First brought to my attention by No Right Turn and also covered at The Hand Mirror (both excellent posts, so go read them!) Steve Chadwick, Labour list MP and midwife, is proposing changes to our current abortion law.
ALRANZ has a good sum-up of why our abortion laws need to change. In short: if you’re a Kiwi woman, and you get pregnant, you don’t just get to say, “I don’t want to be pregnant any more”. Nope, you get to make your case to two “certifying consultants” who get to decide if you deserve to undergo a legal medical procedure, according to a list of criteria which doesn’t even include rape as a ground for approval.
Oh, it can be taken into consideration. Thank you so much, legislators of 1977, it means such a lot to women that the repercussions* of sexual assault are something that you need to convince two consultants to “take into consideration”.
NRT provides some very good context around why now is really a good time to be talking about this; THM encourages people to write to their elected representatives – and I do too, because you know who’s going to be writing en masse? The fundies.
But it’s a Sunday night and I’m really just up for some snark. Fortunately, the Herald obliges, as always.
A Labour MP has taken the controversial step of proposing a new law to legalise abortion on request for women up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
It’s a controversial step, of course, especially since:
The Abortion Supervisory Committee has repeatedly urged Parliament to review the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, which states the legal grounds for abortion, but MPs avoid the issue.
I see! It’s not controversial because the notion of treating women like they’re real people capable of making their own choices about their own body is terrifying to the Garth Georges of the world. It’s controversial because jeez, Steve, everyone else has done a perfectly fine job of prioritising “not rocking the boat” ahead of “sticking to their principles”, why do you have to go and ruin it?
As long as we can just keep pretending that only filthy sluts (who are apparently too dumb to realise that they can just keep the sprog and rake in The Fat Cash from The Beleaguered Taxpayer, right, trolls?) ever get abortions, not Good Girls, and anyway the law is working fine (okay, its wiggle room around “mental health” is being utilised as was completely predictable) … I mean, why do ya have to go and make us all actually acknowledge the reality of abortion, and think about women’s rights, and engage with actual issues that affect people’s lives? Can’t we just go back to stories about cute animals and Len Brown’s credit card bill, and not have to admit that really we just don’t give a shit about women’s health and rights?**
Before 24 weeks’ gestation, registered health practitioners could carry out an abortion at the patient’s request. It would be regulated like any other medical procedure.
Oh shit! Like any other medical procedure? But abortion isn’t a mere medical procedure! It’s a medical procedure that only nasty people who I don’t like to think about get!** It’s certainly not like an appendectomy, we don’t get to feel smug and superior about people who get appendectomies! And we can’t stick the appendix on billboards to shame people into doing what we want them to!
Abortion: it’s like any other medical procedure. Only for whores.
Sidenote: the current ad running on that article in the Herald is for an online bank tool. It’s motto is “take control now”. Just not of your fertility, hoydens!
The anti-abortion movement was swift to condemn the bill.
NO WAI. Quick, Herald, which antichoicer with an hilariously white-male name did you instantly ring for an inflammatory quote?
“If it came onto the floor of the House, we would fight it tooth and nail,” said Voice for Life Auckland president Bernard Moran.
… Well played, Herald. Well played. I wonder if Voice for Life actually has a membership, unlike Bob “Family First” McCoskrie.
But will Bernard live up to the standards expected of a true wingnut?
“The present law is a compromise to recognise that there is an unborn child, that there is a human person involved in this procedure.”
BERNARD DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. But you know, I have to agree with him. We DO need to remember that there is a human person involved in this procedure: SHE’S A WOMAN, AND SHE’S PREGNANT, AND SHE HAS A MOTHERFUCKING RIGHT TO DECIDE IF THAT STATE OF AFFAIRS CONTINUES.
Ahem. You know, it always fascinates me how the people who talk about the right to life, this incredibly important, vital concept, which is inalienable and universal and paramount to humanity … are quite happy to use words like compromise. Right to life! Every zygote is sacred! Except for rape zygotes, and incest zygotes, and definitely disabled zygotes. God doesn’t care about them.
Mrs Chadwick, citing United Nations data, said abortion was permitted on request in 67 per cent of developed countries. New Zealand attitudes had become more liberal than those reflected by current legislation.
You think? Shit, between then and now we even managed to come round to the idea that men shouldn’t rape their wives.
Delicious eye-rolling icing on the cake:
Prime Minister John Key did not answer Weekend Herald questions about the bill yesterday. Labour leader Phil Goff said he hadn’t given the matter much thought.
Two middle-aged white men don’t engage with the issue? Quelle bloody surprise.
I wish Steve Chadwick all the luck in the world on this one – she’s going to need it. Time to get my letter-writing on!
*I am sure it will escape no antichoicer’s notice that I use wonderfully clinical terms to describe the precious unborn potential Beethoven wunderkind iddle baybee. That’s because it actually just doesn’t matter, because unless you’re going to step up right now and offer me a 9 month lease on your kidneys? You’re a piece of shit misogynist.
**Antichoicers: this is a trap.
***It’s fascinating, as I write this, just HOW MUCH these arguments parallel the prostitution law reform “debate”.