight!
This was, ahem, pointed out to him, which of course he took with good grace, taking some time to think about how he might have presented himself and whether in a social context of male privilege he might rethink his approach to inserting himself into feminist conversation in future.
I really have a deep and abiding love for this argument: the idea that I (as a silly little woman who doesn’t know how things work, obviously) just don’t understand that tweets are public, and that people have the capacity to reply to them.
Thank fuck for the mansplainers of Twitter or I might have gone on blissfully unaware of these complex 21st century interaction concepts.
The thing is, though … this always comes up after the guy in question has inserted himself into a conversation with no actual regard for the conversation. With nothing to actually add, merely to make it clear that He Has Important Views On Something which We Must Listen To.
And to top it all off, he insists that it’s his OPINION and he’s ENTITLED TO IT … after dismissing a post on a Tumblr with literally hundreds of similar stories because OMG it’s too anecdotal.
Treating a neckbeard’s opinion as sovereign while denigrating the testimony of women: not mansplaining at all there.
I swear, the only thing that gets me through the complete lack of self awareness from these guys is the fact that, instead of making me question my feminist rage, they just reinforce it.
And because – did you realise? – Twitter is public, they do it for the whole world to see.
ETA: after writing up this post, the saga continued, with @otherdavidsmith insisting that he wasn’t implying that the original poster was untrustworthy, it’s just that the post sounded anecdotal to him. (Which, you know, he already said, but being a man it strengthens his position to just repeat himself). Like a script. Which might have something to do with the fact it’s in script format, like many of these kinds of social-network relay-your-experience platforms.
He then links to a freedictionary definition of “anecdotal” to back himself up … which makes no sense in the context, because the specific Tumblr post is an anecdote but not anecdotal in the sense of containing multiple anecdotes, but men don’t need no stinking context when they’re undermining women’s experiences.
And then … then he asks me about a local sports team.
Did I just get mansplain-negged?
[Content warning: transphobia, silencing, white cis women’s tears]
Note: since drafting this piece, the Observer and thus the Guardian have taken down Burchill’s piece with this editor’s note attached:
We have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate. The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece. The Observer Readers’ Editor will report on these issues at greater length.
Which is so many levels of bullshit it’s not even funny, but also straight from the “I wanted to bump pageviews by offending people, just not this much” mainstream media apology handbook.
Or as @cnlester put it,
Observer’s statement totally meaningless – Burchill’s hate-fest can’t possibly be described as “an attempt to explore contentious issues”.
At least, that’s the spin Julie Burchill is putting on the backlash against Suzanne Moore’s decision to associate the “perfect body” which women are supposed to aspire to with that of “a Brazilian transsexual”.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt as a relatively-privileged feminist blogger? Just stay the fuck away from analogies. Just don’t go there. If it’s not a system of oppression you yourself experience, don’t appropriate it to discuss your own issues.
This is why you’ll frequently see me use square brackets and “insert racial group here!” phrasing when I’m trying to explain why something is fucked up. Because to say “this is just like what happened to Maaori” or “this is just like when people attack Muslims” or “I feel the same way lesbians feel” isn’t just a giant can of actually-I-don’t-know-what-I’m-talking-about worms, it’s also just fucking pathetic.
I’m quite capable of explaining bullshit like the pay gap and workplace sexual harassment and the lack of availability of abortion in New Zealand without co-opting the struggles of other groups and pretending our issues are totally the same.
Then I stop and remind myself that the issue with Suzanne Moore’s piece is that she isn’t co-opting the struggle of trans people in Brazil. She’s erasing their struggle by using a stereotype. Hey, you may be denied basic human rights and run a massively higher risk of getting murdered than cis people, but at least you look hot, right?
Suzanne Moore treated trans women like they were cookie-cutter male fantasies in order to inspire solidarity among cis women, and she and her good pal Julie Burchill are going to talk about being bullied?
Julie Burchill is literally going to type the words “vociferous transsexual lobby”? Yeah, there’s a powerful group whose influence on global politics needs to be critically examined.
What’s especially bitterly hilarious is how Burchill’s whole argument in defence of Moore is exactly the same silencing, bullying shit which spawned second-wave western feminism out of leftwing activism – “stop talking about your silly little issues, focus on the big picture, we need to fight the real enemy together.”
I’m pretty sure that for a lot of trans people, the “real enemy” definitely includes being used as stereotyped punchlines by mainstream feminists while the actual risks of oppression and violence they face get swept under the carpet.
Oh, and making hilarious comments about “having your cock cut off” in an article headlined “Transexuals should cut it out”? Pretending that you don’t understand the issues around the word “sh*m***”? Yeah, that’s fucking classy, Julie Burchill. And not at all belittling, bullying, or silencing.
