If we tell them about it it’ll just encourage them

After all, it’s not like incubators people women should possibly be aware of all their options.  Not if a qualified professional licensed practitioner person with personal religious beliefs disagrees with one of those options, anyway.

That seems to be the basis of a legal challenge to new Medical Council guidelines which would force Good Christian Soldiers to Mercilessly Slaughter the Unborn – I’m sorry, they would

[require doctors] to tell patients having doubts about a pregnancy that abortion is one of the options

Well fuck.  That’s terrible.  I mean, forcing medical professionals to make a statement of fact about the existence of a medical procedure?  I am aghast.  Such an imposition!  Such an inconvenience!  It’s like those bastards at the Medical Council think these people trained to offer medical advice!

Deborah puts it with less snark:

[The subtext of this challenge] says that they will make moral decisions for their patients, because women can’t be trusted to make those moral decisions themselves.

Now wait.  Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, I mean, I’m not a doctor, obviously, I’m just a currently vacant uterus woman.  Maybe this “abortion” thing is some kind of drastic procedure, involving expense and trauma and danger?

Well, maybe if you’re the person getting it, especially if you’re not blessed to live in a major metropolitan centre of NZ or if you find the prospect of having to justify your reproductive choices to not one but two consultants who, if you’re lucky, will interpret “mental health” widely and help you circumvent decades-old patriarchal bullshit.

Having to sit there and admit to a person in your medical care that yes, there is an option legally available which you personally would not choose?  Cry me a fucking river.

And I’m speaking here as someone who went to a Catholic fucking high school.  A high school where we were taught about contraception … and abortion.

And sure, our teacher stood at the front of the class and said “girls, I do not agree with abortion and the Church teaches that it’s wrong, and please don’t have sex and please don’t have abortions”, and sure other classes in my year got shown The Silent Scream (and were apparently so traumatized we didn’t get to see it), and sure the STD talk was accompanied with a “horrible infections you will get if your immune system is suppressed by AIDS” slideshow.  So we’re not talking objective information here.

But we still knew what our options were.  And when a few girls in my class were pregnant in the year following seventh form, and chose to have their babies, you know what?  I know that they were able to choose to have their babies.

And they didn’t need some fucking self-righteous morality-pushing douche abusing the privilege of being a medical professional treating them like they couldn’t be trusted with autonomy over their own bodies.

H/T:  The Hand Mirror

On the lighter side of things, Scott at Imperator Fish very nicely demonstrates why Jonathan “Concert FM is Radio Pyongyang with a harpsichord” Coleman’s suggestion that NatRad look at commercial sponsorship is a bad, bad, bad, bad thing.


  1. newswithnipples

    Rather than targeting the women who feel they have to terminate a pregnancy, why don’t pro-lifers hound the government to get children-friendly policies in place? A few years ago when Australia had a Coalition government, Tony Abbott had a rant about the number of terminations, yet did nothing about maternity leave. In fact, he didn’t think maternity leave was important until he realised a few weeks ago that there might be a few votes in it.

    • QoT

      The eternal conundrum, nwn! A cynical prochoicer might ponder if it has nothing to do with actual children and everything to do with controlling women. I’m sure an anti-abortion type could, theoretically, explain it, but I’ve yet to see it happen!

  2. Deborah

    Alas, I’m not gifted with teh snark, QoT. But I’m very glad you are, because I love reading your pieces.

    We got The Silent Scream at my Catholic girls high school too. Lovely.

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  4. Tess

    If women are aware of the availability of abortion (and women are) why then is it so drastic to stay with the status quo?

    • QoT

      Tess, you’re making a very, very big assumption in your question.

      Story time: compared to the wonderfully comprehensive-if-negatively-presented sex ed I received, one of my best friends went to a public high school which happened to lie in a heavily religious suburb of Auckland. Their school’s sex ed? Zero. Now my friend is a stroppy feminist type who was always going to make sure she was aware of her options … but a lot of students, and not just the girls?

      Saying “and women are” like comprehensive sex education and information on reproductive options is a given really only helps show your privilege.

