"Feminist is as feminist does" was twittered some time ago by the President of Reproductive Choice Australia, Leslie Cannold… I agree, but in contrast to Ms Cannold consider that abortion has no place in true feminism, as it is "a reflection that the needs of women are not being met". What feminists fail to do also speaks volumes.
The reaction to Senator John Madigan preparing a bill, to remove federal funding for sex selection abortions has been telling. The old tricks of the abortion lobby have been dragged out to avoid much needed consideration of the implementation of abortion in Australia – these tricks include undermining men who do not agree with their position (playing the exhausted misogyny card), assuming they represent all women and avoiding the issue at hand – in this case, sex selection.
What many don't know is that internationally, millions and millions of baby girls are, in fact, being killed in the womb and after birth…just for being girls!
But where is the feminist and political outrage? Given we have so many E.M.I.L.Y Listers ('Early Money is Like Yeast' - who supposedly champion equality for females) in such prominent roles in state and federal governments? These women include: Prime Minister Julia Gillard (who wrote the constitution for E.L), Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong, Kate Lundy, Lara Giddings and many others. What do we hear about the slaughter of so many women to be from our feminist leaders? ….Not a word…Silence!
One would reasonably assume that those who claim to champion the rights of girls and women would applaud the efforts of Senator Madigan.
Instead we are subjected to the tired, regurgitated spiel of "old, white man interfering with women's reproductive rights", as abortion advocates like Stephanie Peatling assume their self apppointed position as defenders of our "reproductive rights".
Is it ignorant or arrogant (or both?) to think that sex selection (of girls and boys) could not happen, or could not already be happening here in Australia? A quick Google search brings up a case where twin boys were aborted in Australia, as part of a couple's quest to have a baby girl and it is likely that other cases will emerge as part of the debate some are trying to stop. With the lack of Australian research and statistics on abortion and with the procedure being so widely considered to be a "private matter between a woman and her doctor", there is, in fact, every possibility that sex selection is occurring in our hospitals and abortion clinics.
Greens senator Richard Di Natale said that "the move (by Madigan) was a "thinly-veiled attempt" to revive the abortion issue in Australia". .
Clearly there is an unwillingness on his (and others) part to discuss any aspect of abortion – despite it being one of the most common procedures in Australia, with one in three women having an abortion in her lifetime.
A vote poll conducted by The National Times (Feb 27) asking "Should abortion laws be tightened using federal government legislation as flagged by Senator John Madigan?" had yes and no responses of 10,053 respondents tied at 49% each (2% were undecided). It would seem that while Mr Natale doesn't wish to discuss it, perhaps the public do!
One would expect that abortion would be an ongoing dialogue, raised in Parliaments around Australia, and in the media – including information on the impact of abortion on women, health care, our aging population, economics, our society (including sex selection) etcetera.
Last year, Liberal MP, Bernie Finn, did present current research to the Victorian Parliament. It showed an 81% increased risk of negative psychological impacts for women who abort compared to those who birth. The research , published in the highly regarded British Journal of Psychiatry (Aug, 2011) was a meta analysis of 22 studies, included nearly 900,000 women (including Australian women). No further discussion resulted from Mr Finn's presentation – just more silence.
Senator Madigan's efforts are applauded by those of us (male and female alike), who believe that neither sex (of the unborn or of those who engage in the abortion debate) should be discriminated against, who believe that women deserve better information and support than is currently available and who do not play the gender card to avoid productive debate and sharing of important information and research.
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Sonja Couroupis is trained in Early Childhood Education, has a primary school teaching background, is a mother of five and the co-founder and President of Life Network Australia (LNA).
The mission of LNA is to ‘Inform, Inspire and Empower’ ordinary Australians to advocate for women and families facing crisis pregnancies and for the many babies whose lives are lost to abortion.
Her involvement in the pro life movement came about as a result of her own unplanned pregnancy and the personal struggles she faced, the many conversations she had with other women affected by abortion and an awareness of the lack of accessible (and accurate) information about abortion.