So, I got around to watching last night’s episode of Close Up, and strangely did not walk away feeling like I needed to de-ice the freezer so I could smash up the ice in the sink to vent my anger.
Because what sums it up is this: when Mark Sainsbury interrupted Norman Maclean of Southlanders for
Killing Women Life, Norm said nothing.
When Alison McCulloch of ALRANZ interrupted Norm, he put on his very best unimpressed-headmaster voice and said “Please do not interrupt me when I’m in the middle of a sentence.”
He didn’t add “young lady” at the end, but you could see it hanging there in mid-air.
Here’s the important bit: Norman Maclean simply will not state what Southlanders For Hate will do if given the names of staff employed in the abortion services section of Invercargill Hospital.
Sure, five minutes after he was first asked he parrotted some line about being “committed to peaceful protest”, but subsequently tried to argue that if those staff feel intimidated and afraid to have their names published, that’s got nothing to do with an organised group declaring it’ll “name and shame” them, that’s just their problem. They’re just choosing to be afraid in the context of an organised group whose spokesman states that their work is “child abuse in the womb”. They’re just oversensitive about working in a world where people in their profession are regularly targeted, threatened, and murdered by so-called “pro–life” people.
Alison McCulloch put it very well: it doesn’t actually matter if every single member of Southlanders For Letting People Die is a cuddly vegan hippie (though it’s unlikely). Because if that information is published, there will be someone out there who will act on it.
Abortion clinics in this country have been firebombed. That’s the simple facts of the matter.
But Norman Maclean had another ridiculous card in his hand: the “consumer rights” card. Because all people have the “right to know who is providing their care.”
Like Alison said, can’t people just ask a midwife if they perform abortions?
What I want to know is – and it’s the same thing that made me think we should demand that they Name The Dentists, too – why does abortion make it on the list of things which so define a person’s identity that they’re an indelible part of their character?
Why not summon all the GPs in New Zealand to public hearings so we can ask them if they are now or have ever been a member of the Communist Party?
Like Alison McCulloch said, we know very well what happens to lists of doctors who perform abortions. Do any of us think we’ll see Norman Maclean take the tiniest bit of personal responsibility when a healthcare worker in Southland gets harassed, sent abusive mail, attacked?
I’m thinking not.