  5. Tess

    I grew up on a benefit with a solo mother in one of the poorer areas of Christchurch. We had gang members living in our street, a street full of Government owned housing. A friend of mine from high school went to prison for murder. Right now I live in a small, poor town on the West Coast of New Zealand, a place that our previous Prime Minister called, and I quote, ‘feral’.

    Right now we have a boy over to play with our kids whose father is on a benefit, been to prison for violent assault, is right now on a suspended sentence for fighting and who goes pig hunting with only knives and dogs. He left school at 14 and was heavily involved in the Auckland gang scene. (He is btw a great guy.)

    My husbands parents come from dirt poor violent Irish immigrants who were forced into workhouses in England before they managed to get out to the New World. They live in a house with holes you can see out of with no phone and roofing iron that has basically disintegrated.

    Women, even poor uneducated women, aren’t stupid. They know about abortion because their friends and relatives have had them. In a culture where drugs and alcohol are abused and where relationships are often fleeting and violent, there’s a lot of unplanned pregnancy.

    You assume I speak from a position of privilege and I do, I am educated. But I am poor, I have grown up poor and we still are poor, poor enough to have to go to food banks, poor enough to have to beg at social welfare for handouts. We don’t have a land line phone because we can’t afford it. We are on a sickness benefit because I’m ill. The only reason we have computers is because my husband can cobble them from cast offs. The only reason we have internet is because we have a cable running to someone prepared to share with us. The only reason we could heat our house last winter is because a coal miner who is our friend gave us coal.

    The great big shining irony is that I know people with PhDs who speak in sociological terms of privilege and how it affects perspectives… but always in terms of theory. These people never come and live and work in environments where poverty actually directly touches them. They don’t spend time with people in the lowest socio-cultural situation.

    • QoT

      I’m not sure which side of the argument you’re addressing, Stef. Could you elaborate?

      @Tess: There is a huge throbbing world of difference between “I am aware of the concept of abortion” and “I know how to get one, I know what my options are, I know what my timeframes are, and I live in circumstances which will allow me to exercise that choice.” Your privilege is not one born of having money, it’s of assuming that all other people have your level of and access to knowledge and that all people have the freedom of choice that you enjoy.

  6. newswithnipples

    Tess, you said over at In a strange land that:

    For me personally, abortion is analogous with murder, murder being the killing of an innocent person (distinct from killing in other situations, say war or capital punishment).

    That point – “for me personally” – is the whole point. Why should everyone else have to live by your personal beliefs, particularly when your beliefs are not backed up by the law?

    People who are pro-choice are not saying that all pregnancies should be terminated. People who are pro-choice don’t picket maternity wards saying that all babies should be killed. Women who choose to terminate a pregnancy don’t wake up one morning and think, ‘gee, I’ve got nothing planned today, why don’t I go and have an abortion’. It’s a difficult decision and it can be traumatic, and having someone call you a murderer because you feel you cannot be a parent at that time is fucking insulting. If you personally don’t agree with terminating a pregnancy, then don’t.

  7. Tess

    @QoT”…it’s of assuming that all other people have your level of and access to knowledge and that all people have the freedom of choice that you enjoy.”

    Please don’t assume that women are dumb, even women who don’t have a lot of education know how to access abortion. One in five pregnancies are terminated. Maori and Pacific women have a higher ratio of abortions to Pakeha even though they are less likely to be in a high socio-economic demographic.



    Could you stand by if someone was ending the life of another human being?

    Please note… I’m NOT calling women who have abortion murderers. I can’t judge their soul (a concept you may not believe in, but as a metaphor it works so please bear with me here). However I do think that the act is wrong.

    I think you are pro-choice in good faith. You see it as the best way to help women.

  8. QoT

    Yeah, Tess, I’m definitely the one here who’s assuming women are stupid, you just assume that they’re murderers. Oh wait, no, you can’t admit you think they’re murderers, you just think that they commit murder. Nice Catholic distinction there.

    I am certainly not assuming women are dumb. I’m assuming doctors should do their jobs and offer their patients advice based on their patients’ needs, not their own judgemental attitudes.