But that’s okay. I understand the deep bonds that exist between white cis women who have Bolly for lunch together. You had a moral duty to put those trans people in their place. I guess the real tragedy is they won’t even realise you’ve told them to shut up for their own good, right?
Related reading: @auntysarah on Twitter has created a version of Burchill’s column with the transphobic bits taken out; Paris Lees has written an open letter to Suzanne Moore in response to both her and Burchill’s comments; Sianushka has sent a letter to the Observer about their printing of transphobic language
Yep, in no time at all Bob McCoskrie and all his little friends have put up a vomitously saccharine anti-marriage-equality website, full of all your favourite memes:
Marriage is about babies!
Yet we let infertile couples marry. We let trans people (only after surgery) marry as their identified gender. We let people well past the age of child-bearing marry. We don’t forcibly dissolve marriages after X years if no children have been produced, and the Marriages Act makes no reference to childbearing nor rearing as a purpose of marriage.
The state shouldn’t redefine marriage!
The state already has. It “defined” marriage when it created laws affecting married people. It changed that definition when it allowed divorce, when it made marital rape actual rape, when it acknowledged de facto couples who haven’t said the magic words as basically equivalent in terms of property rights.
There’s only one logical solution:
Since the State has naughtily “defined” marriage, ignoring the “real” focus on having children, ignoring the “true” nature of marriage …
Obviously, the State should get out of the marriage game.
Stop providing benefits to married people. Stop treating married couples as different from any other kind of cohabiting pair or group of adults. Leave it all up to the churches and the individuals to do whatever the fuck they want to do to celebrate their union, and have nothing to do with it.
Ban straight marriage, basically.
I look forward to Bob McCoskrie’s lobbying on this matter. Since obviously he just cares about marriage, and isn’t at all a homophobic bigot using Hallmark card platitudes to push hatred and discrimination on loving, committed couples.
But if he really wants to keep pushing that line he might want to ask his mates to stop making laughable “marry my dog” comparisons.
Dr Norman Maclean, a former Southland Hospital obstetrician and the current chairman of Southlanders for Life group
You mean dear, earnest Norman had some kind of … predetermined bias about abortion? And participates in abortion activism? And didn’t, like, mention this in his very serious, impartial opinion piece on the matter?
Truly, I am flabberghasted.
*is not actually flabberghasted*
Anyway, the story makes much of a meeting organised against Southland DHB’s decision to consider offering services which pregnant Southlanders already use but, due to travel requirements,face more risk undergoing.
Norman also treats us to more of his deep, manly wisdom:
He accepted there were cases in which abortions were necessary, “but not the 16,000 a year as is the case in New Zealand”.
It’s remarkable, you know. A retired obstetrician from (pardon my metropolitan attitudes) Bumblefuck, Nowhere can actually tell just by concentrating really hard exactly how many abortions are really needed in NZ (not those ones you have at seven months’ gestation just to fit into your prom dress, you shallow US-antichoice movement straw-woman). And it just happens to be a smaller number than there are now. Coincidentally, you understand. Norman’s psychic powers do not lie.
He believed the number of abortions would increase in the south if the service was provided at Southland Hospital.
Yes. Because pregnant people would, you know, be able to access the healthcare they need.
Let’s play a little mind-game (I’m a woman, it’s a specialty.) Let’s say you live in a place where the nearest bottle farmer’s market is a three-hour drive away. But you do like heirloom tomatoes, so once every month you make the effort to drive over the mountains for a shopping trip. It costs money and time, you probably don’t have the ready cash to buy a whole month’s tomatoes in one go, but you do without because hey, them’s the breaks.
Then a farmer’s market opens in town.
Does your organic local vegetable consumption go up?
Except that when you’re talking about abortion in Southland, you’re talking about heirloom tomatoes which you may not even be able to admit eating to anyone you know. You’re talking about taking time off work – and finding childcare, because the majority of tomato-eaters have children already – to stay overnight at the farmer’s market, maybe several times before you get your goddamned amazing heirloom tomatoes. Which incidentally you need to live because you have a chronic tomato deficiency and having no tomatoes may, at best, just forever damage your physical and mental health, at best kill you.
And you live in a society where lack of tomatoes massively increases your chances of being a victim of domestic violence, of being fired or paid less than your coworkers, of having your behaviour policed by everyone conceited enough to think they’re doing you a favour.
Then one day a farmer’s market opens in your town.
Fucking right you’re eating more tomatoes. Tomatoes which you always needed anyway but that some old fuckhead who’s never needed tomatoes thinks you should just do without because tomato-eating is an abomination unto Nuggan.
But I’m probably just being a silly little girl, here. Norman knows what women want (he almost certainly doesn’t comprehend that not all pregnant people are women). Women want him to make their choices for them – even the choices about which choices they have.
*FYI, current pseudolegal abortion practice in NZ? Never killed anyone. Except Pweshus Unbornded Feetusses, of course.
Courtesy of Bryce Edwards, who thoughtfully compiles and categorises links of Kiwipolitical interest so other people don’t have to, I have come across an absolute doozy of a primer on antichoice rhetoric from the Southland Times.
I will pause for the inevitable Southland jokes.
Abortions breach “do no harm” ethic
OPINION: Norman MacLean explains his opposition to the advent of an abortion service at Southland Hospital, where for 35 years he was an obstetrician and gynaecologist.
Carole Heatly, the chief executive of the Southern District Health Board, says she wishes to “listen to the people”. These words are reassuring but do her actions match her words?
Let me save you reading the … well, frankly tedious and disconnected piece, which goes like this:
Norman knows that providing abortion services at Southland Hospital cannot really be the will of the people, because Norman knows the people, and they all coincidentally agree with his personal viewpoint.
Norman understands that the “distressing situation of young women with an unwanted early pregnancy is very real” requiring “wise counselling, and constructive practical support”. Unlike silly statisticians, who understand that the median age of people having abortions in NZ in 2010 was 25, and prochoicers, who understand that for someone who doesn’t want to be pregnant, abortion is “constructive practical support”.
Norman recalls a golden age when women in Southland could still get their medical needs seen to in their own reign, when “[in] all cases, additional medical opinions were sought and a panel of doctors made a decision in consultation with the mother and her husband/partner.” And everyone getting abortions were in monogamous heterosexual partnerships (I think it goes without saying they all presented as cis women.)
Norman understands that even though there are solid (and frankly bullshit) “conscientious objection” allowances built into our current legislation, doing abortions is just icky and wrong and defiles the holy sepulchre that is Southland Hospital. Which is why all the DHBs which do offer abortion services have been swallowed by hellmouths:
Consider the situation where, in one operating theatre, a termination list is proceeding where unborn babies are being deliberately destroyed, and in the next theatre a caesarean operating list is progressing where babies are being deliberately gently handled and saved.
To be honest, if they’re not shooting cord blood through the doors at each other with water pistols, I fail to see the problem. But then, I do tend to look on medical procedures as medical procedures. And I kinda understand how the vast majority of abortions take place long before there’s anything there that you’d want to “gently handle” (56% before week 10, according to those nasty statistics people.)
(Of course, the possibility of a person from Southland undergoing an abortion at a more advanced state of pregnancy is … well, not so much a possibility as a certainty, seeing as they have to travel outside their district to get their health needs seen to. That’s our Norman, doing what he can to risk women’s lives for their own good.)
(Also, “terminating list”? Don’t pretend your first thought wasn’t Arnie-related.)
Norman also cites Hippocrates and 2,500 years of “Western medicine” which forbids “the use of killing as a treatment option”. Which is kind of a hilarious phrase, and also not actually a cut-and-dried interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath.
Anyway, the point is that liberalising abortion is totally positively correlated with child abuse. In Norman’s head. It’s not his fault, most antichoicers have a lot of trouble understanding that most human beings can, in fact, tell the difference between a microscopic blob living off another person’s body and a born child.
Wait, no, the point is Mother Theresa. Also ultrasound, because we can see that foetuses look totally like babies at a stage far beyond the point at which roughly 99% of abortions are performed. No, the point is:
Science conclusively demonstrates that individual human life begins at conception.
Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuure it has. Remember kids, every time antichoicers say “life begins at conception” they actually mean “God is a mass murdering sadist, because 60-80% of those new lives are going straight into Mummy’s next tampon.”
(See what I did there, Norman? It’s called a citation. You need one.)
Let’s round the whole thing out with some classic “abortion causes mental illness” (because antichoicers really, really have a problem understanding that human lives are complex and multilayered … otherwise they’d have a very difficult time remaining antichoice) and some nice patriarchal denouncements:
Liberal abortion is simply not good medicine and this is why many Southlanders are deeply concerned this harmful procedure will be practised within our community.
Because no people from Southland actually get abortions. It’s just heaps of Canterbury slappers are itching to add a road trip to Invercargill to their next abortion party itinerary.
Now let’s remember:
Mr MacLean was a clinical obstetrician and gynaecologist at Southland Hospital for 35 years and was the clinical director in the department for 10 years, retiring in 2006. He remains working in Invercargill as a senior lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Otago Medical School.
And, one feels almost entirely certain, he’s never actually faced even the possibility of undergoing an unwanted pregnancy. But that’s okay, it just makes him rational and unbiased. Norman knows what’s best. Even if his arguments are lies.