    Lack of education or money has nothing to do with it – though you might ask yourself how it is that poorer less privileged women come to have such a disproportionate level of unwanted pregnancies. And once you’ve thought of some answers, you might like to consider what other options are really available to women who choose abortions, and if they’re really going to be helped by a doctor making their decisions for them.

  9. QoT

    PS. I find it highly obnoxious to be told that you believe I’m “prochoice in good faith” while simultaneously you imply that the option I support women having access to is murder. Care to pat me on the head and give me a cookie while you’re at it?

  10. Tess


    The doctor is NOT making the decision for them at all. All the doctor is doing is saying they can’t participate and here is a doctor who can. That is a doctor doing their job and having freedom of conscience as well.

    Anyway… we have reached the point of talking in circles and getting snarky. Time for me to give it a rest.

  11. QoT

    What utter, utter bullshit, Tess. Unless you care to link to anywhere that says these proposed new guidelines do anything more than state, as quoted in my post from the Herald, “would require doctors to state abortion is one of the options”.

    If there’s a challenge to this, I’m not sure what the challenge can say other than “we do not want to state abortion is an option”.

    Sorry about the snarky. I get antsy when people are calling me a murderer and pretending not to.

  12. Julie

    Actually Tess, if this small minority of doctors get their way they probably wouldn’t even have to say that they can’t participate in a discussion about abortion and here’s someone who can. They are specifically seeking the right to not even have to say that much. Which imho is unprofessional. Abortion is a medical term, it is a medical procedure, and you should be able to have at least a basic discussion with any doctor about any medical procedure you want to know more about. If they don’t have the knowledge or don’t support you having that procedure they can refer you on, that’s fine, but you have a right to access basic medical information from your GP.

    I was going to keep ranting, but actually I’ve realised it’s enough of a rant for a proper post, so I’m going to do that instead and share a link back here when it’s up 🙂

  13. Boganette

    “If women are aware of the availability of abortion (and women are) why then is it so drastic to stay with the status quo?”

    I call bullshit. Of the two friends of mine who had abortions neither of them had any idea where to go to get one, what the procedure was and whether they could even get one.

    I didn’t know either.

    We’re not “dumb” Tess. It’s not “dumb” to not know the ins and outs of abortion and not be completely up-to-date about abortion law and how it all works.

    The fact is my friends and I never knew about it because we didn’t need to. And when suddenly they did need to know it was incredibly difficult for them to try and figure out where to get that information.

    If they had have had some prick religious fuckbag doctor refusing to provide them with information simply because he/she believes in an invisible man in the sky then their experience would have been even more traumatic than it was.

    Doctors who won’t provide information about abortion should be sacked. If I refused to do my job on the basis that I believe in a fairy Godmother who thinks aspects of my job I don’t like are immoral I’d be fired. So should they. It’s their job to provide information and assistance for medical procedures. If they won’t do their job they should be sacked.

  14. Katherine

    Just to add to the discussion about privilege and information about abortions/contraception:

    I went to one of the biggest highschools in the country (it was the biggest when I was there). I was in one of the classes for smart kids. I never got ANY sex-ed. For me, that was fine, as I didn’t get to be disturbed/disgusted/embarassed during highschool and I could go and get the information when I decided I was ready to have sex. But what about the people in my class that weren’t inclined to go look this up? What if I’d been raped and ended up in no state of mind to think about that sort of thing?

    I echo the “oh no, the poor doctors” snark.

  15. newswithnipples

    And then there’s the next generation of girls. If doctors don’t have to tell women about all of the options that are legally available to them, how long before others – such as sex ed teachers – also stop doing it? So a teenage girl who discovers she’s pregnant because the condom broke is told her options are having the baby and keeping it, or having the baby and giving it away. Abortion is legally available, but she’s never heard of it.

  16. hcattheun

    Are you a bilious bitch ?

    [QoT: To the best of my knowledge my humours are all in balance … am I a woman unafraid to be assertive and definitely amused by people throwing around the word “bitch”? Most certainly. Half marks!]

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  18. Craig Young

    Incidentally, if you do have problems with godbot doctors, there’s always the Code of Health and Disability and Consumers Rights at the end of the road. They are obliged to refer you to a mainstream medical practitioner.